Thursday, August 14, 2003

A fair and balanced look in the mirror

There's really no need to tell me, as some correspondents do, that this blog is something of a futile cry in the dark. I know that. Only about 10,500 people have bothered to read it in the ten months I've been keeping track. I'm cool with that. As I've said before, the main reason I maintain this blog is because it keeps me from screaming at the radio, the TV and at editorials in the Wall Street Journal -- an embarrassing personal tic to have when you pick up that newspaper in an airport kiosk a few minutes before boarding a cross-country flight. (It never calms anyone down, by the way, to explain to them that they'd be screaming, too, if they were only paying attention.)

So there's no need to remind me that I'm not changing the world. I'm also not scaring strangers and, as Martha would say, that's a good thing.

I've also resigned myself to the fact that fame and fortune as an essayist will continue to elude me. I don't think Esquire will be calling me up soon to offer me a gig (though, of course, the phone's on the hook, if you know what I mean) and I'm fine with that. Honest.

It is nice, though, to get anything, even a letter to the editor (responding to an essay by someone who must be Canada's first mentally handicapped cowboy historian) published in one of the nation's most widely-read newspapers. It really deals a blow to the screaming rants.

If you sense a self-pitying tone, I have to say it's entirely unintentional. I like my position as gnat -- no, mite -- on the American psyche. You start making money at this and, in today's America, you go from idealistic liberal to Morton Kondracke before you know it. Sure, there are those who can avoid that fate, but they're mostly splashing around in the little puddles of "thought money" -- The Washington Monthly, The Nation, Mother Jones, etc. -- to be found here and there. Or in Academia. Or wicked genius like I will never be. The left can't yet boast sugar daddies like Richard Mellon Scaife, The "Reverend" Moon or Rupert Murdoch, men who can afford to open the floodgates and coax mediocre writers into their river of sophist slaver and swag (are your ears burning Jonah G.? Andy S?). That's pretty much OK with me, too. Those guys paddling around in there don't realize that the stream was diverted through the Augean stables before they jumped in and empties out somewhere around the 8th circle of hell -- with the panderers, hypocrites, sowers of discord, fake counselors and liars.

Too harsh?


Well, not sorry, but sorry I wrote it "out loud." I guess you can't keep the rants down too long. I really am fine with my place in the intellectual food chain, though. I get great comments from some people I really admire (many of whom are listed on the left) and, even if I didn't, I like being able to toss my ideas out into the noosphere to alight where they will.

I guess my whole point is: Send nastygrams if you must. I'm OK with that, because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and, doggone it, people like me.


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