Herbietown - Putting Herbietown Back Out There

Putting Herbietown Back Out There

Herbietown is back! It’s been 8 years since this thing was active. I used to post here a few times a week from about 2007-2016, but when I joined CNN, I was forced to go dark. CNN has strict rules in place to avoid bias or even the appearance of bias, so even though I’m not a journalist, I was not allowed to have a blog.

I kept the url and just put all the existing content behind a password, with hopes that I would one day return to it. For some reason, I stopped writing new stuff. It didn’t seem the same without an audience, no matter how small that audience was. Now that I’ve left CNN, maybe it’s time to give it another try. The Internet has changed dramatically since 2016, and so have I. So let’s see what happens…

What to do with the massive body of work I already wrote? There are 785 posts… I’m going to go through it slowly, a few posts a day, and repost most of it. I’m a little worried there are some gotchas in there, or things I don’t really need to be public. But I will try to lean towards publishing most of it.

As I start this process, I’m blown away by a few things.

First, I was prolific. I wrote a lot. How did I make the time?

Second, I was political. I had strong feelings and I wasn’t afraid to share them. Religion, gay rights, marijuana, guns…and I was so SURE about everything. Not anymore.

Third, I was careless with my language. Some of this is times changing and becoming more aware of the impact of words. For example, in a post about playing Monopoly with my children, I mentioned that the best strategy was to build hotels quickly and then “rape” my opponents. That’s not a word choice I would make now. I cringed when I read it. Was that a more acceptable word choice back in 2014? Or was I just an oblivious part of the patriarchy? Probably a little of both. Anyway, though it was tempting, I didn’t edit these old posts…it’s for the historical record.

Finally, I’m struck by how honest I was. I put a lot out there. I loved to go right up to the line of what was appropriate to share, sometimes stepping over it. Some of the stuff probably could have hurt me professionally, too, by offending people in ways they never even told me. Who knows? I viewed myself as an unflinching writer above all else, and that raw expression was the point of it, what made it great. But now my 44-year-old self looks back and often cringes at how immature I was.

For years, I looked back at the “good old days” when I was a writer. I idealized those years, when I lived more mindfully and creatively by spending hours every day writing. Now I sometimes wonder if that was really true. Everything that went through my head was just material for an eventual blog post. I rarely just let experiences happen; instead I was always looking for the angle that would make an interesting post. Like one of those awful people that has to post their whole airbrushed life to Instagram. Nothing counted unless it appeared on my blog.

So now an older, wiser man will make another attempt to create. It won’t be TikTok videos or inspirational LinkedIn posts or a subscription Substack. Just an old fashioned WordPress blog. I hope you enjoy it.