Wednesday, June 19, 2013
The Art of Rant
By OFW Member:
Published: October 22, 2012
When we launched OFW, I thought surely the Soapbox would have tons of writers hoping to contribute. I mean, you all have tons of shit to say on Twitter and in discussion forums, surely you’d welcome a chance to get that shit to a wider audience. Apparently not. Sure we’ve gotten a few bold attacks, one or two carefully worded opinion pieces that are painfully unoffensive, and a couple of bits that mirror what everyone else is saying, but these are not the rants that the Soapbox was designed for. They are not rants at all. Surely someone has an original thought to share? Perhaps even a new spin on an old idea.
No one rants anymore. Sure, they babble on and on about shit they’ve heard others babble about, and sometimes they toss in a fuck and an asshole for good measure, but that’s not ranting. I’m afraid the art of ranting, of putting together a well thought out, intelligent tirade, has been lost, and that makes me sad.
I love a good rant. I’m a ranty sort, having learned the art of rant as a toddler from my tirade-prone father. Oh, he is the king of ranting for sure. I used to come across people ranting about various topics all the time. Politics, celebrities, books, food, the weather—people ranted about stuff all the time. Now they’re all “Meh, I’ve given my opinion.” and that’s it?! People had real opinions back in the day and they shared them whether you asked them to or not. Why? Because offending someone else was okay back then. The world hadn’t turned into a bunch of pussies who can’t handle disagreement or rocking the boat. I miss the days where we didn’t have to skirt around things and be subtle so no one could say we outright offended this or that camp. I say suck it up, asshat.
Saying that you think politicians are assholes or that people should leave E.L. James alone because Fifty Shades of Bullshit is a legitimate literary contribution, and leaving it at that is not a rant. It’s an opinion, but nothing too…intelligent or worthwhile. Stand behind your convictions, people. Tell us why politicians are assholes. Show us you know what literary contribution means. Perhaps then your opinions would have value. Oh yeah, I went there. Your opinion means nothing if you’re simply regurgitating the popular one with no feeling or thought as to why.
You know who is a rant artist? Rick Mercer. Seriously, check him out
. He combines the exquisite emotion of a man with passion, with a sense of humor I’d kill for, to hammer home his opinions. Sometimes his rants even change others’ opinions. That, my friend, is a beautiful thing to behold.
In the book world, people give reviews, but few really bother to carefully construct a quality rant anymore. Rant in The Oxford English Dictionary is defined as a "high-flown, extravagant, or bombastic speech or utterance; a piece of turgid declamation; a tirade." Gives you chills, no?
In modern times, the oral tradition of ranting has turned into a written one, as the Internet invades the world, Fan Fiction is viewed as a legitimate literary effort, kids disobey their parents, everything goes to shit, yada, yada, yada. Cyberspace is often blamed for ruining culture and encouraging slopping writing, mob mentality, bullying, and unprovoked anonymous attacks. I don’t think that blame is wrongly placed. It is a nasty world online, but has anyone truly ranted lately? Very few. You see, the Web allows anyone to lash out at anyone about anything they choose. There’s no art to it. Just vomit your nastiness and move along. And in most cases, they do it for a response. They want their victims to lash back at them. They feed off it. It’s a sick and twisted cycle from which there is no return. But the rant, oh the rant isn’t like that at all. The rant needs no reply. A true ranter doesn’t care about a reaction. He simply wants to be heard. That’s all.
The rant is a passionate, sometimes angry cleansing of the soul. There isn’t necessarily a desire to change whatever prompted the rant in the first place. No, the rant is about the need to release.
But, you say, bloggers rant every day. NO. They do not. Blogs (particularly author blogs) are committed to their dedicated subjects and readers. They suck up. They do not rant unless said subject and readers will agree with what they’re saying. There are very few truly ranty blogs out there that contain the high-flown and bombastic speech flourishes vital to the art of rant. The few that do indulge in true ranting are things of beauty. Sadly, I rarely find an author blog in the mix. Why is that? Surely the author would be aware of the value of a good rant. Surely a lover of words would understand that the rant is not about changing minds, but opening them. Surely a writer would understand the value of an offended reader. No? Sigh.
This is why we decided to include the Soapbox at OFW. We wanted to embrace the art of the rant, which does not bully or attack, nor does it need anyone’s approval. The rant is partly about calling an asshole an asshole, but it’s more about getting that weight off your chest in a manner that is clear, honest, artful, and sometimes delightfully funny.
It takes balls to craft a truly artful rant. Sadly, the world is suffering from a lack of balls. They’re an endangered species I think. Imagine a balls-free world. Horrific, isn't it? Come on writers, let’s learn the art of ranting and save the balls.
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