- Justin Sullivan/Getty
- Protestors took the streets in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday night.
The Reader‘s Gwynedd Stuart makes a valuable point in an essay she posted on the Bleader Wednesday. Her subject’s the TV show State of Affairs, but she begins with a comment on an age-old struggle—”reasonable” people versus hysterics.
Stuart’s point of reference is Ferguson. “It became increasingly annoying to hear newscasters refer to the ’emotional’ reaction protesters had. . . . Sure, anger qualifies as an emotion. And, yeah, some of the demonstrators’ more destructive activities couldn’t exactly be considered intellectual in their planning or execution. But so often the term ’emotional’ delegitimizes whatever it’s describing by putting that thing in direct opposition to ‘logical’ or ‘rational.’ People’s anger wasn’t necessarily justified, not even if they’d given the situation in Ferguson much careful consideration—they were just emotional.”
In other words, the real world is not neatly divided into two camps, the rationals and the emotionals. This division disregards the most important camp of all, people who become emotionally committed after giving the matter a lot of careful thought.
Now I turn to the Wednesday column by John Kass in the Tribune. Trying to sort out the situation there, Kass referred to the “wild talk coming out of Ferguson” and to “all that angry and predictable noise emanating from race hustlers like Al Sharpton.” Kass divided not just the people of Ferguson but all Americans into two types:
“You know the basic elements of this. [Darren] Wilson had shot [Michael] Brown to death in August and America had split, predictably, into camps. Some of us wanted to see all the evidence before making a decision, and those convinced that Brown was the victim of white institutional racism had already made up their minds.”
Well, at least Kass didn’t leave us guessing where he sees himself in this clash between lucidity and the mob.