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Post Dispatch

This week’s mailbag has been very light. I have to say, I’m worried that people don’t care about me anymore. After all, I’ve written about my doubts on the human origin of global warming and got nothing. No one even bothered to call me an idiot or wacko. I outlined my plan to change the way books are marketed in the USofA and no one called me pretentious or a “know-it-all”.

The internet just isn’t what it used to be.

So I’m going to reach back a bit and respond to an interesting letter from a piece I did on what I think the real war is all about, namely the War to Defend the Dollar:

The letter starts out well enough for the internet, but becomes very insightful:

On your story about the war being really about the dollar; Why would you believe that you know this and no one else does? I haven’t seen anyone else talk about this, so how could some guy come up with it. It doesn’t make sense. You need more proof and you need to convince someone who knows about these things. Until then, I can’t buy it. There are obviously forces at work here that we don’t understand yet, but there’s no reason to think you came up with the right answer on your own.

I like this for several reasons. First of all, it’s only mildly insulting – more on the “challenging” end of things. More importantly, it makes a really good point. Who the Hell am I?

I’m not going to answer the question, or more precisely I will unask it. There’s no reason to believe anything you see in the blog world. We’re just stating our take on stuff, and you can buy what you want. What this gets to, however, is the new standard of “journalism” which is really the old standard of journalism.

Start with the names of newspapers. We have many that are the Post or the Dispatch. Why is that? Because most of what they printed were letters that were addressed to a wider audience – but still very much in letter form. They laid out observations and reason for the readers to decide for themselves. Between this and gossip, the beginnings of this new thing called “Freedom” rose in colonial America.

Over time, things changed. Most of us grew up with “objective” journalism. Newspapers, as we knew them, reported The Truth™. There wasn’t supposed to be much room for doubt. Well, we all had a few, but the paper was supposed to be as accurate as possible, covering everything from both sides. There are only two sides, you know.

The blog world is full of people like me. I read stuff in papers, but I know they have missed out on something. There’s a story behind what I’m reading that you have to pick up between the lines. Some of my attitude comes from my education in the wiles of the Miami Herald, a great paper that reads like a Marquez novel on a good day and a Hiaasen novel most days. The Herald has never been shy about writing so that the readers can make up their own minds.

Am I always right about stuff? I doubt it. There’s no way I can be 100% right about policy towards Iraq. I know that. Despite the letters that I get which tell me I must think I’m better than anyone, I’m trying to get your opinion back out. The best way to do that is to throw out mine. Hopefully, we all walk away thinking in ways we might not have before.

I write this stuff because this is what I enjoy talking to strangers about. I love nothing more than sitting in a bar and talking to someone I’ll never see again about their take on the world. That and a few stories really make an evening for me. No, I don’t pick up women that way, and no, I’m not trying to. But I learned long ago that the best way to draw ideas out of people is to challenge them just a little bit.

If I’ve challenged you a little bit, or I went off the deep end and you think I’m a nut, write to me as wabbitoid47(at)yahoo.com

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