Anger is an emotion that's been much in evidence in our national life during these difficult times. When it comes to things like closing businesses, keeping kids out of classrooms, and even the wearing of masks during the pandemic, debate is often heated. Tempers flare. And particularly over the last four years, with a brutish U.S. president who relied on insults and personal attacks in place of reasoned argument, it seems that much public discourse all to easily devolves into a blizzard of angry epithets.
We’ve had plenty of reasons to be angry over the last many months, and anger might be an understandable response. But is it productive? Is it, in some cases, necessary as a prerequisite to action? Or is anger simply a fog-inducing reflex that clouds our judgement to no productive end? Is anger a vice or a virtue?
Tom's first guest today has thought a lot about that question, and how human understanding of this basic emotion -- number six on the hit parade of the Seven Deadly Sins -- has changed over the millennium.
Dr. Barbara Rosenwein is a historian and professor emerita at Loyola University Chicago. She is the author of many books. Her latest is called Anger: The Conflicted History of an Emotion.
Dr. Rosenwein joins us on Zoom from Illinois.