Peter Brimelow just posted the following words at the top of VDARE.com’s temporary home page, for its ongoing fundraising drive:
Last night, I was attacked by Keith Olbermann on his MSNBC TV show Countdown for starting the War Against Christmas on VDARE.COM and thereby corrupting Bill O'Reilly! (We respond on our blog). Of course, we think Olbermann is a fool. But with the Main Stream Media and the political Establishment, there's no doubt his smears are effective. They don't deter us, but I worry for our younger writers, with careers to make, and families to feed.
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Get it? “Our younger writers.” He’s got to be referring to me! VDARE can’t have anyone younger than me writing for it.
How old am I, you ask? I’ll give you the same answer I give The Boss, whenever she asks: 21. And if she complains, I just say, “Prove otherwise!” (And next year, I plan on turning 21 … again!)
Since I have yet to win a Pulitzer or the Nobel Peace Prize, or get written up in Time magazine, what’s the point of aging?)
Why is it so important that you support VDARE? Glad you asked. Peter pays me to write for him. The more money you give him, the more can pay me. Thus, if you think my work is worth supporting, please give generously. And if you think my work isn’t worth supporting, please give generously. (Well, what did you expect me to say?)
That may sound like a selfish rationale, but if you want VDARE to continue to be the finest political site on the Web, Peter has to be able to continue to pay writers.
I can see someone saying, “What’s the big deal? You write, he pays. That’s the way all writing works.”
Not exactly. Although the Internet has proved to be the greatest technology ever invented, as far as writers being able to publish and promote their work, that very same function (flooding the market) has caused it to be the worst thing that ever happened to the economics of writing. Since there is an unlimited supply of writers (i.e., no scarcity), there is total downward pressure on the price for freelance work. No one has to pay anything, in order to get copy to place between the ads on his Website. Thus, only about 0.1 percent of Web sites actually pay for work, and they pay badly.
How badly? In 2001, I wrote a 1216-word essay on legendary journalist-satirist George S. Schuyler for National Review Online, that in the meantime has probably been read by over 100,000 people. My fee: The grand sum of $50, courtesy of the late neoconservative, William F. Buckley Jr. (not that WFB knew me from Adam).
I made maybe $2 an hour for that job. What with a wife and infant, not to mention having to pay the electric company and my ISP, just to use my pc, the fee didn’t stretch very far.
Back in 1999, I had published an essay in the fat Christmas issue of the profitable, neocon freebie, The NYPress, for which I received no byline, but for which then editor-publisher Russ Smith (aka Mugger) paid me the princely sum of $16.67. Fortunately for me, The Boss was three months away from giving birth to the Boss’s Boss (forgive me, Harry), so we were able to live it up.
In order for my family to subsist in New York City back then, I would have had to sell at least 2,000 NYPress columns per year.
Back in the early 1990s, I had occasionally freelanced for the daily, New York Newsday, which gave me a byline, and once even put my picture inside of Page One, with a flattering promo for my op-ed piece inside. (I wasn’t crazy about the picture part; how can a journalist buzz around town and do his job, if people are id’ing him on the street? A journalist is supposed to observe, not be observed. And if you really do your job, those people may be hostiles.) And they paid “a buck-fifty” ($150) per piece. The only problem was that the editors somehow “forgot” to pay me for my third piece, and I ended up having to sue them in Small Claims Court, in order to get my fee.
Newsday went belly up in 1995, after only ten years in business and $100 million in losses (est. 170 million 2008 dollars). I don’t know how the outfit went broke, but it sure as hell wasn’t from overpaying freelancers.
Although today’s news media are a multibillion-dollar business, quality journalists are few and far between. I know of only a handful of excellent journalists who are able to support themselves through writing, as opposed to the tens of thousands of worthless, lying hacks who do alright.
At least three of the finest journalists I know can only survive by working day jobs in public relations. One of them is always in danger of losing his day job, due to the repercussions from his investigative freelance work, and another one had to give up writing altogether, because leftists had gotten him fired from his day job.
Although Peter has yet to pay me Malcolm Gladwell money—we’ll have to talk about that—he pays me much better than any other cyber-publication, and even better than some newspapers and magazines I worked for, way back when.
So, to make a short story long, please support VDARE!
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