I’m still a smidgen burned out from those two pieces about religion I tossed out on Monday, so I’m keeping it light for a little bit longer.
I’ve said repeatedly that I think I’m a pretty good writer, and I’m proud of my work here. But in no way do I consider myself the best writer around. In fact, every now and then I find something written online that I look at and say “I wish I had written that” — or, in some cases, “I tried to write that,” when I find someone has tackled something I wrote — but far, far better.
Chronologically speaking, the first one I can cite is this epic rant composed after 9/11. I saw it practically everywhere, and admired its conciseness, clarity, and the way the author tied together so many disparate elements into a cohesive whole that was at the same time hysterical, terrifying, and true. However, it wasn’t for a few years that I waded through all the claims and assignments of authorship to find out that its true creator was Laurence Simon — which could only have been more obvious if there had been a cat reference in there somewhere.
Now, I’m no fan of the French. I have engaged in more than my fair share of France-bashing, but whenever I indulge in it, I find myself citing this legendary summation of French military history by Bigwig. It’s all bitingly true, as well as one of the most masterful displays of snark I have ever seen.
Finally, in the “I tried to write it, but didn’t even come close” category, is Will Franklin. I first discovered Will when he tracked back to a piece of mine where I (blush) believe I was the first to apply P. J. O’Rourke’s “Babe Theory” of political movements. His piece was a comment on the shrinking world community, with a tossed-off reference to the use of American symbols and slogans in the Lebanese protests against Syrian occupation.
But as much as Will might have liked my piece, he apparently had a hunch that there was enough material that I hadn’t touched on in my piece. He thought that he could take my observations, even my title, and build his own piece out of it. One that he actually, arrogantly thought might even surpass mine, and achieve legendary status.
But I guess it isn’t arrogance if you can do it — and Will did. In words, in pictures, in sheer magnitude and scope and brilliance, Will made his mark on the blogosphere with this magnum opus. My only consolation is that I tell myself I can steal just a smidgen of the credit for inspiring it. I even got over my resentment to the point that when Kevin needed a couple of weeks off last summer, Will was the first person I suggested as a guest poster. (It was partly a strategic move — if I brought Will in as a “temporary guest blogger,” then his transient presence might keep Kevin from offering him a spot — possibly my spot — permanently.)
There, that takes a little of the burden off me.