Anger is a dangerous emotion that changes the way you think and act, that inhibits your reasoning skills and self-control when it's bad enough. And when you lose control of yourself -- well, that's when someone else takes control of you. For example, look at #GamerGate, the latest fad Internet controversy. It started as a harassment campaign against an indie game developer, but was later rebranded as outrage against irresponsible journalism in the video game industry. But the amazing thing is that, in reality, it's even dumber than that.
It actually started when people decided to exploit the rampant anger and misogyny in gaming culture in order to peddle their weird, anti-woman views. And yes, there is a lot of anger and misogyny floating around in gaming culture -- the topic generates a disproportionate amount of hate-mail whenever I write about it, and I play video games online, motherfucker. I know from experience. Heroes of Newerth, Team Fortress 2, even signing into StarCraft -- which was once mocked by a pro-gamer essentially for not having enough sexual harassment, I fucking kid you not -- involves getting threatened and hated. It sucks, because the vocal assholes are actually a very small minority of gamers, but for the same reason I remember every angry comment about my work I've ever read and forget the nice ones, they're the people who get the most attention from the non-gaming world. And that's why those fuck-weasels on 4chan knew to target a woman.
Number of groups exploiting this angry group for their own agenda: 1.
And once the movement got going, these guys stepped in to spin it to be about their careers. First, we have an admitted racist (he also made a video called "Why Blacks Fail," but it was removed for violating YouTube's hate-speech guidelines, obviously) who made a Patreon to fund a documentary about "The Social Justice Warrior Movement," as if that's an actual thing (I'm not linking to it -- they already have too much money).
Number of groups exploiting this angry group for their own agenda: 2.
Finally, we have this guy, who wrote rambling articles telling the #GamerGate people exactly what they wanted to hear (the women you're harassing are evil and also bad at making video games) and successfully spread misleading information that he knew would get both those women harassed more and, more importantly, would build his following. It worked.
As long as they don't try to expose harassment. Or make games he doesn't like.
Number of groups exploiting this angry group's lack of organization and overabundance of energy for their own goals: everyone.
I picked #GamerGate because it's an obvious recent example, but really this can happen to anyone, with any cause. Here's a great analysis of how anti-bullying is being co-opted by a system that doesn't actually care about it. Hell, this is why wars are historically fought with young men: it's easier to get them angry. The most dangerous part of an angry mob isn't that it's directionless, it's that someone else might give it direction without the mob ever realizing it. Hopefully we can all agree that sucks a big old barrel of floppy donkey dicks.
The bottom line here is that anger will fucking kill you, even if it's justified. So no matter what you're pissed off about, it's generally a pretty good idea to take some time to get your mind off it, have fun, do something to improve your brain or your health. And then when you come back, see if you can still remember what made you so mad in the first place.
JF Sargent is an editor for Cracked and has a column here every Tuesday. Twit him on Twitter. Face him on Facebook. Tum him on Tumblr. It's your life, make your own choices.
For more from Sarge, check out 5 Sexual Fears That Science Says Are Bullshit and 5 Uncomfortable Truths Behind the Men's Rights Movement.