Katie Zinser: Week 5

Most stuff isn’t worth getting worked up about. Especially in week 5.

anger Aristotle James Bond Nutella Skyfall stress week 5

“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” – Aristotle

It’s a funny fact of life that those who are most fortunate tend to be the ones who get angry the most often. Anger, outrage and offence are all around. This week I read three angry feminist articles about the sexism in the latest Bond film. Lady Gaga is outraged that Adele is still fatter than her yet Adele’s fat doesn’t make front page news.  Recently some dickhead wrote a whole article moaning about trucks.

Let’s just take a big step back and think about the wider picture. I quickly realised, with the support of some slightly scathing yet very helpful commentators, to stop feeling angry and buy some earplugs. Maybe it is outrageous that Skyfall ends with the only female field agent finally realising her true lifelong ambition of becoming a secretary.  Then again, maybe these feminists should waste a bit more breath on the worrying idea that a man who wants to roll women’s reproductive rights back the 1950s could have been voted American President before the week was out. And if we just stop paying any attention to Gaga’s tantrums I’m sure she’ll tire herself out and go for a nap.

There are a lot of things in this world that deserve outrage and anger. This week a 15 year-old Pakistani girl was tragically murdered by her own parents who doused her with acid for “looking at a boy”, and subsequently justified their actions by arguing it was their daughter’s “destiny” to die in such a manner.  Such an incident has rightly provoked international outrage and anger over the warped values surrounding honour killings. And yes, I know that telling fortunate first-world people that they shouldn’t complain is a tiresome oversight of reality: nobody likes to feel guilty for feeling angry or frustrated by their own relative difficulties in life. We’re entitled to feel a bit pissed at life when we’ve been in the library for nine hours and we’re not even half-way through work for an overdue deadline. [Land Ecs, Linguists, Soc & Anths, etc. can insert their own example here].

Nevertheless, maybe we should all scan the international news pages more to remind ourselves how much of our anger is trivial: we may have looming deadlines, piles of lab reports or books worth of reading, but most of us also have all our limbs, some clothes, a house and a great big bunch of people who we love. Chide me for the cliché if you wish, but it’s a cliché I know I ignore too often.

It’s week five and people are cranky enough as it as. So why not be the anomaly and indulge in some Zen-like serenity? Anger only adds to your own stress load. And seeing as most of us are heading for bleak city careers and have high-carb, high-alcohol and high-Gardies diets, it’s probably best to avoid the additional heart-attack risk.

Let’s all do each other and ourselves a favour this week and just mellow a tad. Don’t overreact and threaten the Van of Life when they run out of chicken nuggets; dabble in a quesadilla. Take a deep breath and stay composed when you’ve trekked to the UL to find there’s a gap where the book you need should be; it’s one less book to read.  It’s not the end of the world if somebody nicked a potato from your cupboard; it’s a perfect excuse to nick a swig of gin or a couple of tablespoons of Nutella from theirs.