Well, the Pundit part is easy. It’s an opiner, a kibitzer, a bloviater commenting on the passing parade. For twenty years or so I performed this function at a couple daily papers (if you remember those), writing editorials, columns, book reviews, drama reviews and what were sneeringly called thumb suckers.
I haven’t done this for a living for quite awhile, but old habits die hard. Every time I read a paper, watch the news, TV or movies, listen to the radio, read a book I immediately start dictating my response in my head. I kept telling myself I should get a blog and prove myself a blockhead, which is what Dr. Johnson called any man who writes for any reason other than money. But inertia is a powerful force. Finally, however, thanks to the invaluable tech support of Brian Hodge, here I am. My random thoughts no longer blushing unseen, wasting their tartness on the desert air but rather are now polluting cyberspace.
As to the Podunk part, I spent my first twenty-five years in Ohio, another twenty-five in North Carolina and a couple strange interludes in Virginia and Minnesota. By the reckoning of the wise guy talking heads, thought leaders, tastemakers to whom we are expected to listen, anything beyond the New York-Washington axis (with the possible exception of L.A.) is the outback, the sticks, the boondocks, flyover country. In short, Podunk. And anything emanating from such places is by definition not worth listening to. It’s the same as the one percent having all the money, except in this view of things the one percent in the big city have all the ideas. The rest of us shouldn’t worry our little heads about it.
A dear friend of mine with whom I shared the prospective name of this blog was aghast. She is part of a generation still actually able to get aghast. She didn’t think we lived in Podunk and disliked the imputation. I assured her that far from wanting to defame the 99 percent of the country living in Podunk, I intended to clamber aboard Rocinante and tilt at windmills on their behalf.
Except for three years or so in the Pacific thanks to the empire of Japan, my Dad spent his life in Podunk and he was smart, modest, amiable, decent, honest, thoughtful, fair-minded, a good citizen and a lot better role model than such denizens of Metropolis as Donald Trump, Bernie Madoff, Richard Fuld, Rupert Murdock, Anthony Weiner, or the latest criminal rap star, slutty reality show housewife or Washington weasel. So here’s to Podunk. That’s my opinion.