The Glamorous World of Big-Time Blogging

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

People often ask me, “Lambert, what is the glamorous world of blogging really like?” So, tonight I want to answer that question MR SUBLIMINAL The tip jar is to your right. In detail.

* * *

After refreshing sleep, long after sunrise, I’m awakened by the soft reverberation from a single stroke on the golden Gong of WakingMR SUBLIMINAL The tip jar is to your right from a felt mallet gently wielded by one of Naked Capitalism’s army of slaves personal servants interns. Having arisen, and having been slipped into my tasseled slippers and silk robe — embroidered with the “NC” sigil — proffered by a second and third intern, and having performed my lengthy and relaxed morning ablutions, I enter The Blogging Room, reclothed in my resplendent blogging raiment: the crown, the ruff, the ermine robes.

Having carefully seated myself on the Ironic Throne, my first act of the day is to press a gilded button, closing a circuit that sends electricity pulsing over many hundreds of copper miles to raise The Gates of FeedingMR SUBLIMINAL The tip jar is to your right, allowing a carefully metered ration of catfood to pour chunkily into the two extremely solid Gold Bug™ bowls MR SUBLIMINAL The tip jar is to your right in the feline area of Yves’s faraway compound, high above the glittering towers of Manhattan.

“Go, some of you, and fetch my Council!” Clapping my hands, once. The Master of Sites, the Master of Coin, the Master of Laws, the Hand of the King, and the Grand Measter enter, and prostate themselves on the marbled floor before me.

“Rise, my people!” A fourth intern receives their three-ring binders; a fifth intern strikes the sold gold Gong of ReportMR SUBLIMINAL The tip jar is to your right, and the Council rushes away to perform its appointed tasks.

Still seated, I raise both hands: A sixth intern rushes forward with a steaming cup off coffee, while a seventh rolls the ambulatory laptop forward and positions the keyboard carefully beneath my fingers. Interns eight and nine rip a long scroll from the TeleType machine, hulking in its niche, and bring me the latest news. Having entered my byline, I pause, raise my right hand, and intern ten strikes The Gong of BloggingMR SUBLIMINAL The tip jar is to your right

* * *

Over the top? Yes, but not for the reason you might think.

A blogger of the top rank* like Yves — a pure blogger, unsupported by corporate structure, and not using the blog as an ancillary sales tool for another business — performs all the roles in the Council. The Council does not, in fact, prostrate itself before her; she is not able to take their reports and dismiss them; she must have those skills herself and be able to execute any of them at a moment’s notice, and at all hours.

Readers, you may think that Yves is lounging around in silk pajamas, popping bon bons, making the occasional phone call, sending the cats out for Chinese, and doing a smidge of typing every so often, but take it from me: Blogging is work, and blogging takes more work, and more skills, than any other work I’ve ever done in my life, and I’m sure Yves feels the same way. It’s grueling. MR SUBLIMINAL The tip jar is still to your right. Here are the roles played by the Council:

  1. Master of Sites: The technical aspects of blogging;
  2. Master of Coin: The business aspects;
  3. Master of Laws: Moderation and administration;
  4. Hand of the King: What we call “management.”
  5. Grand Maester: Content creation

Let’s look at each of them this year.

Technical: The technical skills required to run NC include knowing WordPress intimately, being able to code in HTML, and having a solid understanding of websites, website development, and the infrastructure of the Internet. Our technical skills were excessively tested this year as we tried simultaneously to begin the site redesign and find a new host for the site. After some nine months of frustration, during which our existing host proved unable to provide our designer with the proper credentials to build a test site, we went through a process of qualification, discovery, testing, and disqualification with not one, not two, not three, but four candidates for hosting NC; one of them we disqualified after they had begun to transfer our data to their servers because they upped the price on us that they’d committed to! All in all, that was an inordinately stressful and time-consuming effort that also got in the way of reader enjoyment, as the existing host would randomly slow to a crawl. Finally, we arrived at a satisfactory host, and we were able to begin the site redesign, but it was not at all an easy process.MR SUBLIMINAL The tip jar is still to your right.

Business: Yves has had to make a number of decisions about advertising this year. Like them or not, ads help keep the NC lights on, the throne room swept, and the cats fed, and Yves has to vet the vendors, make sure their material is appropriate for the site, test out their feeds, and handle all the other business aspects involved in advertising, like billing. OnSwipe for mobile devices, and the MoneyNews feed both took a substantial amount for time, time that Yves was not able to devote to writing, which is what people read NC for!MR SUBLIMINAL Yep!

Moderation and administration: Essential, very personal, sleepless-night stressful, and the less said the better.

Management: Yves is running a small business. She’s the boss, with all that entails. She’s the publisher. She’s the editor. She has people to manage, and she has advisors. and an extraordinary network of personal relationships to maintain.MR SUBLIMINAL The location of the tip jar has not changed!

Content creation: Best. Blog. EVAH.MR SUBLIMINAL Yo! Over there!

* * *

Finally, on a personal note, let me share some pictures. First, my keyboard:

keyboard

MacBook Air keyboards come with pre-installed plastic keys surfaced in black. However, I have struck that spacebar with my thumb so many times that the black has been worn away, revealing clear plastic and mechanical innards. My thumbs, however, have not worn away, nor my fingers, and (more importantly) Yves’s thumbs and fingers are still going strong.**

Second, Yves has given me permission to include a photograph of a phone much like hers, though this one is newer: A prepaid Nokia. A really dumb prepaid Nokia.

phone

At you can see, that cunning plan to blog and grow rich didn’t work out. But we love doing it. Won’t you help us keep doing what we love?

The tip jar is to your right.

NOTE * This, For example.

NOTE ** Heck, she can kill people with her bare hands!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

16 comments

  1. Paul Tioxon

    You work your fingers to the bone, and what kind of thanks do you get! Abusive accusations of being trust fund empty suits and bleached blonde ditzes. And as for Yves, a talented intellect turned feminazi with a pedestrian mid-west pedigree, that only through the grace of god and inherited dna does she find herself in her current exalted repose.

    Well, if I’ve heard one radicalized bourgeoisie shocked, at the true state of affairs of state once the false consciousness has been swept away by the regular as clock work structural crises of capitalism, I’ve seen a thousand!

    Nothing warms my faithless heart more than seeing money grubbing Manhattanites groping their way towards truth and calling it work. I’ll tell you what real work is. And it’s not wearing out the space bar on your laptop. Real work is the sweaty effort, the aching exertion that produces a thing of beauty in its usefulness, requires an eye of a craftsman, displaying and expressing skill. Uhh, I guess you two do qualify on that account after all. Expect to see not one dollar in tribute, but many dollars in defense of THE REPUBLIC, for which it stands.

    And remember people, NAKED CAPITALISM WILL GET YOU THROUGH TIMES OF NO MONEY, BETTER THAN MONEY WILL GET YOU THROUGH TIMES OF NO NAKED CAPITALISM. So give what you got while you still got something to give. Because when its gone, yes, Naked Capitalism may pass, and with it, THE REPUBLIC. Seriously, the sinister mechanics of state craft are being cast and once formed take a life of their own. Organized opposition rages into being.

  2. Clive

    What ? You’re telling us this is actually, like, a real blog ? I mean, a genuine blog about financial and political things ?

    Well, I’ll be blowed (that means something quite different in proper English than it does in American English, so long as it survives the naughty word filter and actually gets posted).

    And all this time, I thought we were all contributing to a crowd-sourced sequel to Annie Hall. Not doing a bad job either, or so I imagined. Okay, the bit where the rather stereotypical mad women living alone in the NY apartment lost her one of her many cats behind the built-in furniture in a none-too subtle plot device to prompt the appearance of a Mr. Darcy type rushing to her rescue was a smidge hackneyed and definitely needed a re-write because all that happened was a couple of guys from maintenance arrived and the cat came out more or less of its own volition. That would have needed more work. But the rest of it, well, I was already preparing my quotes for the dust jacket.

    Now you tell me it’s all just some rant-a-thon about banks and some guy called Larry Summers ?

    Never in my life have I wasted so much time and effort labouring under such a colossal a misunderstanding.

      1. Clive

        No, it’s the sort of English that everyone but our American friends speak. They call what they speak English but… I think we should sentence the entire country to be extras in Downton Abbey for a year. That would teach them.

  3. craazyman

    Are the interns hot enough to give good massages? You could rent them out by the hour to bring in some extra cash! Just a suggestion. :)

      1. ChrisPacific

        Maybe there is an opportunity to consolidate on interns a bit. Right now it sounds like they do one thing and then knock off for the day. Or is it assumed that they’re all waving palm fans and peeling grapes in the meantime?

  4. Schitty Pete

    My mother had good advice when it came to gift-giving:
    “If you want to show someone how much you really love them: give them money.”

  5. fresno dan

    Wow, I didn’t give nearly enough money…
    Being now a mere retiree, I see to keep you guys in bits and bytes I will have to downgrade from Walmart catfood to Dollartree catfood. But I expect to be rewarded with WholeFood catfood when the revolution comes…

  6. Kay

    You failed to mention the cost of obtaining information. Yves reads the Financial Times, the WSJ, and other pricey but informative media. That’s a not-immaterial amount of overhead.

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