Dear Adam,

Much as I found your recent piece (“Adam Jacobs ’10: He Can’t Get Enough of Activism,” April 10, 2009, Vol. CXLV, No. 15) discussing the privileging effects of media upon people to be amusing in its aimlessness, I really must express my sincere belief that you are over-thinking the situation. I hope that, as your friend, I can explain why someone like me would feel compelled to invite someone like you to do a radio show, or why the Argus would choose to do a profile on you, rather than on somebody else.

Adam, the article about you stated that as a young child, you were comfortable “assuming that people in the world were rich.” Having grown up in a state of poverty so dire that my mother had to starve herself to buy me Christmas presents until a friend in the publishing industry took pity on her, I must say that your inability to conceptualize equality as a child baffles me (as I have always been rather too keenly aware of it), and I think that it may explain your confusion in your Wespeak. With respect, Adam, much as you know that your original assumption was wrong in the financial sense, I am not convinced that you have abandoned it in the larger sense. That is, you seem to be laboring under the delusion that everybody has equally interesting things to say. Allow me to disabuse you of that notion by explaining my reasons for inviting you on the show.

Adam, as I am sure you are aware, you are hardly a dull person. I cannot remember a time I have been bored talking to you. As such, I invited you on the show, because I thought that if you have not succeeded in boring me (which, if you are a Leftist, is exceedingly easy to do), then you probably stand a good chance of not boring the audience. This explanation may strike you as arbitrary – after all, why should I have the authority to decide who to invite onto a limited medium of expression? And why is that expression limited in the first place? The answer, Adam, can be summed up in one word: scarcity. 

For the sake of being persuasive to you, I will tie this concept to something that we both can agree is actually scarce—namely, time. Like it or not, both you and I will have a limited period of time in which to enjoy existence. There are a number of ways that human beings cope with this fact, not all of which are necessarily productive in the grand cosmic scheme, but which are universally assumed to be productive of one thing – happiness (at least, for the people who are reacting to their scarce life spans). Naturally, not all choices actually do produce happiness, given scarce time, but people still make those choices under the assumption that they can assess what will make them happy and that what they are choosing will, in fact, do such a thing. Often, people who are particularly skilled at this become known for their good luck and talent at producing happiness, and others ask them for guidance, which translates into power. These lucky, talented people then congregate and search for others with the same traits, which are not necessarily the traits that made them so successful in the first place, but often are. As a result, informal power networks are formed.

So to bring this discussion back to your invitation, Adam, I knew that I had scarce time on the radio and I also knew that I wanted that scarce time to be exciting both for me and the listeners. Given my experience with what makes listeners happy, I chose you. Clear enough?

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