The Marginalian
The Marginalian

A Gratitude Omnibus: People, Projects, and Publications That Make Life Better

Not being American, I’ve always experienced Thanksgiving with an ambivalent blend of self-conscious alienation and genuine excitement over the opportune excuse to express gratitude for what makes life worth living. In the spirit of the occasion, I’m going to kill two turkeys with one stone and exercise the latter while also addressing a request I frequently get: An omnibus of the people, projects, and publications I regularly support who make life more interesting, intelligent, and joyful, and who, like Brain Pickings, rely on patron donations to do what they do.

  1. The Dish
    Andrew Sullivan is one of the world’s first serious online writers and, in my opinion, the web’s finest sieve for what is meaningful and important. In 2013, he made the bold decision to leave mainstream media and go indie, relying on direct support from readers – a ray of hope for intelligent, honest, ad-free media. Join me in helping him prove this possible.
  2. It’s Okay To Be Smart
    Joe Hanson, an Austin-based Ph.D. biologist with a penchant for infusing science with wonder, is a Richard Feynman of the Tumblr era. The “Donate” button in his left sidebar is what helps him keep his fantastic site going – use it.
  3. Public Domain Review
    A champion of open knowledge, Public Domain Review dust off history’s hidden gems in curated collections of films, audio, images and texts. Though the project began with a grant, it now relies on patron donations to keep going.
  4. Amanda Palmer
    A brilliant musician and thoughtful cultural commentator, Amanda offers all of her music, which bears a Creative Commons license, under a pay-what-you-will model – which means you can download it for free if you so choose – and welcomes direct donations from fans to help support her music and writing. She’s one of the good humans.
  5. Longreads
    Mark Armstrong and his team at Longreads curate the web’s finest long-form stories, a heartening and needed antidote to our 140-character culture. Member contributions are what make it all possible.
  6. Women’s Media Center
    A non-profit founded by feminist icons Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, and Robin Morgan, WMC amplifies women’s voices in media – and needs our help to continue doing so.
  7. Radiolab
    A champion of curiosity, Radiolab has set a new standard for storytelling. Like all public radio, Jad Abumrad, Robert Krulwich, and their crew rely on listener donations to continue bringing whimsy to science.
  8. Tara Brach
    Mindfulness teacher Tara Brach, who blends the teachings of Buddhism with secular philosophy and meditation practice, has changed – if not saved – my life. I’ll leave it that. Let her change yours, then look for the “Donate” link at the top – and use it generously.
  9. Electronic Frontiers Foundation
    The EFF defends our rights in the digital world – enough said. You can make a one-time donation or, like myself, sign up for a monthly contribution.
  10. BONUS: Brain Pickings
    Bringing you Brain Pickings takes hundreds of hours each month. If you find any joy and stimulation here, please consider making a small donation. They add up, and they make it all possible.

Published November 28, 2013




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