Freeper since September 8, 1998
I am at a loss for words about this Inquisition. Me - at a loss for words. Can you believe it, dear readers? Speechless, I tell you. Never one to shrink from a challenge, I pursued BillTheDrill relentlessly until he agreed to the Inquisition. What happened next is still a blur in my memory. Witness it for yourself as I bring you; Billthedrill - The Exclusive
National Inquisition Interview
Billthedrill FReeping on the move
Billthedrill: Well, howdy, Ms. Brokaw! Glad to share a little time with you (you did bring the check, didn't you? Made out to "C.A.S.H." - those are my initials, honest).
dansangel: Brokaw? W-wait a minute...my name is *dansangel*...
Billthedrill: My real name isn't actually Billthedrill, you know, it's Tim. Why I didn't use that at the outset is a bit of a mystery to me, too, actually, but there I was, desperate to post on this incredible forum I'd found while surfing for kinky pix - wait, scratch that, can we edit that? Run the tape back
incredible forum I'd found while editing my entry for the Encyclopedia Britannica, (yeah, that's it), well, there was the infamous FR login page and it wanted a screen name, and as I recall I was in a particularly uncongenial mood toward the sitting "president," may his genital warts relapse, so I took his first name and added a reference to his sexual proclivities, and there you are. I didn't know I'd be stuck with the silly thing for five years or I'd have come up with something more appropriate - "Zoltan, Conqueror of the Galactic Cluster" wasn't taken, as I recall.
dansangel: Free Republic? Oh my....
Billthedrill: The early days on FR were considerably less genteel than our current salon-like (that's a small "s" and one "o," thank you) atmosphere. No moderators, no holds barred, and it took an act of considerable labor for JimRob to delete a thread, even, and an individual post was beyond FR's capabilities at the time, so you had to be careful what you said or it would definitely come back to haunt you. There were posters who have since gone on to considerable national prominence, some who faded into obscurity or move on, and some - Ash and Toiletman represent the two poles of that continuum - live in infamy as little blotchy spots on my old monitor. I think it's coffee but you probably wouldn't want to touch it with your bare hand.
dansangel: Eeewwww...tell us more...
Billthedrill: My own life began in every real sense when, at the age of 12, my Dad took us from the Midwest first to Oregon, then to Idaho, where I came to realize that even a skinny little dweeb who liked books could own a horse and a firearm and just mount up and ride into the wilderness - I speak precisely here, no roads, no people - and it wasn't up to anybody but me whether I got back alive, and if I screwed up enough there was a fair chance that I would not. That is a profound political awakening but that wasn't obvious to me at the time. It's a lesson that kids rarely get these days, and that some have to die to learn. It's a hard thing to say, but it's worth that.
dansangel: If you say so...I...
Billthedrill: Dad was an Army Colonel who joined up as a buck private in the 106th Illinois cavalry three years before WWII - that's when they still had horses. I was the eldest son and hence was influenced toward the military. I joined the Navy at 17, and between enlisted service and an ROTC scholarship found myself bobbing up and down in the ocean off Vietnam and wearing a uniform on campus during that war. I will say that at least at sea you could shoot back. It was not an altogether happy time for people with short hair and a uniform. But that also was a political epiphany, and a revelation that if you wanted to stick to your guns in that situation you had to hit the library and read enough to take on a whole lot of people, including some professors, simultaneously. That hasn't changed at university, in fact, it's gotten worse.
Billthedrill: Ten years in Naval service brought me some wild times and a very great deal of travel. I left the Navy when it became obvious I really didn't want to command a ship (extended sea tours before the days of VCRs were stupefyingly boring), swore I'd never work for them again, and ended up one month later in Silicon Valley programming some tactics I'd learned into little computers. This led to an opportunity to run a computer center in Japan, keeping track of the bad guys for the good guys - that's us, despite what you read in the NY Times. I signed on for two years and stayed eight. I had one of the best seats in the house to watch the Berlin wall fall, Eastern Europe shrug off the Iron Curtain, and at last, at long last, the Soviet Union crumble into the ash heap of history that Kruschev promised us we'd be in. I actually remember him saying that. The shoe on the desk to the demolition of The Wall, and I got to be an eyewitness. That explains a lot of my politics. I came back to the States with the Cold War won, which was, before Ronald Reagan told us it wasn't, unthinkable to a generation for whom the Cold War was the central political fact of a lifetime.
dansangel: Uh, can I....
Billthedrill: After a struggle for a time the good Lord dropped another opportunity into my lap, and I went to work for a biopharmaceutical company wrangling servers and the data they contained. We created a medicine that allows children suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, a cruel, crippling disease, to stand up and kick their wheelchairs away forever. Talk about job satisfaction!
dansangel: ...can I please get a word.....
Billthedrill: And then, of course, the internet and suddenly this magical stuff I'd been hogging to myself was available to everybody. I feel like a mule-skinner watching a Ferrari speed by - it just didn't used to be this easy. But that brought us Free Republic.
dansangel: ...Ack! Free Republic, that.....
Billthedrill: It's a demonstrable fact that conservatives aren't as politically outgoing as liberals, which explains why the latter can call up a crowd of protesters in an hour and the former take years to do so. But the people I remembered on campus, the two-bit "anti-war" intellectual poseurs whose grasp of the canon of Western thought was garnered from CliffNotes and a fund of self-drama, these arrogant, smooth-talking pinheads had captured first the Democratic party and then the White House, and that slow-growing caldera of rage needed an outlet or the whole country was likely to blow up. It very nearly did just that, you know. I think FR provided both an outlet and a focus, a gathering place and a reassurance that it was perfectly normal, even if it wasn't "cool," to love your country, and a sounding board for a community of people who did so.
Well, that's what FR is to me, anyway.
Billthedrill kicking back
dansangel: Can I....
Billthedrill: I do love Seattle - it's a beautiful place, rich in culture and sizzling in innovation - this despite its firm place as a sink of liberal muddleheadedness. The sort of wealth that allows a person to spurn the conditions that made it possible in favor of a perfect fantasy world is precisely the problem possession of many of its inhabitants, who have had the liberties they take for granted bought for them and protected by their betters.
dansangel: ....*please* ask you....
Billthedrill: At first, in 1990, the "peace studies" crowd insisted that international sanctions could solve the problem of Iraq's brutal invasion of Kuwait by themselves - no need for the evils of war. They did not, and there was war, and then more sanctions. Suddenly the sanctions were a problem, killing "500,000 Iraqi children" according to the same people who were insisting on them ten years before. They had to be ceased
until again war came along, and the very same people began to recommend them again. Understand that the people taking these successive and mutually exclusive positions were the same people, the circumstances were the same circumstances, the only change was how these people framed the expression of the problem with respect to certain ideals. And for them that framing may be changed at will, but the people dying behind it do not have that luxury.
dansangel: Let me get a word in.....
Billthedrill: The luxury of taking this sort of position is the luxury afforded them by social institutions they did not earn, such as their country's wealth and military dominance, that serve to insulate them from the consequences of indulging their preference for filtered truth, for framing these problems in whatever terms best flatter their self-image of the moment and serve their ability to denigrate their political opponents. I don't like to think of what it will take to bring them into touch with the real world - another Great Depression, perhaps, another World War, a cataclysmic natural disaster - none of these things will be happy occurrences, and in their absence (for which we may fervently pray) the ignorance will continue to masquerade as revealed knowledge, and the happy little idealists will curse the rest of us for recognizing their fairyland imaginings for the mirage that they are.
dansangel: Just a minute.....
Billthedrill: If you understand that this luxury of imagining an ideal outcome to replace a real one, is absolutely not available when you're a skinny kid alone on a horse in wild country, then you understand where I'm coming from politically and philosophically.
I'm going to open another beer and contemplate this modern-day intellectual mess, Ms. Brokaw. Would you like one? I brew the stuff myself - this one is a mild dark ale, and the one you hear bubbling behind you is a pale ale that just might be destined for the next FReeper gathering hereabouts. Publius, Libertina, and Big Ern will be there, and although I suspect they sometimes praise it like a parent praises the crayon scribblings of an untalented offspring, it seems to go down pretty well and adds to the conviviality of an already convivial group. Ever see thirty people eat an entire roast pig in a half-hour flat? That's the kind of group I'm talking about.
Billthedrill with, what else? More beer!
Billthedrill: We talk about all sorts of things, politics, needlepoint, cars, grandchildren, firearms. I like to talk about firearms because I like to shoot them. Did you ever try that, Ms. Brokaw?
dansangel: As a matter of fact....
Billthedrill: I mean, instead of imagining what it's like based on TV and deploring the supposed mental pathologies that lead me to enjoying shooting, did you ever actually try it yourself? It isn't like the movies or the video games, actually, it's more like yoga - no, I'm serious. Think of it, a set, consistent physical posture, breath control, focus on an external object like a target, sloughing off distraction and the outside world, concentration, and a shot. Repeat as often as you like. It's meditation, the Japanese Zen archers have known it for centuries.
dansangel: ...I *have* shot.....
Billthedrill: Oh, I forgot, Josh Sugarman of the Violence Policy Center told you there's something psychologically wrong with someone who feels he NEEDS a gun, right? Mighty smart guy, Josh, but I'm thinking his theoretical grasp exceeds his real-world reach here. Remember the campus theory-slingers I was talking about? Same deal. If your theory tells you one thing and your real-world experience another, the problem isn't that your real-world experience is "only relative to your observational context," it's that your theory stinks. I wish he'd learn that. I wish they'd all learn that.
dansangel: ...one time....
Billthedrill: Thanks for the conversation, Ms. Brokaw. I'm always willing to oblige the members of the conservatively-biased press. Drink up and I'll call you a cab
oh, wait a minute, who's that? It's your friend Teddy Kennedy waving at us
hey, he's offering you a ride. Well, take good care and remember to buckle up. Have a nice evening.
dansangel: So there you have it, my Inquisitional brothers and sisters. The complete and exclusive dirt on the notorious Billthedrill. Did he say *Ted Kennedy?* Ohhh....which way did he go.....
Please join me in welcoming another of FR's Finest...