The Unselfish Writer

Selfishness

A while back, I came across a comment that posed the question of selfishness as it applies to writing and writers. It was a bit of a two-parter that morphed around the subject. The first part of the question asked whether or not an unselfish writer should give away his or her work for free. The second part wanted an answer to the bigger question of “what is a selfish reason to write?”

I think there was more to these questions than met the eye when I first read them. The comments were posed as a challenge more than an observation. Still, they were interesting enough. How does selfishness and writing come together? How does selfishness, or lack of it, play into chasing word art?

A few readers may need to don the crash helmet for what follows. It’s purely an opinion piece, so don’t get too worked up over it. Geezer-writers get to stretch their mouth muscles from time to time.

The first part of the question, whether or not a writer should be paid, is pretty simplistic and obvious. I’ve written a number of posts about this topic. Since I’ve been writing all my life, I also have pretty strong feelings about it. If you’re a worthy writer, you should be paid for your work, period. The only exception is when you choose to offer your work for free, for some personal reason that makes sense to you. There’s an entire section on this blog, along with several individual articles, that speak to the need for writers to be compensated for their work. It’s a no-brainer.

But getting paid for your words is a tough business. Few writers ever achieve that goal. As I’ve mentioned many times, some of the best writers I’ve known never made it in a financial sense. They were great word artists but they never had the chance to make their work pay. This is one of the reasons that I’m such a strong proponent of self-publishing, to level the playing field for writers who would otherwise sit it out on the sidelines for reasons that have nothing to do with their talent.

Pay as You Exit

Should you be paid for your work? You bet, so long as your work is worth the money. In the end, your readers should be allowed to make that decision, not publishers or alleged “publishing companies” that populate the Internet. It’s all between you and the reader. The only way to know if you can make writing work for you is to get your words out there and hear what readers have to say about it. Readers vote with their money, which is just the way it should be. Publishers have lost their importance through their own greed and immoderate behavior. Get your words out there, and do it on your own terms.

The second part of the question is a little strange. I’ve never been asked the question in the past but it’s worth a thought. What is a selfish reason to write?

I don’t find much selfishness among my fellow writers. However, they mostly write books, novels or nonfiction. A few of my writer-friends are journalists. I do see a good deal of selfishness among bloggers, though. I find lots of attention-seeking behavior out there.

Now, to some extent, attention-seeking behavior is inherent in anyone who writes seriously or as a career. We want to be noticed, one way or another. We may write for ourselves, at first, but we publish to be read. At some level, that’s attention-seeking. I doubt that any seasoned writer would argue against this relationship.

attention seeking

But it goes beyond that acceptable level with so many blogs. There are endless posts directed at only one purpose – driving readers to the blog. There are so many words that have this sole purpose that it’s a day’s work to just get through them to the true nuggets of good writing. This kind of behavior is so obvious and transparent that virtually all readers recognize it when they see it. It operates at a level of commercials on TV, except that every so often you run across a really funny, entertaining TV commercial. Not so often with most blogs.

This kind of writing is selfish. It is not intended to convey valuable information, entertain, enlighten, share or contribute to others. It is designed to point back at the writer and do nothing more. It’s a way of putting notches on a virtual blog-belt that says, “Hey, look at me! I now have 34,534 followers!” Well, if you’re into quantity as a writing goal, it surely serves some purpose. It just doesn’t work for me.

If the blog is commercial in nature, I get the point. However, if it’s intended to be a personal blog, and the whole point is to drive readers to the blog, it shows up in the posts and in the writing style. This kind of writer is not trying to share. He or she is trying to collect. In my view, that’s selfish.

So, are writers selfish? The good ones, those who work it out as a living, the journalists, the worthy novelists, and even the occasional strong blog writer are not selfish. They are sharing something of who they are, what they think, how they are feeling, what they’ve learned along the way. They are not selfish. They are writers, even if they remain undiscovered for a lifetime.

Asking if writers are selfish is like asking if a writer is any good at what he or she does with their art. The best writers move well beyond their selfishness and find reasons to create words that are genuine and tangible, meaningful in some way to their readers. Those who cannot get to this point simply don’t make it in the business. There’s too much competition from good, genuine writers for the purely selfish to survive the cut.

Writer-selfishness has nothing to do with money, with getting that advance and royalty check. It has everything to do with sharing that part of yourself that may touch your readers.

Anything else is selfish.

Publisher Trips On Own Ego, Saved By Le Guinn

Cover of "The Left Hand of Darkness"

Ursula Le Guin has long been an icon in the science fiction/fantasy genre. Her name and her work are immediately recognizable and universally praised. Well, almost universally.

Her novel, The Left Hand of Darkness, was much more than a bestseller. In 1970, it won the prestigious Hugo Award. A year earlier, in 1969, it was selected for the Nebula Award for Best Novel. It quickly became a classic and has remained so.

Le Guin went on to create a stunning collection of captivating literature, strong on themes that promoted meaningful, memorable female characters. She was a prolific writer, also creating poetry and essays that offered her unique style and voice. Le Guin gave birth to futuristic and fantasy worlds that are unparalleled in the genre.

However, like all writers, she suffered rejection early in her career. In Le Guin’s case, the publisher didn’t just miss the target but shot itself right in the creditability piehole and pocketbook.

Here is a classic example of a publisher stumbling over ego. True to the style of her life, Le Guin never allowed the name of the editor or publishing house to be identified when this rejection letter was finally released. It was written to her literary agent. She was certainly more generous and prescient than the author of this letter.

So, the next time you receive a rejection letter, just consider the source and motive. Publishers have a very long history of wrong-headed decisions.

Ursula K. Le Guin

Dear Miss Kidd, 

Ursula K. Le Guin writes extremely well, but I’m sorry to have to say that on the basis of that one highly distinguishing quality alone I cannot make you an offer for the novel. The book is so endlessly complicated by details of reference and information, the interim legends become so much of a nuisance despite their relevance, that the very action of the story seems to be to become hopelessly bogged down and the book, eventually, unreadable. The whole is so dry and airless, so lacking in pace, that whatever drama and excitement the novel might have had is entirely dissipated by what does seem, a great deal of the time, to be extraneous material. My thanks nonetheless for having thought of us. The manuscript of The Left Hand of Darkness returned herewith. Yours sincerely,

The Editor
21 June, 1968

Pickpockets Love Their Writers

English: Dominique Pickpocket

The Internet is awash with flim-flam, scams and pickpockets targeting a new generation of writers. Unless you’re a seasoned scribe, tethered by the martial art of protecting your assets, it’s best to keep your purse or wallet under lock and key. The predators are out there and they’re just waiting to lighten your monetary load.

Here are a few of the most notorious pickpockets who specialize in writers:

The agency fee scam. This one has been around for quite a while and it’s simplicity itself – a literary agency that charges “reading fees.” The gimmick is straightforward enough. You send your masterpiece to the agent and he or she will read it for a fee and send it back to you, usually with some inane one-liner that proves to be meaningless. In fact, your work may have never been read at all. Wow. These bottom-feeder “agents” are the worst. No reputable agent would ever charge a reading fee, or any other up-front fee. That’s not how the game works. Established and trustworthy agents operate on a commission. That commision is based on book contracts and, in some cases, personal service contracts. No other fees are charged. None. Not even postage. If you come across an agent that charges a fee of any kind, especially a reading fee, run away immediately. Before you contact an agent for any reason, do a background check. This is when the Internet can be your friend. Writers rate agents and they often do it in public. Learn from the experiences of others and never, never pay a fee to any agent. Never. A good agent will want to establish a personal relationship with you, to help your career. That’s how good agents succeed. They do not make it on one-time fees.

Be your own publisher. Check this one out on Google and you’ll find an amazing number of hits. There’s usually a charge for some “how to” book or an online class attached to the offer. These gimmicks proclaim how easy it is to become a publisher and keep all your profits, as well as make some money on other writers. Well, in some ways it is easy – too easy, which is why there are so many flaky online publishers swimming around the Internet. However, there is nothing easy or simple about publishing, if you choose to do it with even a little integrity. Seasoned writers know this and they avoid flaky publishers like the plague. Don’t be picked clean with this scam. You don’t want to be a publisher. You want to be a writer who values your own publisher. Keep the relationship the way it was designed to operate in the first place.

How to become a great writer. Nope, this just doesn’t work for anyone. These scams usually involve classes, workshops, books, whatever – all of which are purchased with the promise of making you the best writer of the century. Just think about it for a moment. Who are these people? If they know so much about writing, why aren’t all the major publishing houses crawling all over them? What gives them some special knowledge, so special that you have to pay for it? Forget about it. If you want to take some writing or literature classes, stick to your local community college or university. Even then, these classes will never teach you how to become a great writer. They may improve your skills in certain areas, which can be helpful, but that’s all. Becoming a great writer is a matter of hard work, practice, reading, writing and learning the trade your own way. If you really need a guru, dig up a writer who has already made his or her bones in the business. Perhaps you’ll get lucky. Lots of established writers are willing to lend a hand to a new generation when they can.

Paid critiques. This one is becoming ubiquitous. You pay an individual to critique your work, someone who often refers to himself or herself as a “coach.” OK, the idea seems worthy. But, give it some thought. It’s like the writing guru I just discussed. Who are these people? Are they established, well published authors with some solid credentials? No? Well, then why pay someone whose lineage is questionable to critique your work? What’s their opinion worth? If you want this kind of critique, the best place to go is to your audience, to a select group of readers whose opinion you trust and whose feedback you value. Why go to some self-appointed “coach” for what amounts to nothing more than a paid opinion? Really? Pass on it, always.

Online anything. OK, that’s a bit broad, I admit. However, why would you pay anyone to mess with your work when that “anyone” is unknown, faceless, unproven, and disinterested in your growth as a writer? That’s like letting your beloved Fido run free on the highway. It just makes no sense. It does, however, lighten your cash load, if that’s your goal. Your writing career will not flourish on promises, only on accomplishments. You are in charge of that end of the business and it all comes down to commitment and hard work.

The bottom line is that your writing, and your career as a writer, needs the personal touch. Your personal masterpiece must not fall into the hands of predators in the hope that it will somehow become the world’s masterpiece. Your growth as a writer is a long-term proposition. It is not something that can be purchased, bargained, or remade instantly by any alleged guru. However, it can grow naturally and become more vibrant over time. The ways to make this happen are all personal, all free, and all your own to enjoy.

When it comes time to have your pocket picked, legitimate agents and publishers will do the job and do it right. That’s the way of the seasoned writer. You should settle for nothing less and pay for nothing more.

Here are a few articles that may be of some help:

Paid Reviews Rock Your Pocket

Online Publishing

E-Hyphens and E-Agents

Soul Letters: Chris Kluwe

Soul LetterWriters are renown for their ability to construct moving, passionate letters. It’s a natural byproduct of the craft, usually garnered after decades of toil and trials. However, they are not alone when it comes to creating a unique style of missive, the soul letter, that faithfully holds its creator up to a mirror. Soul letters speak to more than the recipient, touch upon more than the topic at hand. They provide us with a personal, faithful glimpse of the writer. These letters hold nothing back, regardless of the writer’s intent. They lay it all bare for us to ponder, each sentence in a white hot light. Although they will never be considered great literary endeavors, they are superb unto themselves. They are written from the heart and lay bare the soul. They are honest.

This letter deals with a very charged issue – gay marriage. However, the politics of the issue are not the focus of this article. They are the back story. Regardless of your views on the matter, this writer created a soul letter. It tells us so much about himself, his passion and his view of the world. Like all soul letters, it is genuine.

The letter was written by Chris Kluwe, a professional football player. It was directed to Emmett C. Burns Jr., a Maryland State politician.

Dear Emmett C. Burns Jr.,

I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland’s state government. Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level. The views you espouse neglect to consider several fundamental key points, which I will outline in great detail (you may want to hire an intern to help you with the longer words):

1. As I suspect you have not read the Constitution, I would like to remind you that the very first, the VERY FIRST Amendment in this founding document deals with the freedom of speech, particularly the abridgment of said freedom. By using your position as an elected official (when referring to your constituents so as to implicitly threaten the Ravens organization) to state that the Ravens should “inhibit such expressions from your employees,” more specifically Brendon Ayanbadejo, not only are you clearly violating the First Amendment, you also come across as a narcissistic fromunda stain. What on earth would possess you to be so mind-boggingly stupid? It baffles me that a man such as yourself, a man who relies on that same First Amendment to pursue your own religious studies without fear of persecution from the state, could somehow justify stifling another person’s right to speech. To call that hypocritical would be to do a disservice to the word. Mindfucking obscenely hypocritical starts to approach it a little bit.

2. “Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment, and excitement.” Holy fucking shitballs. Did you seriously just say that, as someone who’s “deeply involved in government task forces on the legacy of slavery in Maryland”? Have you not heard of Kenny Washington? Jackie Robinson? As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you’re going to say that political views have “no place in a sport”? I can’t even begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance that must be coursing through your rapidly addled mind right now; the mental gymnastics your brain has to tortuously contort itself through to make such a preposterous statement are surely worthy of an Olympic gold medal (the Russian judge gives you a 10 for “beautiful oppressionism”).

3. This is more a personal quibble of mine, but why do you hate freedom? Why do you hate the fact that other people want a chance to live their lives and be happy, even though they may believe in something different than you, or act different than you? How does gay marriage, in any way shape or form, affect your life? If gay marriage becomes legal, are you worried that all of a sudden you’ll start thinking about penis? “Oh shit. Gay marriage just passed. Gotta get me some of that hot dong action!” Will all of your friends suddenly turn gay and refuse to come to your Sunday Ticket grill-outs? (Unlikely, since gay people enjoy watching football too.)

I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population—rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?

In closing, I would like to say that I hope this letter, in some small way, causes you to reflect upon the magnitude of the colossal foot in mouth clusterfuck you so brazenly unleashed on a man whose only crime was speaking out for something he believed in. Best of luck in the next election; I’m fairly certain you might need it.

Sincerely,
Chris Kluwe

P.S. I’ve also been vocal as hell about the issue of gay marriage so you can take your “I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing” and shove it in your close-minded, totally lacking in empathy piehole and choke on it. Asshole.

Gregor Spanks Writers Groups

Gregor

Gregor went to a writers group, once or twice. It was a long time ago. He caught a brain fever that took forever to cure. Since then, Gregor has abandoned much hope for writers groups. Although he believes there must be a good group out there somewhere, he advises others to be wary.

Gregor has a bad attitude about most writers groups. He feels it’s only fair to warn you before he starts the dump that follows.

Gregor likes the idea of group-think, group goals, people helping each other. However, when it comes to writers groups, he believes there are too many shady characters running about. Some of these miscreants need a second look.

The English Specialist. Gregor finds this one everywhere. It’s the person who knows everything there is to know about the English language. This one understands construction, syntax, and the 4,243 most important rules of using the written word. In other words, writing is a science and that’s that. Gregor believes this is the wrong cocktail for any writer. He notes that the very best writers usually broke the most honored rules. Sometimes they just made up their own rules. In other words, they were creative. Gregor also realizes that the English Specialist is not a writer, will never be a writer, and cannot qualify as a writer. So, there!

The I3. As in “I-cubed”. This one only wants to talk about his or her own stuff, their beautiful words, their flowing masterpiece, their immense impact on the literary universe. It’s all about the I3. They come to the group for strokes and nothing more. Everyone in the group knows this. Well, everyone but the I3. Boring and selfish, Gregor says. The group is not opposed to a few ego strokes but they don’t want to leave it all on a single doorstep. Would you? There must be room for everyone in the group.

I Have Arrived. Carries too much stuff in their arms. Books about this, papers about that, pamphlets about something else. The theory seems to be that the more stuff you carry around, the bigger the arrival statement. Pushes papers, thumbs through books, references minutiae. What’s this all about? There’s nothing in that stack of doo-doo that can be of much meaning to anyone else. What’s the point? Gregor thinks groups should come together to communicate and support each other, not read labels on tuna cans. A notebook should be enough. Bring your brain, leave your ego, listen more than you speak.

My Greatest Work. They’re not interested in what you write, only in what they’ve written. They want to submit themselves to the group but only if the group is willing to first submit to them. Gregor knows there are always better writers out there. He wants to learn how to get better at his trade, not understand how wonderful is the person across the table. Much like the I3 but uses some alleged publication to make the point. Urg.

The Eternal Critic. Everything is doodle. It doesn’t matter what, where, who or why. It’s doodle and the Eternal Critic knows it. If it wasn’t for the ability to criticize, this person would be entirely mute. That would be refreshing.

Swamp Gas?

My Writing is Swamp Gas. Maybe so, maybe not. No reason to assume it’s doo-doo. Also, no reason to assume that anyone else in the group can do any better. Gregor wants this person to keep writing, keep trying and don’t give up. He worries that this potentially great writer will be crushed by too many ego miscreants. Gregor also wants to remind this writer that no one else in the group is the hot tuna of the month. They are all learners, even if they won’t admit it. It’s OK to fail. Happens all the time, to all writers.

I Know Someone. OK, so you once met a real, traditionally-published author with a following. So what? Gregor has met them, too. Gregor knows that most genuine, working writers are not egomaniacs. So, why are you?

The Giver. Gregor’s favorite. The rare person who is there to give and learn, to share and support, to help others and gather some help along the way. It’s rare, but these folks are out there. They even go to writers groups, sometimes. Gregor suggests you look for them at the first meeting. No Giver? Find another group.

Gregor admits to having a bad attitude about writers groups. It all comes down to one thing – stifling creativity. Unless the group is completely focused on supporting creativity for each member, what’s the point? Gregor does not approve of turning writing into an exercise about rule-learning. He does not want to submit to the ego-drives of selfish members. He wants the group to be truly supportive, genuine in its work to help the creative process in an unselfish way. He doesn’t want to drink anyone’s cocktail, including his own.

Is Gregor living in a dream world? Oh, well. That’s the price of a failed self-lobotomy. Gregor is sure there are a few excellent groups in the Universe. He just hasn’t found any of them.

Gregor lives here.

TV News Swamp Gas

Walter Cronkite     1916-2009

Do you remember this guy? His name was Walter Cronkite (1916-2009). In his heyday, Cronkite was known as “the most trusted man in America.” He was given that accolade by us, the American people. Cronkite was the anchor for the CBS Evening News for 19 years, and he was our most valued news source.

He was also the last honest broadcast news journalist.

Cronkite was a nightly guest in our homes throughout the 1960s and 1970s. These were tough, controversial and often ugly decades in our history. It was a time of war, racism, riots and a divided nation on nearly every important topic of the day. Yet, Cronkite managed to become the most trusted man in America for a simple but powerful reason. He did not have an agenda.

When Cronkite delivered his unique style of journalism, it was straightforward, penetrating, accurate and unbiased. He gave it to us without political nuance or personal preference. Yet, he often delivered it with emotion and power. He was the guy next door, the guy you knew and could depend upon.

Fast forward to today.

TV news, broadcast journalism, is a hotbed of obvious agenda and swamp gas. CNN, Fox, MSNBC, whatever. It really doesn’t matter which you choose. Today, the news is delivered with a skewed point of view, deliberately managed to appeal to specific audiences. In other words, it’s not journalism at all. It’s theater disguised as journalism. It’s entertainment and little more.

Right wing, left wing, some other wing. It’s easy enough to flip through the TV news channels and electronically infuse your light meal. If you have a favorite perspective, a personal view of the world, there’s a broadcast journalist who will fit your bill nicely. You will be entertained in accordance with your preferences. But will you be accurately informed? Will you ever get the news delivered straight down the middle? Probably not.

A title card still from the April 4, 1968 edit...

Cronkite didn’t care about agendas, parties or prevailing opinions. He cared about delivering the news accurately and with impact. That’s why he was so trusted. It’s why he appealed to Americans across all political parties and points of view. He’s been gone for many years now. With his departure from the news scene, we lost our last link to objective reporting. We somehow slipped out of honest journalism and into the entertainment mode as we changed channels.

America is polarized across many fronts. We all know that. We only have to look at DC to understand how much we’ve lost in terms of honesty and reliability. Sadly, we’ve also lost our link to real journalism, the kind of delivery that was reliable, unbiased and meaningful. We lost the truth behind the news.

Perhaps we’ll be lucky enough to find a trusted broadcast journalist in the future. From today’s point of view, the scene is bleak. No one seems willing or capable of stepping into Cronkite’s shoes and bringing us back to the days when a broadcast journalist was someone who could be trusted, someone who we would be happy to invite into our homes every evening.

Sure, there are other Countries who make good attempts at true broadcast journalism. With the Internet we can get the news from anywhere, anytime. But we were once the leader and we gave it all up. We need true American broadcast journalism once again. Why can’t we go back to doing it right? There’s plenty of room for honest journalism and entertainment to live together peacefully.

It all comes down to who will step up, pay for it, and make it happen.

In the meantime, give a thought to Walter Cronkite from time to time. He was one of a kind. I miss him.

Gregor Spanks the History Channel

GregorGregor is very upset with the History Channel. He thinks they deserve a good spanking.

Gregor understands the concept of “history.” He suffered through the subject many years ago in school, back in the days after the automobile was invented. Gregor knows that history is fraught with errors, like Columbus discovered America. He has always sought the truth behind history, the real meaning of things past. Sadly, the History Channel didn’t fill this need. In fact, it has made Gregor more frustrated than ever.

Gregor points to these gaping history holes never filled by the alleged History Channel.

Giorgio Tsoukalos Ancient Aliens

Ancient Aliens. Gregor knows all about aliens. He lived with one for many years. He’s been abducted, tested, sent through time, bred and otherwise maltreated by aliens. None of this is history. It’s current events. It belongs on CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News. Worse, Gregor objects to the belief that our ancestors were too stupid to build nice structures and beautiful temples. Gregor’s ancestors were not stupid. He isn’t stupid. If it wasn’t for his lobotomy, Gregor would certainly have been a noted historian. Gregor is not pleased that the History Channel makes his ancestors look like a bunch of Neanderthals.

Swamp People. What’s this obsession about people who live in swamps? Why pick on alligators all the time? Where’s the history in that? Gregor thinks this is not historical, and not even particularly interesting. He believes the History Channel is creating history, not imparting it. He knows that swamps have been around a long time. He understands that alligators are frightening. He even likes Cajun food. But Gregor believes this is a silly way to fill-in the blanks between commercials. He thinks one show would have been enough to cover the history of swamps and alligators. Gregor wants the History Channel to get out of the swamps.

The Bounty Hunter (K-9)

Big Bounty Hunters. OK, so there are bounty hunters running around. They show off their muscles and use all kinds of alleged tactical tactics to chase people all over the countryside. It’s the overused good-guy bad-guy thing regurgitated as history. Gregor has seen many Westerns in his time. He thinks the six-gun packing bounty hunters were a lot more fun. They didn’t need to show off their muscles or tactical prowess. They just shot the bad guys mano-a-mano. How are these new guys historical? Aren’t they just copycats? Gregor says once is enough. Cut down on the filler and get back to history.

American Pickers. So what if some guys can pick out good junk and make money doing it? How is that history? Shouldn’t this be on the Yard Sale Channel?

Life After People. Now, Gregor has to put up with history in reverse. History is supposed to look back, tell us about the good old days. But, no! This series looks ahead to a time when we’re all dust and history-less. Gregor liked the graphics, and he was very happy that all those animals survived our stupidity. But what has that got to do with history? It belongs on the Future Armageddon Channel.

Armageddon. Yep, they stole this one away from the Future Armageddon Channel. Gregor has seen the 4,354 ways we will all go to hell in a hand basket. The History Channel has made it clear that everything is doomed, destined for oblivion. OK, so how’s that history? By the time it happens there won’t be any history any more. That means the History Channel will also go away.

Gregor wishes the History Channel would just get down to business and do the right thing. These shows have nothing to do with history. They’re all over the map, showing Gregor all kinds of stuff that may or may not happen, that probably or likely did not occur, that titillate but not inform, that speculate but never hit the bottom line. Gregor believes the History Channel may be nothing more than a profit-oriented operation that has lost its historical roots. He worries that he will be co-opted and lose his links to the past.

Gregor will continue to spank the History Channel until it gets things right. In the meantime, he will try the Home Shopping Network, where real history is made.

Gregor lives here.