Monday, January 21, 2008

Woodlief Again

In my mind, you can only quote or reference the work of some other writer so many times before readers begin either to suspect you're besotted with the oft-quoted mentor, or that you haven't a solitary thought or idea that you can claim wholly as your own.

Or, perhaps it simply means the quoted writer (in this case, the venerable Tony Woodlief, who's popping up here oftener and oftener) has leaped that final hurdle upon which we, the writing masses, all set our sights. That hurdle is a huge one, but one which, when cleared, bridges the vast divide between the world that I (as a writer), along with most other writers out here in the blogosphere, occupy, and that lofty and respected realm of the truly legitimate, and much-read, writers. My world is one in which the time I spend writing a piece, I suspect, generally exceeds the sum-total time spent by all of you, my dear readers, actually reading it (particularly when it's as complex, and mind-numbing as this one). That other world--the one that I've got my sights set on, and which is, I think, now occupied by Mr. Woodlief--is one where we, the multitude of faithful readers, await each new word with bated breath and eager anticipation; and each piece is treasured, almost as a work of art, something to gaze on and ponder as a thing of beauty.

But I digress.

I don't know how I missed it, but a week or so ago Mr. Woodlief posted, over at Sand in the Gears, an utterly fantastic essay that perfectly describes today's political climate-and in doing so, exposes why so many of us can scarcely listen to, or watch, more than five minutes of political diatribe on the news without turning the dial to TBN or public broadcasting's special on "The Role of the Dulcimer in 19th Century Ozark Folk Music."

I was talking to a few teenagers the other day about the upcoming elections. One is not yet old enough to vote, but will be by the November General Election. She was excited about voting, and was asking who I intended on voting for, and what I thought of Hillary and Obama and Giuliani. She said that she thought she was a moderate, based on some survey she'd taken in a class at school (although, I can't see how; she's the most idealistic, "the-world-is-entirely-black-and-white", person I know. In my experience, people like that can't ever seem to find any middle ground). But the thing that amazed me is that she, having never before voted, having had little or no personal experience in politics, or with the repulsive wrangling of politicians, knew how she was supposed to act. She had all the facial expressions and cynical statements down pat. We talked about political stances, and particular platforms of various candidates, and she did plenty of eye-rolling, and made the appropriate sarcastic comments--all intended to convey an overwhelming distrust of, and general dissatisfaction with, politicians and their ilk.

How is it that a seventeen year-old teenager, who's had no political interaction whatsoever, intuitively understands that our political process is a joke, nothing to be proud of, something to be cynical about? That's the sad truth that Woodlief depicts so well in his post.

Go over and read it. It's thought provoking (if nothing else); and if my recent posting is all the mental nourishment you're getting of late, you need a little pick-me-up!

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