I used to be a frequent visitor of Stile Project, one of the craziest web sites that ever lived on the Web. There were galleries of bizarre photos and videos as well as postings from Stile himself. There was one post he did in which he responded to a visitor’s e-mail with some rare words of advice. I was so haunted by that post that I saved it, and I reprint it here in its raw, uncensored form.
Now you all know by now that I get TONS of e-mail each day. I can barely manage to read all of it and dread opening up my e-mail program each time I’m at the computer.
Most of the time the majority of the e-mail that I receive are people asking me to link their AOL or Geocities page, and SPAM. Mix in the occasional anti-Semitic remark, people offering me drugs, and death threat, and there you have my daily read.
Though I must say once in a while I do get an amusing e-mail and that’s when I decide to post it on this site and share it with you; such as the following.
From: Joey M.
Subject: dammit i hate thinking up subjects to fucking emails
man i just wanted to say that you are one ambitious fuck. i’m going to MCSE school to be someones fucking networking puppet for the rest of my life while you’re doing what seems like whatever the fuck you wanna do whenever the fuck you feel like it. that’s gotta be one helluva way to live man. you say all these things about living in yer mom’s basement and shit, but man at least u don’t gotta pay rent and be $30,000 in debt for school (i went to a university for 3 years on loans and pretty much wasted my entire time there). well man, i’m not saying yer my idol or anything, but i really respect you, not for who you are, but for what you do. funny thing is, i’m almost expecting you to make fun of me for this email, which in some sad sick way will just add to the little bit of escape your site brings into my daily life. also, i’ll probably be one of the very few people to tell you this: when you get sick of stileproject and dotcult and stilenet, just quit doing it. i’m sure it’s gotta be fucked up in many different ways to have so many thousands of people depending on you for updates and visiting your site every day and clicking on ANYTHING you link to. then again, i really cannot say i have a true idea of the sense of accomplishment you must feel. apparently this email was pretty pointless, and i coulda summed it up into about one whole word.
Okay, I totally understand where you are coming from, but there are a few things you and the people that read this website don’t seem to understand.
This website and everything related to is not based on ambition! It’s compulsion. I have NO OTHER CHOICE but to do it. My brain makes these bad chemicals which forces my body to react in a certain way to produce this content by having my fingers hit this plastic keyboard in a certain manner.
This was all an accident. Two years ago I was 20 years old and still in High School. I was smoking pot all the time and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was actually planning to get my MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) or become A+ certified (computer technician) as well.
After I finally graduated High School (after six motherfucking lousy years) I was in a great state of depression. I didn’t know what to do with my life. I slept the entire summer and lost almost all of my friends. I barely even graduated High School — I missed 50% of it and my marks were always extremely low. I never had the ambition or drive to succeed. It all seemed pointless to me.
At the end of that summer I eventually got a job working for my brothers company in the back of a warehouse. From 8AM to 5PM everyday I was either packing boxes or doing data entry on a 12 year old black and white Macintosh.
Let me say this, I was absolutely miserable. In my spare time I would work on my little home page on the free space that my ISP gave me, and I slowly noticed that more and more people were reading it. I was enthralled. It was like magic to me — being able to interact with the people that came to my page, being able to take their suggestions and criticism and mold it into something that people could enjoy.
At this point I had not had sexual intercourse in around 2 years.
When Stile Project originally began I envisioned it as a place where people could come to be entertained and not have to worry about trying to be something they weren’t. A place where there where no rules and you didn’t have to conform to others expectations.
Media anarchy with form.
I know it sounds like a grande idea, but that’s the way I really felt when I started this site.
I couldn’t be more happy now that I am independent of any “network” and don’t have to kiss ass and play by other peoples rules. So I have to deal with nasty porn banners on the site. SO what. That’s a small price to pay for total editorial and creative freedom.
Don’t think that my life is some kind of magical mystery tour, because it’s not. I too pay my mom rent. My family is extremely dysfunctional, and I think they are all slightly retarded. I still have my fair share of emotional and social problems — mainly the fact I can’t leave my house without getting paranoid or suffering from extreme anxiety.
I put more hours into this website and the others I run than I ever though possible. All I do is sit here until I’m about to pass out, then I drag my ass to the couch or bed and crash. Repeat seven days a week, three hundred and sixty five days a year. I swear to God I must work on Stile Project, and the sites in stileNET for at least 15 hours a day, every day.
I’m the Webmaster, System Administrator, Advertising Representative, CEO, Vice Pesident, CFO, CIO, COO, COC, Janitor, VP of Marketing… The list goes on and on. I’m a one man company. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fired and re-hired myself back again after promising myself I won’t look at porn websites on company time. I don’t even have a motherfucking dental plan and I hate my boss.
I still get e-mails from people asking how they can help out financially. I couldn’t take anyone’s money. The thought just seems inherently wrong to me. The only thing I can offer is to buy a Stile Project T-shirt. I get $5.00 which is going towards yet another server and you get a high quality shirt in return.
I don’t know where I’m going with all this stileNET shit. I’m just taking it one day at a time. All my friends are in school and I never see them anymore and it’s really depressing. I leave the house once a week to buy cigarettes. My only friends are invisible people in chat rooms and I just don’t know what to do with my life anymore.
Most of the money that I make off this site goes to pay for the bandwidth bill. The rest goes to my Pizza and cigarette fund. If you ever saw me in real life you’d think I was some street kid or something. I look like total shit, and pretty much feel the same way.
I shower once a week and usually wear the same clothes I sleep in. And you know what? I don’t care. It’s not like I have to impress anyone. Oh yeah, I have more hair on my ass than I do on my head.
What I’m trying to say here is that it seems like you envy me, and you know what? You shouldn’t. I am a slave to the machine like only a few other people can relate to. Mainly other webmasters (my heart goes out to you all). I wish I had a normal life. I wish I was in University and had a girlfriend and hung out with my friends and got drunk on the weekend. I would gladly give up doing this site for something normal.
People ask me how it feels to have so much “power.” How the hell should I know? I don’t use my links to try and hurt anyone or do anything too political. This site is just a documentation of what I enjoy on the web and that’s that. People read into this and my Stile persona too much. I’m just a guy who spends way too much time on his computer and enjoys sharing the information with the people that read his page.
And you know what? I don’t feel a sense of accomplishment. I don’t feel anything really, I’m quite numb. I’ve been on Antidepressants for ages now, and they are the only thing that keeps me from having a nervous breakdown and just crawling into bed for a few weeks.
I can’t remember the last time I cried, which is also kind of strange.
Anyhow, thanks for writing Joey and I hope I’ve shed some light onto why getting a REAL education and REAL job is a good idea, and why being me is an amazingly simple yet extremely complicated thing at the same time. Don’t envy me. In reality, I envy you.
There are so many factors and politics that come into play when running a popular website. The people that you have to keep happy, overzealous “fans,” making sure the server is in good shape and your ISP hasn’t fucked anything up. Most of the time I’m just sitting here monitoring the activity on the server making sure that everything is running smoothly. Lately the site has been going down so much that I’ve been going crazy. If I didn’t have my friend Kevin helping me out this site would have been down a long time ago.
If I were to recommend anything to anyone it would be this: Just be yourself, try to follow your own ideals and dreams. Most people switch careers five times in their lives and you will eventually find something that you love and want to do it for the rest of your life.
I don’t think I could ever quit doing this site. It’s a part of me now whether I like it or not. I have sacrificed the last year and a half of my life to make this work, and I’m not about to give up now.
I honestly don’t know how long this site’s popularity will last, but I’m here now, and I think I’ll be around for a while longer. There are lots of things that I’d like to do, like making short movies and producing some type of original content. I just can’t find the time right now.
Bigger, better, faster. One day I will make my vision of what I want Stile Project to really be a reality. For now I will have to settle with this. There are so many things I want to do I can’t even begin to describe them to you all.
One thing that I have learned is that the only constant in life is change, and change is good.