Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Brave Old World: A Book and a Business Proposal

 

Update: When I told the Yeti that I’d posted this but hadn’t set up a GoFundMe page, he basically said I was an idiot.

“But I haven’t worked out every detail of how this will work yet,” I said.

“Just ask for the money,” he said.

Fair enough. I’ve now set up a GoFundMe page. Please contribute here, at Brave Old World. I don’t know how every detail of this will work, but your support is definitely going to get you some good, old-fashioned journalism.

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MenaceLadies and Gentlemen of Ricochet, I have a business proposal for you. I’m about to ask you for money, so be prepared. But I think — maybe — this idea could work, and if it does, you’d get a good return on it. So grab yourself a cup of coffee, put on your capitalist-caps, and let me explain.

Ten years ago, I wrote Menace in Europe: Why the Continent’s Crisis is America’s, Too. I’d been living for a while in Europe, and found many Americans’ fantasies about European life delusional. Those who were sure the Continent was on a glide path to peaceful, prosperous, and permanent integration seemed to me suffused with dangerously excessive optimism.

I argued that Europe was haunted by ghosts from the past while confronting entirely new problems it was ill-prepared to face. Americans, I suggested, would be well-advised to pay attention to what was really happening.

When I wrote that book, my views were unusual and considered extreme. Now, obviously, they’re not.

It received excellent reviews in some quarters:

“Serious, well researched—and riveting. More than a piercing alarm over Muslim radicalism in Europe, this thoughtful book takes us on a tour of the continent’s spiritual crisis. Berlinski weaves sociological insight and helpful historical analysis into accounts of everything from the sexual underside of immigration to the dynamics of assassination to Europe’s cities without children to its self-extinguishing tolerance.” —Stanley Kurtz, contributing editor at National Review Online

And of course, it was panned by those who thought me a Cassandra and a hysteric. Still, some of the critics who thought I was seeing ghosts now admit that maybe I had a point. For example, Philip Jenkins, a professor of history and religious studies at Penn State, described me in 2007 as the “author of a highly controversial book on the subject of religion in Europe.” As you can see in this piece, The Age of Permanent Jihad, he’s now more pessimistic than I was a decade ago.

But surprisingly, I’m less sure of my pessimism than I once was.

What changed? I changed, for one. Living for nearly a decade in Turkey changed my perspective on many things. So, perhaps, did growing older. But most importantly, I came back to a continent that had changed, sometimes in ways I didn’t predict. So some of my predictions about Europe’s future proved correct. But others were wrong. Why?

I hated the title Menace in Europe, by the way. I wanted to call it Blackmailed by History. But the sales force thought books with the word “history” in the title didn’t sell. They wanted a title with a terrifying word, one that said to readers, explicitly, why this book mattered to them. I thought it was perfectly obvious that what happens in Europe affects the United States — two World Wars seemed like sufficient evidence of that — but my editor thought that if the sales force hated the title, they wouldn’t try to sell it. So I caved.

I wish I’d stood my ground, because many readers understood my book to be chiefly about Europe’s difficulty integrating its Muslim immigrants. That was an issue that concerned me, but it was only part of a larger story. My other concerns — the rebirth in black-market form of European nationalism, the excessively idealistic foundation upon which the European integration project was built, Russian revanchism — were just as important, and these problems are still overlooked.

There were many things I failed to anticipate. The main thing I didn’t see coming was the crisis of confidence that was soon to befall the United States, one every bit as severe as Europe’s, and more consequential in its implications. Nor did I anticipate the convulsions that were about to take place in the Middle East. But I certainly did see some things coming. I concluded the book this way:

I do not prophesy the imminent demise of European democratic institutions, nor do I predict imminent catastrophe on European soil. But I don’t rule out these possibilities either. Europe’s entitlement economy will collapse. Its demography will change. The European Union may unravel. We have no idea what these events would herald, but it is possible and reasonable to imagine a very ugly outcome. The only people to whom this will come as a surprise are those who have not been paying attention.

Indulge me in a brief moment of personal frustration. Last week I was asked by The New York Times to write an essay about the attack in Brussels and the mood in Europe. I sent what I thought was a serious, grown-up response, but they didn’t run it. Instead, they ran one that began this way:

When I moved to Europe 12 years ago, my biggest concern was whether I’d ever speak decent French. Practically every American I knew came to visit, many saying they dreamed of living here, too. I didn’t worry much about far-right political parties, or the European Union. I certainly didn’t fret about terrorism. …

You can imagine how I felt when I read that. Our newspaper of record, folks.

But on the good-news front, I recently learned that my book has nearly sold out the advance I received for writing it, meaning that from now on, I’ll receive royalty payments. (I’m not expecting to retire on them, alas. But perhaps these checks will one day be sufficient to buy a nice meal every now and again.) It took ten years, but the book is finally making a profit.

Some of you have asked when I’ll be writing a sequel. I agree it’s time to do that, especially in light of the economic and refugee crises and the invasion of Ukraine. I’d like to return to some of the places I wrote about ten years ago to see what I got wrong, what I got right, and why. I’ve watched the changes of the past decade up close, in Turkey and France. I’d like now to report from other places: The Balkan route of the migrant trail, Greece, Germany, Belgium, Britain as it debates its future in Europe, Eastern Europe as it decides whether liberal democracy is truly an idea for which it has much use.

But since I wrote that book, another thing happened that I didn’t expect: The traditional models for book publishing and journalism collapsed. As I’ve noted many times here, the old model for selling journalism, particularly journalism from abroad, is kaput. I’ve written a lot about the consequences of this, particularly here. I wrote a longer piece about the phenomenon here:

… at least eighteen American newspapers and two chains have closed every last one of their overseas bureaus since 1998. Other papers and chains have dramatically reduced their overseas presence. Television networks, meanwhile, have slashed the time they devote to foreign news. They concentrate almost exclusively on war coverage—and then, only on wars where US troops are fighting. That leaves the big four national newspapers—the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times—with independent foreign news coverage. But they too have closed foreign bureaus in recent years. In 2003, the Los Angeles Times shut down 43 percent of its foreign bureaus. …

Lately, my feeling that I wish I could go back to doing that kind of reporting, and my belief that it’s important to do that kind of reporting, have grown. At the same time, my enthusiasm for following the day-to-day minutiae of the American presidential campaign has dwindled. Like many of you, I’ve been so dismayed by the Trump campaign and by what it’s revealed about the real state of the conservative movement that frankly, I’m happier not hearing about it. I’m not enjoying being in the fray of our debates about Trump. I have a terrible feeling about where this campaign is going. I’m not sure I want to invest more emotional and intellectual capital in trying to figure it out. I’m not sure I could, even if I wanted to.

So I’ve been wishing I could go back to old-fashioned journalism — by which I mean, looking at things, asking questions, listening to the answers, reporting what I hear and see. I want to write essays and books again.

But how, in this new publishing world?

The other day, seeing the success of Ricochet’s good-natured campaign to bring Titus Techera to America, I had an idea. It’s not to ask Ricochet to donate money to a book-writing and journalism project. It’s to ask whether members of Ricochet would invest in such a project, in the realistic hope of a return on the investment — although I don’t know what the return would be.

Before I explain the details of this, though, let me ask: Would you be interested in reading, listening, and watching reporting about the transformations in Europe? My idea is to spend, perhaps, a year doing this kind of reporting, with the ultimate goal of writing a book for a larger audience. In the interim, I’d report what I’m doing and learning both on Ricochet and a dedicated site, in a multimedia format: articles, video, audio, podcasts. I’d ask Ricochet members to shape the journalism: to suggest what I should investigate, where I should go, and why; to submit questions for the people I interview, perhaps even to speak to them yourselves on Skype; to guide the project as I go along by helping me better to understand what my audience wants to know. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone try to do journalism this way. It could be an interesting and maybe a useful new approach: interactive, investigative journalism for a specific audience of reader-investors who can help me connect their questions and curiosity better to the stories I discover.

The end product would be a number of things. It would be a multimedia website in which I document the project, post articles, photographs, and video interviews — a bit like the way as I did when I explored the Mavi Marmara fiasco in Turkey. (Here’s a sample of one of my interviews.) It would also be a book, which I’d self-publish through Amazon (as I did my interviews with Margaret Thatcher’s intimates).

What would your role in this be? Well, you’d pay for it. You’d replace Random House or Crown Forum or another conventional publisher as the source of the advance on the book. And then, if I make this into a commercial success — I don’t know yet if I can, but I’d sure try — you’d receive a return on your investment proportional to what you invested. Any earnings beyond my advance and a percentage of the royalties would be returned to you, the investors. And you’d replace The New York Times as the news gatekeeper: Your judgment about what’s important and interesting would guide my reporting agenda. (Bonus: for those of you tired of hearing my views about Trump, this is a guaranteed way to distract me from him.)

Ricochet’s Powers that Be loved this idea. They encouraged me to ask you. And — excitingly — we already have one member-investor who’s willing to get the ball rolling by putting up the first 25 percent of the funds, provided I can raise the other 75 percent from you.

I haven’t yet worked out the budget: I wanted to get your reaction, first. But I suspect the project, including travel expenses, technical expenses (for example, hosting the website, editing the material) and covering my living costs would probably be — rough guess — about $60,000. If you like the idea and think I should pursue it, I’ll work out the details.

What do you think? Would it work? Would you be willing to invest? Do you have any thoughts about how to make an idea like this work?

Help me think this through. I know there’s a story to tell here. It’s obviously important to Americans. It’s a complicated story, and I don’t know, in advance, what I’ll discover. But new media technology shouldn’t be contracting our horizons — it should be making it possible to approach journalism is ways it’s never been approached before. It should be broadening the ways Americans can learn about the world, not shrinking it.

Could it work?

There are 136 comments.

  1. Lucy Pevensie Inactive

    So, amusingly, my first thought was “Would the enterprise take you away from us?” Not a bit selfish, am I?

    • #1
    • April 2, 2016, at 5:03 AM PDT
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  2. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Lucy Pevensie:So, amusingly, my first thought was “Would the enterprise take you away from us?” Not a bit selfish, am I?

    To the contrary, I hope! (But that’s nice to hear.)

    • #2
    • April 2, 2016, at 5:09 AM PDT
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  3. Mountie Member

    Sounds good, the old “dead tree” publishers totally missed the new internet, podcast, and video wave that rolled over them. I like the idea of multi media: pick the channel that best fits conveying the ideas, sometime words are best sometimes video, sometimes writting out ideas, sometimes interviews, sometimes opinion. I like it.

    • #3
    • April 2, 2016, at 5:34 AM PDT
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  4. Lucy Pevensie Inactive

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Lucy Pevensie:So, amusingly, my first thought was “Would the enterprise take you away from us?” Not a bit selfish, am I?

    To the contrary, I hope! (But that’s nice to hear.)

    OK, then, I’d be interested.

    • #4
    • April 2, 2016, at 5:41 AM PDT
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  5. Dave of Barsham Member

    Sponsor your own Journalist and get real news about Europe here in the States, sounds good to me.

    • #5
    • April 2, 2016, at 5:45 AM PDT
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  6. Tim H. Member

    Claire, this really is an intriguing approach to journalism. I like the investment model, at least in concept. I think that if I were to invest in you, I would also be more likely to take the time to read everything you reported, because, after all, I had a literally “vested interest” in it. I don’t know just how much I could invest, but in principle I’m on board.

    In some way, this might work very much like a standard subscription to a magazine or newspaper, but it might feel more personal. More like how National Geographic makes you a member of the Society and regularly refers to “your Society.” And, of course, there’s the chance of a return on the investment.

    • #6
    • April 2, 2016, at 5:55 AM PDT
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  7. Phil Turmel Coolidge

    You pointed me at Menace in Europe years ago, and I considered it appropriately titled after I read it. I didn’t realize it’s been that long. I’ll have to go re-read it now to find the flaws you allude to. :-)

    As to your proposal — count me in. I firmly believe in the independent or semi-independent reporter model, and have spent money to support Michael Totten and Michael Yon. I’d be delighted to add you to that list.

    If I may make a suggestion, consider launching your written material here at Ricochet, and offering the multimedia and secondary merchandise at the dedicated site. With much cross-linking, of course. I think Totten and Yon suffer a bit for lack of a relationship with a high-traffic site (for various definitions of high-traffic).

    In addition to multimedia and merchandise, the secondary site also gives you an formal outlet for material that might not be CoC compliant here, and for bulkier material that doesn’t fit the typical Ricochet article size.

    Anyways, Go For It!

    • #7
    • April 2, 2016, at 5:59 AM PDT
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  8. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    While I am amenable to the idea, I would like to understand the deal a little better.

    • Investors pony up $60K-ish
    • You get a portion of that to live on and use the rest for research and productions costs.
    • You start a form of blog that documents your research in multimedia format – ostensibly to generate interest in the book and perhaps generate enough hits to provide an ongoing revenue stream.
    • You write a book and “self publish”.

    This is where the key difference comes in. In traditional publishing, the writer would receive no monies beyond the advance until the book sales have covered the costs of the four items above – the publishing house is keeping those profits to itself to pay back the initial investment. Additionally, the publishing house also keeps part of the royalty stream as “interest” on its investment. Practically speaking, the publishing house treats its investment like a form of bond that gets repaid first, while providing an indefinite interest stream into the future.

    You propose instead that your investors share the proceeds of the book with you in an ongoing fashion, with no equity interest in the book itself, only the ongoing revenue stream.

    Are you proposing to take a reduced royalty payment until the investment is repaid? – or do you have a different idea in mind to ensure your investors think this to be a good deal?

    • #8
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:00 AM PDT
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  9. John Walker Contributor

    Michael Yon has been using the business model of “reader-supported foreign correspondent” since the mid-2000s, although he seems to have been less active of late. It might be worth contacting him to ask about his experience and advice. Here is his Web site.

    Here, from July 2006, is my review of Menace in Europe.

    • #9
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:15 AM PDT
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  10. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Any earnings beyond my advance and a percentage of the royalties would be returned to you, the investors.

    I’m having trouble putting this in math.

    • #10
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:22 AM PDT
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  11. The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:I’m not sure I want to invest more emotional and intellectual capital in trying to figure (Trump) out. I’m not sure I could, even if I wanted to.

    I think Mickey Kaus would mention that one word “immigration.” Combine that with “trade and robotic automation” and “forced liberalism and political correctness through globalism,” and I think you have some of the same issues that Europe also worries about. I guess the difference is a combination of more immediate concerns about Islam among the voters along with ignoring of Islam in Europe by its elites.

    I want to know about the bright spots in Europe. Where is its Hillsdale College that pushes back? What European websites would be the equivalent to Ricochet, NRO, etc? Where is its Utah that overwhelmingly rejects Trumpism or the European equivalent on conservative principles? Who is its smart Ted Cruz-type who is overwhelmingly rejected by his own colleagues but has a chance to capture some sanity? Does Europe have any smart, young military politicians like Tom Cotton, any older budget hawks like Tom Coburn, or any small government and economic growth politicians like Rick Perry?

    • #11
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:24 AM PDT
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  12. SlightlyLoony Inactive

    Yes, I’d invest.

    When you’re ready, just tell me how to do it!

    • #12
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:24 AM PDT
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  13. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    John Walker:Michael Yon has been using the business model of “reader-supported foreign correspondent” since the mid-2000s, although he seems to have been less active of late. It might be worth contacting him to ask about his experience and advice. Here is his Web site.

    Here, from July 2006, is my review of Menace in Europe.

    I can pass his personal e-mail address if desired.

    • #13
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:24 AM PDT
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  14. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    The Cloaked Gaijin:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:I’m not sure I want to invest more emotional and intellectual capital in trying to figure (Trump) out. I’m not sure I could, even if I wanted to.

    I think Mickey Kaus would mention that one word “immigration.” Combine that with “trade and robotic automation” and “forced liberalism and political correctness through globalism,” and I think you have some of the same issues that Europe also worries about. I guess the difference is a combination of more immediate concerns about Islam among the voters along with ignoring of Islam in Europe by its elites.

    I want to know about the bright spots in Europe. Where is its Hillsdale College that pushes back? What European websites would be the equivalent to Ricochet, NRO, etc? Where is its Utah that overwhelmingly rejects Trumpism or the European equivalent on conservative principles? Who is its smart Ted Cruz-type who is overwhelmingly rejected by his own colleagues but has a chance to capture some sanity? Does Europe have any smart, young military politicians like Tom Cotton, any older budget hawks like Tom Coburn, or any small government and economic growth politicians like Rick Perry?

    Yes, the Profligates of Vienna call them Nazis and pass laws against them.

    • #14
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:27 AM PDT
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  15. Herbert defender of the Realm,… Inactive

    I’m in. Just for curiosity did the NYT pay you for the piece even though they decided not to run it?

    • #15
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:30 AM PDT
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  16. Manfred Arcane Inactive

    Phil Turmel:…

    As to your proposal — count me in. I firmly believe in the independent or semi-independent reporter model, and have spent money to support Michael Totten and Michael Yon. I’d be delighted to add you to that list.

    If I may make a suggestion, consider launching your written material here at Ricochet, and offering the multimedia and secondary merchandise at the dedicated site. With much cross-linking, of course. I think Totten and Yon suffer a bit for lack of a relationship with a high-traffic site (for various definitions of high-traffic).

    In addition to multimedia and merchandise, the secondary site also gives you an formal outlet for material that might not be CoC compliant here, and for bulkier material that doesn’t fit the typical Ricochet article size.

    Anyways, Go For It!

    I’ll contribute $100, and you don’t need to pay me back. I would recommend you tweak your plan a bit to include Totten in the writing (Don’t know about this Michael Yon but will now seek him out based on this gentlemen’s recommendation). No offense but two perspectives is a bit more stimulating than one. You could have a chapter where you two dialogue on the different aspects of “the situation”, for example, revealing your different sensibilities and serving as a foil to each other. Also, his knowledge base is a bit complementary to yours (Northern Africa, Middle East, etc.), so would make a fuller, richer book.

    • #16
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:36 AM PDT
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  17. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    It won’t be much, but I’m in. That’s easy math. In fact, recurring monthly chip-ins might be an easier way to attract a larger crowd of participants/investors.

    This may not be analogous, but social media sites have been charging for content for years and done well, and there’s nothing even potentially on the back-end for them. Adam Carolla’s podcast empire comes to mind here. A few bucks a month and you get access to additional content. Not a new concept or anything but it might be a way to get a wider audience.

    Not much different from Ricochet’s model, essentially. The tough part is getting the idea marketed to a broad enough audience to hit your goal, make it sustainable.

    Or just hit up Rob, who must still be swimming in Cheers cash.

    rich-guy

    • #17
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:37 AM PDT
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  18. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Instugator: Are you proposing to take a reduced royalty payment until the investment is repaid? – or do you have a different idea in mind to ensure your investors think this to be a good deal?

    I haven’t figured this out either, and we’d need to think it through. For the benefit of others who have the same kind of question, there’s no real standard for royalty payments in conventional publishing — it depends on the genre, the publisher, and the writer’s clout. (Occasionally the book is written for a one-time payment in a work-for-hire arrangement — sometimes this happens with ghostwriting, for example.)

    Some superstar authors, JK Rawling category, can demand more, but normal writers at most get 15 percent of the cover price of the hardcover, and this only after a certain number of copies have been sold. Usually the royalty rate for the writer rises with the number of copies sold — 12 percent for the first 5,000, say, 20 percent after 10,000. Writers usually rely on their agents to negotiate this, as well as all the other parts of the contract including whether the publisher has the right to the next book, the foreign rights, further editions, royalty rates for paperback and Kindle, etc. — and film rights, rights to other aspects of the intellectual property. Generally, the publishers (in this case, you) get almost all the money from the sales.

    The advance is usually an advance against royalties. Advances are intended to support the writer financially while they write the book, and they’re usually split into a payment for signing and a payment on receipt of the book. Many authors never see royalty payments at all, because writers are always broke, so they prefer to take a better advance and sign a contract with a lousy royalty rate. That it took a decade to earn out the advance, in my case, actually meant the book did very well for my publisher. It had to sell a lot better than “profitable-for-the-publisher” for me ever to see royalty payments. The publisher made money from the book, even if I didn’t. It was worth it to me, because I needed the money right away. (The standard wisdom is that if the book earns out its advance, your agent screwed up the negotiations: The advance wasn’t high enough to begin with.)

    In the conventional scheme, writers have no obligation to make sure the publisher makes money on the book. That’s the risk the publisher takes in exchange for taking most of the profit. One of the reasons traditional publishing houses have been in such trouble is that they’ve been extremely bad at predicting which books would sell in this new reading market, and why. And I don’t know, either.

    We’re talking about producing a lot of different kinds of intellectual property here — film, articles, books of different kinds — so we’d have to figure out how to design an unusual kind of contract. I don’t know if anyone’s done this before.

    Usually the publisher is the one who worries about selling and distributing the book; the writer just writes it. In this case, we’d all have to worry about that. We’d have to figure out whether we’d want to distribute it only as an e-book, or try to get it into bookstores, what it would cost to print it … many details to figure out.

    The minimal goal would be to fund the project, pay me enough to spend a year working on it, get a return for you that at least keeps up with inflation. The more optimistic goal would be for us all to make real money on it. Figuring out how to do that (what the price of the book should be, how many copies we’d have to sell, how to distribute it, whether we could also sell advertising on the site, etc.) is the next step.

    All ideas about this very welcome.

    • #18
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:46 AM PDT
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  19. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Manfred Arcane: You could have a chapter where you two dialogue on the different aspects of “the situation”,

    We’ve actually had that conversation on Skype. Had we known it was something we could sell

    • #19
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:48 AM PDT
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  20. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Herbert: I’m in. Just for curiosity did the NYT pay you for the piece even though they decided not to run it?

    No, which had me very seriously kicking myself. Usually I’d negotiate a kill fee, but I figured this was the NYT and the editor knew my work — I didn’t imagine they’d ask me to write it and then not take it. I won’t make that mistake again. (I found another outlet to publish it, so all isn’t lost, but I was really stewing about it — very humiliating, especially in light of what they chose to publish instead.)

    • #20
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:51 AM PDT
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  21. Susan in Seattle Member
    Susan in Seattle Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I’m in, too. I figure I kick in a few bucks to Ricochet every year, I can send some to you, too.

    • #21
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:53 AM PDT
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  22. Front Seat Cat Member

    I’ll read through the comments later, but I like it. Like the Bond movie Skyfall, the famous line, sometimes “the old ways are best” rings true here Several quick thoughts:

    1. Your book highlighted many things – changes in traditional family, faith, having children, extreme movements like the Green movement (which have morphed into mainstream today) – these things are still relevant today because they create the conditions by which we are seeing a changed Western culture into something else. Will you include these updates?
    2. A lot of journalism now is so biased, mouthpieces for one agenda or another. Your books are very balanced, giving both sides – as well as brute honesty without the political correctness – I think that puts you ahead of the pablum out there.
    3. Can we help on this side other than with investing money?
    4. Really stupid question – are you planning to travel (obviously) and who will take care of the cats?? I think about those darn cats!

    Go for it! I will support you.

    • #22
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:53 AM PDT
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  23. Lucy Pevensie Inactive

    Chris Campion: It won’t be much, but I’m in. That’s easy math. In fact, recurring monthly chip-ins might be an easier way to attract a larger crowd of participants/investors.

    Agree with this, although I suspect it would make your math more difficult.

    • #23
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:56 AM PDT
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  24. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Ball Diamond Ball: I can pass his personal e-mail address if desired.

    Yes, please!

    • #24
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:58 AM PDT
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  25. Robert McReynolds Inactive

    If you are looking to report on the death of Western Civilization in Europe, I’d start with talking to Prof. Lars Vilks.

    • #25
    • April 2, 2016, at 6:59 AM PDT
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  26. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Front Seat Cat:

    1. Can we help on this side other than with investing money?
    2. Really stupid question – are you planning to travel (obviously) and who will take care of the cats?? I think about those darn cats!

    This isn’t a stupid question at all. It’s my biggest concern. Seven cats are really tough for any cat-sitter to handle — it’s very easy to lose track of one — and the cats are getting older now, so I worry about veterinary emergencies. I need to find an absolutely reliable cat-sitter whom I can completely trust: ideally, he or she would be a cat-lover who would enjoy taking care of them in exchange for staying in a lovely apartment in Paris. But taking care of them is a real responsibility. You can’t just clean the litter box, throw a can of food in their bowls, and then spend all weekend sightseeing — they really need lots of attention and entertainment, and the cat-sitter has to really grasp cat behavior, especially if the cats are feuding, as sometimes they do.

    I’m thinking that Ricochet members who’ve always wanted to visit Paris but have never been able to afford a long stay abroad might be the kinds of very trustworthy, responsible people I have in mind. Or that perhaps they’d know people — retired people? Honeymooners? But definitely, finding a responsible cat-sitter is one of my biggest concerns.

    (That said, never leaving home because I trust no one else to take care of my cats would be certifiably neurotic. I do know that, even if at times I think it sounds sort-of reasonable.)

    • #26
    • April 2, 2016, at 7:09 AM PDT
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  27. Tim Wright Inactive

    Go for it, Claire. Always wanted to own a publishing house or a newspaper. Tim

    • #27
    • April 2, 2016, at 7:09 AM PDT
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  28. SpiritO'78 Member

    “I’m not enjoying being in the fray of our debates about Trump. I have a terrible feeling about where this campaign is going. I’m not sure I want to invest more emotional and intellectual capital in trying to figure it out. I’m not sure I could, even if I wanted to.”

    couldn’t agree more. We haven’t reached the general election and I’m out of energy just reading it. I can’t imagine what you guys have to go through in trying to come up with new theories for Trump every day.

    • #28
    • April 2, 2016, at 7:20 AM PDT
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  29. I Walton Member

    Yes. Anyone dependent on us news sources is ill served. A large minority of these people would welcome serious news and analysis, including those who do not read if it is also available on easily accessed video. I think it will be good business. Every expansion of serious honest information should be able to earn a place in a world polluted by an excess of superficial incessantly repeated sound bites and video clips. It’ well worth a serious effort.

    • #29
    • April 2, 2016, at 7:34 AM PDT
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  30. Tim H. Member

    This scene came to my mind:

    • #30
    • April 2, 2016, at 7:34 AM PDT
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