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on style and substance

When I was much younger—a freshman in high school, in fact—I briefly adopted what might be described as a pop-right-wing political philosophy. Think 1995-era Rush Limbaugh, kind of, not that I really remember what he was talking about back then. The same nonsense as now, probably. In any case, it was all a pose, all for literary effect: as much a product of my sense of contrariness than any considered political opinion (or any actual thought at all). Basically, I wrote some things about how stupid I thought political correctness. Whatever. The writing itself is long-gone, the ideas long-repudiated (remind me to write a post about how I feel about political correctness now!), but a sour taste still lingers; and I am reminded of this painful episode whenever I try and write a serious opinion piece. Like this post, here.

The problem I think—aside from the fact that that is just how I write, so much the worse—is that I craft my arguments without any research whatsoever, which can't help but result in an end-product that is somewhat juvenile. I stand behind the opinions, of course! It's just that I wish my tone were perhaps more measured and scholarly.

Happily, people who are more measured and scholarly than me occasionally agree with what I have to say, which makes me feel a little better. Like Jo, for example. Or Anna Lappé, who wrote a response to Paarlberg's piece that also appeared on Foreign Policy's website (thanks Tom for the link!). Paarlberg responds in the comments, and he sounds just like anyone else arguing on the internet:

I welcome Anna Lappe’s response to my FP article.... Her argument illustrates nicely the weak foundation of evidence used by those who promote organic farming.


Anyways, our engagements this evening prevent me from writing the polemic about the potential for local sustainable food production that I am very eager to share, so it will have to wait until a later date.

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