While today’s blog post – which also serves as an entry into a writing contest titled “You are Enough” – is not my usual focus on particular details which implode the notion that the fossil fuel industry ‘pays skeptic climate scientists inject misleading lies into the settled science certainty of man-caused catastrophic global warming,’ it will nevertheless illustrate one of the core problems with that particular political angle of the issue. Specifically, writers who believe in themselves and their ability to write effectively enough… or the lack thereof … to successfully promulgate Al Gore’s side of the issue.
The contest has a simple goal of prompting entrants to “write a blog post with the single purpose of getting those who read it to believe in themselves and their writing abilities.” I was inadvertently alerted to the contest by a writer who demonstratively does not believe in himself while apparently believing in delusional form that he has the ability to write ‘devastating’ exposés that can ruin the credibility of particular public figures. But that’s another story.
Arguably, there are two types of writers, those who write fiction for pure entertainment purposes or to illustrate lessons to learn, and writers who describe and disseminate facts, in technical papers, brochures, history pages, blogs, pundit opinion, and news reports. Here, I speak from the viewpoint of what some people term a “citizen journalist;” I actually dispute the term, but since prominent policymakers say otherwise about people in my position, I’ll proceed as such.
How would I prompt non-fiction writers to believe in themselves and their ability to get their points across? Simple.
Discard the word “believe.” Know yourself.
The bit about knowing your writing abilities naturally follows. You either know you have good writing skills or you are oblivious that you don’t, as comically illustrated by Steve Martin:
Some people have a way with words, other people …. uh ……………… oh …. not have way … I guess.
Seriously, incoherence will never advance your position. But the Al Gore side of the global warming issue is replete with exceptionally skilled writers who have no doubt about their writing ability and how influential it can be.
They count on that. The main focus of my blog, Ross Gelbspan, is a very good writer and editor, his 1997 book “The Heat is On” is very compelling … so long as you never dispute its main thrust. Therein lies the problem, because he doesn’t ultimately believe in himself.
Think about it: if he believed he really was an investigative reporter who reveals how skeptic climate scientists are in a conspiracy arrangement with ‘Big Coal and Oil’ executives to mislead the public, why would he …
- feel a need to label himself a Pulitzer winner when he is not?
- keep a set of supposedly damaging ‘leaked memos’ to himself rather than showing them to the world in their full context?
- portray the set of documents as something they are not?
- have an utterly inconsistent narrative on when he ‘discovered’ the existence of ‘industry-corrupted skeptic climate scientists?’
Keep going in the issue. If Naomi Oreskes believed in herself as a person exposing the ‘merchants of doubt’ in the global warming issue, why would she feel a need to apparently concoct a story about what led her to ‘discover’ who one of the ‘main merchants’ was?’ Regarding my own assortment of critics / comment stalkers I joust with in online comment sections, if they believed in themselves and the accusations they hurl at me of being paid to spread lies, then they would publish evidence nailing me to the wall. However, these folks have little more than beliefs, not facts they can prove. I don’t simply believe I can defend myself against these allegations, I know I can, because I know and can prove I’m not paid by anybody to spread lies, and I know the material I use for illustrating the inconsistent narratives of Oreskes, Gelbspan and others is backed by evidence I can bury people with. I know my writing ability is good enough on my specific focus because I am praised by influential individuals, and among those who appreciate what I do is a person who emailed me on the same day as the major news announcement of his appointment to a White House National Security Council position.
At the end of the day, this boils down to an elemental concept: The Whole Truth. A writer of technical papers or fancy brochures or history narratives or pundit opinion or news items can point to all of his or her prior works in hopes that it will bolster a belief in themselves, but that’s no different than the proverbial ‘great’ salesman who brags of his ability to sell refrigerators to Eskimos. The rest of the world knows what he really is. If such a writer feels a need to support an assertion by hiding facts, or create a portrayal that’s either out-of-context or an outright embellishment, or sidestep criticism with character assassination of critics ….. well, we all know what the person really is when the truth comes out.
When you tell the whole truth, you are enough because the truth is enough. No need for ‘belief’ here, because the truth is what it is, and you either tell the whole truth or you don’t.