Posted by: Ali Davis | June 25, 2010

How To Deal with Oil Spill Rage

As the nation has watched the spectacle of ever-revised quantities of oil erupting into the Gulf of Mexico, we’ve all become acquainted with new intensities of feeling: The anguish of watching animals helplessly mired in poison sludge, the helplessness of watching the unending gush on TV, the searing shame of knowing we all had a hand in letting it happen.

But the emotion that unhinges its jaw to swallow up all the others is the monstrous, unfocused rage.

True, one can briefly focus and placate oil spill rage by Photoshopping Tony Hayward’s head onto increasingly foul inanimate objects, but it’s only fleetingly satisfying – an afternoon, at best.

And, really, there are dozens of guilty heads to be dung ball-appended. Every last person in the decision-making chain who could have stopped the blowout from happening. Every regulator who went along with the what-the-hell-let-them-write-their-own-inspection-reports decision. Dick Cheney, Dubya, and their pustule-ridden energy commission full of oil industry cronies, and every politician who waved the ludicrous deregulation through.

And then back to us again, for not screaming louder when it first happened and voting them the hell out sooner.

That’s the trouble with oil spill rage: No matter how you try to disperse it, it just ends up seeping back through your defenses, oozing thickly through your internal organs and choking off the oxygen supply to your brain. And even as the first waves start curdling into little balls, another round of pelican pictures gets released and more rage comes billowing to the surface.

You can’t just let that much oil spill rage hang there. It starts to swirl and fester and you end up at Sea World one day without even really knowing how you got there, screaming at the dolphin tank.

“YES, you are living in a tiny aquatic prison cell when you were meant to range over hundreds of miles and YES, you may have been captured in inhumane ways, and YES, you are intelligent creatures who are essentially being forced to work as birthday clowns for food but it’s because of all that that you aren’t currently covered beak-to-tail in oil, SO HOW ABOUT LAYING OFF THE GUILT BOMBS FOR THIRTY SECONDS AND SQUEAKING ‘THANK YOU,’ YOU UNGRATEFUL CETACEAN BASTARDS!”

You might get as far as “Screw you! SCREW YOU RIGHT IN THE BLOWHOLE!” before the guards subdue you and escort you from the grounds, but that’s about it.

Not that I have any personal experience in such matters.

The point is that you have to do something to process the rage and let it out in a productive and acceptable way. Because if you scream at a pelican like that he will have your eyeballs in his chin pouch before you’ve noticed the horizon is gone.

A Handy Listing of Socially Acceptable Oil Rage Outlets

1. Build rage houses

Why not channel that desire to Hulk out where it can do some real, lasting good? It’s true that those Habitat for Humanity houses have more going for them in terms of sawn-off mill ends and square windows, but man do rage houses go up fast.

Nails that normally take several whacks of a hammer go in with a single stroke of a mallet, or, if you’ve just watched a press conference, a bare hand. It takes just a single worker to raise each side frame, and the rise and tread of the stairs is easily determined by how the planks split when you break them across your forehead.

Interior design is almost inevitably Jackson Pollock themed, but on the other hand you just put up five of those suckers during your lunch hour.

Rage houses work out best when you stagger shifts and let the most tired member of the group switch into a supervisory role to gently dissuade the others from smashing drywall and spitting bolts through the ceiling. Protective clothing is recommended.

2. Ragepunk travel

What could be more satisfying than drilling right into the oil industry’s wallet with truly clean and renewable travel? Simply slip on an attractive harness, read the latest cheery BP press release, and charge off to take your favorite colleagues on a festive sleigh ride to work.

Yes, sleigh ride, and no, don’t wait for winter.

The screeching of the runners against the asphalt will help drown out your impotent screams, and the neighborhood children will enjoy the sparks.

3. Ragecrafting

You’ve probably noticed that celery isn’t cutting it anymore and you can’t find a brand of beef jerky that’s gristly enough. Don’t ignore that urge to bite! Proper redirection can produce an oil-free creation that will win any neighborhood chainsaw sculpture contest.

With some planning, plywood, and a glue gun, you can turn that drab old birdhouse into a birdcastle, complete with crenellations around the towers.

Or, if you’re feeling enraged and ambitious, put Joe Barton’s BP apology/tongue bath on a loop and grab yourself a sturdy piece of sheet metal. You’ll come out with work of pointillism to rival anything by Seurat.

The best news is that with the unending spew of oil, the constant lying, and the pathetic afterthought of a cleanup plan, you’re sure to have an unending supply of rage for years to come.

Thanks, BP and Transamerica. You finally came up with a renewable energy source.


  1. “Because if you scream at a pelican like that he will have your eyeballs in his chin pouch before you’ve noticed the horizon is gone.” Hee! Oh dear. I just hope they don’t go Alfred Hitchcock on us. We’ve done enough to deserve it.

  2. The craft part reminds me of a great song by the Mendoza Line: Angry Crafts.

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