This isn’t the best time to be my kind of blogger. I mean someone who blogs about whatever he wants whenever he wants, flitting from religion to the Russian Revolution, time travel, lima beans, and subway seats like a hummingbird in a garden. You might say there is neither rhyme nor reason to my blogging other than whim.
Most other bloggers establish their expertise on specific topics and then write about those topics. Think of blogs about relationships, exercise, food, fashion, or travel. I don’t do that, which is probably why only one advertiser has reached out to me the entire time I have been posting on this site. They manufactured sporting goods; specifically, boxing gloves. I felt tempted to go with them, since I’ve been slapped around enough over the years studying martial arts. In the end, I decided not to do it.
I can write about almost anything, boxing gloves included, but if you tell me I have to write about boxing gloves because that’s what the advertiser has requested, my mind shuts down. I want the freedom to write what I want, which reminds me of the time years ago when I wrote a promotional brochure for a jacuzzi company. It included a limerick that ended with “bubbles and troubles.” I thought it was pretty clever. They didn’t and fired me.
Another reason this isn’t the best time to be my kind of blogger is the political climate. It’s not that I shy away from politics. If you click on “Search All Posts” in the lower, right-hand column of this post, you’ll see forty-two posts on “Politics,” which is the second highest category in the list, second only to “Culture.” But it’s definitely been a challenge trying to acknowledge the political issue (e.g., the Mueller Report, Antifa riots in Seattle, vaccine mandates), analyze the issue in as fair and insightful a way as possible, and aim my criticism at both sides.
The problem, as we have discovered as a nation, is that people–even the ones who appear rational–aren’t. They reject facts, disregard the Constitution, and interpret events through their own ideological lens. The majority of people are like this. I blame Nietzsche, of course. Even worse, if they get their news from MSNBC, CNN, Fox, or Facebook (some people do this!), it becomes nearly impossible for them to break through the propaganda. In fact, I would say we passed propaganda long ago and have crossed into the land of indoctrination.
I would be lying if I said I don’t pay attention to cancel culture. Anyone who puts their opinion into the public forum should be wary. I won’t go into detail as I expect many readers have to endure the same thing at work. This “culture” has infected all forms of modern expression, and I’m setting aside the obvious ones like social media. I’m talking about contemporary fiction and non-fiction, both of which have to pass certain ideological tests to please the editorial staff, publishing house, agent, and market.
I find myself moving further away from current trends in writing, not that I lose sleep over it. For instance, what can I say about the topic of “authorial anxiety” which, according to a recent article in a highly-esteemed literary magazine, afflicts contemporary novelists? I don’t even know what that means other than another trip down the rabbit hole of narcissism. A similar anxiety afflicts non-writers, too, including people I know who seem incapable of bursting out of their self-absorbed bubble. Shades of Seinfeld’s “bubble boy” here but with an orgy of emotional processing to boot.
Where does this leave me? More importantly, where does it leave you? I’d rather entertain than alienate you with political commentary or economic analysis. After all, I’m not Peter Zeihan. So, I write about things I know. That’s what they’ve been telling me ever since my days as a staff member on the Susan Wagner High School newspaper.
So, in this blog site you’ll find posts about my boyhood, relationships, my grandmother’s basement, shopping at Safeway, dancing, bison, sidewalks, couches, watermelons, standup comedy, Russian czars, cold showers, liturgy, squirrels, underwear, ice cream, baseball, Brazil, teaching, Italian cinema, movies, and monks. The common thread throughout has been my tongue-in-cheek description of human life. Some would call it sarcasm, which is fine by me. The only thing I would add is subscribe, invite your family and friends. Just don’t expect exercise advice.
Image credits: feature by Thomas M. Evans; top lightbulb by Jonny Caspari; dumpster by Kyle Glenn. Want more? Go to Robert Brancatelli. The Brancatelli Blog is a member of The Free Media Alliance, which promotes “alternatives to software, culture, and hardware monopolies.”