Learn to look passionately

New York City, with and without advertising. March 2007

New York City, with and without advertising. March 2007

“…it is even more urgent that we learn to look passionately and technically at stories, if only to protect ourselves from the false and manipulative ones being circulated among us.” ― George Saunders

Tomorrow is the third anniversary of this blog.  For the past year, I’ve published posts only twice weekly, instead of the daily posts that I wrote for the first two years.  So it’s fitting that this year’s celebration would be less of an event than those of the previous two birthdays (see pages linked above under “Thank you!” and “Celebrate again” for more on those festivities). But it’s still a milestone of sorts, and I wanted to mark it in some way.

This year, I decided to give myself and the rest of our blog family a different sort of party favor by doing something I’ve wanted to do since the very early days of Defeat Despair: we’re going ad-free here.

In the beginning, when I was new to blogging, I had no idea that advertising would appear on my blog, or that I would have no control over what type of ads they were.  Since I hate have a low opinion of advertising and the ever-increasing role it plays in our culture, this really bothered me. I never see the ads myself when I’m signed in on my own computer, but over the past three years when I’ve happened to see my blog on other people’s computers or cell phones, I’ve found it quite distasteful to see those commercials perched just above the gravatars and comments of readers in our blog community.

My longtime disclaimer “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” (at the sidebar to the right) has at long last been rendered irrelevant.  It never really made me feel that much better, anyway.  From the start, I wanted this blog to be a place of respite from all that was annoying, disrespectful, manipulative or depressing.  I also wanted it to be a respite from the bombardment of advertising that is everywhere we go, including the sneaky product placement messages embedded into a lot of what passes for content.  But I was too cheap frugal to pay the big upgrade fee.  Well, no more.  Happy Anniversary to us!

Y’all can help by letting me know immediately if you see any ads here, and I’ll sic my cyber outrage hounds on the perpetrators.  In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy these nuggets of wisdom from far better writers than I am, who give us much food for thought in their commentary about advertising.  Let’s continue to focus on the inspiring stories among us, and defeat despair by refusing to fall prey to false and manipulative messages.

“All the papers that matter live off their advertisements, and the advertisers exercise an indirect censorship over news.” ― George Orwell

“Ads sell a great deal more than products. They sell values, images, and concepts of success and worth…It’s in our biology to trust what we see with our eyes. This makes living in a carefully edited, overproduced and photoshopped world very dangerous.” ― Brené Brown

“It did what all ads are supposed to do: create an anxiety relievable by purchase.”
― David Foster Wallace

“Advertising is the modern substitute for argument; its function is to make the worse appear the better.” ― George Santayana

Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need…If advertisers spent the same amount of money on improving their products as they do on advertising then they wouldn’t have to advertise them.” – Will Rogers

This post was first published seven years ago today. I’m still paying the ever-increasing fee to keep the blog ad free, so please let me know if they try to sneak any advertising onto this site.

The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia!
    I have to agree that I appreciate the respite from advertising that inundates so many apps and sites. It’s especially hard to find recipes online; their content is so buried in advertising that it’s difficult to scroll to the actual recipe without accidentally clicking on something and being whisked away elsewhere….!
    Blessings on your week, dear friend!

    • Susan, it seems to me that advertising gets worse and more pervasive all the time. I used to enjoy using Alexa to access podcasts and other content, but the ads have gotten so ridiculous (sommetimes they’ll play the SAME ONE twice in a row! What’s up with that? I’m afraid I know…) that I’m pretty much using my iPod touch to play them now — just fast forwarding through the ads.

  2. Judy

    I’ve been coming to your blog just about every morning for a very long time and I never even noticed that there aren’t any ads. Thank you for taking that distraction away from our eyes!

    Did you take the 2 photos of NYC? I’ve visited there a couple of times for a few days each and I have to say that while it’s definitely interesting, it isn’t my favorite place to go. For me, it’s too much concrete and noise and busyness. Your photos capture the what my heart felt there. I did enjoy the museums though. It’s just that I need to be where there are more views of trees and farms and waters and not so, so many people.

    • Judy, yes, those are my photos of NYC. Those who know me best, know that it’s one of my top favorite places to go, and now that I live in the DC area, it’s much easier to get there, so I go as often as I can. Maybe the two of us can go there together sometime. I have a favorite hotel near the Rockefeller Center where you can get an (almost unheard of) 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom + kitchenette/living room SUITE for a very reasonable price – not surprisingly these stay booked up, so it’s a matter of catching it when it’s available. But I know other good places to stay too. As I told my friend, I love NYC so much because of the life and energy there. When I’m there, I feel as if someone has plugged me into a power source! 😀 And then it’s so nice to come home to a quieter life afterward.

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