—as well as the strong desire to make a living at same. I also have at least one glaring drawback (hint:
) there's a lot more info inside. Feel free to skim if you'd like.
So… one time the head of my department in undergraduate told me (cobbled together from my faulty memory and a letter of recommendation he later wrote) “John, in spite of all your shortcomings as a pupil, you’ve always frankly amazed me with your ability to craft insightful and interesting analogy, and tailor it to your audience in a way that often creates for them a revelatory experience.”
I was floored. Made me feel ten feet tall. Also, he was right.
Help me bring this talent to the world. I’ll give you some background, you go nuts. I’d like some honest advice, because I ask this question in complete earnestness, looking for some way to make this a reality. As trivial as this profession is, as disposable and odious as you may consider the men and women who earn their living this way, please suspend your enmity to help me realize a dream. Email any private thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m 30 years old, white, monolingual--BS in Geography and Economics from a State University, graduated in the bottom 25% of my class—but I still have a suspicion that by whatever objective criteria you’d like to rate the efficacy of on-air punditry talent, I’d score exceedingly high. I’m not a braggart, I swear; and I’m frankly at a loss for what anyone would get from bragging anonymously. Forgive me any self-aggrandizement—I actually pride myself on humility in my daily life.
I’m handsome. Like… real handsome, think a butched-up 6’3” Scandinavian Jude Law. I speak well, I have a charming manner and an engaging way of talking. I’m the guy people queue up to talk with at the dinner party. Suits hang on my broad shoulders like you wouldn’t believe. I have a command of the English language that exudes authority on any given subject. If my piercing, expressive eyes and straight, car-salesman teeth don’t charm you, the erudite wit and man’s-man Midwestern, lower-class charm and occasional idiomatic interjection will. The camera loves me. But these are not my main strengths.
My greatest punditry strength: an eidetic memory for historical, cultural, and economic trends, people, and events for any region of the world. Serious. If I ever read it, it’s still with me. This can be, like, party-trick-level (name every neighbor of Iran, clockwise, starting with Turkey), or it can be just… scary stupid showoff shit (the first six, “five year plans” of the Soviet Union: date adopted, stated goals, successes/failures, and historical legacy). I understand most
of it… but by God I remember all
of it. Matched with my rhetorical quickness, and well, I can do pretty much whatever you’d like.
I also spent time in prison.
I sold a lot of weed to a cop. I haven’t broken one law since, and I paid my debt to society. No violence or coercion or fraud, or treachery. You’re helping a reformed man… not some deranged or incorrigible scofflaw.
How do I go about landing my first punditry gig? I can’t go the government route—no way to get a security clearance. I have no idea about a think-tank route, and my undergraduate grades sorta… keep me from getting an advanced degree (6 grad school applications so far, 6 rejections). ALSO: I'm not sure how keen the think-tank would be on the convicted-felon thing.
So that leaves me with what…? Christopher Hitchens started by writing. I can write “well”, but no better. I mean to say--I pity you if you pay to read what I write. Like I said—I remember all of it… understanding it (well enough to write cogently about it), well, that depends on which day you catch me.
Metafilter. I swear I will make you proud if you help me realize this dream. I got everything but the connections, and I’ll tirelessly pursue any reasonable course of action that we as a group can come up with.
(And… I’m not an insufferable egotistical trasp in real life, I promise. You’d like me. I’ve always felt the best when I’m making people feel listened to and smart and valued. I just felt like I had to get you worked up and excited about my prospects to get you on board. Some anonymous immodesty was required. Forgive me. Many thanks.)