There is something to be said about a passion for exposing hypocrisy.
"... and then Dr.Meade thundered, losing his temper: 'Our men
have fought without shoes before and without food and won victories. And they
will fight again and win!...Think of - think of Thermopylae!'
...'They died to the last man at Thermopylae didn't they, Doctor?' Rhett asked, and his lips twitched with suppressed laughter."
Articles on religion and politics are like
warriors in the culture wars: they can attack or defend whenever necessary. So
when my number for OpEdNews came to 300, I could only think of : Thermopylae...
and Rhett Butler.
I have a thing for Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind , not only
for the feisty character of Scarlett O'Hara, but for the wit and cynicism of
Rhett Butler. A close examination of the characters reveals that Mitchell
gives every character a certain amount of depth by revealing what their
thoughts are, but not Rhett - he is observed in detail, but his inner self and
motives are always mysteries left to the imagination of the reader. I like to
think that his motives, his cynicism, his passion run too deep for analysis.
Rhett Butler is passionate about life, people and beauty in the world, but he
never lets on. He must be a tremendously frustrated, closeted writer.
That is one of his personality traits I differ
with: I am certainly not reticent to write about my passion.
Passion. The culture wars do not lack for
passion. OpEdNews makes
a writer's work look serious and effortless in the same tome and at the same
time. That's because there so much passion. Writers like Chris
Hedges go about skewering the
Right with an intensity and passion that seems almost inbred and the writing
seems effortless. Would that were really so, at least with my own fare: an
article can take me from 5 hours to three days.
Yes, every day writing about the culture wars
can be said to be filled with passion, yet there's irony in that each
day's writer's routine (at least mine) is frustrated by a tedium which must be
endured to form the next soldier.
News Feeds: The Culture
Warrior's Life's Blood and The Near Death Of His Soul.
I often wonder if people realize how many news
feeds a culture war writer has to go through each day to cull the best ideas -
or how demoralizing news feeds are to someone who has to deal with the
exigencies of the culture wars created by Rightwing politics and the Christian
Right. They're a dream and a curse: emergencies on the screen occur as if they
are there to personally frustrate writers like me. Yet each morning I wake up
to a string of headlines for AP , CNN , CBS , MSNBC , LGBTQ
Nation , Firedog Lake , Crooks
and Liars , Joe.My.God. , Religion Dispatches , Right Wing Watch , Think
Progress , The Daily Dish (Andrew Sullivan), OpEdNews and my own blog, The Devil and Dan Vojir (to prove to myself that I actually
lived through yesterday). After perusing them with as much elation or rancor I can
stomach, I can finally savor my morning coffee - usually my third cup.
News feeds can kill the creative spirit,
however: the barrage of news is frightening and it often looks as if absolutely
EVERYTHING has been written already. The soul is almost fatally challenged. I
keep reminding myself that writers like Chris Hedges, Andrew Sullivan and Joe
Jervis must also endure the same barrage of news, commentaries, trivia,
anecdotes, and WTFs. They sift through it all to come up with ten, twenty posts
a day. All original. God! Sometimes I hate their prolific, creative asses.
The State of Religion and
Politics Today: The Rise Of Demonizers and The Fall Of Reason
One might think that writing on religion and
politics presents a constant inner, suicidal struggle: to kill yourself now by
means of sheer depression or to kill yourself later by means of uncontrollable
laughter. Yeah, it's true. With the machinations of Cindy
"Japan-is-shaped-like-a-dragon" Jacobs, Anne Coulter(geist),
Pat Robertson, Bryan Fischer, Rick Santorum, Pope Benedict XVI, Concerned Women
of America, the NRA, the GOP and FOX/Faux News, it's a wonder that any
progressive writer is still alive.
I chose the latter form of suicide: I figure
that laughing AT them all while I'm going to my death can cause the most
damage: "Against The Assault of Laughter, Nothing Can Stand" -
Mark Twain. Yep, I'm going to take as many of them with me as I can.