2011 Spring Quarterly Fundraiser, Day 1
May 15th is Saint Dymphna’s feast day. Back in January when setting up this year’s fund-raising dates, this seemed an auspicious day on which to begin our Spring Quarterly fund drive. Need I say I hadn’t factored in a visit away by the Baron during the previous few days to see Geert Wilders speak in Nashville?
During his absence I was prepared to do some posting. I actually managed one essay and written most of another before Blogger went down unexpectedly and stayed down for a day. A few other bloggers checked in about it — yes, yikes, paranoia! Were the Islamophobes about to be muzzled? A reasonable question, but checking the “Known Problems” page, there were several messages by Blogger employees saying they’d be back up “soon”.
The Baron is most decidedly un-paranoid. When he called I told him about it. His best guess was that Blogger had some nightmare problem with their immense servers and were having a hard time tracing back to the root of the problem(s). I spent a while considering the likelihood of a Chinese hack but gave it up since I can’t really conceptualize what they might do.
Meanwhile, though I no longer had to check comments for their probity (there weren’t any comments), heaps of emails continued to accumulate between bouts of intermittent connectivity (thunderstorms interrupt our satellite internet. This is euphemistically called “rain fade”). Even after taking out all the routine news emails and the mass mailings, making one’s intermittent way through so many pages (there are ten emails to a page on our webmail) was problematic. I probably missed a number of people…
By the time Blogger had returned and the bad weather had moved on, the Baron’s reappearance certainly cheered me immensely, even if he was bearing a three hundred dollar traffic ticket, a gift from the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
There was an upside to all this, folks: you were spared a few posts on the American scene: one on the three killings in a gun-free school zone at San Jose State, another on the Congressional hearings next week in which evil oil company executives will perform their annual perp walk so our valiant public servants can grill them on their obscene profits. Then you were going to read my observations on the wisdom of allowing family visits at Gitmo (aww…). All of this was going to follow a refugee story which I’ve now set aside instead for the coming week.
But Blogger gives and Blogger takes away. So instead of reading all those American stories about guns and Kwazy Kongwess, and family reunions for terrorists — instead of all that insanity we maintained radio silence during most of the Baron’s absence. I tell him we were simply paying him l’hommage de silence during his time away (sounds better in French, non?).
And so here we are, Sunday night, Day One of our bleg, and it’s Saint Dymphna’s feast day. Long-time readers can skip her story; they’ve all heard it before. But those who don’t know about her can read up on her life and its relationship to Gates of Vienna here. Be sure to check the comments to get the varied & sundry list of those under her protection. Perhaps during this bleg I’ll have an opportunity to find the pictures one of our readers sent from Gheel, Belgium. He stopped by there on purpose to take some pictures he thought I’d enjoy seeing; pictures of the town and of the hospital that used to be run under her name.
I chose this date and this story to begin our bleg because Saint Dymphna is an exemplar of a strong woman. That’s not to say she didn’t make a big mistake; her inexperience cost her life and that of her protector, Gerebemus. But what draws me to her is that unmistakable determination to live her life in service to others, and under her own terms. I wonder if Ann Barnhardt has heard of my patron? Both of them drew a line in the sand; both were willing to pay for their convictions.
Usually the week before our bleg begins I spend time thinking about the theme. Sometimes it develops on its own, a kind of synchronous response to the events here at Gates of Vienna. But this past week was taken up with getting the Baron out the door and getting some plants into their summer home in our garden, plus the usual slings and arrows that arrive over the wall.
As an example of the arrows, I knew the wonderful illustration by Kurt Westergaard was going to be removed from our sidebar and the project was being killed off. The Baron said there were conflicts but that until he had an explanation of why this fine idea was going down the memory hole, the image would stay up. Period. He said that to simply remove it without comment would be an insult to our readers. By the time he left, no explanation was forthcoming so the image stayed. It loomed large in my mind, though: another sad example of a worthy idea run off the tracks by conflict and feelings of betrayal.
I meditated yet again on the theme of betrayals: how absolutely certain they are, yet how each of them is a wound anew, as though it were the very first arrow. We never get used to them, do we? Not entirely. Now, after so many of them right here in cyberspace, I move through the experience more quickly than I did that very first time, when Charles Johnson so thoroughly deflowered Gates of Vienna. We are sadder and wiser now. Definitely wiser! And the sadness dissipates as we learn, here and there, of Chazzer’s slow sinking into the quicksand of his own devising.
Now, it’s different. Depending on how much we admired the person or trusted his integrity, on that depends how quickly we move through the inevitable betrayal. For those who aren’t close, who aren’t a depository of our admiration or trust, their duplicity earns a brief shrug, a “c’est la guerre” and a shuffle on to the next issue in the queue. The closer ones cause an initial quick intake of breath at the first moment of realization: “Oh, no. Not him“...And then one of us recalls stories of his betrayal of others and we say, “Well, of course. What? We expected roses from the man who has specialized in stink bomb bouquets for others? Why should we be exempt?”
And then there is the final category: those who have proved to us and to others that they don’t betray their colleagues. How do they prove that? Simply by living their lives with integrity, by being the same person to everyone they meet, by keeping their word. The path behind them is not strewn with their victims. There is no bus under which are hidden all their failures to play well with others.
Here’s one such person. He’s become a treasure to the Baron. They’ve worked on projects together, they bless one another with laughter at their own (dumb) jokes. This man performs valuable services for the Counterjihad and he does it the same way we do: by scraping together what he needs to keep his blog going and his videos up and running.
I consider Vlad a partner in what we do. His videos have slowly become an essential part of our blog and a necessary component of the European, American, and Canadian Counterjihad. In fact, many people in Tennessee asked to be remembered to Vlad the next time the Baron talked to him.
Getting the videos up and running is becoming expensive. Vlad will explain to you himself the business end of it at some point during this fundraiser. However, for the moment, let me say that at least ten percent of any monies raised in this quarter — from here to September — will be turned over to Vlad for his video expenses. Earlier this week I sent him the first installment. From now on, he will be our junior partner. Wait…that’s too ‘cute’. Our partner? Nope, too much of a business model vocabulary. How about associate?
Welcome to the first day of the second bleg of 2011. I hope it will be a successful one, but above all, I hope it will be fun. We already have donations from New Jersey, Australia, and the mystery subscriber whom I’m not able to thank because his email bounces.
Blegs are interactive affairs. Donors suggest things, or the week’s events intrude their own strange reality, so who knows how this one will play out thematically?
Buckle up, y’all. Time for take-off. Don’t worry, Saint Dymphna’s got your back (she’s gained experience over the centuries).
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