However well a man may have calculated his scheme of life, still circumstances, years, experience, always introduce a new element and teach new lessons. You find that you don’t know what you thought you did know, and what you thought of primary importance that in practice you reject. That’s what has happened to me. The hard life, which up to now I have lived, now that my race is almost run I renounce. And why? Hard facts have taught me that a man can have no better qualities than mildness and complaisance.—Terence, Adelphoe
I am daily besieged by dozens of almost identical e-mails asking me for support. At first, they want me to just sign a petition. That’s fine with me. Then they hold out the tin cup, asking me for money so that the evil Koch Brothers, the Nazgul of our own time and place, do not hurl us all into a pit of unrelenting misery.
Look, I hate the Koch Brothers as much as they do—but I also hate television. All these Democratic-aligned organizations are doing is arranging for millions in political ad buys on a medium which I do not support, and for which I have active contempt. I am also getting a little bit suspicious: Just whom are these organizations supporting? Is it the issue named? Or is it the collective broadcast and cable television networks? And has anyone ever checked to see whether there are kickbacks taking place?
That reminds me of a snippet I read last night from Christopher Isherwood’s South American travel journal Condors and Cows: “In Bogotá, he says, the milk was always sold diluted with water. One day, a pure-milk dairy was started but soon went bankrupt. It had been deliberately ruined by the directors of the water-works, who feared a serious drop in water-consumption.” In other words, are the TV ad people involved in these movements as a way of drumming up business?
These are questions that need to be asked, because I, for one, am reluctant to respond to any of these ads—regardless of my political beliefs.