Friday, January 4, 2013

Intelligence For Sale: Why Andrew Sullivan's Decision To Go Subscription Was Sad ... But Sensible

Why on earth would anyone pay $19.99 to read the bitchy
whines of @sullydish ? Hilariously deluded vanity flight
into obscurity. - Tweet from Piers Morgan

Andrew Sullivan does not bitch (much) nor does he whine. No one would ever call the waaambulance on him. Few would ever dare to debate him. Andrew Sullivan is an anomaly, to be sure: he is a conservative with a mind and (most importantly) a soul. He is a gay Catholic who abhors the machinations of Rat-zinger. He is a man who overcame an addiction (Sarah's Palin's pregnancy/birth story), although he still struggles from time-to-time with anti-Palin impulses.

The moment Andrew Sullivan announced that he was leaving The Daily Beast and "going subscription" the WTF police came after him, spawning a bitch slap from the likes of Piers Morgan, even though his greatest detractors also despise Piers Morgan (esp. dead Breitbarters). You can read some of the reactions here at Twitchy Media. But with the success of his first foray into subscription journalism (he's already garnered 30% of his goal - $900k - in less than two days), Sullivan does not have to defend himself: his fans (like Dan Savage) have spoken.

I'm saddened by his move, however, not because his decision was in any way a slap in the face to me, one of his ardent readers, but simply because at this time I can't afford it: the $20 has to go to the feeding of my cats this month, and I'm staring eventual eviction in the face (so dire are my straits right now). I'm saddened, but also heartened to know that Sullivan is a practical, reasoning, as well as gifted writer. I like knowing that the writer I admire most is practical and reasoning.


Unlike a lily of the field, intelligence (in all its glory) is forced to toil and spin. At times, it is even forced to become a tiny bit capitalistic for it knows that in order to help others survive it must survive. Dickens knew that. Einstein knew that. Neither lived on bread and water. Andrew Sullivan lives in New York and anything less than $150k a year is bread and water - in New York.

So why is anyone begrudging Andrew Sullivan's move to subscription? Why is anyone calling the move "selling out"? "egotistical"? or "deluded vanity"?

Why is intelligence - like some college professor - held down to the ranks of the financial lower middle class?

Jealous insecurity, I think.

To Andrew Sullivan: I have always admired, quoted, linked your work. I will re-read, re-quote, re-link your work until such time as I can afford to subscribe. You deserve that much.

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