Once upon a time there was a columnist (in a publication I will not name) whose writing bordered on such outright racism that I felt compelled to write about him on several occasions.
Okay, more than several, if you want to be technical about it. But he pretty much only had himself to blame.
Besides his oft-stated love for the 1950s, a period of time he held high regard for, as it represented – not only for him, but lots of other folks whose idea of the period seems largely to come from “Leave it to Beaver” reruns – the high point in civilization. All too often he had one culprit in particular when it came to many of the problems of the 21st Century.
Minorities, especially young males of a certain minority, who didn’t seem to share the values that so many decent Americans held close to their hearts.
Whether the subject was crime, incarceration, the problems facing the American family or a whole host of other topics, well, his targets were tailor-made for the crabby old farts of the world.
He was a walking, talking caricature of those you so often encounter online, those who believe the world would be a far better place if only more people saw the world through their eyes.
He would go for several weeks without mentioning race at all, and then, like your crazy uncle at a family reunion, the urge would overcome him, and he’d Hulk out in print.
What’s a guy to do? A guy who writes? You got it.
I wrote about him. In fact, he was quite a hobby of mine for a while.
And then, one day, I get an email from someone claiming to have worked for him, someone offering up all sorts of juicy gossip about the man, some amusing, and some repulsive. It was like Christmas came early that year.
The personal stuff I had no interest in, as my own life is far from beyond reproach. But the tidbits about his professional dealings with others, well, that was another matter altogether.
My correspondent (who had not identified himself in any way) was hot and heavy for the world to discover the less than honorable side of the man in question.
Okay, I wrote at one point, we need to meet in person before we can go any further.
Hemming and hawing followed. Excuses of all sorts were offered, as to why we could not meet just yet.
Well, was my reply, I really need to meet you, and get first-hand look at the information you are offering. I explained that we just couldn’t proceed any further without that happening.
And then came, in the words of those great philosophers Simon and Garfunkel, the sounds of silence.
I made one or two efforts to reestablish contact, but he had retreated like a turtle into his shell.
Ah well, you win some and you lose some.
Speaking of which, sometime later I reread all of his emails, and came to the conclusion that I hadn’t actually been communicating with one of his former employees after all, but the man in question.
I can’t prove it for a fact, but given the salacious nature of what was offered, and the fact that no one else ever printed the material, I’m pretty sure I dodged a bullet there. I think that _______ was hoping I would write about the material in my blog, thus opening the door for a nice lawsuit against me.
I’m not a rocket scientist, but I was smart enough not to fall for that one.
And I continued to write about him on occasion, and I imagine I will again in the future.
Listening to Herb Alpert’s CD “Midnight Sun” this morning. Why aren’t you?
Now on YouTube: Mendy Knott
My interview with playwright Mendy Knott. It was a fun show.
“On the Air with Richard S. Drake” celebrates 27 years years on the air in 2018.
Quote of the Day
Only mediocre people are always at their best. – Somerset Maugham