But the fact is that I don't have such patience. Every word I wring out when I approach that subject is like a pint of blood. In its honest form, political writing requires both terseness and directness, which are utterly foreign to my temperament. In its dishonest form, also known as propaganda, it requires cleverness, which I find pleasure only in observing, not in displaying, unless it is turned to merely playful use, or to the occasional bit of enjoyably vicious mockery. Indeed, the thing I find most infuriating about politics is that, like the human species itself, it is at least twice as clever as it is smart. This is why, after producing a few paragraphs which I then realized were a mere rant, of a quality which the likes of William Safire could easily equal, I abandoned the project. I was irritated into starting it by things I read in the paper. I was irritated into abandoning it by remembering who I'm not. I have more than a few strong opinions about the best way to arrange things, and considerable knowledge of the way the world works, and I'd like to put them in writing, but most of the time I can't do it without becoming as annoyed with myself as I am with those popular pundits with whom the world is afflicted.
So, I am destined not to be very congenial for the next few months, the atmosphere of daily life being doomed to pollution of the worst kind by the vile and slanderous season that is now upon us. I will probably take refuge in my usual bits of pastoral word jewelry, excursions into nostalgia, and the occasional attempt at humor. If the political fit again takes me, I will most likely not post it. But, damn, if Kerry spouts crackpot economic nonsense about the inherent evils of budget deficits, or Bush trots out crackpot economic nonsense about the "ownership society," I'm going to have a hard time keeping quiet.