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Why Blog?

January 9, 2006

Reader Ann C. emailed "What does the blogger get out of writing a blog?  Is it just a fun hobby or do you want it to become a business?"

I’ll tell you when I know for sure Ann, but I can tell you right now I have no illusions about this becoming a business. I don’t have the time or the talent to devote to that endeavor. As to the "fun hobby" part, well remember, you’re talking to The Count. I’m fun challenged. Writing is like  a long jog when I haven’t had enough water. (There is also an excellent potty metaphor, but I won’t get into that now.) I’m an extremely harsh critic of myself, and I hate everything I write. Really. I know what I’m looking for, and I’m nowhere near there yet.

But if I don’t start writing on a regular basis I may go nuts. My wife certainly will.

In his essay "A War to Be Proud Of", Christopher Hitchens wrote:

If the great effort to remake Iraq as a demilitarized federal and secular democracy should fail or be defeated, I shall lose sleep for the rest of my life in reproaching myself for doing too little. But at least I shall have the comfort of not having offered, so far as I can recall, any word or deed that contributed to a defeat.

That’s about it. I need sleep, and less future self-reproachment.

I also think of this quote form the Michael Crichton essay I linked to earlier regarding the Chernobyl disaster:

But most
troubling of all, according to the UN report in 2005, is that "the largest
public health problem created by the accident" is the "damaging
psychological impact [due] to a lack of accurate information…[manifesting] as
negative self-assessments of health, belief in a shortened life expectancy,
lack of initiative, and dependency on assistance from the state.

In other words,
the greatest damage to the people of Chernobyl was caused by bad information.
These people weren’t blighted by radiation so much as by terrifying but false
information. We ought to ponder, for a
minute, exactly what that implies. We demand strict controls on radiation
because it is such a health hazard. But
Chernobyl suggests that false information can be a health hazard as damaging as

I don’t know if it existed before the War or not (because I really didn’t care) but the calumny perpetrated by the news media and the Democrats against this President, and the War effort in general is just too much for me to remain silent. Contrary to what John Kerry has intoned on many an occasion, the "politics of fear and smear" that are dividing this country are coming primarily from the Left. If I can assuage a few fears, and right a few smears to those that trust me, I’ve done as much as I can hope.

But if nothing else, I can get all of this off my chest. For that, I’m willing to pay $15 a month to typepad.

UPDATE: Per Timmy C’s request, we now have a tip jar at the bottom of the right column. How to insult your liberal friends for fun and profit!!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. FecesFlinger (TimmyC) permalink
    January 10, 2006 9:22 am

    Although we’d part ways on the statement that Fear-Factor and Smear-Factor tatics come “primarily from the left” —

    (I’d put as evidence the Bush the Elder’s campaign with “Willie Horton” ads attacking Dukakis; Lee Atwater’s in describing to the press his Congressional opponent’s early teen depression treatment that “got hooked up to jumper cables;” his protege Karl Rove smearing almost everybody with push-polling that Ann Richards was a lesbian, later push-polling southerners that John McCain had a black baby; the commercials against Max Cleland — a triple amputee from Vietnam — that said he was basically supporting Sadaam and Osama; the now strongly discredited “Swiftboating” of Kerry, Cheney’s statements during the campaign that if you vote for Democrats, “we’ll get hit again,” the RNC sponsored “Liberals will ban the Bible” campaign, and the most recent Republican “Hitler” ads against now Governor Tim Kaine. And that list is just from recent memory…)

    — That said, I think that this is really well put:

    “If I can assuage a few fears, and right a few smears to those that trust me, I’ve done as much as I can hope.

    But if nothing else, I can get all of this off my chest. For that, I’m willing to pay $15 a month to typepad.”

    Nice. I’m glad you are blogging. Put up a tip jar and I’ll donate to the cause.


    (Timmy C)

  2. The Count permalink
    January 10, 2006 10:27 am

    Thanks Tim for all the comments – I’ll try to get the tip jar ASAP. Wow!

    I’m not going to deny that there is ufair tactics from both sides. What exactly is “smear” and what is just a good winning issue however is often a matter of debate. Your more solid examples are from the more distant past, IMHO, while the ones I know more about, are weaker.

    Max Cleland said some outrageous things. As did Cindy Sheehan. The “Bushitler” motif is far more widespread on the left and has been for years (I remember my dear friend Jimmy railing against the first Bush as a Nazi back in the late 80’s.) Dick Durbin did compare our troops to Pol Pot etc. The Swiftboat issue was largely ignored by the press, then outright dissmissed without dis-proving anything. Meanwhile, the press questions the President for months about his National Guard service, and lets clearly forged documents go on air shortly before the election – and then never admits it.

    When Bush tries to open a national debate on Social Security, Sen. Reid declares Bush’s proposals as “unamerican”, and refuses to even engage in discussing the issue, preferring to scare people into thinking the only goal is to dismantle the program altoghether.

    Bush recieves no credit for averting a huge humanitarian crisis in Indonesia after the tsunami of a year ago; yet he is pilloried as a rascist for supposedly failing in New Orleans. (BTW, can you tell me what the death count was in the Superdome?)

    But nowhere else is this assault worse than the assertion that Bush lied to get us into War. The fixation on that proposition has been incredibly damaging to this country, and keeps us from the real debates before us. The Democrats have absolutely now compunction harming the war effort if can hurt this Administration. It’s got to stop.

  3. FecesFlinger (TimmyC) permalink
    January 10, 2006 4:18 pm


    You wrote:

    “I’m not going to deny that there is unfair tactics from both sides. “

    Thanks, I thought that perhaps the words “primarily from the Left” might have been somewhat of an overstatement.

    And I think most smears ARE also “winning issues,” that is why they continue… if you look at my list almost all of them — Mike Dukakis, Ann Richards, Max Cleland, John McCain in 2000, and John Kerry what do they have in common? They lost. The smears worked.

    (The main exception to that was Tim Kaine, whose counter to the Republican Hitler ad was masterful.)

    And to your point about some examples being old, here’s why I included even the oldest one: Lee Atwater/Willie Horton…Lee was a direct mentor to Karl Rove. Atwater ran Rove’s personal campaing to become the head of College Republicans, and the Rovian tactics from governorship to presidential campaigns were are pretty consistant.

    In fact, I could have gone further back in a direct line. Atwater’s mentor was Donald Segretti a chief political advisor, who headed the “dirty tricks” efforts of CREEP from the Nixon adminstration, and eventually served time after pleading guilty for distributing literature on fake Democratic letterhead saying a political opponent fathered an illegitimate child with from a 17 year old.

    Interestingly, Atwater at 40 was diagnosed with a Brain tumor, and became a Christian. He would later repent and sent Dukakis and Tom Turnipseed letters of apology… Tom quotes from the letter here:

    “It is very important to me that I let you know that out of everything that has happened in my career, one of the low points remains the so called ‘jumper cable’ episode.” Faced with the ultimate question of life, Lee also publicly proclaimed his Christianity and sought reconciliation with his enemies.

    He said in his letter to me that “my illness has taught me something about the nature of humanity, love, brotherhood and relationships that I never understood, and probably never would have. So, from that standpoint, there is some truth and good in everything.”

    Also Count you wrote:

    What exactly is “smear” and what is just a good winning issue however is often a matter of debate.

    Maybe this is the beginning of a good definition of “Smear” campaign:

    ** It is implicitly or explicitly about “personal destruction” rather than about a candidates policies or priorities. “She’s a Lesbian,” “He’s A Traitor,” “He had a black baby,” “He was hooked up to Car battery and electroshocked,” etc.. etc…

    Do Dems do this? Sure. *SOMEONE* on the left must have started the recent rumor that Bush was drinking again.

    Do Republicans? Absolutely. Who does it more? I suspect each side will consider the other the worse offender, if only because they felt stung by it personally.

    I’ll say this, though, Republicans are better at it.

    A much better strategy than this “personal destruction” smear politics was layed out by Barak Obama on a post on his blog, speaking to fellow Dems:

    And I firmly believe that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, or oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose.

    A polarized electorate that is turned off of politics, and easily dismisses both parties because of the nasty, dishonest tone of the debate, works perfectly well for those who seek to chip away at the very idea of government because, in the end, a cynical electorate is a selfish electorate…

    Our goal should be to stick to our guns on those core values that make this country great, show a spirit of flexibility and sustained attention that can achieve those goals, and try to create the sort of serious, adult, consensus around our problems that can admit Democrats, Republicans and Independents of good will.”

  4. January 11, 2006 9:09 am

    Hi Count,

    Just be yourself. I think you are effective at presenting your ideas in writing. I don’t think blogging is about being the next George Will. For me, it’s about articulating ideas in ways that haven’t been articulated by others. Writing forces us to re-think what we believe, unless we are just parroting the positions of others. You seem determined to carve out your own positions which is what I respect the most.

    Tim C., how are you? When are you going to start your own blog? Perhaps your first entry could be about how Michael Dukakis would have been a better President than President George H. W. Bush. : – )

  5. FecesFlinger (Timmy C) permalink
    January 11, 2006 12:57 pm

    Hee hee, Too bad I was *just* under voting age in 1988…

    (And would have voted for AZ Gov. Babbitt if I could have…if only that “President Babbitt” sounds really funny)



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