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-Oscar Wilde
Brilliant at Breakfast title banner "The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
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"I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum." -- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (1954-2015), They Live
Monday, May 05, 2008

Why on earth do we do this?
Posted by Jill | 6:07 AM
Every time another blogger leaves the fold, I take stock and ask myself why I do this. It's not as if anyone pays me to blog; I rarely even see a few bucks from advertising. Many bloggers of my acquaintance have said that they're experiencing the same decrease in daily traffic that I am, which means that Google is futzing with PageRank again, or politics fatigue is setting in, or real life concerns mean that blogging is just a frivolity at this point, or else perhaps it's just spring.

For me, every time I ask myself why I continue, when I could be doing more to keep my house tidy, reading a book, working on my half-finished novel and the two that are still living inside my head, their characters knocking on my skull daily to be let out, the answer is always the same -- because if I don't write about what's going on in this world, I'll probably go insane.

But when I read a farewell post like that of John Brown of Kansas, I have to wonder if maybe it's blogging that will make me go insane:

Here Comes the Sun almost seems like a throwaway song. The lyrics are simple. Maybe simple-minded. It's nothing more than a big thumbs up to sunshine and bright backed by a catchy melody. A very catchy melody. The Beatles recorded it (sans Lennon) and it sold well in 1969. Maybe that's because a cute tune will sell no matter what. Maybe it's because, even in the most tumultuous of times, people need to remember that sunshine and bright are good things. Here Comes the Sun also offers a certain reassurance we all need to hear, even if it is pat and simple. "It's all right".

I was driving to work a few days after watching The New World. I was pointed eastbound, waiting at a stop light on an overpass. The sun was directly in front of me. It wasn't a nuisance, though, as it was shaded by hundreds of tiny clouds that were racing on wind in front of it. It looked like one of those high-speed stop-frame movie tricks. The sky was moving at a frenetic pace while we waited through stoplights.

I was sick of AM talk radio word-porn. I was so tired of hearing about Jeremiah Wright that I avoided even the socially acceptable liberalism of NPR, just in case. I tapped the "scan" button on the radio a few mintues before I hit the stop light.

The light flipped green, my foot reflexively moved from brake to accellerator and I took one last look at the sun and the white rocket-fast clouds. The radio paused on a "classic rock" station and I recognized the "du dn du du". I stopped it there. Here Comes the Sun.

I was northbound on a boulevard, passing through an established residential neighborhood that, over time, has found itself shoehorned between two pods of commerce. Trees on both sides of the road. No matter how long I typed, no matter how long a Terrance Malick camera lingered on those trees, you couldn't understand spring Kansas trees in the wind without seeing them yourself at that moment. The were new and green and in exactly the right place at the right time.


Work is work. Sometimes I like it. Sometimes I feel little more than disdain toward it. When I'm on the treadmill too long, my mood suffers. I doubt I'm unusual in that sense.

Lately, I've filled a few slow work hours and a bit of at-home downtime with this blog. It isn't the centerpiece of my life, but it has been a regular diversion. I watch the news. I listen to the news. I read other blogs. I think. I comment. I write. The more I think, watch listen, read and write the more generally frustrated I become. The blog seems like a good idea. A nice way to vent while advocating for things I hold dear.

At the same time, it makes me angry. Angry at those with power. Angry at those seeking power. Angry at liars, cheaters, hacks, fools and generally silly people who do fantastically stupid things. If tracking the day's events and commenting upon them is a vent, it's merely the vent on a self-constructed mental pressure cooker.

Usually, my bad moods last a day. Maybe two. This time, I was working on day six of a generally lousy disposition. I was about to take another dip from the well of rage. The laptop was in front of me and I was ready to start answering comments on some of the posts here. I wanted a little peace, a little quiet and about ten uninterrupted minutes to set the record straight for a few of the asshats who left snarky remarks and to backslap a few of the geniuses who shared my sentiments. I didn't get it.

Instead, I got a visit from my four year-old daughter who wanted to play outside. Even with a bad mood, I'm a decent father. The weather was nice and a trip outside would spare the Brown family from cartoons. I did what decent fathers do. I went outside.

Go read the rest.

I understand being sick of talk radio and of the relentless hammering of Jeremiah Wright. My addiction to politics is so severe that even though I can't even watch Countdown anymore, my substitute is The Daily Show, the rerun of which we've been watching in that same timeslot instead; and that I found myself being drafted into running for county committee -- something I'm finding impossible to do, given that the insurgent group of reform Democrats on whose line I'm running still hasn't sent me the walk lists so that I can introduce myself to the maybe five or six Democratic households in my district.

I have a job that I enjoy, that pays me well, that's close to home and where I have collegial co-workers, and if the political dynamic sometimes re-creates the conflicts of my childhood, well, I guess that's a small price to pay. I have a great husband whose company I still enjoy after 25 years together. My life is a good one. I wish I could be like the people whose concern is limited to their own sphere of influence. They seem a lot happier. They may be living in a fool's paradise, but look at the world into which we political bloggers put ourselves every morning?

Four-year-olds don't care about politics. Even in these waning days of the nation in which we grew up, the one that children like John Brown of Kansas' daughter will not get to enjoy (and we will have to answer for that), there's still the wonder that a four-year-old finds in a butterfly. If you have a four-year-old, then by all means get the fuck away from the computer and go out and chase butterflies. The computer -- and the piece of strange matter that our country and our planet has become, will be here when you get back.

I'm going to miss John Brown. I hope that he simply needs the kind of break that so many other bloggers have taken, and comes back refreshed and ready to fight the good fight again. But if he doesn't, I'm not going to fault him for preferring the company of the butterflies and his child and a golden field on a sunny day.


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Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

Blogger O~ said...
What a resonating post - yours and John's. I am just sorry I found him now. I hope you will be sticking around... I enjoy your blog very much. It makes me realize I am not insane or crazy - or if I am that I am in good company.

Anonymous Larkspur said...
Hey you. I love you. I need you. Sometimes I wander away when the whole thing makes me crazier than I can stand. But then I come back. You make things better, and I very much want things to be better. I don't have a partner, I don't have children, but I care very much about them, especially the children. (Also the dogs and cats.) Maybe we're 99% bullshit and 1% grace. So I aim for grace.