April 07, 2005

Reader Mail and Related Ruminations

Which part of Hitchens article in Slate was hackneyed and cheap exactly? Is it that you object that Hitchens focused solely on the Cardinal Law abomination, to the exclusion of all of the other positive things John Paul had done? Or do you feel that he has made some errors of fact, that it is not at all uncontroversial to assert that John Paul had a direct hand in covering up pedophilia in the Church?

Just curious. I've been a reader for oh maybe six months now. I
liked your strong independent voice on Abu Ghraib. I disagree with
your pro-Iraq War stance but I recognize the force of your arguments.
Lately, I have to say that you are writing more and more like the
Michele Malkin's of the blogosphere, insofar as you simply assert that
which you know most of your audience will agree with. Perhaps that's
unclear. But this post on Hitchens and your post on Yglesias from a
few days ago aren't arguments; they're like the applause lines
speechwriters use because they know exactly how the audience will
cheer when they hear them. I'm perfectly prepared to argue whether JP
led the Church well in dealing with the pedophilia problem. Hitchens
at least gives me something to chew on. You have the right not to
participate, but if you do, you should do so fully and not simply by
pointing out that, lo, Hitchens is often good but here, not so much.
The kind of glibness you exhibited with respect to Yglesias ("that's
just not how things work, bro" was, I think, how you put it) was just

Maybe your readership as a whole hasn't noticed or cared. I've
noticed that I get back to your feed less and less often. I hope this
email was useful and helpful. I certainly mean it to be


Glenn Olsen
Bethesda, MD

I'm sorry to say, but that's probably about right. I fear that my blogging has become a bit too rushed of late. This can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Overt polemicism. Bolton good! Kyrgystan's revolution (ed. note: or was it a coup?) borne of Bushian machinations! Hitch sucks! Or, of course, sloppy verbiage, misspellings, etc. And, yes, I was too snarky with Matt. Why not just rebut his arguments factually without recourse to sarcastic jabs and such? Yes, the blogosphere is given to rant-like discourse often. It's probably par with the course and even part of the charm. But still...

So here's the deal folks. The simple reality is that I'm burned out. I've tried to hold down what's become an 8 AM to 9:30-10 PM day job (a fascinating and challenging one, I should add) with churning out a quasi-substantive blog from 10:30ish on. And I fear I'm just too tired to produce quality material as often as I'd like. If I myself feel that some of what I write merits the criticism of my correspondent quoted above--well, why subject others to it? So here's the deal. I'm going to take a break. I'm going to hand the wheels over to an estimable guest blogger shortly for a week or two (pending said invididual's ability). Then, a couple weeks or so out, we'll re-appraise where we are at over at B.D. Maybe this space will turn into more op-ed like writings once or twice a week. Maybe we'll revert to normal production but try to change the style a little bit. Maybe we'll just have to hang up our spurs for a while. I just don't know. But I do know that I shouldn't be posting material that I'm not convinced is worthy of your attention. And, exhausted night after night at 11 PM, it's hard to pull off producing material I am happy with sadly. This isn't a good-bye. It's a hitting of the pause button for a bit as I re-appraise where to go with this website. Meantime, as I said, I'll be announcing a quality guest blogger soon. And, again, a sincere thanks for all of you loyal readers who have stuck with me over the past couple of years. It's often been fun, despite this somewhat depressing post, and I'm pretty sure there will be more good times ahead. Dare I say, as I often do, "back soon"?

Posted by Gregory at April 7, 2005 04:36 AM | TrackBack (5)

good luck.
all the best.

Posted by: reliapundit at April 7, 2005 05:34 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Best of luck Greg- and don't be too hard on yourself. I find BD to be the most thoughtful right-of-center foreign policy blog out there- notwithstanding my left-of-center opinions.

Even on a bad day (and every blogger has them) you're adding constructively to the debate. Here's hoping for a speedy recovery


Posted by: MattSchiavenza at April 7, 2005 08:00 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Burnout happens to all of us. Enjoy the rest.

Posted by: "Mindles H. Dreck" at April 7, 2005 10:57 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think you should quit your JOB and keep up blogging.

I know some people who've done that.

None regrets it.

Posted by: PJ at April 7, 2005 10:59 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Thanks very much for the blogging. It was often quite interesting, even the rushed posts.

Best wishes

Posted by: Pigilito at April 7, 2005 12:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Burnout sucks, and I can more than relate to the feeling of posting something that leaves you feeling that it fell short of your standards. The pull and push between day job and blog has been cutting into my ability to write as I would want to as well.

For you, those standards are pretty loftyh. See, you went and made your life more difficult by creating high expectations.

Above all, I am really quite impressed that you had the courage to acknowledge the criticism and confront it.

Take a break, recharge the battery, and we will see you again soon. I am confident in this because my suspicion is that you find this too engaging and addictive to abandon completely. If not, the 'sphere would lose one of the best (the best in my book) right of center blogs in existence.

PS: Let me know if I can be of help in any way.

Posted by: Eric Martin at April 7, 2005 02:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'll be looking forward to your return. Many thanks for all the fun so far!

Posted by: D. at April 7, 2005 02:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I know how you feel. Have a nice break.

Posted by: praktike at April 7, 2005 03:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Please, take a break -- burnout does suck, and if you're not happy and comfortable with what you're doing it's not worth it!

But your writing, and thoughtfully presented arguments and commentary are, to me at least, invaluable. Fallback to op-ed style commentaries on a less frequent basis if you must, but don't let up entirely.

As long as you continue to write, I'll continue to read, whether or not I agree with your conclusions!

Posted by: Scott P at April 7, 2005 03:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Heck, I am just spouting comments on the work others such as you do. Far easier and I fall short of coherence regularly. You'll be missed, but enjoy the break.

Posted by: Lance at April 7, 2005 03:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It seems lately that most of my favorite bloggers are taking a hiatus of one sort or another. It's getting really depressing.

Is there an island somewhere full of young Polynesian women that you're all sneaking off to and not telling us? ("Let's just tell them we're tired of writing, it's too much work, blah, blah, they'll never figure it out! Poor bastards...yo! Another Mai Tai here!")

Posted by: byrd at April 7, 2005 03:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


I think you are being too hard on yourself. The beauty of this form of "media" is that it is inherently self correcting. I have been in the habit of visiting your site daily and occasionally commenting. I consistently find the comments, even those that are a bit hot headed, to be stimulating and interesting and I believe I am better informed as a consequence. It is certainly demanding on your part, but I, for one, look to you as stimulating the discussion and not as the be all and the end all. Don't be too hard on yourself.

Enjoy your break, but please do not abandon ship. Between you and Powerline, I get the stimuli I need to keep thinking about what needs to be thought about.


Posted by: Michael Pecherer at April 7, 2005 05:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Dear Mr. Djerejian,

I do believe your critic has a point about your reaction to Hitchens on John Paul. I found it cursory, and I appreciated learning that Cardinal Law had found shelter with the Pope after he had covered up/supported child-molesting priests. That's the impression Hitch left me with; you could have contested it. Telling you that I wish you had is perhaps the strongest way I can put my hopes that you return. Thank you for the refreshing work you've done. Please don't disappear. Best, Walter.

Posted by: walter at April 7, 2005 06:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg, burnout (and writer's block!) happens to everyone. I have to agree with the folks who think you're too hard on yourself. Your rebuttal to Yglesias, though spirited, was not at all mean or debasing, as evidenced by the fact that he felt it worthy of response. And Hitch does occasionally come off as a bit of a grump. There's nothing wrong with that. We can't expect all of us to be perfect all the time.

So take a breather, remember that there's more to life than either blogging or your day job, and please come back soon, but not before you've had your well-earned rest!

Posted by: Bruce at April 7, 2005 07:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I've tried to hold down what's become an 8 AM to 9:30-10 PM day job (a fascinating and challenging one, I should add)

Greg, get a different day job. Anyone with your passion and writing ability does not belong with the Money Guys.

No one thrives in the investment banking world because they find it "fascinating and challenging." Those who succeed in that line of work are motivated by a ferocious hunger to rake in as much cash as possible, period. They achieve this by clambering upwards on the backs of revolving ranks of low-level, relatively poorly-paid (on an hourly basis) grunts like you.

Posted by: thibaud at April 7, 2005 09:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Enjoy your well-earned break BD. But please don't leave us. I need your sensible centricity as part of my healthy political diet.

Posted by: Mark at April 7, 2005 11:03 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sad to see you go, albeit not for good, Greg. With Sullivan cutting back, and now you, I feel a bit like Sir Edward Grey, watching the lights go out in the blogosphere

Posted by: Dominic at April 7, 2005 11:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Keep your day job, enjoy life. I hope that brings you back to posting, but if not, do enjoy.

Posted by: Mrs. Davis at April 7, 2005 11:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I can imagine getting hammered from all sides must be taxing, and I know being an independent thinker _definitely_ is. And it's better to take a break now and then than it is to burn out.

Besides, the weather is improving, and it would pay to step out of the dark paranoid winter and take in a little natural vitamin D and fresh temperate air.

(I wonder if the kind of claustrophobic blogstorm phenomenon could be tied to being cooped up in winter)


Posted by: Otis Wildflower at April 8, 2005 02:26 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

BD, I hope you return after your rest (which no one should begrudge you.) Yours is one of the less predictable and more nuanced voices out there.
The writer who sent you that e-mail obviously follows your blog faithfully, and was criticizing in that painstaking way that only an impatient fan would. But even when your posts are sketchier than average for you, they're way less snarky and glib than those of the average high-profile blogger.
Meanwhile, hope you get the chance to smell the flowers for awhile....

Posted by: Ilana at April 8, 2005 02:41 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

er, thibaud...i'm not an investment banker toiling away in a bulge-bracket bank, honest! yes it's a demanding private sector job--but it is great--even if it keeps me from this blog for spells here and there. but thanks for your words of support and generous praise. indeed, thanks to all for the kind words.

Posted by: greg at April 8, 2005 03:31 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hey Greg,

Even most of your rush posts are more fun to read and interesting compared to many blogs out there. It's refreshing to have a sane, rational, thoughtful person to disagree with and sometimes (yes, sometimes ;-) be swayed by. I'll stay a regular reader for as long as you decide to keep writing, whatever pace that is...

Posted by: Keev at April 8, 2005 03:33 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You and (a href="http://www.unfogged.com/">ogged taking breaks nearly simultaneously should, in principle, free up my time for substantive work. Unlikely though.

Posted by: washerdreyer at April 8, 2005 07:31 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sigh - why does it always fall to me?

What a bunch of soft-ball pantywaists - You call yourselves friends?

DJ! Quit 'yer whining you F'n pussy.
Get your shit together, get your kit on, and get the hell back on the line...

Posted by: Tommy g at April 9, 2005 03:01 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Are you saying you were wrong in your last dozen posts? Why?

Posted by: wf at April 10, 2005 09:35 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I found your blog refreshing, and interesting. I also understand "burn out" so take care and get refreshed!

Posted by: Colin at April 11, 2005 04:32 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well, I certainly understand burnout, which is why I've been blogging less than once a week lately myself.

Since I'm on your RSS feed, I'd definitely prefer you cut back on frequency and maintain the quality. And maybe you can convince Zathras/Joseph Britt to stay on as a permanent co-blogger, so you'll feel less pressure to blog frequently.

Posted by: fling93 at April 12, 2005 01:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


Enjoy your break! Relax! We will all be here when you get back (is that comforting?)


Posted by: Elliot Metsger at April 12, 2005 02:59 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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