Also, I was re-friended by my lovely bride, Mrs. Other McCain. She got mad at me after CPAC and unfriended me, and now she's friended me again. My semi-permanent residence in the McCain family doghouse is entirely my own fault, because I'm a stupid thoughtless shmuck.
Frankly, I spend too much time blogging and the tip jar contributions aren't exactly rolling in this week. A nice guy sent me $5 after being referred by Chris Muir. In expressing my gratitude via e-mail, I explained to the the tip-jar hitter that if I can get 599,999 more of you guys to kick in $5, I'll be even with David Brooks (and it's Tuesday again, Dave). Some people have very generously given as much as $100(!), but whether it's $5 or $100, every penny is appreciated with prayerful gratitude.
However, the vast majority of readers have decided on a contribution of $0.00.
Nothing can so demoralize a greedy right-wing capitalist blogger as this mute evidence that his contributions to the 'sphere are considered worthless. When I walked away from the newspaper business to become a freelance writer and independent blogger, I never thought I'd get a million hits in less than a year -- but I was sure going to try my damnedest. Yet I'm beginning to understand why longtimers sometimes gets so frustrated with blogging.
Get as much traffic as you will, it's doggone hard to monetize content value on the Internet, and it keeps getting harder all the time. A few years ago, while I was still working for The Man and forbidden to blog, the once wide-open BlogAds Network became an exclusive "members only" clique where you had to have a member's sponsorship to join. Since everybody hates me, I'm not invited. OK, fine, I'll do the A*d*s*e*n*s*e thing, even though the pay-per-impression rate is much lower.
Well, there are conservative think tanks and foundations and political operations that expend vast amounts of money on "online activism," and you might think some of those big wheels would throw a guy a grant, an ad, or a consulting contract. But everybody hates me, so other people get that money, while I consult newbie bloggers for $50 or $100 a pop. (The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy offers lots of "fellowship" programs for Promising Young Conservatives; there is not a dime available for Middle-Aged Ex-Democrat Journalists Who Have to Work For a Living.)
OK, fine. I'm a greedy capitalist blogger, and those lazy 501(c) non-profit assholes can choke on their damned fellowships: I Write For Money. So if I have to crawl to editors asking for freelance assignments -- no editor ever solicits me for work, because everybody hates me and some young Harvard-educated know-it-all is always available for any really important assignment -- and if I have to shake the tip jar like an epileptic craps player trying to roll 11 in Vegas, that's what I'll do. I will humliate and debase myself and beg for money. To quote the Temptations, "Ain't too proud to beg, sweet mama."
Monday night, I conducted a karaoke seminar in Alexandria, Virginia, with Frequent Commenter Smitty in attendance. Let Smitty testify to the quality of the performance. When I started playing guitar at 16, I used to take my ax down to the flea market on Bankhead Highway in Lithia Springs, Ga., and perform for passersby to draw customers to my best friend's booth, with a cigar-box tip jar to allow patrons to show their appreciation. That's show bidness at its raw essence, people, and I guarantee you that kind of gig teaches a lot more about "viral promotion" than will ever be known by a lot of these Online Snake-Oil Hustlers who get fat contracts from the Republican Party.
(Contemplate the Parable of the Doubting Padwans of Fu. And ask yourself, "Why a parable?")
Last night, I was talking with my old friend Tito Perdue, who assured me that there is no justice in the world, and that any writer of ability, who has any sense of honor or any principle of personal integrity, is therefore doomed to poverty and obscurity. If you don't suck up to the Establishment and parrot the Conventional Wisdom, Tito assured me, you will be marked as dangerous, ostracized, and forced into a penurious, peripheral existence.
Maybe Tito is right. But I argued back at him, citing the evidence that we see all around us of the mighty being brought low (Citibank shares trading for less than an ATM fee), and the humble being lifted up (Joe the Plumber). Tito is a man of tremendous erudition and culture but, alas, is a disbelieving pagan. By contrast, I'm a barbaric hillbilly holy roller, and I told Tito that I have faith that indeed there is justice in the universe, and . . . Well, an old song says it best:
Here I raise my ebenezer;
Hither by thy grace I've come.
Has God brought me this far -- rescued me and instructed me, blessed me and chastised me -- only to abandon me to shameful destruction now? If he did, could I complain? We are but sinners in the hands of an angry God.
Yet I know this: God still works old-fashioned miracles, if you've got old-fashioned faith. And if I'm getting a little nervous about the tip jar, this is a fear that testifies only to the weakness of my faith. By the time I post this and check my e-mail again, there may be another contribution, just to chastise my doubt. But if it's still $0.00, still I will believe.
Update: by Smitty
The bar had beer on tap and in bootles, which meant it was almost too gucci for my taste.
I was timely; RSM, fashionable. HotMES was fashionable in another sense. The blog chit-chat was fun, but the action began when Stacy "cut" in on an abandoned karaoke slot and blew the lid off of
As he returned to the table, I leaned over to HotMES and said "What's amazing is that this is the first time he's ever done that song." I earned a saucy wink from RSM for my trouble. My estimate may have been low.
He danced wildly (but tastefully, always tastefully) with some of the other patrons.
As he was holding forth on the following DAC, a lady leaned over and asked: "Is he always like this?"
"Yeah," I replied "but he's got a heart of gold."