Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bloglimbo

Is this blog dead or alive? I don't know.

I'm alive. I'm sitting in the cafe.

A real-world sponsor is spending a lot of time with a dying elder in a nursing home, thus cut off from either real-world or cell-phone social interaction with anyone else. I've agreed to be in the cafe where, in the event of any change in the patient's situation, I'll be accessible by cell phone. So far, what's come in on the cell phone has been nuisance calls I've ignored.

The world needs cheerful "conservative" content.

People need to be funding cheerful "conservative" content.

I don't think most of the people who weren't radical left-wingers in the 1950s or 1960s realize how well organized those people needed to become, and did become, in order to dominate the mainstream media the way they do. Let's just say that, when I was in Washington, there were certain city neighborhoods where they clustered (of which Takoma Park was one), and there were leftist-funded activist groups that recruited young people (of whom I was one) for nice bipartisan efforts that needed funding, and however bipartisan and moderate and reasonable the cause might be, those left-wing neighborhoods were the plums. When we'd slogged around a less friendly community, saying things like "I'm raising money for a battered women's shelter" and getting doors banged in our faces for a few days, for a quick morale booster those organizations would send us to Takoma Park. There people would offer us bottled water, listen to our fundraising pitch long enough to figure out whom to make the cheque payable to, hand us money, and generally restore our activist souls. If these people got into conversation with us, which they seldom did because they had lives which we had interrupted, they were the ones who said things like "Oh yes, Ralph Nader's a great guy to work for but I don't think he goes nearly far enough!" or "Yes, we agree that the city needs a battered women's shelter and rape crisis center, but how 'gay-friendly' are you planning it to be?"

More conservative people seldom needed to do that because, by definition, "conservative" means the people who aren't agitating for radical changes. All well and good...until one starts writing and realizes that, although amateur writers (be they ultra-radical anarchists, libertarians, moderate Democrats, mainstream Republicans, right-wingers, or the kind of Tea Partiers whose reaction always seemed to be "Never mind what 'T.E.A.' stands for, where's the party?") are flooding the Internet with complaints about left-wing bias in the mainstream media, those people don't have a clue about the kind of bias they're up against.

I've actually known, and lived with, and processed the taxes of, people who were actually living on less than half of their income and giving the bulk of it to left-wing causes. I don't know whether more conservative people really need to be doing that with regard to humanitarian, religious, apolitical or "conservative" causes, although I did, in my thirties, and I will say it felt great at the time. All the Bible authorizes any church or temple to ask for is one-tenth of its members' income, plus any special offerings people might have felt moved to make when they considered themselves blessed. But if "conservatives" want to be competitive in the marketplace of ideas, they need to know that they're competing with people, who at least until they became parents, regularly dedicated three-fifths of their income to marketing the Old Left's agenda.

Over the weekend I read a couple of vintage Old Left books. My attention was caught by the shrewd marketing strategy that went into one of them...and by the loyalty. Left-wingers used to have to be very sneaky about slipping just hints of their political ideas into books--The Lorax is a great example, though the books I was reading were older and less delightful to read--that anyone at all could read, even if those books didn't impress people of other philosophical persuasions as being quite as great as the left-wingers made them sound. Books like The Lorax were aggressively marketed, however, by loyal lefties who raved over them, promoted them far and wide, led people to believe that these books were classics. Most of them were not nearly as good as The Lorax, but left-wingers bought them and sold them anyway, because those books reflected their beliefs.

Conservative readers seem to think that posting a tweet here and there is going to do what the left-wingers did for the reputations of writers as grotesquely overrated as Gertrude Stein. They are so wrong.

If you want more Christian content, more pro-free-market content, more independence-oriented content, more fiscal-conservative content, more humanitarian content, more patriotic content, more non-corporate-commercial content, more of whatever else Big Money has not been poured into an effort to sell you, then you need to...Hey, I'm not saying I require as much money to survive as Al Gore seems to. Far from it.

But you're reading a blog whose primary author has lived this far into this week on US$13.76. On Sunday, I walked out to the grocery store with a $5 bill left over from my Friday Market sales, and a few pennies and nickels, in my pocket; in my tote bag, two dolls, a hand-knitted towel, and a hand-knitted cat blanket. I sold the cat blanket for $8, rather than holding out for $10, because the purchaser was a teenager. Of the resulting $13 I spent just over $9 on food and $3 on badly needed cleaning supplies. Yesterday, during the nonstop rain and occasional thunder and lightning on the day the cafe is closed, I stayed in, knitted, and didn't let myself waste a lot of mental energy on how this rain at this time of year is affecting the orchard (unprofitably). This morning I walked out toward the cafe thinking, "If somebody buys a doll, I can buy coffee and work online today," and nobody bought a doll but I found a penny and three quarters in the road--so I came in and bought coffee. I am not making this up.

"If people aren't ashamed to ask for money, they shouldn't be ashamed to ask for it from the social welfare agencies," was an idea the Old Left succeeded in getting into the schoolbooks our older generation used (and trusted) in the 1920s. Now there is something to be said for that idea, except...where does it leave all the slick commercial ads we've been seeing all our lives? "Oh, well, General Mills and General Motors and Coca-Cola aren't asking for handouts, they're offering something." Right. I'm offering something, too. If all I were doing was asking for handouts to live on, I wouldn't bother; I'd agree that there was no particular need for me to live. But I've never asked anyone for a handout to live on. I'm asking for payment for things I've done, just like General Mills and General Motors and Coca-Cola, except that my products are more wholesome and environmentally sound than theirs are, and I don't generate obnoxious TV commercials.

Meanwhile...years ago, I saved the entire Ozarque blog, for personal use, in the form of e-mails, because I enjoyed every one of Ozarque's books and I had a feeling that her blog might be more valuable to me even than her books. Now, due to Yahoo's takeover, I've been downloading those e-mails into Word documents.

Once again, I'm awestruck...Ozarque did such a fantastic job of drawing together people who shared only some of all her various interests, into such a delightful online community that added so much more to what would have been a great blog all by itself. She didn't write a lot of really new content for her blog; she rotated between sharing links with comments, starting discussions of about one page from one of her books, and starting discussions of news items. And her Live Journal was a wonderful online salon, like the university common room she wanted it to be, where all of her e-friends felt free to comment, from all their different backgrounds and viewpoints--left-wingers and right-wingers, Southern Baptists and Wiccans, teenagers and seventy-somethings.

I started blogging around the time she stopped. I thought, "I should be able to do that in cyberspace, because I was that sort of hostess in Washington. I've always been able to pull together a circle of friends from different backgrounds and communities too, and it's always been fun. It should be especially fun now that I can afford a social life only in cyberspace."

Well, obviously, cyberspace is very, very different from Washington.

Wherever there are humans, there will always be a lot more people who "act friendly" just in order to call your attention to what they want to accomplish than there are people who are equally willing to pay attention to what you want to accomplish. That's human nature, and not necessarily even all bad...but...

Right now, I'm over age fifty; most of the people I've claimed as friends, in my lifetime, are over age seventy; my closest friends are dead. I have 32 cents to live on until I sell something I've made, and an orchard in which most if not all this year's fruit crop is about to ripen and/or rot before I can get it to market. I am not a depressive person, but if I start posting daily about my personal life, which is what you're paying for, I guarantee you will find this web site depressing.

That's because you will be feeling guilty...because, deep down, you know that you can afford to sponsor more cheerful content than this post. You can afford to send payment to Boxholder, P.O. Box 322, Gate City, Virginia, 24251-0322. ("Boxholder" is important; "Priscilla King" is a brand, legally owned by the same individual who owns that address, and the post office has hired some new people and it's not good to haul tax documents around in a tote bag.) Alternatively, you can follow the instructions at

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=4923804

to pay online.

Now, what exactly do you want to fund? That's a more cheerful topic, so just in case this post has reactivated any readers' depressive feelings, let's think about what you're paying for. Here are some things this web site could do, instead of just telling you how low my cash flow is until you start paying for decent content...

1. I still want to do the pro-police post discussed last month on Patreon, despite (most correspondents') utter lack of support for that idea.

2. I still plan to bring back the daily book reviews, despite yourall's tepid response to them, because Amazon is tracking actual payments. (Want to start a theme here that you find more exciting than book reviews? Start making actual payments.)

3. A real-world sponsor shared some material about marketing the "good stuff" from the web site as PDF reports for which readers could pay via Paypal. That's a good idea. I can even tell this person, who's trying to do it too, why it's not worked; Paypal buttons use "i-frames," and in our part of the world we have an Internet server that automatically scrambles the code in "i-frames" so that even if we manage to get a Paypal button onto a site it disappears in a few days, that's why. (This is flagrant discrimination, and ought to be banned by the FCC.) We can, however, offer reports--online PDF's, or actual printed reports, as you prefer--for which you can send payments via e-mail or real mail, as you prefer.

Let's discuss the topics on which you want reports, suggested by what's generated traffic for this site over the years and what's being requested at writing sites, on Patreon. Blog posts there will open when you use the link above to make a payment.

Bring this blog back from limbo, Gentle Readers.



The discussion is here:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/11856751