Please LIKE and SHARE to get the latest UPDATES





Musings on Politics, The Tea Party, and America's Rampant Electile Dysfunction







 And don't forget to check out

Available as a Trade Paperback or e-Book at




Technology, Ideology and One Ridiculous Idea...


Search the Site
Table of Contents

Introduction--March 15, 2011

Week 1: Taking a Stab @ It

Week 2: Lacking Klout

Week 3: Welcome to the Party

Week 4: I Believe in Me

Week 5: Listing to the Right

Week 6: Twitterdreams

Week 7: I Blame Aristotle

Week 8: Electile Dysfunction

Week 9: You Can't Keep a Down Man Good

Week 10: Manifesto Destiny

Week 11: Shames People Play

Week 12: Tweets and CHiRPs

Week 13: Beck and Call

Epilogue: The Perfect Tweet

Entries in chasing glenn beck (1)


Truth is a Funny Thing, and That's a Fact...


The following is an excerpt from "Week 4: I Believe in Me"

Facts are unimportant these days. We live in a time of instant myth-making, a time when revisionist history happens almost before history occurs, a time when the new model for rhetoric is to treat everything like it’s a high school term paper.

It’s Saturday afternoon. The 750-word essay that Mr. Winston assigned for your eleventh-grade U.S. history class is due on Monday morning, third period. You find the subject—the role of the Supreme Court—deadly dull, and after slogging through eighteen pages of densely packed text you are no closer to getting started than before. Your older sister suggested that you just go to the library and find an article to copy, but a gnawing conscience eats away at you and won’t let you do it. The day’s drifting away and your friends, all of whom have either completed the assignment or were lucky enough to get Mrs. Carfulli instead, are off playing stickball.

Sitting in front of an annoyingly blank piece of notebook paper and with a Bic poised in your right hand, you think about it for a few minutes, hoping that something will spring to mind.  You rescan the eighteen pages to make sure you have a basic understanding of the U.S. Supreme Court and its responsibilities, how justices are selected, and how decisions are made.  If you concentrate, you can just barely remember seven of the nine current members and their appointing presidents, enough, probably, for a B+ should there be a pop quiz. Forcing your mind back to the task at hand, you refocus on getting this shitty little essay drafted so that you can get it behind you and salvage whatever’s left of the weekend.

So you decide what to believe.  Your brain kicks in to get-this-over-with mode and you just go with your gut and believe something.  You take no time to explore facts or alternatives, or to analyze what you’ve read.   Your brain comes up with something like “members of the Supreme Court aren’t really objective when they decide cases,” then you roll the idea around a little to see how it tastes before deciding that it’s a reasonable mix of opinion and comprehension, just the kind of thing Mr. Winston likes. A quick review of the reading assignment reveals nothing that would disagree with your premise; the idea feels safe and solid.  It sounds good and feels good, so you go with it.

You haven’t done any research to support the idea and you can’t verbalize where it came from. Most likely you’ve internalized opinions half-heard from your parents or The Huntley-Brinkley Report.   It doesn’t matter, though; you’ve decided.

Welcome to the birth of content-free thinking.

There’s still the actual writing to do, but now it’ll be a breeze.  You just need to cherry-pick a couple of supporting examples and a few references, then clothe them in a bit of intellectual underwear.  Seven hundred and fifty words won’t even raise a sweat. 

You head to the library where you find a couple of books that look like they’ll serve as useful references, then you dig up two quotes buried in a microfiched magazine article.[1]  Adding citations from two recent Supreme Court decisions fills nearly half of a note­book page.  You fill up another half with your basic argument, taking care to use as many extra words as possible in order to meet the essay’s length requirement.  Then you fit in the quotes you found where they seem to belong and log all your references in classic Strunk-and-White style. A final word count takes two minutes, then you spend another ten on a quick re-read. One subject-verb agreement error and a spelling mistake require correction, and you call it your second draft.  Recopying the essay onto a fresh sheet of paper finishes things off.

An idea that began as thin air now seems breathable.  You’ve finished the paper and have now spent a couple of hours working on a convincing argument.  In order to feel good about your work you need to believe it, at least a little bit.  And the more you believe it, the more you believe it more.  


[1] Today you just head to the internet, parked conveniently on your iPad or laptop and available while you munch on a Bacon Turkey Bravo at Panera. Back then it meant hopping on a green three-speed Stingray with an enormous sissy-bar and pedaling the four miles to the Gardner Park Library.