It’s for my own protection. These are posts where I want to express my thoughts, but it is risky to do so because the material is controversial, touches on incendiary conflicts, or might illicit a vindictive response from people in a position to thwart my ability to survive as an artist. There are only 2 posts where I’ve done this so far, and in both cases it was retroactive, after first openly publishing them, then removed them because they were too risky.
After writing the article above, I continued to research the topic, and soon realized it was much more political and dark than just the question of the anemic, pandering, and subservient nature of current art criticism.
I give the password to my patrons on Patreon, because I’ve learned a curious lesson over the last few years, which is that people who don’t have my best interests at heart won’t give me a dime, because on principle, on some level, that would benefit me. It short circuits their mental wiring. Having a pay barrier of $1 allows me to express my views, but wards off people who would use my content against me.
In the article above I was very honest and realistic about a new market, when you simply have to be an unreserved cheerleader for all things crypto and NFT if you don’t want to get shut out.
In the past I would be largely unfiltered in sharing my views, but as each year passes, the world becomes more dictatorial in what one must think and believe, and more persecutory of anyone who doesn’t regurgitate the party line. I may retroactively make some older posts private as well.
I’m not trying to recruit patrons, but rather just to explain why my last post, and another recent one, became password protected after I published them. I do have over 4,000 subscribers, many of whom would have gotten an email notification, only to find the post inaccessible. I like my content to be free, and I even pay a premium (it’s more than $100 a year] to NOT have ads, which would otherwise appear, clutter my posts. Note that I was “blacklisted” [their term] from receiving ad revenue via my blog, but the ads would appear nonetheless. Apparently some of my content is not fun for the whole family, work safe, and is all-around insufficiently mushy enough to constitute baby food. In reality, I’m just a bit ahead of the herd, and unless we are headed down some dark passage into a new Middle Ages, in years to come my formerly controversial material will be obviously clear-headed, moral, and decent.
The good news is that I share all my art, and my visual art is the best way for me to express myself. There are things I can say in visual art that I wouldn’t or couldn’t articulate in words. I also want to put most my energies there, rather than opinion pieces and editorials, however, as if often the case, I can’t resist getting some things off my chest.
For anyone who does want access to my unfiltered content — and I am also more open and personal in my regular posts there — you CAN become a patron for $1 a month [see below]. I will still post password protected articles here on occasion because of the formatting I can do here, such as the integration of images, text, and video. I also like my blog to be an aggregate of my art and thought.
Hope you understand, and sorry for anyone who came to read an article and got a password prompt. With very rare exceptions, you have access to all my content free, ad-free, and without a subscription.
And if you like my art or criticism, please consider chipping in so I can keep working until I drop. Through Patreon, you can give $1 (or more) per month to help keep me going (y’know, so I don’t have to put art on the back-burner while I slog away at a full-time job). See how it works here.
Or go directly to my account.
Or you can make a one time donation to help me keep on making art and blogging (and restore my faith in humanity simultaneously).
19 replies on “Why I made some posts password protected”
I password proteck my ballsack.
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I gathered that would be the case when I wrote a long reply and got a red sign, “your comment wasn’t posted” or something like that. Maybe I should tell hubs to follow your example as he writes openly about stf. I suppose that because it’s in Greek he’s still off the hook. Amazing isn’t it that in this day and age of ‘democracy’ and ‘free speech’ we have to censor ourselves?! Back to music though, I think you’d enjoy his musical posts [https://oannes.gr/].
I’ll check out your patreon because I wouldn’t want to miss out on your ‘controversial’ [;-)] thoughts!
I wrote you a response to your comment on the Top 200 singers, which you may not have seen. This was it:
“Ah, I love Fairport Convention with Sandy Denny. Some of their songs have completely blown me away. “Tam Lin” is one. But, maybe my favorite is “Matty Groves”, and maybe that’s for the story. “A Sailor’s Life” is another fav, and shows off her vocals a bit more. Just last week I was trying to surreptitiously download some of their albums, without success.
Funny you should mention Annie Haslam. I gather nobody knows who she is, as Renaissance is kinda’ obscure. I discovered “Rajah Khan” by them a few months ago, and that song in particularly really surprised me. It’s just incredible.
Along the lines of those two, I really enjoy the vocals of Jacqui McShee with Pentangle, especially “Cruel Sister” which has 5 stars in my personal ranking of songs. Just gives me chills. I didn’t even realize Bert Jansch was also in the band. His “Needle of Death” is also one of my favorite songs.
I think everyone is comfortably supposed to hate prog. I don’t care what anyone else thinks about any art, including my own. When I was in High School my favorite band was Gentle Giant. Never heard a single song from them on the radio, there wasn’t internet, and I saw nothing about them in print. I found 1 record from a 2 record compilation in a used record store, without even a cover. Just the vinyl in a white sleeve. Didn’t need any authority to tell me it was good or not. I could tell the music was way out there, complex, and interesting. Most everyone else was into Van Halen, Rush, and AC/DC at the time. So, I still love prog to this day. One of my favorite genres. In fact, I was watching some live early Genesis the other day, and just wondering and marveling at whatever it was they were going for, which is something nobody cares about anymore, or would remotely set their sites on.”
Also, yes, in 2023 people need to self-censor. The stuff that has come out recently about the govt involvement in censoring people on Twitter comes to mind, in which case if you don’t self-censor, you may find yourself permanently eradicated. So, just like in other authoritarian countries, we have to be smarter about expressing our true views. It’s really no surprise people are using new technology to test out just how much they can steal people’s privacy, control the narrative, etc.
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I know! I saw it and replied [a long one too] but it got lost.
I remember writing about Genesis and how the “Lamb…” would fill up stadiums back in the day! Can you imagine an album like that having such an impact today?! Just the thought that there was a time when bands like Magma, VDGG, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Focus, Renaissance, among other gems, were releasing albums is mind blowing!
You’re right, nobody cares anymore. It’s all browsing for seconds one song after another.
However, there are still some of us who will listen, thankfully! As there are still some of us who will create.
Futile, if you ask me, but -as far as I’m concerned- can’t do otherwise. Why I look forward to the day I’ll disconnect from everything digital and take to the mountains!
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Yes, agreed. Slowly, whatever ethos those old prog bands embodied has completely evaporated and been replaced by waves of other styles and approaches, most famously punk. And that is also one of the things that’s really amazing to me about music in general, which is how much it can capture the zeitgeist of a particular era and geography. I find that more strongly in music than any other medium. And so culture shifts, and whole orientations to reality are lost except for musical recordings. For example, when I think of the 60’s or the 70’s, musical groups come to mind. I wonder if it has to do with what part of the brain/mind is responsible for registering music, and the fact that it’s non-linguistic. We can’t interpret riffs and melodies into words, and so they are more vague but also deep and resonant associations.
And just because something comes after something else – like punk coming after prog, or minimalism after abstract expressionism – doesn’t mean it’s more evolved, or better. And that brings us back to the Top 200 Singers. On reflection, I think it may be less clinically purposeful than I originally thought, and might be more just a reflection of who they pooled to get their tallies. Apparently it was more than 100 people, and perhaps a gaggle of fresh college grads absolutely certain the theories they’d recently memorized are an accurate depiction of the greater reality. However you slice it, they don’t think prog rock is relevant any more, and no prog singer is in the top 200. And that is a sociopolitical judgement as much or more than a musical one. And that’s where it starts to shade into dangerous territory that I don’t want to get involved in.
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As you brilliantly say, music resonates deeply, unattached from words, thoughts, images, therefore it makes sense that it’s the first art form affected by today’s decadence. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like for someone like Josquin des Prez or Michelangelo to be ‘beamed’ to our reality for a few moments! But that’s beyond the point here. Everything is sociopolitical judgement nowadays and I agree, dangerous territory.
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Not sure if music was the first. I think it was visual art, at least for me personally. I got my Masters in fine art 30 years ago, and everything you see today was inflicted on me in graduate school. For example, because of my biology, I was seen as a necessary sacrifice so that more worthy, genuine, and human individuals could prosper instead. The best contribution I could make to art was to drop out, and the second best was to make art “deconstructing [my] white male privilege”. I was expected to punch myself in the face perpetually, and make art that was an exercise in self-degradation, while my peers were encouraged to empower themselves and celebrate their identities. Conceptualism triumphed over mediums like “painting”, or any kind of skill/talent based art that sought to produce a captivating and original image to the degree that I only made one painting in grad school, and that was in the first month. There was still another generation or two of music that was relatively free of this particular sort of sociopolitical control until it caught up with visual art. Thought that’s just my personal experience. All the arts are now subordinate to sociopolitical control. Hard to say which came first. I just happened to be in a very “radical” visual art school. Incidentally, I’ve learned the evil of “radicalism”, which is that it completely disavows the past. We need to have one foot in the past and one in the future if we want a healthy and sustainable outcome.
I for one can appreciate a pablum-free blog. My blog has ‘bad’ words on occasion and other NSFW content. Life isn’t censored and neither am I. Thanks for the great advice. 💀🙏
It’s not like I have a history of self-censoring, though, and even in this instance, anyone with $1 can access my thoughts. But, uh, yeah, I’m “blacklisted” here, on WordPress, for ad revenue because I gather some of my content was too controversial. At the the time I was blacklisted I was owed $70. People who made YouTube videos who overstepped certain boundaries, and questioned certain narratives, saw their videos and channels demonetized, or removed. The government was involved with Twitter to censor and block accounts that challenged certain narratives. So, for one example, which is something I’ve never talked about myself, the “lab leak theory”. Now that is accepted as quite possible, but in the recent past, anyone who espoused it got shut down. And if you say things that go against whatever the dominant narrative is, you may find you are dialed down in the algorithm. So, one has to strike an intelligent balance of speaking truth without getting extinguished for doing so. America has become increasingly authoritarian, censorious, and secretive about it. Manipulating algorithms is the most powerful tool of censorship today. Just dial down someone’s visibility, without anyone knowing, and that person is effectively neutralized. Twitter, for one, has been found out absolutely to have made this a practice. So, today, we have to be smart, like authors of the past, who would write children’s stories and such to obliquely challenge authority and the state, without being specific enough to be shut down for it.
I used to think you could say whatever you want, as long as you had an intelligent, persuasive argument. Nope. You have to go along with the party line, just like in China.
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I was surprised the other day when WordPress allowed me to advertise one of my posts with them that had the f-word in it. Clearly, someone wasn’t very thorough about reviewing my submission, or they just needed the money particularly badly, lol. I also have a lot of pins on Pinterest and someone kept turning me in for having posted pornographic content, when I had nothing even close to that, even under my Arts section. Only later did I receive some ‘apology’ emails from Pinterest noting that they had replaced said images (of which I was never shown the offending pins). I imagine more and more of this content ‘moderation’ will be done by A.I. instead of humans, perhaps unless we complain, and I doubt even that will last for long.
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Thank you for your contribution, which I consider very important and I hope that more people will deal with this topic and point it out in one way or the other.
We live in a very challenging time. It is the era of the “Emperor’s New Clothes”. We’ve probably always lived in a world of narratives (e.g. The American Dream). These narratives have been relatively easy to maintain in the past. Now, in the age of the internet, “clothes are falling” and people in power are trying to stop the “bottom rows” from looking.
But the result is a real disenchantment with politics, an influx of right-wing parties and conspiracy theorists.
Should this development continue, there will inevitably be an implosion of the system as we have known it so far. But again, it will be those who hold the power over the algorithms (the key-power of today) who take advantage of it.
This is not pleasant, but from my point of view it can hardly be changed (I can give a long list of reasons for this). On the contrary, now with AI, the corset of opinion will only be tightened even more.
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Thanks for reading and commenting, Friedrich! Right, I think today it’s both easier to challenge and also to enforce narratives. I’m glad to see someone appreciates just how powerful algorithms are, as you put it “the key-power of today”. Those who control them — which means who and what is visible and counts — are unelected, unaccountable, and neither are they monitored nor are their algorithms transparent. I’m really surprised more hasn’t been made of this b/c virtually all businesses need to have a presence online, and that presence can make or break them, in which case an invisible entity can decide without detection or repercussions which businesses thrive and which fail. Recent revelations have revealed the extend to which the government has recently been involved in controlling social media content. That was somewhat surprising, but it wasn’t at all that the media moguls themselves were tinkering about in accordance with their own beliefs, agendas, preferences, and self-interest. And yet, so few people seem to get this. In a virtual world the size of one’s online presence is everything, and at this juncture already plausibly more important than one’s stature in the physical world. People have the power to shrink others to Lilliputians, or expand them into Gargantuans. The algorithms need to be publicly available, and fair. And that’s just one of the issues the person of average means faces when dealing with the powerful, now with high-tech at their disposal.
When I lived in China there was a famous saying, “The mountains are high and the emperor is far away”. It meant that there was some regional autonomy, and individuals could get away with a lot more than they were allowed to. Not any more. The emperor is now in their phones, computers, in the endless surveillance cameras (with facial recognition), and in volumes of data collected about each individual. The emperor is in the social credit system that will stop someone who, for example, complained about the social credit system, from boarding a flight, or eating at a restaurant. America, the “land of the free”, upon getting wind of this objected not that it was happening, but that we hadn’t yet implemented it at home. And so we are, and catching up rather quickly, if somewhat more stealthy about it.
As you point out, the power of AI is another tool with unimaginable potential for surveillance and control. Oh JOY! The joy of it!
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Thanks for the answer! Yes, nobody seems to be asking, with so many losing so much money at the moment.
A few days ago I read an article: 96% of the profits made since 2020 ended up in the pockets of 1% of the world’s population.
There’s not even an outcry. How is something like this possible?
Directly and indirectly through algorithms. e.g. Mr. Electrocar showed it: With a few tweets, dogecoin became a high-flyer and “T-car” was worth more than 6-7 established car brands. He liked this so much that he bought the whole “bird-cage” straight away – without knowing anything about it.
Nothing against Mr. E.M., but it shows in an impressive way how the system works at the moment. A few tweets, the stock / the coin goes up, the bots take over and drive things to the absurd. The investors – and there were well-known funds among them – who went short again “T” lost their pants.
What am I trying to say? The algorithms have already developed enormous potential in areas that most of us don’t even consider or assume that it doesn’t concern us (I don’t have any stocks anyway – why worry….).
But it only gets really exciting when we have quantum computers at our disposal, which can then juggle with much larger amounts of data.
I’m not so sure about one of your points: “The algorithms need to be publicly available….”. For one thing, I’m afraid the train has long since left the station. By the time institutions such as the EU react to this, the damage would no longer be repairable. Even if e.g. NGOs could sue and were right, it would ultimately amount to “…against the interests of the state…” – with reference to China or some other “enemy”.
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Ah, yes, covid was an absolute boon for big tech, Amazon, and other big businesses. It was the greatest upward transfer of wealth in human history, or so I’ve heard. The prices, such as for food, that went up ostensibly because of the pandemic, have not gone back down. The increases, instead, are permanent. In the last weeks, however, it’s become apparent that those same big tech companies have had record losses and are laying off record numbers of people, from Microsoft to Twitter to Amazon… And part of the message here, which these moguls seemed to have missed somehow, is that you can’t trounce the middle class and then simultaneously expect to have an ever expanding customer base.
Elon’s been working on a fleet of “personal robots” that can perform virtually any physical job humans do now. The question that comes immediately to my mind is, if you replace everyone’s jobs with robots, who’s going to be able to buy a robot? His solution, somehow, is that the government will award everyone a “guaranteed universal income”. And who the hell is going to pay for this when Amazon managed to pay zero in taxes? And is a society where 99.9% of people are on a fixed income (which is as low as possible to allow survival), and 0.1% have unimaginable riches, not an Orwellian dystopia?
My idea about making the algorithms public and transparent is just addressing ONE problem, with the goal of curtailing the ability of unaccountable tech giants to take it upon themselves to decide who and what is allowed to become credible, popular, or successful. As you say, that’s probably far too little, too late, and just in terms of the internet.
As far as left or right politics are concerned, neither are safe with the Gollum’s “ring” level of power and temptation new tech and AI provides for top-down control. China, who leads the world in using tech to control and monitor its population on a micro level, is “communist”, which is a far left style of governance. Whenever power is concentrated in the few, whatever hat they wear, authoritarianism is the end result. Many of the worst abuses of tech power in recent years have been issued by the left, including most of the censorship on Twitter and Facebook. The tech moguls are all dems, and Sam Bankman-Fried was the second largest contributor to the Biden campaign. I’m sure the right/conservatives isn’t/aren’t any better. They are just less powerful at the moment.
The only hope I see over coffee this morning is that the rich and powerful, whatever political hat they happen to be donning disingenuously, figure out that you can only be so prosperous lording over a nation of subservient wretches, and that to sustain their own wealth they can only fleece the 99.9% so much. But none of this is my area of expertise, or even interest. I detest politics. However, when one is being crushed under a boot, one tends to recognize the minor details like the tread on the bottom of someone else’s shoes.
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All agreed! Much could be said on the subject, but I don’t want to spam your blog. Let’s hope that good will prevail in the end.
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Cheers, Friedrich. Enjoyed discussing this topic. Thanks.
I hear ya. To say that the ever increasing censorship and restrictions on self expression in general concerns me would be an understatement. As usual, I completely agree with and understand everything you said in this post. Just be careful that Patreon don’t ban you too! ( This has actually happened to a few people, although this was a year or so ago- during lockdowns- and for mentioning ….well, you can probably guess…) . The state of the world is fucking ridiculous. It’s more and more like a huge surreal comedy noir with every passing day.
I had a bit of a holiday from blog world recently, and now that I’ve returned I did notice that there were a few posts of yours I needed to catch up on. I do love your straight talking ways and lack of bullshit, so I’ll happily join your Patreon ( I just need to give it a few days as I don’t use internet banking from my main account. I have an account exclusively for that- which is generally pretty empty; I must put physical money into it for a specific reason. Then I use it for that, and don’t have anything to do with the account again until I need to pay for something online again. It’s a bit of faffing about, but worth it for the sense of security it gives me- false or otherwise!).
Anyway, keep being real, Eric. We appreciate it!
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“The state of the world is fucking ridiculous. It’s more and more like a huge surreal comedy noir with every passing day.”
Yeah. Absolutely. It’s gotten to the point where I will actually have to ask myself if I really DON’T exist in some simulated universe, because things are just so stupid that I can’t keep up the “willing suspension of disbelief” necessary to entertain consuming fiction. Another way to put it is that a lot of events, if they were in fiction, would not have seemed plausibly persuasive to me. A lot of those things are political, so I can’t really speak about them now that it’s 1984 again, but the general trait they share is that they are tragically stupid, and deadly. And I do know about the people who were shut down by Patreon. And then Paypal had the bright idea of fining people over $1k for wrongthink, but the ability of a financial institution predicating huge fines on people based on their speech was too much even for the most radical ideologues, seeing as there is enormous potential for abuse. And in retrospect, we can see that people who merely articulated reservations about certain events – reservations which history is showing to be more and more likely true – would have potentially been impoverished for being right and having the guts to stand up to power, er, in America.
I saw a video the other day about scientific studies that show we are getting dumber. Also more obese, as everyone already knows. There’s probably a couple more ways we’re degenerating as well. Good stuff.
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Yep, agreed; even if it were all a fiction it’d still be hard to believe. I shake my head not only because of it all, but because so many people still seem so complacent. That level of apathy is so dangerous. I can’t grasp how anyone- let alone people with kids ( and I know plenty) – can be so nonchalant while the world falls to bits. Depressing AF.
Woah, I had no idea about the Paypal thing. That’s extremely concerning…although, sadly, not surprising anymore. Makes me want to run off into the wilderness ( although I’m sure that will be illegal soon, too).
I’m not surprised at all to hear that humans are getting dumber. I see evidence of it every day. It’s the norm to have a 20 second attention span, now, too. (The trouble I have trying to meet people who even read books anymore!) It’s bloody sad. Same with the obesity. Everyone has become so used to letting machines and devices do everything for them ( including thinking). I get concerned neighbours offering to give me a lift down to the grocery store, and they seem so confused when I decline. It’s literally a five minute walk O.o . Sometimes I walk to the other end of town ( a full 2 kilometres * gasp!* ). I love it, because there are some beautiful views around here, so I get to appreciate that ( as well as some alone time) AND get incidental exercise at the same time, which is great for both physical and mental health.
I’m reminded here of an animated film my kid liked when she was little ( ‘Wal-E’?? I can’t quite remember the name). But it was set in a dystopian future, and humans were all extremely overweight and moved around in their hover-chairs- which their butts were permanently welded into- living on instant/ fast food from conveniently located vending devices and communicating through the screens that were built into their hover-chairs. Seems funny as a science fiction idea, but a little too close to the truth for comfort now. I’ve lost faith in schools, too, as they encourage all that crap ( over here they do, anyway) despite knowing how bad that is for a kid’s growing brain. I don’t want any part of it!
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