Friday, March 2, 2012

The Dangers Of The Blogging Life

I don’t have many opinions about either Andrew Breitbart or Andrew Sullivan. Breitbart was just another conservative sewer dweller, yet one more unpleasant emanation from the right-wing media complex. They are as numerous, and interchangeable, as so many flies swarming around the carcass of a dead ox. The special skill that propelled him to fame seems to have been doctoring videos in order to rat-fuck liberals. I’m not cheering his legacy. It’s too bad he died, and it’s too bad he made his fortune ruining other people’s lives.

Sullivan is okay, although I’ll never understand why an openly gay man would be both a Republican and a practising Catholic. Nevertheless, this Sullivan post about Breitbart’s death is forcing me to call bullshit:

In the new 24/7 mediaverse, in a brutal, unending culture war, with the web unleashed and news and opinion flashing every few seconds, you can very easily lose yourself, and forget how and why you got here in the first place. There have been times writing and editing this blog on that kind of insane schedule for more than a decade when I have wondered who this new frantic way of life would kill first. I do not doubt that Andrew tried to keep a balance, and stay healthy, but like the rest of us, became consumed with and overwhelmed by this twittering, unending bloghorreic chatter. It takes a much bigger physical, emotional and spiritual toll than most realize, and I’ve spent some time over the years worrying it could destroy me. Here I am, after all, at 9.30 pm, still blogging, having just filed another column, and checking the traffic stats, and glancing feverishly at every new item at Memeorandum.

Human beings were not created for that kind of constant unending stress, and the one thing you can say about Andrew is that he had fewer boundaries than others. He took it all so seriously, almost manically, in the end. The fight was everything. He felt. His anger was not feigned. He wanted to bleed and show the world the wounds. He wanted to scream. And he often did. And when you are on that much, and angry to that extent, and absorbed with that kind of constant mania, and obviously needing more and more validation, and on the online and real stage all the time, day and night, weekends and weekdays ... well, it’s a frightening and dangerous way to live in the end.

Constant unending stress? Brutal? Is that supposed to be funny? Try hanging sheet rock for a living, Chauncey, or painting, or digging a trench, or crawling under a house or in a sewer, or working in a busy kitchen, or driving a truck. Try that, and then get back to me about the stress of being a professional blogger, okay?

Oh yeah, don’t get injured on the job. Chances are you won’t have insurance. But if you do, one of the first things that is likely to happen is that you will be ordered to pee in a cup. If any traces of illegal drugs are in your blood stream, bye-bye insurance claim, and probably bye-bye job as well.

Then you’re unemployed, injured and stuck with a big fat medical bill, and your only consolation will be the pleasure of hearing tireless, deeply motivated millionaire conservative crusaders like Breitbart shrieking that you are lazy, and that unemployment insurance, welfare, food stamps, and universal health care are forms of socialism that must be denied to Americans at all costs.

By the way, when you’re on the job site, say something about personal “boundaries” and see what happens. Complain about what an “emotional toll” it takes writing on Twitter all day. I dare you.

The stressful life professional bloggers! Please, just give me a break.

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