Being a small business owner, frequently I deal with distasteful tasks like employee discipline, honesty and motivation. Of course, it’s pretty easy to track who’s screwing up the company. There’s just one employee. Me.
My long-time and tiny fiscal homestead, Scared o’ Bears Ranch, launched a new division recently — John Boston Books. We even have our own corporate jingle: “There’s Nothing Quite Like — a John Boston Book!”
After conquering the West Coast, our six-week plan is to advance on Gotham. Great metaphorical siege engines will creak purposefully between the great skyscrapers. We’ll drive the bowtie, suspenders and Hillary Telletubby pant suit set screaming from their Manhattan publishing house high-rises to dive into the COVID-rich New York Harbor.
One thing worries me: A flank attack. From Silicon Valley, 3,000 miles away.
You’d think a trifecta of geeks, nerds and spazzes with screechy voices, pocket protectors and 25-pound Adam’s apples wouldn’t be a formidable enemy. But, the Left’s latte-slurping technocrats wield unfathomable power. They may have swayed a presidential election. They count on their customers — you and me — to be obedient, brain-dead zombies. Feed us unlimited blank space for our narcissistic selfies. We’ll gleefully pay jet-setting billionaires the treasure of 10,000 emperors.
You’d think that would be enough. It’s not.
Both the Left and Right feed on power. But the Left is more about controlling, well. Everything.
Years ago, I had an idea for a humor and general interest magazine website. I started by going through GoFundMe, a supposed neutral site that helps raise money for a variety of artist projects. I later learned I had a fatal problem. I was a conservative artist. It took a year to build the proposal, complete with music, video, graphics and gee-whiz content. It was spectacular.
Bad luck for me, my contact was young, insufferable and Woke. He rejected my proposal, in essentially Pig Latin. I appealed. They explained GoFundMe “…didn’t fund magazines…”
Hmph. Glancing casually at their own website’s upper banner, there was a tab clearly labeled — “MAGAZINES.”
My GFM gatekeeper huffily pointed out they didn’t fund magazines published on a regular basis. Liar. Which I didn’t say aloud. I pointed out GoFundMe’s own list, which had dozens of quarterly, monthly and weekly magazines, web and/or print. Just. Not. Mine.
Met with some suits years ago about launching a book series. The Friday meeting went beyond ducky. An hour into the meeting, an executive furrowed her brow. She “…had a huge problem…” I gulped a great, invisible breath.
“Simply love the idea of these several dozen books of ours. But which one should we launch the series with?”
Pre-COVID, we hugged. Shook hands. Laughed. Slapped backs. Didn’t cry. Wanted to.
“Call Monday. We’ll sign contracts!” they affably said.
I’m giddy. I drank tequila all weekend. I could now buy things like food AND get the truck painted.
Monday came. Secretaries took messages for three weeks. Somehow, the six-figure deal just — evaporated. No calls, text or emails returned. Digging, I unearthed the reason. My books had nothing to do with politics. But I was the new N-word.
Bye-bye-bye, six figures.
They had read my Signal columns. And, as the Left loves to do in secret: “We’ll fix YOUR wagon…”
Next, I started my big web magazine, no financial backing. Seventy-hour weeks. Wrote dozens of major features and content, designed artwork, marketing and advertising each week. Ad money was slowly starting to trickle in. Sigh. This could actually work. Then, Google suspended our ability to collect advertising dollars. They offered a boilerplate and vague accusation that we violated — maybe something. This tech giant gleefully published everything from hate to porn. My tech partner made some calls. Seems I had made light of some liberal icon. Banned for life.
I nursed my wounds. Came back in a year with a lower-impact blog and newsletter. It was beginning to grow and bringing in money. I bought ads from Facebook, and was bewildered. I had several thousand followers. Yet, my ads and harmless little postings were reaching maybe 90 eyeball sets. Follow-ups with the post-teen tech people brought say-nothing double-talk.
This was in 2016. Trump vs. Hillary. I wrote a piece: “37 Reasons Why Hillary Would Make A GREAT President!!” It was satirical. Each reason was a variation that Hillary was (and is) Satan. But, that headline? It fooled Facebook algorithms into thinking this was a pro-Mrs. Clinton article.
My tech pal called. “Did you see today’s data?”
I raced to our numbers. Overnight, we had spiked from 90 daily views to about 100,000. Why? Facebook had accidentally lifted the lid off my website. Then, slammed it back down.
That wasn’t right.
Ten years. Thousands of hours. Gone.
It’s not right what Facebook and Twitter do, deciding who gets to prosper, win an election, have an opinion. It’s not right if you’re conservative, because obviously, you are getting, ahem, romanced without a kiss. It’s not right if you’re liberal because if you keep this up, we’re going to come sprinting toward your jugulars with a dizzying vengeance. If you’re the braindead undecided, yawning and scratching your beer belly?
I could assure you — ignorance is not bliss. But, that would be a waste of time, wouldn’t it? We’d all do well to wake from this hypnotic nightmare, this bad habit, and acquire a healthy bellyful of rage against the machine and those secretive, despicable, subterranean creatures who run it.
I need to launch a business. For that, I’ll need social media. But under the watchful eye of a bunch of snotty Social Justice Warrior technobrats?
There’s a new social media site, Parler.com. It’s supposed to be neutral. No word or thought police. No “truth monitors.” No political or social agendas. Maybe it’s time to march to the front desk and demand my soul back. Maybe it’s time to walk away from Twitter and Facebook, the dark machines.
John Boston has earned 119 major awards for writing and lives in Santa Clarita.