The Week in Rage

Bursts of anger from around the world. This week: Cindy Adams is tweaked, Korean online rage, and what really pisses off infants.

10.24.08 3:05 PM ET

Barack Obama and John McCain used the words “anger” or “angry” more than a dozen times during their last debate. There’s no doubt we’re all channeling a bit of Howard Beale these days. And there’s more to rage at than greedy financiers, running-mate shopping sprees, and your sinking-like-a-stone 401k. Yup there’s a universe of frustration out there: just see what The Daily Beast has dragged in:

New York magazine reports that “Cindy Adams is enraged that Wikipedia has yet to update inaccurate and very hurtful info about her.” Curious about what those canards might be, we sprinted to the edit area of her Wikipedia page, where it merely confirmed that she was bitching about an undisclosed factual error. The page says she was born in 1925, that she co-wrote an “autobiography” of President Sukarno of Indonesia, and that she was a panelist on To Tell The Truth. Who could want more wiki-praise than that?

A new study reveals what gets infants really pissed. It’s okay if a mom is busy and ignores; they’ll merely “look sad.” But should mom get involved in an “animated conversation” with a stranger, the baby will “vocalize with intense anger.” According to the researcher, jealously is the culprit, the “fear of losing a beloved to someone else.” Good thing this doesn’t continue into adulthood.

Imagine the chaos when every single hostility sensor at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport got triggered simultaneously. The “Hostile Intent Detector”, made by our friends at Halliburton, is “designed to identify potential terrorists by measuring their pulse rate, breathing, skin temperature, and fleeting facial expressions.” When overzealous airport authorities dialed up the settings on a day when most flights were delayed and fees for checked baggage kicked in, it took more than four hours to recalibrate for normal but benign level of passenger hostility.

Mara Ortu is furious at an Italian court, which “confirmed its definitive stance towards parents naming their children with out-there, wacky names.” The battle began when Ms. Ortu named her son “Venerdi”—Italian for “Friday.” An impatient lower court forced her to change it to the demotic “Gregorio,” noting that Venerdi was “a ridiculous name.” Dragging Defoe in, they continued to pillory Ortu, affirming that the Robinson Crusoe allusion would mark the younger man as “a human figure characterized by inferiority and subjection, making it difficult for him to reach the conditions of civilized man.”

This week, Korean authorities arrested a woman for killing an avatar in the fantasy game called Maple Story. Seems the avatar wanted to move on in the relationship. The suspect “admitted the allegation and told investigators she was enraged by the divorce.” There are more than 50 million subscribers to this game in South Korea and Japan. If convicted, she faces a very real five years in the slammer.

“Eminem Admits Puppet Dog Caused Violent Rage.” No, this isn’t The Onion. According to the story, Eminem has admitted that he overreacted at the 2002 MTV ceremony after being mocked by a dog puppet. Keep in mind that it wasn’t just any dog puppet. It was Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, who appears on Late Night with Conan O’Brien when no self-respecting primate will.

In South Africa, Dario Soresi, chef “at a well-known restaurant” smashed the window of Dulcie Rausch’s vehicle. Rausch was a customer who claimed that Soresi’s food had made her sick, though she managed to consume three slices of pizza before being stricken. Chef Soresi conceded his crime but blamed the elderly female customer. “I was furious because it’s not the first time she has complained about the food.”

In supposedly easy-going Australia, a desperately angered “5.8m-long crocodile is reportedly stalking construction workers in the Top End after trophy hunters illegally shot and decapitated one of its rivals.” Fortunately, local law enforvement has been carefully trained to avoid anthropomorphism: "He is a monster and he is very upset," says Kevin Anderson of Carpentaria Land Council.

Parents are “ in a frenzy” at an elementary school in Hayward, California, after the school “allegedly made no effort to inform them their children were to participate in a homosexual event called ‘Coming Out.’” A group called the Pacific Justice Institute links this to the upcoming vote on Proposition 8, which would ban same-sex marriage in California. According to the story, “several parents have noticed numerous posters around the school depicting only homosexual ‘families.’"

And lastly, a columnist for the Japan Times Online pines for some good old-fashioned hostility. He observes that although the Japanese do a fine job of pretending to be incensed, it’s a fraud. “When all is said and done, there is one specific form or rage peculiar to Japan. In fact, virtually all Japanese are afflicted by this bizarre and highly enervating condition. It is known as chronic lack-of-rage rage...the symptoms are apathy in the face of injustice, an inability to get angry about issues that affect the overall society.” I guess if there’s nothing worth fighting about, there’s nothing worth fighting for.