Reason for the Repeat: “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”

Currently on repeat: The Smashing Pumpkins – "Bullet with Butterfly Wings"

DISCLAIMER: This is not a think piece. I’m not proposing solutions. I’m not contributing anything new. I’m just angry.

Have you felt extra angry lately? I know… It’s the holidays. Maybe writing about anger isn’t the most fun or festive thing I could be doing, but I can’t help it. I am angry.

Maybe it’s the news lately. The last couple months have felt like a barrage. “The world is a vampire, sent to drain.” Revelations about CIA torture. Stephen Harper refusing to regulate emissions. Michael Brown in Ferguson. Eric Warner in New York. Tamir Rice in Cleveland. People in power who get away with things they shouldn’t because… Well, why? Because we’ve given them this kind of power? Because we’re apathetic? And conversely, those without power who struggle to have their voices heard. The marginalized black communities. Our own country’s First Nations people. Women who have survived sexual violence. Here in Canada, we’re having the national conversation about sexual violence and harassment started by the Jian Ghomeshi story. Oh, and don’t forget Ebola.

So what happens? We write, we debate, we keep discussing the importance of the discussion. And then, when protests happen – people say that those protesters shouldn’t be protesting. And then, when someone in a position of power, like Toronto Police Board chair Alok Mukherjee, speaks his mind and posts the truth on Facebook, the Toronto Police Union tries to get him to resign. And then, when you try to say anything, to do anything, you feel like nothing changes. And you feel impotent. Ineffectual. Inconsequential. Why bother if nothing ever changes? Why not just go home and watch Netflix or endlessly scroll through your social media or take fucking selfies or get drunk or whatever, because you’re not going to stop the Ebola outbreak or fix climate change or really be able to do anything about corporate corruption or our government or religious zealots or the 1%.

I know I’m fortunate. I have an on-air platform on a popular station in the biggest radio market in the country. And I still feel impotent. I still feel like I don’t know what to do. I feel this aimless anger, I feel affected by this culture of outrage online, where we argue with each other pointlessly, as if that makes any kind of difference. “Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage.”

Sure, this song could seem like an obvious choice for a privileged white person in one of the most fortunate countries on the planet, but I don’t care. Who does that kind of thinking help? Pointing out our divisions, deciding who is allowed to be angry vs. who should just be quiet – doesn’t make sense. Maybe you, like me, are still trying to figure out how to make a difference. But lately, I’ve been listening to this song a lot. I know that when I go on-air, I can’t just rant against the world’s injustices. Our station isn’t about talk shows, it’s about music. “Can you fake it for just one more show?”

I don’t have an answer for how to fix anything. I just need to blow off some steam. If I think of something, I’ll let you know. For now, here’s a song.