Alex & Reggie come from two different versions of being taught how money should be used. Alex’s family is very civic minded, whereas Reggie’s is family minded; more selfish. He in particular hasn’t been taught that the very wealthy have a responsibility to the less fortunate. Alex’s family set up a system that allows a private library to act as a resource for the community. At the same time I doubt that Alex’s family would have ever just given away their money out of some sense of right. They kept money and power, but dole a bit out to everyone else to make them not want to murder them in their sleep. It’s a good way to keep your money and your head. If you just keep all the money, and don’t, at the very least, pretend to be doing charitable things with it people will eventually find ways to take that shit from you. The French revolution is a well studied example of that. Even if you earn your money fairly, if the balance between people with money & people without gets too out of hand it will eventually correct itself violently. I’ve seen it said that the United States, and the world generally, is on the tipping point of that problem. I’m not sure if it is or not, but it gets talked about more and more, so I’m wary. Even simple health care costs can cause people to be bankrupted, it’s difficult to buy a house, a car, or anything really. The young are dropping out of society as we’ve known it, and I can’t blame them for wanting to. But I digress. Reggie’s family at least has sense enough not to just give him everything he wants. It may annoy him, but he will, eventually, come to understand the value of money as it applies to the work required to get it. It’s possible that Alex was never taught that, but by virtue of other teachings came to understand it in spate of never being expressly taught. In spite of being born with silver spoons in their mouths they became very different people…
And now news from my world:
Project Wonderful, which is an advertising service I’ve used almost as long as I’ve been making this comic, is shutting down in August. For you guys this means very little. For me it’s the loss of a revenue stream that will amount to about $160 a month. Not an insignificant hit to be sure. I’ve actually considered dropping PW a few times in the last year or so because its value has dropped significantly. The prevalence of AdBlock, use of facebook & tumblr, & other factors, such as traditional media’s war on the internet, have made monetizing internet content much harder recently. Things are always changing. I’ve lived through a lot of them doing this comic for so long. From comic collectives, webcomic reviews, & everything else. Project Wonderful allowed me to monetize my work at a time when advertising was almost impossible for small creators. Unfortunately we’re going backwards in that regard. Most social media sites want your content on their platform & will try to keep your viewers there instead of moving you to the source. Facebook isn’t the kind of place you find the hot new thing anymore. People don’t become famous because of it the way they once did, and that’s happening across the entire landscape. It’s driving the growth of sites like Patreon. There was a time when you would be laughed out of the room for suggesting any kind of a subscription content service. I remember it happening more than once as the years rolled by, but now… Thing have changed. As the ability to make money via advertising wanes subscription services will become more and more necessary for independent creators to monetize their work. Or it will give power back to media companies and crush decades of expressive freedom we’ve gotten used to. It’s not an accident. The rich like staying rich. It’s all part of a gradual power grab that is meant to take the wild spirit of the internet and tame it for the people who want power and control. There’s just so much going on all the time that people have lost their will to resist the constant struggle against it all. People who do push back get labeled as villains of one shade or another. It’s happening to me more and more as I talk about the importance of protecting free speech. Dark days are ahead. Project Wonderful’s demise is an indicator of that.
It’s difficult for a small creator to buy advertising. Many services have minimum buy ins of $100 or more. Google controls almost all of the advertising on the internet. A gross imbalance of power. Their rules are draconian and once you’re out, you’re out. They don’t even have to give you a reason. That’s part of why I’ve never used their service. So much of my content MIGHT be against their terms of service I never risked it. Project Wonderful let you buy as much ad time as you could afford for as long as you could afford it. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked very well when it was at its most popular. I owe so much of my success to that service. I kept my PW ad spots up, even when the values started to drop, because I wanted my site to be a place where new creators could get noticed by the kind of dedicated readers I knew I have. It is important to me to help other creators find their audience. Losing a way to do that (which also benefited me) really makes me sad.
Things will continue to change as old media grapples with a world where people want to choose their content on THEIR terms. It’s scary to be caught up in that conflict, even in my small corner of the internet. I’ll have to push Patreon more now. As much as I don’t like reminding people about it all the time this is the new reality & things will probably get worse before they get better. I may just leave the old PW ad spaces blank, or I might put new ads there & hope they can make up the difference. I have a little time to decide. I don’t like the idea of there being no ads at all because I think people who don’t use patreon should at least contribute that small amount. My ad people are pretty good about keeping bad actors out of the ad feeds. (The fact that they have to is part of the problem)
I dunno. It’s depressing to lose a service that I have felt was a strong ally for the independent creator. I very rarely had to worry about what PW was doing, and that’s the best kind of service to work with. I will very much miss the simple ads served up from new voices and from old favorites. I’ll also miss having the ability to be one of those voices.
Anyway, if 160 of you want to join my patreon please do. It will make me feel less worried about the future at least.