When I Get That Feeling In My Gut

I thought about a few things the other day - why I write the stuff that I do here, and whether or not what I say really has any merit in a media saturated world - and I discovered that this blog is fueled mainly by my own brand of righteous indignation.

For example, yesterday's monologue, Obama Grounds Citigroup Jet Purchase, was the second thing I wrote. The first piece I'd come up with just didn't do anything for me when I started trying to edit it. It didn't feel right. So I waited awhile, and sure enough, the Citigroup plane story came along, a story that was practically begging for me to rant about why a brand new 50 million dollar jet for a bank who was getting bailout funds was so wrong.

It was a story that hit me right in my gut.

But while I was reading the work of a fellow blogger, who was indulging in her own bit of indignation yesterday about Juan Williams recent comments about Michelle Obama, it hit me that there is a higher calling that awaits those of us in the blogosphere who write commentary about current events and politics.

At some point, my blog has to be more than a reactionary catharsis that salves my own sense of right and wrong. It has to expand the prevailing political narrative – to take the framework of the discussions on TV and radio and in print and literally push the boundaries out from around them.

William Kristol’s last column for the New York Times was published yesterday. With a mind that has produced of some of the narrowest thinking in America, Kristol's work occupied the right hand column on the op-ed page of one of the most widely read papers in the country for years. George Will, Maureen Dowd, Peggy Noonan, Thomas Friedman, Charles Krauthammer, Ellen Goodman, Richard Cohen, David Broder, all of them "columnists for life" at their respective organizations, all could join Kristol by the end of the week, and we'd be better off for it, even if they were replaced by less capable people.

These opinionistas don't mirror the society they live in, not even the elite parts they long to join, or already live amongst, but profess not to belong to - they reflect, for the most part, their own rigid tastes, their own limitations of imagination, and their own intellectual boundaries.

Bloggers like me, who carefully craft long, thematically driven posts, often have delusions of grandeur, and may even have a desire from time to time to take the place of these "columnists for life", to put our own imprint on the world's psyche. But the more I've thought about it, the more I realize how free this end of the world really is, where I don't have an editor to answer to, or an editorial policy to uphold - where I can literally write whatever comes to mind, the way I am doing right now.

I feel sorry for the Juan Williams, the Shelby Steeles, the John McWhorters, the Debra Dickersons - they have put themselves in a box that demands, in days such as these, where black people have finally begun to feel so good about themselves that we are beginning to quit worrying so much about the petty, trivial things upon which we often expend a disproportionate amount of energy, that they continue to tell the same old stories they told last week, and last month, and last year, and ten years ago - much like the conservative icon William Kristol did, hewing steadfastly to ideologies that were as outdated as Elvis.

The words that came to my mind the other day were "blogger manifesto", but out here in the blogosphere, we don't need any more quasi-official policies or programs or groups to tell us how to think. The only thing we need to do is push the boundaries of discourse outward, in whatever individual direction we deem, justified only by our own ideas of decency, by our own homegrown common sense, and by some sort of logical progression that allows others to make sense of what we’re trying to say.

So my watchword here is “righteous indignation”, at least until I get tired of this, or the wind blows me in another direction. Which means that when I get that feeling in my gut, I won't stop to wonder if that feeling is on the left side of my stomach, or the right side, or in the middle – I will simply grab my keyboard and start typing until it goes away.

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The Intellectual Redneck said...

You can dig all you want, but there is no pony hiding under the Democrat's stimulus manure pile. There is no pony hiding in the stimulus "pile of manure"

Brown Man said...

Helluva way to introduce yourself, IR, since I don't think this post had anything to do with the stimulus bill, but will agree with the facts in your post - there is not all that much money in the stimulus package that can be spent right now.

Maybe the pres was scared of asking for direct investment dollars now and getting nothing.

Congress, both Dem and Repub alike, are certainly terrified of doing anything that is outside of the purview of an established program.

NONE of the direct investment ideas directed towards individuals that would have any meaningful impact on their lives or our financial crisis.

Giving tax cuts doesn't stimulate an economy - it takes everybody spending money to get it moving again, not the twenty five percent of the country a tax cut would meaningfully effect.

In the long run - 7 to 10 years - I would like to see a relentless commitment to personal tax relief.

Cutting services today doesn't make any sense - when the economy is growing again is when you need to look at "rightsizing" government.

King Politics said...

We write to vent, we write because there's something missing in the mainstream media, we write because we want to be heard, we write because we're mad, or happy, or sad, or angry. There's lots of reasons to write and I'm glad that we do (well most of us, at least).

Craig Hickman said...

We write what we want to read.

Keep up the good writing, Brown Man.

Brown Man said...

Craig, I think you are absolutely right.

So is Mr. King.

What an electronic village!

rikyrah said...

Hey Brown Man,

You know, I have been ' starting' a piece for about the past 5 days, but then something else comes up, and I've been writing on those posts.

I believe we blog about what touches us personally. I think we can be intellectual about a lot of stuff, but somethings just hit in the gut and you gotta hit back.

I love your variety.

Brown Man said...

I pretty much just go with whatever I've got - except for yesterday, when I was having a hard time comparing changing the filters on the furnace to current political events.

And I appreciate all the compliments!

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