Saturday, April 14, 2018

Era of Contempt, III


     Being creative is hard. Especially over time. To hold readers' interest, to be both recognizable and fresh. Expectations rise, if you're good, and then have to be met. Or, inevitably, not met. Lurking in the shadows is that enemy of continued excellence, Regression to the Mean—the tendency for exceptional performance to be followed by more humble results, skewing toward the average, toward not the outstanding, but what people usually do on any given day.
     So as promising as it was to receive another letter from Alan P. Leonard, I should have seen what was coming. 
     His first letter, defending our "wonderful president" and damning me was a masterpiece of unintentional humor, among the dozen most popular posts ever to appear on this blog, between its comic misspellings—"a wessel like you"— and its lashing out at Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. Dozens of readers commented.
     The second letter, with its bold, sex panic opening line—"Are you one of those transgender people I've heard about"— didn't rate quite as high, but still was more popular than most anything I could write. It had a certain grandeur that demanded admiration.
     To be honest, I thought my Tinley Park correspondent had run his course. It was too much to expect a steady stream of crazed clickbait from Mr. Leonard.  
     Then this third letter arrived. I opened it with excitement, then felt ... well, let down. I mean, the misspellings are there—my name, "your resent articles"—but it somehow lacked the dynamic tone of the previous two offerings. It was flat, limp, lifeless. To be honest, I at first decided not to post it at all, that it was not up to my standards for risible contemptuous reader emails.
    But I couldn't throw it away either. It lingered in my briefcase, and now that a few weeks have passed, and no further letters, I feel obligated to end this as a triptych, and share his swan song, the last dinosaur, the end of an era.
    I'll let you be the judge. Is this up to his high standards for nitwittery? The stationery alone merits attention. Still ... am I slumming sharing it? To be honest, I looked at the current national scene, the White House dissolving into chaos, the investigative net closing around the president, and had nothing whatsoever to add to the chorus of critique. I'm a spectator like everyone else, shorn of insight, just waiting in a mental crouch for the next development.
     So, in the meantime, why not Mr. Leonard? As well him as another, to paraphrase Molly Bloom. So yes I said yes I will yes, and put your hands together, one last time.


   

24 comments:

  1. Some of world's great authors have only had one novel in them. Rather than denigrate Mr. Leonard for his feeble attempts to regain the summit, we should thank him for his original gift of "The Letter". Mr. Leonard, you shan't be forgotten.

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  2. I'm wondering if that's really a lady writing, using a guys name.

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  3. I like Alan's delightful new stationery. My compliments to him for that.

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  4. It seems to illustrate how low the art of the insult has fallen, at least in the hands of the semi-literate. But then, it's not, it seems, in the American gift. Quotable insults are mostly British. One thinks of the 20th Century master of the form, Evelyn Waugh, upon hearing that Winston Churchill's heartily disliked son Randolph had endured the removal of a non-malignant tumor wrote, "It must be accounted a triumph of modern medical science that they were able to locate the only non-malignant part of Randolph and remove it."

    Tom

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  5. Alan and Don -- bonded forever in their penchant for wild name-calling and irrational passion. I disagree with Neil -- this letter lives up to the high standard of Mr. Leonard's previous messterpieces.

    john

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  6. I had to stop reading for a moment and revisit the irony of my favorite snippet: "funchioning brain". The force is strong with this one.

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  7. I always find it interesting when someone questions the mental capacity of the person they're disparaging when clearly their own mental capacity is in question.

    I guess to ramble on and on in one single incoherent paragraph in order to fill a page(s) is a step up from professional journalism to this guy.

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  8. I found it fascinating that he can spell 'colleagues' correctly, but misspelled 'recent' as 'resent'.
    But then, I wonder about his 'funchioning brain'!

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  9. Take heart, Mr. S...the "real journalists" have better things to do than spinning in their graves. Guys like Royko are looking down over your shoulder on a "dayly bases" and laughing at yet another schmo who's plainly guilty of "mopery with intent to gawk." Or perhaps they're out on their "undockumented" boats, fishing on some heavenly sea.

    Has this guy lost his magic touch yet? Hell, no. He probably never will. Thanks for today's chuckle.

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  10. I appreciate the relative brevity of this iteration of the writer's mania. He has one point to make -- you are not a journalist -- which is patently, laughably false, so there's really no need to waste any more pages of his wife's flowery stationery. Some other lies championed by his comrades: "Obama is not an American" and "Trump's inaugural crowd was the largest in history" and "He's gonna drain the swamp," -- tenets of a new faith, "alternative facts" of the most easily disproved kind.

    One constantly wonders -- who *are* the 40% among us who still unfailing support "our wonderful president?" This note certainly demonstrates the level of insight and critical analysis that at least some of them are utilizing, which I suppose is helpful, in a sense. It at least makes clear, once again, that there's no point in trying to reason with many of them.

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  11. Why is someone's ability to spell so important when you dissagree with someone?

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    1. Among other reasons, it can serve as an indicator of a person's intelligence, education, precision of thought, and/or attention to detail. But you're certainly correct that we're much less likely to mention it if we find someone's ideas mesh with ours!

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    2. inability can show that your not exactly the sharpest nife in the drawer

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    3. Ha! Missed your example at first glance. Well played, sir (?).

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    4. "Important" tips your hand FME. (Well, "FME" tips your hand). None of this is "important." It's just sort of ironic to castigate someone for being unprintworthy while making howling basic spelling errors. Well, not ironic to YOU, of course, because you kinda agree with him. But to people who are not you, a concept you should take more time trying to wrap your head around.

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  12. I think we have all missed the point, AP is punking you Neil. My Canadian neighbor in Florida does not get the facetious or sarcastic, so I have learned to eliminate them in his presence. Unlike his previous missives, this one shows more craft while the previous ones were kind of scatterbrained, which obscured the joke. In a short piece he manages to oversell his premise by repetition and it stands out clearer than in his delusional attempts. He probably is nuts, but I liked this one. Keep 'em coming Allen!

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  13. JP, I don't think he's nuts. I think he's just a constipated, cantankerous old crank, dictating his missives to a caregiver who can't spell. He may not even know about the frilly stationary.

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  14. It's also interesting that while we find Mr Leonard amusing for the most part, JerryB and his impeccably written musings irritated most of us immensely.

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    1. Oh Wendy, with all respect, "impeccably written" my butt. He hijacked thread after thread, rambling about nothing and making ridiculous points (Trump is a strategic genius!) with the utmost condescension. Neil did us all a big favor by banning him.

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    2. I realize that my engaging with him was about the only thing close to as irritating to you folks as his comments were, in the first place. Gotta say, though, the latest ABC poll says "Fifty-three percent of whites also say they approve of Trump’s job performance." While I'm completely amazed and disgusted by that, Jerry's most recent foray into the EGD comment threads at least gives me a bit more of a handle on how it's possible. With all we know about him from the years at Change of Subject, I'd still *never* have believed he'd be as contented a passenger on the Trump train as he seemed to be.

      Equally annoying, back in the day, was batting heads against Greg J. Jerry would at least give an inch, occasionally. Greg seemed to enjoy staking out the most outrageous position on a topic and then never conceding anything. But the reason I mention him is that, years ago, his continual refrain was about the divide between the two sides in America -- that it was much deeper than we lefties realized and that the arguments that we thought were reasonable and compelling were not resonating at all with the people he knew. I thought at the time that he was misguided and/or exaggerating. I see now that, perish the thought, he was right. About that, anyway.

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    3. Scribe, you've missed my point. I was not complimenting JB"S content, but his grammar and writing style. We laugh off Leonard's ignorance and poor writing skills, but who is more dangerous? He and his ilk, who follow Trump because he's exactly what their delusions support, a leader composed of ignorance and delusions. He's far more dangerous than the JerryBs of this world.

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  15. It would be funnier if this guy weren’t a distillation of nearly half of the electorate...

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