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If I can't sell it, gonna keep sittin' on it

By Owen Paine on Thursday June 29, 2006 01:03 PM

Sparetime bloggers move over -- time to field a few full-timers. But it'll cost ya.

That's the pitch from one champ, Steve Gilliard, who's trying to boost the personal IPO float of anotha supa blogga, the Booman. Thus Gilliard:

Actually, I don't think that a brokerage would fund this [Booman's site -- Ed.] like Salon was, but something has to give. I mean, it's great Clinton hired Peter Daou, but there are people who want to report and not work for pols and they need options as well.

We can build our own media, but we have to build it.

Seems this blatant huckstering caused the Kosniki readers to blew a few dozen fuses, so he responded:
Folks, this is a discussion where most of you don't know what you're talking about.
Nice, eh? Should have stopped there and cut his squalid deal with the man any damn way he needed to. But oh no, he needs acceptance, so he goes on:
Booman wants to make a living so he can give YOU a better product...[to] buy books and pay for services like Times Select, so you don't have to....

... y'all need to get over the idea that this can be done for free... it takes time to actually research topics, go places and the like....

If you want punditry forever, this is a perfect system. But if you want real reporting, from trained people, it isn't going to be cheap and you need to realize that now....

You want the benefits of blogging, but act like it's some kind of sin to actually invest time and money in it....

How many of you work this hard at anything, including a blog? Why should he have to take a vow of poverty to keep you informed, because you can't make extra money when you have a blog to keep up, no side jobs and blogging. You can't exactly work, blog and freelance.

I'm passing this along by way of self-justification. I've been offered a job by the Al Franken campaign, to supply online fast-response satire, to goose up his race for the thousand-lakes Senate seat.

Now I understand I'm no better than second choice here -- I've been informed by the men themselves that both Alan Smithee and J. Alva Scruggs have already turned the job down. But they can afford to -- they're both independently funny.

Now I'm prepared to recieve counter-offers from you all, to stay the course here and help father Smiff, that veritable Franciscan of the fourth estate, but here's the bottom line: you'll need to kick in.

I'm not trying to short-fuse you on this, but I've already accepted the job offer. In fact Al has sent me a mock-up crack to rejoin for him, so I sent, on spec, free of charge, this completely orginal all-purpose comeback: "You wouldn't dare say that if my writers were here." (I know, I know, it's not up to J Alva's standard, or Alan's, but hell, it's a big step up for Franken.)

Anyway, you need to act now, if I'm to change my mind, 'cause it needs to happen by 12 midnight Friday, or i'll look like a grey rat to Al.

So start sending in the green guys -- but only if you care enough. I'll understand, even if some of you I've made laugh and cry and dance a thousand times or more, still don't mind seeing this rare source of joy in the darkest hours harnessed to the Franken sleigh.

Comments (27)

J. Alva Scruggs:

Going to work for Franken is understandable. It's an awful idea, of course, but someone has to do it and I think your friends should support the endeavor. My contribution is this helpful picture. It should convince the electorate that Al is made of the stern stuff needed to win the war on terror.

js paine:

j alva

now your not returning his e mails
Al wanted me
to pass along
to u

"i got acorns
as big as pumpkins "

not sure how that
figures in your
gwotnik shape up

but i guess it means
he's not sore at ya anyway

Damn. And I thought Dukakis in the tank was hhhhhhhot.

J. Alva, I am relieved that the squirrels have set you free in time for Independence Day. I was starting to worry.

J.S., the good news is I just landed another temp job. The bad news is I won't see those geysers of green for at least three weeks. What if I promised you and Al a collage ? You could auction it off and make a fortune off my soon-to-be household name. I have a fresh pot of glue, plus a vintage cake decorator's manual full of plastic skeletons and star-spangled rocketships. Surely I could cobble together something good enough for Al's campaign.

Bwa...hahahahaha! That's a great pic J. Alva. Franken looks like a member of the Very Special Forces in that pic! (Rightclick 'n Save!)

Aw, come-on, JS! Don't turn your satirical artillery on my poor state! Especially on behalf of that DLC slug. All I have to defend it is my native wit and a few dozen incriminating pictures of Franken with a bimbo.

J. Alva Scruggs:

The acorns make it worse, JSP. It's obvious, now, that he thinks he's dealing with a chipmunk. I wanted to be a self-loathing shill. I really did. But there are some levels of iniquity that are just too much.

I don't have a huge problem with Steve Gilliard or any of that crowd trying to make money off their websites, but, I wish they'd stop and consider two things:

1.) It's not going to last. If you're successful doing it, eventually other people will get the message and jump on the bandwagon and you'll find yourself competing for a more limited pool of resources.

2.) It's inevitable that you'll try to justify your compromises. So much of the bile towards the left and the fanatical bias against anybody who acts from any kind of "principles" comes from the idea that you want a career in the Democratic Party and that your blog will get you there.

Anyway, there are already too many progressive democratic blogs out there. The field is too crowded. Video blogs are the new thing.

J. Alva Scruggs:

Alan, your webhost doesn't like external referring. I snagged the pic from Google.

Stanley's second point is ethically compelling and he's right on the mark about the economics of it. I've been getting into web video with a friend, though for the love of it, no money.

Ms. Xeno, I had actually had a for real squirrel start gnawing on a floor joist. It went away on its own for some reason. I take that as a good sign.

js paine:

stan the man don't like the low threshold of entry
nor does any one else
with a two hemisphere
head set
seez a blog com
bubble pop

can you make that
al likes depth

he sez give him somethin like
"u know that guy
er .. er ..
don cornelius did "

as to the rest of you...
and you two know exactly who i mean
try being constructive for once

Patrick Meighan:

Can't really vouch for Booman... I just joined his blog (or whatever) yesterday. But I can say that that his blog/board-thing is kinda Kos-y in tone and style while intentionally (and by design) refraining from the "Dems Only" rule Kos imposes on his clubhouse.

Booman himself may be a committed and monogomous Dem (not really sure if that's true), but at least he brooks dissent at his blog, which is more than anyone can say about Orange Voldemort.

By the way, I just made up that Orange Voldemort thing just now, and am kinda wondering if it'll stick. I'm guessing: no.

Patrick Meighan
Venice, CA

There are a lot of leftier than Kos Kos spinoffs.

This might be the largest.


But take a look at the links page on the right.

Steve Gilliard used to be a bit better than he is now. But he really is a good example of relatively progressive writer who's a little too caught up in the Democratic Party and warped by it.

Some of his commentators are god awful though. I think it's because he tends to write on military issues and he gets trolled by a lot of right wing vets/military types.

oh thank you I had such a good laugh.

hmmm... I wish the boyos luck at getting support for Philosopher King (not!) stuff online.

Better to crash the gates at the parties the Koseratti give. Did they go to the desert and lose their minds, or what?


Thanks, J.Alva. My webhost is teh suxors.

Yeah, video blogging seems to be the coming thing. ZeFrank is a fave-rave with the techno set.

I like "Orange Voldemort" Patrick. It sounds like an old soda brand the British came up with to compete with Orange Nehi but didn't last long because it tasted like voldemort, which I imagine tastes like a cross between wheatgrass juice and old socks.

Yeah, I need more coffee...

Gilliard's whining sounds like the kind of defensive "I'm-better-than-you-because-I'm-a-professional!" tripe we see coming from pressrooms across the country.

Really, these self-important boys become more amusing by the day.

J. Alva Scruggs:

What kills me about Gilliard and the other "media of our own" crowd is that all they do consists of opining and punditizing, and they piggyback off the hated MSM to do that. The fare they offer is:

1) The media is stupid! 2) Wingnuts are stupid! 3) Therefore we have to take back the country!!! 4) Why oh why do we have such stupid representatives? 5) We need to take back the party!

The pwogs are damn close to the wingnuts in their inability to understand what a political class is. Then they get angry at the people who don't want to be suckered, chumped and fleeced anymore. There's no hatred greater than that of the Escalade owner who bought a lemon, who gets asked why he keeps throwing good money after bad.

"If you want punditry forever, this is a perfect system. But if you want real reporting, from trained people, it isn't going to be cheap and you need to realize that now...."

Sez who, Boo-booh??

Hmph! Reason number 5,689 that I hate libruls.

It went away on its own for some reason. I take that as a good sign.

Well, yeah. You didn't have to float the squirrel 50 bucks. It went away on its own eventually. Thus it will be with Gilliard and the like, if we're patient.

Honestly, if somebody wants to earn a living at blogging, I say go for it. I'd just about learn to unicycle up 5th avenue with a karoke machine strapped to my chicken-suited back, chirping Belinda Carlisle's greatest hits-- if I thought people would toss me enough money so I could get my little online biz off the ground;No more temp gigs in the far reaches of East Overshoe.

Trouble is, most of us know that the editorial content of our newspaper isn't dictated by the readers. What they pony up to read can't compare with what advertisers do. Are people going to remember that when booberry and the like are officially 100% for-profit ventures ? For-profit ventures that will have to balance their desire to report something truthful with the fear that if they piss off the Democrats they're reporting on, they won't get invited to any more hot parties or big leads.

That's the relationship the Press Corps has to Bush, or any President. Any blogger smart enough to hit "return" knows it, too. Why are they so sure that their own cronies will be immune to this syndrome ?

So I won't pay. We don't need another damn version of the Press Corps.


I don't understand this post. Is it some kind of in-house Yank humor? J.S Paine grills these other nonentities for begging for money, and then announces he's going to work for freaking Al Franken unless peope cough up for him. Even worse, he tries to differentiate his cheap arse from the people he's had a go at by announcing that he was the third reject in the list for funny ol' Al. WTF?

I was feeling pretty weird about all this, so I clicked on the comments expecting to see a whole lotta frothin' going on. Absolutely nothing there made sense to me either, except for ms xeno, once I'd got past the bike riding bit. What is it about the left? Why can I hate nuclear weaponry, read and understand Marx, cry when I hear or sing the Internationale, but not understand anyone on the blogosphere except for MJS, Chomsky and A. Cockburn?

Anyway, don't mind me. I've just drunk three brown bombers of Singha beer while watching Boyz n Tha Hood for the first time, so am feeling a little emotional.

Michael Hureaux Perez:

I really dug your article about the waste of time it is to worry about the demise of the democrats. Let the fuckers keep their fleabag political circus, I did my twelve years with them and have since spent much of my time wandering 'twixt the sects of Marx, Green, and even a brief stay with the so-called libertarians, who, as you so cogently pointed out, are about to lose everything they've built to the incarceration and law and order entrepreneurs. I saw that coming when they nominated the ARCO lawyer Ed Clark back in 1980, and here they are, not much more then an auxilary committee for the worst of the kill and shill "republican" party. Libertarian, but don't step on their precious property rights. Losers.

Currently, I do some small foot work for the Labor Party, but keep my own counsel as a board of directors of the teacher's union here in Seattle, where I work to do outreach to other sections of the labor movement, always with the pitch for a third force in American politics based on the working class majority of the population. A lot of true believers "cut their eyes" at me, as we used to say back in the hood, but they know I'm onto something, because I get affirmative response. Well, it's early, and many a setback is on the way, but I believe in the course for a third party, which even on bleak days lends far more satisfaction then any of that democratic party bullshit. I'm no monkey, I know how to work with them when I have to, but my call to the membership I represent that we stop putting all our eggs in the democratic basket is getting a hearing, that's how I got elected to the board to begin with. It's a balancing act (for now), but I believe we can win. I love your blog, your confidence, your no-nonsense shit-slinging. The fuckers have it coming. I was living in New York City when Big Bitch (Doesn't HRC look like Big Bitch from Spain Rodriguez' old underground comic, TRASHMAN?) won the democratic "primary", which wasn't anything but a bloody coronation. Same old tired, patronizing white liberal crap when you raised a question at the funky culty lit table they had outside the Fairway Grocery for months, true believers all. May they crash and burn forever.

Let's build a third party, Mike. Fuck those motherfuckers. Fuck those war monging, shit eating mother fuckers in the democratic party. No more hours out of my life for them. NO more.---MHP, Seattle


Tommy -- flattery will get you anywhere, and mentioning my name in the same breath with Chomsky and Cockburn is the best compliment I've had in some time.

JSP has a very idiosyncratic sense of humor, but I know it from of old. I think maybe us Yanks are indeed a little soft in the head -- a steady barrage of Franken and Kos et sim. probably has some of the same neurological effects as glue sniffing.

j s paine:

it was close but ...thanx guys for coming thru

the response is truly
and sincerely overwhelming

i must say i thought Al toook it
well enough..maybe ..too well

but i prefer to think
you just out bid him
and the man knows when he's beat

one real surprise

and i hope i'm
not violating any confidence here worth ...violating

guess who came
up to the plate
hit a four bagger
and literally at the eleventh hour

the faux billmon

his generous pledge came
in with this note

"stay the fuck
where u are
u fuckin rag weed"


Hey JS -- remember my commission, dude.

You go, MHP! Hell, we elected a wrestler for governor and soon we'll have slipped 3rd Party friendly IRV in under their oh-so-democrat noses. It can be done. Just keep 'em guessing with fancy footwork.

js paine:

i second ye olde smithhee

get enough balls in the air at once
and the odds
on a novel
outcome increase
the key

never go back

never return to work for to donkery nor even vote for em

a loss is no excuse
to return to the goat pen

just go back into
the arena
and get off another round as fast as possible

fire out referenda and indy races and special issue parties and class based parties
like tennis balls
are fired
out of one of those serving guns

i hasten to add
from your comment
it sounds like you already got that fact
loud and clear
but i like to read myself talking


"Absolutely nothing there made sense to me either, except for ms xeno, once I'd got past the bike riding bit. What is it about the left? Why can I hate nuclear weaponry, read and understand Marx, cry when I hear or sing the Internationale, but not understand anyone on the blogosphere except for MJS, Chomsky and A. Cockburn?"

Sorry for confusing you, Tommy. Just trying to have a bit of fun there with a serious issue. Not Paine's mythical shot at getting in Franken's campaign harness, mind you. I mean the issue of weighing one's desire to earn a living at something other than shovelling shit vs. their desire to be truthful and trustworthy doing what they love to do.

It really isn't fair that capitalism shoves everyone into making this trade-off eventually. Would any other system be that much better ? Who knows ?

I personally don't find Gilliard's desire for some kind of full-time blogger's guild all that extraordinary. Let him have it if he wants it-- and if the fans will pay. I doubt that blogging for dollars would be any worse for a person's character than a lot of other things they could be doing. However:

Smart people look at the supposed lack of bias in, say, American Public Television heavily subsidized as it is by ADM, Mobil, and their ilk, and know that "lack of bias" is impossible. Smart viewers fully expect that the perpetual quest for money has some effect on the way such an entity delivers "news," and the like. One viewer knows that s/he could pony up cash every year for the next hundred years and not provide as much for the station as one 30-second "Brought to You by so-and-so" pitch does when broadcasted even once.

I fear that because the structure of blogs encourages a more personal mode of communication between blogger and reader/commenter than do other, older media, the purchasers of the service won't apply such a standard to a blog.

But they should.

js paine and fiona apple:

xeno writes:

"I doubt that blogging for dollars would be any worse for a person's character than a lot of other things they could be doing "

like dunking for apples

Oh, Franken ended up hiring Apple ?

In a gonzo sort of way, that almost makes sense.


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