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[slash]: NO SELL OUT

Back on the morning of July 8, 1999, CRZ sent me a note about this, that, and the other, and oh by the way, his wrestling dealie went live and here's the URL -- and then there was the matter of this, and that, and then this other too...

Whaa? Well, it was a surprise, though a small one at that, that after a week or two of mulling over what to do with himself in the wake of WrestleManiacs' absorption by WrestleLine, he had cobbled together a bit of HTML and thus [slash] was born, quickly and quietly, as a place to read CRZ's recaps as they had been made available on WM of old -- uncut, unedited, and without outside comment.

A year later, [slash] is still here, praise be, and it looks about the same and reads about the same (though, thankfully, the initial editorial troubles with WL are less of an issue), with no pretensions toward becoming anything even resembling a "business." And there's the key.

Just because CRZ isn't out to make a living off of [slash] doesn't mean he doesn't take it seriously. He takes this thing seriously indeed, but to only the healthiest degree -- no moves toward so-called "professional" site design (gag) or outside hosting; no interest in merging with anyone else for audience convergence; ad banners be damned.

Rolling the calendar back over the past year, we can look at the stunning failures of sites such as EmZee which, perhaps, never got its shit together to begin with: I'd once written a letter following its redesign to mention that the site didn't load on IE5 for Macs and was told that, because so few people use that configuration (apparently), it wasn't worth it for them to retool their design to accommodate them, so I should just use Netscape instead. Now WHAT the FUCK kind of attention to an audience is that?

Most recently, STc has bit it again -- with farewell notes bemoaning how they (the site leaders, not the site itself) were soooo misunderstood, that what the readers wanted wasn't what THEY wanted to do, tearing hair out over where it all went wrong -- it all went wrong with how they were conceived by others, apparently (gosh -- we-the-audience must really suck!), with the word "ego" mentioned just once, and in connection with a writer who, apparently, has none.

My sainted aunt, what is up with all these people? Seriously, what the fuck is up with them?

"WAAAH! All we wanted to do is make money off of you for doing something we were doing on a whim for free, but YOU WOULDN'T LET US BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T GET US, YOU UNGRATEFUL, STUPID FUCK!!! We sank ALL this effort into making our design uglier and less navigable and added these backgrounds that take five minutes to load, and all you do is COMPLAIN! So WE DON'T NEED YOU, YOU IMPATIENT PRICK! DON'T YOU OR YOUR SMUGLY FRIENDS EVER COME BACK HERE AGAIN! Hey, could you click a few ad banners on your way out, please?"

Pick up that attitude and align yourself with others who feel the same way, and you're only asking for trouble. CLICK ON OUR AD BANNERS TO PROVE HOW MUCH YOU LOVE US, NAMELESS FACELESS ONES (whowedon'treallycareallthatmuchaboutotherthantofillourpocket swithsparechange)! PLEASE!!! Hey, FUCK YOU, Penniless! If you're making money off my being here, I don't wanna fucking know! Do us ALL a favor and keep it to yourself, okay? How difficult is THAT? Christ on a bike, some people are clueless.

Ahem. Anyway, despite what others may think, CRZ cares about [slash] to the degree that he genuinely DOES NOT CARE about making money off of it. He never did to begin with and has since only mentioned it in passing, sometimes a joke and then, most often, at the expense of others (as is his way). But the bottom line has always been keeping it grassroots and keeping it simple -- and not to make money off of you, whether you're a reader or a contributor or, as is frequently the case, both.

But are there others out there making money off of CRZ? Good Lord, yes. Am I getting ahead of myself? Mais oui!

Anyway, despite receiving no paycheck for his efforts, CRZ rarely takes weeks off from recapping, as you may know, with past time off scheduled around his ability to continue recapping. This vacation time round, he'd considered the possibility of retaining subs in his absence as he had, if memory serves, once before.

As for me -- well, CRZ broke kayfabe, I might as well too -- I'd decided to kiss off my weekly freelance gig (and the fat check that comes with it), despite it being what many consider to be a dream gig that requires only that I write about a subject I love with little to no effort on my part. But after a year, frankly, I'm fucking sick of it: It's a pain in my ass; the quality of my work and the pride I take in it has plummeted; and I'm only doing it for the money. I *jumped* at the excuse to take a week off.

A week before vacation, I asked CRZ if he'd lined up any recapping replacements yet.

CRZ: "Well, actually, um... ahh..."

Christ! The man was going on vacation and STILL couldn't stay away from his appointed rounds. Was I going to protest? Hell, no. No one was putting a hammer down and telling him to work -- it was what he wanted to do.

And does the man get compensated for this loyalty? Hey, WrestleLine don't pay him shit, folks. And they well SHOULD - - for all his unflagging, unsurpassed-in-quality, and INSANELY time-consuming recapping duties (having witnessed firsthand the work he puts into the damn things), the corporate whore that is WL needs to kick back a biscuit or two to the guy in recognition for an above-and-beyond-well- done job for OVER a FRICKING YEAR. That way he can spend it all on presents for ME ME ME. I LOVE presents. Still, CRZ ain't gettin' paid, and he's still busting his ass.

So now I'm gonna get all Carrie on "Sex and the City" for a second as I come to my Question of the Week, which seems to be:

Does the introduction of compensation corrupt idealism?

Well, no shit, Miss Bradshaw! But what I can't understand is, why don't more people realize that?

So here's to one brilliantly uncorrupted year of [slash] -- a site which hasn't sold out, created as a reaction to one man's having to sell out against his will when, in fact, he hasn't technically sold out... not yet, anyway.

Kim (B)
[slash] wrestling

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Guest column text copyright (C) 2000 by the individual author and used with permission