From the Editor’s Perch

I Love a Rant!

Reasoned discourse is fine if you are trying to learn something; to absorb some information.  But for full disclosure, I prefer the rant.  The rant is an emotional outpouring lightly sprinkled with the facts all helter skelter like on a chocolate donut.  A rant is a somewhat intelligible discourse with an address.  A rant lets you know where that person is coming from.  A rant surfs the emotions, often using colloquialisms and argot.  A rant can be a description with a personal stamp to it.  Take this one by one of my favorites, Celine:

“As for sick people, patients, I had no illusions . . .  In another neighborhood they’d be no less grasping or jugheaded or weak-kneed than the ones here.  The same wine, the same movies, the same sports talk, the same enthusiastic submission to the natural needs of the gullet and the ass would produce the same crude, filthy horde, staggering from lie to lie, bragging, scheming, vicious . . .  brutal between two fits of panic.”

Notice how this master of the rant does not raise his voice or descend to foul language, neither does he spit or wave his arms.  No!  He evokes his emotions and his argument through a calm display of observation.  Each of the little sprinkles on his donut smells like a turd.

A reasoned essay will give you lots of reasons something is believed; but the rant will disclose the reason.  It’s said that a good discussion will cover both sides of an issue.  Well, a rant will disclose the underside.  Perhaps that’s why I love the rant.  It’s all about subtext not being happy where it is, and demanding more.  A rant is you, wanting to put your face to things.  A rant is the slave unbound!  A rant is the language of the underdog.  A rant is the flesh talking!  And the flesh is weak.  And the fact that we are all weak is probably the truest thing ever said.  Which isn’t to say that every rant need be emotionally ugly…

 “When you’re not used to the comforts and luxuries of the table, they go to your head in no time.  Truth is always glad to leave you.  With next to no encouragement it will set you free.  And we manage very nicely without it.  Amid this sudden plethora of comforts a fine megalomaniacal delirium finds no difficulty in overwhelming you.  I started telling tall ones in my turn, intermittently discussing hives with the young cousin.  You extricate yourself from your daily humiliations by trying, like Robinson, to put yourself on a level with the rich by means of lies, the currency of the poor.  We’re all ashamed of our ungainly flesh, our inadequate carcasses.  I couldn’t make up my mind to show them my truth; it was as unworthy of them as my rear end.  I had to make a good impression at all costs.”  – Celine

A rant can reveal a vulnerability (as above) – or even a lukewarm tribute:

“When we walked through the busy streets together, people turned around to pity the blind man.  People have plenty of pity in them for the infirm and the blind, they really have love in reserve.  I’d often sensed that love they have in reserve.  There’s an enormous lot of it, and no one can say different.  But it’s a shame that people should go on being so crummy with so much love in reserve.  It just doesn’t come out, that’s all.  It’s caught inside and there it stays, it doesn’t do them a bit of good.  They die of love-inside.” – Celine

A good rant can describe just about anything a human can (and will) do.

Photo by Carl Nelson of a Scene from Saving Harry, (Nick Cameron yelling, and Daniel Wood suffering).

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2 Responses to “From the Editor’s Perch”

  1. Donn Trenton Says:

    Ah, Celine. There’s a philanthrope–a romantic, rosy-goggled, pollyanna of a writer.

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