2020: A Monolith Theory

The news and social media recently buzzed with excitement over the strange monoliths that appeared and disappeared around the world. A lot of people have theories…here’s mine.

I think it must be coordinated. It is odd how when one is taken down another is found soon after. It is also odd how no one sees it go up, but there is someone present to see it go down.

I also find it interesting that the ones who take responsibility for the removal are activists, protesters, or overzealous believers. One group said they were protecting the environment while another talked about religion and stopping illegal aliens.

Many people compare the mystery monoliths to the black monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the movie, the monolith represented an event or force that progressed/evolved mankind.

In each case, the monolith is taken down by groups who some could say are stopping our “evolution,” such as a government agency or activists or overzealous religious groups.

It is also interesting how the mayor of the second town to find a monolith didn’t mind the object’s appearance because it would help with tourism. The monolith soon disappeared, but this time unseen. Almost as if the mayor’s “greed” chased it away.

It is strange that the monoliths seem to be easier to remove each time—the one in California was shoved over. It is as if each attempt at progress is weaker as more “forces” try to prevent, threaten, or ignore it.

It sounds to me that the artist(s) (or aliens) are trying to say that we need to ignore the naysayers or those who wish to harm our growth—not just as a species but individually.

But, that is the nice thing about art (and mysteries), there can be multiple interpretations of the same event.

What is your theory about the monoliths? Art, aliens, a prank, or something else? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading.


The Smashwords End of Year Sale begins Dec. 18

From Dec. 18-Jan. 1 many of my eBooks will be 50%-100% off!

YouTube CliffsNotes | Living the Write Life

After seeing the latest “couch-side chat” by MatPat (host/owner of The Game Theorists channel–among others) where he discusses how the good that YouTubers do is largely overlooked by the news media, my first reaction was “duh.” (Click here for the video.)

He mentions how a public relations person told him that no one is interested in good news about YouTubers. As a once-upon-a-time reporter (and for a short period a PR person), I was not surprised by this statement. The first thing they tell you when you walk through the Journalism 101 door is “if it bleeds it leads.”

It’s not just YouTubers that are targeted by this “no one interested in the good news they do” belief, it’s everyone. I can’t tell you how many times I pitched a “good” news story only to have it rejected or published on page 25.

The reason for the “no good news” is partly because “bad news” is what sells. News media operates by lowest common dominator, which sadly is drugs, sex, and violence. People are more interested in reading about a scandal or accident or disaster–probably because these things end up affecting people. The story about the 100-year-old woman is cute but how does it affect the average person. The story about the tornado ripping through a town impacts more, especially if you have friends or family there.

The “bad news” is also easier to write from a reporting perspective. It’s a lot easier to find an angle for a story where YouTuber X is found to be a child predator versus YouTuber X donated $2,000 to charity. In the later, pretty much all your questions are answered within a few words; the former creates questions and creates more stories (i.e. coverage of a trial, controversy over if YouTube should run background checks, etc). In the charity example, you get one, maybe two, stories. In the child predator story, you get hundreds.

But, I’m not here to talk about business theory or sociology or psychology. I’m here to talk about the second thing I thought of after watching the video. How do people find out about all these news/debate topics and still spend hours upon hours on their videos? Is there a YouTube CliffsNotes I don’t know about?

So, naturally I began thinking about how funny that would be if there were CliffsNotes on YouTube Creators/Channels (there might be; I just said I’m not “in the loop”). Wouldn’t that be weird/cool to walk into a bookstore and there is CliffsNotes: MatPat? It’d be full of all the stuff about his channels you’d need to know, like “clap and a half,” and “#BlameJason,” and “Pro Tips.” It would also have brief summaries of the more popular videos.

Or how about a “For Dummies” spin-off/series. Grian for Dummies or Domics for Dummies.

I’m sorry, these are the weird rabbit holes that writers/artists find themselves in sometimes. But, you can’t tell me that you would rather have a post discussing news media theory or dissecting an Internet video than hearing about Let Me Explain Studios for Dummies.

Two hours later…

Two hundred dislikes?!

OK, so maybe you would rather have a post dissecting a video…


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

The latest Side Quest short story Carl Rogers Is Missing is out now for FREE.