An old metaphor for an attitude of gleeful, even vindictive opportunism is “he’d walk over his colleagues’ corpses.” I’ve used it rather frequently in recent years. There are a lot of conscience-challenged opportunists in the world. They make their presence known when disaster befalls others.
I’ve seen a lot of corpse-walking lately, especially among commentators and political analysts. To any of them who are readers of this humble blog: Folks, it’s not a good look. It reveals things about you that you really should keep to yourself. Time will pass and many things will be forgotten, but even a glimpse of a corpse-walker attitude sticks in the memory like dried egg yolk.
Many careers in conservative-oriented commentary have gone down in flames these past few years. The rise (and fall) of Donald Trump, the widely beloved 45th President of these United States, is the most common reason. You know some of the names. Now that events have revealed how utterly anti-American it was to support Joe Biden over President Trump last November, we’re unlikely to see them at perches of their former prominence.
But that doesn’t make a walk over their professional corpses any more attractive.
A brief but relevant tangent: One of the reasons I maintain this site – indeed, the strongest of them – is to serve others. Some Gentle Readers might find this surprising; nevertheless, it is so. I don’t get paid for what I do here, and neither do my Co-Conspirators. Indeed, it costs me several hundred dollars per year. (As for my novels, well, let’s just say it’s a good thing I draw a generous monthly pension from my former employers.)
Whether it’s a service of any kind to chide a corpse-walker in the hope that she’ll refrain henceforward – and to dissuade others from emulating her – I’ll leave for you to decide.
Emerald Robinson’s essay is as self-indulgent a piece of prose as I’ve seen in my nearly seventy years. It’s self-exaltation in pixels, at fallen others’ expense. Whether her intimations of having personally brought down the Weekly Standard and the television careers of Stephen Hayes et alii are accurate, I cannot say – but does it matter? It’s simply not a good look. Gloating never is. Gloating combined with bragging is an order of magnitude worse. And people will remember.
The old saying “Watch what they do, not what they say” is one I’ve used here quite recently. It has great value, but it omits an important point, one that’s especially germane to the world of commentary: What they say is what they do. Readers might forget the exact words a pundit uses in some specific instance, but they’re unlikely to forget the pose he strikes. A smart writer doesn’t leave himself open to castigation for a haughty attitude. This is especially true of one who has smacked his lips at – and perhaps taken a hand in – the fall of others.
Just a few early-morning thoughts. Please continue with your daily routine.