Thursday, April 28, 2005

Reveler Without A Cause

It was during the 2004 presidential campaign when I first heard the term “blogging”. Apparently, both the Democrats and the Republicans were doing an awful lot of it at the time and it was supposedly having a significant impact upon the race to the White House. As I started hearing more about blogging, I found my interest was increasingly piqued and I decided to do a small amount of research into the emerging trend, trying to discover whether or not this was something I could have some fun at. I then found out that blogging had absolutely nothing to do with a hallucinogenic mixture of vintage industrial solvents inhaled out of a brown paper bag. Despite my initial disappointment, I continued looking into the phenomena.

What I eventually found was a very unique technological tool, something that had the potential to revolutionize the news media and fundamentally change the way information was presented to the public. In addition to being a means that could instantaneously transmit firsthand accounts of unfolding events directly to consumers without it being first subjected to editorial filters, it also could serve as an effective balance to the biased reporting that has been the staple of informational dissemination since the invention of the printing press. In short, it could serve as a means of keeping the network news juggernauts honest. If they had the misfortune of reporting something suspect, there were millions of people waiting in the wings equipped with the internet, the most powerful means of conducting research the world has ever seen. When placed in the hands of the technologically savant, the internet can help one present a convincing argument contrary to virtually any position within a matter a minutes and instantly transmit it to millions of readers with the single click of a mouse. On the flip side, in the hands of a cyber-mongoloid it just serves as a method of accessing naughty pictures of college coeds without taking the risk of running into his pastor in the parking lot of an adult bookstore with his arms overflowing with prodigal amounts of lesbian prison porn.

In November of 2004, the company that I work for lowered the boom on my department. Responding to budget issues, management decided to trim the Research and Development budget and virtually eliminated the activity in North America. When the dust settled, there were only three of us left that still had jobs. I went out that night, put away enough tequila to kill a Kennedy and decided to try to strike out on a venture that I could earn some extra cash at. I thought I’d give blogging a try. Over that weekend, I pounded out my first entry and then, a few weeks later when I figured out how to start a blog, launched The JEP Report into cyberspace.

The JEP Report has managed to attract a small following and has garnered some modest recognition but has yet to develop any large amount of web traffic. One reason for this I believe is the fact that The JEP Report is updated very infrequently, a natural consequence of filling a blog with epic entries that take forever to write. I would like to update The JEP Report at least once a day but with the demands of my job and my family, I just can not manage to pound out a miniature edition of War and Peace every twenty-four hours. In addition to time, I am quite susceptible to writer’s block. Alcohol is a great cure for this, but when I get busy and start neglecting my drinking, my writing suffers. It is not that I have a shortage of material. If I ever exhaust my comprehensive repertoire of sea stories, it’ll only take the consumption of a couple bottles of tequila and a handful of Ex-Lax tablets to fabricate some more. Unfortunately, I believe that would get awfully repetitive after a while, not to mention that it would probably wreak holy havoc upon my digestive tract. I decided I needed a cause to champion to break up the epics and give me a means to post more often.

That cause seemed to drop from heaven and fall into my lap earlier this month when Brian C. Anderson, sent me a copy of his latest book. This book, South Park Conservatives, explained how the traditional media, a stalwart bastion of liberal hyperbole since the Vietnam era, has been recently upended by the emergence of conservative talk radio, Fox News and the internet. After reading Mr. Anderson’s book I suspected that I may be a member of the “South Park Conservative” demographic and, succumbing to ideological hypochondria, set off into some more research so that I could perform a somewhat informed political diagnosis of my doctrinal fortitude. I needed to discover what one would consider to be a normal South Park Conservative. This was by no means an easy task since the normal South Park Conservative is decidedly abnormal. There is really no organized “South Park Conservative” movement, no political platform, no spokesperson, no leader and not really even any clear consensus on what a South Park Conservative is. The best term I could come up with to describe the demographic as I see it, would be to steal a phrase from Saturday Night Live alumnus Dana Carvey, who attributes his political leanings to be those of a “radical centrist”. So, after trying to research the trend on my own, I decided the SPCs were more of a demographic description than a movement and I had to look for something else to advocate.

Now, taking up a cause is something that should not be done lightly. It is an important decision, one that demands a lot of thought and effort. I did not want to rush into anything so, as I do with most of the important choices I have ever made in my life, I decided to drink on it. The creative juices always seem to flow so much better over the course of a dozen bottles of Moosehead beer and a quarter fifth of Jose Cuervo’s magical elixir from Jalisco. Of course, my cause came to me just as an imminent tequila coma started rearing its ugly head but fortunately, I managed to write it down on a bar napkin before blacking out. Unfortunately, it was written in handwriting of a quality that could easily have been bested by a Bic wielding rhesus monkey with cerebral palsy and, with my short term memory ravaged by the alcoholic onslaught of the night before, it was forever lost along with the recollection of how I got home that night and who the contemptible bastard was that parked my car on the front porch.

The next day I nursed my hangover and tried to figure out what movement I could trumpet. I tried to find something I could get behind with a passion (besides Angelina Jolie), and follow through. Since Prohibition had been repealed over seventy years ago, taking that bull by the horns would have been a moot point. I considered taking on abortion but my feelings on the issue are too conflicted. On one hand, I am absolutely horrified by the practice yet on the other, I don’t want to outlaw any tool that could be used to keep Michael Moore, Al Franken, Janeanne Garafalo or Susan Sarandon from producing more people larvae either. I briefly flirted with gun rights, but my distaste for sobriety during my off-work hours would have made hands-on research of this issue a little more hazardous than I was comfortable with. I was also far too wishy-washy on the subject of same-sex unions. Though I can not think of anything more revolting than the sight of two men feeling each other up in a grungy hotel room, I would probably fork out twenty-five bucks to watch two women doing the same thing on pay-per-view if my wife wasn’t monitoring the damn cable bill so closely.

I really needed to figure out what I was really for and what I was really against. I decided to start out by making a list about what I was really for. Inside of five minutes I had written down “Democracy”, “Capitalism”, “Equality”, “Prosperity” and “Freedom of Expression”. These were pretty broad concepts and could be grouped under the entirely broader category of “Western Culture”. I liked the sound of that. It sounded curt and common and very politically incorrect. So politically incorrect in fact that it almost had a fascist ring to it. “JEP – An Unrepentant Advocate of Western Culture”. I decided to roll with that.

Now, how do I go about championing the cause of western culture? By contradicting the rhetoric out there that decries it. The are some very vocal people of the far left, and for that matter the European mainstream, that believe our culture to be morally bankrupt, enthusiastically exploitative, without conscience and beyond redemption (funny, I always thought that my obituary would read something like that). I would like to be one of many to stand up and tell them they are wrong. We’ve got the best thing going on the planet and if you can’t believe that, look at where the world’s population is going. If the Taliban’s Afghanistan really was an Islamic paradise, I’m sure that the hordes of the world’s dispossessed would have been streaming through the Khyber Pass in search of peace and prosperity instead of crossing over, under, across and through the Rio Grande in pursuit of it.

So, if I am going to be for western culture, what am I against? Well, I guess it would have to be those who threaten the sacred bastions of western culture. The tee-totaling terrorist travesty of al Qaeda would be at the top of the list. That third runner up in the Asian Elvis impersonation exhibition that currently presides over North Korea would be a close second. The Baathist brigands battering Baghdad would probably come in third. The leftist losers that help them because of sympathy for their cause, to exploit an opportunity to enhance their prestige or to line their own pockets, fourth. Membership of this group would include the UN, the traditional news outlets that keep trumpeting our “lost” cause in Iraq, key faculty members of the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of Colorado, the foreign policy of France and Germany and fantasy filmmaker Michael Moore. I’m also against Celine Dion, but I am going to leave her alone for now. Granted, I doubt that Ms. Dion takes her ideological cues from Osama bin Laden but if the UN ever passes a resolution that includes music as a Weapon of Mass Destruction, I hope to see Hans Blix parachuting into Las Vegas to throw down a choke hold on that harmonically heinous harpy inside of thirty minutes.

With my cause and my adversaries now determined, how am I going to translate it into more web traffic? Well, to be honest, I haven’t figured that out yet. I guess I will just have to drink about it.

Post Note: I apologize about the travesty posted above. This is an example of just sitting down in front of the computer and typing the first thing that comes to mind. It is all over the place from a subject matter standpoint and the result of what can happen when a writer is allowed to publish with the moderating influence of an editor. Oh well, it was the best I could come up with having only a half an hour of free time and I guess that’s just one of the things that makes the blogosphere what it is. On the bright side, no one charged you to read it.


Blogger Sacto Ritch said...

Yes no one charged me to read it,but I want my 5 minutes back! Don't make me come out there and drink you under a table and have my way with you. I will be expecting an envelope with my five minutes within 6 to 10 working days.
Sadly I followed your rantings quite well, agreeing as usual, with most, if not all if it.
I particularly admire your abiblity to put words together that start with the same letter. What's your record? 6,7 words. Absolutely brilliant. BRAVO my friend.
Keep up the good work James.

2:43 PM  
Blogger JEP said...

Thank you sir. You're my favorite evil minion. As for all the words with the same letter, well someone recently called me An Astoundingly Articulate Alliteration Architect.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Sacto Ritch said...

Allright asshole!

1:06 AM  

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