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…
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.
The 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.
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.
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.