Okay, folks, here we go!
Ever since Gates of Vienna first hit the æther, people have asked us why we didn’t have a tip jar, or suggested that we put one up, or asked for — gasp! — our snail mail address in order to send a donation. We thought about it, but since the Baron made a good living and the blog was more or less a hobby — albeit a compelling one at times — it didn’t feel right to put up a donation request.
However, times, as they are inclined to do, changed. The Baron is not employed at the moment and I no longer work due to various and sundry ailments that keep me from being dependable about time constraints. I’ve done sporadic freelance editing, but the effort of sitting in front of the computer screen correcting someone else’s work isn’t difficult. Composing my own original and deathless prose is another matter.
Like many others, our blog came into existence as a result of our changed perception of the world after 9/11. We followed the usual path: lurking at first, followed by commenting, followed by comments that began to take up too much room on others’ bandwidth. It was obvious we needed to strike out on our own.
And we knew exactly what we wanted to write about: the evil that had created 9/11, that had destroyed the USS Cole, that had killed the Marines in Beirut, that had invaded our embassy in Tehran and held Americans hostage until Jimmy Carter left office. Our previous inattention to this phenomenon — and you could add your own examples to the list — made it seem, when looking back on it, as though we had been sleepwalking. For decades we had been somnambulists.
Waking up is hard to do. First you have to sort out the most imminent problems. For us, it was the danger to Israel from the march of Islamofascism. Were Israel ever to be defeated, to be “pushed into the sea,” it was only a matter of time for the rest of us.
Then, being the intellectuals we are, we were struck by the repetition of history: another marauding, bloody march into the West by militant Islam. Another desperate pushback by John Sobieski. Another Gates of Vienna.
And so, almost two years later, here we are. The Gates still hold, though some of us fear that Eurabia is doomed. On the other hand, some hold onto hope in the example of Denmark, where the Muslim tide seems to be on the wane. And some of us weep for a Britain that is no more. Many of us believe that America is not only the last, best hope for Western civilization, but that in time it may become the only hope.
Meanwhile, life goes on and things change. Having the Baron here every day has been wonderful. When he went to work, he had to give up painting full time. As work got heavier, he had to abandon it altogether. Fortunately, he was able to make his computer work interesting and creative so that was there as an outlet. Now, home once more, he has turned his creativity to computer images. He’s always done that, but the present situation allows him more time to devote to programming so that he can build images more quickly — and the images themselves are more creative the longer he works at it.
Someone once said of the Baron’s paintings that they “teach you how to see.” These new images are not like that. Perhaps they teach us how to think? I mean, perhaps an image can encapsulate an idea more readily than a whole essay could do.
Thus, the tin cup with the pencils, meant to evoke leaner times when people did what they had to in order to get along. I love that cup. And I especially like the pencils in it, since they evoke the Baron’s true calling: to make pictures you will remember.
Scroll a little ways down the sidebar and you’ll see our new “Tip Cup”. Scroll a little further down to the “Gates of Vienna Gallery”, and you’ll see some thumbnails of his previous digital work. It’s all freely available under the “fair use” terms of copyright law (with the caveat that some of the photoshopped composites may contain the copyrighted works of others).
The page that the thumbnails bring up displays the larger images. In addition it has contact information so that you can consult with the Baron, in his new career as a blogospheric ne’er-do-well, about any images you might have in mind for your own blog, but don’t know how to execute. You can email him with your ideas and he’ll tell you if they’re feasible and what he would charge to create them.
Meanwhile, be sure to throw some change into the cup. I do wish I could say “and then take a pencil,” but there are limits to digital images.
Here’s to prosperity!