Last week, I wrote an article called “The Men of Journolist.” It was supposed to be a satirical piece about how liberals, especially liberal journalists, are physically unattractive people. In it, I compared liberals to orcs and Andrew Sullivan to a sea lion.
It was, as some have noted, a pretty dumb and juvenile thing to write. I think that the point I was driving at is worth exploring – that is, that on some primordial level people can feel jealousy towards the beautiful and that this resentment can even affect journalists, particularly those with an ax to grind. I also thought that if it was written over-the-top, it would be like a stand-up routine that people would not take seriously. Of course, the best stand-ups include themselves in the material. I’m not Johnny Depp and could have included myself in the strafing. And of course, jealousy towards the beautiful is not restricted to any political movement or any group of journalists. I was going for National Lampoon or Spy magazine satire. I think it just came across as mean.
I’d like to apologize to everyone who was on Journolist and to Andrew Sullivan in particular. One great thing about Tucker and the Daily Caller is they believe in freedom, indeed almost absolute freedom. That includes the freedom to make an ass of yourself.
What makes me not only embarrassed but sad about this is that prior to writing “The Men of Journolist” I had an idea for what would have been a better and deeper piece. I wanted to explore Andrew Sullivan’s fight against AIDS and how it has affected his philosophy and writing. In 2008 I was diagnosed with cancer. I have been treated and am better now – virtually normal, you might say. But I remember how the chemotherapy, the loss of hair, and most of all, the steroids affected me. (In fact I didn’t mind shaving my hair off – much cooler in the D.C. summer.) Especially the steroids, which Andrew has written about taking for his treatment. I remembered how the experience affected my work, both for the better and worse (during the experience I wrote a series for the Daily Caller under the named Augustine Brehon.)
When I was confronted with the possible loss of my life I thought of people like Sullivan and Laura Ingraham, who had survived illness. I wanted to compare my experience to Sullivan’s experience, and do it without pulling punches. It would be a conservative Catholic who thinks that Sarah Palin doesn’t get criticized by the media as much as bullied, against a gay Catholic who thinks Palin is a dangerous phony. I thought it would be fun and interesting to engage him as two people who had a near-death experience, pushed through the meds, yet who wound up in two very different political places.
I should have trusted that instinct. Instead, I went for the cheap shot and the easy laugh. Andrew replied with good humor. I disagree with him and the Journolisters on everything, but I regret resorting to high school cheap shots.
Mark Gauvreau Judge is the author of several books, including “Damn Senators,” “God and Man at Georgetown Prep,” and most recently, “A Tremor of Bliss: Sex, Catholicism, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.” His articles and essays have appeared in various publications.