Monday, August 01, 2005

The Road Ahead

the road to Rachel, Nevada, courtesy

I've avoided overt discussions of politics in this blog for some time, even though I started blogging way back when rather explicitly because of my political preoccupations. In my case the avoidance has not been so much about political fatigue as a sense of failure. People talk about "making a difference" in our culture, because, well, it's what we do. Not make a difference necessarily, but talk about it. Talk, talk, talk. I look at the accelerating deterioration of quality of mass media news outlets, as they obsess over things like the Michael Jackson trial and missing photogenic teens, and the rise of opinion television as a supposed form of journalism and I feel like I must be a prematurely old man in the dourness of my outlook. And, as a disenchanted paleo-liberal, I haven't even mentioned the disgust I feel for the mandarins who are running the tattered remnants of the Democratic party. Running it into the ground that is.

Now I know I'm hardly the first or even 500th lefty blogger to voice this frustration. I note that Patrick, the underappreciated "Samuel Taylor Coleridge Foundation" blogger recently closed up shop, presumably in part because of this concern. My friend Arvin has expressed this same thought, pretty eloquently, here and has since gone on a hiatus.

Arvin writes that progressive politics are over. I hope he's wrong, but I'll admit I'm not feeling especially pollyanish about the short term or even intermediate term future. Harry and company at "Scratchings" frequently refer to the democrats as feckless, although I think they fully well know they're being too kind. Would you call the leadership of the dems feckless? Would you call them craven sons-of-bitches, or maybe Dubya's whores? I know, that's crazy talk, and it won't get me invited to any soirees at Montauk or even an autographed copy of It Takes a Village, so I really should cool it.

I want to be hopeful, and start over, trying to do something useful. One of the nice things about America is our iconic myth of renewal. If we live in an age when everything is political and everything is personal, then the political is personal. With that in mind, I've decided to stop blogging under a pseudonym and discuss some of my future plans, and how I want to utilize this blog for those plans. As some of you may already know, my mother's family is from Iraq, and although I was born here, I lived abroad, primarily in the middle east, from the time I was one until I was 10 and a half. (I remember watching reports about Nixon resigning on Lebanese TV, although I was unclear on why he had to. I was 10. For some reason the image of him playing the piano during a clip from the report has stuck with me.)

Anyway, my name is Jonathan Versen and I'm going back to Iraq. I attended the equivelant of kindergarden there, having left in 1969 at the age of 5, so it'll be quite different from what I remember. Not to live there-- I am an American, and this is my home. I'm not one of those liberals who is willing to cede America to the jingoistic troglodytes who want non-jingoistic, non-troglodyte Americans to feel unwelcome in their own, our own, country.

Rather, my intention is to go in the summer of 2007, to stay for about 3 months, and make a documentary. I will try to be unbiased, my intense disapproval of George W. Bush and the rest of the neocon horde notwithstanding. You can judge for yourselves, irrespective of your political predispositions, how successful I will be. And I mean to use Hugo Zoom(I'm keeping the name of the blog, as I'm fond of it) to raise money for the trip. I haven't posted a Paypal or other donate button just yet, but I will, soon. I'm going to try posting 6 days a week from now on, about politics, my plans, and other things on occasion.

from Patrick's blog:

"You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. You impoverish yourself if you forget this errand." -- Woodrow Wilson