door county, USA


About a year and a half ago, I was ready to stop writing this blog, because it wasn’t making me feel any better, I was getting self-conscious, and pretty much everyone I knew had stopped blogging (except for a stalwart few, especially when the Gribster tries absinthe). If I was going to keep going, I had to give myself some new guidelines, and one of them was NO MORE TALKING ABOUT THE BLOG ON THE BLOG. So you’ll have to pardon me, because there are few more guidelines I’d like to put forth.

– Number one, I’m so fucking angry all the time I can barely speak about politics without rending my garments. I had largely recovered from much of my GWB-inspired rage, but the floodgates re-opened when S. Palin denigrated community organizers – not once, but twice – in her RNC acceptance speech. That particular brand of cruel smugness is responsible for so much misery in this country, and it brought back everything I’d sublimated about Republicans.

– As such, this blog is going to be chock full of swear words and deeply offensive language for the next few weeks. Will it be my finest moment? Will Lucy read this years from now and burst with pride? Probably not. Too bad. I’m sorry, future Lucy! Oh, and do your homework!

– Time and time again conservative commenters have referred to my words here as “talking down to Everyday Joes, which is why the Republicans win”. This sentiment does several things: first, it’s an admission by those very conservatives that their votes come from people so stupid that they’ll make decisions based on who hurt their goddamn feelings.

Secondly, it’s a cheap tactic designed to catch progressives in a double-bind: we’re too weak-willed and pusillanimous to come out swinging… but if we do, we’ll alienate small-town Americans! Thanks, really, but fuck off. People who vote for strictly emotional and irrational reasons deserve to be shamed, and shamed ritually and publically.

Thirdly, you’re giving me a lot of credit. We get a shitload of hits here at xtcian, mostly people looking for Misty May’s arse or a new set of Jarts™, but I’m fairly confident my political rants will not trickle into the Johnson family computer nook in North Platte, Nebraska.

– Relatedly, my old friend (and excellent lead guitarist) Schultz wrote “If you cannot see that you are blinded with your own hatred, then you have far bigger problems that this election.” Well, I’ve been pretty up-front about having problems bigger than this election, but I don’t think any Republican can fathom what it’s been like to sit helplessly through the last eight years.

And don’t give me the “now you know how we felt under Clinton” canard: Clinton never gutted everything you ever stood for, then smirked as you writhed in misery. He was more a friend to you than you’ve chosen to remember, and he also fattened your bank account into a complacency you’ve only just snapped out of.

So I would put forth that if you’re not blinded by rage right now, you’re not paying attention. This blog is a place where a few people can congregate to commiserate or argue against that rage.

– One last piece of business: I will no longer tolerate the argument that Sarah Palin is equally qualified to be President as Barack Obama. You Republicans should be bathing in shame, not just for nominating her, but for the act of convincing yourself she isn’t a deluded, cynical DISASTER. When your party leaders said she was well-versed in foreign affairs because Alaska was close to Russia… weren’t you embarrassed? Or does that mean Obama gets credit because his Great Lakes touch Ontario, Canada?


It’d be funny, except that it so isn’t. Even mentioning her cringe-inducing resumé – which includes visiting Ireland while her plane refueled – in the same breath as Obama’s completely minimizes everything he fights for. Obama already has the ear of the rest of the world, while Palin is still trying to pronounce “nuclear” – which had to be spelled phonetically on her teleprompter.

So to hell with your first amendment rights: I’ve allowed you to make that specious case several times on these pages, and I’m done. If someone compares Palin’s experience to Barack Obama again, I’m going to delete it.

– Oh, and I love you all. Any other blog guidelines you can offer will be welcome.

45 thoughts on “door county, USA

  1. LFMD

    This is your world, and the rest of us are just passing through.
    Keep venting and we will keep reading.
    Remember, these are the times that test mens’ souls!

  2. Ian's Muslim Friend (tm)

    Hey my friend–
    I think you should take a while to unplug. The first rule of blogging is that you should find it fulfilling, and you sound really unhappy. I realize that the blogging might be a symptom rather than the cause, but I think blogging has a way of codifying one’s mood (in my experience, only bad moods). I would suggest petting a dog for about half an hour.
    I say this as someone who completely agrees with you. But, seriously, take a break. Do something offline. Then come back with a vengeance.

  3. Anne

    We love you too. Well, I do, anyway. :-)
    To Ian’s Muslim Friend: I would agree with you except I think Ian really shines under these circumstances, and I am not sure blogging can make him feel any worse than he already does about the election. Some of us found our way here thanks to Coastopia, which was a brilliant, sustained rant itself. So, I would say: Ian, if it feels good, do it. (Now you *know* I am a child of the sixties! Right on. Steal this book. Etc.)

  4. LFMD

    I agree with Ian’s Muslim Friend. Or, why not just blog but turn off the comments? You can get your thoughts off your chest, hit “post”, and go about your day. I could not handle people criticizing my work product all day long. You know what I mean?
    P.S.:>>I’m so fucking angry all the time I can barely speak about politics without rending my garments<< gave me a good belly laugh. I love the way you write! Such imagery!

  5. LFMD

    Yeah, and then I also agree with Anne. You do indeed shine when you wax political. BUT, if you find that your blood pressure is through the roof and Tessa tells you to chill out, turn off the comments.

  6. dean

    The election seems to be a statistical dead heat right now. The tightening of the race has made Ian’s blood start to boil. If McCain/Palin manage to win, he is definitely going to be placed on suicide watch.
    Even though I’ll be voting for McCain/Palin, part of me does not wish such heartache on Ian. But, the other part of me relishes the carnage much like a person obsessed with footage from the hurricane or a highway pile-up.

  7. Sean M

    New guideline: As you did today, show maps that include the Upper Peninsula of Michigan more often. I grew up there, and not enough people know it exists.

  8. Lurker

    Lurker here again… realized my comment above could be interpreted as telling Ian to shut it down for a while — which was not my intent.
    Ian, if you’re up to it, I hope you’ll keep on keepin on. I enjoy reading your blog — in particular the policial posts. You can bring it like no one else, and it’s reassuring to know that there are others out there who feel the way my wife and I do (and are WAY more articulate than the two of us…!)

  9. T.J.

    I’m of the opinion, frankly, that none of the four are particularly qualified to be President. Who was the last two-term Senator? Lincoln, maybe? So in my mind, that rules out Obama, McCain and Biden. And I agree that Palin is a pandering joke of a nominee. Both Palin and Obama lack in experience. But there’s a crucial difference: McCain could have chosen anyone in the entire United States, and he chose someone who has roughly twenty months’ more experience than I do (I’m in my second term as a City Councilman). Obama was chosen in a long primary/caucus process by the membership of his political party. He made it through an extremely difficult, year-long cycle, and was found to be the party’s choice. This issue alone makes him far more experienced and “vetted” than Palin.
    I assume everyone has seen the Fey/Palin parody from SNL? It’s on if you haven’t yet. I gotta say, as good as Fey was, Amy Poehler stole the show.

  10. Andy

    T.J. – First of all, great point about the Palin/Obama comparison.
    Secondly – I totally agree with you about the SNL skit! I think you are the only person I’ve seen that gave some “love” to Amy Pohler. Her Hilary character gets better every time she does it. It is becoming a classic satirical charicature (sp?) and it is a beautiful thing to watch.

  11. Matt

    I’ll respond to “it’s an admission by those very conservatives that their votes come from people so stupid that they’ll make decisions based on who hurt their goddamn feelings.” No, it’s not merely sympathy that comes from seeing someone smeared and blatantly mistreated by a biased media, but anger that they think we are too stupid not to notice. A perfect example is that recent NYT hit piece on Sarah Palin. I mean, how gullible and naive must a person be to read that and come away thinking they learned anything at all about her? People read this stuff and think to themselves, “I don’t want the kind of people who act this way running the country.” We often hear how poisonous the political atmosphere has become. Well, as Jon Stewart might say, YOU’RE the problem (or at least part of it). The bile, the hate and the smears do your side no favors. Does it feel good? Well, then enjoy doing it for another 4 years. You want to lead? Grow up (or put yourself on that ice floe).
    By the way, if you really want to know why people vote Republican, consider for a moment that maybe not all their ideas are born of ignorance or racism. Take “diversity” and “multiculturalism”, for example. If the goal is to eliminate racism and discrimination, then maybe assimilation is not really such a bad idea. Stop bemoaning American tourists who don’t speak French when visiting the Riviera and then denounce as xenophobic efforts to encourage immigrants LIVING IN THIS COUNTRY to speak English. Being able to do so will help them get good jobs and become functioning members of our melting pot society.

  12. Julie

    Ian, you should keep blogging about whatever you want as long as you want. We visit this blog for various reasons, but if the blog was really all that bad, then we wouldn’t come back. But, as you can see, we do come back; we read; we agree or disagree; we post, etc.
    Some may say it’s like a moth to a flame, as your blog is very addictive. But if that is the case, then it is the least worrisome of my addictions. And whatever my opinion(s) is/are, it is my choice to visit, to just read, or to read and then post.
    So, anyway, please keep blogging away. Rantings, expletives, and the like — it just wouldn’t be the same without them. :)

  13. D

    TJ, if by “who was the last two-term Senator? Lincoln maybe?” you mean “who was the last President who served at least two terms in the Senate?”, then we might recall LBJ, Kennedy and Truman. Lincoln didn’t actually serve in the Senate. Not to be pedantic or anything. I tend to think Obama and Biden are each more qualified than any other president in the last 30 years, except for maybe GHW Bush.
    Your call, of course, but I wouldn’t waste any more time on the whole Palin thing. Everyone but a handful of Republican nutjobs realizes that her 15 minutes is about over.

  14. D

    OK, I just read today’s news that Palin had a tanning bed installed in the governor’s mansion, so I wanted to say I was wrong in my prior comment. Ian, you should definitely stay with Palin. This is turning into comedy.

  15. craighill

    “One last piece of business: I will no longer tolerate the argument that Sarah Palin is equally qualified to be President as Barack Obama.”
    will you tolerate the argument that NEITHER ARE QUALIFIED?
    if not, take a break cougar. you might be holding on too tight, and we certainly don’t want you to turn in your wings!

  16. tregen

    Keep on keeping on.
    Stop worrying about the election. Both of the parties’ candidates are already bought and paid for…. lock, stock and barrel. If you don’t believe that, you’re just as blind as those you so strongly disparage.
    Real change will come when you turn off your TV and go to the streets, not to hand out democratic presidential fliers but to face down what the country has always been…. or we could all simply band together to buy back the country.

  17. grumphreys

    I would argue that alot of Republicans are as angry as we Dems are about the last eight years of governance, judging from Bush’s and Congress’ approval ratings. A tight race indeed, but its still a very real possibility that some conservatives will either sit this one out or vote for a third party candidate like Barr.
    McCain is desperate to put some daylight between himself and Bush. His campaign since the convention has been well-executed political theater, deftly using She-who-shall-not-be-named to distract voters from the facts on the ground. This financial meltdown ain’t gonna help that effort, since its yet another painful reminder of how badly we need new leadership.

  18. Caroline

    I don’t know how you do it, Ian. Some of the comments on here make me crazy. Just make sure you are doing something productive with your anger!!! We need your help to change things!

  19. triangleheel

    I am a little over this “qualified” argument also. You try to compare her stint as a governor, to his as a Senator. In raw numbers, Obama received 5.7 TIMES the number of votes in winning his Senate race as Alaska’s POPULATION. So as she demeans his work as a community organizer vs. her being mayor, how does a Governor vs. a US Senator count? In raw numbers- not very well for her.
    The other lingering feeling I get from all of this is our country’s obsession with not accounting for intelligence. She is obviously small-town, small-minded, and not very “cosmopolitan” (thanks Rudy). He is well-educated, well-spoken, and well-versed in his actions and job. But we don’t take that into account in “experience”- because I guess that is life experience, and unless you managed a MLB team, then you just haven’t been living.
    I think Ian was right- WE WERE RIGHT, YOU WERE WRONG- and admitting that would hurt your pride too much, so let’s elect two people to continue our losing streak. Just plain crazy…

  20. Rebecca

    Elections have become popularity contests. People vote for the guy they like best. It makes me crazy to think that people will vote for McPain because of HER, or not vote for Obama because he’s 1/2 black.
    Just think of what would happen to our economy of employees of major corporations were allowed to vote for the CEO.
    Rant on, dude. I am living in HELL right now and cannot speak to most of my friends and neighbors here in the OC about this election. Oh, and other than my parents, I can’t talk to any of my NC relatives either. Sometimes it makes me think there’s something wrong with me! But then I call my husband’s family in NY, and I realize I’m okay. (Well, maybe…)

  21. T.J.

    “TJ, if by ‘who was the last two-term Senator? Lincoln maybe?’ you mean ‘who was the last President who served at least two terms in the Senate?’, then we might recall LBJ, Kennedy and Truman. Lincoln didn’t actually serve in the Senate.”
    Actually, I was both unclear and factually wrong. I meant to say “Who was the last two-term President who came to the Presidency via the U.S. Senate? Lincoln, maybe?” Lincoln, of course, lost to Douglas in 1858. I’m not sure who fits that definition, to be honest. Anyone?

  22. Ehren

    I’m going to back up a point Matt made, and which I read a NYT blogger write about with regard to Palin. Republicans understand how liberals think, and dislike it. Democrats, on the other hand, have no idea how Republicans think, and are dismissive and fearful of it. This is a broad generalization, to be sure, but I think that if we on the left made a better effort to understand where the right was coming from, we’d not only better know how to beat them, but I think the tenor of our political debate in this country would be a little less venomous.

  23. Schultz

    Andrew Jackson was a two term President and Senator. But he didn’t ascend to the Presidency from the Senate. Prior to his election, he was the provenial governor of Florida.
    I can’t find anyone else. Great question

  24. FreshPaul

    Truman may fit those criteria as well, though he was technically never re-elected…he served all but a few weeks of FDR’s term starting in 45 and was (re) elected in 48. As per the Constitution then, he could have run in 52 but chose not to, as he was unpopular over Korea, his desegregation of the Armed Forces, etc…

  25. ChrisM

    Last week I bought a bottle of St. George absinthe at a shop in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn. Quel complex concoction! The next day I mixed American’s first cocktail, a Sazerac (rye, tiny splash absinthe, Peychaud bitters, sugar, twist of lemon). Delicious. I forgot about whatever circus is in town and made linguine vongole.

  26. Jody

    You put forth a long time ago that other friends of yours should write blogs. They’re not necessarily writers but you are. Comments are a double edged sword- the way I see it, you could write the entries as a book and not even take comments. It’s your blog.
    Personalities who do commentary for a living screen all their calls and constantly tell people to shut the fuck up, even those they’ve invited into their forum. It is more difficult in writing.

  27. Zel M.

    To Ian:
    I know you take so much of this personally, but for the few a$$holes who call you out and make it personal, even the wingnuts like and respect you and the job you do here. I have said repeatedly that I enjoy the discourse, even if it is maddening at times.
    You gotta do what makes you feel happy, but know that your work is respected and appreciated. And you can tell the others to suck your balls.
    To Ehren:
    That was exactly the point of the Jonathan Haidt article posted yesterday. I have heard the right-wingers on here often shout “you guys just don’t get it” and this line of thinking seems to back it up.
    To T.J. et al:
    There have 15 presidents who served in the Senate (will be 16 after November), but only five in the last 100 years: Warren G. Harding, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon.
    Of these, only two were elected directly from the Senate to the Presidency – Harding and Kennedy. Neither survived their first term.
    Think the GOP wants to reconsider the Palin pick now?

  28. the Other Lee

    Thanks for the blog, you’ve managed write out almost exactly how I feel but haven’t been able to properly articulate. I am mad as hell at the republicans for the last 8 years and I have done something I’ve never done before, contributed money to a political campaign (Obama) and also I will be voting straight Democratic ticket for the first time ever.

  29. Neva

    It’s your blog Ian and your place to vent. If we don’t like it, we can all go away. I really enjoy the discourse and you guys (and gals) teach me a lot. I feel like it replaces some of what I miss about my former life before kids/work/stress. The comments section reminds me a little of days of old when I had time to debate things with other people, sit around and yap about the way it ought to be, etc. Remember college dorm rooms late at night? College seminars where everyone had opinions about stuff they knew nothing about. I get a little piece of that again here and I love it. Thanks.

  30. Schultz

    If we all agreed, I guess life would be pretty boring.
    That being said, I love this place and enjoy the spirited discussions offered everyday. I am but a guest at Ian’s and appreciate his willingness to put up with me.
    Keep on rockin in the free world!

  31. Bud

    Thanks for the link, Lee — that’s fascinating.
    Here’s the article referenced in the blog post:
    The article states more clearly than the blog post does that both liberals and conservatives are prone to believing misinformation. That conservatives are more prone to the “backfire effect” is nothing short of stunning; for a long time I’ve pretty much forced myself to believe that I was just imagining their irrational stubbornness.

  32. bridget

    Ian – I think visceral raging anger is really the only way to go right now. What’s that saying? – ‘If you’re not angry – you’re not paying attention.’
    There is so much that pisses me off –
    * McCain campaign’s constant lies
    * The pansy-ass media who abets these lies by not calling them out (though they’re starting to…)
    * The cynical nomination of unqualified Sarah Palin – what is it with people who want a leader who’s “just like us.” I don’t want just anyone leading my country – I want the best and the brightest. That’s definitely not Palin – maybe she’s politically savvy but she exhibits small-minded, narrow thinking (bush-cheney style revenge and corruption on a smaller alaskan scale…)
    * Republican voters who want at least 4 more years of a disastrous administration which – shockingly – would seem to be less competent than the current
    * and finally – what makes me most angry is the potential for the triumph of lies, smears and viciousness over a brighter future where this country’s higher-minded ideals are recognized and celebrated

  33. eric g.

    Dude, thanks for the link. Ironically, I’d already poured my second lifetime glass of absinthe when I headed to your blog for tonight. I’m still in the licorice phase, but things will start getting very pleasant soon enough. Blog on, my friend. Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.

  34. xuxE

    oh this is a good day to blog, a perfect occasion to vent and the rage is long overdue. totally fucking justified, ian, i am so there too, count me in too.
    but as far as the blog rules or whatever, i have always felt like a space like this blog is kind of like sitting in your virtual living room talking amongst friends over coffee or something.
    except i actually don’t have any ethnocentric racist pro-life moron republican friends. they’re pretty much weeded out in the selection process. maybe it’s the “ask me about my abortion” t-shirt, maybe they just don’t fare that well in oaklyn, but that really works well for me. i don’t want them around me and i certainly don’t want them anywhere near my kids. so suffice to say, you won’t find them in my living room, virtual or otherwise. that shit they spew is not just theoretical, to me it is personally offensive and insulting and the only appropriate response is FUCK YOU.
    now you have seemed fine with letting them up here in your space though, maybe out of some misplaced sense of fairness or something, maybe you’re clinging to the hope that somehow they will see the light through logic or reason or psychic breakthrough, but i honestly think it’s a mistake. at worst, it gives them a platform to spread their idiotic bullshit further and further, and at best it lowers the quality of the blog like the guest who ruins the party due to extreme wackness. and that’s on top of the basic frustration from having their comments litter a nice tree lined street of dialogue like dog poo the owner didn’t pick up.
    so i totally support you to clean house of the people you are raging against and get their influence out of your life. create supportive energy for yourself and get a supportive space so when you rage people have your back and no matter if you are up or when you are down people have your back the whole nine. if the offenders are up in here contaminating the blog, kick them off, if they are on the news, turn off the tv, etc.
    i was saying this same point to my friends who just made a documentary feature on the bush mafia spin of the iran threat and a documentary feature on the 2004 elections where there was massive vote manipulation perpetrated by the republican party in ohio. for the vote manipulation film (“struggle”) my friend has all this great footage of the whole experience starting with the RNC protests all the way through to the election, and he is trying to get it out to people before the next election, to help everyone understand this extra slice of tyranny they perpetrated, to help raise awareness and…what? bring to light the obvious? i mean, look at the next crop they want to elect! if they’re not convinced now, after 8 years of this, then when? and i realized how incredibly futile the effort is. you could show every atrocity and evil deed in a fucking montage and it wouldn’t make any difference. you could show someone a smoking gun with bush’s fingerprints or a swastika tattooed on cheney’s head and you would still not be able to convince them of SHIT. the right wing assholes are stupid fucking fucks.
    well, maybe jesus will come back and convince them. and they will have hell to pay because jesus will be just as fucking pissed as ian.
    the end.

  35. scripture

    Ian – I love your blog. Nearly always don’t agree, but have been a fan since, “Love in Multiples of Seven.” It so succiently summed up my college love life. In fact, I still have a very worn and yellowed copy in my favorite memories box.
    I would be interested to read what types of service, community involvement, even community organizing the people (on both sides) that read this blog do on a regular basis. Preferably more on the non-political side. How are we as a collective readership making our immediate community a better place?
    Also, have you ever done a blog about personal responsibility? I believe America’s biggest problem is that we believe that lie that we “deserve” every material object in this world. We believe that nothing is ever our fault and that our choices have no consequences, etc. I would like to see your opinions on that and what sort of response gets thrown back.
    You didn’t ask for blog topic suggestions, I know. So forgive me.

  36. Jack

    There is no reason to stop blogging just because you are mad; anger is a legitimate subject for art and exploration. And cursing? Well, as music, film, and literature show us time and again, aggressive and adult language is often the best way to communicate visceral feelings. So, keep it up and I will keep up reading. Art doesn’t have to be “beautiful,” it only has to teach us things.
    As for some of the comments:
    Matt: “By the way, if you really want to know why people vote Republican, consider for a moment that maybe not all their ideas are born of ignorance or racism. Take “diversity” and “multiculturalism”, for example. If the goal is to eliminate racism and discrimination, then maybe assimilation is not really such a bad idea. Stop bemoaning American tourists who don’t speak French when visiting the Riviera and then denounce as xenophobic efforts to encourage immigrants LIVING IN THIS COUNTRY to speak English. Being able to do so will help them get good jobs and become functioning members of our melting pot society.”
    Using racism to troll and bait is still using racism. You have just fulfilled every leftist’s expectations of what a right wing ignoramus says. Congratulations.
    And as for this one:
    Scripture: “I would be interested to read what types of service, community involvement, even community organizing the people (on both sides) that read this blog do on a regular basis. Preferably more on the non-political side. How are we as a collective readership making our immediate community a better place?”
    I don’t know why any of us have to pass your test or prove ourselves to you. Why must we have you approve of our volunteer activities or justify our rights to comment on politics? Perhaps, Scripture, you ought to read your Matthew (6:3): “But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Or perhaps my little variation will help (although, Scripture, I do not know your particular politics since I haven’t followed the comments closely): on Ian’s blog, the lefties don’t have an obligation to let the smug self-righteous righties know what they are doing.
    Why I am attacking the people who post? To quote a saying most often attributed to Edmund Burke the father of modern conservatism: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Every time someone on the blog justifies the McCain/Palin ticket, we get one step closer to the acceptance of evil. The fact that these posters do so while claiming religious privilege only makes it worse.
    That’s it for me. I’m out. I won’t make the mistake of getting sucked in again.

  37. Matt

    Scripture, it might be best to ignore Jack. He’s quite possibly insane with hate. At least in this appearance he cut back on his ad hominem attacks and didn’t post his resume to let everyone know how smart he is.

  38. scripture

    Jack –
    Obviously, you misconstrued my comments as some sort of attack. I was serious about what I asked for this simple reason: I find that when I am out of sorts (angry, irritated, etc.) at world issues, politics, etc., that I find comfort in the small strides I can make in my community. This is an extremely intelligent community, full of those working hard to make a change in their own way.
    My own daughter, age 6, wants desperately to have a lemonade/brownie stand to raise money for toys for a neighborhood we walk through on Saturdays. Someimtes we bring bread, sometimes we bring coupons, canned goods. One weekend we had a block party to help pull this neighborhood together (which has been a cut through for drug dealers) and fixed a roof for an elderly woman. I don’t know how to help her pull this off (where to hold it, etc.) and thought I might get some ideas of community outreach here. I am not mentioning this because I am bragging, or on some higher plateau…but to shed some light on my heart when I wrote the post.
    Thought the change in subject might do us all a little good. That was all. There was no hidden agenda. You are in this a little too deep.
    Thanks, Matt, for the encouragement to ignore, but I really felt that I was so completely misunderstood. I am done.


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