How to Become Unpopular
I’ve finally accepted the harsh reality that the majority of Americans are never going to wake up out of their long, long stupor. They are broken largely into two equally misguided groups. One, the “liberal” group, reacts emotionally to every prompt of the thoroughly corrupt, state-run mass media. The other, the “conservative” group, is in denial of how far America has fallen, worships greed and the tattered American flag, and consoles themselves with an insincere religious cocktail.
While I’ve been a radical all of my adult life, until I became a published author, and gravitated to the limited public platform the glorious internet provides, my family and friends tolerated me with a wink and a shrug. They supported my first book, the sci-fi novel The Unreals, to a gratifying degree. When Hidden History was published, the support diminished somewhat, but still some old friends and many family members were there for me. They just didn’t talk about the book. At all. Outside of one cousin, no member of my very large family has even acknowledged reading the book, let alone shared what they thought of it.
It was the publication of Survival of the Richest that really opened my eyes. Now the support had become threadbare, with only a handful of loyal friends and family members supporting me in any way. And again, not a single mention of the book at Christmas or any other large family gathering. My writing in general has become the large elephant in the room, which everyone ignores. I stopped mentioning it myself to them, because it was crystal clear they didn’t have any interest.
Social media has mirrored the reactions of my friends and family. It’s been all that I can do to stop myself from posting one of those dramatic farewells on Facebook. I have posted what I thought substantial news about Survival of the Richest, from interviews with the likes of Sean Stone, the son of director Oliver Stone, to quizzes and book giveaways by the publisher, with only a handful of people at the most ever “liking” it, yet alone commenting.
I’ve lost Facebook friends, and a few in real life, over my writings. Posting in support of Donald Trump during his campaign caused long-time friends to become apoplectic. And now, oddly, this same “liberal” group has shown no interest in Survival of the Richest, a book they should logically be drawn to. While my “liberal” friends have for the most part acted as if my new book didn’t exist, my “conservative” friends cling loyally to chronic promise-breaker Trump, and obviously resent the very subject matter of Survival of the Richest.
So what’s an independent-minded populist like me to do? I’ve had to grovel in promoting myself on social media, even begging for Amazon reviews and Goodreads ratings, to no avail. I suppose the same “friends” that can’t take two seconds to click on “like” would have a problem taking five seconds to rate my books on Goodreads. I have over 1,500 friends on Facebook, the vast majority of them people who sent me friend requests, and yet I can seldom get even 1% of them to “like” my posts.
If and when my next book is published, whether that winds up being my book on bullying and the social hierarchy, or Hidden History 2, present trends would indicate that almost no one among my real friends and family, let alone Facebook “friends,” will pay the slightest attention, let alone read it.
One of my favorite writers, Charles Fort, once said, “I do not know how to find out anything new, without being offensive.” I can relate to that. It would be far easier to salute the flag, or scream at Trump, or talk about black lives only mattering, or demand we “do something” to protect “the children.” Pointing out the inevitable holes in every official narrative paints you as a conspiracy “kook.” The sheeple just simply roll their eyes and hiss, “you think everything is a conspiracy.”
When conspirators run the world, everything important they engage in will involve some kind of conspiracy. History is written by the victors, and so is the coverage of current events. I question everything that gets widespread coverage in the mainstream media, or is the thrust of hackneyed political speeches. Those who disseminate information to the masses have been proven to be demonstrable liars time and time again. Do we give the slightest credibility to any individual pathological liar? Why then do we think that a collection of pathological liars should be trusted on anything?
Throughout my life, others have counseled me that something I’d said or written was “too extreme.” I have regularly colored outside the lines, strayed from the narrow parameters of acceptable debate. I really don’t know how anyone stays within those restricted lines, and accepts the maddening limits of mainstream public discourse.
The unexpected success of Hidden History was somewhat bittersweet, given not only the lukewarm support from friends and family, but the fact that one of my primary demographic groups, the JFK assassination research community, with a very few exceptions, has treated the book like the plague. Given the huge egos and difficult personalities within that community, I really shouldn’t have been surprised, but I still was. For a cynical, Ambrose Bierce fan, I am often shockingly naive and trusting of people.
To those of you who read this blog regularly, I will ask again for Amazon reviews, Goodreads ratings and mentioning my writing to your friends. Sometimes I feel like some poor soul on a street corner with a tin cup in hand, but the publishers and the reality of the marketplace dictate that authors do most of their own promotion.
If some of those who regularly write to me, telling me how much they loved my work, would only promote my work to others, I wouldn’t have to toot my own horn so much. There’s no way to do that without sounding arrogant, egotistical, etc. I’ve actually had several people contact me, tell me they were writing a review, and then the review never appeared. One “fan” of mine on Facebook gave the book he supposedly loved three stars on Goodreads! Another “fan” gave it two stars! With “fans” like that, who needs all those one-star bandits that populate Goodreads?
I’ve grown tired of explaining to those mired in the phony left-right paradigm how I can be against capital punishment, legal penalties for all victim-less crimes, the abuses of our intelligence agencies and the military industrial complex and our sinful economic inequality, while at the same time being against affirmative action and all identity politics, the DACA program and our entire insane immigration policy, the excesses of feminism, and any concept of “hate” crime or “hate” speech. I’m a populist, and see corruption everywhere.
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed.” William Faulkner once said. “If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” “The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie.” Alexandr Solzhenitsyn wrote. I get a strange kind of thrill in going against the grain, in knowing that I’m in such a minority that my perspective faces astronomical odds.
Andrew Jackson perhaps said it best: “One man with courage makes a majority.” All of us need to point out that the emperor is stark naked, with not a stitch of clothing on. It shouldn’t take courage to simply tell the truth. Everyone should want truth to be known, and should naturally speak it. There are plenty of us out here who will be the first in the crowd to speak up. All we’re asking for is others to support, and not remain silent.
As my book on bullying will show, the concept of popularity requires there to be unpopularity. We shouldn’t be treating civil discourse as if we were all still in high school, seeking attention from the quarterback or prom queen. Truth and justice should always be considered popular.