Welcome to the Wingback

Happy New Year! I love a new year. I’ll celebrate a fresh start any day. I don’t make resolutions or even pick a word or phrase; I just like turning a new page in my planner and looking forward.

You may have noticed a new logo for the newsletter: The Wingback. The Substack URL is still Useful and Strange, and I don’t know that there’s anything I can do about that for now.

Why a new logo, you ask, when the previous name and logo were equally esoteric and useless? Well, it all came about because of Substack’s wimpy stance when it comes to making money off of real, live, out-and-loud Nazis on this site.

A Very Quick Explainer

I had no plans to change my Substack, or anything else about my online life, for the new year or any other time. I’ve been considering starting a digital garden, which is a way to learn in public. That sounds fun. Otherwise, no changes were afoot at all.

There are Nazi accounts on Substack, as there are Nazi accounts just about everywhere. Some Substack users wrote an open letter to Substack’s leadership asking for clarification on the company’s Nazi policy, and they hid behind the free speech curtain. A private company allowing — or not allowing — hateful speech on its digital platform is not a free speech issue. Free speech comes into play when the government, at any level from federal to municipal, makes it a punishable crime to speak or publish on a subject. Anyway, Substack decided not to demonetize the hateful accounts because it makes money when newsletters have paying subscribers, and the Nazis have paying subscribers. This is the same stance Substack took regarding anti-trans accounts as well, so its track record is not great.

I don’t want to give this issue any more air than it’s already gotten. There are many takes far hotter (and more informed) than mine out there, and they’re easily found.

New Year, New News

There is an upshot to this situation: I’m finally doing the digital things I’ve wanted to do for ages. My very own website now hosts all of my essays, and they will all appear on The Wingback first. You can subscribe directly via any blog post on the site. I spent the entire holiday break — when I intended to be revising volume two of my Mogador translation — cleaning up old posts and deleting irrelevant posts. So there is plenty of content going back to about 2010, with modern formatting and working links. I still have some work do, like adding more images, but it’s ready for readers.

I will also be taking a page from Cory Doctorow‘s idea of writing once and posting everywhere. So while the essays will always live on my website, they will also appear on Substack and on Medium. There will be links, and possibly snippets of text, on Instagram and my Mastodon account. (I’m considering Threads for this use too.) I’ll also be federating the blog, so anyone can follow it on any federated service, including, again, Mastodon.

Where to Find and Support the Wingback

So while this was not how I planned on spending my holiday vacation, and I don’t generally like being prodded to do things by horrible people, I am glad to have put in the hours of work to finally make The Wingback happen. I’m less reliant on any single platform, and no service can hold my work hostage. There are still ways for people to pay monthly, annually, or as a one-time tip on my website so you don’t have to worry that your money is funding anyone who funds horrible people. You can also buy my books, which is the best way to support my work. And my work is more books. It’s a literary ouroboros, one that I am happy to continue.

Here’s the TL;DR for how to find this content going forward:

One last thing: If you encounter any problems with text formatting, image sizing, broken links, or payment issues in any of these places, contact me at khg at kristenhallgeisler dot com so I can fix it. Thanks!