A heavily edited version of this is on Splice Today, but I don’t like how they edited it, so I’m posting the full version here.
Meghan Daum recently announced her retirement from writing think pieces because, as she puts it, “after a quarter century of thinking on the page, I often literally don’t know what to think anymore.” The line between fact and opinion has blurred so much that it’s hard to know what the truth is anymore, according to Daum; everyone would rather have their preconceived notions confirmed. She adds that coming up with something original to say every week is exhausting, too, especially when you can’t think of anything to say.
I know what she means. Prior to working at a grocery store, my livelihood depended on having a new opinion every week, hoping it would be the one that got me a weekly column at a major publication. Everyone would marvel at my infinite wisdom and bravery for saying things nobody else had the guts to say. Four years and several breakdowns later, though, I’m happy to report that I am not a pundit.
Many on the left saw pundits as prophets after the 2016 election. We needed someone willing to stand up against Pharaoh and lead us to the Promised Land. The emperor was clearly naked, but those who acknowledged it were deemed the enemy of the people. Meanwhile, the rift between the “woke” and the “anti-woke” grew wider; it started a few years prior with the debate over free speech on campus, but quickly escalated after Donald Trump became president, with the anti-woke blaming the election results on the woke. America needed a voice of reason to remind everyone who the real enemy was, and I took it upon myself to be that voice.
It’s narcissistic to think that now, but in a way being a writer is a form of narcissism. We believe our words have the power to change the world, and that the universe cares what we think. Only a handful of writers can honestly say their words meant something, though. The rest of us are just talking to the wind like King Crimson, a wind that does not hear. It took me a while to realize that.
My writing career was somewhat successful at first. I started writing regularly here at Splice Today, and occasionally wrote for HuffPost’s opinion section, Arc Digital, Rewire News, and INTO. Sometimes an article would go viral —…