Jonah And The Wail

Why do I read The Corner?  There are plenty of other blogs out there with whose opinions I disagree almost 100%, and some of them have fewer typos.  Part of it is the "influence" argument; other web pundits, some of whom I enjoy and admire, find reason to read and comment on The Corner, and it’s helpful to grow a baleen of independent opinion before swimming through the blog-plankton.  The relative frequency of posting on The Corner is another selling point, particularly in August.  The chief attraction for me, however, is The Corner’s solipsism; while partisan blogs are a centime a century, few can touch The Corner for incestuous exclusivity in its opinion and imagined audience.  Watching the "Cornerites" (has anyone managed to trick the Derb into guilelessly calling himself "Cornholio"?) pile on over the course of a day with homo- and Francophobic appositive posts is reminiscent of what my high school’s Key Club would have sounded like had they had a private chat room.

The latest example: Rush Chairman Jonah Goldberg is back with tales from his vacation in Alaska, on his way to which he detoured through Vermont in order to collect hooks on which to hang a few swipes at Howard Dean.  Goldberg’s myopia isn’t limited to political provincialism, however; he also finds time to bash Vermont park rangers for failing to clairvoyantly divine that his disregard for posted park regulations and traffic signage was driven by his child’s and dog’s pressing metabolic needs.  Knowing that all breeders suffer the ill-will provoked by our more selfish fellow parents, I was moved to drop Goldberg a note:

Date: Wednesday 20 August 2003, 09:40 PDT
To: Jonah Goldberg
From: Eric Scharf
Subject: The Birds and the Bees

Dear Mr. Goldberg,
Thank you for sharing piquant anecdotes from your vacation. Colorful caricatures of local denizens are essential to any travel memoir; they simultaneously provide educational justification for the journey while congratulating the traveler for having the good sense to live where he does.  Permit me to welcome you back to a region unpopulated by people who communicate their shallow world-views through their appearance.
I am dismayed, however, by your unfair characterization of the motives of the Vermont state park employees who received your family at Thetford State Park.  From your writing, I know you are keenly alert to instances of blind narcissism in all forms.  As the parent of a small child myself, I have experienced countless occasions where I have let my child’s needs override any obligation I might have to respect either public ordinance or private property.  On no occasion, however, have I had the self-absorption to expect others either to be aware of my child’s needs or to share my sensitivity to them.  As a free-market conservative, surely you can appreciate the principle of bearing the costs of your decisions (in this case, taking a small child and dog on a long road trip) with grace and forbearance.
I’m glad you enjoyed Alaska.  I have always wanted to visit it, but for some reason I’ve been concerned that Alaskans would refuse to rub my wife’s back after the long drive.
Eric Scharf

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