Second Anniversary

by Brad Nelson7/26/15

The end of this July marks the second anniversary of the site. I’ll skip the summary. You’ve been here. You know who we are and what we’ve done (however little or how much). I just wanted to give some feedback on what I think are the goals for this site — goals that you are free to ignore.

I label this “free to ignore” because I realize that, first, this entire endeavor is like herding cats. You can’t really tell other people what to do, especially if you’re not paying them. Second, these are indeed “goals,” not commandments. What do I know? If I was so smart, we’d already be bigger than Breitbart. This is a highly collaborative effort which means you never exactly know when the whole will be far more than the sum of its parts. But I’ll tell you what I’m thinking and what I think we need to do or to emphasize:

1) Anyone who wants to volunteer to be this site’s publicist, please do so. That would entail doing little more than whatever the hell you define “publicist” as being, especially in the context of an internet site. The main thing I’m *not* pursuing is “hits for hit’s sake.” Yes, yes, I know I’m an idealist fool in this regard. Facebook is driven by “Likes.” And although there’s nothing wrong with being liked, as a main pursuit it tends to turn things superficial and vapid. Hate me, if you will, but say I have a point. But we can always use more excellent writers. With a sufficient stable, then let the “hits” come as they may. We could get mentioned on Rush’s show tomorrow, but what good what that do other than crashing the site for a while? But still, a little bit of publicity here and there would help.

2) More Glenn the Greater. I pray for the health of his family, and I don’t give out many prayers. I’m stingy with them. I’m not sure I even believe in them. But Glenn is a great thinker and we need more of him.

3) We need to de-emphasize the Echo Chamber Effect. Instead of just rehashing political events that we all know about anyway, I would prefer that any political article meet one of two criteria (in whole or in part): One, that it is a bit of investigative journalism, reporting from the field (through a conservative lens, of course) what is happening somewhere out there in your home town or sphere of influence — as opposed to just writing about “society” or yet more intellectual analysis. It’s far more interesting when it’s something more tangible and relatable. By all means, change the names, but do tell a real story. Or, two, that the political article be reporting about what you are doing to change hearts and minds wherever you live, work, and/or play. (My best story of late in this regard is my blog post about throwing the European socialist out of my office one day.) This is where it’s at. If we don’t have these two things in mind, I think it’s far too easy for this whole endeavor to become just a bit of self-orchestrated drama. Rush has commented on how he thinks the 24-hour news cycle has become a drama. And I tend to agree with him.

4) Don’t donate money just because I beg. Do it because you want to be a part of this place. NRO pontificates about how “We need your help to keep the Establishment Republican message drowning out real conservatism.” But you’ll get little of that kind of BS from me. No fancy cruises. No pop-up banners challenging you to give, give, give until it hurts. Do it to have a bit of skin in the game (as so many of you have already done…and those who have, I don’t want any more from you).

5) You must play a Sinatra song at least once a week. That’s all I ask. Make a practice of stepping outside of our vulgar and inane pop-entertainment culture. Dean Martin or Crosby are acceptable alternatives, as is Sammy. Michael Buble? No. Go for the real thing.

6) If you submit an article, make sure you dot all the “I’s and cross all the “T’s.” It’s beginning to become too much for me to always go back and make corrections. My screw-ups? Oh, sure, I’ll always fix that. But proofread, proofread, proofread.

7) If you read an article here that you like, by all means share it on Facebook or wherever. That’s how all of you can take part in being a publicist…especially of your own selves.

8) Have fun. We’re all screwed, and most of you know it. We’ve long passed that proverbial “tipping point.” Still, if you want to be optimistic and change one mind at a time, feel free. Which brings me to another aspect: If you think this nation is salvageable then it’s going to require an *education* process. Keep that in mind when writing. By all means, write whatever the hell you want. Creative writing is what drives me as well. But if you want to do political, keep in mind that it’s unlikely that parsing the fine points of Mises, von Hayek, or Locke are going to have a positive effect on anyone, although it can serve to lengthen the stream in a pissing contest.

9) I don’t throw a lot of quotes around. I’m sparse with them. But I think there is one that is most appropriate of all, and it’s by Ronald Reagan: “Don’t be afraid to see what you see.” There are all kinds of implications in that, and you’re smart enough to figure them out. Think outside the box. Burst out of your cocoon, little  caterpillar.

10) All such lists need to at least round-out at ten. Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep thinking. My rule of thumb is that for every one word that comes out of my mouth I need to (or ought to) read ten. I’m sure it doesn’t always work out that way. But the point is that one doesn’t ever want to become a parody of oneself. One must continue to grow. Many people are instantly offended at such advice because they already suppose themselves to be amongst the smartest people in the room. But, no, you’re not, and trying to write as if you were doesn’t necessarily get you there. And, by the way, we already know that Glenn is the smartest person in the room, so it takes the pressure off. You can just write to your own level. Make it honest and sincere and don’t give a rat’s behind if some small-minded punk in the comments section (we don’t have any here, but we will if we grow) plays “gotcha.” All the “gotcha” in the world builds nothing. And much of internet discourse is based upon simply avoiding being vulnerable to the “gotcha.” No points are deducted here for being imperfect. It’s the conceit of trying to suppose you need to be perfect that generally gets us all into trouble and reduces our writing voice to dullness.

Finally, thanks to everyone for supporting this site with their generous contributions of articles and comments. We’ll see what the new (fiscal) year has in store.

2 + 2 = Frank

Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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36 Responses to Second Anniversary

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    I have a lot of music available, and try to work through it in a really organized fashion, so that I don’t find something I like disappearing. So I’m afraid, given the amount I have by the Sinatras (both Frank and Nancy) that I like, that I can’t count on any particular frequency. Much depends on how much I have by a performer, with Petula Clark (of course) easily being dominant, and the Carpenters second.

    One thing I regret is the disappearance of some of the early contributors. For example, it was CCWriter who recommended the site to me at NRO.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      One thing I regret is the disappearance of some of the early contributors. For example, it was CCWriter who recommended the site to me at NRO.

      It was CCWriter who recommended this site to me, as well. And while I also regret the disappearance of her and some of the other “founders”, I must point out that if one looks at history of the site, it would appear we have not missed much by the vanishing act performed by the original founders, save Brad.

      I was attracted to the site with the “sell” that it was going to be a site for open, yet, sensible discussion. I understood there were something like five “founders” and thought this was a good thing because with that number of regular contributors, a site would have enough material to make it interesting. But when push came to shove, it seemed like Brad was the one who was making things work. Not only did he develop the site and keep it running from a technical point of view, he also contributed most of the copy. I think many people have little idea of the amount of time and effort required to set up and maintain such a site.

      In fact, it was because I had a certain amount of sympathy with Brad as regards the lack of support/written material that I wrote a few pieces at the start of ST. I understood very well that copy, good or bad, is necessary for such a site to exist and flourish.

      Thankfully, Brad has been able to find many other contributors with a “point-of-view”, who do not spit up the usual banalities one encounters today. It seems most of the contributors really do believe in Western Civilization and have enough of an education to defend it. Hurrah!!!

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Thanks for the clarification, Mr. Kung.

        The way I see it, I’ll give this site at least one more year. I’m both thrilled by it and deeply disappointed. There is a creeping realization the perhaps it is true that mankind is a political animal. And I frankly tire of the politics. I get tired of the daily drama. And yet given the nature of the Left (which attempts to politicize everything), it’s the water we are swimming in.

        One thing I try not to do is BS myself. As popular as Rush Limbaugh is, and conservative talk radio is, it’s more than past time to take stock of the fact that it has done very little to stem the tide of Leftism. It may even have hurt by channeling off energy that could have otherwise gone into actually doing something.

        I don’t want this site to be about pretending we are actually doing something by just rehashing the news of the day, week, month, or year. That said, we have several options or choices about this kind of site, which I think include:

        + Endlessly analyzing and bitching and moaning as a way of blowing off steam and perhaps even giving the illusion of doing something concrete.
        + Observing the bizarro Brave New World that is gathering about us and lampooning it, if only for entertainment purposes and to keep us sane.
        + Creative writing of various sorts on various topics.
        + Movie and book reviews
        + Sinatra 24/7
        + Using this site as a force for changing minds.

        And we can, of course, do a mix of the above. But if we aim to do the last (changing minds), we must realize we must be willing to not only talk in a language that Progressives, Leftists, and Libertarians can understand, but we must be noticed that we do (thus my #1 point is publicizing this site).

        And I’m okay with just the same-old same-old of bashing out words from behind the keyboard and taking one’s part in the daily drama. I can do it as well as anyone, probably better. But at some point one wonders, Is that all there is?

        Probably the sanest person here is Deana, if only because she has a paradigm for her life (and by no means is she the only one) that does not stem from government, from rock-n-roll, from drugs, or even just from recreational bitching. She has a Christian worldview. And the more I see the homosexual agenda being shoved down our throats, the more I wonder if Beelzebub isn’t real.

        And it is necessary to have the Deanas of the world around lest we start sounding like this confused mix of proto-conservatism, combined with barely-post-secularlism where people try to create human exceptionalism (and inalienable rights) without a Creator but with only “reason.” (“I agree with Wesley that arguing effectively for human rights and human status cannot and need not depend on assertions from traditional religious faith.”)

        Many have taken a leap of faith to environmental wackoism, or to the butt-plug universe (often sponsored by Republican governors) which talks of various flavors of oils for eating out each other’s behinds, or the man-hating (or marginalizing) feminist faith, or the various victimology faiths, or the various victimology faiths that gain energy from racism, or the faith of the tattooed body, or even just the faith in Big Sister Government.

        At the end of the day, I think all societies will disintegrate into the chaos of human nature without being anchored somehow in the Divine. America cannot last as a secular country. There is no flavored oil that can make that palatable.

        So we talk about that stuff here. Where else do they do that honestly? And it’s not for everyone. I do understand that.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Petula is a viable substitute.

      Regarding anyone who has “disappeared,” no one made them disappear. We all have reasons for doing what we do. Not everyone can, or wants, to be the headliner. Stating unequivocal opinions on your own is not for everyone. I tried to gather some people together who I thought had it in them to do more than just post at the bottom of someone else’s article. In some cases I succeeded. In others, I did not. And I’m still looking for talent.


    Congratulations on sticking it out for two years, Brad – and by “sticking it out” I don’t just mean your neck! Many of Obama’s critics seem to run into trouble of one sort or another, like that rodeo clown who lost his job after mocking The Anointed One or the Conservative groups that wound up audited or otherwise hassled by the IRS. So far no one at ST has met a similar fate, and let’s hope it stays that way. But it does take a certain amount of tenacity and dedication to go through all the work of keeping the lights on here, so – well, thanks.

    This may sound horribly banal, but it sure feels like a lot less time than two years has gone by – whether that’s bad or good I couldn’t say at this moment. I know some of the other Conservative alternatives to NRO have gone inactive – the fate of many blogs generally – and it’s very good to know ST is still here, standing athwart if not history, then at least pot-party Libertarianism and Establishmentarian Republicanism (or is it “Republican Establishmentarianism”?).

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Establishmentarian Republicanism (or is it “Republican Establishmentarianism”?).

      Politics as usual.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks, Nik, and for your worthy contributions as well.

      I mean for this site to set the world standard in plain truth-telling without all the usual baloney, over-intellectualizing, and egotism.

      A high standard means stretching ourselves, not being content with just being another bland talking head in a crowded field of bland talking heads. Plus, there needs to be an implicit rootedness in something far more profound than just getting “Likes.”

  3. Anniel says:

    Brad, I think I remember that it is your birthday right about now, or am I misled? I, too, would like to thank you for being a voice of sanity in a sea of the other variety. I am just now beginning to understand how much time and effort have gone into ST. I’m amazed at what you have been able to accomplish, almost single-handedly. Thank you again.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      You are so right, Annie. My birthday was Friday. I was 29 years old again. No, actually I became 57…which I think is the same number of genders offered at Facebook, although that may have risen since then.

      I thank you for thanking me. And I thank you right back. But I honestly don’t know why I should be thanked. I took on this task…and I’m still not sure why. Yes, I appreciate that you appreciate how much time it takes. But I deserve no thanks for that. You’ll get no martyr out of me. Does that sound ungrateful? Unable to take a compliment?

      Perhaps. But I just like to make sure that the spirit of this site remains alive. It’s your site every time you post to it. I’m just the worker bee and chief bottle washer. And my failure is to not give it a stronger sense of direction. The problem is, that takes time…time I don’t always have. I have about just enough time to play technician. I can cajole, prompt, and give observations, but I don’t have time to play the role of a true editor…or a publicist…or even a father confessor (although, gadzooks, I do think I could play a better Pope).

      Thanks for your contributions, Annie. By hook or by crook, you engender the spirit of this place by not sounding as if you live in the beltway. And that’s sort of the ethos I was shooting for.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        I took on this task…and I’m still not sure why.

        Perhaps you are a glutton for punishment, a leettle beet of a masochist. Not to worry, we will continue our judicious application of the lash to urge you on. We know how to do these things with style in China.

        Thanks for playing the straight man.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I’m not the most sociable guy, Mr. Kung, which is probably why you won’t find me broadcasting out a tsunami of never-ending short soundbyte text messages from my phone in an inherent cry of “Love me, love me, love me…or at least notice me.” Oh, I don’t mind blabbing online but never suppose its a substitute for intimacy. Until you meet someone in person, take all the words with a certain grain of salt. You just have to.

          That said, there’s nothing wrong with creating a community of more-or-less like-minded people. It just depends what the organizing principle is. Here it’s inherently limiting and exclusionary because it’s not based on a love of tattoos, of Lady Gaga, of victimology, of racialism, of whatever stupid thing is on TV at the moment, of environmental wackoism, or even of video gaming. (I swear, if we wanted to reach kids, we ought to create some kind of conservative first-person-shooter.) We instead talk about good books and good movies and good aspects of a culture that is now being trashed and “fundamentally transformed” by Vandals.

          What no one is going to get here at ST is famous. That’s probably what attracted some of the “founders.” But this site is Purgatory compared to, say, being able to write at the bottom of the articles of famous people such as Jonah Goldberg, VDH, Andy McCarthy, or whomever. Those looking for the mojo of “Likes” won’t (yet) find it here. And I know I’m spitting into the wind by bidding people to simply state the truth rather than to follow the tail of vapid pop culture, to value something (whatever that may be) over the paradigm of this constant need to get one’s 5 minutes of fame.

          But, after all, no man is an island. But what is the alternative? Embracing “diversity” by calling all this homo crap normal when, to all appearances, it’s at least a mental illness? Should we tattoo our bodies so there is very little skin left? Shall we call “liberty” the total lack of morals and ethics and pretend we are smarter for having done so? Shall we all go on the dole? Shall we virtually change our gender from day to day just for kicks and demand that others “respect” us? Shall we just pretend that all the vapid ideas out there in the culture aren’t vapid ideas?

          Well, for whatever reason, I have a hard time doing that. Two plus two still does not equal five.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Actually, the last I heard, Facebook was simply allowing people to choose their “gender” without bothering with a list. This effectively makes for an infinite number of genders — at a minimum, one for everyone on Facebook, at least potentially. (This reminds me of the Keith Laumer story “Bullets and Ballots”, in which they decide that the number of parties must be less than the number of voters so that someone can get a plurality — and also worry that people have seen that the implication of “one man, one vote” is “one less man, one less vote.”)

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          LOL. Actually, I suppose a list — even if inflated — is less nonsensical. At least you have categories and choices, even if many.

          But open-ended, fill-in-the-blank? Oh, god, but then I suppose that’s the logical outcome. We are whomever we want to be at the time we want to be it. Today I’m feeling like Ava Gardner. That’s my gender. I like to swear and have a good shot of booze now and then.

      • Glenn Fairman says:

        wow, I thought I was old at 58. Now your curmudgeonosity makes sense.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Okay, I’ve made my suggestions. Does anyone have any suggestions for the site?

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Not one suggestions? No complaints? Nothing to be tweaked? Nothing to be added? Gee, I thought I might be the perfect web site administrator, but this just proves it. 😀


      My only suggestion is to myself, to try to write more for ST. I actually thought at the beginning I would be able to contribute every week.

      As I see it, your basic purpose was to provide a forum for undiluted Conservatism as an antidote for the backsliding of places like NRO into Wall Street Journal-style Democrats-lite Republican Establishmentarianism – and you’ve done that. No Jonah Goldberg-like slipping under the influence of a corrupt and decadent popular culture here, no jellyfish capitulation to same-sex “marriage” followed by astonishment when the Gaystapo isn’t satisfied with its win in a corrupt Supreme Court and brings out the long knives for those who refuse to say “gay marriage is good” – you’ve held the line, and in doing that no change is needed.

      How much influence has ST had? That’s hard to say – so far, we haven’t changed the country’s direction, but we just might be influencing a few of those who ultimately will do so in a few years.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Thanks for you opinion and suggestions, Nik. I think everyone is certainly appreciative of what you write. Let’s go for quality, not quantity, so write whenever the spirit moves you. That’s enough for me. I’d hate to ever make it a chore.


          It’s actually the time and not the spirit. Not only do I have a lot of non-writing tasks filling my day, I’m still pushing for a career as a professional writer so I have other writing commitments, and sometimes they leave me with that “written out” feeling in the evening when I would and should be writing something for ST. But don’t worry, Brad – it’s never been a chore to write here.

  5. Pst4usa says:

    I have one complaint for you Brad, #5, I need to listen to music? Sorry man I just cannot do it, I am an old white racist homophobe that has zero rhythm, music just does not move me, not that I have not tried, it is just that I don’t have the music in me.
    As for some of the other roles that need filling, like drive by poster/commenter, or as one not qualified to post anything original, I can fill those with ease, so you will just have to put up with monetary contributions, it may be the best I can do for now. Congratulations on another year, both for ST and for you.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Pat, your monetary contributions are greatly appreciated, as are your comments. We all have jobs and live so there isn’t always time. I know you do a lot of hands-on work in the community to stir up subversives. Imagine, teaching people about the Constitution. You ought to be arrested.

  6. T says:

    Happy belated birthday, my brother!

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks, T. This has certainly been a learning experience. I’ve held onto my curmudgeonly ways without too much optimism leaking in. That was the easy part, however. Battling WordPress can be a pain at times.

      And running a site like this one is sort of naked and out there. You collect around you people who, at the very least, aren’t offended out of their minds by what you say. And you get some like-minded people. And others who are here by hook or by crook. But at the end of the day, it’s easy to discover that you’re no Sinatra. I’ve yet to collect a proper rat pack and bobby-soxers.

      But then I’ve never been one for sycophants. Anyone here can tell me to go to hell and they’ll more than likely be appreciated for it. This is good because our nation today, more than at any other time, is full of professional (and semi-professional) liars. We tell it like it is. Free and open discourse. The problem is, a very large segment of our population prefers various PC or Utopian fantasies (or are ideologically bought and paid for by the Establishment Republicans).

      So we’ve carved out a little niche for ourselves, gaining some steam from knowing were are relevant yet mostly ignored. As Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” So we got that.

      Sort of a t-length post…or a little short of that.

      • M Farrell says:

        “it’s easy to discover that you’re no Sinatra. I’ve yet to
        collect a proper rat pack and bobby-soxers.”

        Happy Birthay Brad– Congratulation on 2 years of readable sanity– Just a side thought, but perhaps your contributors and readers are your “rat pack and bobby-soxers”– They are certainly cooler than the rest of what’s out there — Again, congratulations and best wishes for many more healthy, happy years–

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Yeah, you guys are cool. Good thought. And who needs bobby soxers? Thanks for sticking around, M Farrell.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Two other points: If you submit an article, do not put the title in all caps. Put it in title case (every first word capitalized except a, an, the, but, or, on, in, with, of by, etc). Then I can cut and paste it.

    Second, I haven’t taken the time to change the “slider” graphic at the top of the home page. If you’ve written a truly terrific article (and there have been a half a dozen or more I can think of lately), don’t think that it isn’t terrific. I’ll try to get to it. But just haven’t found the time or gumption to do so recently. Mucho monetary contributions, of course, tend to grease the skids. 😀

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    While trying to figure out where to post these next thoughts, I ran across this article that noted that July 2015 was our second anniversary. I guess this coming July we’ll be coming up on our fourth.

    As you know your, privacy here is sacrosanct . . . except when it’s inconvenient, similar to how the IRS, CIA, FBI, and State Dept. operate. Well, I came back from a trip into town tonight to find that someone had donated a whopping $100.00 towards the operation of this site. And I’ll let the donor (Pat) remain anonymous. The donor must have known that domain registration and such were coming up which are the biggest annual costs, along with the monthly costs.

    So, to that anonymous donor I say “Thank you.” And I wish there were many more. This site’s PayPal account was at zero until the anonymous donor (Pat) filled it again.

    Others have been quite generous as well in the past and I will respect their privacy because at least the anonymous donor in question at the moment (Pat) is in a position to beat me up if he wished to. I’m not hiding behind internet anonymity.

    For those of you who have contributed, monetarily or intellectually, I say “Thank you.” But know that no money goes to funding my yacht (if I had one) or various mistresses (if I had them)…or even my camera gear (although I do have my eyes at the moment on a new lens for my Nikon).

    We do things here differently. No bullshit about “How this site is yours so please send in your checks now.” This site isn’t yours. It’s in my name and I pay the bills with help from anonymous donors such as the one who just now contributed $100 (Pat). But the spirit of the site is that this is your sandbox to play in, the only requirement being that you do your best. And that has little to do with being perfect, which keeps a lot of people from expressing themselves (fear of criticism).

    When I say “Do your best” I mean don’t just schlub out something so that you can hear yourself talk. Wait until you actually have something to say and then, dammit, say it with all the passion and gusto (and research, if needed) that you can muster. The garden has to be weeded now and then to maintain standards, and no bureaucracy or committee is going to be able to do that, so that’s where I come in. But note that you-all already provide about 90% of the content.

    So if you can contribute (especially if you haven’t in the past), then do so. But not for me, but for you. And for the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens (used or refurbished will be fine).

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Of course. I’m reminded of the writer (Charley Reese, I think) who said years ago that his ability to articulate himself in his columns helped keep him sane. He isn’t the only such person.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Oh…I totally get that. As society becomes more and more screwball, we just have to have some place where insanity does not reign.

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