‘Of Independent Mind’
There are people who really don’t like being independent. They want someone else to do it for them. Whether it’s their thinking or their protection, much better if it is left to someone else, in their opinion. Nanny state, or nanny publisher.
Let’s face it. Being independent is not for woosies. It’s scary, it’s hard, it’s risky, although potentially more rewarding. If things go according to normal battle protocol – in other words, to do exactly what you least expect, at the worst time possible, the independent man is in for a very rough ride. Still, there are people who take that on, by choice, knowing that full well. They tend to be the role models for heroes in my novels. Australians love a battler. (A battler is inevitably a solitary guy, with not a lot going for him, in terms of money or power, who takes on the odds, probably gets the stuffing knocked out of him, gets up again, grits his teeth and does it again – as many times as need be. It’s not the actual physical winning that’s needed – the man has won just by being what he is.)
Out of this, harsh environments that today’s urban metrosexual can’t even imagine were tamed. You can, from the safe confines of a warm dry comfortable apartment, with lots of food available from a well-stocked supermarket half a block away, and the security of modern communications, the formal law and the state… point all sorts of fingers back at those battlers. The truth is most of the those urban dwellers would have a lifespan of hours, even now, if it wasn’t for men like that (and yes, there are women, but most are men.) and back when that was a frontier, a colony, less than that. (And EVERYWHERE, bar some little valley in Africa was a frontier and colony once). The urban vegan would either rapidly become a very different human, or die. It was only those independent battlers that moved life out of that little valley, that kept humanity from joining the Flores hobbits as ‘extinct’. And yes I DO know that there are some SJW who consider this a tragedy. Oddly none them seem keen to lead the way, to show by example how to make the earth a better place, with less (or no) humans.
It should be Independence Day in the US by the time this comes out. I’m not American, I’m not going to talk about that – but those must have been men with balls the size of watermelons, because they were going not just against the situation, but against the perceived wisdom of the time. And they were battlers, they made it work, against all expectations. They must have done a good job, to make it work and last, worth taking seriously. Have a great celebration, with considerable gratitude too, from other independent states and cultures that were able to survive because of that.
Being independent is probably a good thing for authors – especially considered in the light of this ‘wondrous’ pronouncement from Random Penguin’s CEO. I do love the fact that the Passive Voice points out… “except authors”. I might also point out that, from Attila the Hun to Joseph Stalin there have been no shortage of people in positions of power who told us they were ‘a force for good’. A dispassionate look later in history says the case was actually quite otherwise, every time. Only the sad and rabid puppies have proclaimed their mission as ‘evil’. So, on the basis of track records, I’d personally say you were better off to look for a publisher who merely sold books – or to go independent. I’m certainly looking at following up on TOM – as an independent. It’s not just money, it’s also being able to decide on what I want to do, and how I believe I should respond to that audience.
Of course I AM able to be independent right now. (lofty sniff) A ‘generous lawyer’ has sent me this confidential letter which starts with this delightful sentence.
‘Contacting you through this letter is not with the intention to delve into your privacy without caution or distract you with my intense and purposeful endeavor.’
The poor man has the sum of $29 634 128 deposit in his bank that belongs to the late oil magnet (sic) – yes an oil magnet. No wonder he was so rich. And so dead, attracting all the oil to him. That probably caused that oil magnet’s fatal crash in Kowloon… The oil magnet just happened to have the same surname as me. Poor Mr Arlo Freer. And if it is not claimed by his next of kin (which Burton Chi-shan Cheng (as he claims he is called) tells me I not related to, the money will be forfeited to the state. A law, which according to ‘Burton’ is “unjust and inhuman”. Instead we can share this fortune left by the magnet ‘without any breach of law’ and generously setting aside 5% for charitable purposes!
Heh. No wonder some people NEED nanny. I wonder if ‘Burton’ hired Markus Dohle’s script writer, or wrote his own spam? There’s an award winning feminist who writes copy for a living… something about the turn of phrase… Or perhaps ‘Burton’ should think about offering his considerable talents to Randy Penguin’s Author contracts department.
I was very amused by the ‘Nigerian’ scam letter, addressed to my residential address, and posted in the UK. Like most scams its success depends heavily on the lack of integrity and honesty of the mark. I wrote back and suggested he might look into the tragic death of Mr Arlo Glyer instead, who was also very magnetic to oil.
It is, for a writer, a great window into the human psyche. ‘Burton’ set up considerable grounds for the less-than-honest to rationalize their behavior and introduced all sorts of emotive language and false sympathy — ‘tragic accident’ and that the law is ‘unjust and inhuman’ and allows top officials to divert the funds for their own selfish use – and of course that some of the benefit (a generous 5%! )will go to un-named ‘charitable works’.
I can (because this is my job – putting myself into characters shoes and heads), imagine the mark, letting his greed or desire overwhelm any honesty he may have had and seize on the excuses to create a self-righteous rationalization of what he knew was dishonest. It’s a bit like the puppy kickers (especially those given handouts for membership) voting ‘no award’ for work they hadn’t even read, last year. They knew their actions were dishonest, but they rationalized and eagerly ‘believed’ the excuses they’d been handed – because they wanted to believe.
It’s a powerful force… but not for those of independent mind. I may be poor, but I’ll leave you with something from the serious Burns unit.
What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an’ a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man’s a Man for a’ that:
For a’ that, and a’ that,
Their tinsel show, an’ a’ that;
The honest man, tho’ e’er sae poor,
Is king o’ men for a’ that.
Ye see yon birkie, ca’d a lord,
Wha struts, an’ stares, an’ a’ that;
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word,
He’s but a coof for a’ that:
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
His ribband, star, an’ a’ that:
The man o’ independent mind
He looks an’ laughs at a’ that.
A Man’s a Man – Robert Burns 1795