Well then, we have completed our second edition of No Quarter November, and with none of the support staff being hurt or maimed in any way. And as you may recall, last year I followed up all the NQN doings with a post mortem, which you can read here. The salient questions were, at that time, how did the month go, and why did we do it?
Providing you with that explanation last year seemed like a good idea back then, and because it still seems like a good idea, I would like to report on NQN 2019 as well. How did it go this year? And what exactly are we trying to accomplish? These remain reasonable questions, no?
First, the Stats
I wanted to go over some of the stats with you. I do this mindful of the solemn warning given by Gregory of Nazianzus when he cautioned us about tooting our own kazoo. So we want to be careful not to have this be a braggy-brag thing, but rather something more akin to a report issued to the joint-stockholders. I mean, you guys put up with a lot of grief for liking what we are trying to accomplish out here, and so sometimes it must feel like you are the lone weirdo in your church, denomination, or even at the meetings of the Chimacum County Clogging Association. Be encouraged. There are many others out there, other lone weirdos.
So we gave you a report last year, and because you didn’t tell us not to, we are going to do it again. Like right now.
But this year we have a bit more detail for you. And by “you,” I mean those of you who are loyal enough in your support to actually read a report like this. And by “a bit more detail” I am talking about the kind of info that our behind-the-scenes worker bees can obtain, men who know how to squeeze data out of various cyber-sources, the same way you might be able to wring out a wet washcloth. That accounts for why this year’s report contains quite a bit more precise information, and why there is more water on the counter.
Let’s start with the giveaways. This year we gave away 19,000 new books. This was a lower number than last year, but there is a good reason for that. Seven out of the thirteen books that we offered this year were repeat offers from last year, and those titles had already been given away a bunch in the previous go round (to the tune of 26,454).
The quantity of our traffic was a bit down this year, while the quality of engagement was way up. For the blog posts themselves, the bounce rate last year was 57% while this year it was 29%. People this year came purposefully, and they came to read. More than that, they came to read words.
In the video advertising we did for NQN, the number of new folks who watched it all the way through almost doubled from last year, and this was done on the same advertising budget.
Audio consumption was way up. There were 157,254 audio downloads of Blog and Mablog over 13 posts, meaning roughly 12,096 people took in these unqualified musings via the ear canal.
Last year The NQN 2018 Anthology sold almost a thousand copies within a week of release. In a clear indication that we are going to do this very same thing again, the cover for The NQN 2019 Anthology is posted here for your amusement and edification. Given how many of you are audiophiles concerning your audio files, we are planning to release this anthology as an audio book also.
The promo video for NQN 2019 was widely viewed, and I am rounding up or down here to the nearest K. There were 12K views on YouTube, 127K on Facebook, 2K on Instagram, and 20K on Twitter, for a grand total of 161K. There are even rumors of a possible Oscar. I won’t say who is circulating these rumors, or even if me muttering under my breath constitutes a rumor, but rumors are circulating. Nancy keeps calling out to me from the other room, “Doug, did you say something?”
A rising tide floats all the boats, as they say, and the increased activity registered with some of our other projects as well. As many of you know, I have a weekly podcast called The Plodcast, and there were 79K downloads in November. One of them, the one about the banning of plastic straws in California, set a record for the Plodcast, with downloads in the neighborhood of 17K.
We also released season one of Man Rampant during this time, and the metric for this one is a little different, so bear with me. With streaming platforms like this, the most relevant stat in use here is how many minutes have been watched. Thus far we are past a million minutes viewed, and are averaging about 15,000 minutes a day.
And So What?
Now for anybody who is aware of the stats for all the Internet big boys, all of the above is what might be called chump change. So why am I touting these numbers as though they were in any way significant? And the answer is that these numbers are large enough to be significant within a particular theological ecosystem, and that is the Reformed evangelical ecosystem is that is trying very hard to pretend, and without registering too much discomposure, that I do not exist. For example, during this last month, there was a Reformed Pub dust-up, wherein people were exiled simply for mentioning my name.
Part of the reason for NQN is to break the existing embargo, and this reason relates nicely to the major strategic reason for all this that will be outlined at the end of this post. NQN last year was a nice beginning for all that, and this year we saw the once tight embargo becoming quite porous.
If you went back and read last year’s post mortem, linked above, you should remember how I mentioned the troll guardians. Last year, if somebody retweeted something I said or did, the guardians would be all over it, claiming that that I deny sola fide, or something else outrageous. And so let’s just say they were quite a bit busier this year, firing away with the accuracy of epileptic storm troopers. We get quite the laser show, and with no injuries.
What Interested You Guys
What were the most popular posts this year? Coming in at number one was Restoring Sexism: the Lost Virtue (12,942 views). The silver medal goes to The Grace of White Privilege (12,2002), and the bronze to A Word in Defense of Rosaria, If I May (11,809). On this last item, I recently saw that Pulpit & Pen published an exposé of Rosaria, which cannot really be described as jumping the shark. No, it is more like jumping the sharknado.
In the category of “longest read posts”—recognizing of course that this could be a function of gripping prose or it could also be a function of overinflated wordiness that took longer than it should have to finish—we have three different posts to honor. First place was captured by REZ ZOH LOOO TION #9 (with an average of 19.22 minutes). Exceptions and Loopholes (average of 16.48 minutes) took second, and Rabshakeh, Chief of the Pronoun Police (average of 13.11 minutes).
In a different drummer sort of thing, Rabshekeh also won the honors in another category, that category being the “most copied text.”
Our Friend, Chris Wiley, and the Point of it All
Chris Wiley was out here in late October on a secret mission for her majesty the queen, and while he was here, we roped him into doing a few extra things. In fact, he was even present at the filming of the NQN video. He is, in other words, in a position to know.
Early on in November I saw a comment about NQN that he made on Facebook, a comment that I thought was very astute. “What was an astute comment doing on Facebook?” you might ask, and I understand your confusion. I am sure the authorities are looking into it. But at any rate, he said something astute about how it seemed to him that NQN was all about moving the Overton window. And yes, yes it is.
The Overton window defines the range of acceptable public discourse. If your position or proposal falls inside the window, then people will say, even when they differ, that it is “common sense,” or “bipartisan,” or “mainstream,” or “challenging.” If it is outside the window, then it will be dismissed as “extreme,” or “unthinkable,” or “radical,” or “unacceptable.” What has happened in the last decade or so is that the Overton window has slid drastically and most remarkably to the left. Part of the reason for this drastic shift is that the left decided to shoot the moon, and so they began to summarily declare any position outside of their own as being, by definition, outside the window. The totalitarianism embedded at the heart of their system has now emerged, and regular people can see how ugly it is.
I say the Overton window has moved. What do I mean? For example, and there are many examples, let us hypothetically take a 250-pound weight-lifter and mixed martial arts fighter named George Pounder III who suddenly announces that he is now a woman, Georgiana, and he starts entering women’s weight-lifting competitions in order to win them all, and he enters the ring in order to begin destroying his opponents.
Now the fact that this could even happen is an indication that the window has moved, but the conclusive proof that the window has really moved is this. If a sportscaster were to say on air, or even privately in a hot mic moment, that he did not think this was “fair,” he would probably lose his job. And if he didn’t lose his job, it would only be the result of him abandoning his masculinity and crawling on his belly for a suitable time, like a Labrador retriever that had just been caught chewing on a slipper. Mark it. What virtually everybody thought just a few years ago is now what? That is right, unthinkable.
And sad to say, the evangelical establishment, the establishment running the embargo on us, acquiesces in this kind of thing. Anybody who uses phrases like sexual minorities is acquiescing. Anybody who gives a pass to conferences like Revoice, where labels like LGBTQ+ are thrown around, is acquiescing. What does that + stand for again? “We don’t care, just so long as it is a sexual minority! We don’t care, just so long as regular people think its sick!”
The reason I am so radical is not because I have somehow become a radical. I have become radical because I have simply remained where I was. You know, born in 1953, and all the girls in my class were girls, and all the boys in my class were boys, and I somehow got stuck in my ways. When the Overton window is moving the way it is, you can either move with it, and with the times, or you can sit there and find yourselves thinking unthinkable thoughts soon enough, even though you have thought that way your entire life.
Because evangelicals have made a fetish out of being winsome (perhaps that is what the + sign means?), they have not wanted to challenge anything. If they challenge this movement, they might be dismissed. If they confront the cultural apostasy, perhaps they will lose influence.
Look. You have lost more than enough influence already. Don’t tell us how to not lose influence.
So NQN is a way of saying to all and sundry that we will continue to think our unthinkable thoughts. We will continue to say our unspeakable things. We will continue to treasure in our consciences our unconscionable things. And you can’t stop us.