/letters

Inspired by letters with Marta, this is a place to post letters to friends. Simple. Oldschool. Almost. Probably mostly letters from me "to" friends, but friends are also welcome to write letters here.

Photo of Stella Rae from Team No Money on YouTube, October, 2013

Hello Stella!

I've only discovered your YouTube channel in the last month or so and I almost can't tell you how amazed I am by your life journey, as documented on, and seemingly swum through, YouTube. From American Girl Tiffany, to Team No Money, to Makeup Tutorials, to No Makeup... or bras... or meat...

I think all your "earlier selves" are valid and beautiful. And it's great to see you grow ever more facile with video media. But now as you've turned 18 (belated happy birthday, BTW!) it's amazing how rich, thoughtful, silly, engaged, and super-present, you've become. It's so inspiring to see your adventures with your Vegan Posse.

Visiting Artist?

I teach Art at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). I have about 130 mostly freshman & sophomore students from probably 60 different majors across the campus. This semester we'll be trying a wide range of activities, from painting & sculpture, to Instagram and Art Care Packages. We'll also be trying a vlog.

In the past about 70% of my students have self-described as introverts. And just about all of them in the past have hated doing vlogs. This always makes me sad because I'm convinced that it's such a powerful tool. For someone like you, it can be a whole career. But even for peeps going off to careers in Engineering, Marketing, Nursing, Communications, Fashion Design, or anything else, just the ability to put a short "Hi, it's me!" video on your website can, I think, make so much stronger a connection to your visitors.

Would you like to be our be our visiting artist this semester and come talk to my students about vlogs, life, and everything else?

Each semester I have a Visiting Artist come talk to the class. Last year's visiting artists, Periscope star Bree Olson and London artist Marta Troya, really inspired the class. And I know if they're able to visit with you, it would be incredibly inspiring. I'm sure it would make the project more fun and accessible for them.

Unfortunately we don't have much money for this. I'm not able to pay for plane flights or hotels. But we can give you a US$200. honorarium. Obviously it doesn't cover a whole trip. But if we could do it sometime you were down in Los Angeles already, perhaps it could work out.

I've penciled Visiting Artist Day in for Wednesday 26 October. But it could fit any travel schedule you might have. Any Wednesday in September or October or even November could work for us.

Oh, and while we don't have a hotel budget, I have been hosting a lot of CouchSurfers in the last year, about 170 peeps from 58 countries, and you're always welcome to stay at my place, with your posse of course.

Photo of Glenn Zucman with blue hair and wearing SEE Mondo Nucky glasses in green acetate Hi Stella!

Inspired by You!

Even though I've only been a fan of your vlog for a few weeks, I've already been so inspired by you. From veganism to monetizing YouTube, you've made me think about so many things I somehow haven't thought about. Or haven't thought about in quite this way before.

Vegan?

After seeing your big, joyous, Vegan Posse, I feel sort of ashamed for being a pescatarian. It's funny, compared to you guys I feel like such a wimp. Yet my family already thinks I'm off the deep end. They think I don't eat meat for health reasons. The think I'm wrong on this matter, and that I'm actually damaging my health, but at least they can comprehend the concept. It doesn't even exist in their universe that the reason I don't eat meat is animal rights. In the context of carnivore city I feel pretty progressive. But now you make me wonder if I've lazily stopped halfway.

Carbs

I can't leave the topic of diet without saying something about carbs! :) Your dream of moving to LA is exciting. And I know if you come you'll thrive here in LA! But it is at least a little amusing that the queen of carbing up wants to move to the No-carbs capital of the world! :P

Monetize!

If there's anything I'm as passionate about as you are about being vegan, it's Free Culture. I'm committed to the Open Web. To Creative Commons. To Interoperability and Accessibility. To Transparency.

I hate the monetized web. Monetization is what took television from a miracle of possibilities to the banal wasteland we know it as today. And when I see ads around and inside every YouTube video, I feel like the television I don't watch anymore is reaching out to surround me in it's clutches once again. As I try not to eat meat, my family prepares ever more elaborate and obscene meat festivals like Turducken.

And yet somehow listening to you talk with such openness and clarity about your life, your work, your mission, and your activities, I've been impressed. It's sort of delightful when you and Sonia lightly scold viewers, don't ask me how much money I make, just go on SocialBlade and look it up for yourself!

Without a doubt, my biggest surprise of 2016 is that you have motivated me to monetize some of my content! I've honestly never even looked at any of the YouTube / AdSense stuff before. It just always felt "evil" to me. Listening to you it seemed like a very different world. Empowering instead of oppressive.

So I've turned some ads on. Unlike you, I have no vision of earning a living this way, or even of earning lunch money. But I have to confess: it's fun. I didn't monetize my personal work, but I did turn ads on for my YouTube videos and for my instructional website. I figured that lots of faculty write textbooks and then force their students to pay $100 to buy them. I'm not forcing students to spend a penny, and those Internet revenues will be far less than any textbook deal, so why not. The income will be small. But it's given me a new way to look at content and think about what I post. Thank you Stella.

Glenn Zucman working at a Treadmill Desk Workin' at the treadmill desk!

Thank You

Thank you for being your authentic self Stella. Even though I've only watched for a short while, it's amazing to see that progression through all of your YouTube selves. It's amazing how you've grown and become an ever richer version of yourself.

LMK what you think about speaking to my class. If we're able to make it happen, I know you'd be such an inspiration to them. LMK if you have any questions about it.

Happy Birthday Stella. Have an amazing next year here on earth.

Glenn Zucman's signature on page 91 of Self Service magazine, Issue No44, Spring-Summer 2016

August 12, 2016 in #2016 | | | Share on Google+