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I Just Hate Rants


I hate rants.

I can't stand it when people spew and spit and spout off. I hate when folks fume and fulminate. I hate when people go on and on about what they hate, especially superficial problems

* Like when you have to wash all the food off your plate before putting it in a dishwasher – a machine allegedly designed to keep you from having to wash all the food off your plate.

* Like when the self-checkout monitor at the grocery store tells you to get help from an attendant, an attendant you wanted to avoid which is why you went to the self-checkout line in the first place.

* Like when you put your car in reverse and the little you-are-now-backing-up beeper begins to beep inside your car and you don't know why it's beeping inside the car – and not outside – because you already know you are backing don't need a beeper to tell you need a beeper to warn other people ...people outside the car...that you are backing up.

I just hate ...

Where was I?

Thank You For Not Ranting

Maybe we should treat ranting like smoking, restricting it to certain remote areas – the Arctic Circle, for instance. Or the caves of Kentucky. Perhaps we should rank ranting right up there with obesity; do away with fatty foods and fatuous arguments. Ranting in the 21st century is like a hybrid of bullying and streaking.

Ranters come in all stripes these days. They rant on the radio and TV and YouTube and variegated websites. They rant on Fox and MSNBC and everywhere else. Alec Baldwin raves. Rachel Maddow rips. Ann Coulter roils. Rush Limbaugh and Spike Lee rant and rant.

You can like the ranter, but hate the rant.

Time was, ranting was pretty much the province of politicians, preachers and the occasional pub patron.

That has changed. Today, comedians rant: Comic Dennis Miller wrote a book: I Rant, Therefore I Am. Athletes rant: When Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman ranted recently about his performance in a football game, CNN put together a list of renowned ranters, including college basketball coach Bobby Knight and boxer Mike Tyson. Whoopi Goldberg, Charlie Sheen, Penn Jillette, Justin Bieber and countless others have gone on tirades.

"Computers and the Internet have made it really easy to rant," musician Scott Weiland told Spin. "It's made everyone overly opinionated."

People commandeer comments sections. They mess up message boards. They overshare — and overbear — on bait-and-bitch sites such as Rant Rampage and D-rant.

Here are D-Rant's 3 Laws of a Good Rant:

1) Don't be afraid to let it out.

2) Keep things PG — would you want your children to read this?

3) Have fun. A good rant should always make you feel better afterwards.

But does it?

"When some people rant, it opens up a Pandora's box," John Suler, a psychology professor at Rider University, tells PBS NewsHour. "It leads to feelings of shame and guilt about being so angry and out of control. For many people, ranting is a dead end. It goes nowhere."

The PBS story also points to a study published in 2013 in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. The research reveals that ranting online may not necessarily lead to a more peaceful mood.

Slanging Matches

In America, rants are usually solo affairs. We wail at the TV. We rail at the radio. We rage against the machines.

In England and other places people rant at each other — in what are called slanging matches.

Tamra Mercieca, a relationship therapist and advice columnist in Australia, sees worth in being angry. She tells people it's ok to go on a rant every now and then. "Expressing anger is necessary," Tamra says, "because what negative emotions don't get expressed end up getting stored in the body ... making us either physically or mentally unwell."

However, she says, "when you express a negative emotion such as anger you need to express is in a healthy way — scream into a basin or water, punch a boxing bag or some pillows. Taking your anger out on another person is not healthy, especially given this: If a person's actions, words or behaviors trigger you into an emotion, then you're the one who has internal issues that need resolving."

When it comes to ranting, she adds, "we would be more productive educating people on the issue at hand, then actually coming up with a solution to fix it - this would be much more productive than starting a slanging match."

I hate slanging matches.

The Protojournalist is an experiment in reporting. Abstract. Concrete. @NPRtpj

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.
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