Apparently someone bought the domain hipsterwelfare.com. It redirects to Patreon.
Come on, people.
You don’t want to give your hard-earned money to big corporations who act as gatekeepers and middlemen between you and the stuff you like.
But you ALSO don’t want to give money directly to the creators who make the stuff you like because it’s hipster welfare.
Make up your damn minds.
Hank Green talked about this last month when Patreon bought Subbable.
“I worry about the psychological difference between being required to pay and being asked to pay. If we /made/ people pay for Crash Course we would make MUCH MORE MONEY! But no one would call it immoral, that’s just business. Like, pharmaceutical companies make people pay to not die, and that’s just America. But when you ASK people to pay, like they aren’t required but you would like them to, suddenly the burden is on you to prove that you need the money. This is very odd, but it’s something we all feel. Getting over the psychology that weights forcing a fan to do something rather than asking the ones who can afford to pay to pay is very important not just for Patreon, but for the future of independent creation.” (Source.)
Creative labor is still labor. It’s work, and it takes time and energy (and oftentimes capital investment) to make things people enjoy. Since we don’t have basic guaranteed income, we need to be paid for our labor. There’s been a trend over the past decade or so towards cutting out the middlemen and giving creators a direct relationship with their audience. I believe this is a good thing for both creators and audience. But it’s not going to work unless creators receive some sort of material compensation for their labor.
The stigma that’s seeped into crowdfunding for creative labor, that it’s just digital panhandling or welfare, is a problem. It’s a problem for everyone. And if you read the first sentence of this post and laughed, you are part of the problem.
* Footnote 1: Just in case it wasn’t clear, I’m referring to the Rhetorical You, not You You.
* Footnote 2: I think it’s really telling that I found out about this while lurking/trolling on a GamerGate forum. They routinely attack Patreon because it’s a common funding source for people they’ve decided are enemies, even as they contribute to the crowdfunding campaigns of projects they like or people who pander to them (Davis Aurini, TFYC, Honey Badgers). Think about that.
* Footnote 3. Don’t think we all don’t see the class and race implications behind the use of “welfare” here.