It’s bad enough when big rich companies hire big rich PR firms who then ask relatively-poor bloggers to promote their clients for free – i.e., do their paid work for them for free – rather than simply buying ads on the blogs and showing their support for the Netroots. But when they use phrases like “alternative lifestyles” in their pitch, see below, while working for drag queen superstar RuPaul, I draw a line. It’s no longer 1993.
The economy is a mess. I run AMERICAblog for a living, and have been for eight years. It’s my sole income. I now make 25% of what I earned before the economy crashed. The gay Netroots, like the larger progressive Netroots, provides a valuable service. And it’s the reason why people like RuPaul, and companies like Absolut and LOGO (“alternative lifestyles,” LOGO, really?), reach out to the blogs when they want to sell something to the public, and particularly the gay public. And that’s fine. But if they think the Netroots is so important and influential, they should support it.
This is a larger problem we’ve had with Democrats, in the party and the non-profit community, for years. While they recognize our importance and our influence, and dare I say it, even our good deeds on behalf of the party (and yes, we do do them from time to time), they rarely return the favor. For the first time in a long time, if ever, the Democratic party, all progressives really, have their own noise machine to rival, and stand up to, the GOP’s Limbaugh/Fox/religious right axis. And they never really come out and fully supported us, certainly not financially. And now with the economy still in the doldrums – Paul Krugman says we’re in a “Depression” – they still don’t give us the support we not only need, but have earned.
Republicans are so good at taking care of their own. There’s always a rich donor to fund some bright young thing interested in taking down a Democratic president as a murderer, or a Kenyan. But on the left, we give a big “atta boy, atta girl!” to our own homemade echo chamber, the Netroots, but rarely ask ourselves how these people make a living working full time as a self-employed activist.
My favorite is when a big NY PR firm asks me to write about a multi-million dollar media ad buy that doesn’t include ads in the blogs – true story. Do they ask the NYT to write about ads they buy in the Washington Post? And even that analogy isn’t quite right. We are sometimes media, and oft-times activists. We write about things that are newsworthy, to be sure, but we also write about things that we think matter, things that we think help our community. All we are asking is that our well-monied friends consider how it is that we are able to provide this free service that they covet so much.
I’m reminded of a summer, back 25 years ago (woosh) when I was working at the US Embassy in Argentina. I was talking to a well-known conservative-ish Argentine politician (Maria Julia Alsogaray), and she told me a story of a female politician walking by a construction site (I remember her saying she was the woman, but when I Google the story some attribute it to another politician) when a worker yells at her, “Maria Julia, que culo!” – meaning, “Maria Julia, what a great ass!” She responds, “Te gusta? Votalo.” You like it? Vote for it.
This is a new model of journalism and a new model of activism. And if you like it, if you think it’s worth it, then support it.
I’m reaching out because I noticed your interest in entertainment and alternative lifestyle—and I enjoyed your recent article featuring RuPaul. I have some info about an app I think you and your readers may enjoy. It’s not hard news by any means, but it is a lot of fun.
RuPaul’s Drag Race, Aboslut [sic] and LOGO teamed up to create the Dragulator—an interactive program than aims to transform anyone from drab to drag.
Here is a link to the website where you can check out the app (it is also available at the iTunes App Store).
Basically, you upload a photo and then get to work on cultivating your own glamorous drag queen look. Choose your own make up, jewelry and accessories, and release your inner drag queen diva—it really is a neat app to play around with.
Here is a link to a video about the app that your viewers may also be interested in:
I’d love for you to share this info to your readers. Is this something you may be interested in doing? If you need any more information please let me know and I can send it your way.
The 7th Chamber