Atlantic Guy Continues To Mansplain Why It’s OK To Work For Free

This post, by Kris E. Benson, originally appeared on Wonkette on 3/6/13.

Well, well, well. First, let us all take a step back and appreciate exactly where we are right now: we are in a place wherein paying people for their work has become a topic worthy of debate and discussion. Let’s just let that soak in for a second: paying people for their work has become a topic worthy of debate and discussion. See, for example, Alexis C. Madrigal’s frantic tweets wherein he tries to defend the system at the Atlantic and explain to us what it is like to work for a digital newspaper. Thanks Alexis C. Madrigal, it is duly noted!

[Publetariat Editor’s note: strong language after the jump]

Shall we examine this long post wherein Alexis C. Madrigal talks about why it is OK for other people (not him) to not get paid for their work? Sure, let’s do that!

When Nate Thayer published emails with our newest editor (second week on the job), I can see how that might happen. How you might finish writing your last email, “No offense taken,” and then staring at your blog’s CMS that night, decide, you know, what? I’m tired of writing for peanuts, because fuck that. And if a young journalist in her first week on the job was part of the collateral damage, hey, the world just isn’t fair, kid. Pay it forward.

I get it, but it was still a nasty thing to do.

[Publetariat Editor’s note – follow the link to read the Nate Thayer post, it will clarify what Wonkette’s post is about (and it will open in a separate window). Essentially, Nate Thayer was offered, and turned down, a non-paying gig at The Atlantic which was offered to him by a newish Atlantic editor named Olga Khazan.]

To be sure, this is not Olga Khazan’s fault; it is the fault of the Atlantic for putting her in the crappy position of having to ask people to work for free.

Still, what NATE THAYER did was a “nasty thing to do”? It isn’t “nasty” to imply that Nate Thayer’s work has no value? And then defend that position on Twitter and on the Atlantic website?

Whatever, anyway, moving on (and we are going to skip a lot because Alexis C. Madrigal’s post is really a whole lot of nothing. Maybe someone — another editor, perhaps, if he can find the budget? — should have taken a look-see before he posted it, but that’s another story). Did you know that it’s ok to defend not paying people for work because Alexis C. Madrigal got paid NOTHING or NEXT TO NOTHING when he first started writing? But man, he did his best and he worked really hard and wrote for free here and there and now, well, look where he is! See? Maybe if YOU write for free and suck it up, YOU can be an editor at a major publication too!


Read the rest of the post on Wonkette, and also see People Writing for Free on the Internet Is an Enormous Boon to Society and Writing For Free Part II, both by Matthew Yglesias on Slate.