Saturday morning, I had the practically unprecedented luxury—just wait, you younger mothers, it will come—of sipping coffee at the computer, still in pajamas, all the while knowing my oldest child was not only awake and dressed but out paddling a six-hundred-pound dragon boat for charity. (He had a blast. Go Fuse Project! Um, I cheered y’all on in spirit.) I went down a rabbit hole after an urban legend and wound up at a BuzzFeed article (83.4% of rabbit holes end up at BuzzFeed, it’s a well-known fact) and learned that twenty-something young men are making wads of money pretending to be teenage girls on Twitter. At least I think that’s what’s going on. I mean, everybody seems to know perfectly well they’re not teenage girls.
Although I read the article three times I’m still not sure exactly where the “monetization” comes in. Monetize is one of those words that makes my eyes glaze over. If I were taking a multiple-choice standardized test, I would have no problem filling in the correct bubble for “monetize,” but that doesn’t mean you know what it means. If you know what I mean.
So I just happened to have a Facebook friend whose son was paddling the boat with my son and she was also sipping coffee in pajamas–well, she claims to have been wearing yoga pants, but still—so naturally I brought this article to her attention, and we discussed it a little, and made great plans for our own Twitter takeover. In the cold light of Sunday night, however, I don’t see a whole lot of future in this. To begin with, there’s my whole failure to grasp the monetization thing, although my friend actually seems to understand how it works and mentioned something called “analytics.” I guess it’s ads. What did we do before ads, anyway? Back in the Middle Ages, when people were living the short brutish and nasty lives, did some of the serfs get paid to start a viral marketing campaign about, I don’t know, Shrive the Sheep-Shearer? He’s the best in the hamlet!
No but the real reason I can’t do this is, I would want to write my own stuff. Which these guys do not do. It says so in giant type in a great big box right there on the BuzzFeed story. “I AM NOT A WRITER. I DO NOT WRITE MOST OF MY CONTENT. I FIND IT [IN] OTHER PLACES.” Sure, he finds it, just like picking up tin cans by the side of the road. The same gentleman went on to explain that, sadly, the 140 character limit on Twitter just didn’t allow room for attribution, ya know?
So no. I won’t do that. Hell, I qualify it when I retell my own jokes. And even if I were willing to plagiarize, I mean “find,” tweetable bits to draw in a huge following of bored teenage girls (they are apparently the most monetizable demographic) I would never be able to pick the right ones. For instance, I would have let “I wish I didn’t have the urge to shop every minute of my life” slide right on by. On the other hand, that could have just been a setup for another Sephora ad. The new Naked Palette is in, y’all.
Listen. Nothing I could come up with on my own would be monetizable. This is what it’s like inside my head: later on Saturday, the old Sara Lee jingle popped into my head and I spent at least ten minutes marveling at how powerful that double negative is (“Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee”) and another ten or so after that wondering exactly how it happened, you know, were they all in a room and somebody was suddenly inspired, or did a lonely writer think of it at two in the morning, or what? It turns out the guy who wrote Man of La Mancha came up with it in 1968, and you really can find out anything you want to know on the internet, which sort of destroys dreams and at the same time gives birth to many more. Or something.
Sephora does not want to pay for that. I will have to wait until the internet allows us to make money by reading BuzzFeed articles. That’ll happen, right? We’re getting driverless cars and drones to deliver our green tea with ginseng. I don’t see why we can’t pay for it all by reading about Twitter. All it takes is some creative monetization.
Recipe: Basil is flourishing right now so here is a salad dressing recipe from Bon Appetit by way of Epicurious that everybody wanted when I brought it to a thing this one time. Well, just one woman wanted it, but Jane is such an excellent cook that I figured she counted for a lot more people. The link is to a fancy recipe with fried goat cheese but just the dressing is wonderful on any green salad, or tomatoes, or whatever.
WONDERFUL GARLIC BASIL SALAD DRESSING
Peel and halve two garlic cloves and then put them in the microwave with a quarter cup of olive oil. I do this in a two-cup Pyrex measure. Cover with saran wrap and nuke it for just 30 seconds. This will change both the garlic and the oil in a beautiful way.
Take the garlic out (but save the oil!) and put it in a bowl big enough to whisk in. Mash it up good with a fork, then add a tablespoon chopped fresh basil, two tablespoons red wine vinegar (I never have wine vinegar but I read someplace once you can use half vinegar and half wine, and we almost always have wine) and two tablespoons mustard. They want Dijon but in my house it will be Zatarain’s brown. McCormick owns them now, but I guess it still counts as local.
Mix that up then slowly add the garlicky oil, whisking as you do. See, that’s why you did it in a measuring cup you could pour from.