Welcome to coopsies, which I guess is what I’m calling this blog. Blog. Is anybody still doing this? Are there bloggers in 2018? Haven’t we pared The Discourse™ down to a toxic but ultimately digestible 280 characters? Isn’t an overwrought lamentation concerning the death of long-form amateurish navel gazing how the first posts of a million decaying .wordpress, .tumblr, .blogspot sites go since like 2003, when I first started blogging? It’s coming back to me, I think I am doing this correctly.
It costs $4 a month to have your own blog and you have to pay for a year up front. That’s pretty reasonable considering I spend $40 a week on cigarettes and Red Bull, and especially because there’s no advertising and I got my third choice for a .com domain name. Coops.com was unavailable, despite it not being a working webpage and owned by a realtor firm since 1996, and the son of a bitch that owns coopsy.com just points it to a decidedly unCoopsy branded blog with a test post and one post from July of last year that does that fake-ass hand-wringing agony thing about “the blank page” that writers who don’t write anything do (no offense intended to Christopher Cooper, allegedly an acclaimed Dr. Who novelist, owner of coopsy.com, and the present editor of Star Trek Magazine [?] but not at all a prolific blogger).
Creatives that domain squat should be locked in a guest bedroom with Kathy Bates, a wood block, and a sledgehammer. I wanted something snappy with less than three syllables, so I took coopsies.com for my blog. Necessity is the mother of the portmanteau or wordoid or whatever.
Cooper + Oopsie = Coopsies.
It’ll do, I guess. I already wrote a joke for it so we’re keeping it.
The goal here is to NOT end up like thesloth.co.uk eating up perfectly viable domain names as pointless redirection to a basic homepage with a test post, which is why I think paying up front for a year of this shit is kind of worth it. Now, I have to do something with it. I already paid for it. In the radio business, we’d call this all the “housekeeping” portion of today’s program. Moving on, what is this going to be, why am I doing it, who the fuck am I and how will it work?
I’m Jesse Cooper, some nobody burnout from Colorado, and I think the last time I did anything publicly notable was hosting a student radio program out of a trade school at an open-air shopping mall for six months. I’m a writer in the sense that I write things but very rarely is any of it ever read by anyone but beta readers (read: my younger sister). I was a little more prolific when I was younger, keeping several now-defunct blogs that served as op-ed/review outlets for whatever struck my fancy at the time and toiling away on hamfisted short stories and two stabs at novels before hitting that plateau familiar to any budding young author who had some English teacher blow a bunch of smoke up their ass about being talented: learning to hate and resent your work and voice until you’re creatively paralyzed.
For the better part of a decade, I worked within the “fringe left” political sphere with a variety of organizations and individuals on a litany of issues which culminated in a short run for a small monthly news tabloid called Ignite! that was distributed around town and within the Occupy Denver encampment during the height of the ostensibly anti-capitalist populist movement. I contributed to several radical zine publications and helped edit and publish several titles during my six year tenure as a digital press operator in a small worker-owned and operated union print shop.
In addition to bullying a grown man on the radio and twitter for 58 credit hours, other forays into live entertainment included attempting to fulfill a lifelong dream of being a stand-up comedian before I realized trying to start doing stand-up comedy within the last five years is like moving to Los Angeles in 1985; except that in addition to the market being over-saturated, over-produced and excessively competitive, modern audiences can only really tolerate ironic detachment, goofy hack gimmick bullshit and Pete-Holmes’s-NACA-sets without crying foul when someone broaches the subject of their tender pet issue. Really could’ve fucked up my fledgling activist “career” with a couple of blue dick jokes, too, probably. All of my favorite comics that I grew up with hated doing that gameshow nonsense at the end of the 80s, were happy to see the boom die, and most of them are now dead, disgraced, or reduced to drooling out of both sides of their mouth. For every dozen podcasts I’ve listened to with comedians jerking each other off about “The Craft of Comedy™” I’d like to hear just one about making comedy dangerous and subversive again instead of the glad-handing moralizing hugbox of people just slightly too unattractive to carry a network sitcom that it is today.
This is worse than filling out an OKCupid profile and twice as disingenuous.
I’ve been putting off doing this for at least a year. I don’t keep a journal because my life is presently very boring, so any exercise I was getting writing was coming from transcribing scribbled notes for a story and writing three paragraphs before sighing, closing Word, and telling myself I’m too out of practice and can’t handle sucking this badly. It’s like trying to masturbate with your left hand: you know what to do in your head, but for some reason the motor skills you need to actualize the intended results just aren’t there.
My intention is to provide three or four written updates per week. Most things will be scheduled to publish very late at night/early in the morning because I work at night and never have anything new to read until Europe is awake. So there you go, third shifter, coopsies puts the new shit out at 3AM for all of us overnighter degenerates. Pause the hentai and let’s have a laugh or two about Ben Carson or something.
You’re aware of the formula by now: quips about current events, a review of something consumed, a thinkpiece about Chinese people in Star Wars or what have you. Weighing in like any other regular dipshit on things I’m probably far from qualified to talk about. I like cutting up and messing with audio/video stuff, so maybe it’s that sometimes. Perhaps I’ll start another podcast like all the other whites have done (working title: 1 Doped-Up Queer). Maybe it’s a photoshop of Donald Trump sucking that bear’s dick from The Shining. Or was the bear sucking the guy’s dick? [Somebody has probably already done this joke.]
My New Years Resolution was to learn how to do pixel art and spriting because when you’ve failed as a novelist, it’s best to try and pick up a different artistic skill you’re not already intrinsically talented at. I drew that sidebar portrait of me, and I’ve never drawn anything really in my life so I’m starting completely from scratch and also really irrationally proud of doing anything visually artistic beyond a yellow smiley face. I’ve looked at that shitty little cartoon version of me for no less than an entire hour today, absolutely beaming. So if you’re into Metal Slug strap in because I’m reading tutorials and re-learning Adobe programs to bring more splendid visual interpretations of myself as a misshapen goth eighth grader to a satirical, isometric town near you.
In regards to format, I’ve also picked bloooogggging because my last Twitter account was banned and my Reddit handle was also permabanned from r/politics. Both instances were for allegedly “going over the line” in remarks made towards “people” (read: Russian androids?) who were being heinously racist towards immigrants and praising white supremacists. It might only be my opinion, but I don’t construe recommending somebody jump in front of a bus as an imminent violent threat. Regardless, I recognize that the First Amendment in the Constitution of the United States of America does not protect me from the fickle platform censorship of a corporate outlet run by Peter Thiel Nazi anarcho-capitalist acolytes in Silicon Valley and have opted to make my own outlet.
…Which all dovetails nicely into some thoughts I have about social media, paywall models, and advertising in journalism, all things that motivated me to pay $48 a year to shitpost on my terms. Not being able to participate on the r/politics board is no real loss to me, every so often I think of a funny joke and then remember I can’t post it there. What’s lost on such a massive message board, which provides some pretty decent reading, is being able to follow certain users, developing relationships and fostering friendly debate. Maybe I’m nostalgic for the BBS’s and forums from the turn of the century, but Reddit is a sea of text even on smaller boards where you could conceivably keep track of a few usernames that tend to post often enough to register with you. I’m sure you could poweruser up, install the Reddit Enhancement Suite, and feel like you lived in a switchboard room, but I’m lazy as hell and usually browse on my phone. Maybe it’s my lifelong discomfort with the premise of “Death of the Author” but reading like ten paragraphs some guy wrote about the Syrian Civil War and then feeling like I’ll never be able to track him down and find more analysis from that user again in three days is so fleeting and intangible. Everything is in the ether and it all feels like you can’t really bottle it.
Twitter mitigated this problem a little bit with it’s followers and feed, but like Reddit, suffers from “over-feeding” me as a consumer. Pull down to refresh, there’s always more. I was starting to feel a bit like a hamster at the water bottle. Once I got acclimated and started to “get good” at Twitter, I was pretty hooked. I was starting to become “Extremely Online,” telling fucking @dril jokes at work because whose gonna know? Even when you remove the deliberately silly syntax and mispellings, “why are there so many songs about christmas but only one song about the boys being back in fucking town” is a goddamn great joke. When you’re yelling “you just got corncobbed binch” at a drunk man on the train and actually sliding into the DMs of a goth thirst trap in a Twin Peaks t-shirt at 2AM, you have to start thinking about your life a little bit. You’re in the G E O H E L L now, dude.
We all know, and better, smarter people than me have likely elaborated on this point with more poignancy, but we are the “product” for social media companies. That’s why that ol’ standard twitter joke “why is this website free” is ridiculous. It isn’t. You’re a little data mine, a smarter consumer profile for marketing research. That might seem innocuous if you’re not all that concerned with your online privacy, but I think within the next six months to a year, we’re going to learn a lot about just how horribly that information was abused and used against us as consumers.
When the term blog first came out, I remember it being described as “the cross between a radio show and a newspaper column” and that made sense to me some fifteen years ago. I trusted the guys I read in the newspaper because I saw that picture three times a week. For months, I gleefully followed Orange County Register columnist Jeff Kramer’s efforts to challenge then-Anaheim Angels catcher Benji Molina to a footrace and was a heartbroken young kid when I found out he was moving to Maine. Every morning on my way to school, we listened to Howard Stern’s show, and the people I could hear coming out of the radio always started to feel like friends after just a few days with them. Even more recently, Dr. David Thorpe of my old adolescent staple Something Awful rigged enough bullshit with his readers and eventually the rest of the internet at large to send rapper Pitbull to Alaska to play at Walmart. I like that familiarity, that relationship you can develop through following work and getting into some weirdo’s circle. I don’t know if you can get that on the noisier parts of the internet. Is that what the fuck everyone is always talking about when they say “branding”?
Social Media is where anyone whose anyone is putting work in, but I’m not that enthused about the output. The decline of local news, a phenomenon that shockingly emerged from behind a fog of fifteen years of being warned to figure out a workable business model, has arguably reached its nadir with paywalls even on local television news affiliates’ barebones written reporting. When I moved to Colorado in 2005, there were two newspapers and both of them were worth reading and subscribing to. Now, the Denver Post gives you five articles a month before they hit you up for a credit card on a website covered in intrusive advertising and has gutted their staff of most reporters and columnists in favor of syndicated work from wire services. The Rocky Mountain News closed up shop years ago. Westword, the free weekly, provides some great coverage of things usually ignored by other local outlets, but is literally unreadable due to ad bloat both online and in print.
While I don’t dispute that society might need to come to terms with paying for journalism, I’m not sure the local outlets or larger-circulation national outfits are going about it in the right way. They’ll put themselves out of business hunting clicks instead of putting out a good journalistic product. I can finish a weekday edition of the Denver Post in about fifteen minutes. It used to take me an hour or two to get through a paper. Those two polar variables aren’t worth the same amount of money at all, as a subscriber.
So coopsies is free, if you want it, with no ads. You can just have it, because I’m just going to do it. I’m hoping I can pursue some stories I otherwise wouldn’t have and be a real pain in the ass in a situation that matters – that’s basically been my goal for most of my life. The media’s lust for profits and sensationalism has arguably helped lead to our sociopolitical rot in this country, and closing off reporters and storytellers to a public becoming interested once again in engaging in civic processes and/or outright building alternatives seems not just irresponsible but nefarious. Plus, I can only rant at the cat for so long before she tells me to save it for the padded wall.
See you tomorrow or the next day, most weeks. I’ll be right here, I suppose. Thank you for reading.