The Tenant, the excellent activist newspaper published by my housing rights group, has put up a piece I wrote on how to break your lease if you live in New York City.
There’s not much news to report from me; the book continues to pop up here and there, most prominently the Wall Street Journal. I have been given no information about sales figures and will not speculate.
Currently I am trying to find a job in the normie world. Many other people are as well and I am fortunate to have a little nest egg to live off of for now. But some sort of income will have to come in soon. (I applied for unemployment benefits from New York State on June 29th and still have yet to be approved or denied.) Part of my feelings of pressure to get a job is that I would like to avoid returning to professional opinion writing out of financial need, for reasons that are complicated. Perhaps the simplest thing to say is that I want to write out of organic personal motivation, not out of financial necessity. And, more, the fact of the matter is that there’s just a ton of negativity surrounding my writing, much of it my fault, and I’d prefer to avoid bringing that negativity into the world. However fair or unfair that’s the reality and if I can prevent creating new internet drama I’ll do that. It’s just that the job market is not cooperating.
Look things are tough all over and I don’t mistake my situation for remotely uniquely unfortunate. For my housing rights group I work on a hotline every week and I talk with tons of people who are in far worse shape than I am. I recognize my advantages. But I knew I needed a new job far before I was actually fired by Brooklyn College – thank you union contract – so I’ve been applying steadily since January, in all kinds of industries and sometimes outside of New York. And there’s the issue that we’re in an employment depression and I’m competing against millions of others, and there’s the problem that if you Google me you find out that I did something really unforgivable three years ago. I have taken to noting my mental illness in my cover letters and my recovery because I want to demonstrate that I have worked very hard and am in a new era of my life, one where I’m medicated and stable and still dedicated to recovery. I have no idea if this is a good idea or not.
Writing for money would have to be a crowdfunding deal. Publications do occasionally still ask me to pitch, including some fairly big ones, but those requests are few and far between. I generally assume that I am not welcome at places where my work used to appear. Luckily this is a new era as far as getting paid for your writing. I have no idea if I could earn enough on Substack or Patreon to live, but I feel pretty confident that I could earn four figures monthly. What would I write about? I would feel compelled to write about politics, including a lot of culture war stuff, because frankly that’s what people want to read from me. That’s a fact that I’ve had to accept over time. And you know I would do my best and I think I would have stuff to say. It’s just that the book was, among other things, a way to get away from culture war and idpol/political correctness/whatever. We knew we were leaving money on the table by not selling the “lefty attacks identity politics” book everybody expected me to write but the whole point of the book was to reflect a new era, to express a different life, to change my fate.
A lot of this, I guess, is bound up in questions of redemption or whatever that are very confused for me. Some people have interpreted my book’s release, and my subsequent attempts to publicize it, as a “comeback,” but I’ve never thought about it in those terms. I guess I just don’t see any connection between a book getting a critical reception and its author having to be redeemed. I have not asked people to forgive me not because I don’t think I deserve blame but because I don’t want to impose on people in that way. I wrote the book, in part, because I was (and am) under a student loan debt burden, and I am promoting it because I owe it to St. Martin’s and their people. And of course I want the book to sell. The book and me are separate entities; the day I submitted the final manuscript, in my mind, we ceased to have a relationship.
Anyway, all of that’s yap yap. The point is that if I don’t come up with a job soon I’m going to have to start a Patreon or Substack. If I do, it will have a lot to do with my financial situation and nothing to do with an assumption that anyone has to welcome me back to “the conversation” or whatever the fuck. Most of the chatter I’ve seen about me resurfacing has not been sincere. (Someone on Facebook complained that I had only been gone three years – as if, had it been four years or five years or ten, he would have welcomed me back with open arms.) Social media became purely about exercising social dominance over others a long time ago and the internet does not forgive. I will not wait for a forgiveness that the current culture of professional opinion writing, thanks to Twitter, is simply incapable of giving. But one way or another I might be getting back on the horse.
People have been asking me if I have a Goodreads literally for over ten years, and the answer is finally yes. Feel free to friend or follow me or whatever here. Let’s get a little more of Amazon’s remorseless surveillance in our lives!
It’s a misconception that popular people in high school are all sociopaths. In general people who are popular in high school are popular because they are friendly and kind; the common stereotype only persists because a certain type of person writes the culture, and that type of person always requires a revenge narrative, an arc that ends with them rising above their previously-reviled station, even if that revulsion is largely imagined. (Indifference, now, that’s a genuine quantity.)
But to the degree that the popular are cruel, it is important to realize: it is never the queen bee in high school who is the cruelest. That is maybe the biggest misconception of all. The queen bee is actually often quite magnanimous, and for the reason a lot of people are magnanimous: because they can, because it costs them nothing. No, it’s not the queen bee who is cruel. It’s the lieutenant bees, the seconds in command, the other cool girls who have ascended to a high station but can only dream of being the queen bee herself. It is through them, typically unconsciously on the part of the queen bee, that the cruelty is meted out. No one is more threatened by the possibility of someone else climbing up the totem pole than the ones whose grasp on it is still precarious. Meanwhile the one on top can gaze down with equanimity and grace. This is the way of queen bees.
Remember that as you go about your day today.
Hey friends, I’m happy to say that after a solid two weeks or so of illness I have felt near 100% the last two days. The fever is gone and the cough is now rare. I’m not sure if I had Covid-19 but whatever I had I seem to have beaten.
Here’s why I don’t know if I had it. Earlier this week I called the Covid hotline for NYS and was finally able to get an appointment for a test, this morning. The lady said to be sure to write out my appointment number on a piece of paper and bring my ID. I show up this morning to the parking lot of an old Sears and flash the ID number to the state cops. But they say “no walk-ins.” And I said no, I’m not a walk-in, I have an appointment. And the fucking guy says “you need a car. It’s a drive-in test.”
Setting aside the fact that the lady on the hotline said not one word of this, WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE WHO DON’T HAVE CARS IN FUCKING NEW YORK CITY.