A Quick Seminar on Anger, Sorrow, and Laughter

“Anger is better than laughter.” – Ecclesiastes 7:3, paraphrased in olde English (one of my first 2003 columns, adapted)

SHOULD TRUMP “TONE IT DOWN”? If Vince Lombardi were coaching in this day and age, he would probably be ordered to attend “anger management” classes. People today are taught to blend in rather than to stand out, and any expression of passion is considered not Psychologically Cool. Those of us who can’t “blend in” and who complain about attacks on our cultural roots are considered “not well-adjusted.” Lombardi wouldn’t adjust well at all to the concept of “parity” or “outcome-based football,” or “all competition is evil.”

I used the term “get mad” in my last column without apology, even though a former President was lecturing California citizens that “whom the gods wish to destroy they first make angry.” I don’t know who writes his stuff, but he echoes the sentiments of academania and the news media. The 1994 elections were called a temper tantrum by “angry white males.” 

WELL (as the Gipper might say) — that’s weird, because I can remember the sixties when the SDS was rioting and university buildings were being blown up or burned, and the news media never called them “angry white males” — they were called “idealists.” And the Muslim women in Congress are never deemed to be “angry” either. Maybe being “well-adjusted” in a world as wacky as this one is neither a logical nor a desirable goal. 

I don’t normally mention specific chapter-and-verse passages, but the other day, I was reading the King James version of Ecclesiastes and made a discovery: The KJV says, “Sorrrow is better than laughter” (Ec. 7:3), but the Hebrew root word for sorrow is the same one translated “anger” in verse 9 (“Be not hasty to be angry”)!

This will raise eyebrows in the psychological community, and I wish I could say I’ve known this for years, but the hard fact is that the English words for “sorrow” and “anger” overlap somewhat because, originally, they meant the very same thing. Matter of fact, the Greek, Latin, French, and Old Norse words for anger, angst, and anguish came from the same root words that literally mean “strangled” or “constricted” (English “angina” comes from the same root words). Like when you feel a tightening sensation in your throat.

In other words, as the “Dictionary of Word Origins” by John Ayto says, the original notion of “anger” was “afflicted,” and “rage” didn’t enter the picture until the 13th century. The bottom line is that those who “sigh and cry” over the secularization of society are afflicted by a sense of “indignation” that is justified. 

There is more “sorrow” than “anger” in the passion of a conservative, and more anger than sorrow in the passion of a liberal.

The media claimed that President Trump was “angry” about the Muller investigation. I’d say both angry and afflicted or sorrowful. Wouldn’t you be? A hypothetical: Let’s say Hillary Clinton wins the 2016 election, and the Republicans still control the House, okay? If the GOP got a special counsel appointed to investigate her, after spying on her campaign (not that they did, but the reverse was fact), and suppose that probe went on for two years or more, you don’t think Hillary would be “angry”? You know better than that. So what’s the problem?

In conclusion though, I want to preach a bit to the “choir”: The proverbial “Rachel weeping for her children” is a role-model for us Americans today — for many reasons — not only on account of our nation’s abortions, but for attacks on Israel and our joint Judeo-Christian Heritage by pop culturenot to mention openly vile attacks on us on the floor of Congress! 

P.S. “BE angry, but don’t sin.” It’s about time we got mad enough to push back. Good things begin to happen when you don’t just roll over and play dead, or stick your head in the sand. 

PPS: We ought to be very, very grateful that our President – in contrast to some of his predecessors – fights back. 

And LAUGHS at his enemies !!

Curtis Dahlgren…
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