How much would you pay to watch Sarah Palin beat the stuffing out of Andrew Sullivan? What would Barack Obama’s official Kenyan birth certificate be worth to you? How about a videotape proving that Bill Ayers not only wrote Dreams from My Father, but also translated it from the original Russian? How about a new Christmas CD with Robert Byrd singing all of his Yuletide favorites (“I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” “I’m Dreaming of an Even Whiter Christmas,” etc)? What would you pay for a DVD of John Kerry saying “Do you know who I am?” one time too many at a biker bar?
Alas, I can’t promise to deliver any of those things any more than I can immanentize the eschaton or hold more than 46 Cheetos in my mouth at any one time.
But what I can promise you is that NRO will continue to be there for you, like the creepy dude at the local library who smells like cabbage and keeps following you around to tell you that nobody really understands the true story of the War of 1812. Except we’re not creepy (“Keep telling yourself that” — The Couch) and don’t smell like cabbage (except around the in-house festival of St. Stanislaus), and while we may have our theories about the “War” of 1812, we instead mostly share conservative insights, news, anti-zombie strategies, humor, timewasters, debates, philosophy, tips about how to maintain sanitary standards in public restrooms, and lamentations about the sorry state of hand-drying technology therein. And, of course, we share dog stories of high caliber while tastefully referencing rodents of unusual size, Cthulhu, Mendoza, cats, and the ghosts of Mecosta: all on account of the flies. We keep the mainstream media on their toes like Robert Reich at a urinal, and cause the Left to fume and fulminate like volcanoes uncowed by the presence of airborne laser-lancing equipment.
And you in turn keep us engaged like Picard’s Enterprise at Warp 9. Okay, that’s lame. You keep us on top of our game like Michael Moore sitting on a Parcheesi board? You keep us sharp like the crease in Mark Steyn’s trousers? (“Move away from the keyboard, Goldberg” — The Couch.)
We love our readers, but not in the sense that we want to take you out back of the middle school and get you pregnant. We’re grateful to you for so much. And not just your money, which — don’t get me wrong — we want more than Joe Biden wants to be taken seriously. You’re our fact checkers and our tipsters. Our best friends and our harshest critics. What was it John Cusack said about Nick in The Sure Thing? “Nick’s your buddy. Nick’s the kind of guy you can trust, the kind of guy you can drink a beer with, the kind of guy who doesn’t mind if you puke in his car. Nick!” Well, you’re our Nick, and we want to be yours, but not in a gay way. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
And Nick, buddy, pal, Kemosabe, we really do need your help. Sure, I could give you the Tommy Boy Callahan-brake-pads speech, asking you to give for your sake and your daughter’s sake. Sure, I could show you the books and run you through the numbers. And you could also take a look up a steer’s you-know-what, but why not take the butcher’s word for it?
Please help. For me. Please.
Oh, I know what you’re saying: “Why should I do it for Goldberg? I had to kill a man with my bare hands in Machu Picchu for my money. Why should I give it to NRO just because Goldberg asks? He’s not as funny as Steyn, and he ain’t as smart as Ponnuru. He doesn’t know witchcraft like Derbyshire, and he’s not the all-powerful and extremely handsome Rich Lowry. Besides, now that he’s Mr. Book Writer guy, he’s gone all corporate, wearing belts and everything. I’d rather spend my blood money on sweatsocks filled with bird seed, just like Brian Williams does.”
And even if that’s not exactly what you’re saying, I’m sure that’s the gist of it.
So let me say: I hear you.
And in order to prove that I’m staying at NRO for the long haul and committing to my end of the bargain with you, the Collective Nick, I’d like to make an announcement: I am Spartacus!
Oh, sorry. That’s not it. I’d like to announce that all that clanking, hammering, and agonized shrieking of the damned you’ve been hearing from the National Review garage is not what you think it is (I’m assuming you thought I was building Mechagodzilla).
We are going to bring back the Goldberg File. That’s right, the G-File is coming out of the misty shadows of memory and legend, like a Ranger out of Arnor or Mickey Rourke emerging from a shadowy doorway in Rumble Fish (though hopefully not looking like the Mickey Rourke of today, with the toy dogs and the face that looks like he was attacked by bees).
It’s going to be an e-mail “newsletter.” But the amount of news will be swamped by the surfeit of letters.
There will be more about this later.
But first, we need your cash. Really.
Please help, Nick. Please. You’re our only hope.
– Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and the author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.