Ten years ago today, Missile Test began as a short little blurb on my personal site lamenting the fact that every day New Yorkers like myself were playing a ‘grim lottery,’ whereby we placed our personal safety in the hands of fate. It hadn’t yet been three years since the 9/11 attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were raging, and every person in this city knew it was impossible to guarantee the safety of its citizens. Everywhere a person looked, there were opportunities for mischief.
It was shortly after this post that I moved Missile Test on to its own domain. I was deeply disaffected with the administration of George W. Bush, whom I consider to be one of the worst presidents in the history of this country, and I needed a place to let off steam, otherwise my friends were going to grow tired of me very quickly.
This site was my first experience with writing on a semi-regular basis. The one guideline I put in place for myself was that posts would be at least 600 words long. Over the past decade, only a handful have ever come in short of this limit, and many, many more have gone over. There are certain benefits to being one’s own editor.
Early on, the site was strictly politics. I hated the things that were happening to this country, and was flabbergasted just a few months later when Bush won reelection. I couldn’t fathom that a leader so bad at his job found reaffirmation in the populace. What did those voters see in Bush that made them think four more years would be a wise decision? To this day, I’ve never thought of a satisfactory answer, nor have I seen one proffered. The best I can come up with is that democracy is not based on performance, but politics.
For years after, fire burned in my belly when it came to politics. I was outraged, and my Loyal Seven readers had to be told what I was feeling. I devoured books on political science, had a subscription to Foreign Affairs, and even explored getting a masters in poli-sci. Eventually, burnout began to set in. The thing about politics is, it never ends. The arguments never cease, new battles always begin, and after a while, it becomes clear that politics isn’t about leading the country or determining its future path. Politics is about politicians. It’s about how those people acquire and maintain political power. With that realization comes the death of idealism. I came to the conclusion that our system of government awards sociopathy and continuing conflict, enabled by a news media that profits equally well off of all the drama. It’s disgusting, and the bane of our country that our system leads to over-ambitious liars being given the reins.
Thank goodness, then, that one day I sat down, with little idea what I was trying to accomplish, put pen to paper (that’s right, it was a hard copy), and wrote down my thoughts about Full Metal Jacket. For some reason, that film had been bouncing around in my head at the time. I was analyzing it, figuring it out, and decided to publish the review. Since then, the focus of Missile Test has shifted from politics to movies, but that’s not for lack of political material. There is plenty to write about in politics, as a simple perusal of the tubes demonstrates. But I’ve grown so disaffected with American politics that I have to remind myself these days that Missile Test is due for a little rant at times, whereas writing about movies just seems to come naturally.
What does that mean for the future of the site? I have no clue. This site was never meant to be a bridge to monetization, or a resume for a paying gig somewhere. I wanted to write, and the internet has provided me with a space to display it. I’ve always written about what I want. Next year, it may be sports, for all I know. Although, I doubt that. Sports is inherently meaningless, yet good sports writing cannot be dispassionate. Maybe I’ll have kids, and torture my Loyal Seven with stories about them. Or not, because that would be bad.
Whatever happens, there will always be room for Shitty Movie Sundays.
Oh, and one other thing. Last year there was a break in posting, and I told readers I was working on a book. Guess what? I wrote it. It’s no masterpiece, but it’s 80,000 of my words. I’m 28,000 words into another. Without this site teaching me what it means to sit down and write when I’m not all that inspired, I never would have found the discipline required to finish a book. So there’s that. And no, you can’t read it just yet.