One of the fun features this time around in Reason's annual Webathon—in which we spend Dec. 2-9 beseeching thee to please donate right the hell now $200,000 in tax-deductible scrip in order to keep this libertarian journalism machine thrumming—is the staffer-based bleg (lovely phrase, innit!).
We have here sung the praises of Peter Suderman, Ron Bailey, and Damon Root, so let's get it on with the man with the a plan, the boy with the joy toy, the boss with the hot sauce, Jesse "Dyn-o-mite" Walker!
To see the value Jesse adds, look no further than his post from earlier this week, "Eric Garner's Final Words." After quoting from same, Walker cuts to the quick:
That's the statement of a man who was being choked figuratively long before he was choked literally. He is asserting his dignity, and then he's being killed for it.
Jesse is a human encyclopedia of American cultural and political counter-stories, which he often injects into hyper-current conversations. When the country's freaking out again over immigration, he'll use his great Friday A/V Club to unearth video of Ronald Reagan advocating opening the border "both ways." When some Nashville stars come out of the closet, Jesse'll casually toss out "The Hidden History of Queer Country Music," because, well, those are the types of things catalogued in his fertile DJ brain.
In 2009, at the height of the national media panic at the rise of the allegedly violent and revolutionary Tea Party (no really, that was a thing), Jesse uncorked one of the best essays in Reason's history, "The Paranoid Center: How the panic over right-wing violence is being used to marginalize peaceful dissent." The piece was the seed corn for what would be Walker's magnum opus, 2013's The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory. Here's a snippet from one of the universally positive reviews of the book, this one from the Los Angeles Times:
It's all too rare to come upon a writer willing to attack the sacred cows of the right and left with equal amounts of intelligence and flair. Walker is, thankfully, that kind of writer and a tireless and thorough researcher to boot.
Walker has also written a book about pirate radio, unwittingly launched an absurd urban legend, walked you through a history of video game panics, and mined the libertarian insights beating in the pallid heart of William S. Burroughs. This kind of eclectic, thoroughgoing understanding of America's underappreciated nooks and crannies doesn't just grow on trees, it grows through your tax-deductible contributions. Donate to the Reason Foundation right the hell now!