Politics is largely a vulgar and unchanging spectacle of self-aggrandizement by a self-chosen elite and self-deception most of the rest; with little room for logic or reason to exist in the space between. Any challenge to whatever the current strictly established dogma is, even by those considered the faithful (and maybe especially by it), risks a condemnation for apostasy. Attempts (almost by necessity) to cloak these efforts in skepticism risk their eventual transformation into examples of perverse cynicism through constant exposure to this toxic environment. Attempts at irony or sarcasm as an amusing alternative become little more than a jaded form of gallows humor in the end.
As for the 'perspiration to gain inspiration' required to break through the walls of a largely rigged game, they're often vilified without analysis either because of a lack of properly tenured credentials or their failure to follow ideological protocol for submission. The heroic effort of dancing in the minefield of political correctness left to anyone trying to achieve any originality often yields little more than a stench of disillusionment and disappointment that no masking fragrance can ever cover.
This is not to say that the overall experience of creating "Just Blowing Smoke" has been a bad one. In fact, to say that I'm immensely grateful for the reception it's received, the size of the audience it's somehow manage to gather, and the geography it's covered is a vast understatement. It was in June of last year for example while noting the 5th Anniversary of the site that I was celebrating 34,000 total pageviews, and as I now close the door a mere 18 months later, that same number has all but reached 78,000. Unfortunately however, true success in such efforts is measured with levels of participation that are orders of magnitude higher. Judged by these standards in fact, my own meager numbers will never even appear as a blip on the radar screen.
And since I'm being brutally honest ...
I should admit as well, that much of this effort began as a method to improve my ability to write. If any such improvement has been been achieved over the years, it seems all but imperceptible; and despite my exalted aspirations in this regard, the only thing that I'll ever share with the likes of literary legends like George Will or Charles Krauthammer is species and gender (OK, gender ...). Sparing the public the painful duty of acknowledging that rather sad conclusion on a regular basis could be the most decent thing I can do.
"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterward." - Robert Heinlein
While this departure does not mean that I'll be entering a monastic retreat (the constant kneeling is too humbling and far too painful for these old bones), I expect to be far less visible online and where my literary efforts are concerned. I will no doubt attempt the occasional tawdry literary effort and send them off to venues willing to accept such submissions for no better reason than to feed an addiction that I can't completely kick. The world being as fickle as it is however, I expect little more than to become lost in the next 'squirrel moment' and quickly forgotten.
At any rate, I hate long goodbyes, and this one's already too long by half. It's time at long last to bid a tragic farewell to the multiple personality disorder made up of the Department of Just Blowing Smoke Security, the lexicographers of the Stuck On Stupid Dictionary, and the other ne'er do wells that comprise the JBS Senior Staff as they're returned to the dark corner from which they've emerged over the years. (Which I suppose is far better than turning them loose on an unsuspecting public.) Thanks again for your support and your company on what has been a rather strange, often twisted, but occasionally interesting ride. Who knows, perhaps some day we'll meet again ...