“The Coming of Rage,” By Bill Radford

Oct 13th, 2010 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

A proposal outlining a brand new genre, and the reasons it will make me rich!

I want to write a book that will make a lot of people very angry. I call it Harry Goes to Disneyland. It will start with the protagonist, Harry, on an airplane, a baby behind him screaming. Then he will arrive at his destination: Disneyland! Only Disneyland is closed. The airplane will have lost his luggage, and the hotel his reservation. From there, things will go downhill. Harry will be forced to stay with his ex-wife’s parents, who will constantly ask him why a grown man wants to go to Disneyland by himself. (Their voices will be nasal, and I will write their speech in dialect.) Finally, on Harry’s last day in town, Disneyland will re-open.  Harry will spend hours looking for a parking spot, and someone will hit his rental car. After completing two hours of paperwork, he will spend the rest of the day waiting in lines. Although he will get to go on a couple of rides, they will be incredibly disappointing. The novel will end with Harry back on a plane, another baby screaming. I am certain that this novel will sell millions.

I believe I have discovered a virgin market, one with limitless potential. The Horror genre is saturated. The good ideas, like zombies, are overdone. Now people are turning to increasingly ridiculous premises, hoping that audiences will suppress their laughter long enough to be frightened: “What’s that you say? The sharks are more intelligent? And there are snakes on this plane?” We cannot continue in that direction. Sadness, also, is overdrawn. While Old Yeller is a classic and Titanic remains the highest-grossing film of all time, audiences are beginning to cringe when lovers die: “What’s that you say? Cancer? Didn’t see that one coming…” I’m not saying we should throw these stand-bys away, but I do think we should recognize that they have become stale. It is time to move on, to exploit an untouched feeling. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you a new frontier: Rage, the fieriest emotion!

Neither sadness nor fear is traditionally considered a pleasant emotion. And yet, every year, they net millions of dollars in cash money. Our novels allow people to experience these emotions safely. We guide our readers on journeys, grabbing at their emotions and yanking them about, but there is no real danger in Frankenstein. The monster is not real, and the reader knows this. Yet perspiration coats his fingertips as he reaches to turn the page. The emotion is real; it creates a powerful thrill. These thrills are irresistible, and the effect is well documented. If sadness and fear can be harnessed for pleasure, well then, why not rage? I can hear the doubters starting up: “Why would anyone read a book that they know is going to make them angry?”  First of all, as I will shortly explain, many people already do just that. Second, why would anyone read a book that they know is going to make them scared? The reasons can be argued over, but there is overwhelming proof that people do it all the time.

It is important to realize that I am not the first person who has endeavoured to use rage as a marketing tool, and there is abundant proof of its efficacy. Ann Coulter has built her entire career out of pissing people off. When Howard Stern was first put on the radio, station managers were surprised to find that the listeners who he angered listened to his show for even longer than those who found his show amusing. A few years ago, when religious groups were so angered by The DaVinci Code that they attempted to get it banned, thousands of people rushed out to buy that book, hoping it would anger them too. 

These works are a good start, but they are fundamentally flawed. With the possible exception of Ann Coulter, it is not the main goal of these authors to piss off their audience.   What we need are works that deliberately provoke. I mean, if people are starting clubs that attempt to get Watership Down banned from libraries, then they must be desperate. The demographic of people who want to be angry has been ignored for so long that they have found their own outlets. It is high-time we provided them with proper catharsis.  

It may take a while to convince these people that Harry Goes to Disneyland is indeed what they’ve been waiting for. The idea is so fresh that it will startle them. So, during the ad campaign, we will have to be subtle. Instead of asking, “Do you like to be pissed off?” we should say, “Read this book about Harry, who is an idiot.” The demographic that we’re aiming for loves to feel superior. Coincidentally, this is often the reason they are so easily enraged. They view the world as not living up to their standards. To use my proposed book as an example, people will think Harry is so stupid that it will make them angry. “Really!” they’ll shout, “why does this bozo want to go to Disneyland!  That’s no place for an adult!” 

Eventually we will be able to drop the charade, and point out that they only read the book because they wanted to be mad. For six months, it’s best if we let them think they’re reading it to prove they’re smarter than we are though. We have to ease them into the transition.  However, I fully expect that they’ll embrace my sequel, Harry has a Doctor’s Appointment, with no trickery required.

I believe that I am the right person to start this ground-breaking genre because I am always angry. Having at long last found a use for my irascible nature, I am eager to write this book. My research has been exhaustive. For many years, I have been angered by everything around me. For example, girls. The girls that I am attracted to rarely want to date me. They claim it is because of my back hair, but I waxed my back hair and still! No dates. The reasons why women will not date me are, for our present purposes, irrelevant. It is only necessary to understand that I am very, very angry. I am also angered by the amount of ice that most restaurants place in beverages. The ice takes up too much space, and it dilutes the desired liquid over time. In my opinion, ice should be served as a side dish – so that patrons can choose how many cubes to use on their own. Cell phones are also annoying. I hate the way they ring. I could go on, and on, but I will conserve myself. I have books to write.

I am requesting $300,000 to aid my continuing research into things that make me angry. I have a theory that the best anger can be found in banking. (I have never seen anyone smiling in a bank.)  Or perhaps in zookeeping. (Can you imagine having an argument of sorts with an unresponsive emu?  Infuriating!) I appreciate your assistance in this matter. Together we can be responsible for making millions of people livid, and we can make a lot of money in the process. Our goal is noble, and with it done, everyone will be a whole lot happier.


Bill Radford is allergic to peanuts. He is also allergic to most other things that you would consider a nut, but not everything. He can, for example, eat as many cashews as he wants. He usually only wants to eat two or three because he still feels like he shouldn’t be allowed to eat them. It’s weird. The doctor says that Bill Radford is also allergic to watermelon, but fuck the doctor. Bill Radford loves watermelon.

He was the runner-up in Simon Fraser’s “So You Think You’re Funny” contest in 2010, and he’s done a bit of journalism. Currently, he is focused on writing for children. Bill Radford and his allergies live in Vancouver.

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