Sep 6, 2010

the eternal awkward stage

It's one thing to believe stupid things when you're young. It's another to publish them for all the world to see.

It's another thing, still, to try to erase your former stupidity.
Zeiger, the author of two books and many columns, essays and blog posts about politics and local history, recently had his writings purged from a number of websites, including “Intellectual Conservative.”

Morrell’s campaign and the House Democratic Campaign Committee noticed the missing articles Saturday, the committee said. The group opened its general election campaign with a news release questioning why the articles, more than 50 by their count, were disappearing. The committee said Zeiger was taking them down to hide his “extremist” views. Field director Alex Hur said: “Voters deserve to know what a candidate’s values really are.”

Zeiger said those articles don’t all represent his values anymore, so he had them removed. They would be a “distraction” from the campaign, he said.

The writings aren’t from very long ago, mainly 2003 and 2004. But Zeiger is just 25, and he was in college at the time. He said he’s “grown up since age 18 and 19 when the really provocative stuff was going up.”
I'd say Zeiger is sincere, even if he's chosen the dubious strategy of purging the past. (If you're not inclined to give him the benefit, at least read his own reflections on his brief career as a pundit.)

I can empathize with Zeiger; the poems, political cartoons, and essays I crafted in high school were heartfelt but brainless, and it's easy for me to repudiate them as adolescent folly.

The only smart thing about them: they weren't published. No eternal awkward stage for me.

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