One of the reasons why I’ve stuck with WordPress over the years—aside from the fact that its competitors, such as Drupal, are absolutely pitiful—is the ease of modifying it. WordPress’ Plugin system enables you to add functionality to your blog with nothing more than a couple of mouse clicks; just perform a search for the kind of plugin you need, download and install it and you’re good to go.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of plugins that don’t play nice with your site unless it’s set up in a very particular way.
A while back, I started noticing a problem with my pre-scheduled blog posts failing to publish. I would finish an article, schedule it to appear on Monday morning at 9am… and nothing would happen, aside from the WordPress dashboard informing me that the post had “missed schedule.” Gee, thanks for the update, dipshits. I’ve had this problem with WordPress blogs in the past; the cron job responsible for handling scheduled posts stops working for reasons unknown. I’ve solved it in the past by manually editing files in my WordPress installation, so I hit Google to look up the specific method (I had forgotten to bookmark it).
What I found was a profound example of how screwed up the Internet is nowadays.
NOTE: This article was originally published at In Mala Fide on January 17, 2012.
Accusing someone of being a self-loathing [fill-in-the-blank] is one of the most popular insults on the Internet, almost up there with Godwin’s Law in its predictability. The minute someone inveighs against a particular social class that we all know to be annoying and stupid, that someone is almost immediately called a self-loathing member of that class, projecting his self-loathing on his brethren. And in a world that worships at the altar of Self-Esteem, being “self-loathing” is a grievous sin, almost as bad as being a Nazi!
For example, a couple months back, I posted a couple of articles by Chad Daring, “The No Fat Chicks Challenge” and “Why I Hate Fat People,” in which he explained his disdain for the fatties of the world; he was a fatty himself and has spent the past few years working himself out of that hole. Both here and at his blog, Chad got slammed by fatty apologists with the “self-loathing” line, as exemplified by this comment:
There’s an error in your blog post.
The title is currently – “Why I Hate Fat People”
But the title should be – “Why I Hate Myself”
The sooner you realize that you are projecting a personal element of self-loathing and fear out on to people of size or “fat people” and, more importantly, WHY you are doing this, the closer you may become to achieving true inner peace.
The answer you are looking for (and the catalyst that is driving this post and this entire blog) might not be in the gym or the kitchen but in therapy session/s. Because right now the only battle you are fighting is one with yourself (despite what you may believe).
Those of you who’ve read Confessions of an Online Hustler know that I recommend W3 Total Cache if you’re looking for a caching plugin for your WordPress-powered blog. That said, a couple months back, I had to switch over to a different plugin—WP Super Cache—because Total Cache was causing massive problems with my site. For some reason, something like half to two thirds of my readers were getting 403 Forbidden errors when accessing my blog, problems that went away when I deactivated the plugin.
Am I about to change my recommendation? Not exactly, but I am adding a caveat.
By the time this post goes up, I’ll be on a train to New York City reading my Kindle in quiet contemplation. I’m also taking a break from being online constantly. I’ve written posts to be published while I’m gone (including a killer podcast for next week) and I’ll have net access through my phone, but otherwise I’m unplugging. I’ve had enough of the goddamn Internet.
But while I’m gone, I’ve got a special treat for all of y’all.
Go to college, they said. Get good grades, they said. You don’t want to be stuck waiting tables for the rest of your life, they said. So you listened. You took all the AP courses. You sacrificed your teenage years for a better future. Sneaking beers, smoking weed, finger-banging the cute Greek girl who kept making eyes at you; you gave it all up so you could spend two hours a night mastering pre-calculus and memorizing the Gettysburg Address.
You thought you were doing the smart thing.
You graduated with honors, but all the good paying jobs you were promised weren’t there. The only jobs available were… waiting tables. You chose wrong, they said. You should’ve majored in a STEM discipline, they said. You should go to grad school, they said. You think, “Man, it would have been nice if you’d told me all this FOUR YEARS AGO,” but you keep your mouth shut.
When I first released my book Confessions of an Online Hustler, Michael Byc suggested that I offer consultations alongside it. My problem with doing online freelance work is that there’s little money in it (due to a glut of morons doing the exact same thing) and I firmly believe in a do-it-yourself approach to blogging and hustling. That was my impetus for writing the book; it’s better to teach people to fish then to give them a can of sardines every time they get hungry.
That said, there are some things that are worth charging for, and I like making money.
It’s official: blogging is dead. Because of this, I’m shutting down this site immediately and deleting everything I’ve ever written. I’m also taking my books off of Amazon. Instead of self-publishing like some loser, I will spend years trying to get one of the big New York publishers to accept one of my manuscripts. The New Republic, the same paragon of journalistic credibility that foisted Stephen Glass on the world, has caused me to see the light:
There is little sense in shouting against the wind, but the blog—the blog as a thematically or personally coherent space containing an individual’s or a subject’s specific interests, commitments, attitudes—was a great thing, and its decline is saddening. One never felt one knew talented writers or complicated subjects as well as the ones that maintained excellent blogs. Every day, even every hour, you could predict, argue with, be surprised by, get enraged at, and be persuaded by them. Unlike the pre-blog newspaper or magazine column (which still persists, of course, if anachronistically and often embarrassingly), the blog provided the unmediated space for the writer or theme to wrestle with itself in full view of the reader. And unlike the post-blog and its endless stream of isolated dollops of news, which seems to be the world we’re heading towards, the blog offered a crucial context for understanding what it was reporting or opining on in each instance. The blog was the right form for the right time, but it was also just plain right, and remains so. Sometimes the pace of technology leads us to do something that is substantially superior, and sometimes the pace of technology leads us to do something that is substantially inferior. It would be nice if we could step in when the mutation selected is a good one, and identify it as something worth saving. But I’m guessing there isn’t as much money in that.
TNR’s examples of how the blog is dying—pointing to the New York Times shuttering many of its blogs and to Andrew Sullivan placing a paywall on his blog—display the usual tone deafness of the MSM, but there is a greater point here: the day of the easy blogging money is gone, gone, gone. Ten years ago, you could develop a nice side income running ads on your shitty ra-ra Republican blog or posting affiliate link-embedded free samples from porn sites. Then the bottom fell out of the online advertising market, tube sites and file-sharing killed the porn industry, and the demand for bland, snide commentary on the Liberal Outrage of the Day shrank.
But the blog isn’t dead; the landscape of the Internet is just changing, as it always has and will.
As I announced on Twitter and Facebook last night, I’ve decided to curtail the number of links I post on social media for two reasons:
- They’re becoming an increasing pain in the ass to post. HootSuite, the software I use to schedule Tweets and Facebook posts in advance, is a finicky piece of shit prone to running sluggishly and going kaput for no good reason. Additionally, about half of my HootSuite posts end up getting blocked by either Twitter or Facebook for some stupid reason. For example, links to Danger & Play are verboten on Facebook because some wussy claimed that the site was “hateful” and “abusive.”
- They’re cluttering up peoples’ social profiles. While the links are a boon to people who aren’t big on the blogosphere, they’re noise for people who are. It’d be better to segregate the links out for those who are interested in them.
- Timeliness. Because I don’t want to drown everyone in a tide of VICE and manosphere links, I space out my links somewhat, which has the downside of making them less relevant when they do finally go up.
Recently, I received the best belated birthday present a guy with minor Internet fame could get. Ten plus years of writing in some form or another and it’s paying off in the most spectacular fashion imaginable. Half the men in this country would commit mass murder to be me right now.
But as I was leaving the airport, I thought to myself: I could have had all this five years ago.
It took me this long to get to this point because I spent most of my life floundering around without a goal or any idea what I wanted to do with myself. Had I figured this stuff out earlier, I’d have spared myself years of pain and tribulation. With that in mind, if I were to somehow get my hands on a time machine, here’s the wisdom I would give to my teenage self.