Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I don't want to get into name-calling, but I'm thinking of a certain movie director I'm fascinated by. This director is a "type" of artist you'll probably recognize. He's not that good, but he thinks he is. And he's not ashamed of telling people how good he is. It seems half his career is self-promotion.

I find this kind of self-confidence magnetic, intoxicating and compelling beyond belief. Reality TV is full of people like this, and I think explains why I like some reality TV. I have this endless fascination with people who put it out there aggressively, who are loud in support in themselves, and who attract other people by sheer force of their own will power, whether or not they're actually any good at what they do.

If you ask me, Sarah Palin is the quintessence of this personality type. She exudes confidence in herself; she can command an entire audience—and yet when you break down what she says on a sentence-by-sentence basis, it's often actual gibberish. And when it's not gibberish, it's usually content free. She just did a campaign style commercial asking conservative women to rise up and ... what? She said they're mama grizzlies who ... what again? But see, that's the thing. With Palin, the "what" is never important. It's always the "who." It's always about her and her bottomless well of moxie.

I think moxie is a great thing, especially as a spectator sport. I think most writers, including me, could use a little more moxie.

Except for those who could use a little less.

I would say you know who you are, except you don't ... and I kind of respect that.


Natasha Fondren said...

The love of Sarah Palin frightens me. Just last fall, someone explained that they loved Sarah Palin because she spanks her kids (I haven't heard her claim that, actually, just repeating) and eats meat. Great reasons for her to be President!

I'm a big fan of moxie. I love the word itself, but I also realized about a year ago that I write crap when I'm appropriately humble. I've since been working hard to develop my inner cockiness. In the end, if I suck, does it make any difference whether I know it or not, LOL?

Jon VanZile said...

I'm sorry to do this, but I have to. I. Can't. Resist ...

At least she doesn't spank meat.


And ha ha. You're totally right. Inner cockiness goes a long way in having the confidence to just push through. I don't know about most people, but I'm definitely my own worst critic.

E. Flanigan said...

You made me laugh with this one .... can't guess which director you're thinking of, but I know lots of other people full of empty moxie! LOL

It's sort of like that "act as if" thing, where you act AS IF something were true until it becomes true. Like acting as if you know how to wait tables until you actually DO know how to wait tables .... which I believe you actually pulled off ;)

As long as you're not, like, clinically delusional, you can keep track of when you're bullshitting yourself. And as you said, Natasha, if you really ARE delusional, then I guess you'll never know the difference, haha ;)

Erica Orloff said...

OMG, love this.

I generally like being all by my lonesome, and though I persevere, and work really hard, it's a totally different beast.

And while I find moxie kind of interesting for the same reason, after a while, it just annoys me and becomes this shrill shilling.

There was a guy on FB who was going on and on about his self-pubbed release and even put links and excerpts, and was doing virtual signings, and podcats and . . . and . . . And so I clicked on an excerpt, and it was so RIDDLED with errors (not "taste" things, but errors, silly, awful, dumb typos . . . ). Then a few days later, he posted about how he was disappointed that his proofreader missed errors (guess I was not the only one to notice, not that I informed him . . .). He regrouped, and damn if he is not at it again. It's almost bewildering. :-)

Jon VanZile said...


Because there must be some benefit to being clinically delusional, right?

Jon VanZile said...


I get frustrated sometimes when I feel like the person is flatly denying truth, or talking their way around it. You know me ... I"m not above a nice fight, and it drives me crazy when I feel like people willfully deny that blue is blue. Of course, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't occasionally guilty of that myself. Ha ha.