Today I joined Salon Core. I can't say it was because Joan Walsh convinced me that joining Core would piss off Rush Limbaugh, but if my Core membership causes Rush intestinal distress, well that's worth my $45 by itself.
I also grabbed a gift year's subscription to The Atlantic (free, free, free -- except that I'm now on their mailing list). Frankly, I don't recall ever reading a word of The Atlantic, but according to those Northeastern journalists who claim to know what a good magazine is, they like The Atlantic. That The Atlantic is a Northeastern magazine, I'm sure is mere coincidence.
That reminds me -- my membership in the Sierra Club might be coming to an end if I don't renew. Or maybe it's already over and the renewal notice is buried somewhere on my desk. I really don't know how my fairly cheap desk sustains so much weight. I joined the Sierra Club last year because I really, really care about the environment. Or, at least, that's what I tell those who ask me. All I wanted was the 1890s- style replica backpack that came with a new membership (while supplies lasted). The backpack hangs from a closet doorknob, unused. But it looks good.
Becoming a Core Member (yes, we get to capitalize "Member" - make your double entendre joke here) has been in the back of my mind -- mostly in the far reaches of the back of my mind -- since the inimitable Greg Correll endorsed joining some three months ago. At times it takes me awhile to make a decision.
Joan and the Salon staff make various promises about exclusive invitations to buy their books, and watch them on webcasts and the such. And something about partying with Salon Celebrities when they show up at a town near you. As best as I've been able to tell, Salon Celebrities have only shown themselves in their natural habitats of San Francisco and New York. As anyone who can read a map (which are fewer and fewer each year -- there should be a map-reading competency requirement before being allowed to use a GPS; cause when that GPS fails -- and it will eventually -- and leaves you on some frak-nothing county road, you will be royally screwed if that's your only means of navigation), [did everyone get through that parenthetical? Good. Back to the sentence.] knows, Chicago ain't squat near either coast. So unless, a Salon Celebrity is hawking a book, no one is going to show up here just to party.
[As a completely unrelated aside, one "hawks a book," but "hocks a loogie." "Hawk/hock" sort of sound alike, yet there's no etymological connection. If you suddenly have a marketable idea, the idiom could be that you "coughed up the idea," hence you "hocked the idea," then "hawked it to investors." The joys of the English language.]
Which leaves me with ... what? When I comment on a Salon article, a magic symbol will appear next to my screen name, telling all that I'm a Salon Core Member, hence my opinion means more than the freeloading non-Members. So that's something. Of course, I've never left a comment on a Salon article before. Though I almost did when Mary Whatever Her Middle Name Is Williams tried to tell us readers that Will Farrell is a brilliant comic, more than worthy of the Mark Twain Award he received. [No, I'm not going to take the time to look up the column and link to it.] A fine 10-page rant popped fully formed in my head, all ready for typing. Instead I took 30 deep breaths and decided that it wasn't worth it. Arguing the absurd position that Farrell is worthy of being mentioned in the same vein as Richard Pryor pretty much sums up my rant.
Is Salon Core Membership worth $45? Will my $45 buy access to the halls (who am I kidding, it's Salon, they only have one hall) to the hall of power? Will Kerry take my call? Will Joan learn how to spell my name? Will my posts be granted automatic EPs and covers (oh, fuck no, we all know that's not happening)?
Why lay out cash for an online product that I already use for free, in addition to getting a magazine that, most likely, I'll barely look at? I guess the $45 is a commitment. A commitment to what, I'm not always sure. But I'm making a year's commitment to Salon, and more importantly for me, to Open Salon, which for my three years here has been more than worth $45. Maybe not $45 per year, but amortized, it's been a solid $15/year investment.
So, Kerry, now that you're contractually obligated to read me (it's gotta be in the Terms of Service somewhere), when you finally decide that Salon needs a fantasy baseball columnist, you know how to reach me: I'm a Salon Core Member.