An Open Letter
Is that you John Wayne? Is this me?

The problem with all this first person quasi-autobiographical shit, or as I call it, Helvetica, is that the author often makes the mistake of thinking smart people want to read about him, that they care about his life, his comings and goings, when in fact, they do not. Dumb people are interested in other people’s lives. Smart people think only of themselves (and of the poor). They want to see themselves reflected, especially in someone else’s autobiography.

For me, quasi-autobiographical shit must offer new insight, humble wisdom and a sense of understated depth. And of course, there is always room for humor. The idea is to be instructed while being amused. Good sentence structure, handsome words, comic timing—these things that flash brightly, but still they are shallow and easy to forge. Tone, however, will reveal the faker. One does not outsmart tone. And so if an author really is just a clever wag who likes to talk about himself in prose, then he will be the one reader of his blog. But if he really does understand and means to share, then tone will buoy him in the long race. I swear I'm not talking about me!
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