When sour grapes ring true

I’m not sure if Hog on Ice hits it precisely on the head, but the general tenor of his lament/rant is largely correct:

I only know one young conservative who got a real chance from the big-time media. These people are all going to quit and do something else; at least the ones who are trying to make careers in the political arena. That’s too bad, because they’re not disposable. They’re hard to replace. But when they quit, they’ll be doing the right thing. I quit, and not only am I glad, I wish I had never started. I curse the day when I first broke my own rule and wrote about politics. It was counterproductive and futile, and the conservative media doesn’t deserve me. It doesn’t deserve any new writer….

Conservative personalities are used to being blackballed and pigeonholed and hired only as tokens, so they think there are a limited number of conservative job openings out there. Just like the limited number of spaces on the comics page. They think that if they help anyone else succeed, it will be at their expense. So instead of fresh new faces, we see the same boring, mediocre, and sometimes even discredited pundits and writers, over and over.

Fortunately, I’m already doing something else, so there’s no need for me to quit. But has been educational for me to learn how the right-wing media, like the Christian media, is generally much more interested in wailing, shirt-tearing and ash-heaping than doing anything constructive. Of course, I do find it frustrating that so many people continue to pay attention to those who publicly and repeatedly prove themselves to be utterly unreliable analysts in every possible way. That’s just ridiculous.

I don’t know how responsive it will be to TIA, but I won’t be surprised if most of those who have publicly gnashed their teeth about Dawkins and company don’t even bother to request a review copy; when it finally comes to their attention it will probably be because some archaic churchman debating one of the New Atheists is using it as his primary ammunition.

One thing the New Atheists do very well – in fact, they do it to the point of it looking disturbingly like a circle jerk to the casual observer – is constantly talking up each other’s material, whether it merits it or not. This has the side effect of opening them up to criticism that they would not otherwise experience, especially when they are repeating Harris’s egregious errors, but I think it has been an important factor in their media success and in making what is a relatively small and insignificant collection of books look like a genuine intellectual movement.

Unlike Hog on Ice, I’ve never been particularly enthusiastic about the idea of a media career and it’s only ever been a tertiary interest at best, so the fact that Fox News, National Review and the Wall Street Journal try to pretend that WorldNetDaily and I don’t exist no longer irritates me. It does seem strange that it’s much more likely that the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Huffington Post will take note of TIA than Townhall, Focus on the Family and the 700 Club, but that’s the way it appears to work these days. The ironic thing is that at this point, only Richard Dawkins has even noticed the fact that the book is coming out.

Because I’m not a conservative, I don’t fit what the conservative media are selling, so they stick to their tried-and-true formulas even though my columns repeatedly prove more popular than the usual grist for the mill. That’s fine, at this point I’d much rather pursue what interests me than media notoriety; the fact that I am currently working on a novel which will be entitled Summa Elvetica, A Casuistry on the Elvish Controversy (and yes, the publisher did change the title, this is the more accessible version, believe it or not), should suffice to demonstrate my complete lack of interest in winning over the lowest common denominator.