My Reign in MacArthur Grant Park

I’m starting to take this personally… the 2017 “genius grants” were just announced and once more — my name is nowhere to be found among the “24 extraordinarily creative people who inspire us all” and were named as “Fellows.” I even did a Ctrl+F search on the MacArthur Foundation’s website to make sure I hadn’t skipped over my name in the press release.

I have some questions about this mysterious process:

  • Why, in these gender-fluid times, are the recipients still referred to as “fellows?”
  • In the Washington Post’s article about this year’s grants, the award is described as “legendary for casting a spotlight upon relatively obscure academics, activists and artists.” Gee, that describes me to a T — believe me, there is no artist more obscure on the face of this earth than Yours Truly. I’ve been blogging for 5 years and so far have 7 followers. And 2 of them are alternate email aliases that I set up.
  • How “relatively obscure” are the authors included in this year’s honorees who have ALREADY been awarded a Pulitzer Prize? And a third who’d won a National Book Award? That’s like being chosen Homecoming Queen AND Senior Class Valedictorian. Enough with the trophies, already.
  • Another person received the award as recognition for work done as an “Immunologist.” What’s the big deal about that? I am immune to criticism, immune to poison ivy, and — based on testimony I provided in a recent court case — immune from criminal prosecution (a pending civil trial is a separate matter). If I’d known such a quality could have led to my anonymous nomination, I would have leapt up from the stand and dramatically proclaimed, “You can’t HANDLE the truth!”
  • Would it have killed these MacArthur people to shoehorn just one more worthy recipient in their list of those “extraordinarily creative people who inspire us all?” I certainly think of myself that way… Well, perhaps I’m not “extraordinarily” creative (this is, after all, my second post regarding this oversight). And I may not “inspire” as much as “irritate.” But I can state with 100% certainty that I qualify as a “people.”

I am taking solace only in the fact that the amount of the grant has remained static since I last got my panties in a wad over this slight — the stipend is still a mere $625,000. No COLA, or at least an option to have it paid out in bitcoin? The money is subject to taxation, so that does take a little bit of the gloss off the award.

But you know — I’m not in this (I’m speaking of the arts, just in case you were wondering) for the acclaim, or recognition, or prizes. I write because I am compelled to do so. It is my method of expression, my pathway to bliss, and my way of sharing — however modestly and inexpertly — my humorous take on our world so that others may derive some small measure of enjoyment from exposure to my thoughts.

And here’s a thought: if I change my byline to “John Branning, a 501(c)(3) organization” — I think I can avoid any tax liability.

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