127 emails about this book in 2014, music by actress
AFFLUENT PEOPLE: PLEASE DEFEND YOUR DESIRE FOR AFFLUENCE AND PARTICIPATION IN CAPITALISM
Not to me personally, in public. Please choose from one of the following titles for your publicly posted essay:
I work hard and I get to live in a nice house. Other people work hard and do not get to live in a nice house. I like this and I want this to continue.
The problems in the world sure are going to take a long time to fix for whoever’s in charge of fixing them to fix! Who wants to play an hilarious card game. Have you written a blog for your pet? Let’s discuss cartoons I deserve to live in Brooklyn everything’s fine everything’s fine everything’s fine
Listen up: let’s fix these problems, so long as we don’t have to modify our behavior or attitudes in any way. We could stop wars and change our relationship with the environment and all that but let’s be honest with ourselves here: no we can’t
Hello drug dealer in prison, I bought this weed I’m smoking from you, and my friend over there just started selling weed legally. Try to make the best of your time in there okay.
Look: I’m not affluent yet, but this is fine, you know? I might be, what if I could be! there’s not thing wrong with if with I was! Leave me aloen :c
I shipped about 75% of kickstarter rewards to backers. I will not be shipping any more. I will not be issuing any refunds. For every message I receive about this book through e-mail, social media or any other means, I will burn another book.
When I was a young teen, my best friend from my “homeschool co-op” in Dallas, Texas started attending a wealthy private school and made friends with a boy whose family lived on the same block as players for the Dallas Cowboys. This was in the nineties when the Cowboys won a lot of superbowls. This family’s house was the largest I had seen and is still probably the largest house I have ever seen in person. I remember a movie theater, a garage with a full-size basketball court and a backyard with a forest in it. I was young so I’m sure it seemed larger than it was, but there were rooms with furniture you couldn’t sit on. That was one of the first hints I got that being rich is a joke.
In the kitchen there was a wire cage with a rat in it. There were several family pets, I think, but the house was big enough that this was the only one I ever got a good look at. The rat had a large tumor on its neck. The cage was maybe a cubic foot or two, with wood chips for bedding. It was in view of the windows to the backyard, but I’m not sure it got to leave the cage.
The people who lived in that house had enormous wealth, and they could have used that wealth to make the rat they lived with the happiest rat in the world. No cage, dirt and grass under its feet, mental and physical challenges, a balance between new and familiar environments, relationships with other rats. There are a million little ways rich people have found to spoil their pets. They could have paid attention to its needs and learned to shape their environment to improve the quality of its life. Instead they chose to watch this rat die in a cage every day at every meal.
When we allow ourselves to believe that certain people/animals/things have value we simultaneously and necessarily believe that other people/animals/things do not.
I used the money from the sales of my first book to pay off my student loans in 2009. This might be the most mature thing I've done with money, and I would not do it again.
I was friends with a financial analyst who told me to set up a retirement account before I ran out of book money. He picked it out for me, it was through Vanguard. I put $3,000 in the account and in 6 months it had grown to $5,000. My friend told me it was a good time for me to have opened that account, because of "the market.”
It made me feel nauseous. I thought about the money I put into paying my student loans that could have grown by more than half instead. I thought about the people who did not have access to the information that made that kind of financial growth possible. I thought about how little I needed any of that money at all.
My friends at the time were looking out for me, convinced my webcomic money or emotional stability would run out completely, and I wouldn't have the money they will when they get older, which I guess I have to have, or uh I mean, I have to or you know uh
I do not need more wealth or property than what fulfills my needs. I do not need to increase my income as I age.
I pulled money from that retirement account a few times until finally taking all the money out and closing it at the end of 2011. I experienced an emotional “crash” that fall, like most falls, but this was worse than others, in part because I ran out of money and went off anti-depressant medication for the first time. I didn’t understand this then, but I could've gone online and asked people to pay for my meds and they would have.
This Christmas I refunded more books and orders than I have before. I got a lot of requests from backers to get books sent before Christmas, which I was able to do for some people. I could not do this for other people before leaving for the holidays, and many of them asked for refunds.
I refunded them with money I got from selling the original art I made for my webcomic from 2009-2012. This was money I planned to ship orders with. After this happened, I could have made another update explaining I had issued refunds and then tried to sell more things or asked for more shipping money. Instead I thought for a long time about what has been happening.
Before I sold my original art, I wrote a post to backers that mentioned my sexual identity. I felt that explaining part of my personal development over the previous year would help bring understanding and value to my absence from the internet and lack of production. I sold enough to ship the books I needed to ship, something like 50 pieces. When I posted links to my original art with the broader reach of my social media presences and other websites, I sold, I think, 3 pieces.
If I had explained some of my absence on my social media presences the way I had on my kickstarter, my original art would have increased in monetary value. If I had not explained myself to my backers in a way that satisfied them, they may not have asked to buy original art or helped with shipping at all. What if I had felt or expressed myself some different, less acceptable way? Several cartoonists e-mailed me to let me know I was “so brave” for mentioning my sexuality to my backers without understanding that if I hadn’t my work probably wouldn’t have had enough value to pay for shipping, or refunding as it turned out.
What if I don’t want to talk about my sexuality on the internet? What if I don’t want to draw again? Why should I prove to people on the internet I deserve to eat and sleep? I don’t deserve to eat and sleep. I don’t deserve anything good or bad. There isn’t “good” or “bad” and there isn’t an “I” to deserve them.
If you would like a refund, please contact a fan of my work directly for your money. This is where the money would come from anyway. I am cutting out the middle man.
I refunded some of the preorders I received through paypal in addition to the kickstarter orders, but I will not be refunding any more.
The backers who gave me the most money received the least "reward" from me. After shipping costs, I "lost money" on most of the books I sold at the $25 level so, backers at the higher levels, you could perceive of yourselves as having “paid for” the books that the “lower” backers currently have, and you could try to get those books that you “paid for" somehow.
You could try to obtain refunds through kickstarter or paypal, through your bank or credit card company. You could try to harass me or inconvenience me or tell other people negative things about me or this kickstarter in the hope that this will affect me negatively. Be aware that each attempt to contact me about this book will individually result in the burning of a book until the books are gone.
I am making the loudest sound I know how to make. I know that some people will be personally offended that I am doing this, but I am doing this in large part because our culture has developed in such a way that some of the intelligent, empathetic people who follow me will believe they feel more psychological pain because of books being burnt, their money and my attitude about them than because of the destruction of the natural world, the continuation of classist, racist, abusive patterns of behavior and representation, etc.
If you have negative feelings about the actions I am taking, that is part of what I am protesting against. I am protesting the values you use to determine how you feel about and interact with the world.
I will not be responsible for the manufacture of any more unnecessary physical objects. The natural world is being destroyed by unnecessary production.
You wouldn’t be reading this now if I hadn’t supported and participated in these values. Through acceptance of and integration into these systems of value I was given a broader voice. Usually when someone’s values change, or they choose to express values they have not expressed before, their voice is taken from them. But now there is the internet.
If I’d had a publisher or if the people who did my merchandise took care of this kickstarter for me, you would not be reading these words. They would consider this expression of values antithetical to theirs as “crazy” or “pointless” and they would not allow me to destroy my inventory. They would seek to maintain financial relationships with people whose values and lifestyles I think affect everyone negatively.
In 2009 I sold original comics for the first time, three comics over the course of three weeks. Each sold for between $200 and $400. This might've added $800-$1200 to my monthly revenue, but I did not want or need that much money. It made me uncomfortable. I stopped selling my originals and did not put more up for sale until this Christmas.
When I was young my parents did some screaming at each other. As I came into consciousness I learned that some of the screaming was about money. Once after a long period of debt, my family broke even, and then my mom ran up eleven hundred or eleven thousand dollars on credit cards until my dad noticed and got upset. I was young enough that I only remember the number “eleven” was involved. I didn’t understand then that debt is a kind of privilege, and that large parts of humanity aren’t allowed access to money they "don’t have."
My parents would have said they were arguing about money, but we knew other things were happening too. My dad was probably upset my mom didn’t show she cared about the value of his work in the ways he thought she should. He probably felt shame he couldn’t supply money she felt she needed. I think my mom hated the anxiety of thinking about the prices of things, and chose not to, or tried not to anyway. I can identify with wanting to avoid the start of negative thought patterns when you are prone to anxiety.
I never hoped I would grow up to have enough money that my kids wouldn’t see their parents screaming about money. It just seemed dumb, the whole thing. It helped that I grew up around extremely wealthy, unhappy families. I don’t want to make sure my friends and family have money. I don’t want to transplant the arguing family of my childhood into a wealthier context. I want the attitudes and social structures we are using to change.
You are a damn idiot, what are you going to change Mr. Internet Man
First of all I’m not a "man” I think—
Oh my goddddd oh my goddd shutuuuuupppppp
All right: I want direct funding for my living necessities. I want to establish relationships with a group of people who can pay for my baseline needs like food and rent. I am looking for people who do not feel they need to see any “return” on their “investment.” I am looking for people who understand that money is a bad joke we use to hurt each other. I’m looking for people who like me were born with a lot of privileges but who have had the awareness and emotional stability to keep their bucket under the faucet when the money comes out.
I am not looking for the support of anyone who wants a book, or wants to see me put stick figure comics on the internet. I do not need the support of anyone who thinks that I will deserve to eat and sleep only after I have fulfilled some standard they’ve chosen to hold me to. I am looking for people who believe that if you spend your life in a small room thinking, you deserve to live and breathe the same amount as someone who spends their life doing intense physical or mental labor, or who has money that “makes money."
When I have established a means for a small group of people to directly meet my needs, and I know that the people involved understand the value of what they are doing and would continue without me, I will transfer these relationships to someone else. This will provide for the basic living necessities of a person who would not usually have the opportunity for their needs to be met by strangers on the internet. They will not be asked to do anything to keep these relationships going. They will simply have their needs met.
You can’t do this or it’s wrong or impossible or whatever blah blah blah blah you’re crazy I guess this is a Q&A now huh
Driving home late from the movie theater I worked at in high school, I saw a rabbit that had been hit by a car lying in the road. I pulled over and got out and I wrapped the rabbit in a towel that was in the trunk of my car. I carried the rabbit in a towel through a nearby field to a creek. I laid the rabbit next to the creek, unwrapped the towel and sat down next to the rabbit, who was conscious but very still. I cried a lot.
I felt strongly that how we live, how we got here and what we do to stay here, hasn’t been “worth it.” I did not feel like anyone I knew in suburban Texas could identify with this feeling. I still feel this strongly but now I believe there are other people who feel the same way.
This seems wrong to me, even if you think you’re doing something good somehow you lied to people and like stole from them? And how much of this is a lie anyway aren’t you a big liar?
The lies I’ve told have been lies like “I’m pretending to be something that’s impossible to pretend to be and that I never said I was” and “I’m being sponsored by Long John Silver’s and making comics no marketing department would approve.” If it is exhausting for you to individually evaluate each thing you read to see how it coincides with your experience and understanding of reality, you probably shouldn’t pay attention to me.
I’m through “making fun of” consumerism and other profoundly negative aspects of modern living while participating in and supporting those aspects of living. I’m not on the Daily Show making half-hearted jokes about corporate politics and media between commercials for Burger King while paying rent in Manhattan. I’m some other kind of thing that’s just starting.
I read Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” several dozen times in high school, please blame Herman Melville.
Over Christmas I went to a small Baptist church in Franklin, Tennessee with some of my immediate family. I visited family for the first time in a few years specifically so I would feel more comfortable if I chose not to see them again or made choices that would result in them not wanting to see me again.
I went to Sunday School with my older brother. He showed me the Bible app he uses on his ipad. At some point the person giving the lesson let everyone know that if you don't believe in Jesus you will burn in hell forever. This gives a certain kind of person relief to hear, because it means people at that church will “give it you straight.” That’s how you know they haven’t gone soft and liberal.
My brother and I had talked earlier about how he is a Calvinist. Calvinism in this context means you believe god picks a small number of people to go to heaven and the rest of humanity has been made by god specifically to burn in hell forever.
This is a story that is told, I think, to make sense of the tremendous pain in the universe, another way of saying “that’s just how it is.” And it’s true that things are just how they are. The mistake is believing “that’s just how things are, and that’s just how things will be.” Making these books just to burn them is my impression of Calvinism.
During Sunday School, my phone buzzed because someone e-mailed me asking for a refund. Later I realized I had another unfeeling patriarchal religion to reject from my life.
Over the years, I’ve been friends with the occasional wealthy person. People who own restaurants and theaters and businesses and homes, have offered to lend me money when things have gone badly for me. I could not believe it, every time, that these people who should be the ones who understand that money is a joke, these people who can forget about thousands of dollars they have just sitting around, their big empty houses, their equipment and tools and instruments and toys sitting around unused until they can no longer be used by anyone. They still think it’s real, it’s still their money, and it’s still my job to give them back their definitely real money. I managed not to borrow money from anyone until I needed oral surgery last year.
No no no, it’s the OTHER rich white people. You know, the other ones!! They’ve got all the money and they’re doing you wrong!!
I want to try to “give up my privilege” to see what happens. It’s impossible for me to do this, since I carry my privilege around inside of me forever, but I can subvert it in ways I’ve never seen — like forfeiting my ability to manufacture objects and sell them for profit to a “fanbase” who I would also like to forfeit if they cannot handle what’s going on here.
If you have been skimming this to get the “gist” of it, it is not going to work in my opinion. If you are reading this to summarize it for someone else, please fuck yourself instead if possible.
The $75 backers for this project, the highest reward tier, I mean except for the higher reward tiers, so the highest reward tier except for the gap and then the highest reward tiers, well the $75 people are very, very insistent that I not ever forget that they are in the $75 reward tier. They bought the first-class ticket!
They are the ones whose tone has gotten the most stern and legal, and they are the ones who consistently mention what reward tier they are in. I can’t help but feel if I had charged other people more money, they would believe, for some reason, that I owed them less. If the tiers had started at $50 and ended at $125, those same people who spent the same amount of money would feel differently about what was happening. Messages from them would be calmer and friendlier, and the stern legality would come from the $125 backers. From my perspective money seems like a messy joke and who is taking this shit seriously get me away from them.
So I’d like for the people I eventually find, who will pay for my bare necessities and then pay for the bare necessities of another person, to understand and feel that money is a joke and let’s see what we can do with it. I do not want to interact with anyone for whom money is a sacrifice or for whom money’s value relates directly with suffering. I am looking for people who think money is hilarious and weird and messed up if you think about it, and people who would like to watch something different happen.
You can’t get people to pay for your life and not expect something back, it’s so expensive to be alive just so much money I never have enough money, no money all the time the car and the kids and the dog and the house and the tv and the second car and the second house just never enough money
I’ve known people who paid 4-5x in rent what I live off each month, but who probably thought we were in the same “income bracket." If you meet us at a party, we walk and talk and look the same, you can’t see it, unless you see me again the next week and I am wearing the same clothes. Some people have insurances and medical bills and things that I have been able to live without through privilege or luck or ignorance or whatever you like.
I am confident that I can find a handful of people who will help meet my needs, and then someone else’s needs. Because the truth is, that is not very much money, for a lot of people. We don’t need much. The truth is there’s more than enough money and resources for everyone to have their needs met, without worry, every day. I want to use this understanding of the world to help make this happen for someone else. I don’t know what I will do after that. My interests have been moving toward “extreme political action” (or "inaction”) with "unrealistic goals" like the abolition of debt and prison.
I don’t mean to sound dramatic he said, lighting himself on fire, but if I can’t find people who want to make this happen, why would I continue to interact with the internet? I put stick figure comics on the internet for about a decade, and now I won't. If I make stick figure comics, then I should….live? If I ship your book, then I deserve to eat and sleep? If I don’t interact in a particular way with the post office, that makes me immoral? A lot of you think religious people are superstitious but you think numbers in a bank account are important and keep you alive?
I have stopped paying rent. I have stopped paying most things. I am keeping my phone plan for now which is $50/month. I cook all my meals at home and spend very little money.
The space I live in is falling apart, did not cost much to rent anyway, and is run by a landlord who chose not to help in any way when a roommate who refused to move out threatened me repeatedly with violence. In part because that roommate followed through with his threats, and because I have spent sleepless nights managing the leaking roof he refuses to repair, I don’t mind taking this time to show my landlord that money is not a discrete, discernible object but an expression of the values present in human relationships. I am interested to see how my life progresses in the next few months.
But that white man with multiple pieces of property and multiple streams of revenue is expecting your money! You can’t just not give rich people money they’re expecting!
Oh, you can’t, why didn’t you tell me. He might get frustrated. He might make a noise with his mouth that sounds like “debt." He might be forced to change his life a little, make some sacrifices, he might have to do the thing that he asks me to do when he asks me to pay the rent. It helps that the building is not a legal place of residence and I have never signed a lease, so he will have a hard time getting the law involved.
I have $750 in my only bank account.
75!! What a huge number!!!
I have $0 in my paypal account.
What a huge number!!!
I do not feel a pressing need to establish a form of income right now, but I would be interested in reading ideas about money and I’d love to hear that there are people interested in meeting another person’s needs directly with no hope for reward of any kind. I’d love to read intelligent thoughts about any of these things posted publicly. It’s okay if that’s not how things go. I am trying to figure out what kind of world I live in and what is possible within it, whatever happens I will try to learn from it.
I stopped reading my kickstarter messages in January. I may not log into kickstarter again, I don’t know if I’ll read the comments on this post. If I get a lot of emails I will delete my email address. I’m not sure where I’ll post next or when or what I’ll say or what will have happened, but I look forward to it.