Poking My Head Up From Behind the Box-Fort

J.L. Wall

J.L. Wall is a native Kentuckian in self-imposed exile to the Midwest, where he teaches writing to college students and over-analyzes Leonard Cohen lyrics.

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6 Responses

  1. Mike Schilling says:

    Give John Podhoretz a break; the effort it took him to work his way up from being a penniless, friendless orphan to the editorship of a major journal of opinion has left him without compassion for those who skated their way up using special privileges.Report

  2. Hal Espen says:

    I’m puzzled: You formerly spoke about Bush 43 in the language of “personal contempt” and “utter, reasonless loathing,” and now you’re embarrassed thanks to a moral equivalence made manifest by conservative writers disgracing themselves by using the same kind of ad hominem invective in posts at Commentary?

    So what’s the upshot? Hatefulness for its own sake and “reasonless” criticism are bad things? As epiphanies go, this is pretty jejune stuff. But what really bugs me about this post is the whiff of false equivalence and postmodern poseurism. Criticism of George W. Bush halfway through 2003, criticism of Barack Obama halfway through 2011 — why it’s all just the same kooky, impulsive, subjective stuff! What silly creatures we are, right and left, trading places as the wheel of fashion turns. It’s the Village rules: *BOTH SIDES* do it, the truth is somewhere in between, or maybe nowhere at all. Engagement sux.

    Here’s what I think: Debased malice is a dumb distraction from questions of political values, enlightened policy, and upholding accurate rhetorical fire in the service of principle. I’m glad you got over it. Now write something useful.Report

    • J.L. Wall in reply to Hal Espen says:

      Geez. I guess that my titular reference to a “box fort” was a more than a little vague — I’ve been in the process of moving, which is a little exhausting. And left me grumpy, so that I got irritated enough to complain out loud about someone else’s blog, as opposed to roll my eyes and move on.

      I still think that “Does it make me sound like a petulant 16 year-old? If so, re-phrase,” is a pretty good rule of thumb for political discussions. Or for adults in general, because sixteen year-olds don’t know very much. Which is why, I suppose, we give them the keys to cars.Report

  3. Hal Espen says:

    Yeah, well I certainly am guilty of complaining about someone else’s blog, too, and right after I pressed “Submit” I wondered if I should cut more slack when someone’s confessing their high-school sins.

    Also, if it ameliorates anything, another reason I bridled was because the writing was so good, but the point made didn’t quite seem worthy of it. In other words, definitely keep writing and don’t mind me.Report