Politics & Policy

Des Moines Dispatch


Okay. Here I am at the Gary Bauer headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa. That’s right: Iowa. I was up ‘till three in the morning finishing a piece for the Wall Street Journal. This morning, I spent three and half hours writing, if I may say so, and if I don’t who will?, a pretty damn — er, sorry, I am in Gary Bauer’s office, a pretty darn good file. It had romance, intrigue, adventure. The nudity was a little jarring, but I think tasteful, and certainly integral to the plot.

#ad#I was all set to file, and … kablooie, my laptop committed seppuku. I don’t have the equipment with me to remedy the situation — damn it, Jim, I’m a doctor not a Circuit City! — so the file is (hopefully) sitting on my (please, oh please, oh please) intact hard drive. I’m literally typing this into an e-mail from a borrowed Bauer computer.

I have about as much mental energy left to write a whole new file as I have elasticity left in my shorts — which is to say very little. So, dear readers, I know that it has been two days without a file — a major faux pas for a “daily” column. But I don’t know what else to do.

I’ve got no newspapers. I haven’t seen much TV except for the Kennedy fog. My plane is leaving very soon, they want me off this computer, and my livelihood is sitting there mocking me with its HAL-like refusal to obey my commands.

I can’t write about Iowa because my contract with National Review forbids me to use any material I might need for the print magazine (see, now I’m even wasting one of the gags from the perfectly good file I spent all morning writing).

And writing purely about myself without the scaffolding of some thumbsucker policy issue is way too self-indulgent even for me.

So here’s what we’re gonna do. Hopefully, my column will be retrieved this evening when I get home to my lab where I have that really cool double-antennae doohickey with the electric current running between them that you see in every cheesy sci-fi and Frankenstein (It’s pronounced, FrahnkenSchtein! — What’s that from?) movie. We will pry the column out of there the way Kahn yanked those baby monster things from the back of that slightly larger monster thing in Star Trek II and it will be up extry-special early in the morning.

(As you can see, writing without the excuse of defending Galileo or explaining Littleton or debating the irony of irony is like praying at the temple of Onan (look it up).

Yes, that was an obvious attempt to dupe you people into reading some of my more respectable columns.

Now go away and let me panic.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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