Tuesday, March 01, 2011
I Say Evolve and Let the Chips Fall Where They May
Three months from now, on May 30th, this little experiment of mine will turn five years old.*
Since the Vicodin-induced inception of Deus Ex Malcontent, there have been a few noticeable cosmetic adjustments to it -- a tweak here, an addition or deletion there -- but for the most part the general format of the site has stayed the same. I've always prided myself on putting content first and never cluttering it up with unnecessary ads, banners and other assorted crap -- and Lord knows I never had to worry about anyone wanting to come in from the outside and be a part of the daily onslaught of phony erudition, unapologetic misanthropy and generally boorish behavior you get around here. I mean, really, who would be crazy enough to want to be professionally associated with this nonsense?
As it turns out, one guy.
For the past year or so, Ben Cohen, who runs the excellent site The Daily Banter out of his palatial estate in Los Angeles, has been quietly putting together a stable of bloggers, writers, journalists and troublemakers under one banner: The Banter Media Network. Among this elite group of crime-fighters are some of my favorite people online, including Bob Cesca, Matt Osborne and Oliver Willis, but if you believe Ben -- and he's obviously nuts, so take this for what it's worth -- I've been the get he's really wanted to get. The girl who just wouldn't give it up, despite his entreaties that if I loved him, I'd do it. The reason I wasn't willing to join has been elaborated on a couple of times here, in posts unrelated to what was going on behind the scenes: Given that everything in my life had been pulled out from under me and very little looked familiar following my split with Jayne and my subsequent move south, this site became a kind of permanent address for me when I felt like I had none. In other words, as I've said before quite a few times, Deus Ex Malcontent seemed like my home -- and I wasn't willing to bring change into that home when everything around it was so fluid.
Well, maybe I'm finally getting my footing, or maybe Ben just caught me at the right time a couple of weeks ago, because I've made the decision to join the Banter Network. I could blow sunshine up everyone's ass and talk about how it's a huge honor to be associated with such a terrific organization, one dedicated to fostering truly independent political and cultural voices, and of course how I'm not a "sell-out," but then I'd just sound like Arianna, minus the $315 million payday. The fact is, though, that I think this site really is ready to grow up just a little, and aligning myself with Banter has the potential to bring even more readers here, as well as, yes, a little steady revenue.
About that last point, it means exactly what it sounds like: Ads will begin appearing on this site for the first time ever very soon. To his credit, Ben has busted his ass to keep the commercial aspect of his network as tasteful, unobtrusive and in line with the themes of the various blogs as he possibly can. Around here, it'll mean a banner at the top of the page and a couple of ads in the sidebars -- which will affect the size of the main column -- but that's about it. You'll also see a few new widgets featuring links to other Banter outlets. What you won't see changing is anything you're used to when it comes to the content -- what I write and what Deus Ex Malcontent has become known for over the last five years. I put whatever the hell I feel like out there into the ether; I don't answer to anyone and I'm not going to start now. There will also still be the quarterly pledge drives because, let's face it, internet ads don't pay much regardless of whether you're part of an expanding network of contributors; the donations you guys make to this site make a huge difference in my life and keep DXM up and running -- no doubt about it -- and I hope you'll continue to pitch in.
But yeah, a couple of things are going to look different around here -- beginning within the next 24 to 48 hours.
Do not adjust your set. Don't be alarmed. It's just a little evolution -- and you know what kind of person argues against evolution, right? Besides, if this thing really takes off, my twin brother and I plan to sue Ben Cohen for stealing our idea. I figure we can settle out of court for around 60 mil.
As always, thanks for reading, folks.
*It's registered at Gap Kids, if you're so inclined.
(Update, 3.1.11: Ben has obviously already been busy in his basement lab tinkering with the site. Consider it "under construction" at the moment and if it's loading a little slower than before please be patient. Thank you for your patronage.)