A Word About Our Moderator

By BEN VORE

As an active recruiter for (and humble participant in) Wandering Rocks, I have found myself answering the same question from would-be participants: Who is this jerrygrit? And would he be on my side in a bar fight? (Also, why does he hate Ayn Rand and like to key Mazda Miatas?) 

While I am certainly not qualified to speak to the true spiritual depths of jerrygrit (a rudimentary understanding of the French language qualifies you to appreciate the wordplay of his online nom de plume), I can at least shed some light on our would-be Virgil. What are my qualifications, you ask?

  • I was a fellow undergraduate (and English major) with jerrygrit.
  • I lived in very close quarters and shared a shower and toilet with him our senior year.
  • I have visited his birthplace in Vermilion, Ohio and glimpsed his humble beginnings as a Joycean scholar.
  • I donated my kidney to him in 2003.

 

And now, you may be asking (as I have been asked), what are jerrygrit’s qualifications to guide me safely through the literary morass that is the confounding Ulysses

I would translate the QBQ there (QBQ being corporate-speak for the Question Behind the Question ©), at least to those who only know jerrygrit through his forays into the Voreblog comment boards, as, “This jerrygrit, though no doubt a swell guy, occasionally comes across as — how should I say? — a bit pretentious, often critical, occasionally hostile, sometimes inflammatory and every now and then a bit opprobious.”

What would lead to such a question? Consider a random sampling of jerry’s comments at voreblog:

  • “Eat it, hosers!”
  • “Sorry for the high-brow list [of favorite books], you anti-intellectual hosers. I’m smart!”
  • “You’re right to say I’m right, and I’m aware how wrong you’ve been.”
  • “This is a complicated issue. With a lot of good points on both sides. Especially on my side. Let’s all just agree to disagree.”
  • “Sasha Frere-Jones is a terrible person without a clue.”
  • “Your critical acumen is Paste-level at best.”
  • “I can’t believe just anyone can listen to music and have an opinion about it. Your post is clear evidence this has oversight has reached crisis proportions. I beg you to destroy your listening devices immediately. Or apply for a license.”
  • “If I walk into your house and any of this junk [music] is playing, I’ll head directly to your garbage disposal, stick my hand in, flip the switch. The sound of my own screams would be far more pleasant than this dreck (even at the cost of my irrecoverably mangled flesh!).”

 

What if he turns his withering critical eye on me? I’ve been asked by many a fearful soul. His judgment is no less sweeping and devastating than the Eye of Sauron from the dark heart of Mordor! These conversations usually end with me hugging these terrified individuals as they resort to sucking their thumb.

Yet those who have pondered the nature of the man behind these remarks have also commented to me their glimpses of a kindler, gentler jerrygrit, coinciding with the launch of Wandering Rocks. Where once was a clenched fist, they say, is now an open hand awaiting a shake, and possibly a vaguely homoerotic bear hug, depending on his level of inebriation

Speaking as someone who was personally rebuked for my fear-mongering regarding the monumental breadth of this project, I can attest that jerrygrit’s big-hearted compassion is no anomaly (though it may sometimes require a bit of digging to locate). Yes, he gets grumpy without a gallon of coffee in the morning. Sure, he can be testy when threatened by plebeian musical tastes. But here’s the core of the jerrygrit paradox: He is critical because he cares. To withhold his scrutiny would be to withhold his love. And, as he has reminded us, what is Ulysses but a book about love?

That is why I can personally assure you we are in good hands. When I texted jerrygrit in a panic today after surveying all the Ulysses commentaries available to the layperson for purchase at his or her local independent bookstore, he texted back immediately with words of reassurance, concluding with this comforting admonition: “Don’t panic.” Nor should you, dear reader.

But if he asks you for a kidney, run.

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6 Responses

  1. Thanks Ben, I guess. But I’m only moderating here. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I’m just going to keep this ship on course with gentle prodding and good-hearted jeering. Y’all are the power. You will be moving us along on that course.

    And in any case, your participation in Wandering Rocks gets you a free pass on R.E.M., U2, and Dave Matthews.

  2. Sorry, not Dave. He’s terrible.

  3. What should I make of the fact you categorized this post “Personal Attacks”? Should I move the shotgun from the closet back to under my pillow?

  4. P.S. I loathe Dave. But why is The Hold Steady opening for him?

  5. The Hold Steady, contrary to the name, are in slow decline. Do you really still listen to “Stay Positive”?

    And I’m not coming after you. My dislike of southern Ohio exceeds the abuse you inflict upon me.

  6. […] added “Wandering Rocks” to the title index at the top of this page. Plus we wrote our first post, which says nothing about Ulysses but everything you need to know about our leader/moderator, Jerry […]

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