Tuesday, October 26, 2010

God of War: PostScript

A while back I mentioned that of all the pieces I've submitted to the good people at the Huffington Post, there's only been one that was flatly rejected; that would be the scathing column I wrote mocking Jenny McCarthy for her inane, arrogant and potentially dangerous advocation of celebrity pseudoscience to parents of autistic children. That little experience marked the first time I became aware of what may be the one rule of writing for HuffPo: You can't insult Arianna's friends.

Well, maybe I didn't quite learn my lesson because although a slightly altered version of my piece on Julian Assange was accepted and published at HuffPo this morning, something happened to it that's never happened to one of my columns in the two-and-a-half years that I've been contributing to the site.

It got buried. Quickly. As in it stayed at the bottom of the politics page for about a half-hour then vanished into the abyss.

I'm obviously not going to criticize anyone over at the Huffington Post; they've honestly been quite good to me over the past couple of years, particularly Roy Sekoff, who's as big a supporter of the blogging rank-and-file, and of guys like me and Bob Cesca in particular, as anyone could be. HuffPo has given me a terrific outlet and brought me loads of readers, even going so far as to publish one of my pieces in the book Arianna and the Huffington editors released back in late 2008. I also knew going into it that I was taking a swipe at a few new media icons of the left -- people with enormous fan bases at the Huffington Post and who were much higher up on the contributor totem pole that I am. People like Glenn Greenwald, Jane Hamsher and David Sirota, as much as I find them to be ideologues, and self-defeating ones at that, have an enormous amount of clout within the liberal blogosphere; you don't take a shot at them in what's ostensibly their house and expect to have it go unnoticed. So maybe I should've known that what I had to say wouldn't simply get me labeled a right-wing propagandist with a "deep affection for authority" who should be sending "(his) resume to Faux News" by the HuffPo peanut gallery, but would get my thoughts relegated to the slush pile where no one would even see them unless they went looking or happened to stumble across a link to them at the bottom of a related post.

A friend of mine told me not long ago that the best thing about me is that I hold nothing sacred and will take on anyone or anything -- and the worst thing about me is that I hold nothing sacred and will take on anyone or anything. Believe me when I tell you that it gets lonely being willing to piss off just about everybody.

The question of course becomes, does fearlessness -- or stupidity, depending on how you want to look at it -- matter if nobody can hear the tree fall in the forest anyway?

(Update: Maybe someone was listening over there, or Sekoff just sent the right kind of e-mail, because as of this morning I'm on the main media page. For the record, it was where the piece always belonged, rather than in the politics section, so we'll see what happens next.)


John Foley said...

Reading comprehension is not a prerequisite over at HP. I think it's funny how much they deride Fox News for being a right wing hivemind, but as soon as you say something that's not cut-and-paste progressive dogma you get excommunicated. I thought we were all individuals? I thought we wanted people to have their own voices and not just spend all day agreeing with one another? Oh... but you dared to find fault with Saint Greenwald, so you're obviously jockeying for a job at "Faux News."
Some people really want to live in a binary world.

Michael J. West said...

Perhaps the answer to your question is something like that old saw about how nobody on their deathbed says "I wish I'd spent more time at the office." Would you, on your deathbed, be happy to say "I wish I'd been less honest and more inhibited"?

Sure, politics is about who you can sway, but in the end it comes down to you. That's why they talk about voting your conscience - Roy Sekoff and Arianna and your readers ain't coming into the booth with you.

Likewise, you've gotta speak your conscience. Holding your tongue or tempering your words might satisfy other people, but they're not the ones who have to live with your not genuinely expressing yourself.

I'm a jazz critic - miles away from what you're doing here, but not so far away. I'm sitting here putting my 10-best list together, fretting about leaving this or that darling-of-the-consensus off and leaving in dark horses of my own. But the dark horses stay, for the sake of honesty. Granted, this isn't nearly as important -- and the interest factor for jazz is about 1/20,000 of even the obscure political issues -- but one thing holds true: if you aren't willing to be the lone dissenter on your own terms, you're in the wrong line of work.

Chez said...

Thanks, Michael. Very nicely put. And you have no idea my love for jazz, so you get major props from me, as well as a whole lot of jealousy when it comes to what you do for a living.

Alanna said...

Michael, you really do have such a way with words. I've read all the reviews you have posted and I look fwd to each one you post. I really do hope you and the family make it up to NYC, soon. I'd love to have dinner and catch a performance at the Iridium!

Chez, your irreverence of the status quo is part of your charm and makes you that much more wonderful. To quote a few rap stars, "Haters gonna hate".

C.L.J. said...

Don't let the bastards get you down. Speak your piece. F**k them as can't take it.

Steven D Skelton said...


That's a good question, but I have a better one.

If a tree of reason falls in either the right or lefts echo chamber of inanity....is it possible that a couple of people might hear it?

Fuck them anyway. What makes your blog interesting is your willingness to speak your mind, wherever it may take you. Huffpost is, for the most part, one author after another defending the liberal side of whatever the issue of the day is.

Nobody's mind is that one-sided...yet that's the way it appears over there. You are one of the few that have the balls to publicly come down on the other side of the fence when that is what you believe.

It won't get you far at huffpo, but that's why I read you.

Chez said...

Thanks, Steven. I don't feel like it's right to take credit for just being who the hell I am -- but I very much appreciate the compliment.

motheralex said...

Indeed. This perhaps, is why I have you bookmarked, and The HuffPo I only read when YOU link to it. Keep writing, you have a gift, don't let people fuck with you. Have you considered applying as a correspondent to "The Daily Show"? I think you'd rock.

CNNfan said...

CNNfans don't know how CNN operates, as you always like to point out. It's not proper fandom etiquette for a CNN fan to argue with a CNN pro. It's like a baseball fan arguing with a Yankee pitcher about how to throw a curve ball. So, thanks very much and please keep your constructive criticism coming, Chez. However, did you know I was an amateur TV news producer for CNN? Technically, that makes me your co-worker! Thanks to CNN, especially Jeanne Moos and The Situation Room, for making a CNNfan dream come true. As a cross reference I'd like to give a shoutout to two of my favorite journalists who published articles about my amateur TV production a few times in The Huffington Post and The Nation :

Ari Melber

Correspondent for The Nation,
Politico Columnist,

Re: CNNfan YouTube Debate (Democrats) video:

A floating avatar head called "CNNfan" asks how the next president will "prevent computer programming from becoming a lost art" in America, given the outsourcing of programming jobs. CNN already broadcast a clip of the video, in a segment about entries that will not "make the cut."

Another one of my favorite, very cool, talented Huffpo journalists:

Janis Hotham

Toronto-based writer
Radio announcer
Voice over artist

Re: CNNfan CNN/YouTube Debate (GOP) video:

YouTube multi-submitter Tom Joyce, aka "CNNFan" told me he submitted computer-generated animated questions because he hopes to promote increased voting in the upcoming election, "the way animated TV commercials promote product sales." He feels the lack of more creative ads is due to the well-reported need for Republican candidates to catch up with internet technology.

And last but certainly not least... Thank you so much, Arianna Huffington and to everyone at The Huffington Post and The Nation, YouTube, CNN or anyone else reading this, wondering why I did not mention you too.

kanye said...

So I just went and did something that I've never done before: Read the comments at HuffPo.

Holy Shit! You've really got the the Huffpuppies' undies in a collective twist over there, you rabid propagandizing rightwinger, you.

In all honesty, I should probably do this more regularly as I often forget just how seriously people take themselves.

On the up note, user fairwayhill is hella cute.

Chez said...

I should tell her that -- it'd be hilarious to completely discount whatever she's saying in favor of chauvanistically hitting on her.

namron said...

Ass kissers get to live in the castle and warm by the King's fire with the contant taste of royal anus on their lips. Contrarians like you live in caves in the forest and fight off the wolves, but have fresh breath. The former are necessary but plentiful enough to replace easily and often. The latter are rare and must be protected.

kanye said...

Now that would be a comment worth putting a little effort into. If you're really good, Chez, you might mangage to make her feel flattered while at the same time confirming her already formed opinion of you. Induce a bit of dissonance...set her head to spinning.

It's a whole lot cheaper than feeding her drinks all night.

Chez said...

No, she's pretty militant. It really is exhausting reading all that outrage aimed at me over there.


John Foley said...

It's nice to see the left has their own purity tests, too.

CNNfan said...


At least the former are not eaten by the wolves, only to end up coming out of the wolves' anus.