The Cynic Online Magazine
By John Blackemire
Every now and again, a curious soul writes the magazine and asks us what we are
about. We never anticipated this.
Why would someone want to know what a magazine is about? What is a magazine? What
would someone want to know about a magazine?
Well, here's our answer, and it's a complicated story.
It all began in 1962 when my forefathers sailed across the ocean to America to start
a new life, but I just made that part up.
Seriously though. The Cynic Online Magazine began life in January of 2000. At the
time, I was finishing up a degree in English and had just moved to California with
my future wife, Charity. We were close to broke, and I was spending a good portion
of my time trying to find a "grown-up" job. As I was doing this, I was also pursuing
my love for writing and was seriously working toward getting my work published.
However, the more time I spent looking for work and worked at trying to get published,
the more I realized how much of a hassle it was trying to get published. But I wanted
to write for a living. Then again--who doesn't?
So I go together with my wife and two friends and we founded the Cynic Online Magazine,
figuring what the hell, so many people are making it on the net, why can't we? So
after a few months of working on the magazine, our two friend opted out of the mag,
leaving myself and Charity to go it alone. And boy did we go it alone--for a while
The Cynic continued steadily, bi/tri-monthly, until December of 2001 when we decided
to fold up the magazine (I'd lost my "grown-up" job in October and we were
trying to make ends meet). By the time we closed, we had an all-volunteer staff,
including ourselves, of four members.
Then September 11th hit, and I needed the Cynic again. We tried to use it to calm
people down and reassure them that things were okay and give them a place to heal
by sending in their thoughts and work.
Unfortunately, we had to shut back down only a month later. Charity was diagnosed
with potentially having a life threatening illness. During this stressful time,
we could not maintain the magazine. This is also the point when the Cynic lost any
semblence to being completely about money.
Then we found out that Charity was in the clear again and in no danger. In January
of 2003, we decided to make a go at it again. We purchased the domain cynicmag.com
in March, which became The Cynic Online Magazine's first dot com incarnation. I'd
picked up a slew of technical skills at this point working at my "grown-up jobs,"
and we decided to make the site as professional looking and operating as we possible.
We also decided that its new mission was to give people a voice, a place to publish
their work and share it with others. In fact, our goal is to help people polish
their work. We try to be unbiased in the content we accept as possible. Our major
criteria is that the work is well written, does not promote racism and is in moderately
We spent from January 2003 through March 2003 developing and redeveloping the content,
graphics, web design, and infrastructure to all of the key parts of the magazine.
We developed new features though only one, our Polls feature has seen the light
of day at this point though more will surely follow. And almost no part of the magazine
was spared the reshaping process. We launched a Beta issue in March, using some
new and old content, and got the word out that we wanted writers. By August
2003, we had our format perfected.
That's what the Cynic is about. It's about perserverence and having a voice and
giving a place, a voice for others. It's about making it in a world that's against
you and no matter how much you feel like you're standing still, taking a punch in
the mouth and standing tall. It's about thought, both silly and serious, and it's
definitely about pushing all the wrong buttons. And it's about art and fun and getting
out of the mainstream, while keeping a toe in the brook.
Admittedly, we're not as cynical as when we first started, and yes we still would
like to make money off it (I would love to do this for a living as my primary source
of income,) but odds are, it will not hit big, and it will never get in the black,
which strangely, suits me just fine. That's not what the magazine is about.
As of the launch of our September 2003 issue, the most money we've seen for
the magazine is two dollars, and that doesn't even come close to covering the cost
But make no mistake--we like our jobs and we're here to stay.
John Blackemire -- Co-Founder, The Cynic Online Magazine
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