Monday, August 11, 2014

Knowing Your Limitations

Fellow blogger, fellow pentagenerian and fellow Weblog Award Winner Andrew Sullivan is taking another long vacation:
It’s a particularly dire moment in the world to take a vacation. But when recently would have been a better one? So I’m sticking to plans and taking a real break from the blog this August. It’s been an exhilarating but utterly draining couple of years and I need a real break from the grid’s persistent pounding to get some balance and perspective and rest. I have a couple of chores to finish – including a transcript of a phone-call debate with Sam Harris over Israel-Palestine which we’ll be posting soon – but thereafter, I won’t be blogging until after the weekend after Labor Day. I hope you’ll indulge me this time away. It’s hard to explain exactly how intensely draining blogging every day for months on end can be. And I’m now 51. Time, I’ve decided, to take a little better care of myself – so I can do this job without the constant tinge of exhaustion and stress.
I'm slightly older than Mr. Sullivan, and have been blogging for the last ten years pretty much every day (and podcasting every week for four years) without a vacation.  That said, my rule about vacations generally is, never begrudge anyone their downtime.  Fact is, I envy him, as well as Brother Charles Pierce and anyone else who can leave for a couple of weeks or a month and come back to an enterprise that is large enough and well-staffed enough to continue running smoothly in their absence and not evaporate into the pellucid ether.

However I do have one suggestion for Mr, Sullivan about how to spend some of his vacation time:  Get the hell out of your D.C./NYC/P-town bubble and visit America.

Roll downs some of William Least Heat Moon's Blue Highways and get to know the country about which you have been loudly opining for the last 30 years.  Go to a few little churches -- especially black churches -- in a few little towns.  Hang out and talk to the old men who remember when the plant was open. Sit in on some junior high school classes and chat with the teachers.  Get to a county fair before the weather changes.  Attend a Tea Party meeting.   Go to a gun range.  Find out what the Rotarians in town are up to, and who is running for sheriff, and who thinks he'd be a terrible choice.  Lay your head down at a Route 66 motel that was been left behind by the interstate system but has been lovingly restored. Have lunch at a place renowned for its loose meat sandwiches.

In short, go discover America and report back on what you find.

I guarantee you'll be amazed, and the Beltway will still be there when you get back, just as rank in its sweat of an enseamèd bed and stewed in corruption as when you left it.

UPDATE:  Big prize to reader D. for pointing out the what should have been the obvious title of this post all along:


dinthebeast said...

I read that he was going to Burning Man. Maybe that will snap him out of it. More likely is that what my friends say is true; Burning Man is dead.

-Doug in Oakland

Redhand said...

Blue Highways is a classic. Glad to hear you know of it.

D. said...

Sullivan's Travels?

(He doesn't have the stones. Really. Rolling or otherwise.)

Kathleen said...


I was just thinking about that book yesterday. My mother recommended it to me. It is indeed a classic. And I have a huge crush on Joel McCrea. I love this movie.

Also, too, my Geezer Eyes appreciate the readable WV's.

Anonymous said...

A hard-working union member wants time off in August and he's a European Socialist; a Conservative blogger takes time off in August and he's recharging the ol' batteries.

tmk said...

...Vhat iss zis 'Wackashun' he iss spikink off?


Cliff said...

including a transcript of a phone-call debate with Sam Harris

Boy howdy. Throw in a few burning splinters under the fingernails and my evening will be set.

Jado said...

I am constantly amazed by your optimism in thinking that these willful charlatans would ever be willing to do what you suggest. The only way i can see someone like Sullivan doing something like that and then HONESTLY reporting on it is if his monetary relationship changed to the point where it is to his financial advantage to shift.

There is no moral center to shift. No conscience, no secret still voice to listen to, no chance of a change of a non-existent heart. Sullivan is a fully-formed homunculus, dancing to the tune played by his masters, with never an idea to do different.

The first step to change is to WANT to change. Sullivan's comfortable housing arrangement and restaurant reservations will never allow that desire to surface.

RockDots said...

"Blue Highways" is also celebrated in an awesome song by Graham Parker: