Monday, August 24, 2009
How do you reach the brink?
You get into arguments with loons. You try to wrap your head around the fact that one of the best writers in town thinks it is valuable to link to one of the biggest hacks in town. You forget certain venues have only a veneer of honesty, not honesty itself.
How do you step back?
You remember the reasoned conservatism of a Jason Pye. You remember the reasoned liberalism of a Johnathan McGinty. You find a laugh at the weird journeys of Doug Richards. You remember there are places such as Like The Dew where the long form is still valued. You remember this town has a nest of quality writers (if they survive the gasping rattles of Rosebud clutching meglamaniacs). You remember there are places that care only about their community and the rest of the nonsense be damned.
Now, I'm going to preach a bit. And it will be pompous. If that ain't your cup of tea, feel free to exit the chapel now.
When I started this thing three years ago, it was a place to regenerate my long dormant need to write. Still is. But somewhere along the way (probably during Genarlow Wilson thing) it growed up into something else. It became consumed with the idea that this new medium could be something more - that we could elevate the conversation.
Last Friday, I was ready to call that grand experiment a failure. I became convinced the snot noses who insisted it was nothing more than a child's toy, painted with lead, covered with sharp edges and parts harmful if swallowed, were right.
But agreeing with people I know are wrong is just not in my nature. Moments on the internet sometimes seem an eternity and the aged internet warrior understands, when faced with these singularities of certainty, the best strategy is to retreat to the sheltering woods of reality before seeking the light once again.
Friday, I believed I was wrong and was prepared to shutter my windows. Today, I emerge from the woods still believing I was wrong, but only because I was answering the wrong question.
The correct answer to the correct question is "we must do better".
We will never rid this world of the hyperpartisans, the shrill screechers, the mythmakers, the peddlers of perfidy, but we should strive to contain them. Those of us who believe this world can be something more must continue to dredge channels around their lands. We must dream of a place where they are isolated, left to their lonely howls on islands of madness.
Until that day comes, the experiment will continue because the conclusion has yet to be rendered.