For Whom this Bell Tolls

The Progressive Pilgrim Review FAQ, last updated 1/13/18

1. What’s a progressive pilgrim?

You could say it’s someone questing for personal redemption at the expense of the wealthy and powerful. Lacking a better metric, redemption is measured in page views. The fewer the better, because that means others are taking our advice to devote themselves to societal change and have no time or need to read about what is to be done. Progressive pilgrims setting forth to change themselves by changing the world.

2. What do you review?

Life, the universe, and everything except idle amusements. That is, we mostly ignore celebrities, fashion, films, music, sports and TV. Three-quarters of the Internet is all about that and half the rest is self-referential crap. Who needs to add yet more gossip and trivialities to that fetid mix?

3. Why don’t you connect to Facebook, Twitter, etc?

We just told you. It’s the gossip-trivia factor. However, visitors are quite free to cite anything here on social media. We don’t do that ourselves because lounging around online impedes productive work.

4. So what’s here that I should care about?

Depends what you like. Could be personal accounts of times past, takedowns of the rich and invisible, radical perspectives on current events, how technology can ruin your day or someone else’s, satire and parody, or simply love of how words are put together. Click on our categories and tags to see what’s around in that suits your special interests.

5. I see all sorts of tags and categories here. Are you saying you’re tight with all those subjects?

Hell no. We’re not NPR experts with press agents. We don’t prevaricate and only lay down words when we sense we’re on to something the experts have missed or would rather not discuss; here’s an example of that. And when we address an issue, it’s often to connect dots that too many experts just stare blankly at. You could say we’re practicing investigative journalism without a license. Call the authorities, if you like.

6. What authorities?

You know, the Thought Police. What some call Mainstream Media, others The Deep State. The gatekeepers who decide what’s fit for public discourse and what’s not. Self-appointed guardians of American myths—left, center, right, or alt. They’re clearly flacking or slacking, and all are ripe for hacking because to some degree, all news is fake.

7. Suppose I wanted you to look into something that’s going on. What should I do?

We’d love to help you get closer to the bottom of it. Pose your issue via our Contact Form or simply comment on a post (we use Disqus for that; you may need to identify yourself to them first). Clearly state your interest and how to reach you if you wish to discuss. If it’s anything we feel we can add value to, we’ll take a look.

8. It seems you’ve written a novel. Looks pretty interesting. Where’s the BUY button?

Umm, you can’t buy Mahmoud’s Jihad because it’s been embargoed by the publishing industry, likely at the behest of the intelligence community. But you can listen to the first ten chapters if you’re really motivated. We’re working to get around the embargo, so if the blurb and babbling doesn’t put you off please check back another time. While you’re waiting, see what went down when I tried to turn it into a screenplay.

9. Have you won any awards for your writing?

Funny you should ask. Honorable mention for an essay on the United Nations in 9th grade! Prize for best paper in grad school, two years in a row! After that, a few fallow decades until January 2018, when chapter one of Mahmoud’s Jihad was selected for an anthology of the best fiction and poetry of 2017 by an obscure conclave of writers in Florida. And five years of posting stories at cowbird.com (now inactive and sometimes out of order) garnered many followers for my 350 stories there. No fame or glory for all of that, just the camaraderie of my fellow cowbird authors that came to pass, culminating in a weekend idyll for two dozen of us last summer in Vermont, described here.

10. Why do you do it?

Certainly not for the money. Fame, perhaps, but I’ve always been wary of celebrity. A few strokes of the old ego now and then can’t hurt though. Like anyone, I want to tell my story—to reflect on the facets of my life and the people who have been part of it. I also write to express my dismay at social and economic injustice and how its root causes are glossed over by most of the media. Much of my angst comes from frustration over how powerful elites have hijacked beneficial technologies to enrich themselves further, so I write exposés that hammer on that. My scrivening may not amount to much, but it’s the best I can do under such screwed-up circumstances.

Thanks for coming.