Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Whither Jon Swift?

Although I have often said that a conservative never apologizes, I'm afraid I must break this rule on this one occasion to apologize to my dear readers for my recent unexplained absence from the blogosphere. I hope you will find it in your hearts to forgive me for worrying some of you needlessly.

I started this modest blog more than two years ago for the same reason everyone starts a blog: to become fabulously wealthy. But I also intended it to be a voice for the rarely heard reasonable conservative point of view. Recently, however, I had begun to wonder if I am entirely too reasonable for the blogosphere. It seems that the blogosphere has become more unreasonable than ever and I began to despair that I was having any effect at all.

On the left side of the blogosphere Obama partisans and Hillary partisans are at each other's throats, saying things about each other that are even nastier than the things they used to say about conservatives back when they used to attack conservatives instead of each other. (Although it could have been much worse if Chris Dodd had not dropped out of the race since his supporters were the most vicious of all.) I have always prided myself on having friends on both sides of the aisle despite the fact that I believe some of my friends are going to Hell or might be better off in Guantanamo. But it seems that many of my liberal friends cannot even be friendly to each other anymore. I wish these Obama and Hillary fanatics would stop fighting for just a moment and face the facts: Both of your candidates would be equally dangerous for the country! So what are you fighting about?

On the right side of the blogosphere the situation is no better. Some conservative bloggers feel no compunction about attacking our President in a manner that we all once agreed was tantamount to treason or at least was a sign of derangement. And now many conservatives now seem to be suffering from an acute case of McCain Derangement Syndrome because he has not pandered to us sufficiently by reversing himself on enough issues quickly enough. Of course, like most conservatives I dislike McCain, too, but there is still plenty of time for him to back down from all of his principles and completely capitulate to our agenda. One of the ways the right side of the blogosphere has always been different from the left is that we always defend Republicans no matter how incompetent, hypocritical or ideologically questionable they are and save our attacks for the other side or blame the liberal media. Conservative bloggers have always been dependable water carriers for the Republicans, yet it appears that many bloggers on the right believe they have suddenly developed the ability to think independently. We need to strive much harder to see the good side of being extremely old and out of touch, emotionally unstable and a flip flopper and I'm sure we can all agree that we want to stay in Iraq as long as possible. Do we really want to be like Democrats who believe that it is more important to feel good about the person you are voting for than it is to win? Since when did conservatives believe actually liking a candidate or believing he is fit for office is an appropriate criterion for voting?

Seeing my despair, Mrs. Swift became very worried about me and decided it was time for an intervention. She showed me an article in the New York Times about blogging that worried her. The article likened some bloggers to workers in a sweatshop, which the writer thought was a bad thing, though I was very impressed that some bloggers actually get paid $10 per post! But the article also pointed out that never leaving the computer might actually be bad for one's health. She also mentioned that although our household is doing reasonably well financially with the Google ads from my blog and her three jobs, my blog has not quite been the cash machine the colorful blog brochures had promised. And so she suggested that I take a brief hiatus from the blogosphere to get some perspective and perhaps even look for some ways to supplement our income.

At first, I must say, this extreme deblogification was difficult. I didn't know what to do with myself. I did spend some time on Craigslist looking for other writing opportunities though I was unable to find anything that called for the unique abilities of a reasonable conservative and frankly there is nothing quite so satisfying as getting paid little or nothing for one's work. However, I soon realized that I had a lot more time to do some important things I had been neglecting in my life since I started my blog. I began watching a lot more television and playing more videogames, some of which were quite challenging. I became active in local community issues such as fighting to stop bilingual Esperanto education in our schools instead of forcing Esperantos to learn English. Some days I even went outside of the house and drove to the park to watch people exercising. And most important, I spent some quality time with my daughter Schlafly and my son Spiro, though not actually in the same room since they never seemed to be around the house. But I did have more time to text message them about how they are ruining their lives and how they are so much luckier than I was when I was growing up, which I think has made us closer.

And so what I had intended to be a brief respite stretched on and on. Not only did I stop posting to my blog, I stopped reading my email and other blogs as well and so I had no idea that my disappearance had caused some consternation among my readers. It wasn't until Melissa McEwan of Shakesville cleverly tracked me down and got a message to me that I realized that I had self-indulgently caused some people to bevome concerned about my well-being, which made me feel terrible, like I was Meryl Streep in Kramer vs. Kramer abandoning my blog to Dustin Hoffman to take care of.

I had no idea that some bloggers, worried about my absence, had even organized online search parties to find out what happened to me. In the last few days I have been catching up on some of the speculation about the reasons for my disappearance. ZenYenta worried that something had happened to me but hoped I had gotten a book contract. From your lips to Simon & Schuster's ears, I thought when I read that. Of course, most New York publishing houses are run by liberals and the only publisher I know of that publishes conservative books is Regency, which I believe is one of those fly-by-night vanity presses. Saskboy speculated that my disappearance could be due to "blackmail, or death. It's an international mystery!"

I am still trying to sort though the 3,000 email messages I got during my absence and the hundreds of comments people left on my blog. It will take me a little while to catch up on these messages and reconnect with the issues that are so very important in the blogosphere (though nowhere else, I discovered). I'm still not up to snuff on every time Obama has gotten a date or geographical location wrong, how many times Hillary has slipped racial innuendo into seemingly innocent remarks or campaign ads, or figured out how to spin all of McCain's flaws into virtues, so please bear with me. I feel terrible about all the worry I caused and humbled by the affection you have shown me, so let me thank each and every one of you for your thoughts and good wishes. I must say, however, that Bukko in Australia, has a point: "Don't you people have lives, coming back day after day to a site that any sensible conservative would have given up for dead?"

Unlike some blogs, this blog has not had any great accomplishments to point to like getting someone fired from a job or thrown in jail, so I am genuinely stunned to discover that some people think this blog is important. But I guess if this blog can make even one person's pathetic existence just a little more bearable, then maybe that is enough. In these difficult times people will cling to anything that gives them hope, even a modest little blog. And perhaps I am wrong about being entirely too reasonable for the blogosphere. Maybe the blogosphere needs a reasonable conservative now more than ever.

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Patricia said...

Ah, Jon, you've been enhancing my miserable little existence for almost as long as this blog has been around. You have many accomplishments, even if you haven't gotten anyone fired. But, hey, it's something to aspire to. You gotta have a dream.

Anyway, don't apologize. Bush doesn't and he's actually been responsible for killing untold numbers. If he doesn't have to say sorry for that, then you don't need to apologize for taking a break from giving us free stuff to read.

Just maybe could you leave instructions for one or more people in your life to post something here should you be incapacitated or anything so that in the future we know that no news is good news?

Anyway, if the Democratic primary ever ends, we're all going to try to get past the partisan bickering and take Scott McCellan's advice and work together to have a much larger, more inclusive circular firing squad. We're going to need a reasonable conservative to explain our new friends to us.

Anyway, it's just wonderful that you're back. Stop with thinking in terms of a normal life. It's not really necessary.

Unknown said...

Mr. Swift, I had total faith in you. Never once did I worry you might be indulging in unsavory activities instead of blogging. Nor did I worry that political lunatics had kidnapped you. They'd regret that mistake before they tied so much as one finger to the ground as those long-gone Lilliputians dared.
When you do post, it's always worth the wait. Genius (I can only suppose) abhors commandments.

Anonymous said...

If an esteemed journalist can joke about wishing a certain presidential candidate is assassinated but thankfully wipe the slate clean with a heartfelt apology, then your sincere mea culpa for your disappearance should serve you well, Mr. Swift. Americans are a very forgiving people, as you know. As opposed to the French, who hold grudges lasting centuries and purposely eat cheese that most of us can't pronounce, the American people understand that apologizing is more important than the act for which an apology is delivered.

This is, of course, but one example of how Americans have evolved, while hostile nations like France continue to eat cheese that smells like a sheep vomited into an old sock.

Anonymous said...

I am toying with the idea of buying the McClellatron 3000's book - now that you're back, perhaps you can talk me out of it.

Anonymous said...

While blackmail and/or death were possibilities, the one most likely was a partially successful escape from the blogosphere. Few manage one, and it almost always involves cold turkey, so I had a feeling you'd be back - being a conservative and unable to let go of the past ;-)

slag said...

Some of us just figured you'd got a book deal and had abandoned your pseudonym for something less subtle--Scott McClellan. Glad to hear otherwise, although certain individuals maintain that no one's actually seen you and McClellan in the same room at the same time. Questions remain...

Inconstant Reader said...

Dean Swift,

I only discovered your blog recently, although I'm a longtime fan of your traditionally published work. I am glad you're back, because your sharp, unsentimental eye is sorely needed in the blogosphere.

Besides, you make me laugh. That's a priceless gift.

yanub said...

What a relief that you have returned! I was afraid there for a bit that you were biting my style.

Anonymous said...

Your'e MARRIED? After all you have said to me and your'e MARRIED? I am going to have to roast a few Irish babies, have some friends over to discuss this heartbreaking turn of events. I may not be able to get over this for a long time. See you Monday!

SM said...

Sorry, again, just, Yay! You're back! And, no - I do not have a life. I checked every day. Usually instead of working. My children are starving, but hey, as inconstant reader said, you make me laugh. I've been reading for awhile, but rarely commented due to being completely intimidated by your genius (that may sound sarcastic, but it’s the God’s honest truth – that is, if you believe in God, and as a good conservative, I trust you must). But now your disappearance and reappearance have forced me out and prodded me into obsequious compliments and exclamation points. So, yes, please keep up the fantastic free work – you make no money, but where else can you get a great wailing and a flood of compliments from perfect strangers if you threaten sabbatical.

Chuck Butcher said...

If nothing else your absence seems to have pared down the impaired commenters...

Anonymous said...

I love you. That is all.

Anonymous said...

Not so Mr Butcher! I have completely misunderstood this post and will now proceed to flame M. Swift because I am immune to any irony, parody or inflection.


Anonymous said...

huh? did swifty go somewhere? i thought he/she joined the Clinton boycott at the Great Orange Satan ...

Deborah Newell said...

Jon, I am SO GLAD you're okay, and that you're here, and that you're writing again.

I go through phases when my three sons and husband (the fourth child) take up 23 of my 24-hours, and I look at the whole blogging undertaking and ask myself, What difference am I making? Who cares?

And within a week or two, I've got a stacked InBox (nothing like yours, though!) with messages from truly dear people who for some reason like the way I write.

Everyone needs a break from time to time. Everyone. Oftentimes, I find writing about politics leads me into a state of deep burnout. Time for a walk! I always come back, though, even if I have to squeeze in a post every five days of so, typing in the wee hours of the morning before school and saving-as-draft so as to edit later. When I feel as though I'm not amusing or informing myself through my writing, I take another break.

You always brighten my day when there's a new post here; I haven't stopped by to check in on you in a couple of weeks and was delighted to see you'd returned. *phew*

Do come visit when you get a chance--yesterday I put up a funny post about the Dunkin' Donuts keffiyah flap.

With conservative and reasonable quantities of hugs and kisses,


Anonymous said...

I just do it for the fun of it. So far this year my greatest accomplishment in terms of blogging success is getting about 6,000 hits for repeating and elaborating a little bit on the alien video hoax. I know, deep down, this has changed people's lives. So, I continue on when I'm not doing anything else. Since the Google ads generated approximately $.05 for changing the lives of some of those people who might have truly believed some change in their universe had occurred, I am not yet quite to the point of financial independence from my day job. As long as it stays that way, this is a vent and a hobby only. As long as you keep it in that perspective, I know I'll continue to enjoy your unique writing style. And, since I don't expect anything from real bloggers, I honestly hadn't noticed your absence.

Bob King said...

Hunh? You were gone? Oh, wait, so was I, sorta kinda. Just because I post every once in a while, it does not follow that I'm paying attention.

Anything I read these days seems to involve one of three topics I don't care to read about...

Primaries, delegates and Hillary.

At times like this, one needs to play Sims and create a rational, functional society. One with many, many riot cops who exist only to beat the crap out of loud annoying people.

Then one can come back to being superficially reasonable for a time.

Harlan Wallach said...

I thought you'd merely gone on strike ( or slave revolt ) like those daily-kos writers you wrote about in that last post that sat up there forever. I'll add you back to my b'roll now.

Anonymous said...

"Apology" accepted (although I knew that you were really on strike).

However, I've always felt that regardless of the situation, what rights do those who entertain me have in order to move on to other areas of their lives that don't include me?

For example, what about the breakups of the Beatles and Monty Python? I mean, they were entertaining me! They lost the right to do whatever they wanted once they succeeded at whatever they were doing! I'm still waiting for their apologies... The least they could do for me is to get back together at least one more time.

Talk about chutzpah!

At least you came to your senses (that is if you weren't striking). Anyway, enough with all this silliness... Now you're "back" and you can make me laugh again!

Ever read "Misery?" That was a funny book!

On a serious note: You're one helluva writer; your ability to walk the thin blue line of irony is unbelievably remarkable. Whatever you choose to do, I hope you will always be able to use your gift to its maximum effect. Take all the breaks you need, Pal! As a creative individual myself, I understand the elusivity of the muse... Rock on, dude!

bitchphd said...

this blog has not had any great accomplishments to point to

Au contraire. Being actually funny is passing rare.

Rightwingsnarkle said...

I'm still trying to figure out why I missed you, or why I even started reading you in the first place.

Wait, it's coming back to me now.

Oh, yeah. Riiight.

Bukko Boomeranger said...

Worried? What, me worry?

But seriously, boyo, if you want to make money blogging, let me paraphrase the advice word for the future from "The Graduate":


Bitty said...

I'm confused. Your site is featuring an ad for "Chinese Ladies for Marriage."

If that isn't bringing in a steady, stable, comfortable income, Mr. Swift, I suspect that you and the Mrs. are simply too big for your britches regarding how much income you think you need to maintain a proper American lifestyle.

That said, it's good to have you back, especially since I was tapped to join a search party and simply don't have time to go looking for MIA conservative bloggers out getting high on life.

It's indeed good to have you back.

Bora Zivkovic said...

Good to know you are alive....keep being so.

Stella by Starlight said...

Glad to see you're back, Dean. But, like ex-pat, after I roast and fricassee a few Irish babies, I'll try and sort out the Big-Endians from the Little-Endians.

IN THE SCHOOL of Political Projectors I was but ill entertained, the Professors appearing in my Judgment wholly out of their Senses, which is a Scene that never fails to make me melancholy. These unhappy People were proposing Schemes for persuading Monarchs to chuse Favourites upon the Score of their Wisdom, Capacity, and Virtue; of teaching Ministers to consult the Publick Good; of rewarding Merit, great Abilities, eminent Services; of instructing Princes to know their true Interest by placing it on the same Foundation with that of their People: Of chusing for Employments Persons qualified to exercise them; with many other wild impossible Chimaeras, that never entred before into the heart of Man to conceive, and confirmed in me the old Observation, that there is nothing so extravagant and irrational which some Philosophers have not maintained for Truth.

Margalis said...

Ha ha well-played. Marvelous return.

Genuinely funny reasonable conservatives are hard to come by.

Lotus said...

I know a straight comment is automatically off-topic here, but I'll risk it to say that Jon, I think most of us just missed your wit - no one I've come across on the web does satire better - and are glad to know you're okay.

Batocchio said...

Aw, don't sweat it, Jon. But welcome back!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you're not fabulously wealthy from this blog! What, with the Google Ads you run! Shocking, really...

I took the reverse approach.

No ads and total commitment to posting a word a day come hell or high water -well, until this month long vacation thang I'm doin'- and the e-mails just come rolling in asking, "What's your P.O.? I have a check I want to send you."

Gratifying. In fact, those checks are paying for our stay here at The Creekside Inn where (good conservative that I am) I am piggy-backing on some kind soul's unsecured WFi to tell you to take heart, buck up, lift that chin, tote that post, yadda yadda yadda; get back to work. Conservatives everywhere need you!

Besides - only Dick "I Shoot ALL My Friends in the Face" Cheney is allowed the odd unexplained absence...

Anonymous said...

i'm here again.! God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Great to have you back, Jon!

While I love Sadly, No! it's sadly, no-t enough...ironically just yesterday I my Swift Withdrawal Syndrome had resided, but I guess I'm back off the wagon or is it on the wagon? one of those...

Anonymous said...

Swift, i want to have your lovechild. And i'm a guy, and not even particularly gay (okay, okay, everybody tries it once or twice, right?). Just saying.

Wilson said...

God bless your little heart, where the hell you been, Mr. Swift? You have been screwing up my rotation with your absence and I just won't stand for it any longer. It starts with Huffington Post, moves on to C&L then to Jesus General then to ...., but Jon Swift blogging his little heart out so that I might be entertained for a cherished moment, lurking in the back reading, making especial note of the sycophantic comments left by the islamofascisticommunisticsexuals in their odd attempts to suck up a little blog fame. Poseurs.

Seriously, glad to see you back and in tip-top form as usual and don't EVER @#$%*&! AGAIN,,,@#$%&! EVER! My best to Mrs. Swift and the young-uns.

Micgar said...

Jon-its good to have your outlook back! I/we need a dose of JS at least every other day- if possible!

Anonymous said...

Glad you got a break and it's nice to have you back.

h/t Sadly No

moneymonk said...

Thank GOD you're back, and just in time for the polo club's award ceremony! I was such a flop at country club cocktail parties without your material. Even the winds knew of your triumphant return as the spinnaker on my sloop, the SS William F. Buckley, stood taut whisking me away to my Bermuda estate in record time. You know, it's true what they say, Jon. You really don't know what you've got until it's gone. Cheerio, lad! Keep them coming.

mlfcyw said...

You could have told your mother!!! Call home, she's worried and waiting.

Anonymous said...

Yes, really good question;
Australia, has a point: "Don't you people have lives, coming back day after day to a site that any sensible conservative would have given up for dead?"

Anonymous said...

God’s honest truth – that is, if you believe in God, and as a good conservative, I trust you must). But now your disappearance and reappearance have forced me out and prodded me into obsequious compliments and exclamation points. This like

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Nor did I worry that political lunatics had kidnapped you. They'd regret that mistake before they tied so much as one finger to the ground as those long-gone Lilliputians dared.
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