Thursday, December 29, 2016

"An Unqualified Recommendation"

Check out Meghan Daum – novelist, essayist, newspaper and magazine columnist.

I believe that regular L.A. Times opinion contributor Meghan Daum is “right on” in her ideological perspective. 

That’s because she thinks quite a bit like I do.

It’s funny the way that works, isn’t it? 

I wonder.  Is it even possible to “get into” an opinion writer whose ideas diverge significantly from your own?  Or conversely, to not feel a kinship with a writer whose ideas line up substantially with your own? 

If the answer is “No”, I know with the first example – you just don’t read them.  But in the second example, reading someone with who you consistently agree, what is going on there that is actually worthwhile?  Could you not be equally illuminated taking a nap?

I’m exaggerating.  (For effect.)  It’s nice to have allies.  It makes you feel less crazy.  Or at least crazy, with company.

I have a stack of blog post ideas sitting on my desk, some have been around for a long time.  I retain them, thinking that some day I will get to them.  But so far, they remain unwritten.  And all for the same reason.  Which is.  I have not discovered what I consider a satisfactory “Angle of Incidence”, an approach to deliver these indispensible insights, opinions and identifiable concerns in a manner consistent with the stylistic tonality of Just Thinking

In other words – those words being the words I use when I am conversing with myself on such matters – I have the “What” – the “what” being the idea – but I do not have the “How” – the “how” being the appropriate “delivery system.”

So I leave them alone moldering on the stack, not ready to toss, but still unworkable, their prickly content withholding an acceptable direction.  This failure speaks to my limitations – or at least a subsection of my limitations – as a writer:  A self-imposed mandate to, at least minimally, entertain.  And a hearty aversion to being viscerally disliked.

Meghan Daum artfully, as her writing is skillfully crafted and easy to digest, and courageously just “goes for it.”

Her not infrequent target? 

Her own side.

More specifically, their excesses.

Talk about “asking for it.”

What comes to mind – because I am reading a book about Ruth Bader Ginsburg – is a recollection concerning Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is not generally at the forefront of my mind unless I am reading a book about her.  But this anecdote fits the narrative, so I am putting it in.

Throughout her long and laudable career, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been at the forefront of the struggle for equal justice and opportunity for women.  No doubt at it.  The woman’s got the “cred.”

Despite her relentless feminist advocacy, however, Justice Ginsburg famously – to those who are aware of it, “obscurely” to others who are not – expressed misgivings about the sweeping nature of the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade (1973) abortion rights decision, favoring, instead, a decision invalidating the extreme Texas anti-abortion legislation that originally precipitated the dispute, and then proceeding – assisted by the elected legislatures – as opposed to the unelected Supreme Court – incrementally towards the ultimate objective.  In her own words,

“If it {the legalization of abortion} had gone ‘step-by-step’, the court and the public would have reacted in a more positive way than it did.”

And the backlash against it would have been less tumultuous.

A matter of opinion, to be sure.  But you can imagine its unpopularity in some advocacy circles.

“We got it.  Shut up!”

Meghan Daum backs similar unpopular perspectives in virtually every column she writes. 

Random Column Headlines: (which she probably didn’t make up, but still.)

All Trump Gropes Are Bad, But They Aren’t All Equally Horrible

Political Correctness Is Back In Hurricane Force

Mansplaining?  Windbags Come in Both Genders

Random Quotes:

“The idea of loving someone no matter what they do is overrated, not to mention largely impossible.”

“When you talk about not wanting children, it is impossible to avoid sounding defensive, like you’re trying to prove the questionable beauty of a selfish and too-tidy existence.”

In her most recent L.A. Times column, questioning the ultimate usefulness of prioritizing “identity politics” (and then watching identifying “White Folk” hoist them on their ideological petards) – Meghan Daum, marked by the inevitable scar tissue, wrote…

“… I was called out for questioning the usefulness of identity politics.  Those who issue such calls will derive some momentary satisfaction from attacking me, but they’ll be wasting their energies on someone who is not remotely their enemy.”   

A tiny sampling of an oeuvre, I think, well worthy of investigation. 

If I can’t write that way myself, I can at least direct you to somebody who can.

1 comment:

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