While we may be a few months away from the first snow of winter, the snowball fight is just ramping up until November.
Whenever I write about politics, I run the risk of people disagreeing with me, mainly because I support candidates and ideas that have no chance, like Gary Johnson and conversion to the metric system. Consequently, I’m likely to mock whoever it is that you plan to vote for and support, and come out strongly in favor of legalizing everything you consider immoral.
The result of this is that people will sometimes pose the question, either to their friends or occasionally even in the comment section, "Why the heck does this guy get to write for the paper?"
Like most things in life, the answer is a combination of practice and luck. (Some notable exceptions include: Chess, the lottery, nose-picking.) To my detractors, I’d likely try to argue the practice side, and talk about how I studied writing, or spent many years writing, and feel like I have a reasonable understanding of how to write. Me think me rite gud.
The problem is, there are many people who feel like they have a reasonable understanding of how to write, and most of them do not write for the paper. And if you were to ask why some people still get hired and some don’t, the biggest answer (aside from luck) is probably "qualifications."
Qualifications, once you get past actual skill, basically means "Have you written for other respected publications?" Because if you’re trying to hire a writer for your magazine, and you’re choosing between a few qualified people, you might pick the one who has been published a few times in Spaghetti Quarterly. But perhaps the writer only got published there because the editors knew he had written for Ravioli Digest. Which in turn, was an honor received because the writer had landed a big interview with Chef Boyardee for Pasta Today. And that initial interview? More often than not, just plain luck.
But that one piece of luck spawned more opportunities, which in turn added to an impressive-sounding resume (well, impressive in the pasta-publishing world, anyway) that opened more doors, and soon our imaginary writer has become a pasta-writing tycoon on the back of these many "qualifications" that all stemmed from some initial good luck.
And that’s what I mean by snowballing. A small stone of good luck, rolled downhill, can accumulate an impressive amount of mass. The first bit is often the hardest. This is why people who have money find it easier to get a loan for more money, and even easier to save money by spending smartly. It’s why once you have some dryer lint, it’s much easier to get more. Okay, bad example.
My point is, a fundamental difference between the two parties is how they explain this snowball success. The narrative on the right is that of the self-made man who earned the success single-handedly with hard work. The narrative on the left is that of community, where the woman who achieved success did it only thanks to assistance and infrastructure provided by the government.
Neither party has admitted that it’s mostly luck. But the way we view this kind of success -- and especially those who never got that good start -- is one of the biggest differences between the two parties.
So never mind the mudslinging. What we’ve really got this November is a snowball fight.
Seth Brown is a humor writer, the author of "From God To Verse" and hopes to one day land an article in Spaghetti Quarterly. His work appears weekly in the Transcript, and weakly on RisingPun.com.