December 23, 2022
🥳 The big day is here!
FESTIVUS IS HERE!
As the author of the Grievance Journal, I am sure you can imagine that a holiday for airing grievances is near and dear to my heart. There are so many people today could be dedicated to — vendors who I paid to do jobs who ghosted me (forcing me to file disputes with the bank to get refunds), customers who were so mean to our customer service department that our operations manager felt compelled to cancel their orders so we no longer had to talk to them, people who litter, etc. My rogues gallery is more extensive than an X-Men comic, but today's rant goes out to our haters.
Here at Boredwalk we never set out to be a brand for everyone. Our style of humor and worldview is for the strange and unusual who feel at odds with "good vibes only" culture.
Although I create art that satirizes normcore mainstream banality, I literally spend zero seconds of my time harassing perpetuators of content and ideas I don't like. Just because it's not for me doesn't mean it's not for anyone. Boredwalk haters don't take this approach, though. They don't like Boredwalk, and they are on a mission to try to dissuade others from enjoying what we do.
Imagine being so preoccupied with hating Boredwalk that you go to Google to leave a "review" about it, even when you're not (nor have you ever been) a customer thereof. Yes, we think it's fine for kids to read books with LGBTQIA characters in it; tell everyone!
While the gay bashers certainly are horrible, what really gets our goat are the "activists" on the left who are also obsessed with hating us. For months now, one hater in particular has been harassing us incessantly under different accounts because she is mad we use the proceeds from the sale of our art to pay ourselves and our team instead of donating that revenue. She is also mad we won't let her spew her complaints on our social media posts. She complains we are "profiting" from issues, which is rich given some years — 2022 among them — we actually have zero profit to speak of.
In years that we do generate a profit, I try to put most of it away so we can still pay ourselves and our team when things aren't going well. I also deploy it in ways I hope can make us more money in the future so I can afford things like raises for the people at our company. That's why I don't commit to a consistent recurring donation to any non-profit. My first priority is having cash reserves to pay the people who work at our company, which includes the founders. When I feel I have extra I'm happy to share some of that with organizations I care about. I don't always talk about it publicly because doing so feels performative and tacky.
Raising funds for non-profits was never something we claimed as our organization's mission. We are artists; we sell art, and even if it’s on a kitchen towel or t-shirt or a book, at its core we sell writing, illustration, and graphic and/or typographic design on functional goods. Often that art expresses an opinion. Expressing opinions in our art and selling that art does not obligate us or our team to take some vow of poverty to show commitment to our opinions.
Everyone at Boredwalk deserves a life where we can afford food and housing and even basic niceties like dinner out or a vacation. No one at Boredwalk is swanning around in Versace and taking off in private jets to summer in The Hamptons. It is wild that our haters on the left begrudge us a living without a hint of contempt for what multi-billion dollar companies like Amazon or Meta do with their revenue.
I often think people separate what we do from traditional art, but actually most art you experience is a product. Movies are a product. Books are a product. Music is a product. All of your favorite creators sell art. Just because it isn’t an ad on Instagram doesn’t mean they aren’t selling art. Art being commodified is the norm, not an aberration on our part.
Artists need to feed their families, too. If people want artists to make art they enjoy consuming, we artists have to be paid to do that. Otherwise we have to do something with our time other than make art.
Boredwalk being a brand name doesn’t change what we sell or the fact that we are an artist-owned and operated enterprise. Boredwalk being a company isn’t different than a filmmaker having a production company. Is Spielberg not an artist because he founded Amblin Entertainment? Is he not an artist because he made a lot of money making art? Is he a terrible person for not giving away the money he makes from his work? He certainly has made more money over the course of his creative life than I have over mine; why aren't the haters all over him? He's certainly made a lot of art that expresses opinions over the years and profited from doing so.
We are regular people who worry about the same things you worry about. Do I have cash on hand for a string of large unexpected expenses? What can I do at work this year to get a raise? Will I have enough to retire?
t is absurd that people think progressive activism is best manifested by harassing us (or any other small business) instead of talking about something that matters.
Haters, if you really care about progressivism, talk to people about a local ballot measure in an upcoming off-cycle election and encourage them go vote. Most people ignore those types of elections and they need more participation. Go volunteer your time with an organization your care about. Harassing small businesses on Instagram isn't the act of heroism you seem to think it is.
If you don't like what we do that's fine, but get out of our comments. We are not obligated to give you a platform on our Instagram or Facebook or TikTok or YouTube account. The Boredwalk Instagram account is the Boredwalk show. You are a heckler. We are well within our rights to kick you out. Go be a fly in the punch bowl somewhere else.
Alright, I hope the above rant has inspired you to celebrate Festivus in whatever way you see fit! I also hope you have a delightful weekend filled with treats and devoid of haters, whether it's with the family your were born into or one of your choosing. As is our tradition, I will put a bow on this email with a few famous birthdays and historical facts.
• Born on this day: Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder (1964), actor Corey Haim (1971), and entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker (1867)
* Walker is recorded as the first female self-made millionaire in America in the Guinness Book of World Records.
• On this day in 1815, Jane Austen's novel Emma was first published
• On this day in 1888 Vincent van Gogh cut off his left ear with a razor, following an argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin, and sent it to a prostitute for safe keeping
OK, that's it for this week! We'll be back here in your inbox on Monday with a fresh email and (maybe) a fresh customer Q&A! If you'd like to be featured in an upcoming email reply to this and let us know!
Peace, love, and grievances,