Having written this blog for some dozen years, by the end of last year I felt it was time to make it less of “a job” and more focused on things I enjoy rather than those I obsess over. That meant less political and current affairs commenting (although I’ll never say never to those subjects in the future). The present political and economic landscape invites day to day commentary, but I’ve decided to resist it to preserve my sanity. It is truly a case of existential dread and exhaustion.
Nonetheless, I also decided to mostly exit those subjects by making a declarative statement in the form of a book based on the extensive entries from the past. Therefore, Waiting for Someone to Explain It; The Rise of Contempt and Decline of Sense (North Palm Beach, Lacunae Musing, 2019),348 Pages, $13.95 is now available in paperback from Amazon and their extensive distribution network.
It is also ironic that it should be published the same week as the Mueller Report which to some extent provides some of the answers I’ve been “waiting for.” Yet Trump is as much a symptom as a cause. The book reveals the deep roots of our cultural civil war and the intransigence of political polarization, and one person’s quest to come to terms with them.
It argues that we’ve become inured to the outrageous and accommodative of the absurd. It points to a deep vein of anti-intellectualism in this country, questioning the veracity of climate change, championing the “right” to open carry weapons, and leading to the worship of false idols: 24 x 7 streaming entertainment. We’ve become a nation needing immediate gratification, no matter what the societal consequences of borrowing against the future or becoming somnambulists in front of liquid crystal display screens.
Who could have imagined the rise of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States? As his candidacy ramped up, so did my commentary, all encapsulated in “Waiting.”
The book documents the election of such an unsuitable candidate, who has proved to be worse than feared, a “crazy maker” a gas-lighter of reality, a believer in his own mendacity. These issues populate the entries. As Eric Hoffer said in his classic The True Believer (1951), “We lie the loudest when we lie to ourselves.” During the period I sought out other expert journalists, psychologists, bloggers, economists, and even novelists in an attempt to understand.
The publicity release at the end of this entry explains the title and more about the rationale. It is not simply a collection of entries from the blog. There is a narrative tying things together and the entries themselves have been edited to minimize redundancies and present them better in print.
As an ex-publisher it’s also been a labor of love, to write a book, even participate in its design, bringing me back to my start in publishing in 1964 as a production assistant. So much has changed since then in the industry. For me, the publication was as much about the journey. I think of it as an act of professional closure as well as a cry for the kind of democracy our forefathers envisioned.