GUERRILLAS IN OUR MIDST

PASSIVE AGGRESSION IS SPREADING LIKE A DRUG-RESISTANT STRAIN OF CIVIC ANGER

SOMETIMES THE COURSE OF HISTORY IS DICTATED BY OBscure forces at work beneath the surface. One theory, for example, suggests that Rome declined and fell because the lead content in the wine cups of the bibulous power elite made them weak and stupid. In that spirit, it may be time to appreciate the role of passive aggression in turn-of-the-millennium America.

Applied to mere sullen neurotics who attack others by withholding themselves, passive aggression is an item of banal psychological jargon. But down at its universal level, the term describes an unseen and mischievous jujitsu of history. It suggests the potent emotional...

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