Tuesday, February 15, 2011


   Not everybody feels this way. After The Huffington Post was recently purchased by AOL for $315 million, it's no surprise that the legions of unpaid bloggers that supply content to HP want a little gravy on their biscuit. Back in 1989 I wrote a column for PAPER MAGAZINE called The Holy Corner. It took me a couple of hours each month to write, for which I received $125. I felt I was grossly under paid, but I WAS paid. One of the columns was on the movie FORREST GUMP. Everyone had come out with glowing reviews of the pic., so I decided to rip it apart. Some producer in LA, who happened to be involved with a show on ABC that came on after NIGHTLINE, read the piece and liked it. His assistant called me and asked if I would be interested in coming on the air to read the column. "How much will you pay?" I asked, like a dog having a juicy piece of meat waved under his nose. (I was constantly broke at the time). "Oh we don't pay." the assistant responded, surprised that I would even bring it up. "You'll get national exposure for your act." I had to explain to her that I had no "act" only "bills". She said she'd get back to me.
    When I told my editors at PAPER about the offer and my refusal to work for nothing they thought I was nuts. How could I turn my nose up a such a big break into show business? Just like with the assistant, I had to explain to them just how much money such a TV show pulled in and how my lights were about to be shut off and all I wanted was a token. Christ I would've taken car fare. But the ABC producer stood firm. NO PAY. NO WAY. I stuck to my guns and refused. They thanked me for my time and put some other shmuck on the air. I think it was John Stewart.
   That was a long time ago. These days I work for nothing as a matter of course. (Not carpentry, silly. I got bills). I mean I write. I record. I paint and sculpt and think up new money draining projects all the time. Sure it would be nice to get paid for any of these things, but I don't sweat it anymore. The internet has freed me up from needing to be published or having a CD or even an art show. Every day I sit down at my little mac. and throw out into cyberspace whatever. Do I care how many people read or see it? Not really. I figure I've done my job. Now it's up to the public. I've got no love for AOL or The Huffington Post. But to all the suppliers of content who are bellyaching about a paycheck, I would just say- get a real job and do all the rest for free. It's good exposure.


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