So by all our reckoning, November was a success. What I thought I would do here is report back to you on a few of the relevant stats, in order to evaluate things by that metric, and then spend a few additional moments on the only metric that ultimately matters.
The Crowd That Came:
“In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another . . . ”(Luke 12:1).
Compared to the same period in 2017, my blog traffic was up 51%. New users increased by 63%, so that’s all good. That infamous burning couch video racked up some successes of its own. That video was viewed on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter just shy of 110K times, presumably with some people watching more than once in order to silently exhort me to talk faster. It is safe to say that the video got around. And as the capstone of all this activity, we were able to give away over 60K copies of the free e-books (for the sake of precision, there were 60,824 downloads). All in all, November was a time in which we were able to get the word out. Thank you all for your part in making it work.
In addition, we are pleased to announce that within a very short space of time (file this under coming soon), a published collection of all those November posts will be available in book form. That’s the cover there, off to the right. This is so any of you who got addicted to that particular form of unvarnished expression can take out that book from time to time in the coming year in order to remind yourself that my usual placid prose—like lotus blossoms on a pond in a Japanese garden—is not the way it has to be.
The Crowd That Didn’t Show:
There are three kinds of people who don’t read my stuff. The first category, by far the largest, is made up of the people who have never heard of me. This number, speaking frankly between us girls, almost runs into the double digit billions, and includes all the principalities and powers.
The second category is made up of those worthies who do know who I am, and who have occasionally read my work, usually when an eager relative emails it to them. But for whatever reason, the timbre of my writing, not to mention the shape of my head, is not their cup of tea. They agree with what I am saying, for the most part, but my manner of expression is not how they speak or write, and so they can take it or leave it. In this category I would also include those pastors who have parishioners who are super-fans of mine, and who have needed extra measures of grace from God to reply charitably whenever they are informed, after every third sermon or so, that “Doug Wilson says something different.” To such pastors, I can only say that you have my deepest regards, and I know.
But the third category—this is the category of the arch and distant. This is the person who frequently reads me but who thinks it is important (for various reasons) not ever to say so. On the one end, this category over the years has actually included many friends. I don’t know how many times someone has written me to commend me for a particular post, and they will introduce the commendation with “I don’t actually read your blog, but . . .” That was good, but don’t get a big head. We hate it when people get big heads. That kind of thing, at least for me on the receiving end, is spiritually healthy and bracing.
In the middle are the secret fans, the people who would retweet stuff if the enforcers would leave them alone, but the enforcers never leave them alone. We can see how this works from time to time. Say that somebody with a significant twitter following slips the leash and retweets something about me or from me. Immediately the sibilant silencers surround that offending tweet, whacking away at it like it was a baby seal. “sssssitler . . . ssssslavery . . . raaaacccccccism . . .”
But then on the other end, on the important end, we find the Serious Persons. These are the people running the evangelical embargo against all things Moscow. I must not be mentioned, and I must not be mentioned for reasons of state. They don’t ever want to be put in the position where I have been maintaining something straight out of Deuteronomy, say, and then they are asked, with cameras running, if they agree with that. To agree would set the cat among the media pigeons, and to disagree would set a different cat among some very different donor pigeons.
So these are the people who are very aware of who I am, and what I am doing, and they consider it a significant threat to their project, which is to keep the prospects for their project shiny and unbesmirched. Mentioning me is not a good way to do that. I am not a great traveling companion for those who would arrive at their destination unbesmirched.
A case in point? Shall I give you a case in point?
Oh, but, it must be said, I have no desire whatever to be a Serious Person. That is the problem of our era—all these Serious Persons. Seriously? Who actually wants to be a Serious Person? We have forgotten the warning from Chesterton: “Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.”
I do want to take the truth seriously, and I do want to be a serious threat to a certain kind of pomposity, the kind that has filled out the ranks of our evangelical leadership. But being a serious threat requires, almost by definition, that you not care about being a Serious Person. “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” (John 5:44).
So there were various reasons for hosting this No Quarter November–some of them experimental, and others that were simply making more of a statement. I do not need to go into all of that here, but one of the statements is this one. If the success of an embargo is measured by actually stopping the flow of goods stored in the holds of smugglers’ ships, then November was a bad month for the embargo, and a good month for the smugglers.