The Angry Young (Wo)Man

As I’ve said before, I’m a HUGE Billy Joel fan, and have been since the late 70s.  At first I just loved the melodies and his piano skills (piano is one of my favorite instruments, tied with drums), but as I got older, I saw the wisdom in his words.  And I loved the fact that he was able to switch between didactic songs that made you think, and pop ones that just made you want to sing or dance along.

Of the deeper ones that I love is Angry Young Man.  In this song, Billy talks about someone who seems proud of being overly righteous and garners enjoyment from acting the martyr.

Click on the image to hear the song & see the full lyrics

Click on the image to hear the song & see the full lyrics

My favorite passage from this song is in the bridge:

I believe I’ve passed the age
Of consciousness and righteous rage
I found that just surviving was a noble fight
I once believed in causes too
I had my pointless point of view
And life went on no matter who was wrong or right

That phrase is something I’ve held dear for years, because I believe very strongly in the last line of that stanza “Life went on no matter who was wrong or right.”  It’s similar to the Zen masters who seem to take everything in with an attitude of waiting to see what happens next.  They don’t get overly worked up in either direction, because they know things will change without their emotional involvement.

However, I’ve recently begun to notice that I’m acting more and more righteous about certain things–Marriage Equality; Women’s Right to Choose; Religious Hypocrisy–and it makes me wonder whether or not I’m becoming an Angry Young (Wo)Man myself.

I believe people are entitled to their opinion, and have the right to express it, but there’s a fine line between stating your opinion and becoming an evangelist (of sorts) for whatever cause you’re passionate about.  And I do believe we need people who are willing to fight for their deeply held beliefs, but I don’t think I’ve ever been one of those people.  Because I DO believe that the world will sort itself out eventually.  It’s one of the main reasons that I never voted until the last Presidential election (and why I might not vote in the upcoming one).  I don’t think my little voice holds that much power; at least on such a grand scale.

The problem is–in this world of social media–you see personal beliefs all over your Facebook or Twitter feed.  And, as humans, we want to comment on those things.  We want to rally together for a cause we believe in, or declare our dissent for what we’re against.  So without necessarily meaning to, many of us have become Angry Young Men/Women blurting out our beliefs several times a day.

If you have more than ten friends who feel the same as you do, your Facebook page becomes inundated with all the memes and sayings that espouse your particular beliefs.  And with the rapidity of the internet, it only takes a week or so before you’ve seen the same thoughts expressed in a variety of ways at least as many times as you have friends.

For example, I have probably 100 FB friends who are on the side of marriage equality.  If just half of them post memes and other photos fighting for equality, then chances are I’ll see most of the images at least 50-75 times over the span of a couple of months.  I’ve never been a fan of someone preaching from a soap box, so to see a sentiment that frequently would kind of make me sour to it, even though it’s something I also believe in.  Well . . . maybe I wouldn’t necessarily sour to the sentiment, but I’d definitely feel like saying “Shut up about it, already!”

So I’m still gonna state my beliefs and opinions to anyone who cares to ask, but I think I want to start meting out my thoughts so that I’m not one of those bores who stands on soap boxes and tells people why they MUST change and adhere to [BLANK] belief.  It’s truly not my place to tell someone else how to live.

Plus . . . I won’t be in danger anymore of becoming an Angry Young Woman.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. csmithsq
    Jul 11, 2014 @ 08:45:25

    That’s very interesting when you talk about all your friends that have the same belief filling up your wall with sentiments of that belief. The thought that occurred to me was “preaching to the choir”. Meaning, everyone is sharing their thoughts and opinions with everyone else who also already agrees with them. The choir and the congregation already believe in your schpeel. It’s the ‘unenlightened masses’ that you need to be preaching to anyway. Alas, on Facebook, the people who disagree with your sentiments are likely going to ignore them and/or use them as a catalyst to express THEIR contrary opinions, and they probably aren’t going to consider your point of view anyway. So really, Facebook is poor vehicle for trying to affect social change. Maybe knowing that will help lessen the ‘Angry Young (Wo)Man” feeling.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jul 11, 2014 @ 09:44:48

      That’s a very good point, Craig, about Preaching to the Choir. Maybe that is part of why it gets frustrating; because we keep preaching to those who agree, which doesn’t bring about noticeable change.

      Which just brings me back to the line “Life went on no matter who was wrong or right.”

      Thanks for stopping by today, & yes . . . Billy Joel ROCKS! 😉

      Reply

  2. csmithsq
    Jul 11, 2014 @ 08:45:58

    P.S. Billy Joel ROCKS!!

    Reply

  3. Dana Fredsti
    Jul 11, 2014 @ 10:35:46

    Many people aren’t open to sentiment unless it absolutely reflects/backs up their own opinions, even if there’s hard science behind the contradicting info… Cognitive dissidence. Sometimes I feel the same way you do about ‘just stop TALKING about it!’ but other times it’s nice to know I’m not alone in my feelings if only to know there are people fighting social injustice et al… But… damn, there are some people who I totally agree with who I cant’ stand talking to any more because they won’t stop talking about it!!!

    Reply

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