how to rant: a practical guide

Ranting is an underrated part of this delightful 21st century world we find ourselves in. Don’t you think? It happens a lot – by me and to me, so to speak – and is a valuable, interesting and often amusing occurrence.

rant verb (rantedrantingintrans to talk in a loud, angry, pompous way. tr & intr to declaim in a loud, pompous, self-important way. noun 1 loud, pompous, empty speech. 2 an angry tirade. ranter noun someone, especially a preacher, who rants. ranting noun, adj. rantingly adverb.
ETYMOLOGY: 16c: from Dutch ranten to rave.

An angry tirade! Loud, pompous, empty speech! What could be better? I’ll tell you: nothing. Why wouldn’t you want to talk like that? I’ll tell you: you wouldn’t not.

But how should it be done? Fear not, friends – A Different Daylight is here with a handy guide for how to build this valuable skill into your social repertoire.

one Be accurate

Some people have built their careers out of ranting, as some simple googling will show. In fact, the Brooker of Charltonness has become so famous for his mastery of said skill that when I was attempting to explain the other day who I was talking about, I described him as ‘That dude on TV who rants.’ And the person I was talking to knew exactly who I meant. So, there’s that.

By Feline_Dacat [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

What makes Charlie Brooker’s rants so popular? For a start, he’s devastatingly accurate, particularly when pointing out inaccuracies:

Aside from crowing about sartorial differences, the adverts also make a big deal about PCs being associated with “work stuff” (Boo! Offices! Boo!), as opposed to Macs, which are apparently better at “fun stuff”. How insecure is that? And how inaccurate? Better at “fun stuff”, my arse. The only way to have fun with a Mac is to poke its insufferable owner in the eye.

(This is pretty spot on, even though it makes painful reading for someone *cough* who recently bought an iPad *cough*. What? No, I still have my laptop..)

two Be sweary

What else makes a good rant? Let’s turn to another master of the craft, one Giles Coren. A longer quotation is justified here, I feel, so that you can appreciate the point I’m making.

I have also inserted some shiny stars (like this ***) at various points so that those of you whose eyes would be offended by certain four-letter words, can read on with un-offended eyes.

the joke is gone. I only wrote that sodding paragraph to make that joke. And you’ve f*cking stripped it out like a pissed Irish plasterer restoring a renaissance fresco and thinking jesus looks sh*t with a bear so plastering over it. You might as well have removed the whole paragraph. I mean, f*cking christ, don’t you read the copy?

And worst of all. Dumbest, deafest, sh*ttest of all, you have removed the unstressed ‘a’ so that the stress that should have fallen on “nosh” is lost, and my piece ends on an unstressed syllable. When you’re winding up a piece of prose, metre is crucial. Can’t you hear? Can’t you hear that it is wrong? It’s not f*cking rocket science. It’s f*cking pre-GCSE scansion. I have written 350 restaurant reviews for The Times and i have never ended on an unstressed syllable. F*ck. f*ck, f*ck, f*ck.

Read the whole thing. No, please, I beg of you. It’s very much worth a click of the mouse. If your eyes are easily offended, well, tell them not to be.

Dear reader, if you had received a missive like that, how would you have responded? It is to the eternal credit of the subs at the Sunday Times that they replied with a calm, amused, and sublimely gracious email. And they pointed out something vital, in remarking on the contents of the original email:

it’s funny, in a way that pieces that use “f*ck”, “sh*t” and “c*nt” so liberally often can be

Charlie Brooker does this too. And many others too, of course. Why is it that we giggle a little bit when someone says a naughty word? Because we’re massive children, that’s why. But we still giggle a bit more when they say the next naughty word, and so on almost ad infinitum, although it’s always wise to know when to stop.

And how do you know this? It depends on your audience’s Sweariness Tolerance Index (STI), which only you can gauge. (Hint: Do not go around asking people about their STIs.)

three Be SHOUTY

All caps are a convenient way of SHOUTING, which is often heard in conjunction with swearing (see above). And shouting is just inherently amusing in the same way that swearing is.

I’m not sure whether this counts as a rant, but read the text below and tell me if the use of all caps doesn’t make it a lot funnier:

The WORST worst part is that I pretended to think it was funny because I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO.

Also this:

What I don’t understand, besides EVERYTHING, is why they think that it’s appropriate to basically guilt-trip a person into meeting up? Like isn’t that sort of a bad way to go about getting someone to love you? OR Jesus.

Was this just an excuse to link to my favourite thing on the internet ever? Well, maybe. But anyway, CAPS LOCK = HILARIOUS. Which brings us neatly onto our fourth point:

four Be funny

For examples of said funniness, see all of the above. A well put together rant will be amusing because of the content and the tone of the rant. Meaning you say amusing things and you say them in an amusing way, while maintaining anger levels throughout.

Which segues elegantly into the final point:

five Be wordy

Rants go on for a long time. It’s just the nature of the game. See the definition above – a tirade is never short. If you’re British, be wordy and then end on an apology. Giles shows us how it’s done:

Sorry to go on. Anger, real steaming f*cking anger can make a man verbose.

And there you go. Now you are equipped to go forth and rant, my friends.


Filed under things i've seen

8 responses to “how to rant: a practical guide

  1. Toby

    six Deflect criticism

    If people try to talk you down, tell them to fuck off. If they are constructive, sympathetic, condescending or concilliatory then you can add the word ‘seriously’. Anywhere you like.

    Furthermore, if they amend, extend, adapt or edit your visceral verbiage in any way then you are morally entitled to add a threat, to boot. I would go with “or else”, but freestyle; mothers, sarcasm, mimicry, it’s all fair game.

    And don’t be shy. Rants are the slipped clutch of social integration. It’s not your fault.

  2. Check out Rick Mercer Rants on YouTube. He is from my country, Canada, so of course there are lots of topical things about Canada. But, still hilarious! Thanks for a great post.

  3. electronicbaglady

    ah, the Unholy Text of Ranting is born!
    Another favourite ranter of mine is David Mitchell, but then I’m very Radio4

  4. Pingback: Strength in weakness – or why we need Schadenfreude | Electronicbaglady's Bag of Bits

  5. I love Charlie Brooker. Although his 2012 Wipe…I didn’t know if it was him, or the year we had, but I’d be laughing, catch myself and go “Oh, wow, that was depressing. This whole thing is depressing. F*** you 2012!”

    I’d like to add, a good rant will make the listener feel like they’ve just let it all out, without saying a thing, in a way that also makes them feel the ranter has just said what they want to say but in a much better way.

  6. Paul

    Great advice! Funny, but true. I never thought about there being an art to ranting. Good post!

  7. Hello

    Sound advice on that ways of ranting. It does always annoy me when I’m ranting and fall over my words. Any that stutters at any point loses its potency.

    I also wanted to say that I think you have a very brilliant blog going on here and to show my appreciation, I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award. Its an award designed to be given out to smaller blogs (under 3000 followers) that other smaller blogs (…me) think are good.

    You don’t have to accept the award but if you decide to, there are a few rules that go along with it. Please visit my latest post,, for more info.

    Thanks again

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