Why Veteran Scholar?
This site is something of an ego statement in that it presumes a measure of public interest in the writings, mostly published, that I have produced since I first took up this trade in the early 1970s. In fact it is an expression of confidence that much of what is posted here is worth sharing, the limited scope of my potential readership notwithstanding.
By naming the site Veteran Scholar I wish to emphasize the two principal aspects of my identity that have dominated my work, in the subjects I have chosen to write about — and herein share — and in the scholarly curiosity I have applied to the method and execution of this work generally.
Veteran, because, the world historical moment of my life was my service in the Vietnam War. From that single event much of my writing, and my public career as a veteran peace activist and advocate of veteran and GI rights, has followed in an unbroken line since 1969.
Scholar, because long before I acquired my doctorate, the conventional stamp of professional scholarship, I had thought of myself as an independent scholar. While I once made my living as a writer and I have many credits from major publications, I was never driven by the marketplace. I have always resisted editorial control, by and large chosen my own topics, and called things as I saw them. I can’t claim to be right all the time, only authentic.
My own reading is wide and varied, and I layer my prose everywhere with juxtapositions of images, associations or facts that contribute to the originality of my voice and the accessability of my broader meanings. I am told often I am a good writer; I have worked hard at it, and will never imagine I can not improve. My formal education has been extensive, and, yet, in both learning and writing I consider myself, essentially, self-taught.
By inclination, I am a memoirist. The presence of a first person narrator creeps in everywhere in my prose, even in my criticism. All politics is personal, we used to say. Mine certainly is, and my texts often reflect that charge and intensity. Underlying my style is a knack for argumentation, a way of thinking and composing logically that aspires much to the often incompatible influences of Karl Marx, Noam Chomsky, H.L Mencken, Edmund Wilson, Mary McCarthy, Gore Vidal, and John Le Carre.
To what degree the claims of this introduction have validity, I invite you to judge for yourself.
The headings that organize my written word are at your left. Please sample what you will.