Monday, January 3, 2011

Like a Refugee


I am a refugee from the political blogosphere. 

Here, take a whiff of my fingers. You can still smell it on me.

That’s how recent it’s been.

I find myself looking over my shoulder all of the time. In the grocery store. At the post office. Looking around to make sure they haven’t found me.

Refugees can get paranoid, you see.

With me, it’s all sort of touch and go. Even now. I take it day by day.

For five years, I was a ghost writer for several high-ish profile political blogger-commentators. If your daughter had a piano recital the same night you needed to write 100 column inches blaming George W. Bush for glitter glue, I was the one you called. If you were at a loss for how Obama’s stance on abortion could have caused that Icelandic volcano to erupt, then no worries, my friend: You just call Katy, wait a couple hours, and Whap! – a bitterly partisan blog you could slap your name on and hand over to any newspaper or web site in the world.

Guaranteed to turn readers’ faces red. To get blood pressure spiking. Tongues wagging. Et cetera, et cetera.
I don’t live there anymore, though. Now, I’m a refugee. I barely escaped with my life. I arrived here by boat, with only the clothes on my back, a gallon jug of water, and a moderately sized collection of 1970s-era porn.

But I survived, and I’m here, and I got out with a few dirty little trade secrets. And the most obvious of these dirty little trade secrets – yet one that hardly anyone seems to notice – is that the political blogosphere is not about politics. At all.

The kind of fifth-rate paranoia and gossip people used to say about their more successful neighbors or ex-boyfriends? They just say that about all Republicans now.

I mean, did you SEE how fat Sarah Palin’s thighs looked last week?

Watch any of the news channels during the day on any day of the week. Addressing “both sides” of stories that simply do not have two sides is the order of the day.

Anchor: “Pop singer Britney Spears dyed her hair red over the weekend. Here now with the conservative perspective on the new look is Republican strategist Pat Buchanan.”

And there’s Pat Buchanan, who I’m pretty sure sleeps on a cot in the back room of MSNBC. Whenever a guest cancels, they wake him up and wheel him out for his “unique perspective” on current events. And he’ll sit there and play along, but you just know inside he’s raging, thinking, “You deserve to die, 30-something news anchor. Me and Dick Nixon had people burned at the stake for way less than talking to us about Britney Spears.”

I used to be part of that world. But not anymore. Now I’ve escaped. Now I’m here. Now, I’m relatively safe on these friendly shores of non-political blogging.

Now, I never again need to watch every news story with an eye to how this might confirm what the Democrats have been saying all along. Or the Republicans. Or the Libertarians, Catholics, atheists, Muslims, free traders, Floridians, Peruvians, gun enthusiasts, or anti-digital music crusaders.

Now, I can admit that I once wrote a blog that got more than 3 million page views that attacked Katie Couric as a scheming communist hack.

Do you know what writing that blog taught me?

I don’t want to have a strong opinion about Katie Couric.

I don’t need to have any opinion of Katie Couric at all.

Opinions are like assholes: If you go around exposing yours to everyone, you’re going to end up with gonorrhea up in there. (That might not be the way that saying goes…)

Sitting here now as a refugee from the worst-of-the-worst sector of the internet, I feel as though I need to shout to the world:

Having a political philosophy that colors everything you see and hear in the world is not a virtue. Having a heated opinion about everything in the world is not a virtue.


More often than not, a news story is just a news story, and there aren’t two sides to it that require fairness and/or balancing at all.


That’s how I see it, anyway.

And now, for another perspective on what I just said, here’s Republican strategist Pat Buchanan…

6 comments:

  1. ***On January 31, 2011, I removed the “Disqus” comment add-on from this blog.
    When I removed it, the old comments were deleted with it.

    These are those comments:

    January 4, 2011
    Friend wrote:
    “Who is this Katy Anders, Jess? Is it going to be real this time? Hope so.
    More importantly, hope you are staying good and doing good in your new life.”

    January 4, 2011
    Katy wrote in reply to Friend:
    “This is only a little bit creepy...
    I'm not sure who "Jess" is, but I can probably use all the well wishes I can get, so... thank you?”

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thankfully, creepy knows no political boundaries. It's good to be home.

    ReplyDelete
  3. JerseyDave: Well… Better the devil you know than…
    Never mind. It’s sort of a toss-up, isn’t it?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think there's another aspect of news that's important here: "Addressing “both sides” of stories that simply do not have two sides is the order of the day."

    It's not that stories need not be polticized or 'balanced' it's that many news stories are not even news, and should not be shared regionally or nationally in any way shape or form.

    Much as Amazon "tells/suggests" what you should purchase, our age of electronic media is bombarding us with content chosen by The Media to be of import and relevence, when it is frequently neither. This is a major insult to informed discourse.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jersey: Bill O’Reilly once had a woman on his show (a mother of 15 or maybe 20 kids, I suppose) who was there to speak on behalf of advocates of welfare fraud.

    If his staff looked hard enough, they might even be able to find some 18 year old who has sex ONLY because she enjoys abortions.

    ReplyDelete
  6. jervaise brooke hamsterDecember 25, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    In that picture Hitler and Stalin look like faggots.

    ReplyDelete

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