Well, damn. Apparently, being a snarky little bastard and mouthing off at one’s betters gets attention. And lots of comments containing the word “asshat” in them. I probably should have seen that coming, but I’m new at this, so I didn’t. What I didn’t expect, though, was Mr. Charles Pierce actually replying to my little screed.
Nobodies like myself shouldn’t expect national media figures to notice, or care, when we mouth off, so the fact that he even bothered taking the time to slap me down a peg made me blink a bit. It was a surprise, and it made me read my little rant again. And after doing so, I have a little more to say. I’ll try to be slightly less of a dick about it this time, since I know that there’s a tiny possibility that what I say might actually matter now.
To Mr. Pierce, first, I’m (somewhat) sorry about the snark. I was annoyed, and you were a nice big target, and one that had been doing something that had been irritating me for quite some time, that something being throwing little cast-off lines in your pieces about the whole U.S. intelligence community mess which seem to imply that anyone who points out the notion that Mr. Greenwald is, perhaps, a bit of a yutz, and that the motivations surrounding his handling of the whole Snowden affair are, at the bare minimum, a little suspect, are people who are distracting everyone from the real story — or are idiots (that might be me reading a little too much into it, though).
And when you posted your piece on why it is unwise for people to give in to the temptation to simply bellow “a pox on both your houses!” and stay home during elections, specifically the upcoming midterm elections in the U.S. (thus almost certainly handing power to some truly unpleasant individuals), I was more annoyed yet, because, well, part of Mr. Greenwald’s motivations for getting involved in the whole Snowden story, and the way he’s chosen to handle it, rather directly relate to that subject. And far from tossing in an implied dig at people who offer the opinion that Mr. Greenwald’s motivations are just a bit important (not the whole story, of course, but a relevant bit of it), you (by implication, at least in my own mind) offered the opinion that allowing individuals like Mr. Greenwald to convince those portions of the U.S. electorate that might make the difference between a Republican Congress and a Congress that doesn’t resemble an insane asylum would be a disaster.
It just seemed a little contradictory, to me, that in stories you write about the U.S. intelligence community (and interviews you give on the same subject), Mr. Greenwald’s motivations appear unimportant (and people who say otherwise are wasting everyone’s time), while in stories about the importance of rousting disaffected voters from their sulks to prevent the Congress of the United States of America from being handed over, top to bottom, to wingnuts, you appear to hold the position that people who encourage potential Democratic voters to stay home are actively doing harm to the idea of having a Congress in the United States that isn’t insane and that actually functions — that the motivations of such people are very important, indeed, and ought to be called out for what they are.
But I did write that “let me summarize” line, which in retrospect is damned foolishness and disrespectful to boot. I probably should have said something more along the lines of “this is the way I understand this issue, feel free to shoot me down.” And as for the unequivocal support bit… well, damn it, I’ll just say it. I didn’t write that. Yes, it’s posted on the front of the piece, but I didn’t write that bit (I realize I’m throwing somebody — I know not who, precisely — under the bus here, but I promise to send beer and be extremely contrite about it; probably should have written teaser myself anyway, but, again, new at this). For the record, no, I don’t think you offer “unequivocal support” to Mr. Greenwald, and I apologize if anything I did write offered that impression, a result that would be entirely due to poor logic and lack of talent on my part.
No, that’s not snark. I mean it. But come on, the “Big Daddy Vladdy” line did nothing for you? Really?
So much for stand-up comedy, I guess.
Mr. Greenwald will never listen to me. He shouldn’t. As I said, I’m nobody — no qualifications, no cachet, no credentials. Hell, I’m a foreign nobody, so why would he waste time on me? Unless he’s really bored that day, he probably has far more important fish to annoy. But you, Mr. Pierce, you can ask him questions, in public, in a forum too big to ignore. He might even answer. He’d probably be a dick about it, but he’d answer. And maybe in the course of encouraging Mr. Greenwald to answer questions about whether or not seeing more Republicans in the U.S. Congress is a positive development, you might… might… get a few of the people who are seriously considering sitting out the next U.S. federal election because “drones” and “both sides” and “as bad as Bush” to re-examine their thought process on the matter. And if enough of those people reconsider (if getting people to reconsider anything is even possible these days) and get their disaffected behinds to the polls when it counts, maybe we will not be forced to endure Senator Jim Inhofe as chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment Committee (which would be a disaster for just about everyone, American or not).
Or it might make no damned difference at all. But why not try?
And that’s why I poked you, Mr. Pierce. Well, that and I’m a bit of a dick. But you knew that already.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.