I recently decided to ban myself from listening to the radio for several weeks. As I tend not to read newspapers and watch next to no television, this was, in effect, an almost total media ban, or, to express it more positively, it was a period of protection from the arguing, muck-raking and hystrionics which all too often constitute news.

Unfortunately, last week the ban had to come to an end. I say unfortunately, because I'd come to enjoy my cocoon-like state. Somehow, I'd managed to maintain a pretty decent handle on all the world's major events, so I had no reason to fear that I was losing touch with everything around me. But I'd cut myself off from the ceaseless onslaught of emotive detail, which is why turning on the Today programme felt a little like raising arms.

Sure enough, my first reaction was to want to retreat into my shell where things had been silent. My second reaction was to roll my eyes and mutter "plus ca change": the names and places were different, but these were essentially the same stories as the ones I'd been listening to weeks ago.

But after about half an hour I found myself feeling increasingly angered by the content of one news item after another. First it was the MPs who don't want to have to reveal the amount of taxpayers' money spent on drowning the Houses Of Parliament in booze. Then it was the father who's been found guilty of feeding his children some tinned soup which he had laced with anti-depressants and lighter fluid in the hope of making them ill... and then suing the soup producer. And so on...

Peace and silence are all well and good, but a book by Timothy Radcliffe which I'm currently reading reminded me that anger is important too. So maybe it's just as well that I've re-introduced myself to my daily dose of wrath-inducement. If it worked for Mr Orwell, then it might also work for me.

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