Submitted for your approval: The perfect solution to America’s national debate over taxes.
This proposal is completely serious. Below you will find my suggestion for an amended IRS 1040 form. As you will see, it contains two new sections: “Voluntary Tax Rate,” in which each American can individually determine his or her own rate of income taxation; and “Allocation,” in which taxpayers can apply their personal tax payments to specific federal expenses.
It’s simple, it’s completely non-partisan and even-handed, and it allows for total individual autonomy and personal freedom.
Will it lead to a complete restructuring of the United States government? Possibly. And if it does, will that be a good thing? Most definitely.
Read on to see how this new idea came about.
• Problem #1: “Raise my taxes!” vs. “Don’t raise my taxes!”
Recently, billionaire investor Warren Buffett publicly announced that he wants the government to raise his taxes, because, he feels, he just isn’t paying enough. Soon after, fellow billionaire Donald Trump joined Buffett in announcing the he too would at least be willing to pay more taxes if necessary. Then millionaire TV host Jerry Springer joined the chorus of wealthy Americans demanding that their own tax rates be raised.
These high-profile champions of increased self-taxation are simply the most visible members of an entire sector of the American public who demand that we as a nation raise our own taxes to pay for our ever-increasing expenses. (Many of these high-tax-advocates of course pay few or no taxes of their own; what they really want is other people to pay more in taxes. That’s why actual taxpayers like Buffett and Springer make headlines when they join the call for higher rates.)
On the other side of the coin, groups like the Tea Party have quickly ascended into political prominence by charting the exact opposite course, insisting that the economy can only be rescued by an across-the-board lowering of taxes nationwide. Critics portray the Tea Party lower-tax platform as nothing more than “greed” — the selfishness of people who want to keep their own money, and not share it with the rest of us. Defenders of the low-tax-advocates point out that it’s not greed but a desire to kickstart a stalled economy: lower tax rates generally lead to increased economic growth.
Until recently, the argument was limited to two sides, each seeking to dictate terms to everyone else: liberals said, “We want all of you to pay more taxes!”, while conservatives said, “We want all of you to pay less taxes!” But Buffett and Trump and Springer changed the parameters of the debate; instead of demanding that everyone else pay more taxes, these wealthy high-tax-advocates’ new twist is to announce, “I personally want to pay more taxes!”
» Solution #1: Voluntary Tax Rates
This seemingly intractable debate gave me an idea. Both the liberal and the conservative positions are ethically untenable: No one should have the right to force anyone else to pay more or less taxes than they prefer. These billionaires have hit upon a brilliant concept: Instead of everyone trying to force everyone else to conform to this or that view of tax rates, let each person voluntarily set his or her own tax rate!
Thus if Warren Buffett wants to pay more in taxes — he can do so! And if a Tea Partier want to pay less in taxes, she can do so as well. And if liberals think the tax rate is too low — well, under this new system they are free to pay at whatever higher rate they can afford.
It’s as simple and streamlined as can be, and everybody gets what they want. (See the amended 1040 form below for how it would work.)
• Problem #2: “I’d willingly pay taxes for those government programs I like, but can’t tolerate paying for programs I hate.”
Both liberals and conservatives have this exact same problem: They’re more than happy to pay for their favorite government departments and expenses, but it drives them crazy when they’re forced to subsidize stuff they hate.
Liberals and anti-war activists, for example, have long insisted that their taxes not be used for war; so (especially when a Republican president is in office and/or during wartime), you will frequently hear them demanding that their taxes not be used for “the war machine,” or for certain weapons systems (like nuclear missiles) or for any number of things they deem distasteful (e.g. drone attacks, harsh interrogations, foreign combatants in military prisons, etc.). Conversely, conservatives frequently complain that their taxes are used to support “freeloaders” who spend their entire lives as recipients of the welfare system, and who as a result never contribute to society. So conservatives bristle at the thought of paying for overly lax welfare programs, not only because they see themselves as shouldering most of the burden, but also because they think the welfare system fosters a culture of depedency, leading to a downward cycle of fewer and fewer people paying more and more of the taxes.
And what drives both liberals and conservatives to distraction is when they discover that their tax dollars are being used for programs or procedures which they deem morally wrong; liberals, for example, don’t want their taxes to pay for the federal government to break up immigrant families by deporting the illegal parents while allowing the natural-born-citizen legal children to stay; while many conservatives find it intolerable that their tax dollars are used to pay for abortions in federally subsidized clinics — a procedure which they feel is tantamount to murder.
Yet the problem is, we’re all paying into the same big pie, and we don’t get to determine what our personal tax contributions are used for. Thus liberals end up paying for war crimes, and conservatives end up paying to murder babies, and everybody’s unhappy.
» Solution #2: Personalized Earmarks
Why are we still using this outdated system that leads to universal dissatisfaction? If each person was able to “earmark” the specific aspects of government which he or she deems acceptable, then no one would feel that their taxes were used for programs which are either unhealthy for the soul or for the national economy.
The solution to this problem is obvious: Simply amend the tax code to allow each taxpayer to individually allocate which governmental expenses receive funding from that person’s tax payments. Presto! Everybody’s happy, because nobody is being forced to pay for things they don’t like anymore.
But would this create a lot more paperwork for the IRS? Somewhat. As for re-designing the 1040 form, I’ve already done that part, so nothing to worry about there. As for totaling up the calculations of how much each government department gets from each taxpayer — well, sure, that would require more bean-counters, but the overall amount of extra IRS employees needed for the task would be tiny compared to the number of bureaucrats in most other areas of government, and this minor inconvenience is a small price to pay for fundamentally reorganizing the tax code in such a way that is pleasing to everyone.
Below you will find my proposed amended IRA 1040 form; the top image shows the full front page of the 1040 form with the two new sections in situ, as they will appear to taxpayers; and the bottom image shows just the newly added sections, for extra clarity. (In each case, simply click on the image to see a much larger and clearer version of the amended form.)
Don’t like my proposal? Feel free to add your own revisions, critiques or alternate suggestions in the comments section below. Let the debate begin!
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…and, for the record, here’s the same new revision, all by itself (click to enlarge):
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I demand justice justice.
No, I don’t have a stutter. What I want is justice for the word “justice” itself.
Because, you see, “justice” has been hijacked by the American left and is now their exclusive weapon. It is no longer a politically neutral word; whenever you see the word “justice” — especially preceded by another noun — it invariably is meant to convey some far-left position.
A History of Crimes Against Justice
The degradation of “justice” started with the phrase “social justice,” a concept which was originally only a religious term but which was later adopted (and re-defined) by the American left to have political connotations. Use of the word “justice” as a leftist buzzword was given a big boost in 1971 with the publication of A Theory of Justice by philosopher John Rawls, which focused on “justice” as the axle around which liberal thought rotated.
Let a Hundred Justices Bloom
In the mid-’70s, the end of the Vietnam War deprived the professional left of its main protest topic, so they cast around for something new to whine about. In the absence of any glaringly urgent crisis, such as a war, they settled on a scattershot array of issues which could be unified under the generalized label “social justice.” Any aspect of American society which was insufficiently leftist suddenly needed a good dose of “social justice” to rectify things.
This overall blanket term was OK for a while, but with the arrival of the new millennium there was a rapid expansion of the “justice” concept. With breathtaking speed, justice-related terms proliferated exponentially in the early 2000s, and within a decade it became nearly impossible to even keep track of all the different “justices” we were expected to achieve.
The trend started with the two justice titans: “economic justice,” and “racial justice.” And someone must have thought: Why stop there? Soon we started seeing demands for “environmental justice” and “reproductive justice.” And then the floodgates were opened. The global warming scare brought us “climate justice“; the drive for socialized medicine became “health care justice“; amnesty for illegals transmogrified into “immigrant justice“; and on and on it went. By now we have
…to name just a few. Go to any protest or visit a left-wing Web site and you’ll find dozens more “justices” that need immediate resolution.
Want to give your hobby the veneer of righteousness? Just think of a noun, affix the word “justice” after it, and voilà: You’re part of the solution! Yes, it’s that easy.
In fact, the abuse of “justice” has become so widespread that you can immediately identify the political slant of any group just by looking for the word “justice” in their name or literature; if they prominently feature justice, then they’re left-wing; if they don’t, then they’re not.
Of course, this was part of the plan from the beginning: to use language as a weapon. Find a word that everybody likes, with a universally positive vibe, and then use it relentlessly and ungrammatically as a catch-all euphemism for socialist goals. We want justice, thus we must be the good guys! And any group that isn’t for some kind of justice must therefore be in favor of injustice, and as a result must be the bad guys.
Don’t think for one minute that such linguistic gymnastics are accidental. The left puts an immense amount of effort into branding and framing and public perception. And they’re quite self-congratulatory about the whole process: they invariably think their wordsmithery has worked to shift public opinion leftward.
But of course those of us outside the bubble see that it doesn’t work at all. When you abuse a word like “justice” (or another good example, “rights”), all you succeed in doing is to contaminate the word’s original connotation. So that by now, when average Americans see the word “justice” in a political context, they don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling like they used to, but instead see a giant flashing neon sign that says “LEFTIST EUPHEMISM.”
Each word only has so much accumulated credibility that you can expend before you drain it dry. Poor old “justice.” By now it has been so misused and molested that it’s not only been drained dry, it’s acquired an entirely new connotation — and not a good one.
Which is exactly why we need a new movement — let’s get justice for justice. The word needs to be saved from the clutches of its abusers and restored to its former glory.
Justice justice now!
[NOTE: This is the UNCENSORED version of this report, and is most definitely NOT "safe for work." If you want to see the CENSORED edition, which IS pretty much "safe for work" and family-friendly, click HERE. Aside from covering up the private parts, the reports are otherwise identical.]
Saturday, June 11 was “World Naked Bike Ride” day in San Francisco. As the title implies, it doesn’t happen only in San Francisco — it’s a global event, with rides in over 70 cities around the world.
Ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner is recently unemployed, so (in the censored version of this report) I got him a gig as the censor for today’s event. As an expert in penis-photographs, he definitely has the skills for the job! Throughout the censored version of the World Naked Bike Ride report, wherever you would have seen a wiener, you’ll see a Weiner instead! (However, this uncensored version is Weiner-free!)
Participants gathered in Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco’s Embarcadero area. Anyone could join in — anyone who enjoys being naked in public, that is.
The main question gawkers ask is, “Why???” Well, in theory at least, there is a political dimension to the World Naked Bike Ride, which gives me an excuse to report on it. Luckily, the event’s main organizers have posted an FAQ page for the perplexed. The question “Why are you riding naked?” is answered with “To celebrate cycling and the human body. The ride demonstrates the vulnerability of cyclists on the road and is a protest against oil dependency.” In addition, the WNBR main page states, “We face automobile traffic with our naked bodies as the best way of defending our dignity and exposing the unique dangers faced by cyclists and pedestrians as well as the negative consequences we all face due to dependence on oil, and other forms of non-renewable energy.”
Hmmmm. Seems the message is a little muddled. Several justifications are given:
1. “To celebrate the human body.”
2. To bring attention to how dangerous it is for cyclists on city streets.
3. To protest oil dependency and the oil-based economy.
4. To promote bike-riding and make a stand against the car culture.
But, as the sarcastic commentary about nuclear energy in the picture above shows, nuclear power is also no longer kosher. Yet if you eliminate oil/coal/gas and nuclear…all other energy sources combined account for only 19% of current global needs, so it’s not clear exactly what kind of serious viable solution they’re proposing.
Even so, I suspect there’s only one real reason motivating the World Naked Bike Ride: exhibitionism, or the desire to be naked in public. The rest of the justifications are just a political veneer.
Here’s something you may not have known: If you’re young, skinny, female and half-naked, people will want to take your picture. Learn something new every day!
A guy in all-body tiger paint seemed to be one of the ride organizers.
He happily posed for souvenir photographs with passing tourists.
But when he bends over, watch out! Ass cracks are ass cracks, with or without body paint.
During the pre-ride preparations, one of the riders stood off to the side to make a cell phone call. He was approached by stunned out-of-towners who had summoned up the nerve to ask him what the heck was going on. He nonchalantly explained.
Side note: notice the kid sitting behind the naked guy. No attempt was made, on the part of the participants, police, or public, to keep kids at a safe distance from all the full-frontal nudity.
While a few of the participants were somewhat demure about their private parts being exposed, or were at most faux-nonchalant, most of the rest made a point of exposing themselves as vividly as possible.
Several “participants” did not even have bicycles: They just showed up for the hour-long pre-ride preparation period because it was an opportunity to have a “valid” excuse for being naked in public.
These two guys, for example, showed up, disrobed, stood around for ten minutes posing naked for all the photographers, then put their clothes back on and left! Bicycles had nothing to do with it.
In what I hereby deem as “Worst Public Relations Decision of the Week,” the Nesquik Bunny showed up to hand out free chocolate milk samples to the exhibitionists, and posed for pictures alongside various bizarre characters.
The rest of the Nesquik team joined the fun. And no matter what he was standing next to, the Bunny always kept the same goofy smile, which made the proceedings even more surreal, if that was possible.
The legendary parrots of Telegraph Hill looked down on all the human flesh. “Squawk! Those flightless giant pink birds have lost all their feathers! Squawk!”
Here’s an only-in-San-Francsisco moral dilemma: A pre-op transsexual showed up for the ride. He/she thankfully wore shorts, but was “topless.” Now, it was pretty obvious that he/she had not yet undergone gender reassignment surgery, so was technically still biologically “male,” as the muscular physique revealed. But he/she was also either starting hormone treatments, and/or had small implants, because a modest pair of breasts was beginning to emerge. Bay Area Political Correctness dictates that one must always acknowledge and respect whichever gender someone declares him- or herself to be. But wider U.S. social standards dictate that (in the censored version of this report) I cover up any naked boobs exposed in public. Yet censorship is frowned upon according to S.F. mores, while the wider U.S. social standards would not regard this person as yet a woman. So I’m damned if I do, and damned if I don’t!
To censor, or not to censor — that is the question! (In the end, as you can see in the censored version, I decided to not censor; if you’re open-minded, you can take this to mean that I too am open-minded and oppose censorship; if you’re more old-fashioned, you can take this to mean that I think men are men, regardless of what they think they are. Whew! Wriggled my way out of that one.)
But I’m not safe for long: I’m immediately forced to confront another moral dilemma: How to document the fact that kids were present at this event and witnessing all the full-frontal nudity? Even though there would be “news value” in showing such pictures, there’s also a taboo against having kids and nudity in the same picture. So, to be prudent, I deleted almost all images that showed kids witnessing the goings-on, lest I set off alarms with the Internet Police. (I was also compelled to do this in all my previous “naked San Francisco” reports, of which there have been many.) As a compromise, I show here a guy who brought his months-old baby to the event. Fortunately, the kid seemed far too young to have any awareness of what was going on.
As one point, an unfortunate accidental photographic alignment seemed to show the kid grabbing the ding-dong of one of the riders; but it was all a foreshortening illusion — they were several yards apart.
Sunny day + no clothes = sunburn! So before departing, the participants lined up in a sunscreen elephant-train, lathering it on each other.
Almost time to go! The organizers handed out route maps to the riders: at noon they were all going to start biking around the entire city for several hours, shocking passersby and changing the world! (Notice the cigarillo the guy is smoking. Health!)
Time to pose for one last souvenir shot, to satisfy all the rubberneckers.
And we’re off! After a brief whirl around the plaza and through the craft booths, the riders made their way to the Embarcadero to start their ride along the waterfront.
Some old-school San Francisco natives encountered the lead bike with its sign and gestured at it in disgust. “C’mon, you bozos! You can’t be serious!”
Even this passing tourist cast a jaundiced eye on the proceedings.
As you can see, it was very male-centric at the San Francisco edition of the World Naked Bike Ride. But that’s not necessarily true at many of the other rides in other cities. The London World Naked Bike Ride, for example, is not only ten times the size of the S.F. ride, but is almost half female. And elsewhere in Europe and Australia you’ll find the event to be more gender-balanced.
Were any minds changed by this “protest”? Probably not. Were viable solutions proposed? Nope. Did people “make a statement”? Well, sure, but if your statement is little more than “Look at me, I’m naked!”, then it’s not very clear what you have achieved.
I’ve got a new photo essay up at Pajamas Media:
Even the smallest protest can hold surprises!
My latest, now up at PajamasMedia:
It’s a three-way combination post: An essay, a photo report, and someone else’s photo report, all fused into one unified experience.
A sample photo to whet your appetite:
All across the internet over the last few hours, liberal commenters and bloggers have fallen back on one of their most trusted logical arguments in situations like this in which a Democrat is caught in a sex scandal: “At least he’s not a hypocrite.”
This sampling of (unedited) comments taken from today’s New York Times‘ and San Francisco Chronicle’s articles about Anthony Weiner’s public confession are typical:
“Much to do about nothing. Please wake me up if you find out that he mishandled/stole taxpayer money, or had previously participated in some sort of moral clensing crusade.”
“Unless an elected official is a hypocrite (i.e., an anti-gay politician who espouses “family values” but solicits men for sex in public restrooms), I don’t care about his private life, including whether he sends naked pictures of himself to women who aren’t his wife.”
“I certainly find it reprehensible, particularly the lying. But he didn’t run on a Family Values moral superiority platform, like Ensign; there is less hypocracy and more simple stupidity here.”
A quick search of the liberal blogosphere and in the comments sections of MSM articles will turn up countless similar examples. If you spend any time on the Internet, you’ve undoubtedly encountered it yourself over and over, as others have noted. And it hasn’t just emerged in regards to Weinergate: It’s actually one of the bedrocks of the liberal worldview: Conservatives are hypocrites concerning moral issues, whereas liberals are not.
Which got me to thinking:
This has to be the weakest philosophical argument I’ve ever encountered.
Not just weak: self-extirpating.
If there ever was a moment to really dig down into the fundamental structure of this argument, this is it. So let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we?
What liberals really really love about this stance is its climactic declaration: Our opponents are hypocrites!
Here is how the liberals present their case:
But what they don’t want you to think about — and what they themselves don’t even want to acknowledge — is that this “hypocrites” howl is the second half of a two-part argument. And in that second half, they are the victors. But in the first half….
Well, for the “at least we’re not hypocrites” sentiment to make sense, there must be an agreed-upon starting point — one which the liberals themselves are confirming each time they make this argument. And what must that starting point necessarily be? For conservatives to be hypocrites when they do something immoral, then that means they must profess a moral ideology in the first place. And — here’s the key — for the liberals to be let off the hook when they do something immoral, then that means they must profess an ideology with no moral claims whatsoever.
Thus, the diagram above only showed you the climactic second half of the liberals’ sleight-of-mind trick. The full statement — including the first half which you’re not supposed to think about — would be diagrammed like this:
Not quite so effective an argument when seen this way, is it?
Now, I’m not here to defend hypocrisy — I hate it as much as the next person. I’m only here to point out that in order to lay claim to their “but at least we’re not hypocrites” defense, liberals must necessarily paint themselves into an impossible corner, defining themselves as the ideology of amorality.
Remember, that’s not my characterization of liberalism — that’s liberals’ own characterization of themselves when they use this argument.
Does that mean that the “fallen conservative” is inherently more appealing or “superior” in some way to the “honestly amoral liberal”? No. It actually comes down to each voter’s preference.
Consider these two statements from two different potential husbands:
“I know I promised to stop drinking forever, honey, but I fell off the wagon again; please forgive me, and I’ll really really try to stay sober from now on, but no guarantees.”
“I’m a tertiary alcoholic, a stone-cold drunk; always have been, always will be. You’re not likely to ever see me sober. Take it or leave it.”
If you had to choose, which would you marry?
Obviously, neither is very appealing, but the liberal stance is that the second potential husband is preferable, because at least he’s honest. The conservative stance is: The first potential husband is preferable, because at least he’s trying.
Within the parameters of this “Hypocrisy Defense”…Which do you think the general public prefers: An ideology that at least tries to champion a moral code, but whose adherents sometimes fail to live up to it; or an ideology that by its own definition is inherently immoral and whose adherents don’t even have a moral code to violate?
The liberals are taking a HUGE gamble that a majority of Americans will throw in their lot with the party of immorality. But I have the feeling they’ve lost that bet — not just in Weinergate, but at a deep structural level in society for a long time to come.
My latest photo essay at Pajamas Media:
The media has been in a tizzy over the Rapture predictions made by end-times prophet Harold Camping, whose followers expected to ascend to heaven after God destroyed the world on Saturday at 6pm. Mostly, it’s just been a convenient excuse to bash Christians, even though the vast majority of Christians think Camping is a kook:
I suspect that the media feeding frenzy … has less to do with an impulse to lampoon the ridiculous than an impulse to ridicule Christianity in general. Despite Camping and his followers being an extremely small fringe group, the media has covered this story as if the entire Southern Baptist church made this prediction. Stanley also concurs that this should be an extremely small story, not a dominating narrative, but also predicts that we’ve just seen the beginning of it. Come tomorrow morning, we’re going to see a deluge of snarky reports about the silly end-timers who got left behind — excuse me, Left Behind — which will all carry an unstated theme of “oh, those silly Christians and their silly beliefs!”
So, the media have a self-serving justification for turning a small story into front-page news. But they do have a big logistical problem with the Rapture: it has no locus, no “main stage” where the whole drama will play out. Instead, Camping’s followers are scattered one-by-one across the country, each waiting for Rapture or disappointment in private. So where can you as a reporter stand facing the camera with a meaningful backdrop to show you’re in the middle of the action?
Well, Oakland, California famously has “no there there,” but it does have the only “there” for the Armageddon story — the headquarters of “Family Radio,” the Oakland studio where Camping records his radio shows which are then broadcast around the world. So I — along with a veritable circus of pranksters and true believers — decided to await the rapture at Armageddon HQ, the Family Radio offices on Hegenberger Road near the Oakland Airport. (Two other photographers also showed up and contributed their pictures to the report below.)
Turns out that neither Camping nor any of his followers were on hand, but that didn’t diminish the completely ridiculous media circus that ensued — a self-feeding fiasco that encapsulated the Armageddon-mockery frenzy we’re witnessing on a wider scale across the country.
Read the rest here!
Some photos to whet your appetite:
A man wearing a priestly cassock positioned himself in front of Camping’s offices and began to pompously declaim in churchly Latin — but who’s going to take you seriously with pornographic love dolls drifting in the background?
Bishop Joey held court in his Oakland A’s-styled “Atheists” shirt, the perfect interview subject for the throngs of media crews looking for something to focus on.
Some of you may be wondering: What happened to zombietime? Is it still an active site? What’s the difference between zombietime and zomblog? And why does zombie sometimes write essays and posts that appear elsewhere, but not here?
Time to clear that all up.
I probably should have written this post long ago, but I’ve never been good at promoting myself or at using “social media.” Better late than never, I suppose.
In general, nowadays you can find my writing at four different venues:
(I’ll explain each of these in more detail below.)
Sometimes I cross-link posts I make at one venue with notifications at the other venues — but not always. Why not? Because I’m disorganized and always short of time, that’s why not!
Also, let it be noted: I do NOT have an account at any of the following social media sites, so don’t bother looking for me at…
…or any other similar sites.
Each of my four primary venues serves a different purpose, and so, for the first time ever, I’ll explain what each is for:
zombietime is my original site, and I still consider it my “home page.” Prior to 2008, I basically posted all my work at zombietime, but once I started zomblog in April of 2008 I began to reserve zombietime for only “major” investigations or “long” photo essays. That distinction remains pretty much true to this day: big reports go on zombietime, and small reports go on zomblog.
However, you may have noticed that I’m posting less and less frequently on zombietime; that’s because these days I post most of my big reports and long essays at Pajamas Media (”PJM” — more on that below). In theory, I had originally planned to cross-post every single PJM essay also at zombietime, but, well, out of sheer laziness and limited spare time, I usually never get around to it. But on those occasions in which I do cross-post PJM photo essays at zombietime, the version posted at zombietime will sometimes have slightly larger photos, will all be on one page (instead of broken up into several pages), and will be ad-free and distraction-free — so many readers still consider the zombietime version (if there is one) as the “official” version of any zombie post.
Since 2010, everything that’s appeared at zombietime has also simultaneously appeared at PJM. I had planned to occasionally post zombietime-only “exclusives” that appear here and nowhere else, but once again the shortness of free blogging time and the general disorganization has prevented that from happening. As a result, posts appear at zombietime very infrequently these days, sometimes with several months of inactivity between reports. But I still reserve zombietime as the possible exclusive venue for any particularly outré reports in the future.
You may have noticed that zombietime is not a blog; you can’t leave comments there, and it has no RSS feed. So there’s no automated way to get notified of new zombietime posts. But not to worry! Because that’s one of the functions that zomblog serves: as a zombietime-notification system. From the day I started zomblog, I have always made a zomblog post notifying readers of any new zombietime essay, without fail. And I plan to remain diligent about this. So that if you subscribe to the zomblog RSS feed, you are guaranteed to learn of any and all new posts at zombietime (as infrequent as they may be).
zombietime is not just a place where I post photo essays: it also exists as a permanent museum of classic (yet still wildly popular) picture collections like the Mohammed Image Archive and the (woefully out-of-date) zombietime Hall of Shame, among others.
One last note about zombietime: Not only is zombietime not a blog, but it’s “old school” in every way: Each page is hand-coded, generally with 1994-era ultra-primitve html. It has no bells and whistles of any kind: no comments, no social media widgets, no RSS, no sidebar, no nothing — except for my text and photos. That’s it. It also has no advertisements. All of this is intentional. My goal with zombietime is to maintain a complete “purity of message,” each report being a single self-contained page 100% devoted to nothing but whatever topic I’m addressing, with no outside distractions of any kind. Old-fashioned? Sure. But I like it that way.
zomblog is, as the name suggests, the “zombietime blog.” I originally started zomblog as a place to publish short mini-posts that didn’t feel hefty enough to merit a post at zombietime. And while that remains zomblog’s primary function, it is also used for:
- announcements of and links to all new zombietime reports;
- a place for readers to comment on zombietime reports;
- occasional notifications of my PajamasMedia posts;
- a place for me to post single photos or humorous asides;
- and in general anything I deem too “small” to post on zombietime.
In theory, I really ought to post on zomblog notifications of each and every new essay I pubish at Pajamas Media, but I often use up all my available “blogging time” just creating the PJM report in the first place, and never get around to making a zomblog post about it. Terribly disorganized of me, I realize, but until I really get my act together (not likely), my zomblog/PJM notifications will remain inconsistent.
Unlike zombietime, zomblog is a “normal” blog like everyone’s used to, with a comments section, time-stamped posts, archives, an RSS feed, “pingbacks,” and so forth. The only distinguishing factor is a complete absence of advertisements, which is once again a conscious decision on my part — a personality quirk, I suppose.
In 2010, I started writing for Pajamas Media, a burgeoning news portal with a large stable of well-known authors and pundits. Which leads us to my next two primary venues which, if you want to keep tabs on my output, you’ll really need to bookmark:
3. Pajamas Media
My ongoing column at Pajamas Media (PJM) has now become my main outlet for posting photo essays, investigative reports, analyses, satire, and anything else that occurs to me. As such, it now generally serves the same function that zombietime used to serve, although there tends to be more straight-up writing at PJM, with only the occasional photo essay, whereas zombietime was somewhat more photographically oriented.
As I said above, my original intention was to re-post on zombietime each and every single PJM essay, but I’m always too busy to keep that promise. So these days, most of my essays appear at PJM and nowhere else. This is a key point, and actually the main reason I’m making this explanatory post: Many of my longtime readers keep checking for new stuff at zomblog and zombietime, and go away disappointed that there’s nothing new, unaware that I’m making frequent posts at PJM that never get referenced here at all. So if you want to keep abreast of my work, make sure you check my PJM column. I’ve made many wildly popular and newsworthy posts at PJM over the last couple years that you would have entirely missed if you only checked the zombietime domain.
Should I be cross-posting everything everywhere, for maximum exposure? Yes. I don’t deny it. But blogging remains a part-time thing for me, and as long as my stuff appears at least somewhere, I’m satisfied: there’s no real need for a duplicative re-post of the same material. Besides which, PJM has a much larger Web footprint than zombietime, and PJM is indexed by Google News and other search engines, and as a result my work can reach a much wider audience through PJM than it could on just my own one-person site.
Which brings me to my final primary venue:
4. The Tatler
My posts at PJM’s group blog called “The Tatler” are where I make short, quippy observations about current events. I also sometimes post single photos or mini photo essays at The Tatler, which is why it has pretty much supplanted the role formerly filled by zomblog.
Overall, The Tatler is a fast-paced group blog at which any PJM author can post quick breaking news links or timely punditry about current events. This link to the main “Tatler” page will show you all posts by all authors. But it’s also possible to bookmark a stream of just a single Tatler author’s posts — so this link will give just the zombie posts on The Tatler. Very handy!
In theory, I’m supposed to always make a Tatler post notifying the world of any new major essay I publish at my main PJM column, but just as at zomblog, I frequently fall down on the job and forget to do so. As a result, I usually have two distinct content-streams going on at the Pajamas Media domain — larger posts at my PJM column, and shorter posts at the Tatler.
Just because my Tatler posts are supposed to be short and quick, doesn’t mean that they’re always insignificant; in some instances, my Tatler posts have become hugely popular and generated more traffic than even my “major” reports.
So, that’s it for the main components of my Web presence. Since every single zombietime post receives its own notification on zomblog, you can keep tabs on all my work by bookmarking just three pages:
With those three bookmarks, you’ll catch just about everything I publish as “zombie” these days.
My online presence is not entirely limited to just zombietime and PJM. If you’re a real zombieholic, you can also find my work at…
I have an account at YouTube under the name “zombietimedotcom,” and on occasion will take a video at one of the events I cover and upload it for inclusion in my report. If you visit my YouTube “Channel” and click the “Subscribe” button at the top of the page, you’ll get an automatic notification from YouTube every time I upload a new video. (You’ll have to have your own YouTube account to do this.) The interesting part is this: Because I usually upload new videos long before I’m ready to actually publish a new photo essay, people who subscribe to my YouTube Channel get advance warning of any upcoming zombie video report hours or sometimes even days ahead of time, depending on how long it will take me to work on it.
6. The comments sections of other blogs or news sites
I don’t do a lot of commenting outside my own domains, but on occasion my fingers will start flying. In particular, I sometimes will write mini-essay comments under the username “jimjams” (slang for pajamas) at SFGate, the Web site for the San Francisco Chronicle which (as much as I hate it) is basically my hometown newspaper. Not all jimjams comments are by me (a few other people log on under the same username and post comments as well), but most are. So if you happen to stumble across a jimjams comment that’s incisive, brutal or witty, that’s me. (However, most comments I leave at SFGate are about local issues and local news stories, and so would be of little interest to the general public.)
7. Secret double-anonymous essays, ascribed to other people
Yes, it’s true: Once every blue moon I will put together an investigative report and then allow someone else to publish it under their own name; or I will publish it under some username other than “zombie.” Why? Well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it? So, if you ever see a report that you think is in my style, but doesn’t have my byline, and think to yourself, “Gee, I wonder if zombie is behind this,” the answer is: Possibly. You never know!
One last question I sometimes get asked:
Is there a way to get automated email notifications of each and every new zomblog or PJM zombie post? And the answer is: Uh…hmmm…possibly! There may be some way to “subscribe” email-wise to the RSS feed of zomblog, but I’m not sure how it works, to be frank. This link may also work as a “feed” for my PJM columns, and this link may get you my Tatler “feed,” though you’ll have to figure out on your own how to turn it into an email subscription. (My ignorance of all things tech is really starting to show, I fear.) If you manage to subscribe to all three feeds, then you’re all set! (Note: I don’t maintain my own personal email list, however; once again, laziness and disorganization trump everything else.)
So: if you’re a zombietime fan and didn’t even know I was publishing most of my stuff over at PJM, then make sure to bookmark my Pajamas Media column and my Tatler stream; if you’re a PJM reader who didn’t know I had my own personal site, then make sure to bookmark zombietime and zomblog.
And it wouldn’t be a zombie post without at least one picture, so here’s a photo of a bumper sticker somewhere in America, submitted by an anonymous fan who sent it to me without explanation: