This is a question I've been pondering with regard to my seemingly insatiable appetite for researching my book. In fact, I think it will be the book's main thesis.
As I research the culture wars, I'm coming to the conclusion that I probably don't have anything new to say in terms of explaining the landscape or defining terms. The book would be interesting if it were to be about why a previously disengaged middle-aged man decides to engage right now, and what that looks like.
To answer the question of why now? I will have to come up with a beginning, a moment in time when my story starts. How much of my background is relevant? All of it? Some of it? None of it? And how relevant are my pathologies of autism, depression and ADD? Or my alcoholism? My addiction to prescription drugs? My prolonged use of recreational drugs? Growing up in poverty? My military service?
And, perhaps a bigger question: who cares? If this is to be little more than a memoir, that's a question to which I'll have to have an answer.
I think it does form part of a longer story about the reasons for my alcoholism as I understand them, my journey into recovery and, now, my desire to engage. It's like late-stage recovery, when one feels well enough to engage without it affecting one's serenity too much, and of learning how to pull back when that serenity seems under threat.
But why is it the culture wars, in particular, that have compelled me to write a book? Why not Ukraine? Or geopolitics? My desire to learn about Russian history is as piquant as ever, but I can't imagine ever writing about it. Even after reading umpteen books about Putin over the past few years, my response to Wylie Hume's question this week about what I thought would happen in Russia was a shrug. But the culture wars have brought about a feeling in me that I really want to explore, and, for me, the best way to explore ideas is to write about them or talk about them in videos on my YouTube channel.
So, maybe it is late-stage recovery. Maybe I'm seeking my identity. Maybe it's a feeling of outrage that I feel compelled to explore: not outrage for or against any particular ideology, but against the diminishing importance ascribed to humanity, serenity, peace, love, tolerance, self-expression and free-speech. And yes, I've always felt aggrieved that these values are not considered important, but never more so than now, at a time when I also feel mentally strong enough to pull my head from the sand, shake it off and say, 'right then, what's all this about?'
So, what IS it all about? I intend to find out!