Hey, my political slant is unlikely to surprise anyone at this point. But is it possible to make a sincere, or even convincing case for why you should vote Republican this year? Well, we're gonna find out, because for the next eight days, from Iowa to New Hampshire, Sean Murphy and I take turns selling you on the best the right has to offer, from Trump to Santorum and back. No, it's not a joke. It's a thought experiment. And it ended up being more difficult, but also illuminating, than I could have imagined. Today, I lead off with Rand Paul. Turns out you should definitely vote for Rand Paul.
Spoke at UNLV last Friday with the mighty Kevin Emerson, and it appears to have paid off, as one of the participants sent me this picture today. She was so inspired by my random sarcasm and horrible writing advice that she bought a bag of Wise Young Fools to give out to the rest of her class. Some people are angels. The rest of us play blackjack.
As you may know, my story collection Welcome Thieves will be out March 1st. Over the years I've come to think of social media promotion as basically self-defeating. Doesn't matter if you're a writer, or musician, or actor...in the end, no one really wants to hear about whatever you're currently flogging. Not even your mom. And yet, after all the work that goes into a book, by the time it comes out, it's almost impossible not to just stand there and howl like an evil monkey. So, I apologize in advance if the "Look! Book!" posts increase in number as we get closer to the release date. Just know that it comes from a place of insecurity and terror, not ego. Don't know if that makes it better, but at least it makes it different.
Hey, I have an essay in the latest Algonquin Reader, which just came out and you can download to whatever device you're inclined to read essays about me being A Very Bad Person When I Was Younger on, and it's totally free! Who doesn't want free stuff at Christmas time? No one, that's who. Or is the answer everyone? In either case, the essay's really about beating insurmountable odds to one day grow up and and learn how to self-promote more effectively. No, that's not true. It's about writing back in the day, when people said stuff like "back in the day" out loud, way before the Internet even existed, a time when pens were pens and websites were stapled. Trust me, you want to own a copy. But only 'cause it's free. And also the many other fine essays, plus amazingly high-production quality and killer art. Sure, it's not a full-price cashmere turtleneck or electric Campari chiller, but it's pretty damn close.
Maybe it's the endless adverts for ironically ugly Christmas sweaters, or the nagging feeling that my soul is being Hoovered, repackaged, and sold to a Ukrainian brand-marketing firm, but I now feel a genuine ennui every time I log into Facebook, a tedium so powerful that I am willing to type the word "ennui" with a straight face. Yes, I say this fully aware that the only thing duller than pretending to be over social media is the constant subliminal need to write impassioned essays about all the things social media fails to provide me. It's exhausting, in exactly the same way that a Radiohead concert is exhausting--moments of real connection and original ideas and thoughtful melodies sandwiched between affected vocals, sweaty fanboys, and monotonous riffing. Facebook is that moment when the drugs have finally worn off and the $40 tour shirt starts to itch and it dawns on you that after months of anticipation the Big Profound Takeaway is less a grand communal revelation and more an envious glimpse of the trough while still six dudes back in the men's room line. Or has it just been raining here a lot?