You see, even when this column doesn’t make it to
print in The Batesville Guard, I still publish it on my
blog (rickbaber.com), and occasionally on
ArkansasTonight.com. And when I e-mail it out to
the editors, there’s a massive “cc” to a worldwide
cabal of very important people, called my “Focus Group”.
Some of these are of the conservative persuasion, and,
since they haven’t asked me to stop, I include them
just to get back at the voices in my head, and on the radio.
Mostly on the radio. So I get a degree of feedback.
And what that feedback is telling me is that I was just too
… abrasive with the last column, and that’s why it didn’t make it to the paper.
At first, I just thought that, with so many talented writers at The Guard, including some very good new ones, they simply didn’t have room for it. But then, the e-mails and Facebook comments started coming in, and I realized that, maybe, I had gone over the line in my criticism of “conservatives”, indicating that they were all pretty much like that Rush Limbaugh. And then I read about Batesville’s own little cabal down at the Chamber of Commerce. Who knew?
Now, I realize that the newspaper is a business and they, unlike myself, cannot afford to publish my left-wing hippie ramblings just to piss (newspaper euphemism replaced) people off for the sake of perpetuating a conversation that many people would just as soon had never been started. And I know that not everybody is a news and political junkie like I am. But, dammit , I don’t start this stuff, I just respond in print to the bullshit I force myself to listen to. At least it keeps me from climbing up on my roof and shouting it all over northwest Arkansas with a bullhorn. I once knew a guy who got arrested for that.
Maybe I picked the wrong medium and the wrong political affiliation. I mean, you occasionally hear people arguing points with the conservative talking heads, when they can get a word in edgewise, but you hardly ever hear anybody chastising them for being unfair, or too mean. Isn’t that what they’re there for? I thought I was supposed to be expressing my own opinions here. And truth is that I have a very low opinion of some people and some platforms. That doesn’t make my opinion right. But it does make it mine. That’s why they call them “opinions”. I’m just an old writer with a keyboard in my smoky office at home – a radio behind me, and a 13” TV up on the shelf next to my framed John Lennon “New York City” poster, with CNN on all day and all night. Usually with my white cat sitting up here on the desk beside my keyboard, like a Barn Owl. It’s not like I’m in charge of, I don’t know, the Chamber of Commerce or something.
But still, I fully understand that it isn’t my paper and I don’t have any say-so about what goes in it, or when. I’m just thinking “How ‘bout a little something, you know, for the effort?”. Like maybe a short statement: “Rick Baber’s column will not be published this week because he was too mean.”
Then, at least, those of ya’ll that want to read it because you agree – as well as those who want to scold me for being such a jerk – can come on over to my blog and tell me what an outstanding job I’m doing balancing the radical radio right. Or, you can tell me where to go.
I don’t care which. I’m an insecure liberal who craves the attention.
Sure, I could mellow out and watch Wheel of Fortune & Oprah, and listen to the same old songs over & over on the classic rock radio station, and tell you cute stories about my cats. But, ultimately, I would get to the parts about the cats being radical liberals and then go on to tell you that my granddog is not only liberal, but also black, and we’d be back to square one, wouldn’t we?
Can’t help it, I guess. I tried the peace & love can’t-we-all-get-along thing for a while, but it just didn’t work for me.
So, to those of you I continue to anger with my rants, let me say that I know I should apologize. And to my editors, let me say “Thank you for the times you have allowed me to express my opinions in your fine newspaper, knowing you’re going to catch it from some of your readers.”
To the Batesville Chamber of Commerce: “Dudes!”
To the rest of you: THE VIEWS AND OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS COLUMN DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THOSE OF THIS PUBLICATION OR ITS MANAGEMENT.
© 2009, Rick Baber