Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gimme Back My Bullets

You see, even when this column doesn’t make it to
print in The Batesville Guard, I still publish it on my
blog (, and occasionally on 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!”


© 2009, Rick Baber


Anonymous said...

Yes, we read about the Batesville Chamber of Commerce's twitter fiasco. We doubt that this column will be published in the paper either. Certainly you do realize that the CofC is made up of the businesses that buy advertising in the newspaper! It is funny just the same. Thanks.

ClaytonC said...

Rick can you provide a link to what you read about BV C of C?

Anonymous said...

Not being from Batesville I had no idea what you were referring to in your article so I googled it. Interesting result found on "politicker" website, which I would place a link to here if I knew how.
That probably won't work but it can be cut and pasted into the address bar and I think it will get interested parties to the story.
Surely the local paper there has a responsibility to report this kind of inappropriate behavior.

Rick Baber said...

Links are working now. I didn't remember where to find it but got a little help from the Hammer. Thanx Hammer.

Rick Baber said...

I wasn't slamming the paper for not running my previous column. Truth is, I don't really know whether they ran it or not. Just trying to find a humorous entry to the CofC story. If it came across that way, my bad. I think the Batesville Guard is one of (OK THE) best paper in the state.

Anonymous said...

Rick I think you have my email address. Can you put me on that cabal list?

Anonymous said...

So the city business leaders want the president to fail? When you drive through Batesville and see what a boomtown it is (not), you can understand that (not). Then again not too many people drive through Batesville.

Anonymous said...

who the hell cares what the batesvilla arkansas chamber of commerce does its not like just because they had a tweet wanting nobama to fail it will make any difference in how he does. nobody cares or even knows where batesvilla arkansas is but theres lots of real americans all over the country who agree with them.

Anonymous said...

Where's "Batesvilla"?

Anonymous said...

Batesvilla, thats funny.
Would make a good name for the old White River Monster.

Anonymous said...

Thinking about putting up a "we hope batesvilla fails" site. Anybody interested?

Anonymous said...

You sir, act as if the Chamber of Commerce is some sort of government agency, and it is not. The members and leadership of the Chamber has every right to express any political opinion they see fit. Liberals are all for freedom of expression when they agree with it, but not so when they don't. As far as your column - I read it below- not being published in the paper in BATESVILLE, ARKANSAS, who cares really? I have been visiting Arkansas for nearly 30 years, every year or so, and have never even been to Batesville. You probably have more people, like me, stumbling across your little liberal blog here than would even read the paper in that town. But then again there is nothing different in your liberal ramblings than one can read in almost any paper across the country so why bother?

Rick Baber said...

Let's see...
Otis. I can't find an E for you. Email me.
Ya'll Batesville bashers: that's my home town you're talkin' 'bout. It may not be on the beaten path, but it's a way cool town. So eat me.

Anonymous said...

Rick have you seen the latest of the Batesville Guard online? Looks like they are going to charge us to read any part of the paper now.

Rick Baber said...

Saw it.
What can I say, dude?
It's their paper.

Voices of Health Care said...

Yeah, how do we get on the cabal list? Sounds fun.

Rick Baber said...

Do I have your e-mail address?
Send it to me and you're on the list. Thanx for your interest!