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The Bearded Skeptic offers educated & insulated skepticism in a world full of BS. Content and opinions provided by the skeducator, William T. Kendal.

In Search of the Writer's Happy Medium


Philosophical thoughts, claims and predictions with a skeptical twist from the Bearded Skeptic.

In Search of the Writer's Happy Medium

Taylor Kendal


In all forms of communication, but more commonly in writing for myself, it has become glaringly obvious that I’m searching for a Happy Medium; a political middle-ground where I can talk intellectually with like-minded humans who share my views and can understand my “particular style of rhetoric,” but where I can also relay meaningful information to those that I often refer to as “the rest.” The typical sympathetic proposition goes something like this: Why not just proudly tout your intellectualism and leave the rest to wither on the vine? Why? Because the rest make up a frighteningly large portion of the American electorate (and here’s a great example: do I just say voters, or can I assume readers understand American electorate?). If I have no intention of shifting others’ (and specifically those in opposition) perspectives, then writing becomes a very narcissistic endeavor. Now, I’m certainly aware of the unavoidable undertones of condescension and elitism innate in even exploring this topic, but it’s that very misunderstood assumption that adds fuel to the fire and inevitably leads me back to the keyboard.

Seriously! How do I write subjectively about meaningful topics in a way that satisfies my intellectual needs, but also has the greatest potential to be absorbed by those for which it’s ultimately intended? Is there a single Happy Medium that I’m in search of, or is this perceived political fulcrum more fluid and ever-shifting? I’ve experimented by being explicitly (and painfully) simple with my writing, but that leaves me feeling creatively detached from the content or message, and from the opposite end of the spectrum, I’ve written with full reckless abandon where I attempt (usually unsuccessfully) to channel my inner-Pynchon. Neither strategy leaves me feeling fully satisfied, so the search goes on.

I wish I could say that gravitating towards one side of this spectrum is better corroborated than the other, but a quick unbiased search seems to reveal a frustratingly even split. Here’s The Entrepeneur fully endorsing the “dumbing down” of content, and within two links on the same results page, (still utilizing Hollywood to get their point across) imploring writers to fight anti-intellectualism. This contradiction is found over and over again, and though at times infuriating, provides a glimmer of vindication as I continue to navigate the turbulent waters of being an aspiring writer in an age where media and politics have created a spectrum whose Happy Medium may be just as elusive as uninfluenced rationality and authentic free-thought. Ugh!