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The Value of Everything
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Jonah Goldberg
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays.

Dear Reader (all 7.1 million of you),

I’d like to say it’s great to be back from vacation, but frankly it’s not. A lot of people think the biggest problem with being a pundit is all the blood sacrifice and unlicensed steel-cage shovel fighting. That’s true. But there’s obviously nothing to be done about that. Another problem is that when you usually write several thousand words a week — at least — you build up muscle memory. It’s like exercise — I’m told. When you train yourself to run every day, taking a week off doesn’t make running easier, but harder. Since I’ve been back, I haven’t been able to find my groove (this isn’t it). I had to delete the first 700 words of this “news”letter because it turned into a lengthy poem in Esperanto about chinchillas. Frankly, I nailed the iambic pentameter. Maybe someday I will publish “Kiam la Chinchilla vekas el sia dormado en la pantalono de mia koro” (Loosely: “When the chinchilla awakes from his slumber in the trousers of my heart”), but today is not that day.

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Your Diary Style Is Good, But Mine Is Better

In order to turn a grind into a groove, I’m going to kick it diarist style. “What is diarist style?” you ask. I’m reminded of a line from a Simpsons episode. Marge is being seduced by Jacques, a French lothario bowling instructor (as if there’s any other kind).      

Marge: You didn’t have to drop me off. 
Jacques: But I wanted to. [grasps her hand] Marge, do you know how beautiful you look in the moonlight? 
Marge: Errrr, Jacques! I’m a married woman!
Jacques: I know, I know. My mind says stop, but my heart, and my hips, cry proceed. . . . Marge darling, I–I want to see you tomorrow. Not at Barney’s Bowlorama, [but] away from the thunderous folly of clattering pins. Meet me tomorrow for brunch. 
Marge: What’s brunch? 
Jacques: You’d love it. It’s not quite breakfast, it’s not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end. You don’t get completely what you would at breakfast, but you get a good meal!
Marge: I don’t think so.
Jacques: Marge, darling. There are ten pins in my heart; you’ve knocked over eight. Won’t you please pick up that spare? 
Marge: [hesitantly] Mmmm, mmmmm . . . All right!

Well, diarist style isn’t quite a column and it’s not quite a “news”letter, but you just might get a slice of cantaloupe at the end, if by cantaloupe you mean something that only in the vaguest sense could be compared to a cantaloupe. A loose inspiration for my technique is the old “Diarist” feature in The New Republic of the 1980s; a bunch of unrelated observations very loosely hung together by a topic sentence that masquerades as an unbelievably forced segue. (Oh and if you think I’m old for remembering The New Republic from back then, maybe you’ll turn it down a notch when you realize that that Simpsons episode is 24 years old!)

Use the Force

Speaking of forced segues, they’ve apparently come out with a manual Segway that costs $900 and doesn’t really work on hills. But the financial cost is nothing compared to the convenience of not having to work at celibacy anymore. Show up to a date riding this thing and you’ll never have to worry that there isn’t room for two.


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