We’re coming up on the tenth anniversary of our ejection from Pajamas Media.
It was a watershed moment. The proximate cause was our publication of El Inglés’ ground-breaking essay, “Surrender, Genocide… or What?” on April 23, 2008 — ten years ago today. Four days later we were thrown out of Pajamas Media and ordered to remove PJM’s ads and other materials from our site (which was then at Blogspot).
I followed the instructions and denuded our blog of ads. Later that day I wrote about what happened:
I received a phone call this afternoon from Roger Simon, the CEO of PJM, announcing that our relationship was terminated, and that we should remove anything connected with PJM from our blog’s template. The specific reason given was our publication of Surrender, Genocide… or What?, the guest-essay by El Inglés that has caused so much argument for the last few days. Roger informed me with regret that the PJM Board had decided to cancel our contract.
Every since the recent unpleasantness started last October, I’ve been expecting it. And now the footwear has hit the floor at last.
With the removal of those ads, we lost our only income stream from blogging. Since being laid off almost two years previously, I had had only temporary and part-time contracts, and times were tough. So we polled our readers: should we find another ad provider, or should we appeal to our audience for donations?
Our readers voted for the latter option, and we’ve been ad-free ever since. We gradually fell into the regular quarterly fundraising routine that most of you are familiar with. It was rocky going for a while, but we made it through.
That which fails to kill us makes us stronger.
In honor of the tenth anniversary of being cast into the Outer Darkness, we will publish another ground-breaking essay by El Inglés in several parts. The first installment will appear here tomorrow, if I get my act together. This new one, if I may say so, will make “Surrender, Genocide… or What?” seem like a fluffy-bunny kids’ story in comparison, at least by Roger Simon’s standards. Fortunately, we no longer have to worry about that, nor does Mr. Simon have to concern himself with what ghastly “racist” material might appear here at Gates of Vienna.
The world has changed a lot in the last ten years.
Not too long after we were shown the door at Pajamas Media, it reorganized itself and changed its business model. The “little bloggers” were phased out, and those deemed worthy of keeping were brought under the corporate umbrella. The company rebranded itself as “PJM” — presumably to avoid the silly image of bloggers in their pajamas — and became slick and more professional.
Being thrown out was probably the best thing that ever happened to us. With our new business model — which relies on soliciting modest donations from our readers four times a year, a process commonly known as “crowdfunding” — we became free of editorial constraints. We could post whatever we wanted, and didn’t have to answer to anyone but our readers for what we said.
In other words, we traded financial security for complete editorial freedom. I call that a bargain, the best I’ve ever had.
I’ve recently seen things at PJM that were as “edgy” as our stuff was ten years ago — the kind of thing that would have got us booted back then — but that’s because the “edge” isn’t where it used to be.
We were beyond the pale back then, but the pale has moved. And we still stay beyond it — that’s the nature of this site. Our mission is to tackle the generally verboten topics that need to be examined. And as the situation in the West continues to deteriorate, those topics become ghastlier and ghastlier.
There’s no doubt about it: what lies ahead is grim and unpredictable. All we know for certain is that the near future will be ugly and chaotic. And taking a clear-eyed look at things — what happened in the past, what’s going on now, and what is still to come — is still against the rules at most mainstream sites and paper publications. You just don’t go there — it’s scary. No one wants to think about it. And besides, discussing it openly and frankly might threaten everyone’s funding sources.
Ten years’ worth of water have flowed underneath the bridge, but the rickety old bridge remains exactly the same.
Keep an eye out for El Inglés’ new essay tomorrow — or as soon as I can manage it, but it will be here shortly.