All right, I didn’t take it personally when you laid me off. After all, as a vice president of the company, I had been looking at those horrific numbers like all other senior staffers. There was no way the paper could keep paying all of us; no way at all. Some of us had to go; and my salary made me a very attractive target.
And yeah, I was kind of ticked off when you wouldn’t let me take my old blog with me, after all the nights and weekends I poured into it for four years, building it from nothing. That was a classic case of corporate lawyer B.S., insisting upon retaining the rights to content even though something called “Brad Warthen’s Blog” could have pretty close to zero value to you going forward. (I would say “zero,” but it continues to get a surprising number of page views — 15,000 last month — considering that I haven’t posted anything since March 2009. Possibly because I regularly send readers back to it. So that’s of SOME value to your advertisers, I suppose.) But I went out that day and bought the rights to “bradwarthen.com,” and never looked back. It had 132,000 page views in April, and I’m now actually getting income from it. (See the latest ad, from Vincent Sheheen?) So I’m over that.
But now, The State has gone TOO FAR. This I cannot forgive. After we’ve been drip-tortured for months by the GOP candidates with their conservative-this, conservative-that ideological monomania, the same moldy cliches over and over and over and over, to the point that I did something yesterday that I’ve never done before in my career — told my readers that NO GOP candidate is fit to be our governor for the next four years, because I for one just can’t take it any more…
… after all that, The State actually poses this question to the GOP candidates, in print:
There are voters who accuse elected Republicans of abandoning their conservative principles. What makes you the Republican most capable of representing the party in the fall election?
Imagine that! PROVOKING them to give it to us with both barrels! Just setting it right up on a TEE for them!
So of course we were treated to an absolute orgy of… As I’ve said from Day One I’m a conservative a true conservative my daddy was a conservative daddy my mama was a conservative mama I’m a bidnessman meet a payroll don’t take bailouts lazy shiftless welfare takers the key is to starve ’em before they reproduce 100 percent rating from conservative conservatives of America my dog is a conservative dog I don’t have a cat because cats are effete I eat conservative I sleep conservative I excrete conservative I got conservative principles a conservative house and conservative clothes take back our government from the socialists even though we don’t really want it because who needs government anyway they don’t have government in Somalia and they’re doing alright aren’t they National Rifle Association Charlton Heston is my president and Ronald Reagan is my God I will have no gods before him I go Arizona-style all the way that’s the way I roll I will keep their cold dead government hands off your Medicare so help me Ronald Reagan…
And on and on. That’s just to give you the flavor; I’m just reciting from memory. Read the actual stuff if you prefer, but my version has more life to it, while in no way being a disservice to the original.
You know what would have endeared me so much that I would have dropped all my objections and endorsed one of these candidates on the spot? If he or she had had the sense of perspective, the sense of the absurd, the appreciation of irony to say something like:
Actually, I’m a liberal. A liberal all the way. I drive a Prius, I love wine and cheese parties with the faculty, I think America is a big bully in the world and no wonder people hate us (I’d be a terrorist, too, if I didn’t abhor violence so), and I never saw an abortion I didn’t like. My spouse and I have an open marriage, so scandal can’t touch us, because to each his or her own. I’m a white, male heterosexual and the guilt just eats me alive; I wish I belonged to a group that was more GENUINE, you know? The first thing I’d do if elected is raise taxes through the roof, and spend every penny on public education, except for a portion set aside for re-education camps for people who now home-school their kids. Then, if we needed more money for excessive regulation of business and other essential government services, we’d raise taxes again, but only on the rich, which is defined as YOU or anybody who makes more than you. Probably the best word to describe my overall tax plan would be “confiscatory.” And my spending (OH, my spending! You’ve never seen spending until you see my spending!) would best be termed “redistributive.” If elected, my inaugural party will have music by the Dixie Chicks and the Indigo Girls, and then we’ll all bow down to a gigantic image of Barack (did you know it means “blessed”?) Obama, the savior of us all, and chant in some language other than the ultimate oppressor language, English. French, perhaps. Or Kiswahili.
Or something along those lines. And if The State ran a response like that, all would be forgiven…