Steve Smith (not pictured) is a mild-mannered bankruptcy lawyer from Los Angeles, California. He is loyal to his friends, fanatical about his sports, and lefty about his politics, though (being from L.A., after all) ideology isn't the end-all of his life, and he enjoys reading those with whom he disagrees. Back when I had a backyard, he enjoyed a beverage around the fire on multiple occasions, interrogating Andrew Breitbart about Steve Garvey's forearms, and occasionally threatening to be "the Eric Alterman of Ken Layne and the Corvids."
Hit & Run regulars may know Steve as a guy who drops by from time to time to hassle me about this or that, but most likely they know him as the dude who, whenever he shows up, activates some crazy, multi-author all-caps meme by other commenters, along the lines of "STEVE SMITH LOVE OUTDOOR SPORTS! HIKING, LIVING IN CAVE, PICKUP BASEBALL GAME WITH HIKER SKULL, AND RAPE!"
Now, that's not very friendly (the backstory for this puzzling, sasquatch-flavored meme is referenced about halfway down this post), but he takes it all in good stride. "It's not so much the unkind words as it is the lack of any quality, creative fan fiction to go along with it," he says to me in a private e-mail. But more importantly....
...Steve Smith is going on the first-ever Reason Cruise.
I'll let that sink in.
You there, reading this blog every day, talking smack, conjuring sasquatch, do YOU have what it takes to confront Steve Smith in his non-native habitat, to share seaspace with a strange and wonderful mix of thought-provoking (and seasteading!) characters who you agree with, disagree with, want to argue with, and think you can outdrink? Matt "Rational Optimist" Ridley is about the smartest person on the planet, and–just like our beloved Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey, who will also be cruising–has a teeny-tiny computer on which he pecks wisdom with his eight-foot-long arms (that is the kind of special "inside information" you can expect to learn after seven days of Cabin Fever). Patri Friedman? Oh, he's just Milton Friedman's grandson, David Friedman's offspring, and a man so sane he has the maddest idea you've heard of: this.
Here's the deal: Steve Smith is shaming you. As he put it in another private e-mail, "Celebrity Cruises has a great reputation, and I've never been to that area of the world. And of course, there's the whole 'hangin' out with the Fonzie o' Freedom'; how do you put a price tag on that?" In your heart you know this lefty's right.
This cruise has the potential to be epic–epic blowout, epic throwdown, epic embarrassment, epic black leather banana hammocks–but it depends on those with the basic nerve to make it happen, to create their own National Lampoon's Caribbean Vacation, to stand up and say "I don't agree with those people, and that's why I'm going."
Steve Smith did it. When will you?