The Megaphone, the Zombie, and the Church Choir
For the most part, I just sit in the magazines section at a bookstore and read what interests me; but when it gets to three or more articles in a single magazine, I can't remember all the steps and the logic behind them, so that's when I decide it's time to waste some money.
I really shouldn't go to Borders, anyway. Several years ago, one of the so-called "affiliate" programs with which I had associated my Websites had Borders as one of its advertising clients. I applied for affiliate status to display Borders ads on my sites, but my application was rejected. It was the usual excuse about how my Websites didn't fit in with their overall marketing ambiance, or something like that.
In all fairness, PBS rejected my application, too, as did a number of other reputable establishments. Interestingly, Microsoft was glad to accept my application, as was Apple iTunes, although the latter company has since kicked me out because I never sold a dime of their merchandise. Amazon.com still keeps me, but it's really all just a favor they're doing for me: Heaven knows, I give them free ad space on sites that have total numbers of visitors in the hundreds of thousands every year, but it's their game. Why should they pay for what they get free? After all, that ad money has to go to reputable, first-tier blogs, TV and radio stations, and ad companies that plaster signs along highways.
(For those unfamiliar with gaming terminology, I just "leveled up" with that last paragraph. By the end of the campaign that is this article, I will reach a level where I can then go on to the next campaign, where I take on one or more very mean "bosses," who have to be fought with very high hit strength, lots of healing potion, serious armor, and cool weapons that make big things go, "Ouch!")
I wasn't too annoyed by Borders' rejection. The whole "affiliate" marketing routine is such a scam, anyway. In order to make any money, you have to get accepted by an advertiser; then you have to put their ads on your site; then a visitor to your site has to click on an ad and buy something from the advertiser. The likelihood of a "click-through" is ridiculously low, and the likelihood of a buy after a click-through is low, too, so the probability of getting from the click-through to the sale is exceedingly small. Besides that, a lot of people have software that kills or at least warns them about advertisers' cookies, which are the only way the advertiser would be able to tell if someone had come from a specific affiliate.
Yes, I still have a few ads up, but none anymore from Commission Junction, which is where Borders' affiliate program can be found, and none from the oldest of my original advertisers' affiliate platforms, a marketing company that used to be called Performics. Some of the very first advertisers who accepted The Dark Wraith Forums as an affiliate site were there, but unfortunately, Performics was bought for $3.1 billion by Google, and I want nothing to do with that market monopolizer this nation's Federal Trade Commission is too cowardly to take on in a long-overdue, desperately needed trust-busting crack-down. It's bad enough that I still promote Microsoft, an enterprise founded by a man who should have gone to prison for his antitrust activities.
It was just this past October 27 that Google sent me a final notice that I had until the end of the month to log in and hand over all my information in order to become part of the Google Affiliate Network and keep my old advertisers. I ignored the e-mail message. Why? That's easy: Google can bite me, that's why.
(Level up, again.)
I'll let other people use Google, its affiliate network, its one-stop shopping check-out service, and all its other wonderful features; and I'll let others wave the banner of "Net Neutrality" on behalf of Google and its massive, energy-swilling server farms that burn fire every last time someone too lazy to do real research decides to do a search for some intensely banal thing.
So, you get the idea: the writer of this article is not just a charming, articulate individual; he's also attained a level of acidic curmudgeonliness that makes him undesirable company anywhere outside of the old geezers' bench at the local diner, and even there the more amiable of the crabby patrons prefer the company of the young, tarty waitress with the ever-available coffee refill.
Go figure. I'm not that old, mind you, so you can imagine how lonely I'll be if I really do make it to my impoverished, irregular Golden Years. On the bright side, the current crop of old men at the diner will be gone, and that tarty waitress will be long in the tooth and still short on the nuances of figuring tax on a two dollar cup of joe. To her credit, she'll still probably be bitching about her latest boyfriend, the funny noise her car's brakes are making, and the phone company shutting off her service.
Anyway, back to the story.
I don't like Borders because Borders doesn't like me, but those periodicals don't usually show up at the local Barnes and Noble. Borders sends me coupons via e-mail, but those are phony: first, they never apply to "periodicals"; and, second, when I try to buy a book or DVD with one of those coupons, I get this routine about how the coupon applies to the original price, not the discount price that's showing on the book or DVD.
I know how all the routines go: Borders doesn't want to be associated with my writings, Borders hands out coupons that don't really have any use to me, and Borders charges high prices for certain periodicals because they have spatial monopoly in the sale of those particular items. If I go there and buy something, I have no one else to blame but myself. I am, in fact, "free to choose," to quote that late, Right-wing, free market shill, Milton Friedman.
Still, the injury of my own weakness for how-to magazines got multiplied by insult on my last visit to Borders several weeks ago.
When I went up to the counter to check out, the nice lady cheerfully asked me if I'd like to register for their sweepstakes deal. Every week, the winners get the book of the week, and this week's registrants had the chance to win their very own copy of are you ready for this? Sarah Palin's Going Rogue.
That's right: I would be first in line to get one of those monuments to literary excellence that was to come out on November 17. Only a fool would turn down a chance like that.
Well, I did.
Not only did I say, "Absolutely not!" but I then launched into a short, stern lecture. That poor lady had to listen to me tell her that Borders was supporting a race-bating, hypocritical, semi-literate failure of a parent and public figure.
The young dweeb manning the check-out register right beside her found some excuse to scurry away, and the poor lady taking the brunt of my lecture then had to stand there all alone, trying her best to be firm. She started: "It's about free speech..."
I interrupted her: "Free speech does not include a free megaphone, and that's what you and a whole lot of people who know better are giving that divisive hate-hawker and all her miserable kind."
The cashier then broke rank and simpered something about how she'd been glued to her TV set the evening before watching the House of Representatives health care reform debate on C-SPAN. In other words, I was preaching to the church choir.
Yes, I'm sure I was; but I was preaching to the church choir at their annual fundraiser sing-along for the renovation project at the Demon Hall Daycare Center.
(Serious level up.)
The lady asked me if I had a Borders Reward card, and I said, "Yes, I do." She scanned it so I could get some Borders Bucks credits for my holiday shopping.
We parted amicably. The dweeb at the next register never did show his face again before I left.
I went back a few days later to get a photograph of the huge sign in the front window advertising Going Rogue, but the giant ad was gone. It had been replaced by a smaller poster plastered on an interior door of the entrance way. I walked in and took my shot. Looking at me from the other side of the glass was Dweeb Boy. I pointed the camera at him and, sure enough, he whirled around and found something compellingly interesting to look at 180 degrees from my lens.
It was only when I got home and downloaded the photo of the poster that I actually grasped that the banner stamp was announcing "40% Off" on Going Rogue. The picture of Sarah Palin on the poster would have led me to believe that 100 percent off her rocker would have been closer to truth in advertising. I must stipulate, of course, that walking through the front doors of a retail establishment while carrying a digital single lens reflex Nikon sporting a big, muscular lens is not exactly a point of departure for exemplary prudence. Nevertheless, declaring that Sarah Palin is "40% Off" is charitability on stilts, if you ask me.
(Nearing Level 100. Just about time to face that Winking Zombie boss with the trollop hairdo and the "You Betcha Spell of Doom.")
Those who have read my writings know I can go on some pretty fierce rants from time to time. Those who have listened to my Internet talk radio show, Dark Voices Radio, know I can kick without much warning into fiery diatribes that border on righteous rage.
You have not seen anything, yet. The ascendance of Palin has finally set me free of decorum. I am about to go into hyperdrive about that Right-wing hypocritical failure and the entire publishing industry that has just furthered her nasty train bound for the White House. Into that maelstrom I plan to take the entertainment industry with its pathetic swill mongers like Oprah Winfrey, who is apparently so desperate to stay in the stew that she'll take a race-bater like Palin and treat her like a celebrity. I'll also be taking a swipe at all the mainstream info-tainment tripe passing as "news" that vaulted that loser from Alaska past her checkered, corruption-riddled, trailer-mentality roots and into the spotlight. While I'm at it, I'll have a go at all the publishers out there who pound out slop like Going Rogue but hide behind sham "literary agents" and their nasty "reading fees" that never seem to be a roadblock for literary slobs like Palin, Glenn Beck, and their addled ilk on the Right, along with Paul Krugman, David Sirota, Naomi Klein, and their equally slovenly ilk on the Left.
Along the way, I shall have my say about an entire culture too morally bankrupt to stand up to failed parents and their under-aged, alcohol-drinking, sexually promiscuous children, their never-at-home lifestyles, and their do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do hypocrisy. That conversation will include heavy artillery aimed at the weakling Left and its "Let's talk about responsible hedonism, okee-dokee?" way of dealing with their own quicksand of moral failure.
I might not have any readers left when I'm finished, but that's okay: nobody sits near me at the old geezers' bench at the diner, either, except for that tarty waitress when she takes a break to count her tips.
I should give her more than a quarter the next time I'm there. At least she never invoked the sacred right of free speech to defend a sweepstakes promoting the swill of an opportunistic extremist.
Coming up next: Dark Wraith meets the Winking Zombie boss and her Legion of Demons.
I've got level, I've got armor, I've got healing potion, I've got weapons.
Now, where's that church choir?
This won't be pretty. Then again, neither am I.
Wrote Moody Blue:
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Wrote Dark Wraith:
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Wrote Dark Wraith:
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Wrote Dark Wraith:
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