Got a brioche?

PZ has a terrific guest post by Marcus Ranum on the nasty undertones of the bullshit about “click bait.” I was going to quote from it when it was a comment, but when I got around to it it had graduated to being a post.

I automatically despise people who use the “clickbait” “to make money” argument. And here is why: it never seems to come from someone who is enduring economic hardship, and it implies that the person supposedly doing it is so desperate that they need the extra fractions of a cent they might get. If you’re a bestselling author and lecturer with an international stature with an estimated net worth of over $100 million, claiming that your detractors are pushing click bait amounts to asking “why don’t they eat cake?” (“Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”) yes in the internet era there is money to be made with click bait, but it requires huge volumes such as that driven by celebrity selfie leaks and sex tapes. From the sound of it, bloggers such as those on FTb and Patheos make vastly less blogging than someone of Dawkins’ stature commands from a single speaking engagement.

Vastly less. A fraction. It’s ludicrous that they think otherwise.


  1. says

    In fact, I can think of several bloggers on this network who I suspect are close to the poverty line (if not actually under it) and whose major reward for blogging has not been oodles of ca$h, but vicious harassment for being assumed to be part of the ‘hive mind’, ‘echo chamber’, ‘vicious idelogues’ etc etc etc. “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche?” Yeah, right.

  2. Rabidtreeweasel says

    Not to mention that your blogs just do not fit the actual definition of click bait. Click bait refers to incomplete headlines. Headlines should give you the nutshell of what you are about to read so that you know whether or not you want to read it BEFORE you click. And then, once you do click, click “bait” articles are usually not about the subject the title lead the reader to expect or are less emotionally driven than what was advertised by the initial headline. I see blogging as being mostly op-ed. They are literary journalism. The posts are on the subjects the titles purport. The content has facts but reflects the authors opinions, and those opinions or summations are acknowledged as personal reflections.

    Don’t let those other guys bug you. Those other guys? They’re assholes.

  3. Holy_Imam says

    Dawkins is the biggest asshole in the world. PZ’s list of virtuous works and donations to charity in his most recent blog post was really inspiring. Dawkins hasn’t done anything remotely as good.

  4. M'thew says

    Clickbait I see on this page at this moment:

    “Top 5 dating tops for men and women”
    “Amazing facts you probably don’t want to know about!”
    “Top 10 Most “Crazy” Expensive Sports Cars”

    And more of the same.

    Methinks it’s not the same as the titles the FtB authors produce.
    Maybe I should consider clicking that link “Get FTB ad-free”.

  5. carlie says

    I see Ophelia’s opting not to toot her own horn, but I hope it won’t be amiss for me to point out that she said in comments that she’s donating her own proceeds from this blog, too. “In for the clickbait”:Rubbish and poppycock.

  6. carlie says

    I’ve spent about $50 on Dawkins’ books in my time. It would take an awful lot of clicks at what, a hundredth of a cent per, to give any of the FTBloggers the same amount of money I’ve put in his pocket for reading his stuff. (And like “The God Delusion” isn’t a clickbaity headline? Really, Richard?)

  7. Jackie says

    Just because I think you should be regularly reminded of this: Thank you. What the bloggers here write matters. It means so much to me and I know it does to many other people. All RD’s petty insults demonstrate is that he does not understand how important alternative media is. He does not appreciate what it means to have so many bloggers from different backgrounds writing under the banner of freethought. That he would attempt to stifle those voices is tragic. He doesn’t get it. He is quickly becoming the Archie Bunker of atheism, grumbling about all the uppity minorities moving into his neighborhood. He can’t shout you down or make you go away. Please keep up the good work.

  8. Anthony K says

    The main incentive I see here is not money, but the feelings of righteousness and superiority that bulliers obtain when they bully.

    Sure. Okay.

    I think Andrew Sullivan’s take on this situation is worth a read,

    Andrew Sullivan has no problem with being outraged when it’s liberals doing the outraging. Google Andrew Sullivan and Alec Baldwin for several examples.

  9. Anthony K says

    Addendum: I don’t think it’s at all wrong for Andrew Sullivan to call out Alec Baldwin for his homophobic comments, and to criticize liberals for giving him passes on behaviour they wouldn’t accept from others. In fact, I think he’s very much on the right side of the issue.

    Is he bullying for the feelings of righteousness and superiority?

  10. John Horstman says

    @CarterJ #2: Right, obviously none of these people actually care about the issues that form the content of their posts. They’re not trying to agitate to make a better world, just for the sweet feeling of superiority. It’s all about getting attention to feed their narcissism. /sarc

    You know, I don’t think I’d mind narcissists and sociopaths so much if they didn’t insist on all of this projection. Just becasue YOU can’t feel strongly about things that don’t have everything to do with you personally doesn’t mean everyone is wired that way…

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