Support Lileks

Just a quick note: Readers of James Lileks’ Bleat know by now that his wife just got canned from her job, and today’s Bleat shows the typical uncertainty one goes through when one’s household income takes a big hit. Glenn over at Instapundit has suggested everyone hit James’ tip jar; I second that emotion.

Back in the day, James helped me by being a marquee name for an online humor site I created for AOL. It was a nice arrangement; he lent me his credibility, I paid him money. We’ve been friends since. Later on, his site and the Bleat specifically were inspirations for me creating my own site and starting up the Whatever, and beyond that there are a number of other parallels between his career and mine: We both write books, have worked for newspapers, went to live in DC and then got the Hell out, and dote on our wives and precocious children. When I want to figure out what I’ll be doing about a decade up the time stream, I just see what he’s up to (and that includes his hairline). We’re obviously not the same person — just look at our politics — but I tend to think of him as a pretty good example of a good life, well lived. And of course, he’s a fine writer to boot.

If you’ve ever enjoyed the Bleat or one of his books, go leave him a nice tip. James is not claiming poverty or hardship, nor is he suggesting that what’s going on in his household is the end of the world. He’s not even asking people to hit his tip jar (aside from the fact that his tip jar exists at all). My suggestion about you leaving him a tip isn’t about that. It’s just a way to let him know you appreciate the Bleat, and that he and his lovely and talented wife will soon see the backend of this blip, and in the meantime, here’s what you’d pay to buy him that drink you’d undoubtedly have together if you happened to be in Minneapolis at the moment.

Anyway, that’s my pitch for James.

15 Comments on “Support Lileks”

  1. I’m a daily reader of the Bleat, but I have been completely unable to get to Lileks’ site this week starting Monday. I’ve tried day and night, and no go. Ran a tracert and it gets bogged down somewhere along after about 10 hops. I’ve been trying to find out why I can’t connect but at this point I’m quite puzzled. I’d love to hit his tipjar but I can’t get there!

    Anyone else?

  2. Hear! Hear! I too owe Mr Lielks alot . Because of him, I started my own site, “” Altough my site is not nearly as mainstream as his; I really felt connected. The wierd thing is that his girl and my girl are the same age, so it was like having someone comfort me during those times of child induced fustration. Please send him support he’s a good guy!

  3. I can get Lileks’ site, but I just tried (Thurs. a.m.) to hit the tipjar and Amazon walked me all the way through the process, but when I hit the final “Pay” button, it tells me Lileks can’t accepts tips right now. I hope it’s because we’re all clogging him with tips.

  4. Yesterday, writing about Lileks’ Wednesday “crisis” column, Instapundit made a mammoth error in judgment: “…it’s obvious that someone doesn’t like The Bleat. Which just proves that there are idiots in need of stern correction everywhere.”

    In fact, of course, Lileks’ wife had been fired. The crisis had nothing to do with any “idiot” not liking the Bleat and thus needing “stern correction.”

    Considering the blah-blah Reynolds is always spouting about the agility of new media, kind of interesting that he doesn’t even acknowledge his error. Anywhere.

  5. Not a very charitable interpretation of events, Tomas. It’s possible that The Bleat was provoking some friction at his wife’s office, resulting in her eventual firing, I’d say.

    I managed to hit Lileks’s tip jar before it filled and it was limited to $50 a pop. I e-mailed him and suggested he open the gates and let his readers shoulder as much as they are willing to right now. It’s a great column and a fascinating site…it’s the least we can do.

  6. Funny thing, and I hope this doesn’t sting James – but I never ‘clicked’ with his writing. I’ve bounced over there at least a dozen times, and always came away with a feeling of – “Geeze, I’m not adding a bookmark here”. I say it’s a funny thing because he is obviously well liked, and very talented. But just not for me.

    I hope his wife finds good work, partially because I’d like for people to work at something they enjoy (and get paid for it). But partially because it will set James’ mind back at ease, and he can go on helping and sharing with others – things he clearly does well.

    From reading the comments, I guess he has the “worst problem of all” – his tip jar runneth over. I guess that’s the best example of irony there is.

    Like I said, no harm intended, I wish him & her well.

  7. I hope to God that the reason that the Tip Jar’s been turned off is because Lileks knows he doesn’t need the money. Mrs Lileks was an assisstant attorney general for the state of Minnesota. I’m sure she wasn’t working for minimum wage. She’ll get a job soon enough, and it won’t be at the Burger King.

    PLEASE don’t tell me that you people think that this is more important than giving money to a REAL charity, to people who are truly in need. If you seriously want to send $50 to someone, I don’t think that this is the first place to look. It’s very close to the last.

  8. Jeepers, Mr. Splut! The Coen brothers don’t need my money, either. But I’m pretty happy to send them a bit of scratch via my movie ticket every couple years. That’s hardly charity.

  9. And I bought 3 copies of Lileks (James) last book through the Amazon link on The Bleat, so that he got the maximum payment. Payment for a job well done! But that’s not the Tip Jar. The Tip Jar is charity.

    I wouldn’t pay $9.50 at the Macroplex to see Fargo, then mail the Coens a twenty each because they needed (exaggerating for effect) seat-warmers for their personal zeppelin fleet.

    Seriously: Two minimum-wage-jobs mom, or Lileks? ACLU or Lileks? Salvation Army or Lileks? No-Kill animal shelter or Lileks? (Fill in blank) or Lileks? It’s not a question of who you like more, it’s a question of who needs it more.

    Lileks used the contents of his tip jar to buy a cow for some Third World village a while back. I trust the guy to use the money for something like that again. So…Why not use your money for your own favorite charity instead?

  10. Bill the Splut said:

    “PLEASE don’t tell me that you people think that this is more important than giving money to a REAL charity, to people who are truly in need.”

    Well, no. That’s why I suggested drink money. The relatively paltry amount I sent James myself does not in any way cut into my actual charitable contributions elsewhere in the world. As I said, I don’t think this is about charity per se.

    But it’s also worth noting that James has always said that any money he makes from the tip jar over his expenses will go to buy livestock for needy families in underdeveloped countries (his top jar contributions bought a Cebu last year). It’s through a charity called the Heifer Project ( “This will be a tradition: every year all the money contributed that exceeds the cost of running this site will be donated in the form of pigs, sheep, ducks or Cebus,” James wrote last year. I would imagine he would continue doing so this year as well. That should assuage some guilt at throwing money toward a well-off writer.

  11. Besides which, if I *were* to ‘tip’ James, it would be for a service rendered. My purpose in putting money into that receptacle would to recognize his efforts and show my appreciation for them. What he does with the extra is not part of the motivation in the tip. I wouldn’t consider putting money in his tip jar as a ‘charitable contribution’.

    If Jim’s work provided me a satisfaction, I would want to contribute to him so that he has some tangible feedback regarding his efforts. It wouldn’t be ‘charity’, it would be ‘reward’. Huge difference.

    And regardless of his wife’s employment level, or cause for dismissal, it’s still a blow to the family, and the person. If a group of Jim’s reader’s express their sympathy for his loss and turmult – and they want to show their expression financially (even if he ‘nudges’ them), then that is great. I don’t see how that warrants comparison between Jim’s tip jar and a host of charities.

  12. Well, what matters is this I think, mission accomplished:

    “Sorry. Off topic. Point is, I cannot thank everyone enough. You have paid the mortgage on Jasperwood for the rest of the summer. I have no idea what I did to deserve this, and I am absolutely stunned at your generosity. And this goes for those who tried to contribute but couldnít – ” Followed mind you by an interesting explanation as to how Amazon cut off his account to protect the world from fraud, bleedin geniuses :P.

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