The Whatever Geographic Default Entry
This is one of those “post now for later reference” posts.
Folks, I live in the United States and the bulk of my personal, political and economic life, including book sales, is tied into it. Also, while I am happy to see that almost 30% of my traffic to Whatever comes from other countries, over 70% of my traffic comes from within the US (the country with the next largest share: Canada, with 7.45%, which means that 80% of my traffic is North American).
Additionally, despite the Internet being an international phenomenon, actual political states still exist and as a result the economic and political world is still fragmented to a greater or lesser extent.
As a result of these factors, here are some things you should assume.
1. For the purposes of me writing on Whatever on any general topic, you may assume that unless I specifically state otherwise, I am defaulting to talking about the experience of the topic in the United States, and that I know that the experience of the thing may be different elsewhere.
2. Likewise, in the case of commerce, if I talk about the availability of a book or anything else I’ve created and have available for sale, unless specified otherwise, you should assume that I am speaking of its availability, and its sale price, in the US (and to a lesser extent Canada), not anywhere else in the world, and that I know it might not be available as noted anywhere else.
I highlight this because I have to admit I find it a little bit exasperating that every time I mention something for sale, there’s a very high chance that within the first few comments will be someone complaining that the thing is not for sale in [insert country not the United States], or is not for sale in [insert country not the United States] at the price I noted. I likewise find it exasperating because I don’t really think it’s a secret that I live in the United States and might focus on it as my home sales region; likewise I don’t really think it’s a secret that other countries aside from the United States exist and that they have different laws, territorial economies and availability windows, when it comes to my work, and the work of others.
I additionally find it exasperating because I’m not entirely sure why anyone thinks complaining to me about these things will do anything other than exasperate me. I don’t have any control over nations, their politics and their trade zones; likewise I only fractionally more control over when publishers in various countries decide to publish my work in their economic territories or how retailers make things available in their regional stores (I have discussed this before here).
I recognize that when people complain about these things, they don’t intend to exasperate me, and they do appear to think I have significant amounts of control over these things. But respectively, they do, and I don’t.
Beyond the sales issues, when I discuss issues relating to life in general, there’s often someone jumping in not to share about how things are different in [insert country here], which is fine and excellent and which I appreciate, but how because things are different in [insert country here], my observation about the subject as it relates to the United States is thus invalid, which is irritating and complete nonsense. This is particularly the case whenever I discuss poverty issues in the US, for example; there’s a certain brand of trollish grouser (not necessarily living in another country, I should be clear) who likes to suggest, for their own personal political reasons, that unless one is baking in the sun in a dirt hole in a third-world country, with a distended belly and no shoes, one cannot possibly know what real poverty is. Once again, I find these people exasperating (they’re also wrong).
Bear in mind that my noting what the geographic defaults here are is not to suggest that everything in the US is always better or more important than elsewhere on the planet. It is to say, hey, I live here, most of the things that affect my life are here, and most of my career is focused here. Naturally, this is where my gaze will lie as a default.