One thing I worry about is reining some of the more unusual elements of my sensibility. Take today's piece on fatherlessness. I loved it, for three primary reasons. For one I thought it was really funny, for another I did a really good job of skewering a certain type of conservative fluff piece about family values. Conservatives are so quick to blame poor people for being poor and ignore statistics that show that the poor are unlikely to be able to rise above their economic station even if they work hard, but they are quick to blame the world's ills on absent fathers and feminists who promote divorce. Can't have it both ways fellows, either station in life is destiny or it isn't, you can't blame poor people for not succeeding and then blame single mothers for wrecking their children's lives. Can't get them coming and going. The third reason is because it was edgy to the point of discomfort. I know that there are people out there who will be offended by it or feel uncomfortable being amused, and I like that because I think that in forcing people to confront such discomfort you make them re-evaluate their attitudes. As the piece tapers away from even the trappings of sophistication towards the end I feel like it effectively demonstrates contempt for such frat boy comments even as it exploits them for their humor. It's that sort of tension that I think makes for good provocative writing.
Of course I don't know how clearly that comes through or how to make it more obvious without making it...obvious, but it's what I really like to do. I like to do it even more through fiction, though that adds yet another level of obfuscation.
Still I have a lot of hope for the future, at least longterm. I'm not quite at the "King Kong ain't got NOTHING on me" stage of confidence that I really need, but I'm at least at "The Stay Pufft Marshmallow man has only a FEW things on me...mostly size and deliciousness." So that's something, right?
I love this picture because I think you can see so much of who I am now in it. The ridiculous headband and hair combo aside, if you look at the expression and body language they're different from almost every photo I've seen of kids that age. I look almost sardonic, like I'm rebelling against the very notion of an "Oh aren't you such a cute kid" picture, and my body position is of someone much older. I was a precocious kid and this shows it so clearly, but not in a happy young geek way. Portrait of the artist as an angry young 2nd grader.