by Brad Nelson 7/26/15
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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