"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

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wFriday, January 02, 2004

SHOULD AULD ACQUAINTANCE, OH NEVER MIND: I was going to post something for New Year's but I got caught up in family stuff, and with a bear of an 1,800 word article to, uh, edit. It was going to consist of completely random awards for things I like. (Favorite New Year's Resolution: Kevin Michael Grace: Never, ever mention the Byfields again.) But that isn't likely to interest anyone at this point, so let's take a different tack, shall we?

This is going to be a really crazy year: professionally, politically, personally. I'm returning to Virginia just in time for the campaign season to ramp up. We've dispatched Shawn Macomber to New Hampshire for the next month, and may send him on to North Carolina after. My guess is, Dean wins New Hampshire but loses the expectations game, thus opening himself up to attack by those who can raise enough funds to stay in the race (Gephardt, Heinz-Kerry, Clark, maybe Lieberman). Still, by, say, the end of March, you have a Democratic nominee -- likely Dean -- and then the conservative press pulls out the really long knives. If you thought George W. Bush was just cursed with lousy summers -- that it had nothing to do with press bias and boredom -- wait until there's a singular leader of the opposition for right wingers to go after.

That leaves me in an uncomfortable but familiar spot. I'm not a Republican but neither am I an independent, exactly. I'm pro-life, I'm something of a libertarian, I really wish there was an alternative -- a real alternative; none of the fringe movements that pass for third parties -- to the big spending, nannyish two parties we have now. I'd like to think that citizens of the U.S. would vote for leaders who didn't promise to fix everything, and who weren't constantly trying to drum up new spending projects for their states or districts or for the whole bloody country, and who were genuinely interested in at least keeping in place the restraints on government placed there by the constitution and the amendments. But that may be wishful thinking.

My huge project these last few months has been to help modernize the Spectator website and to iron the kinks out of the new system. Many wretched hours were spent trying to make it look as good as possible and at the same time as functional as the old model. At times, I will now admit, I nearly despaired, but we're almost there. Next? Attract more readers and use the website to entice them to subscribe to the print magazine. It will be frustrating, I'm sure, but also fun, to try to earn their trust and their hard-earned money.

And then there's me: I am no longer the brash young thing, at the Spectator or anywhere else. I don't fell old exactly, and certain conventions still chafe. But a sense of responsibility, of adulthood, that I held off for as long as I could, is slowly descending. Not time to be "respecable" yet but t'ain't far off, I'm afraid. Took the kid brother to see Peter Pan the other day. Great movie: It succeeded for all the reasons Hook failed. When the narrator patiently explained "all children grow up eventually, except for one," well...I won't say it was a clarifying moment, but the movie does a good job showing what it is that separates children (and teens) from adults. Children believe they live in a world of endless possibility. Adults, bound by their own prior choices and debts, as well as an appreciation of the shackles of time, know better.

posted by Jeremy at 1:38 AM