I don’t cook so my main association with simmer is the phrase ‘simmer down.’ There are times when I could stand to simmer down, there are times when we could all stand to simmer down. It can be hard for me to be control my temper when I’m upset and it’s gotten me in trouble. I regret some of the things I’ve said and done in anger. I feel bad about the hurt my angry outbursts have caused people I care about and the damage they’ve done to our relationships. When I look back at some of the things that triggered my angry outbursts they hardly seem worth getting angry about. I guess in moments of rage I should ask myself if this issue is going to upset me so much a month from now and if it’s not going to upset me then, I shouldn’t let it upset me so much now.
Of course I’ve had instances of anger that I think were perfectly justified and I’ve gotten angry at people I really don’t like but some of the things I said in anger really didn’t do me any favors. They reflected badly on me and gave the other person ammunition against me. Being really angry can hinder my ability to be clever and witty. A clever, witty response is always better than a “Fuck you, asshole!”
On the other hand, telling someone else to simmer down is mostly just obnoxious. I saw a meme that said “Never in the history of calming down has telling someone to calm down worked” and it seems pretty accurate. Telling someone to simmer down is especially awful when it comes in the form of tone policing, which is an attempt to detract from the validity of a statement by attacking the tone in which it was presented, rather than the statement itself.
I see it most often in online debates about topics such as racism, sexism, ableism and homophobia. Discrimination, oppression and violations of human rights are things we should all be angry about it. They are things we cannot afford to ‘simmer down’ about and there’s no reason to play nice with or be polite to abusers, oppressors or those who support and defend them. It’s also an example of sexism itself since women are told to simmer down much more often than men are.
A few months ago I was criticized on Facebook for my ‘unnecessary anger’ towards Nazi apologists and homophobes. Sorry, I have no plans to simmer down in that regard.