March 30th, 2007


Sometimes the jokes write themselves

NPR this morning, discussing the Senate hearings on the DOJ firings: "Sampson acknowledged that politics may have played a role in some of the US Attorney firings."

In other news, the Bush administration acknowledged that the Pope may be Catholic, and it's possible that the sun rises in the east. (They'll know as soon as they get the memo from Karl.)

The Los Angeles Times on the voter fraud claims behind the USA firings

The underlying issue behind the USA firing scandal is, at least in part, the deliberate, long-term policies of the Bush administration and the Republican Party to engage in voter suppression, while cloaking those efforts with shrill claims of voter fraud. Yesterday's Los Angeles Times has an op-ed from a former DOJ voting rights official.

Money shot:

Missouri had one of the closest Senate races in the country last November, and a week before the election, [recent Bush appointee] Schlozman brought four voter fraud indictments against members of an organization representing poor and minority people. This blatantly contradicted the department's long-standing policy to wait until after an election to bring such indictments because a federal criminal investigation might affect the outcome of the vote. The timing of the Missouri indictments could not have made the administration's aims more transparent.

That's ethics and good government in action. Are you still proud of your Republican party?

Those classy conservatives...

Rush Limbaugh:

“USA Today’s got a poll: ‘Do you think something’s wrong about the firing of eight US attorneys?’ 72% said yes. 72% of the American people, a bunch of blithering idiots who have no idea what they’re talking about, but yet they voted, so these polls matter.”

Michael Savage:

"All right, I'm going to show you boys in Hollywood and you girls in New York City that I do exist. But since you're very hard-headed, stiff-necked people, and you don't really believe that I exist because you've gotten away with everything you've done all your life without any repercussions, I'm going to show you I exist in a way that you can't believe." Down came the World Trade Center towers. That was God speaking."

If you're a Republican, these are your voices. I know people have argued that Bush and the neocons, as well their mouthpieces in the media, are not what the GOP is really about, but they have been the public face and power base of your Republican party since at least 1994. And I didn't hear any Republican moderates trying to temper their own back when the Permanent Majority looked like a good idea.


I'm sitting here in the coffee house Not Writing a Story (a condition which I assure you will soon be cured), and thinking about an IM chat I had this morning with another writer. We were talking about legacies, what you leave behind when you die. Perhaps not coincidentally, scalzi had an interesting take on this a day or two ago.

I disagree somewhat with the eminent Mr. S. He said:

My work is meant to be read now. If it survives and is enjoyable 20 or 40 years in the future, excellent; I'll be happy to enjoy the royalties and the low-to-moderate notability it provides. But I don't worry about writing for the ages; the ages will decide what they want to read by themselves, and I won't be around to care either way.

Call me egotistical, but I do want to write enduring prose. I don't think that makes me pretentious, or in any real danger of disappearing up my own existenz, but I have an eye on the Long Now.

Here's how I see it...I have a series of footprints in this life. Carbon footprint, information footprint, financial footprint, etc. Virtually all of those will crumble at my death, perhaps walking home from the coffee house this evening, perhaps in a pressurization accident aboard an orbiting hotel shortly after my 113th birthday. I figure I'll leave three things of substance behind me1:

  • the_child
  • The memories of me in the minds of my family and friends
  • My writing

No one else is going to care where I went or what I did or how many press releases I wrote at work or what my cats' names were. Those things are ephemeral, however important they might be to me in the moment.

But my writing might reach beyond me. I mean this both in the current sense, as Scalzi talks about -- entertaining people and helping pay my mortgage -- but also in the sense of posterity. I can't help it, it's how I'm wired in my contemplation of mortality. I don't write for the ages, I write to tell a story. But one of my fond and secret hopes is that some or another of those stories will have staying power, beyond the footprint that I carry with me through life.

Is this egotistical? Probably. But the very act of writing for publication is profoundly egotistical. Every time I write a story or a book, I make the over-the-top assumption that people want to hear what I have to say. The fact that anyone does is a continuing source of amazement and pleasure to me. Frankly, I hope I never lose that private sense of wonder.

Is this foolish? Most likely. So what? It gets me to the keyboard and keeps me there. It makes me happy. And hell, I might be right. Somebody's got to win the lottery, after all.

In the end, I have chosen to be a producer as well as a consumer. If I have a legacy that endures beyond my immediate circle of family and friends, it will be through my acts as that producer. I've been lucky enough to discover that this is deeply important to me, and more to the point discover it at a time in my life when I could do something about it. This is the gift the world has given to me.

Do you hear the wind from the future when you write? What dust lands in the corner of your eye from time to time?

1. Well, three things of substance, plus my credit card bills.


Collapse )

Also, I really don't understand people who come to a coffee house, then run audio on their laptops without the simple courtesy of a set of headphones. There's a woman near me playing some game with spoken prompts which erupt every forty five seconds or minute. It's obviously not bothering her, so she's fine with it. I don't feel aggressive enough to stand up and be shitty about it.

I have committed story

I've written a story, which is late to the market (a very rare thing for me, but I wrote down the due date incorrectly in the first place, so I plead stupidity rather than a blown deadline in the usual sense). I'm rattling a bit here at the coffee house trying to convince myself to write another story tonight. Ah, the glamor.

Also done tons of marketing (great writing avoidance!) and some purging of the email box (see previous parenthetical aside).

Some thoughts tomorrow on success, jealousy and competition, when I decide to start avoiding the slash-and-burn clean of Rancho Lake.