Before now poetry has taken notice
Of wars, and what are wars but politics
Transformed from chronic to acute and bloody?
from "Build Soil"
Robert Frost

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Snowball? Where?!

Wow. Walking on History unleashed a storm of traffic on this site completely unlike anything I've seen yet. Patterico linked it, and then Instapundit and Pajamas Media picked it up, and the snowball kept gathering speed. I've added a lot of new blogs to the blogroll- if you've linked to me lately and don't see yours, don't worry. I'm short of time today, but I'll get you in the next couple of days.

I think my favorite link to come out of the last couple of days is from a rather vitriolic post by James Wolcott, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, who says

Pajamas Media has been showcasing the stalwart online oratory of soldier-citizen-poets who will not forsake the mission, their dedication a rebuke to the timid squeaks of us field mice.

The most euphonious bugler is a milblogger with the handle of Teflon Don, who sonorously proclaims:

He goes on to quote Walking on History, and then continues with:

War is war, his service to his country is commendable, we wish him safe return, but, really, there's no excuse for a pretentious prose style. Hemingway, Steven Crane- -they kept it bone-clean lean. They would have blanched at such gold-leafed Victor Davis Hansen vainglorious horseshit

Pretentious prose style? But I thought I was euphonious! I can't say I ever remember trying to compare myself to Hemingway (or Yeats, as someone suggested elsewhere), but I'm not sure I really mind being compared to Victor Davis Hansen. Actually, I'm flattered that someone so self-important as James Wolcott tore into me in the same column as he tore into Pajamas Media. That's ok, James- keep on keeping us honest over here. Sip your latte as you wade knee-deep through your self-proclaimed Iraqi mire in the comfort of your New York office.

In other news, Acute Politics has been nominated in a MilBlog contest over at the VA Mortgage Center . The top blog, as voted by visitors, will receive $3000. Each of the next nine get $250, and all ten get an opportunity to be a guest blogger on their site. If you like what you see here, I encourage you to go vote. If you don't really like what you see here, go over there and vote for one of the others. There's a lot of blogs I think are better than this one, and there's some great ones up for vote.


  1. Dan... Good post, two things...the link to the V.Fair article is hosed... too many https in it...and the ass who you are refering to is Wolcott... No sense in not getting the right dumbass.

    Just remember, that pretentious little twit isn't fit to wipe your ass. In history's books, it will be you that is remembered as having taken action and made a'll be he that is forgotten.... and that is truly walking on history.

  2. No worries man. I just found your blog a couple of days ago. Great stuff. Haven't read it all yet.

    This guy at VF...attributes all sorts of things to you including some sort of affiliation with PajamasMedia. While they may have done up a story on you, you are by no means affiliated with them. at least not yet ;)

    Compare your line:
    "I walk softly, for I tread on the ghosts of years."

    To his subsequent line:
    "As I make my round on the Upper West Side..."

    Oh, and I wanted to leave a comment or email for Mr. Wolcott but, no comments allowed apparently. When I clicked "Contact Us" I came to page offering to let me subscribe. Now I guess you know what VF is all about. And what you're all about.

    Keep it up. All of it.

  3. Hey, I thought you article was awesome and I have been reading you for a while. I often felt I was treading on ghosts myself as I walked through many castles in Portugal (both of Mulsim origin as well as Chrisitian). Funny how he trys to mock you and just comes off as a self-important blow hard.
    Stay safe and keep up the great work!
    Thank you for your service.

  4. ha ha! you're a bad ass dude, it's not easy being you. i voted for you, yours is by far one of the best military blogs i've found, good luck, take care.

  5. Anonymous17/1/07 10:12

    Excellent Blog -

    Des Plaines, IL USA

  6. Anonymous17/1/07 12:29

    Well I think Wolcott himself said it best in his article when he referred to his writing as "the timid squeaks of us field mice." No argument from me!

  7. Anonymous17/1/07 12:30

    Outstanding writing!

    I just found your blog. Your writing style is exceptional. "Walking on History" and "A Village Named Karma" could be sold to any number of magazines.

    James Walcott does not know whereof he speaks. Anyone who thinks Hemingway wrote "bone-clean lean" prose has not read his short stories. New York trumpets the "no-style" style, but a good writer finds his voice and uses it. Your voice is outstanding.

  8. Look, I'm a high school English teacher (also one of the maligned masses). I'm sure Wolcott would look down his nose at me also. Your first post I saw was "Walking on History." It was a delight to find and to read. Who cares about Hemingway anyway? He was (and apparently still is by some) highly overrated. You have a gift for cadence and with words--are you sure you're not Irish? Keep on keeping on, please!

  9. Anonymous17/1/07 17:13

    Umm . . . the link in your blog to Wolcott's vitriol did not work for me. Googled '"james wolcott" "vanity fair"' and found the vitriol here

    Bet Wolcott did not like _Leaves of Grass_ either. Or _John Brown's Body_. I think Fred Reed's latest column is appropos by analogy. If you had a book on the NYTimes bestseller list, Wolcott would be singing praises of your prose.

  10. Anonymous17/1/07 17:41

    Keep the prose from Iraq coming, dude. You could be the next Hemingway. You already write better than he ever did.

  11. Anonymous17/1/07 19:56

    I like the way he ignored the POINT of your post...shit like that is sooooo familiar, isn't it?

    As the girls say...whatevah.

  12. Wolcott is just jealous. You're sexy looking as all get out, and he's not...not by a long shot. (grin)You've got one of the best blogs going. I posted a link to your Christmas post in my Patriot Guard state forum, and you had our screens all blurry. I can't thank you, and all the guys there with you enough. God bless you.

  13. I've been following your blog ever since I found it a few weeks ago - and, as a confirmed milblog addict, I have to say that yours is most definitely one of the best of the best!!!!

    :) Hang in there - you are in our hearts and prayers!


  14. Anonymous17/1/07 21:00

    I enjoyed your blog too. It's good to find someone who appreciates the classics. But I thought that you could also have mentioned Xenophon and the Ten Thousand. Here's the link to a recent piece that refers to Xenophon in connection with the current situation in Iraq.

    Best wishes and keep up the writing.

  15. TD has a potential suitor I see.

    maybe she can make our return TD.


  16. Cro:
    Thanks. I was pretty tired when I wrote this one.

    antares said...

    Bet Wolcott did not like _Leaves of Grass_ either. Or _John Brown's Body_.

    Ha. I bet he didn't either. My awesome little sister just got me Leaves of Grass for Christmas.

    LL said...
    I like the way he ignored the POINT of your post...shit like that is sooooo familiar, isn't it?

    Annnnd... Roger.

    Yeah, I thought of Xenophon after I published. I was in a hurry to finish before I got kicked off the internet. :-/

    You do flatter me too much, Ma'am. :D

  17. Congratulations on the Vanity Fair thing. He's an asshat, but the link is great.

    You didn't answer Babbie's question about being Irish. I think she's on to something there.

  18. Excellent stuff, TD. If I were you, I'd wear Wolcott's disapproval like a badge of honor. Wolcott is indeed a twit.

  19. Hey TD it's no surprise to me that 'Walking on History' has caused such a stir. Absolutely outstanding peice of writing. I've thought you were brilliant when I first started hanging around aand you've only gotten better.

    I got a chuckle over at Badger 6 when he linked to 'Walking on History' and had this to say:

    "I must say I am a proud Commander. Not only does he write well, he has drawn the rath of the unhinged left."

    Keep on keepin' on.

  20. Anonymous18/1/07 12:37

    The Wolcott piece was leftist elitist sniveling snobbery. Who's he going to be yelping for should the next terror attack fall on the upper West Side? Yeah, someone in uniform. There's not alot of brute reality in his neighborhood, as you can tell by his focus on "style" over "substance", like the good shallow elitist he is. This thing was so dripping with condescension I had to take a shower afterwards. Thanks for the link, I know now to avoid the name.

  21. Anonymous18/1/07 13:34

    First off, "showcasing the stalwart online oratory of soldier-citizen-poets who will not forsake the mission, their dedication a rebuke to the timid squeaks of us field mice" isn't exactly bone-clean lean. It's even more pretentious than Hemingway ever was, and he could be pretty pretentious.

    Besides, your real fault is that Pajamas Media linked to you. Had you written bone-clean lean, he would have said you weren't poetic enough. Had you written with the tongues of angels, he would have said you used the tongues of men, and had you used the tongues of men, he would have said you used clanging brass, and had you used the clanging brass he would have said you didn't deserve to be in a band. If you had shown all the wisdom of Sura and Pumbeditha, he would have claimed to know better.

    Bloggers to the right of them,
    Bloggers to the left of them,
    Bloggers in front of them,
    Volleyed and thundered:
    Into the mouth of Hell
    Rode the six hundred.

  22. Anonymous18/1/07 14:37


    Just found your blog, and you have got talent my friend. As usual, the lefty loons know nothing. My family and I are very proud of you guys over there. Keep up the good work.

    Chris in Missouri

  23. Anonymous18/1/07 17:57

    Wolcott's a bitch.

    -- uber pig

  24. Wolcott is clearly hurt by a demonstration of the quality of a member of our military. When one hates those in uniform and what they stand for it is important to assume that warriors are simply dumb. You represent proof of that lie leaving Wolcott the task of finding some other way to tear down your example. How frustrating that must be! Nice work TD.

  25. Anonymous18/1/07 19:15

    Lol, wow, friend...I'm a bit starstruck knowing someone like you who is being compared to Hemmingway--and apparently coming out on top in many people's minds. I'm honored to know you....and you are doing an amazing job. I've been more and more impressed with your writing as time has gone on, and am so glad that you take the time to keep going with it. We're all proud of you back here....

    And I say again--come home safe to us.

    (I apologize if this posts twice...I was having trouble with the site)

  26. Anonymous19/1/07 05:14

    A talented writer is one who can paint a word picture that can be understood by others and can evoke in them the same feelings that the author felt. Your "Walking on History" post did that for me. Though I no longer live there, I lived in Utah for 27 of my adult years. I often felt the same feelings you felt -- particularly that feeling of personal insignificance -- while hiking in the mountains. Your "Warning: War May Be Hazardous" and "A Village Named Karma" evoked my own experiences in Vietnam -- particularly the part about nobody knowing anything. Yours is a rare and wonderful talent. Keep safe and nurture it.

  27. Anonymous20/1/07 11:18


    I'm a guy who swore I'd never waste my time reading that "blog crap."

    Started reading Lex a few months ago, and he pointed me to you. Got you on the Bookmarks bar now - keep up the great work.

    As a former Navy dude, I've never been hung up on that "If you've never served, you arent fit to comment" attitued (I'm not as tough as Barbara Boxer, apparently) but I do know this: I read Wolcott's bio on the VF page. He's never done an honest day's work in his life and is the worst kind of parasite - happy to enjoy his First Amendment rights but unable to show the least bit of respect to those who provide it.

    As I read what he writes, I hear a nasaly whiny tone, (and perhaps a bit of jealousy?) As I read what you write, I hear the sense of duty and honor without asking for anything in return.

    Thanks for being there dude, God bless you and your boys and girls over there and thanks for protecting us.


  28. Anonymous23/1/07 18:00

    So I know this is late, I just got off the plane like an hour ago... but I'm glad you like Leaves of Grass. I just sent you a whole box of stuff from Hawaii. You make me proud. Love you!

  29. I know writers and I know Wolcott. You, sir, are a writer down to the bone. Wolcott is merely a barren beard and a thing that makes such a living as he does running a non-stop suckupathon for those even marginally his betters in NYC and they are legion.

    It is said that Wolcott boasts the most well-worn pair of knee-pads in Vanity Fair's offices and I have no doubt it is true.

  30. Anonymous25/2/07 11:38

    You are doing great things here. Can I just say... Your friends miss you?

  31. Wolcott is dead on. You are overly flowery. Good writing is insight...not affection.