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The Giving Tree

"To give away money is an easy matter and in any man's power. But to decide to whom to give it, and how large, and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man's power nor an easy matter."
- Aristotle

Ali at Wild Soda is moving to Prague in 31 days. You can help her get there by donating to her Amazon Honor System account (and if you give more than $5, she'll send you a postcard from Prague!). I'm not saying you should do it, but I sure got a kick out of it. It's cool to think that my money is directly helping someone to make one of their dreams come true. Like some kind of bloggers' Make-A-Wish foundation or something.

So, whether it's Ali or something else, find a cause you like and give to it. It will make you feel warm and fuzzy, and you might get a postcard out of the deal.

Posted June 5, 2003 1:16 PM | On This Day: 2002



Hey, that's a swell Aristotle quote.

"We are possessed by the things we possess. When I like an object, I always give it to someone. It isn't generosity -- it's only because I want others to be enslaved by objects, not me." Jean-Paul Sartre (interview in Playboy magazine 1964)

To be honest I hope the whole "cyber begger" thing dies down soon.....it seems kind of pathetic to me.

Although to her credit this Ali of Wild Soda doesn't seem as shady (or as stupid) as Karyn of savekaryn.com.

I agree that asking people to help you pay off your irresponsible credit card debt is "cyber-begging."

But, I don't think that giving people a way to chip into your dream -- one that you are actively and hard-workingly pursuing (as I believe Ali is based on my months of reading her site) -- is begging.

Throughout history, artists have always relied on the patronage of others (be it philanthropists or government organizations) because "art" doesn't always pay (and frankly, it shouldn't -- otherwise all art would be commercial art and then where would we be?).

In this case, I see this as a form of grassroots patronage, which I happen to think is extremely cool and part of what makes the Internet (at its best) such an exciting thing.

If you don't like it, or think that it's "begging," don't donate. Simple as that.

When you frame it as patronage for the arts it does sound better.

i lived upstairs from that girl in one of my many college apartments. wierd.

you are right about that post card thing, I helped out this guy a few years ago, I helped edit together a small demo reel for him. He sent me a postcard.

All commerce is prostitution, a little begging could definitely fall under the heading of "patronage", but that really is more prostitution in a different form. Name a successful artist that hasn't sold his soul to the devil and I'll show you someone who is deluding themself.

So I'm getting back to my blog of late, having been away to tend to matters in meatspace, and I check my referrals list and... HEY! Who is this Irish-Girl person?


So I swing on by and think 'Wow. Nice f***ing site!'

And then I read!

And I think 'Huh. NICE f***ing site!'

And then I add you to my blogroll. Hi. :D

Too much coffee spliv?

I hate it when people make blanket statements. They relate to almost no one. Stuff like, "All commerce is prostitution", or "begging is really more like prostitution in a different form, or, (and this one is the capper for me), " Name a successful artist that hasn't sold his soul to the devil and I'll show you someone who is deluding themself"


SOMEBODY'S Martha Stewart stock must have gone down the limit today....

First of all, define success. Then after you struggle with that one try defining artist or prostitutiion. These are ALL subjective things. I know many, many very successful artists that have their integrity (and soul), firmly in place.

In fact, I would go so far as to say this. I think that in general, artist do much better than the rest of the population when it comes to disregarding the consequences of living their lives to the beat of their own drummers.

You don't need to make 100 mil a year (Or 10 million, or 1 dollar for that matter) to be successful. By the same token, selling the culmination of your art for a price is not an anachronism for prostitution.

I'm completely with I-G on this one.

I believe that the internet is the last great bastion of anarchistic freedom left to the world populace. I also believe in the addage; "If you don't like what's on the channel, turn it off."

If you don't want to give, don't. If you do, do.

It's as simple as that.

Nicely put, Jack.

Too often people consider success to be a number after the $, or a title on a sheet of paper. Both of which are simply panacea filling deeper needs. Money, they say, can't buy happiness. And happy people don't care about conventions regarding success.


Because if they did, they wouldn't be happy.

It was great to see my little diatribe grow into so many more words, I wonder if it is possible to distill one word that would generate a thousand more.... oooh found it: schadenfreude

nice spliv, nice.

Jack, you suggest defining success, but you don't do so yourself. Of course it's subjective. But I think we can safely assume spliv was talking about commercial success. Or at the very least a definition that involves monetary compensation. Do I agree with that definition? Does spliv? It hardly matters... in our society, for better or (no doubt) worse, success has become nearly synonymous with accumulation of CA$H MONEY.

Now, that having been said, I would define a "successful artist" as one who doesn't have a "day job", or one who makes their living from their art. It would almost be a matter of "by definition" then, the assumption that said artist has "sold out" or is making money from their art. Does it make me any less of an artist that I haven't attained this monetary goal? No. Does it make the "successful artist" any less of an artist that they sell their artwork? No. Is this discussion even worth having? Probably not. Am I rambling? Yes.

well, if you're going to get all philosophical about it, is any conversation worth having? probably not.

but i find it interesting nonetheless.

Yes Grid, commercial success. And by the way, I like prostitutes, and the devil.

ok- can we say spliv = freak of nature... how is that for an atypical, stereotypical, philosophical, I know nothing about any of you, and this is what I get for blog reading today?

HA! the asian is back in your life, McInernys! Did you miss me? I know I missed all of you...especially irish girl over here who thinks she's all deep for quoting aristotle.

Well, I'm glad to see that a topic concerning me has sparked some real debate, and not simply degenerated into the successive "you're a poopiehead" rants that often end up in other comments online. (Or maybe that's only on LJ?) Anyway, thank you, I-G, for mentioning my site; it's above and beyond, considering you were already kind enough to give me a nice little chunk of patronage. (And hey, ChicagoDweller, where would I know you from, Hyde Park?) To put my own two cents in (or perhaps two hundred), I have to say that I decided to put the donate button up only after a fair bit of philosophical wrestling about the whole idea.

When I originally heard about the Save Karyn site, I found it pretty appalling -- "I spent $16,000 on Manolo Blahniks, can you help me out?" -- and even more so when I learned that she not only paid off her credit card debt (not entirely from donations, but largely) but eveb landed a book deal out of it all. But that is the updated American dream, I suppose -- make a fool of yourself on a public stage and then tell everyone how you did it -- so why should she be any different? Then again, perhaps I have a stronger sense of propriety, or self-respect, than others; I know I can't imagine any way that you could get my living, breathing body onto a reality show. (And my cold, dead one wouldn't be nearly as charming, especially once the smell set in.) But then yet again, I realized that no one put a gun to those people's heads and forced them to give money to Karyn, as both I-G and Jack noted, so when I looked at my going-away funds and realized that I was nowhere near my intended goal, I figured that, well, it couldn't hurt to put a donate button of my own up on my page. I'd seen them on other sites around the web, to help support bloggers you liked (server space and domain hosting cost money, after all), so it wasn't completely unprecedented to allow people to give money for something other than an outrageous Amex bill.

But being wary of the fact that it could be seen as rather louche to to ask for money, I did write a rather lengthy post explaining my reasons for wanting to move to Prague and my rationale behind the donate button, which you can read here. I also stated very clearly that I didn't expect anyone at all to donate, and figured it would simply be a futile exercise in coding... until I-G here sent me the princely sum of $25, five times more than what I expected anyone would be willing to give! Even if no one else donates (and since I don't have the audience that, say, Rabbit Blog and other big names have, that's not an unlikely proposition), it will still warm the cockles of my heart to know that at least one person out there felt generous enough to help someone else for no other reason than that she felt like doing it. (Either that, or to add to her international postcard collection.) I will be sending her (and anyone else who follows her lead) her very own literary postcard from Prague, replete with a poem or perhaps a vignette or anecdote of my adventures abroad, her own limited first edition of a very small run. For too long we've had agents and publishing companies making money off of artists; I-G is simply cutting out the middlemen and giving her money directly to the source. Patronage on a personal level, like she said.

So basically, to sum up, yes, I do think the idea of informing people of a willingness to accept donations is a little bizarre, and perhaps not in the best of taste. But I also believe that anything one does in pursuit of a life dream (excluding harming others, of course) is not dishonorable, and so even though people often rudely exclaimed to me, "With your education, aren't you embarrassed to be waiting tables?", I refused to feel anything of the sort. I may have had to put up with long shifts, rude customers and pissant tips, but I did so for a higher purpose. I've been planning and saving up for this move for almost 11 months now, and it's finally almost here. I'm sick and tired of feeling like I've been living a life other than the one I want to be living, and if I have to sacrifice a bit of pride in order to switch to another track, then so be it. If accepting a little bit of dosh from people giving of their own volition will help me do that, then fuck it, my virtual cap is out, pride be damned. And when I step off that plane in a far-off city and realize I've finally reshaped my life to fit, instead of struggling miserably to fit myself into someone else's idea of one, I'll know that it was worth every penny, no matter what I had to do to get it.