It has been suggested that this newsletter has become something of a burden. Not to me, the one who sweats over these witty and incisive sentences about one of the *world’s foremost cartoonists, but to my family. It has been whispered that I have become demanding. Something of a prima donna. A diva. My ego inflated to such an extent that I demand they read this newsletter in my presence and for there to be frequent snorts, chuckles, sniggers, and, if it’s not too much to ask, a guffaw or two.
I then require that I be present when the work of nationally syndicated columnists is read by family members and I take note of the snorts, chuckles, sniggers, and guffaws that work elicits. It is rumoured I then make a tally in a small notebook I keep for this purpose where I judge the success of any given column. In this way I compare myself to the people who do this for a living.
I would like to put it on the record that this is a libellous mischaracterisation. I only demand that they read it. I have always said that a feigned humourous reaction is appreciated but it is not a requirement. It’s not as though I don’t do stairs.
That I would describe this as a column at all is pure vanity, enabled by Substack using a Publish button that I hit in order to send my pixels whimpering into the void. It gives the impression of sitting at a mahogany desk wearing a green visor and exhorting my minions to, ‘Start the presses’.
The fact it is a glorified blog post is neither here nor there.
The challenge is not writing something. It is writing something to deadline. A marathon not a sprint. Most writers lead pretty unremarkable lives reading and tapping away on their keyboards at the kitchen table/broom cupboard/office/high rise apartment with stunning views over a major capital city depending on their level of success. If they are anything like me, and I am at the lethargic end of the activity spectrum, they don’t actually do much.
This induces a condition I have labelled CDS. Columnist Derangement Syndrome. Wherein a writer quickly burns through their reportoire of material and in desperation adopts ‘strong views’ on the important topics of the day. The writer brands themselves a fearless teller of truths only to reveal they are clueless jerks whose opinions are subject to rapid reversal from one week to the next. Meeting the looming deadline and cashing the cheques their only guiding philosophy. There is a recognisable arc of a certain sort of writer whose career will launch at some hip new publication and land in disgrace at a reactionary organ.
The flip-flopping of opinion was easier to get away with in the days of print. The words in a newspaper or magazine were soon forgotten outside of obsolete outfits such as clipping services. In the internet age examples of hypocrisy and stupidity are revealed by a quick Google search. You can delete your tweets but the internet rarely forgets. Laughing at the idiocy of others is a pleasing enough pastime but rings a little hollow in the light of current events.
Fortunately for me I have not been seduced into making rash and ill-informed statements by the prospect of a national platform and a weekly income. I am as fallible as the next idiot, an obscure scribbler with only one major advertiser. Myself.
If my predictions of Warmcore becoming a thing prove false then at least I will look foolish, not ghoulish.
Now, as my own deadline looms, it’s time to press Publish and be damned.
*Who lives at this particular address. I doubt I am the foremost cartoonist on my street.
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So, how many guffaws was that?