Posted on | March 6, 2013 | 11 Comments
Have you ever hit Da Tech Guy’s tip jar? I have and you should. Have you ever contributed to the Protein Wisdom monthly fund drive? I have and you should. And how about hitting Jimmie Bise’s tip jar? Are you some kind of Commie bolshevik pinko sympathizer, or are you gonna do something to help these guys in the fight?
Well, I could go on and on suggesting bloggers who could use your contributions. It is the general idea that matters. As I once remarked, the world is divided into two kinds of people: Good people, and sons of bitches who never hit a blogger’s tip jar.
The spectacle of “MalaysiaGate,” about which I have written much already and plan to write more soon, brings to mind the subject of generosity and cooperation. Cynical sarcasm is my stock in trade. I’d be shortchanging my own tip-jar hitters if I didn’t make wisecracks like this:
Brutal dictatorships are bad things, and so are Republican bloggers who score fat consulting contracts and don’t cut me in on the action.
The self-deprecating humor is sincere. If powerful Malaysian interests had been willing to pay $400,000 to obtain the services of a natural-born smartass, how quickly would I have cashed that check? Immediately.
Let’s not kid anybody. Honesty is a virtue, and it would be dishonest to present myself as morally superior to Josh Treviño, Ben Domenech and their friends, simply because I have never sought the kind of reputation that would make my services valuable to the ruling regimes of foreign nations. My intentional clownishness is a way of preventing myself from ever being tempted with such an offer, and also to prevent becoming the kind of self-important Serious Person whose colleagues laugh at him behind his back as the pompous douchebag he really is.
Please, laugh at my face, not behind my back.
And my face is mighty damned laughable, we must admit.
Being the court jester is a fun gig, and involves little responsibility, but I try to do my part as a member of the team, understanding that my success is dependent on the team’s success, and membership on the roster requires that I do work that is of value to the team’s common project. And this is just a 350-word preamble to an excerpt from an e-mail I sent in reply to a friend who had written to me about the MalaysiaGate story:
Ambition is a good thing. No one would get out of bed in the morning unless they had some expectation that their day’s labor would advance their own well-being. But unless ambition is wedded to morality — a sense of honor and duty — it will inevitably become a purely selfish thing. The sense of rat-race competition, the insatiable desire to exceed the fame and fortune of one’s peers, creates the idea that “everybody does it,” and that the only difference between winners and losers is that losers are insufficiently ruthless.
Loyalty must be a two-way street, and success requires teamwork. The selfish hot dog, who attempts to monopolize all the prestige of an organization by derogating his potential rivals and denying them credit for their share of the work, is seeking rewards he has not truly earned. Afflicted with narcissism, however, such people generally have the view that they are entitled to all they can get their hands on, that their personal excellence is such that they are born to rule over others, rather than to serve in any humble or obscure station. From the perspective of that worldview, the backstabbing and cronyism and conflicts of interest are just the way of the world, and anyone who criticizes those who succeed by such methods is merely envious at having been beaten at a game they were too stupid to play well. . . .
I understand that I’m playing a team sport. My success is not an isolated achievement, and I owe much to the assistance of others. Having been helped, I am obligated as a matter of duty to help others.
Generosity is not merely a moral obligation, but is necessary to the success of any cooperative enterprise. However great our personal qualities, however tireless our labors, none of us can succeed without the willing assistance of others. And such assistance is hard to obtain unless people are recognized and rewarded for their help.
Cynthia Yockey just called to tell me she wants to come to CPAC, but needs money to hire someone to watch her ailing father — for whom Cynthia is sole caregiver — for two or three days. I didn’t have time to listen to all her problems, much less to solve them myself, but I told Cynthia, “Don’t worry about the money. We’ll take care of that.”
Please don’t make me a liar. Go hit Cynthia’s tip jar now and read her excellent story about Commies, too.