Admit it. You know you’ve done it. You’re loafing in your Laz-Z-Butt lounger in your living room, or compressed between passengers in the middle seat on the Crack O’ Dawn flight to East Piddlyborough, or sneaking an on-the-job mini-vacation in the stinky-stall of your workplace pottyroom, when your eyes land on a line of type in the local Balderdash Bulletin you’ve been drowsily browsing through.
Some subnormal moron did something stunningly stupid today, or said something incredibly enlightened, or offered an ignorant opinion and it was all prominently preserved in newsprint.
You want to yell at the newspaper. Show it to someone. Vehemently voice your concurrence or your condemnation. But of course you can’t. You’re alone, or stuck with strangers, or sneaking a reeking rest break in the restroom.
Instead, you pull out your ballpoint and make ready to write a riveting riposte. Any ballpoint will do. The gimme pen with the Nose Hair Trimmer Parts Depot logo on its side, the pen from the set you got in a gift exchange three years ago and haven’t seen the matching pencil since, the round white 39-cent plastic cheapo with the removable blue chewed-upon clip-cap that nobody ever buys but somehow magically appears in every home in America anyway.
If you’re not an accomplished ballpointer, now’s your chance to learn. Mash that clicker, twist that barrel, pop that cap. All you need is a pen point and a patch of newspaper white space.
Here’s a recent article to get bothered about. Seven people attending high school graduations in Rock Hill, South Carolina, were arrested for cheering when their kid’s names were called.
Scribble in the gutter! (The newspaper’s, not the street’s.): “Arrested? For cheering when their kids got their diplomas? And their taxbucks paid for those schools. Gotta dumb down those parents to the level of their public educated spawn. Authorities can’t tolerate individual expression!”
There. Didn’t that mocking sarcasm feel good? Here’s another one. Villagers in Romania didn’t like the new guy running for mayor so they voted for the incumbent and he won, even though he died before the election began. Authorities, of course, awarded the win to the live guy. Now click your mark maker and find a whit of white space some place: “Down with authorities! Let the people choose! I vote for Thomas Jefferson!”
And lookie here! An interview with former pachyderm presidential wannabe Mike Huckabee, presuming to define libertarianism without knowing what libertarianism is. Or maybe not even knowing what is is. He defines the freedom philosophy as “…this new brand of libertarianism, which is social liberalism and economic conservatism, but it’s a heartless, callous, soulless type of economic conservatism…”
Right away you know this is gonna take some major whitespace. Ah, wide margins. Thank you, modern newspaper designers. Put pen point to paper and press firmly into the fibers: “Point 1. New brand of libertarianism? Same brand as always, Huck. Where have you been hiding? 2. Step out of that stereotyped lefty versus righty cliché closet you’re living in. Libertarians aren’t round liberal pegs in square conservative holes, they’re a whole different set of Tinker Toys and you just don’t get it. 3. Heartless callous soulless economics? Take a reality check, Huck. Economics is neither heartless nor heartfelt, callous nor kindly, soulless nor soulful. Economics is just economics, like a cigar is just a cigar, like…”
Well, there’s only so much margin in a major metropolitan litter box liner.
Okay, so nobody will ever peruse your imposing prose. But at least you responded. At least you didn’t swallow the socially filtered politically pasteurized culturally appropriate apricot pabulum in a single bob of the Adam’s apple and burrow back into your prenatal mental cradle. At least you challenged the revealed wisdom of those who presume to be your betters.
Freedom always begins as a thought. It merely ends as politics.