Seamus on Bram… ain’t no Shakespeare… but if wishes were horses? This beggar would ride

Seamus O’Bradaigh – Blogger

A Reader… about Bram Lebo’s prosaic puppypiss on well…? Everything: “… the work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples.”

We usually let Bam! Mego write this column.

Bam! is a writer, editor and publisher living in Halcyon Township, Ontario.

Today? I fear I must tread soundly upon the meager, thin, drippy and gray gruel emanating from  the slack maw of Bam!’s namesake over at The Highlander, which is in Haliburton County just a skiff, a sniff, and a puffin’s meander from Halcyon Township.

Bam’s namesake owns a paper in Haliburton proper. Every Thursday, just for spits and giggles I sic Bam! on Bram. Why? Well, because Thursday is Mr. Bram Lebo’s day to spout effusively on the state of his wee, tidy nation from his cubbyhole in the sprawling office complex that houses the hub of his empire.

“The last time I was in that emporium, I was there to collect a cheque,” says the editor of this online ditty. “A cheque that was in arrears by some 60 days or so. Alas twas always so. This was de rigueur practice back in those days.

We hope that the situation has changed and it must have, because no one except a really dedicated sucker would be dumb enough to keep on writing and designing a website (still there by the way) while ripping the shit out of his line of credit. All this while the ersatz boss heads out to Florida (twice) and lets his secretary tell the unwashed peons that the business is out of money. Next week assholes! Next week.”

There were two of us living hand to mouth back then. Suffering the slings and arrows of squadoosh payment while toiling about 55 To 60 hours per week. The only reason I bring this up is because Mr. Lebo is celebrating the second anniversary of his paper. He has written this week about “his project.”

Lebo: About a year ago, a friend asked me if I believed everything I write in these columns. He seemed surprised that it took me less than a second to answer: of course not. You may find that surprising as well. To be clear, it’s a bit more subtle than that. Absolutely, I believe in the arguments I make, that they’re consistent and have a factual basis. But do I think I’m correct all the time? Again, of course not. The last time I knew everything I was 15.

I beg to differ. Back in the day, when a feller I know was the one of a pair of dedicated journalists – with over 60 years of combined news experience -which spearheaded the beginning of that rag, Mr. Lebo was quite clear on one point. To wit: He knew it “all.”

Yes he was prodigy and idiot savant rolled into one circumspect package, a Jesus complex so intricate that it defies any logical prognosis attempted by sane, well-grounded individuals. Mr. Lebo has always been right. So it goes with most legends in their own mind. If you are a self-congratulatory narcissist? You may well find it hard to work with people that know more than you. And if you also possess a fragile ego? You must of needs get rid of all challengers.

But we must intervene.

Sometimes I wonder if these columns have gone off the rails. People assume I am the sum of my writing, or that the paper and I share the same point of view. Neither is true, the former because my opinions evolve constantly, the latter because our editor always has the final say on editorial content. I can nag and try to persuade, but it’s his call, as it should be. I would expect him to at least threaten a resignation should I ever pull rank and overrule him; fortunately we’ve never come to that. Lebo.

I want particular attention paid to this tidbit: “because our editor always has the final say on editorial content.”

Terrance Gavan: It’s funny because I recall a different animal. I recall a meddlesome, pipsqueak know-it-all that spiked his editor’s stories on a semi-regular basis. And he regularly meddled with content and phrases in the columns of probably the best columnist Haliburton has ever read. He even dabbled with ersatz delight in sports copy in spite of his own profuse declarations that he knew nothing about sports. “Don’t understand sports.”

My guess would be that Mr. Lebo has hired individuals and surrounds himself with individuals that don’t challenge him. I challenged him daily. Because he made bad decisions. And refused to budge. Narcissists don’t budge. In my experience they don’t sprout new spots. They don’t learn new tricks. They fill their space with obsequious toadies. AlCapone did not hire Rhodes Scholars. I’m assuming that the metaphor, in this case, has legs.”

So in spite of Gav’s own spurious and mildly megolomaniacal assessment let us assume that Mr. Lebo has managed a full 180.

Also nice to hear.

But here’s my own take. You know the best thing about spouting from the cheap seats, with sophomoric glee? And no talent? You can, because of the proximity to a self-indulgent weakly (sic) soapbox, even get to think that you’re a pretty good writer. With views that are worth spouting. No one challenged Mr. Capone and if they did? They got it in the neck. With a baseball bat.

Truman Capote on Jack Kerouac “That’s not writing, that’s typing.”

Mr. Lebo peruse your readership. Take a poll. Please take a poll. The vast bulk of readers who do happen to glance at your soul- sucking homilies?

Find you boring, overstated, purplish and intolerable. But maybe that’s just me and my coterie of friends. Maybe I haven’y made my point. I will, then, let my friends chime in. Rejoinder away my scholarly friends.

Martin Amis on Miguel Cervantes — “Reading Don Quixote can be compared to an indefinite visit from your most impossible senior relative, with all his pranks, dirty habits, unstoppable reminiscences, and terrible cronies. When the experience is over, and the old boy checks out at last (on page 846 — the prose wedged tight, with no breaks for dialogue), you will shed tears all right; not tears of relief or regret but tears of pride. You made it, despite all that ‘Don Quixote’ could do.”

But t’was said better than that Dear Bram. So I go to the web now to bid you adieu. With some similar ditties.

Gustave Flaubert on George Sand — “A great cow full of ink.” Moo! Just for you dear Bram.

Lord Byron on John Keats (1820) “Here are Johnny Keats’ piss-a-bed poetry, and three novels by God knows whom… No more Lebo. (sic) I entreat: flay him alive; if some of you don’t I must skin him myself: there is no bearing the drivelling idiotism of the Mankin.”

Mr. Lebo. Don’t serve us shit and tell us it’s Swedish meatballs.

Get Seamus at twitter.com/seamusobradaigh