Essay: Oh, Shut Up! The Uses of Ranting

"While in the parlors of indignation," Saul Bellow wrote, "the right-thinking citizen brings his heart to a boil." Bellow's character Moses Herzog did that. Herzog wrote crank letters to ex-wives, to Dwight Eisenhower, to Adlai Stevenson, to Spinoza. "There is someone inside me. I am in his grip," Herzog confessed. It was as if his mind had been hijacked.

The little terrorist within the skull can overpower even the steadiest mind. Everyone rants now and then. More than occasionally, it happens behind the wheel of a car.

Sometimes one commits a rant to paper. That is almost always a mistake. A...

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