20 Years of Rude Punditry: This One's Kind of About You

Possibly the wildest thing is when someone says they have been reading this here blog since the beginning or near the beginning and have been following it for the last 20 years. I'll tell you why:

When I was a kid, my demented fuckin' father, who blessed and cursed me with his skewed, angry perspective on the world, especially his general belief that the wealthy were the enemy, used to get a bunch of newspapers every goddamn day: the Daily Advertiser (from Lafayette, Louisiana, hometown paper), the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and two Houston papers, the Post and the Chronicle. What this did was give me access to a bunch of the great columnists of the late-ish 20th century, from Mike Royko to Molly Ivins to Jack Anderson to Clarence Page to Ellen Goodman. I was reading Art Buchwald, Jimmy Breslin, and Anna Quindlen, and it wasn't enough for me to read their work in the papers. I'd go back and read books of their gathered older columns, which gave me a way of seeing history and learning how to fuck with people in power. This coincided with my love of Doonesbury, and I got all of Garry Trudeau's earlier books, learning about Nixon and the Vietnam War through the eyes of Mike and Mark and Duke and Joanie and Zonker. I continued this obsessive engorging of perspectives even after my father died when I was 13. I bought the papers myself or went to the library and read them. For years. For decades, in some cases. I found my beliefs by reading the Village Voice and Nat Hentoff, who was a hero of mine for while in his diehard faith in the First Amendment. I expanded to The Nation, Mother Jones, The Progressive, and the American Prospect. I blew the doors of my mind further open. And when I was able to get online, I expanded that to New York Times columnists, to writers who weren't so white and so male, and, one of my personal favorites who you might not know, Mark Morford from the San Francisco papers, whose loose stream-of-consciousness style while still saying the most savage things about political motherfuckers inspired my approach to writing this shit. I honestly cannot list all the writers and commentators who influenced me, and I haven't even mentioned Hunter S. Thompson, let alone the authors and poets and playwrights and comedians who are part of the verbal gumbo I try to cook up.

So when someone says they've read me for years? It's humbling because it puts me, in some small way, in the category of so many of the writers who were my unacknowledged teachers for years. It's fucking amazing. And I may not have gotten or ever get rich enough for my father to have hated from my writing, but it's just fucking cool to have lasted this long and to have fellow travelers along with me. 

As hard as doing this is, even now, when I do it only once a week here and once a week over at the Patreon, along with all the tweets, yes, it is hard, I can unabashedly say that I am grateful for your eyeballs and your brains and for clicking over here, even if it's just every once in a while thinking, "Oh, yeah, I wonder what that asshole is talking about lately." 

If I've helped keep you sane, as many of you tell me, well, shit, that's a life well-lived. I don't think I have 20 more years of this left in me. But let's ride this weird, crazy train as long as we can and see where the track leads us.