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Launching yet another website in the current media environment might be an act of insanity, and yet here we are.

4 min read

I suppose the most obvious question is "why." What would possess any writer to strike out on their own during a time when writing is more devalued than it has ever been, when out-of-work writers are as thick on the streets as flies on a corpse and the very concepts of news, of commentary, of criticism, of thought itself are under attack from every direction? What professional writer would want to dive even deeper into that mire? A new site? A new brand? Another?

If you are looking for rationality you've come to the wrong place, I'll tell you that much. There are few writers who are entirely sane to begin with, and every time you hand them a check for something they've written you only make their condition worse. After 20 years of this I've gotten just enough to become truly incorrigible, so here we are. I'm going to make it everybody's problem.

The very notion of thinking about something—anything at all—long enough to put punctuation to it seems increasingly ephemeral in the current climate. There are a lot of theories and a lot of blame to go around, when one wonders how exactly that came about—but we can get to that in due time. I personally pin the blame not on generational shifts or technological shudders, but on greed. We are not even allowed to use our own eyeballs as we would; the world as we experience it is getting narrower, with our peripheral vision being increasingly filled with shouts and flickers and jangles all clamoring to shift our attention to themselves, all but begging us to abandon our thoughts and be Monetized.

The short answer to "why" is because we live in perilous times, but there is a desperate lack of perilous writing. That is dangerous. We need different. We need perilous. We need to not be homogenized into the roles the world would have us fill, no matter angry those who run the machinery might get at us. We need to pick at every scab, and scratch every itch, and do something that nobody else is doing.

There's no such thing, of course. There's nothing that any of us can point to while claiming to be utterly unique in how we do it. You could be an astronaut, one of the rarest of all occupations, but even astronauts have spares. There is no music that truly sounds like nothing else; there is no consequential art that was not one tenth invention mixed with nine parts of repetition. I would be a fool if I thought there was anything I've ever written that wasn't just a knock-off of what someone else probably wrote sooner and better. I'm not so dull a mind as to think the things I have to say are things that nobody else is piping up with.

But there are damn few of us, at the moment. Damn few and getting fewer.

American liberalism is losing its way. I intend for that to be a recurring topic of this site; as a worldwide march to the far-right and to fascist-minded leaders takes command of Republicanism and turns it into something that even a buffoonish human failure like Donald Trump can commandeer, liberalism has become almost entirely reactive. There is little time to contemplate next week when every morning brings a riot of new grotesqueries into the news cycle, to be sure, but we ought to be at least stationing somebody on the edge of next week so that they can tell the rest of us what to expect. Not everything has to be reduced to twitch and reflex.

We say that audiences now have no attention for anything that makes them ponder for more than a few minutes at a time, but we hand out almost nothing that would test that theory. To be sure, it is survival instinct that is stripping liberalism bare, not a new ideological shift. Advertising revenue has collapsed across all markets, everywhere, and deservedly so. As the wealthiest classes capture more and more of the world's cash, the number of would-be benefactors willing to fund perilous things has also dwindled, and the money that remains would much rather see perilous pretended at rather than actually accomplished. That is the way of the world, and our punishment for sailing into a new Gilded Age without most of us ever noticing.

This site is going to be an experiment. If it's not successful we'll all go on our way, both you and me, and if it does find some narrow success then I have plans for that too. I've split the whole thing into two sections: Featured stories are the essays, rants, satirical bits and other writings that I most want to share, and "Quick Reads," to the side, will be short posts addressing the news of the day, brief asides about topics that don't feel like they need anything more than brief asides, and links to pieces published elsewhere that might deserve your time.

I don't intend to drown you or myself in an unending sea of content. I want this to be a place to rest and think, not flit around in orchestrated panic. I'm also going to be reposting a bare handful of the pieces I've done over the last 20 years that I'm proudest of, because the internet itself is more ephemeral than you think.

Shall we go then, you and I? Let's see where this path leads, and see if we can claim a new spot for ourselves where nothing is flickering or flashing or squawking for our attention. God, I hope so. I really, really hope so.

— Hunter

Hunter Lazzaro

A humorist, satirist, and political commentator, Hunter Lazzaro has been writing about American news, politics, and culture for twenty years.

Working from rural Northern California, Hunter is assisted by an ever-varying number of horses, chickens, sheep, cats, fence-breaking cows, the occasional bobcat and one fish-stealing heron.


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