One of my resolutions for the new year is to fill this space only with serious commentary. No more frivolity here. There's been entirely too much of that for 20 years now. The Pulitzer jury year after year after year delivers the same weary verdict on what appears here: "Too much frivolity." So no more kidding around. No more hoorawing. No more pulling your yang. No more joshing. No more puns. No more Indian burns or redbelly. No more bantering with the domino necks. No more laughter — guffawing or giggling or even smirking. No more levity at all.
Of course that means no more of the signature riffs: No more of psycho-analyzing dog-peter gnats. No more of etymological investigations of bar pits. No more rapture scheduling. No more sorties into Ranger Wipe World. No more whipping okra. No more of Dick Morris sucking skanks' toes, or vicey versey, or Gennifer Flowers live on the radio peeing in a brass bowl. No more chortling over pious Doughboy superficialities, over Poke flops that leave old Drumface seething, over pizza-piemen and chicken hawkers looking to phobe sales by nuggeteering scripture. No more whorehoppers hopping or dingleberries dingling or assmunchery doing its do. No more moody grass or Win at Wynne wondering where he needed to go to find out where he was at.
No more of Ol' Moi pulling down the big bucks for what amounts to hebdomadal jerking off. No more of political incorrectness just for the sake of being an a-hole or being thought one by the other a-holes. No more of banjo-strumming "Camptown Ladies" as the annual Boy Martyr cortege passes. No more unembarrassed hogcalling, or Sanhedrin hissing at the Passion Play. No more of taking refuge in the demimonde. No more turtle derbies. No more yarns.
Hereafter this space will treat only timely, important topics, and in a dignified somber way like they do it at a funeral home. Topics like entitlements. Topics like Assad amuck. Like filibuster reform. Like disaster relief. Like outsourcing. Like torture. Like ebola. Like Mohammad cartoons. Like gun crazies. Like the moocher out-taxing the billionaire.
I'd like to do this along the lines of the classical Walter Lippmann-Ernest Dumas serious commentary model, but I don't have that particular skills set, as the coaches say. I lack the breadth, the depth, the conscience, and the attention span, and I'm too easily distracted, but otherwise I'm good to go. Ready to give it a shot.
I can promise you this: those serious topics won't be razzed — at least not here, not any more. They won't be parodied. They won't be burlesqued. And they won't be abused from the other extreme by being reduced or subjected to rant. They won't be talk-radioed or Foxxed. They won't be spelled with an extra e, like with Dan Quayl. If they're Geraldoed, it won't out of disrespect, it'll be because I've been blown sideways by a hurricane and am trying to pundit in all seriousness while hanging on for dear life to a yet-unsnapped metal street-marker pole.
In short, they'll get the dourest, most ponderous public mulling that I know how to give them — the unaffected, unpompous kind of consideration that Robert Bartley and Al Newharth used to give their chosen topics. Or meant to. Or tried to. And might've tried harder to if they'd ever been able to remove the poker from 18 inches up their recto-versi.
So that's the plan. Grow the column from one that horses around all the time to one that shares essential wisdom. I might borrow some of the wisdom from other magi from time to time, and in fact I gleaned some from Bro. Billy Graham for this week's inaugural Ol' Moi Gets Serious stab.
Pronouns matter was the theme of a recent Bro. Billy religion column that appeared in the local daily. They matter to the extent that you might wake up in Hell if you repeatedly use the wrong one, the irreverent one. Bro. Billy's concern here was that so many of the otherwise faithful have taken to making second reference to the Holy Ghost as It, rather than as Him. The Holy Ghost is a Him, not an It, Bro. Billy avers, and being called an It is something up with which a self-respecting Him is not going to put. At least not for long. It's a small concession eschewing It and going with Him, so why not?
Some good wisdom here. My only quibble would be with the implication that Bro. Billy believes the Holy Ghost has a penis. Maybe an invisible one or only a telltale pooch in the sheet, but still ... . How can Bro. Billy be so confident that this is so? Do SBC evangelists have some kind of spook gaydar? My hunch is that if the Holy Ghost is nadded at all, cosmic seemliness would demand that the parts be of the hermaphroditic variety, and that overgrown with some sort of smooth organic breechclout, unlumped and uncleft, perhaps with a chia texture. This might allay suspicions of spiritual misogyny or neuterogyny, and assure believers of all genders and prefs that the H.G. — It or He or She — can be trusted to fairly represent them in Trinity parleys or executive sessions.
Bob Lancaster, one of the Arkansas Times longest and most valued contributors, retired from writing his column last week. We’ll miss his his contributions mightily. Look out, in the weeks to come, for a look back at some of his greatest hits. In the meantime, here's a good place to start.
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