Here’s what happens to your readership when Boing Boing picks up one of your posts. w00t!

Kevin over at Bearskin Rug has invited all & sundry to draw their own Thrilling Space Adventure – and quite impetuously I think – has given away the secrets of his trade to show you how to do it! If you click on the panel above you will see the full extent one of my own personal attempts at being a humorous illustrator/cartoonist type person. I’m nowhere near as clever as Kevin, but I made myself laugh and that’s all that counts. Surely.

The more astute among you will have noticed a distinct ‘commercial’ aspect to The Cow in recent times, what with the adding of the Tetherd Cow Ahead Gift Shoppe and my nauseating pleading, at every opportunity, for you to buy my fine wares. I want to assure you all that this is not a prelude to Tetherd Cow Ahead franchises opening up in your street, but is part of an experiment I’m conducting to see if there’s any relatively non-intrusive way to have the considerable time and effort I put into The Cow make any kind of headway in ‘earning-real-money’.

Tetherd Cow Ahead is not, and was never, designed as a money-making enterprise, and in all truth, I don’t really care if it ever pays its way – it’s a great diversion for me, and a terrific way to interact with my many friends, both from real life and from teh intertubes.

But as we hobble into a new era of artistic creation, a big shakedown of the status quo is occurring, and as an artist it is affecting me. There is no longer any question that my former avenues of income are starting to show some signs of wear and tear. It is obvious that new things must occur, but unlike most of the rest of the artistic world I’m not content to sit on my ass and moan about how much better it was in the old times. The new landscape interests me, and I’d like to see what it has to offer.

I don’t really have a clue where the new avenues for earning a living as an artist might be. I don’t like the idea that everything is fuelled by impersonal and anonymous advertising – it annoys the crap out of me – so I have never bought into the Google Ads-style concept, where a web page supports advertising material in return for some kind of kickback. My personal belief is that such an idea is eventually doomed to extinction as people become sick of the constant wash of advertising that floods through their lives.1 My philosophy has always been (in the old media and the new) that I’d rather pay a few cents out of my own pocket to have my entertainment unencumbered by unrelated, meaningless and usually tasteless distractions. I hope you feel the same way.

To this end, I’m putting some experiments in place. None of these things will (I hope) make much material difference to The Cow – you will still be able to do as you please and go where you will and say what you want. As usual I will not censor The Cow2 except in the most extreme of cases.3 I don’t want you to change any of your usual habits,4 nor do I want anyone to feel that they are in any way obligated to donate to The Cow – your time here is valued by me more than any monetary reward, and I’d give up any whim of earning a few dollars well before I’d turn you away.

Treat The Cow as you might a busker, or indeed, a religion.5 If I make something that particularly amuses you, or write something that gives salve to your soul, drop a coin in the Collection Plate (over in the side bar there).6 And if you should find you actually need a new coffee mug, or a t-shirt, consider a Cow alternative to the cheap trash that you were going to buy from Walmart.

There is some lengthy philosophizing on this stuff coming,7 but I would like to know your thoughts. Not just about how this might be relevant to Tetherd Cow, but on how you view the whole new landscape in general. What do you think of what you see on the web in the way of entertainment and art? Do you pinch music? Would you pay if it was a few cents? How about news – will you pay when Rupert Murdoch tries to charge you for the privilege of reading his half-baked excuses for journalism? If not, why not? We are constantly berated by the movie studios and the record companies who want us to believe that ‘pirating’ their goods affects the livelihoods of their artists – do you believe them? Do you think these kinds of tactics work? Is there a better way?

The 5th Birthday of Tetherd Cow Ahead has just passed. Don’t worry if you didn’t notice – I missed it myself. But I look back and to me, at least, it’s a pretty magnificent achievement. Possibly the biggest, most comprehensive, most elaborate and meaningful artwork I’ve ever done. It’s not my day job, but in a strange kind of way, it’s my life’s work. Vanity leads me to think that this effort should at least pay its way. Maybe that’s a misguided notion, but I’d feel remiss if I didn’t at least explore the possibility.

Off you go now. Have fun! The Cow, as always, salutes you!

  1. I may be wrong on that score, but it certainly is a big turn off for me to visit websites that constantly assault me with ads. []
  2. Well, except when I make egregious boo-boos of grammar, fact or spelling. I reserve the right to fix those things in order to maintain the illusion that I am an uber-genius. []
  3. I have, in the past, removed material that was highly offensive from the Comments on some posts. This is necessarily a subjective decision on my part, but I think you know that I am liberal enough that any such material must be pretty awful. []
  4. Well, except for Malach, I guess. We’d all like to see him change some of his usual habits []
  5. I’m speaking in the generous sense here – I don’t want any spitting or profanity []
  6. The Collection Plate costs you nothing in actual monetary terms. It is just a measuring device. But, for the sake of the experiment, pretend that you’re throwing in a few cents. []
  7. I heard that groan Polanski! []

Moses Smites the Golden Calf

Atlas draws my attention to a story at Times Online about a group called the Evangelical Alliance (representing ‘thousands of churches of most denominations worldwide’) who have handed down what they call The Ten Commandments of Blogging. It seems that church leaders have suddenly become aware of the actual landscape of the internet and are worried that God Bloggers might be falling prey to Satan’s wiles. This is entirely in keeping with my hypothesis that the thing that scares religions the most is that their followers might one day get access to actual facts and start questioning the fundamentalist status quo.

The Commandments that the EA has decreed* include such pithy paranoid edicts as: You shall not put your blog before your integrity (whatever the crap that means), You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind (OK, there goes 90% of the Blogosphere) and You shall not steal another person’s content (there goes the remaining 10%).

Also of note is the weighty You shall not covet your neighbour’s blog ranking. Be content with your own content. Wha? Does anyone really care about their ‘blog ranking’ so much that it needs a commandment?

I haven’t spent much time on blogs dedicated to Christian Evangelism (I mean, who could really be bothered?) but it seems to me that if the Christian corner of the blogosphere is in such dire need of guidance that the Powers That Be feel compelled to issue ‘commandments’, then it must truly be a seething Sodom & Gomorrah of iniquity and maybe I’m missing out on something.

I get the distinct feeling, though, that it’s all a ridiculous beat-up in the vein of the Vatican’s idiotic Ten Commandments of Motoring and with all that in mind, you can see that I have no choice but to post The Tetherd Cow Ahead Ten Commandments of Blogging:

1-10: Thou Shalt Not Create Blogging Commandments†. It’s pointless and stupid and will send you straight to Hell.


*One has to wonder how they got the dispensation to do this. After all, the original Ten Commandments were personally handed to Moses by God.

†And yes, I am completely aware of the recursive nature of my actions.


« Previous Page