I knew that sooner or later I would be writing my last Voices column. I hoped it would be later but am glad it wasn’t sooner. This is it.
Over the last decade, I have written about 100 columns. In that run, I have managed to piss off virtually everyone. Liberals disliked my attacks on Rocky, my support of the death penalty, my advocacy for building new highways and my opinion that BYU has the right to discipline students who happen to disagree with the dictates of the person they believe is the Prophet of God.
The right wing has had far more opportunities for anger at my words but, fortunately for my e-mail inbox, there are not very many of those loonies who read City Weekly. I supported legalizing drugs, gambling and prostitution while restricting the private use of handguns. I viciously attacked the stupidity of King George II and his evil cabal about Iraq and numerous other subjects. Utah Republicans from Hatch to Cannon to Leavitt to almost the entire Legislature have felt my wrath'to the extent that they care about what one lonely writer says about them.
I regret that Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. hasn’t yet screwed up while I have been writing in this space, so I haven’t had a chance to say anything bad about him. Fortunately, while my column-ing days are over for this newspaper, I still have a public voice on ABC 4’s On the Record, formerly The Vanocur Group. It’s only a matter of time before Huntsman kowtows to the crazies in his party. Then I will give him equal time.
But more than just having a public forum to vent my political views, the privilege of writing this column every month has provided me with an opportunity to think about big subjects and offer the fruits of that thought for public discussion. Unlike some people, I do not think by thinking. I just can’t sit still by myself, cogitate and then bring forth fully formed, brilliant ideas. I think only by way of a discourse. The process of writing and editing, both editing myself and having the benefit of an outside editor, forces a clarity and depth of thought that simply doesn’t happen on its own'at least not for me.
Through this column, I have explored my own prides and prejudices. The process has helped me refined some of my opinions, and even changed others. I hope my words have had similar impacts on at least some readers. Based upon e-mails and letters to the editor I’ve read, some of my columns have provoked intelligent thought. Unfortunately, other responses have done nothing more than buttress my normal misanthropy and low opinion of the thinking abilities of the majority of our fellow citizens.
In closing this last column, I first ask for your indulgence in this solipsistic musing. I have refrained from any such navel-gazing in the past. Second, I want to thank you for reading this, and my other columns. Third, I want to thank the long list of editors who have helped me make these columns better. They get a large part of the credit, while I take all of the blame.
Finally, I thank City Weekly as an institution and its publishers, starting with the inestimable John Saltas. I have enjoyed my lease on this space and will miss it. I will even miss writing at midnight to meet deadlines. OK, that part I won’t miss.
Bruce Baird is an attorney and freelance writer living in Salt Lake City.