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Don't be glib

I'm thinking this is walking pneumonia. My voice didn't sound like it usually does today on Downtown. We talked about the USA Today op-ed anthem piece. So basically a dry run for tomorrow's television appearance. That will be confirmed in the AM, and I will be told what TV studio to go to. I walked two miles today. I'm not strong. I don't like feeling not strong. I want my lung capacity back where I can take those deep intakes of breath as I push my body. I sent an op-ed idea to The New York Times. Doubt they'll have the balls to do it. Op-ed sections are really safe spaces. That's what I've learned in the last year of writing op-eds. What an op-ed section wants more than anything is to present works that look like they're saying something, but which really say nothing. They want pieces to have the illusion of teeth. Meanwhile, they want to coddle, suck up to, enable, what they see as the relevant moral flank of the moment. The ultimate op-ed, by the standard of the day, is glib more than anything. Which is why they are almost all totally ineffectual and forgettable.These sections are not about truth, they are not about discussion, they are not about provoking thought. So, when you have a really strong idea that is going to have legs--as this one has had--you're going to have to fight to find one place that will do it. (By the same token, if you have a story that millions of people would love and connect with, that your "average" person would delight in, that would get people reading again, that would provide for a uniquely galvanizing experience that only the greatest art can offer, that both formally and emotionally innovates, and professor and scholar types could also study it for ever after, you're going to have to fight to find one venue that will do it. Unless it is being taken on the basis of, say, your name.) After you do it, it will go over big, you'll talk about it on the radio, you'll maybe talk about in on TV, and you'll wonder, if you don't know better, how all of those other people, whose job it is to know what will work and what will not, all turned this down or ignored you.

I am so logged on fluids right now. I'm drinking everything. Water, lemon water, juice, lemon tea, hibiscus tea. I need to return to being a Zulu warrior.

Where I remain a Zulu warrior, though, is as an art maker. I continue to press deeper into this new level where I think I am the first to tread. I know that I am, actually. The 120 mph fastball has slowed down, so that it is a beach ball floating towards me. I feel like I am commanding and orchestrating universes. Something post-human, it feels, has opened up to me. What has happened in this last month is unlike anything else in my life previously. I had other versions of this, where there was that departure from what had been. But this's different still. Yesterday I had mentioned that I sat in Amory Park and worked on a new story in my head. That story is called "Invisible Man on Second." This morning, I wrote it in its entirety, 2400 words. I have not done a more psychologically penetrative piece in my life. It's in first person, told by a man who begins by remembering how when he played baseball in the neighborhood as a kid, there would be invisible runners, because there weren't enough players. When you're on second base, for instance, and it's your turn to hit, you call invisible man on second. He actually sees this man, who is a kid at the time. He sees him throughout, let us say, some singular life experiences, and eventually he meets him. A work of art, one that will last, must surprise, and it must surprise often. But, it must surprise within what I think of as the believable folds of its particular universe. These works from the last month are surprising constantly. They are surprising me, as their orchestrator. I don't think a story better encapsulates depression than this one. I could see it being read in the medical literature, even. You know how Harvey, the Jimmy Stewart film, was studied in the world of alcohol counseling? Like a version of that. But damn there's some stuff going on in that story.

Publishing continues to double down. The hate goes up by the week with each series of accomplishments. I expect that going on television, which I intend to turn into a regular gig, ala radio, will further increase the hate. But I get more leverage, and I am not scared to expose these people. Those who insist upon hate and discrimination at all costs, and who punish talent, legitimacy, and production, have numbered days. This system is built on nothing real. When it goes, it will go fast.

The Red Sox are 79-34. 80-34 looks even crazier. There is an optic to that latter record that pushes beyond the pale. Numbers are funny things. Tweak one, and things can look a goodly amount different. They just tied the score.

Stan Mikita died. Amazing player. He was almost a goon at one point--though a scoring goon. Violent, dirty, crazy-tempered. But he didn't want his family to see him that way. So he ditched that part of his game and became Mr. Lady Byng, basically. (This being the award for good sportsmanship and skilled play, not some gender crack, if you are one of the hunters of humans out there in Gotcha Culture.) You know how we were talking about math and how one tweak of a number can alter perspective? Mikita technically played into the 1980s, with 17 games played in the 1979-80 season. His career began in 1958. Those last few games made him a four decade player. Dude played into the year The Empire Strikes Back came out, after starting in the year that Vertigo came out. Come on--that's cool.

I read a fine piece today in The New Criterion on Dostoevsky's The Idiot by Gary Saul Morson, in which he writes, "People tend to hate their moral superiors. That is why tabloids delight in reporting their lapses. When someone is better than we are, when we have shown our vileness in the face of their goodness, or when we suffer guilt for injuring them unjustly, our lost self-respect often provokes us to behave still worse. We hate them for being the occasion of our suffering, and we want to change the rules of the game by violating them all the more." That is publishing in 2018. You can replace the word "moral" with a number of others. "Artistic," for instance.


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