Google first appeared in late 1998. A decade or so after they opened their doors, an old friend told me that their very existence had lowered the global IQ by at least 10 points, and probably more like 20. I agree with him today every bit as much as I did the day he first said it.

Facebook went live six years later, Twitter two years after that, and what we now call “social media” changed forever (and many of us believe for the worse) the entire dynamic of human discourse and interaction. Something else happened three years after Google launched and five years before Facebook that added a whole new layer of complexity to the human dynamic.

Called “Blogger,” basically the next generation of message boards, it intended to connect independent writers and readers with each other directly. Because Google’s publicly stated intention has always been to control the Internet, there was simply no way they could allow these connections to take place without wedging themselves into those conversations, so, in 2003, they bought them out and merged Blogger into their growing product portfolio.

Having spent so much of my life as a computer programmer, it should be no surprise that I was all over those technological advancements “like white on rice.” I created my first Blogger account before Google bought it out, and I had been using that account as part of the ongoing discussions taking place with that divorced father’s group. The software was pretty clunky and not terribly customizable, but it served its purpose well, which was to be able to communicate with like-minded people.

One of the members of that group shared a link with us to an up-and-coming conservative website that is still in operation today despite countless changes in management and ownership and countless writers who have come and gone since its earliest days. We were told that the guys running the earliest version of that website were all lawyers, pretty good writers, well-connected, and could be helpful and instructive on how to work with the House and Senate at the federal level on these issues of family law, children and parents rights, and so forth. I quickly signed up, as did several of the other fathers, and it wasn’t long before

I found myself having been invited to be a front-page contributing editor… And just like that, ” a nobody from nowhere who has done nothing more than anyone else” found himself standing in front of a national audience.

Admittedly, I went back and forth with myself about how surgical I should be over the next few paragraphs before deciding there was no point in bothering even to try; as a registered Independent, white, heterosexual, pro-life Christian male who believes in family, God, country, limited government, the Constitution as the founding fathers wrote it, and anti-globalist American sovereignty, much of today’s woke world thinks I’m a Nazi and wants my kind dead so I’m just going to tell the story, straight up, before someone figures out how to get me dead.

Having come from such a rich Appalachian history and then living in the state of Texas, picking a pseudonym was actually the easy part. Haystack rolls off the tongue and reminds me of my childhood as well as my newfound horse life, and nobody else was using it. When I first started at RedState, I did what newcomers to any website should do. I observed. I got a feel for the tenor and tone of the content, I commented on the posts of others, I paid close attention to the people doing most of the talking, and I researched the truth of the facts that were being presented. And, me being me, I studied the code behind how the website was running.

In the early days of the site, registered users were able to create and publish their own posts went live after a site moderator approved them. I did quite a few entries, focusing on the family law stuff that led me to the site in the first place, and I caught the eye of enough people “behind the curtain,” as we used to say, and was invited to meet members of the inner circle in Austin near where I lived because one of them lived close by and a couple of others were planning to meet up for a pow-wow on future plans for the site. It was all very cool, and I remember thinking these guys surely confused me with somebody else… I was just a nobody from nowhere who had never done anything anybody else hadn’t done and probably done better, but I said to myself, “Self? Fuck it… Why the hell not?”

The get-together was nothing more than an interview, something all too familiar to me, having conducted thousands of them during my years in management. They just wanted to ensure a real human was behind the name Haystack and that I was legitimate. Thinking about it now, considering the sorts of things that unfolded over the decade or so that I spent writing and blogging about politics, Society, and culture, it’s hard to say just how much of it was worth my time and effort.

Politics, media—liberal or conservative media—and what has become of social media and the way news Cycles are managed in the modern era have devolved into nothing more than a global Bloodsport. Readers are welcome to hate me for saying it out loud, but I lived it, and I can assure you that the media and information system, by and large, hate you, think you’re stupid, and rely on your ignorance in order to nuance the truth to the benefit of their political or corporate bottom lines; the nihilists are running the human Asylum.

It is a beautiful accident that I happen to be nearing a thousand words at this juncture. I think this is a perfect place to wind down this entry with a half-decent close and a bit of a cliffhanger. There will have to be a Part III because this is a mini-memoir about my evolution as a “nobody writer,” and I intend to close this story in my life on a positive and hopefully uplifting note.

For all the bad that goes on behind the scenes in the world of mass media, there are shining moments that deserve a little love and fond remembrance. You can imagine that I was overwhelmed with emails, phone calls, and requests from congressional pages and staffers, PR firms, and even the occasional campaign manager of elected office candidates, hoping I might give some front-page time to whoever or whatever they were trying to put in front of people visiting a nationally recognized website.

I was, back then, and remain so today, modest and humble; I don’t consider myself special just because I had a national audience, but I do consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to do what I loved, which was to write about all things, good and bad, that mattered to me and that I thought might matter to others. I never thought that I was anything special… Just that I happened to be in the right place at just the right time and decided to take advantage of it.

I interviewed presidential candidates, congressional candidates, independent filmmakers, high-ranking Military Officers, and a few celebrities. I even did a story about an Iraqi citizen I was in contact with by email (before the internet went dark) during The Siege in Iraq that led up to the capture of Hussein.

Of all the things I wrote about, the interviews I conducted, the stories I wrote about the people I interacted with, it was my time with soldiers and families of some of the Fallen in Afghanistan or Iraq that reminded me just how much more important everyday people are. The vast majority of the 8 billion of us in this world are just living everyday lives, trying to mind our own business, take care of ourselves and our families, and survive the never-ending onslaught of lies and half-truths from politicians and media. When I came to figure this out, I was finally convinced that I was putting whatever writing skills I might have had to the absolutely worst possible use.

The featured image for this entry was taken around the time I had the epiphany that I had become part of the problem, not the solution, and that my time had come to get my head out of my ass and make some serious and fundamental changes. In Part III, I’ll fill you in on how I got to the point I now find myself 27 years after I first dipped my big toe into the treacherous and icy waters of being a nobody writer.


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