Good Source Material

The best things in life are free, but good writing isn't cheap.

Good Source Material

Like a Mar-A-Lago bathroom, the internet is glutted with information. More than we could ever want. Not unlike the plethora of national secrets found in the Shitter In Chief's own powder room. No doubt, there are secrets we regular folk never thought we would have access to in earlier times, but in this day and age, all you need is a bowel movement at a cocktail party, and you might be the next one to possess your very own stolen blueprint of world-class nuclear armaments, or the top-secret military plans to invade a certain country, in case you're in the neighborhood. Just ask Trump's lawyers; they're sharing all the receipts.

In the resort's bathroom, perched over all the national secrets, you'll see a Costco toilet with a ‘soft close’ seat, eliminating annoying seat slamming, which I argue will pay for itself in peace and quiet. That is until it pinches Donald in the ass – just like his reckless behavior has.

If you don't have time for a Florida cocktail party and tacky watering closets, you can always take the toilet with you to the lavatory of your choice in the form of a smartphone and a login to any geek forum. With patience, you'll soon find that some low-ranking intelligence agent will leak enough state secrets to be dangerous if the former Commander in Chief doesn't beat him to it.

Rest assured; the internet is filled with grifters of all ranks from top to bottom peddling information for clout. If nothing else, they provide us with endless content to write about it. But, we'd be wise to remember they may just as well be a distraction.

But Donald's skidmarks are not what I want to talk about in this article. Forget about national secrets. Ever since the rise of social media newsfeeds, nary a thought has gone unexpressed. Even Victory has more secrets than most Twitter addicts these days. What's worse, sometimes we think it's real life.

I want to talk for a moment about where good writing comes from and, as a byproduct, good reading. The digital age has brought much more information to our fingertips, including this very post. But between an information war in Europe and a misread Facebook comment, so much digital content is having an outsized impact on the way things go in what we call the meat space, formerly known as real life. No doubt, it's because we fall prey to our notifications, taking them to be representative of reality. And many writers are leveraging this fact to determine the content they create, writing for maximum impact on traffic when writing ought to be because something needs to be written.

I've always said, "You can make a lot of money as a used car salesman – but then you're a used car salesman." Such is the case for any hack whose priorities are clicks over quality. The now-defunct Buzzfeed's Pulitzer Prized reporting is not as famous as their pedaled listicles looking for eyeballs on ads rather than inviting you to discover something or think differently. A recent top story while writing this piece was a trash bin of 21 shocking things about the Duggars. A far cry from in-depth investigative journalism exposing human rights abuses against Muslims in China. Writing for search engines or decision engines is tempting because people like to be liked, but writing for writing's sake is much harder.

Sometimes when I write, I picture myself in a Karate chopping fight spree like a scene out of Kill Bill. For several moments, I’m swinging and kicking in what seems like overdone and mostly pointless moves until suddenly comes the big slice of the samurai sword. Bam! I hit you with the closing line, except it doesn’t kill you. It just sets you up for the next one.

Other times I'm just pounding my meat hands against an expensive collection of buttons, hoping something worthwhile comes out on the other side. But that’s what a slow news week will do to you. Or Covid Brain. Bourbon Brain can do the same to words, depending on which glass you're on. Usually, it helps with the first and hurts with the last.