The Lure of the Soapbox | Hackie | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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The Lure of the Soapbox 

Published September 5, 2007 at 6:55 p.m.

In the latest "Hackie" column, "From Byelorussia With Love," I drove right to the edge. Hopefully, I didn't go over.

Like my fellow bigmouths everywhere, I am ready to share my brilliant opinions at the drop of a hat. This is bad enough for my friends and family, but, as a columnist for Seven Days with thousands of weekly readers, the scale of the potential problem grows exponentially.

It's my sense that the "Hackie" thing has sustained over the years (10+ and counting) largely as a result of the "vibe" of the stories. I try oh-so-hard to write sans agenda. I craft these stories with the simple purpose of portraying life, as I said in my video interview interview with Eva Sollberger, "in all it's beauty, heartache and craziness." If I started weaving my opinions into the mix, it would slowly poison the well.

Don't get my wrong. Opinionating is the bread and butter of most newspaper columns. It's just not "Hackie."

So, in this latest story, here's the paragraph that made me a tad uneasy:

I can't shake the feeling, though, that something's desperately out of whack. A more equitable economic distribution among the various peoples of the world would go a long way to healing our planetary woes, from terrorism to ecological meltdown. Plus, isn't it just the right thing? That's me, I caught myself and chuckled. Another cabbie political philosopher.

Rereading it now, it's not too bad. But, anytime I start feeling that urge to climb onto the soapbox, I try to remember the admonition of Clint Eastwood in his Dirty Harry persona:  If I wanted your opinion, I'd beat it out of ya."

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About The Author

Jernigan Pontiac

Jernigan Pontiac

Jernigan Pontiac was a Burlington cab driver whose biweekly "Hackie" column appeared in Seven Days 2000-20. He has published two book-length collections, Hackie: Cab Driving and Life, and Hackie 2: Perfect Autumn.


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