From: Sheppard Davis
Sent: Monday, November 10, 2008 9:07 AM
Subject: Please forward to Roy
I read the Monday Morning Memo deeply each week.
Now deep in today’s MMM I find the “apology” written by H. Havrilesky on which I have the following comment: She significantly lowered the trajectory of her comments when she took the low road attacking Bush and promoting Gore. This seemingly reflexive action which is typical of many of the folks in her cohort distorts significantly from the power and sweep of her arguments. She would have been so much more effective had she been able to resist the temptation.
It’s a new day, and one folks with a sweeping eye towards history have seen before.
I trust you'll forward my comments to Roy.
From: Roy H. Williams
Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 2:58 AM
Considering where and how we met, I can see why you needed to point out how Ms. Havrilesky “diminished the power and sweep of her argument” through her unsubtle reference to the Bush/Gore hanging chads. But Ms. Havrilesky wasn't making an argument. Her goal was merely to let us know of her jubilation. In short, she is a lifetime cynic who finds herself experiencing the feelings and attitudes she has long criticized in those of us who speak wistfully of leaders of the past. She wanted merely to share her feelings in a colorful and entertaining way. In this, she was successful.
Ten years ago when Locke, Searls and Weinberger published the 95 theses of their prescient Cluetrain Manifesto, they listed thesis number 4 as: “Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.”
Then, in thesis 22 we read, “Getting a sense of humor does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate web site. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view.”
There they are; the markers of the next generation: “Uncontrived, straight talk, a genuine point of view.” Another way of saying this is “unfiltered blurting of your truest feelings.”
Heather Havrilesky is a masterful mistress of the blurt.
This, from her personal blog, is another example of how she adds color to her writing by pushing past the boundaries of propriety:
Friday, November 07, 2008
I wrote an Open Apology to Boomers Everywhere for Salon on Wednesday, then I walked around the rest of the day with a skip in my step that hasn't worn off yet. If it's naive to think that an American president can make a huge difference in the world, I don't care. I want to feel this way for as long as I can. Obviously the man will make mistakes along the way. But god, it feels so good to believe that he'll collect information and get a second and third opinion and be as honest as possible and above all, do his very best. I think it's possible to sense that about him, and that's one reason why he's been so popular.
Not that creepy losers aren't often popular, but let's not think about them now. Right now I prefer to see the world as populated primarily by smart people and loving mothers and adorable puppy dogs. After so many years of gloom about the state of things, I'm going to bask in this feeling of belief and optimism for as long as I can.
Too bad I can't just go ahead and love Jesus while I'm at it. Oh Jesus, I would if I could, I swear. Too many years of kneeling in that big old drafty Catholic church just killed it for me.
Sheppard, I find those last 3 lines jarring to say the least. Many readers will find them offensive. Some will doubtless call it blasphemy.
But it's evidently how she feels. And it's vivid. As a writer, Heather Havrilesky is a heavyweight who packs a punch.
In the current issue [November, 2008] of The Atlantic, pages 106-113 contain a feature called Why I Blog by Andrew Sullivan. Here are a couple of excerpts that seem to fulfill the predictions made 10 years ago by Locke, Searls and Weinberger:
“Blogging is to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. Blogging is writing out loud.”
“You have to express yourself now, while your emotions roil, while your temper flares, while your humor lasts. You can't have blogger's block.”
Just between you and me, Sheppard, I don't usually prefer to read blogs because unfiltered blurting is rarely artful. Most of it, frankly, is mindless. But when done well, the blurt can be revealing and entertaining.
I maintain that Heather Havrilesky is a brilliant spokesperson for the perspective of her generation and as a marketing consultant, this interests me greatly. I also maintain that she is a writer of dazzling color and courage, even when I disagree with her.
I fear I've droned far beyond the limits of an appropriate response to your comment. I hope you don't mind.
Roy H. Williams