In this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mail Bag, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss the Bundy Ranch militia, the Banter's most discussed topics and our biggest fears.
1. Now that we know for sure that white people with guns can do anything they want, would you be willing to move to the middle of nowhere and stop paying taxes?
Ben: If I had to choose between living in a populated area with normal people and paying taxes, or paying nothing and living in a rural area where my closest neighbor is possibly related to his own wife and likes shooting defenseless animals for fun, I'm going with the former.
Chez: I think you also have to be a Republican to get away with that.
Bob: I live in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and I still have to pay taxes. The thing is, I'm a law-abiding citizen who frowns at the notion of aiming firearms at federal officials. Also, I'm not a dress-em-up, petulant child like the members of the Bundy militia.
2. Kind of funny that so many of you Banter writers seem to have adopted your own personal windmills to battle against -- Chez and Salon, Cesca and Snowden/Greenwald, Tommy and Bill Maher. What's up with that? Is it by design?
Chez: I can only speak for me. Honestly, when you have to crank out as much copy as I do, unfortunately the one thing you can always tap into is snark and mockery against the things that bug you. We don't really have beats, per se, but by finding something that you can reliably go back to again and again saves time when you need material. Also, yeah, it's kind of entertaining that after a while people come to expect your opinion on whatever new dumb-ass thing your personal white whale is up to, so it draws eyeballs -- and unfortunately that kind of thing does matter. All of this being said, I miss writing in a tone other than snotty or analytical. I used to write a lot more for myself but I really don't have time to do that anymore.
Bob: Well, I wouldn't call them windmills, since that implies they're all unreal topics or figments of our imagination. But I think I have several beats: the Snowden/Greenwald stuff (specifically the reporting about it), healthcare reform, electoral politics, conspiracy theorists, extremists, debunking political misinformation, etc. It's just that the Snowden stuff has dominated my writing for the last 10 months or so, but someone has to do it. But if you look at the tag cloud on my blog, healthcare, the economy, Republicans and Election 2012 are the topics I've written about more than anything else in my entire political writing career. I don't think Snowden has even made the cloud yet.
Ben: Well there's a huge amount of nonsense in the US politics and media landscape coming from both the left and the right, and I think we have to call bullshit. More specifically, there's a lot of personality worship going on these days, and we don't go for that here. That's why we spend a lot of time deconstructing 'heroes' on all sides of the political spectrum. I think one thing that defines the team at the Banter is that none of us believe we are more important than the issues themselves, and that means hammering people who do. And it's also quite fun to be honest.
3. What's your greatest fear in life?
Bob: A slow, lingering, wasting death. Some other fears: losing my wife, amputation, serving prison time. Cheerful question. Um. Thanks.
Chez: Waking up in the morning.
Ben: Wow, that's a deep one. To be honest, I mostly fear not living up to the image I have of myself. Doesn't have anything to do with money/being successful etc, but more to do with being a good friend, helping people out, and generally not being an asshole. That stuff used to weigh on me a lot, but I've gotten better at accepting my faults. Other than that, sharks.