27 December 2008

Deep Madder Monthly Floodgates Opening Imminently

Beware! A new year brings a newfound urgency to the purpose of the editors of Deep Madder Monthly. Consequently, we will soon be releasing not one but TWO issues (November and December) synchronously, thus completing the year's work that will comprise the year-end anthology of all issues therein. In order to ensure your acquisition of all this, as well as future issues of the zine, you may purchase one of the following packages:

$5 (plus applicable happiness tax) for a subscription consisting of twelve (12) issues and the year-end anthology.
$2 (plus requisite happiness tax) for merely the year-end anthology.

To calculate your happiness tax, simply rate your happiness from one to five (1-5) and then add that number of dollars to the price. To make your order, contact the editors through e-mail (deepmadder@gmail.com) or whatever way you want.

Note: By the way, pardon the vulgar, financial talk, but if you are one of those people (you know who you are) who are apprehensive and suspicious of our ostensive avaricious and capitalistic motivations in charging such prices for these offers, allow us to mention that we will not only make no profit from said pricing, but will be losing money from each purchase. Each subscription, we have calculated, costs us no less than $12. Thus, even if you're the happiest person in the world, you will only be paying $10, though most readers will probably pay $7 or $8. If we (eventually) have a mere ten subscribers, for instance, all yielding $7, we are still subsidising $60 a year.

Further Note: If you are unable or unwilling to afford such prices, you may receive any offer gratis. If you are, conversely, unable to, try as you might, fathom even a modicum of the appeal of this zine, you should not feel guilty for this fact as it is beyond your control.



Blogger Pamela said...

What? Why am I being singled out? As I recall, I was the very first subscriber and also paid you the sum of $10 plus a trillion stamps. Isn't that vastly in excess of anyone else, to date?

Alexander, I just think you have a lot of weird attitudes about money and this is one instance where I do find them especially affronting / vulgar. I don't disagree that a small, independent publication is as worthy of monetary support as something more "professional." I do, however, find it depressing that you have to pollute your cute little publication with such a weird capitalist mindset about revenue. What's supposed to be so good about independent publications is that they provide alternatives to standard Big Bad Models of Capitalism. So this kind of crude money-seeking mimicry is gross to me.

Plus I'm uneasy about what I see as an expectation that your friends should fork over money to prove that they like you / the zine. Especially when the people around you are overwhelmingly living off of loans / low-paying jobs to be able to support themselves. Double especially when publishing your zine is a hobby (surprise! hobbies cost money to pursue!) and it's not like publishing it is verging on putting you in the poor house.

I also don't see why you should charge money for Deep Madder Monthly any more than you should subject viewers of this blog to advertisements to compensate for your time spent writing posts.

December 27, 2008 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger Alexander said...

Whether you contributed $10 or $1000, the fact remains that you were a critic of us charging money, and that's the only reason I singled you out. If that was in poor form, however, I apologise, and the post has been edited accordingly. However, I did it with purely playful, facetious intentions; I didn't mean to criticise you or anything.

I agree that it's depressing to discuss our readership's acquisition of the zine in such crude terms and I am sorry for that, but it's only because I feel guilty for charging any money at all for the zine that I feel we need to justify it by outlining the non-profit nature of the transaction. I feel it's not unjust for readers to, if they so chooose, pay $7 a year for our zine. If this approach to subscriptions betrays a "strange attitude about money," I think that, if anything, it is a strangely generous attitude.

I also agree that independent publications should provide alternatives to the models of capitalism, and that is why we have chosen such a humble, generous, and unobtrusive model as this. I mean, we would happily give zines and subscriptions away for free, for instance, to people who can't afford the costs (I will alter the advertisement accordingly to note this, though I think it may be presumed). We are simply asking that people who wish to regularly receive the zine pay a fraction of the costs of the envelopes and stamps involved in providing these subscriptions. I personally don't think that this resembles traditional capitalistic models at all.

In regards to the perceived guilt we are instilling in non-subscribing friends, I don't think that this advertisement uses such guilt tactics, and it certainly wasn't intended to do so. I am sorry if any such sentiments arose but I certainly don't want people to subscribe out of guilt. If there is any approval or disapproval that the editors will direct towards subscribers versus non-subscribers, respectively, it is unintentional and merely arises as a result of us liking when people share our interests, just as I would love it if anyone else gave a shit about Adrian Orange or Christopher would love it if someone gave a shit about punctuality. We do NOT, however, mean to "guilt people into" getting subscriptions, so please don't feel guilty if you hate our work (that's a joke).

About hobbies, I think that many creative endeavours are sustained by hobbies, such as Spacing, and independent musicians profit from their weird little hobbies. Should musicians be able to charge for cheap, homemade CDs? I just don't see what makes this zine so different from everything else. Many small, homemade, hobby-inspired creations that we enjoy all the time provide a profit for their creators. Not that two wrongs make a right, but I'm curious about whether those transactions also make you similarly uneasy. Lindsay makes jewelry. Should she be able to ask for less than the cost, like we do, of what is required to create the necklace or whatever?

December 27, 2008 at 3:37 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

Although I've apparently missed the initial unedited blog post, I'd like to add my own two cents here. Apologies in advance for its terrible articulation of half-baked ideas:

I was more reticent than anyone in regards to charging money for Deep Madder (refer to http://deepmadder.blogspot.com/2008/10/subscriptions-available.html for a mild example, and know that this has been a subject of debate between Alex and I), and indeed, my views on the mixture of commerce and 'art' have always differed pretty significantly from Alex's. But on this particular topic I've recently come much more into line with him.

The thing is that we're trying to move towards a subscription-based model, and it recently became clear to me that this is a semi-costly endeavour. Deep Madder is absolutely a hobby - we don't expect any compensation for the actual 'work' we do on Deep Madder. But we're simultaneously not impervious to the cost considerations that operate on this hobby - as you point out, it's not going to break the bank, but we're also not exactly living 'high on the hog,' so to speak. So I don't consider this a move into big bad capitalist operation, or anything of that nature - the average fee ($7ish) simply covers postage (12 issues + 1 anthology x .52 cents = $6.76), we still lose money on every subscription, and any money we do receive is put solely towards the cost of materials. I don't think it's inherently capitalist to ask for a bit of money to offset costs, if said money can be spared. We've never refused anyone an issue (and we never will), but let's be honest - if we didn't specifically ask for money via subscriptions, it's highly unlikely that anyone would ever consider such concerns. I'm wholly against us making any sort of profit from Deep Madder, but since we still lose money on each issue, I'm a little more comfortable with asking for a bit of money.

Now, it is certainly a bit odd to ask for money from friends, something I'm not entirely at ease with, but it's not for personal gratification. The whole 'zine-as-validation-of-our-worth-as-human-beings' thing is merely a tongue-in-cheek continuation of the exaggerated 'us against the world' Deep Madder-ism. The subscription is simply a way to to offset a fraction of the costs, and also to provide us the motivation to get each issue out on time. And it's by no means a requirement - if someone cannot or does not want to subscribe, that's perfectly acceptable and there shall be no stigma involved (though, admittedly, the constant pushing of subscriptions as of late likely leads people to believe otherwise). And if someone just wanted to give us a handful of stamps with which to send out their zines, that would be just as good.

I think part of the problem here exists in this tricky relationship between money and creative endeavours. For me, the main reason that we're outlining the Deep Madder costs is because we're not entirely comfortable with the whole money aspect, and we thus feel compelled to justify it and make clear that we are in no way making a profit with any money received. But it leads to this kind of problematic paradox whereby our need to make it clear that we're trying to avoid capitalist trappings and that no money is being made leads us into a particular framing of the matter and a breaking down of costs/numbers that is much more likely to come across as "crude money-seeking mimicry."

December 27, 2008 at 3:38 PM  
Blogger Lindsay said...


Superbly said Pamela!!
I second that with a resounding applause.

December 27, 2008 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Alexander said...

Referring to Christopher and I jointly as "Pamela" again? That's strange.

Anyway, why not address our responses to Pamela? Please?

December 27, 2008 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

i don't object to you charging money for your publication either - it's more how how you've been talking about it that peeves me. not to mention the fact that i've leant you (alex) so many un-payed-back toonies that i should be covered for a lifetimes subscription.

but anyway - so what's the deal? I pay $7 and get a years subscription. that's a good deal. i like deep madder, so i'll sign up. done.

December 27, 2008 at 4:51 PM  
Blogger Alexander said...

Further, I resent this characterisation (e.g. Mr Hubbarde saying, "my views on the mixture of commerce and 'art' have always differed pretty significantly from Alex's") of "Alex" as the crazy capitalist asshole. If anything, I'd say that I'm traditionally more suspicious of mixing commerce with 'art' than Mr Hubbarde and our social group. For the longest time I thought that art should always be free. I would argue with Robert about the ethical implications of making a living from music, and I always posited that one's creative endeavours should exist independently from one's financial sustenance. However, I currently have milder qualms with making a living through one's creations.

The main problem I see with charging money for creations (for lack of a better word for what people call 'art') is that the painting, song, or whatever becomes commodified to some extent; that is, the product (or its delivery) almost inevitably is changed or becomes influenced by its vehicular status as a money-maker. However, this can only happen when profit is involved.

The disagreements I've had with Christopher (i.e. the ones I think he was referring to) about the collision between creative shit and money reflect recent thoughts I've had about pricing. That is, he and I have argued about how much musicians should charge for things like CDs, and how much things should be priced in general, and I am more tolerant than he is with pricing, is all. I don't mind if a CD is $10 or $15, for instance, while he seems to believe that profit should be minimal at best and CDs should be $3 or something.

This clearly clashes with my belief that creative endeavours oughtn't to garner a profit. However, I also think that we (Western people) never pay enough for anything we buy. All our shit is made in sweatshops and factory farms and shit which allows them to be cheap as fuck so we can buy as much stuff as possible, and thus we do buy WAY too much stuff. What if we could only buy one CD a month or something? Imagine how much more we would appreciate music? What if we could only buy a piece of clothing every year? Etc. It would be beautiful, I agree. What if we had to get shit repaired instead of buy a new thing?

so yeah, I have my new opinion about pricing which conflicts with my opinion about creative people profiting from creativity. and that's weird.

anyway, yeah this is a weird meandering comment, but i just want to say that I'm not one who's always arguing for the blending of commerce and 'art.'

December 27, 2008 at 5:28 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

I didn't intend to imply that you were some greedy fool who can never wait to mix up a batch of creativity and money - I generally agree with your viewpoints on how art and commerce should ideally not mix at all (I remember one incident on the Oxford balcony where you and I were the only ones arguing such a point against a horde of people).

As you correctly infer, the area where we strongly differ is when it comes to pricing (i.e., profit vs sustenance).

December 27, 2008 at 6:07 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Well I think that if the subscription fee is really just covering the shipping costs, as Chris implies, since I live in the immediate area, I'll just go pick it up myself over at Alex's and save the paper from which the envelope and stamp would have been made. Not to mention the fossil fuels used in their creation.

What if we each only got a certain amount of fossil fuel and tree product allotment per month? Then maybe we would just truck our sorry asses a few kilometres over to Alex and Joel's and pick it up, right? Unless you don't live in Toronto, but then couldn't you still just ask the authors to hold onto your copies and read them when you get back from China?

December 27, 2008 at 6:53 PM  
Blogger Alexander said...

I'm bored. My eyes hurt from staring at the computer for too long. Help!

December 27, 2008 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

me too

time to watch Buffy - on the computer!

December 27, 2008 at 9:21 PM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

frigger! I forgot to give Chris my $ for my subscriptions yesterda!

December 29, 2008 at 11:53 PM  
Blogger ZiCheng said...

"Unless you don't live in Toronto, but then couldn't you still just ask the authors to hold onto your copies and read them when you get back from China?"

They're doing wonderful things with the Internet these days.

So if you (DeepMadder authors) use your gmail addresses and send the zines as attachments tonight, when do you think I can expect to receive them?

January 2, 2009 at 11:01 AM  
Blogger Alexander said...

Talking about the worst way you can possibly experience our work? I.e. in a spray of pixels on a computer screen? If you really want us to send the issues to you via e-mail, however, we will, but we won't be happy about it.

January 3, 2009 at 2:15 AM  

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