1) ME MYSELF AND I - Part of John Kerry’s battle cry during his noteworthy Columbus address yesterday was the shrill pronouncement, “I want to win.” I don’t want to take the comment out of context – he was talking about Iraq. But seeing the quote televised even in context, it struck me as somewhat obvious what he really wants to win. Sure he wants to win in Iraq, but he REALLY
wants to win this election.
Again, note the locution: “I want to win." In the history of leadership, has any leader ever referred to triumphing in a war in the first person? And in general, has there ever been a candidate for any office, let alone the Presidency, who has made such promiscuous use of the first person pronoun? I haven’t made a formal study of the matter, but I recall Bill Clinton talking about “our” plans; Kerry always talks about “my” plan. I bet if you compared ten hours worth of Kerry campaign speeches and appearances with the same amount of Bush appearances, you would find that Kerry uses me myself and/or I
at least twice as often.
Kerry should be careful about this speech pattern. Some of us may conclude he’s a narcissist.
2) Speaking of which, I was delighted to see Kerry’s flowery spandex wind-surfing uniform re-appear this week. Some of you think this has become a fixation for me, to which I respond, “Guilty as charged!” Gratuitous use of spandex has long been a pet peeve of mine. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t come by these feelings out of prudery. I enjoy a shapely woman in spandex plenty, especially the lovely Mrs. Soxblog in her yoga get-up - Yeowww!!
But 60 year old men should not wear spandex, at least not in public. I will not debate this, so please no dissenting emails on the subject. Mrs. Soxblog and I have an acquaintance of about Kerry’s age (and who is a huge Kerry supporter, as a matter of fact) who wears invariably brightly colored spandex for his lengthy bike rides. Now this gentleman is in fine shape for a man of his years, but the sight of him in blinding chartreuse spandex is not esthetically pleasing. Trust me on this. To give him his due, he’s a serious cyclist but there’s no way the aeronautics could possibly be such a pressing concern for him that he couldn’t wear a pair of shorts over his spandex and thus spare the rest of us a frankly ghastly sight.
If the last paragraph has described any of my readers, please know it is not my intent to hurt your feelings. But aren’t you glad that you now know this is a problem and can take appropriate remedial action? Deep down, I know you are. You’ll thank me later.
3) Speaking of constructive criticism, one of my favorite readers is California Joe because he saves me from myself. In real professional writing, you have the benefit of having an extra set of eyes (often several) poring over your writings before they hit the outside world. A lot of writers don’t much care for the editing process, but one thing all writers appreciate is someone catching their typos and grammatical errors before they see a wider audience. When you blog, though, you fly solo and even guys like Hewitt and Andrew Sullivan make a batch of mistakes.
California Joe has become my de facto editor and I appreciate it. Joe has discovered to his increasing horror that homonyms are my Achilles’ Heal and I can tell he’s becoming frustrated by my inability to master some relatively simple things. When I make one of my stupid mistakes, Joe usually emails in with the correction. The problem here is, Joe’s a busy man and he doesn’t have all day to clean up my numerous messes. So if any of you see a typo or a grammatical error, let me know and I’ll be appreciative. When I start the Soxblog line of merchandise I’ll send you a free t-shirt as long as the Red Sox don’t sue me.
As an added encouragement, please know that a few weeks ago I tremblingly emailed the great Victor Davis Hanson to notify him of a grammatical blunder that recurred in his writings and he personally emailed me back with his gratitude.
4) Speaking of emails, I love receiving them and I respond to all of them. If you’ve sent an email and didn’t get a response, it’s because I was intending to respond at my next seating and forgot. Don’t take it personally; please write again.
Most of you are probably familiar with the great former blogger Steven den Beste. He gave up the blogging game because the emails he received pissed him off so much. He called them burdensome, and they ultimately became such a bother he walked away (or rather stalked away) from his enormously popular blog.
A lot of people wrote in to den Beste suggesting that he just stop reading his email. That suggestion just seemed to piss him off even more, although he never said why he would eschew such an easy and obvious solution. But I understood. If 50 people write in to me responding to a piece, I have to know what they’re saying. I couldn’t just hit the delete button; it would be physically impossible. I’m sure den Beste is the same way. And now that I’ve gotten in the habit of getting a lot of feedback and thus have certain knowledge that it’s out there, shutting down my mailbox would be practically the same thing as hitting the delete button.
Anyway, unlike den Beste, I don’t find your messages burdensome in the slightest. Sometimes when I get called on something stupid, it doesn’t feel good but I’d rather know about it than not. And I love when you write in to disagree (even you, Jerry). As many of you have found out, I love a little electronic dust-up and will be willing to engage our points of difference as long as you’re reasonably pleasant about it.
So please, keep the letters coming. We have another Soxblog Mailbag coming up this weekend and if you’ve got something to say, I strongly encourage you to make a submission. If you really want to see your name in lights, you’ll have better luck if you keep your submission to a reasonable length and don’t lard it with a lot of typos that I’ll have to correct.
Coming soon: My debate preview! You won’t want to miss it.
Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at email@example.com
James Frederick Dwight