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September 05, 2007

The Lure of the Soapbox

In the latest "Hackie" column, "From Byelorussia With Love," I drove right to the edge. Hopefully, I didn't go over.

Like my fellow bigmouths everywhere, I am ready to share my brilliant opinions at the drop of a hat. This is bad enough for my friends and family, but, as a columnist for Seven Days with thousands of weekly readers, the scale of the potential problem grows exponentially.

It's my sense that the "Hackie" thing has sustained over the years (10+ and counting) largely as a result of the "vibe" of the stories. I try oh-so-hard to write sans agenda. I craft these stories with the simple purpose of portraying life, as I said in my video interview interview with Eva Sollberger, "in all it's beauty, heartache and craziness." If I started weaving my opinions into the mix, it would slowly poison the well.

Don't get my wrong. Opinionating is the bread and butter of most newspaper columns. It's just not "Hackie."

So, in this latest story, here's the paragraph that made me a tad uneasy:

I can't shake the feeling, though, that something's desperately out of whack. A more equitable economic distribution among the various peoples of the world would go a long way to healing our planetary woes, from terrorism to ecological meltdown. Plus, isn't it just the right thing? That's me, I caught myself and chuckled. Another cabbie political philosopher.

Rereading it now, it's not too bad. But, anytime I start feeling that urge to climb onto the soapbox, I try to remember the admonition of Clint Eastwood in his Dirty Harry persona:  If I wanted your opinion, I'd beat it out of ya."

September 5, 2007 at 06:55 PM in Hackie Unplugged | Permalink


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It's good to catch yourself, but I wouldn't worry too much about your off-the-cuff comment - I would say that it perfectly matches the demographic of Seven Days ;)

Posted by: Mike | Sep 5, 2007 11:04:47 PM

Yeah man, cut yourself a little slack. It was a true, even highly laudible emotion. If everone thought that way, think of this...that would be a thought you never thought to think of... whhhaaah far out man! One should never really have to feel bad about being concerned about peoples welfare. President Pontiac, its got a certain ring to it, no?

Posted by: smeghead | Sep 6, 2007 6:19:39 AM

Man, I'm working way too much I think. I forgot that yesterday was Wednesday. I thought that story didn't ring a bell...But in another light that story sure does ring a bell. I used to work with a Bosnian fellow who habitualy said "Where are you man?" Kinda always made me laugh because we were looking at each other and all. BTW Byelorussian literaly means "White Russian" I also noticed several of the Slavic languages sound similar, Bosnian folks voices sort of sound softer, almost like with a French twist to it, while Russian on the other hand was most decidedly forcefull. Sort of like Janis Joplin speaking SerboCroation. For a time I lived in Jeff. and there was alot of "Internationals" living there with me. I had that exact same sentiment myself about the money. I thereby took that as my cue to be raiding my piggy bank with reckless abandon. I thought to myself, these folks have seen it tough for the last 20 odd years. Thats not happening on my watch, not here. I drove them to Burlington, Essex, Wherever. We went to movies, hiked around.... That Summer was easily the best so far. Its all about perspective and I sure gained some. Have a great day man, now I really got to get some sleep.

Posted by: smeghead | Sep 6, 2007 8:38:05 AM

Thanks, smeghead, for the illuminating linguistic analysis. Take that, all of you who claim the Yohackie blog isn't educational!

That was sweet the way you helped out the "internationals" that summer . . .

Posted by: Jernigan Pontiac | Sep 7, 2007 11:18:49 AM

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