The importance of being angry
There is, it seems, an assumption out there in adland that being ‘curious’ is a desirable quality to possess.
Or at least claim.
Particularly if you call yourself a planner or - loathsome word that it is - ‘strategist’.
Curiosity does of course, have much to recommend it.
But if you want to be a planner rather than just a finder-outer-of-stuff, if you want to do more than peddle 'insights', if you want to move things forwards, if you want to be leader, if you want to change the world, then simply being ‘curious’ just isn’t going to cut it.
You need to be cross.
Or even plain ol’ fashioned fucked off.
For curiosity is about wanting to know how things are.
It’s about wanting to look under the hood of things and discover their workings.
But being angry is about being dissatisfied with how things are.
And wanting to change them.
Being angry compells us to action.
Martin Luther King wasn’t ‘curious’ about civil rights.
He was angry at their absence.
Change comes from indignation that the status quo is allowed to exist.
Change comes from exasperation at the fact that the ways things are, is not the way things should be.
Change comes from anger at what people are asked to put up with.
People aren’t ‘curious’ in Egypt.
And when it comes to our small part of the world, there is surely lots to be angry about.
Products that don’t live up to their promises.
Promises that are specious.
Marketers that knowingly pollute minds and bodies.
Businesses that cannot grasp the notion of service.
Businesses that haven’t woken up to the fact that being a responsible corporate citizen isn’t a sideshow for bleeding heart liberals, but is actually better business practice.
Businesses built on the back of dubious and conveniently outsourced labour practices.
Brands that choose not to inform the consumer of the human and environmental impact of their manufacture, consumption, and disposal.
Marketing content that barely conceals its disdain for its audience.
Marketing content that shamelessly peddles in tacit or explicit sexism.
Marketing content that pollutes our leisure time, our private space, and our physical environments.
The list needless to say, goes on.
And in all of this, curiosity will not help.
Because curiosity isn’t opinionated.
Curiosity isn’t dissatisfied.
Curiosity cannot marshall resources.
Curiosity cannot persuade and bring along others.
Curiosity will not keep you going when the going gets tough.
Simply put, curiosity just isn’t enough to help us with the things that really matter.
For - putting aside for one moment all the fancy talk of 'engagement', 'participation', 'community' and so on - what people really need (indeed, really deserve) is as Helen Edwards has written, better products, better service, easier lives, a cleaner world, and more health and happiness.
The purpose of our efforts is to help in that.
In ways both big and small.
Our purpose is to make people’s lives better.
And making people’s lives better requires vision, impatience and action.
So if we are to contribute to people’s lives, if we are to play our humble part in changing the world for the better, then f'fuck's sake, let’s get angry.
Helen Edwards, 'Too many marketers ignore their primary task'