7 years ago
The Last Sane Man In A World Gone Mad
The passing of The Daily Banter's Chez Pazienza is a great loss to journalism that few will ever know about. While The Banter, which he co-founded with Bob Cesca, is small potatoes compared to the Internet powerhouses of Buzzfeed, Salon, Vox, and The Huffington Post, he helped bring something to the online paper that is quickly become a dying practice: quality writing. In the obsessive desire for traffic and shares, otherwise reliable bastions of liberal thought have devolved into cheap listicles and sensationalist outrage blogging. It is a dumbing down of the Left comparable to what Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity did to the Right.
A lone auteur in a wilderness of mediocrity.
Chez was left-wing P.J. O'Rourke with a sharp scintilla of Hitch. He opposed nonsense and bullshit wherever he saw it, from the hourly insanity of President Trump, to the maddening political correctness on colleges, to the insipid humor of Jimmy Fallon, to the left-wing nihilists who refused to vote for Hillary, to the self-destructive madness of the Republican Party, and the inability of many liberals to be frank about critiquing Islam. I didn't always agree with Chez, nor did I always agree with Hitch, but what they held in common, for me, was their witty and no-holds-barred takes the latest news events. Their perspectives were always fresh, often sating my hunger for something savage, contrarian, and nuanced all in the same piece.
If there were an overriding theme to Chez's latest Banter writings, if one can be salvaged, it'd be that America is going further and further down the shithole of absurdity, with the only comforting reprieve being the ability to laugh in defiance like George C. Scott riding the nuclear bomb in the finale of Dr. Strangelove. Literary voices like Chez are a dying breed. Even The Washington Post and The New Republic are falling prey to the Buzzfeed effect. Gravitas on the guillotine.
In his death, however tragic, it can hoped that Chez'll receive the due recognition that he deserved in life. I could quote any number of passages from his long bibliography to give you an idea of what I'm taking about, but I think it most prescient, given the toddler-in-chief, that I quote from one of his more recent warnings about Trump, as he tried tirelessly to resist the normalization of this imbecile of a president in the media, a resistance that we need to continue,
"So the time for arguing amongst ourselves over petty outrages and miniscule transgressions is over. It has to be. We don't have the time for it anymore. Those closest to Trump's firing line within our diverse population will be counting on every single decent person in this country to take a stand for them and the only way we can do that is with a unified front and sheer numbers. Our voices have to be loud. Our anger has to be righteous and it needs to be seen and heard in everything from our politics and those who speak for us politically, to our music, to our art, to even, ironically, our comedy. We're already seeing our artists, creators, and thought leaders giving us a hint of what might be to come. And come it must. That's the voice of the resistance."
Chez Pazienza's Articles For The Daily Banter.
"In Memory Of Chez Pazienza, The Writer I Always Wished I Could Be."
Pazienza, Chez. "Make America Rage Again." The Daily Banter, November 10, 2016. Web. http://thedailybanter.com/2016/11/make-america-rage-again/