On the off chance some of you happened by during the past couple of days and saw that this blog had been suspended, you have my apologies. That is, if you even managed to survive my brief and unexpected absence. I can only imagine the shock and horror such a thing might have caused you. It was terrible, I’m sure. I wasn’t too pleased about it either.
When this happens, WordPress doesn’t tell you why you’ve been suspended. It just happens. (In my case, it turns out that some dingbat automated system of theirs mistakenly thought I was spam.) The annoying thing was that I couldn’t access, download, or export any of my writing off this site. Like, I’ve been kicked out of better places than this. But one should be allowed to grab their hat and coat or, at least, have it thrown out onto the street after them. That’s just common decency.
And the whole thing brought back some bad memories too.
Something like this happened to me before. Way back in the day, back. In Toronto.
The Grumpy Owl was kicked off WordPress due to some complaint about the content from the sort of person who roams the internet reporting people. Although that site was quickly restored, the incident kind of freaked me out. To protect myself, I migrated the site over to a paid version. (Honestly, I think that’s why they usually do this suspension shit. Just give you a shake and see if any money falls out.) In that case, it did.
Thing was, I didn’t want to sell ads, ask for money, or peddle influence. Having that paid site was just a money-losing proposition. When you have a paid site, like it or not, you’re under pressure to “monetize”, build your “brand”, do something, anything, to make the cost worth it. Even if you just want to break even on the shit, it’s not longer just amateur fun.
There’s always some talk about what killed blogs — in my case, it was probably that more than anything. Not directly, but I think it was mainly that.
I even used to know how to do that money shit. I could drive traffic, etc. But, holy shit, that shit bores me stupid. Unless you want that to be your job, it’s torture. Running a “successful” blog generally means focusing in on one subject and constantly repeating yourself about it.
I preferred unsuccessfully blogging across a range of interests. The OG Grumpy Owl was usually just a sort of notebook. A journal to deal with and process my online reading.
When it comes to getting paid, it’s hard to make a site like that work, even if you want to. As for me — what the fuck am I going to do? Find some niche community of syndicalist, dandy baseball fans, with a skeptical interest in sci-fi and robots? All my interests are wrong. Many of them tend to alienate just about everyone who happens to share one of them.
And that’s just the money or “brand” angle. A paid site always has ongoing tech stuff and issues. You have to deal with that shit just to keep it up and running. It takes time and money. A nightmare. Self-inflicted too, which is the worst type of nightmare.
When I stopped blogging with any frequency, there was no point at all in keeping the site running. Paper notebooks are cheaper and easier, and they don’t often get suspended. I get more use out them too. I just couldn’t justify the cost, deal with exporting the site (again!) or any of that shit. So I just burned it down. Then, I burned it down on the wayback machine too. Because that shit isn’t an archive so much as it is litter.
And a quick note on that, just to set the record straight. I found out it was on the wayback machine –a site whose existence I constantly forget– through an anonymous comment. This comment came from some shit-heel who was under the impression that I had torched the site because of some shame over a run-in that I’d had with the science fiction community — the so-called “community”, really it’s more of a pyramid scheme. While I’m grateful that this commenter pointed out the wayback machine to me, my torching of the OG Owl had nothing to do with any of that shit. It just was not a factor.
A thing that’s often hard for a certain sort of science fiction fan to understand is that people actually have lives and social circles outside of their weird little community of sycophants. They can’t understand that someone might have ambitions and goals separate from selling them a book or even making it as a fucking writer. We’re not all careerist. Some of us don’t even think it’s much of a career to begin with. It’s more of a pain in the ass than anything.
I’m not going to name names because I’m sure some of these people are googling themselves as I speak and, Hail Satan, at least one of them has rewritten history so that he might pretend to be some stalwart defender of freedom of speech against a sort of feminist Taliban and political correctness run amok. I would hate to get in the way of such mercenary and deluded self-mythologizing as that — if it’s even possible to do so. (I believe he may own some sort of chart. Who am I to argue with a chart?) Basically, I have better things to do with my time than fight with any of them. So I hope you excuse my reticence is avoiding the naming of names here but I do want to be semi-clear:
I stand by what I said said then and I still stand by this – PeteyMcWatty, RitchyMorgn, and RSBkkkkr were totally out of line in their dealing with RH. That’s not to say she’s some perfect victim or even a good person. I honestly don’t know. But they were all out of line and they are some pretty shit people. I can’t speak to the quality or content of their writing, having read none of it, nor have I ever tried to speak to that — only in their handling of what I still believe to be legitimate criticism. In the one case I can speak to their work (RitchyMorgn), I actually liked one of his books. Not the one on Netflix.
I said things on that site that I’m far more ashamed of than any of that. That shit doesn’t even register in my shame scale. I’m not ashamed of that. It was also one of the least controversial posts on the site. The most controversial post was probably the one where I said that I think a lot of people are only pretending to be afraid of clowns. I stand by that post too, btw. But, holy shit, after years of hearing about it from people pretending to be afraid of clowns, I was sick of having people angry at me about that subject too. Like, goddamn, that went on for ages. And then the mimes showed up! The fucking mimes! You would not believe how angry the mimes were. Those mimes were a little scary, honestly. No joke.
Anyway, I hope that explains some of all that – if you even noticed or care. Which, like – why would you?