Interview: Huffington Post

Over on the Huffington Post, the Book Doctors interviewed me about Bang, pizza, and writing books that teens read.

TBD: How did you learn to become a writer?

BL: I sort of figured it out on my own, really. I knew at a very young age that I wanted to tell stories, and I was manic in my reading. I read constantly. Every chance I had, I would have my nose in a book. So I sort of absorbed a lot of the lessons and the rhythms of writing and internalized them subconsciously. Which isn’t to say that I was a great writer the first time my fingers touched the keyboard! Hell, no! I still had to practice and hone my craft, which took literally decades. But no one ever really sat me down and taught me how to start — I figured that out on my own and then just kept iterating and trying until things started to click.

Read the complete interview on HuffPo!

Election Talk is Stupid (with a Graph!)

trumpIn the course of a well-deserved takedown of Donald Trump, the Huffington Post recently obviated its own coverage of the primary election campaign…as well as everyone else’s.

Look, it’s a known fact — uncontested — that primary election coverage has become more and more ridiculous in recent cycles, its tumorous, exponential growth a blight on our body politic. So I’m glad that the Huffington Post has — apparently without realizing it — sown the seeds of ending the charade that anything happening in electoral politics right now matters. At all.

In a story titled “Donald Trump ‘Has Never Been A Fan’ Of The Huffington Post,” Senior Politics Editor Paige Lavender and Reporter Ariel Edwards-Levy skewer Trump’s bombast and egotastic disgorgements. They do an excellent job at it, but in the course of doing so, they also point out how idiotic it is to be paying attention to the 2016 Presidential election at all.

A chunk of the story, in case you can’t be bothered to go check it out yourself:

Screenshot from HuffPoAs Lavender and Edwards-Levy point out, at this point in the election cycle, nothing matters. Chumps like Herman Cain and Rick Perry had sizable leads coming their way at a similar time in the 2012 cycle. (Go back to 2007 and recall that Hillary Clinton was inevitable, and the black dude with the funny-sounding name from Chicago didn’t stand a chance…right?)

If “so few voters [are] paying attention” and “Polls this early…should…be taken with a dose of skepticism,” then why the hell are we even taking those polls? And reporting on them? And talking about them? This article could be summed up as “Donald Trump is angry about our reporting, but our reporting doesn’t matter, so HAH!”

Why do our media insist on punishing us with an endless churn of meaningless crap every primary season?

Quite simply, it’s a case of “if you show it, they will come.” The past several cycles have bestowed upon us a clown-car’s-worth of political hacks, has-beens, never-weres, and flat-out lunatic chumps because the world is paying attention. Jackasses like Herman Cain and Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin throw their hats into the ring not because they actually think they can win, but rather for the publicity that accrues to the attempt, publicity they can then spin off into lucrative speaking gigs, book deals, and TV appearances.

But if we stop paying attention, they’ll stop doing it. And when I say “stop paying attention,” I mean that people like Lavender and Edwards-Levy and the rest of their ilk in the world of political journalism need to back the hell off. If you starve a ranting, right-wing fire of its oxygen, it will snuff itself.

Some people may find the absurdity of the primaries entertaining. Or may enjoy the schadenfreude of watching a political party slowly disintegrate itself. I say look elsewhere for your entertainment and your smug self-satisfaction.1 This isn’t a reality show with a predetermined villain, or a penetrating look into the life of a celebrity couple. This is the very serious business of the future of our republic. Sorry if it makes me a killjoy, but I don’t think our Presidential elections should be treated with the same care and attention to detail as, say, Brad and Angelina’s outing to get ice cream with the kids.

At this point in the process, there’s no sense caring about who’s doing or saying anything. On either side. Polls don’t matter. Debates don’t matter. Early next year, when the first primary ballots are actually cast, yes, then you can start caring. But unless you work for a candidate, turn off the constant baying of the political class, which earns big bucks by making you think any of this matters.

And speaking of that political class, well, two of its members just admitted that this whole thing is a charade, and a useless one at that. The media should shamefacedly step away from the crack cocaine that is pre-primary idiocy and focus on something important.2


Trump image via Flickr

  1. Recall that it was only a generation ago that the other side was the one committing suicide by primary. The knife cuts both ways.
  2. Just as an example…