I’m really not in the mood for this today, so let’s fill some space and get some exercise. You got a problem with it, request a refund.
Speaking of how money screws up professional writing, today saw a mass exodus of writers from the sports-politics website Deadspin after the new owner told them all to, essentially, “shut up and dribble“. Or, more specifically, they were told to stick to writing solely about sports. And, no, I’m not going to link to them to give them clicks, so nyahh.
I confess, I’ve never read much from Deadspin, occasionally getting it confused with that wretched hive of scum and villainy Barstool Sports. They drew a lot of water in the online world, as Twitter was lit up with hosannas of the site’s writers and lamentations of them all dropping it. I have read stuff from there; I just can’t remember what.
For the record, I don’t really have favorite sites anymore. Back in the blog old days I had my particulars and faves, but these days I just read whatever Twitter or Tumblr spits out at me that looks interesting. Main reason, once I got to New Orleans and decided to become a chef, I worked too much to give a shit and the whole scene just sort of passed me by. These days I just can’t be bothered to give a shit. That is probably going to bite me in the ass with regards to getting back into the scene, but there you go.
But I digress. Apparently the new big kahuna at Deadspin is a dude named Jim Spanfeller. He’s a hoss with a private equity firm called Great Hill Partners and they took over G/O Media (formerly the Gizmodo Media Group) back in April. Spanfeller’s been called a “digital media veteran”immediately made some extensive charges at the publication, including hiring a mess of his former cronies at his old gig Forbes.com after firing a score of long-timers and pissing even more enough off to quit. Notably – and it’s hardly surprising – he hired a bunch of old white dudes he’d work with to take spots from writers/editors who were people of color, women or identified as LGBTQ+ (or all three).
Since then, among a flurry of corporate buzzwords, killed stories, and general lack of communication with staff, the labor of Deadspin had become increasingly frustrated, resulting in today’s mass Johnny Paycheck moment. Another kink in the get-along was Deadspin’s liberal-leaning take on the “not sports” side of the world, or enough so that they’d regularly get up in conservative media’s collective nose. If I have to tell you that there’s nothing private equity firms hate worse than questioning the boss or hinting at truth to power, well, let’s just say I have some land in Florida to sell you.
So, a bunch of folks quit, which admittedly took no small amount of moxy in today’s job world. Believe me when I tell you that getting paid on the regular for writing is a tough row to hoe, and getting paid anything worth a damn is akin to spinning straw into gold. I have no doubt the “stick to sports” mandate came down because it was the best way to shut the disobedient up, either by threatening them into silence or, as it so happens, making the situation so untenable they’d rather take their chances in the barren wasteland that is today’s freelance writer’s market.
To be quite honest, since I’m spending my time trying to monetize whatever the hell I’m doing, I can’t spend too much emotion worrying about well-seasoned pros who have the sympathy of the entire left wing of the online world. Still, I can’t help but salute anyone who tells a dirtbag boss to take the job and shove it once said gig is rendered something that grates at their principles. I go on a lot about how lazy and gutless the average mainstream journalist is, so it’s heartening to see my brothers and sisters of the word actually stick to their guns. Rock on, y’all, and good luck.
Finally, I will say this. Despite the hopes and dreams of every red-eyed socialist rabble rouser or what the average communist with the lyrics to “Internationale” tattooed on their ass wishes, the true death of late-stage capitalism is going to come from the greed and avarice of private equity firms. They are leeches and brigands who’re only concerned with how much filthy lucre they can squeeze out of a business entity before leaving is desiccated husk in the dirt. The death of just about every long-running corporation that’s usually blamed on Millennials is more rightly blamed on them. At least a corporation like Disney brings you the odd enjoyable movie; private equity firms don’t give their labor anything but a reason to keep their resume update.
Okay, then, let’s wrap this up. We’re in the middle of a two-day rain here and it’s about to get cold. California is on fire and the president doesn’t care. In any event, his dumbass is going to be kept busy keeping Nancy Pelosi from sticking a high-heeled shoe up it. And Jack Dorsey stuck his fingers up Mark Zuckrberg’s nose by banning political ads on Twitter, causing Republicans to break into a fresh round of crying about how unfair life is.
And that is that, y’all.