Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Labor of Love

Cast Out From Eden, by Gustav Doré

Update from Dymphna: Day Seven of the Quarterly Fundraiser

Today’s donors came from all over, as usual. Canada, Denmark, as always Oz, and the UK. Our American donors: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota (ah, there’s one member of the VRWC in the Land of Lakes!), New Hampshire, Northern Virginia, and Texas. Australia and Texas are obviously twins who were separated at birth…

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This is the final day of our not-quite-quarterly bleg. Definitely, a good time was had by all.

I haven’t counted how many people tipped the cup; I’m relying on my impression of how many more there were this time than in the past, and that impression comes from the numbers of thank-you notes I’ve written. If you haven’t yet received yours, not to worry. I’m plodding along, have arrived at the beginning of Day Five’s donors.

Tip jar -- to donate, see 'tip cup' or 'donate' button on our sidebarThe theme of this bleg has been work, specifically the notion in the beginning of Genesis that work was a necessary evil visited on mankind for Adam’s having committed the sin of hubris. So I’ve been pondering the idea of work, of any labor required to sustain oneself.

The Puritans saw work as “godly”, and leisure as, at the very least, the occasion of sin. In our American culture, we often trace back our tendency to work too much or to constantly trying to improve ourselves as having begun there, on Plymouth Rock.

“Our culture” is meant to indicate the middle class culture, often called “America’s backbone”. In contrast to the highest reaches of the upper class and in the bottom with the underclass, both of whom view work as something to be done by others, the middle class sees work as having inherent value. To us, work is creative and self-renewing.

It is the middle class that is most in jeopardy with the approach of the economic meltdown. Those who have valued work the most will have the fewest jobs. It is predicted that the middle class, that group which made up a great deal of America’s exceptionalism, will disappear under a tidal wave of governmental bureaucratic incompetence and fraud.
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No one is predicting the future with any certainty. Or if they are, those prognosticators have something to sell. Trust only the experts who are humble enough to say, “This is new. We don’t know”. They may not be able to give you much information, but they’ve retained a valuable commodity: truth.

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In pondering the theme of labor as we’ve discussed it in this quarter’s bleg, and in writing thank you notes to our donors, an interesting idea has presented itself. It’s not new, but up until now I’d never internalized it in precisely this fashion:

Somewhere along the way, beginning perhaps in late 2006, Gates of Vienna ceased to be a blog run by two individuals. Instead it’s become a group endeavor with many, many people providing input. Besides our analysts, writers, video people, translators, and donors, there is a web of information which has slowly grown to include dozens of people on at least three continents, with beginnings on a fourth.

In the course of building our partnerships, we’ve seen the folly of the old MSM paradigm of “breaking news” or “exclusives”. The aggregate wisdom lies not it presenting information first, but in preparing a foundation for thinking about what that information means initially and what consequences it may portend.

Without this foundation, news is merely distracting entertainment. There is no ‘there’ there because the next day’s all-important, exclusive story is waiting in the wings. The race to get to it first is often unseemly; in the long run, it’s also unnecessary. Sometimes it turns out to be a matter of the first facts being dead wrong. And sometimes people’s lives are damaged by the prurient rush to know everything. Perhaps the best example of this kind of “reportage” is the rude audacity of the writer who moved in next door to the Sarah Palin family so he could be the tell-all author of a best-seller on the Palins.

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Call us the slow news. The after-action reports. The analytic attitude. One thing is certain in all of this: it is a labor of love.

Thanks to everyone who came by. We’ll have a short wrap-up tomorrow.

(The jar image is just for decoration — a tip cup is on our left sidebar.)


The rest of the original fundraising post may be read here.

17 comments:

natskvi said...

I'm going to donate using the supplied PayPal link, but considering PayPal's abject dhimmitude (especially w.r.t. to JihadWatch and AtlasShrugs), I'd prefer to use an alternative, such as GPal (https://www.gpal.net/). Thank you.

Steven said...

Where is that paypall link?

Baron Bodissey said...

Steven --

On the left side of our blog, in the sidebar. It says "Tip Cup" and has a picture of a cup. The "Donate" button below it serves the same function.

Dymphna said...

@natskvi:

I've talked to several people who feel as you do, and want us to divest from PayPal. Their reasons for dissatisfaction go back well before any problems Atlas Shrugs had with that organization.

No, I'm not fond of PayPal, either. Nor do I like E-bay, which owns PayPal.

If you read Gates of Vienna with any regularity, you may recall the post I did the day PayPal exommunicated Atlas Shrugs. That was a big booboo on their part and I said so at the time.

As it turned out they were inundated with people closing their accounts in indignation for this move. Seems to me PayPal acted in haste on someone's ugly complaint of AS being a "hate sight" and then had to repent in leisure as they apologized for their hasty move when they were inundated with customers closing their accounts.

There are alternatives. Commenters and lurkers have sent information about many of them. Some of the people who wrote had reservations about GunPal but I can't remember now what they were. It's all in a file which I'll look at as soon as I'm well enough for long enough to do the necessary investigation and make a decision.

Several faithful, regular donors asked me NOT to close PayPal because they like it and have been with PP for years. One in particular, who lives in another country, said her son looked into it for her and found PP to be the most secure. Thus, forher sake and for several others, PayPal will be kept as an alternative.

What I'll probably do is give people an alternative: PayPal OR another site, whichever one seems best. Right now, it appears to be Amazon Flexible Payments.

BTW, if you think Atlas Shrugs had a problem, you should see what they did to Cryptome. I believe C. is suing them. The guy said that PP's "non-apology" didn't cut it.

natskvi said...

@Dymphna:

Thanks for the detailed reply!

njartist said...

And because the Baron was a smart husband, he listened to his wife, just like Adam did. And now here we are.
Yep. Just as Abraham listened to Sarah and here we are with the whole Ismael thing. Of course, you could have pulled a Rebekah, but hey, artificial fleece is easy to come by these days....

Anonymous said...

"Gates of Vienna is all my fault."
Well thank you mam! Where would we all be without it! To deduct some logic out of your fault: Make more of them! Pleeeeeeease!
Your tip cup will hear from me soon....

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Baron Bodissey said...

ZiegfriedJohnny --

That's way off-topic, regardless of other considerations. Take it to a different forum.

Cobra said...

Thank you, guys and gals, for your outstanding blog.

Anonymous said...

WAKE UP: Muslims use a 'trick' to get reach a demographic advantage: The suppression of the rights of the women!...

Jewel -The Testy Infidel said...

Hello, Baron, Dymphna. You might want to remove the spammers up there, as they are not very wholesome places.
But I digress.
I am happy to hear that you are doing well. You are providing a complementary forum to an arena of really great informative anti-sharia sites. Please keep doing what you are doing.

Baron Bodissey said...

Jewel --

Thank you.

Yes, I have to deal with the referral spam every morning. Sometimes just one or two, sometimes a dozen or more. But they're always there.

moslaemm said...

Do you declare the donations to the IRS?

Baron Bodissey said...

moslaemm --

Yes. I am self-employed now, and this is almost my only income, so every penny is recorded. I also keep track of operating expenses of various sorts, and file a Schedule C at the end of the tax year with my 1040.

At this level of income, I will probably owe little or no federal income tax. But I have to pay FICA (Social Security and Medicare) twice, once as an employer, and once as an employee. That's 15.2% of my gross income. So accurate record-keeping is a must.

4Symbols said...

In hoc signo vinces

Picture Perfect, had to comment on the composition of the photograph of this article - perfectly balanced unlike the chaotic composition of modern photography.

Dazed And Confused said...

I thought Id best add a few quid (Dollars) to the kitty, so I could peruse this site in future times knowing that Id contributed in some small way to it's continued maintenance.

Keep up the good work...