When the blogfather quotes you, that is a heady event. When he links to you and you don't have any fresh content up, that sucks.
For those of you who came from that link, thanks. The quote is from a response I submitted to the more than excellent Up for Poker site on yet another great post by Otis on May 9, 2005.
Reprinted here if anyone is interested . . .
"First off. Commie bastard. :)
Second. Any man who is under 30 and is not a Liberal has no heart; and any man who is over 30 and not a Conservative has no brains.
- Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
I don't necessarily agree with it and I know many others than Churchill said the same thing, or something similar. I just like Churchill, warts be damned. "We shall go on to the end. . ." and all that, you know.
The point is that humans are expected to change their minds on certain subjects as they age and (hopefully) grow wiser. Those that blog for free obviously have a reason. Most probably love to write about things that interest them. Our egos make us think our thoughts are worthy of dissemination. The free(literally) market of ideas dictates the popularity of our blogs. Write a good one and hits abound. Write a bad one or post infrequently and no one shows up. Once enough people start showing up, it should be natural to think, "Hey, I wish there was some way I could make money out of this."
Why do we begrudge those who want to make a profit? Is the art form so pure that we feel it is a bastardization to make a dollar off of it? Do we feel it is "our" love as is, and that any changes made to appeal to the masses will necessarily diminish our appreciation? Hell, are we jealous? I have hung out with a lot of bands of varying success over the years. Everyone of them looked with envy at the ones that made it big. Sure, they would say that this band or that was full of great guys but, in guarded moments, the conversation would turn to pettiness and envy, and the inevitable "why not me?" Everybody has had moments of schadenfreude, happy when we see others fail, especially if they were a long way up. The smart bands used that envy and studied the more successful ones to see if their actions were ones to be emulated. Some did, some didn't. Regardless, commercial success doesn’t make a band bad. Bass solos do that (except for anesthesia).
I have envy of many of the writers I read (bloggers and other forms). Some of you people lead lives that are cool to us laboring away in the salt mines. Of course, somebody out there may think I have led a great life. I can't complain, but I do. The guys at Cheers led their lives vicariously through Sam. Sure, he disappointed them on occasion but Mayday usually came through. Envy is not an evil emotion, merely a natural one. It may even drive one to achieve their goals, or set new ones, or realize what they really want to do with their life.
Reading the blogs I read has changed my life in subtle ways. I am happy to contribute back if I can. That is usually in the form of a "way to go, blogger" comment. Occasionally I get the chance to click through to buy a book or order a t-shirt. The downfall of blogging? I don't think so. Just a guy trying to cut another guy (or girl) a break. Maybe I’ll feel different in a month. Maybe my reading list will consist of two yak herders in Outer Mongolia with a kick-as satellite connection who fleece the flock on a nightly basis. Maybe I’ll be so pissed at all you sell-out blogger wannabes, I’ll give up the game for good and get back to my profession. Most likely, I will continue to read those I have come to enjoy and hope I will have stumbled across the beauty of chance bounty in the form of entertaining, informative blogs.
Make your money charlatans. If it creeps me out, I won't assist you. If I like the product you are pushing, I'm more likely to get it from you than a complete stranger. This is a community and everyone has ideas about how it should be run. Don't get locked into your thoughts, though. It'll all change tomorrow. I am not big on the affiliate end of things but I don’t care if someone else wants to do it. Maybe a site turns into a big, commercial enterprise and the only pimping being done is about those who have “contributed.” If that happens I’ll say, “Well, that sucks,” and move one with my life and adjust my expectations. I look at this community and worry about the future of the WPBT. That’s a silly thing, isn’t it? After all, it’s just a bunch of people with a common interest handing their money to each other. I’m a guy who plays a little poker and finds comfort in the words of others who share my vice. As the community grows, pressure will mount on individual bloggers to do the right thing. Of course, the right thing will be what the community says it is. If it’s wrong for me, such is life. I’ll find another forum. The great thing about blogging right now is that THIS IS the right thing. I can write whatever I want and if someone wants to criticize, they can do it with impunity. We are self-policing with our only powers the ability to click or not and to let our feelings be known through our post and comments. Exercise those powers to make it a better place.
I think this conversation is motivated by a desire to ensure that what I hope we all consider a precious thing is preserved. All that envy stuff above is about me and my weakness. I am sure we all hope the WPBT remains the spot for us cool kids to congregate. I know I am not alone in hoping that all who want to join in can and do so. If the community goes a direction I feel is untenable for me, there’s another one over the virtual hill. I hear there are at least a couple of thousand people on this interweb thingy. Somebody’s got to have a place for me somewhere.
Sorry for the long comment. Let me sum up.
1. Otis used to be a communist
2. There is nothing wrong with personal growth.
3. The WPBT is a great institution that we worry about.
4. We should all feel free to express our views in a completely non-confrontational manner and expect that all who hear our voice will listen sympathetically and consider our feelings and emotions before responding in a likewise heartfelt, loving, understanding manner that ensures all of our feelings are validated without us thinking that our viewpoint is any way superior to the viewpoint of another and that. . .
5. Well, crap. I am obviously a communist now.
Posted by Wes at May 9, 2005 06:47 PM "