prelude: the best of anger

My friend Jenn Lindsay included a fantastic question in a letter yesterday: “In which writing do you think anger is well-expressed? In which work do you think graphic (violent) content is well-expressed?”

There’s more to say about anger, but here’s my mini-canon. And yeah, I DO include Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. I don’t include the Sex Pistols, because I just don’t buy it, except as a fashion statement. As a fashion statement, Never Mind The Bullocks is awesome.

As always, jump in if I forgot something. We’ll start with quotes.

This song is for the happy people
For all the happy people
Who have real nice lives
And who have no idea what it’s like
To be broke as fuck

-Eminem

i guess that you dialed my number
‘cuz you thought for sure that i’d agree
i said baby, you know i still love you
but how dare you complain to me

-Ani Difranco

You say you mean well
You don’t know what you mean
You oughta stay the fucking hell away
From things you know nothing about

-Elliott Smith

And it is that word ‘hummy,’ my darlings, that marks the first place in The House at Pooh Corner at which Tonstant Weader fwowed up.
-Dorothy Parker

“Oh Jake,” Brett said, “We could have had such a damned good time together.”
Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly, pressing Brett against me.
“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

-Ernest Hemingway

Yeah, fuck you, too. Fuck *me*? Fuck *you*, Fuck you and this whole city and everyone in it. Fuck the panhandlers, grubbing for money, and smiling at me behind my back. Fuck the squeegee men dirtying up the clean windshield of my car – get a fucking job! Fuck the Sikhs and the Pakistanis bombing down the avenues in decrepit cabs, curry steaming out their pores stinking up my day. Terrorists in fucking training. SLOW THE FUCK DOWN! Fuck the Chelsea boys with their waxed chests and pumped-up biceps. Going down on each other in my parks and on my piers, jingling their dicks on my Channel 35. Fuck the Korean grocers with their pyramids of overpriced fruit and their tulips and roses wrapped in plastic. Ten years in the country, still no speaky English? Fuck the Russians in Brighton Beach. Mobster thugs sitting in cafés, sipping tea in little glasses, sugar cubes between their teeth. Wheelin’ and dealin’ and schemin’. Go back where you fucking came from! Fuck the black-hatted Chassidim, strolling up and down 47th street in their dirty gabardine with their dandruff. Selling South African apartheid diamonds! Fuck the Wall Street brokers. Self-styled masters of the universe. Michael Douglas, Gordon Gekko wannabe mother fuckers, figuring out new ways to rob hard working people blind. Send those Enron assholes to jail for FUCKING LIFE! You think Bush and Cheney didn’t know about that shit? Give me a fucking break! Tyco! Worldcom! Fuck the Puerto Ricans. Twenty to a car, swelling up the welfare rolls, worst fuckin’ parade in the city. And don’t even get me started on the Dom-in-i-cans, ’cause they make the Puerto Ricans look good. Fuck the Bensonhurst Italians with their pomaded hair, their nylon warm-up suits, their St. Anthony medallions, swinging their Jason Giambi Louisville Slugger baseball bats, trying to audition for “The Sopranos.” Fuck the Upper East Side wives with their Hermès scarves and their fifty-dollar Balducci artichokes. Overfed faces getting pulled and lifted and stretched, all taut and shiny. You’re not fooling anybody, sweetheart! Fuck the uptown brothers. They never pass the ball, they don’t want to play defense, they take five steps on every lay-up to the hoop. And then they want to turn around and blame everything on the white man. Slavery ended one hundred and thirty seven years ago. Move the fuck on! Fuck the corrupt cops with their anus-violating plungers and their 41 shots, standing behind a blue wall of silence. You betray our trust! Fuck the priests who put their hands down some innocent child’s pants. Fuck the church that protects them, delivering us into evil. And while you’re at it, fuck J.C.! He got off easy! A day on the cross, a weekend in hell, and all the hallelujahs of the legioned angels for eternity! Try seven years in fuckin’ Otisville, J.! Fuck Osama Bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and backward-ass cave-dwelling fundamentalist assholes everywhere. On the names of innocent thousands murdered, I pray you spend the rest of eternity with your seventy-two whores roasting in a jet-fuel fire in hell. You towel-headed camel jockeys can kiss my royal Irish ass! Fuck Jacob Elinsky. Whining malcontent. Fuck Francis Xavier Slaughtery my best friend, judging me while he stares at my girlfriend’s ass. Fuck Naturelle Riviera, I gave her my trust and she stabbed me in the back, sold me up the river, fucking bitch. Fuck my father with his endless grief, standing behind that bar sipping on club sodas, selling whisky to firemen, and cheering the Bronx Bombers. Fuck this whole city and everyone in it. From the row-houses of Astoria to the penthouses on Park Avenue, from the projects in the Bronx to the lofts in Soho. From the tenements in Alphabet City to the brownstones in Park Slope to the split-levels in Staten Island. Let an earthquake crumble it, let the fires rage, let it burn to fucking ash and then let the waters rise and submerge this whole rat-infested place.
[pause]
Monty Brogan: No. No, fuck you, Montgomery Brogan. You had it all, and you threw it away, you *dumb* *fuck*!

-The 25th Hour

Patty: So, think about it. But not for too long. If I don’t hear from you by the end of the day tomorrow, I’m gonna treat some friends of mine at the Justice Department to dinner and a movie.
Arthur: You really enjoy this, don’t you?
Patty: It’s my job.
Arthur: Why do you hate me so much?
[Patty smiles and walks away without answering]

-Damages

I’ll tell you about her stroke. It’s called a conversion reaction. It’s a big opera brought on by repressed rage. It’s bullshit. No infarc-whatever-the-fuck.
-The Sopranos

***

Male Musicians
Ludwig van Beethoven, 5th Symphony
Eminem (everything)
The Afghan Whigs, Gentlemen
Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
Jay-Z, The Black Album
The Chocolate Watchband (everything)
AC/DC, Highway to Hell
The Clash (self-titled)
Elliott Smith, XO
The Prodigy, The Fat of the Land
Rage Against The Machine (self-titled)
Primal Scream, XTRMNTR
John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band
Sage Francis, A Healthy Distrust
Snoop Doggy Dogg, Doggystyle
Bob Dylan, various songs (incl. “Idiot Wind” and “Positively 4th Street”)
Charles Mingus, The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
The Roots, Game Theory
Nirvana, Nevermind
Bright Eyes, Fevers and Mirrors
The Animals, The Best of the Animals
Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers
Public Enemy, It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
Capleton, More Fire
Chik Chik Chik (!!!) (self-titled)
The Faint, Danse Macabre
Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True
Kanye West, 808s and Heartbreak
She Wants Revenge (self-titled)
Pulp, Different Class
Radiohead, The Bends
DMX, It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot
The Wrens, Secaucus
The Walkmen, Bows + Arrows
The-Dream, Lovehate

Female Musicians
Ani DiFranco (everything up to, and including, Little Plastic Castle)
Hole (everything)
Lady Sovereign, Public Warning!
M.I.A., Piracy Funds Terrorism
Ladytron, Witching Hour
Bikini Kill (everything) (and also Le Tigre’s self-titled album)
Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville
Nicki Minaj, guest spots
Joan Jett, I Love Rock And Roll
Mirah, C’mon Miracle
Sleater-Kinney, Call The Doctor
PJ Harvey, Dry
Rihanna, Rated R
Sinead O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
Nancy Sinatra, The Best of Nancy Sinatra
Nina Nastasia & Jim White, You Follow Me
Shakira, Donde Estan Los Ladrones? (plus assorted singles)
Sonic Youth: songs with Kim Gordon on vocals (everything)
Rainer Maria, Look Now Look Again
Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes
Tracy Chapman (self-titled)
Linda Ronstadt, various songs (incl. “You’re No Good” and “Different Drum”)
Janis Joplin (everything)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, EP

Books
Albert Camus, The Stranger
Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Journey To The End of the Night
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
William Blake, Songs of Experience
Mikhail Lermontov, A Hero of Our Time
Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals, The Will to Power, and The Antichrist
Philip Roth, My Life As A Man, Operation Shylock, and The Counterlife
Katherine Mansfield, The Garden Party and Other Stories
Gloria Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions
Giovanni Verga, Stories
Anne Rice, The Vampire Lestat
Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya
Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
The Book of Matthew (KJV)
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar and Ariel
Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
D. H. Lawrence, Essays
Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
Charles Dickens, Hard Times
Martin Luther (everything)
Arthur Rimbaud (everything)
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels and A Modest Proposal
Dorothy Parker (everything)
Toni Morrison, Sula
Plato, Apology and Euthypro
Voltaire, Candide, Zadig, and The Lisbon Earthquake
William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Richard II, and The Merchant of Venice
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
George Eliot, Middlemarch
Edward Albee, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun and To Be Young, Gifted, and Black
T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land
Matthew Arnold, Collected Poems
J. M. Coetzee (everything)
Please Kill Me: An Uncensored Oral History of Punk

Movies
Fight Club, American Beauty, Hurlyburly, The Godfather I & II, Fish Tank, Eastern Promises, Naked, The Grapes of Wrath, Contempt, X, Schindler’s List, The Empire Strikes Back, Reservoir Dogs, Blow-Up, Cool Hand Luke, Training Day, Rebel Without A Cause, Shaun of the Dead, A Streetcar Named Desire, Trainspotting, High Plains Drifter, Hud, Magnolia, The Social Network, Apocalypse Now, Match Point, Ghost World, Office Space, Withnail and I, All About Eve, Deliverance, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Shawshank Redemption, Wedding Crashers, Carrie, The 25th Hour, Unforgiven, Hero, House of Games, Fresh, How To Irritate People, The Matrix, Easy Rider, 12 Angry Men, Sweet Smell of Success, Michael Clayton, Do The Right Thing, The Constant Gardener, Red Lights

Television
Justified, The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad, The L Word, King of the Hill, The Dave Chapelle Show, The Ali G Show, The Tudors, The Office (BBC), Peep Show, Beavis and Butthead, Gossip Girl, Six Feet Under, Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Veronica Mars, The Shield, Damages, Curb Your Enthusiasm