Since my posts sometimes cluster naturally, I compile them and post them as one long document. Nothing fancy. No images.



(Main blog, daily posts)


Heart Butte School, Montana (Non-fiction, the school and its community.)

Robert Macfie Scriver and Art: An archive. Books by Mary Scriver

ON AMAZON: "Bronze Inside and Out: a biographical memoir of Bob Scriver" and "Sweetgrass and Cottonwood Smoke: sermons for the prairie."

Sunday, October 23, 2016

"WHITEOUT" 1883-1900: Death

The great arc of mountains from Chief Mountain south to Heart Butte stood cold and still on the horizon. Along Badger Creek snow covered everything deeply. In the brush along the creek one rib-racked old cow huddled without pawing for feed. She stood waiting for her fate, tired of fighting it, emptied by the cold and hunger. The snow had fallen for a long time, then thawed, then frozen into a crust, and again had fallen, thawed and frozen, until every step meant sharp edges sawing on the old cow's legs. They would have bled if it hadn't been so cold. Half a dozen ravens waited nearby. Grock. Grock. Their grating cries echoed in the valley. 

Along the ridge high above the frozen creek was a strange long shape like a woodpile, but out of proportion. It was as wide as a person is tall and nearly fifty feet long. Instead of logs, it was made of bodies, Blackfeet bodies. The Neetseetahpee had been dying all winter and the ground was frozen too hard for burying them. Stacked up together, hundreds of them, waited. They had been wrapped in tattered blankets. They were as hard as if they were made of stone. Their belongings were not with them, nor their horses. In the past bodies had been left on high ridges, but always with their things to honor and comfort them. Their horse was killed beside them to so they would have something to ride in the Sand Hills. 

But now this -- just a wind-scoured ridge.  Back then, one cabin stood alone in the valley, two miles from the ridge. A thread of smoke rose from the chimney, a moving pencil- line of gray against the endless snow. In front of the cabin was a trampled yard where people had walked back and forth to get wood but there was no woodpile now. The outhouse had no door -- because it had been burned for heat and drifts would only block the door anyway. No horse was in the small corral, but there had been one recently. 

In the sky stood a pewter sun, a hub in a great wheel of light with smaller suns at each compass point. Caused by high ice in the atmosphere, called a "sun- dog" by some and the wheel of Ezekial's chariot by others, it stood over a prairie that had only known vehicle wheels for a few decades. 

A whisper of wind snaked over the snow, picking up the loose flakes into a waving gauze. The wind rose higher. It might bring thawing -- or it might bring a whiteout blizzard. 

Inside the cabin was almost as cold as outdoors. Everything that could be spared had been burned except one old table. The bed was made of pipe. In it huddled a child, a girl. An old woman stood at the window where frost was so thick that one could only see out by using a finger to melt a hole. She saw that the wind was beginning but she could not see the broken old wagon, the sagging old horse or the man. He had a contract to take bodies up to the top of “ghost ridge.” They depended on the small pay he received. If she and the girl were lucky, he would bring wood and food. They hadn’t eaten for a day. 

They had already begun to call it “Ghost Ridge.” Over a century later the bodies would still have never been buried. No one was quite sure what became of them.  The road-- only ungraded ruts anyway -- went up to the ridge but was interrupted by drifts, so the wagon would follow higher ground across the fenceless prairie, wallowing through where signs of previous trips still showed. The driver would be 
wrapped in an old buffalo coat, a muskrat hat pulled down over his face, his chin sunk in a strip of blanket used for a muffler, so that only his squinting eyes showed. His feet were also wrapped in blanket strips. Someone had stolen his mucklucks when he was drunk in town last time. 

But she didn’t see the wagon. By now there was a ground blizzard, the blowing snow rising to the height of a person so that the sky seemed calm but near the ground was only a seething mass of white. He was late. Maybe he wouldn’t come. Then what? 

The woman stood at the stove, melting snow for water and poking at it with a large tin spoon, when the door crashed in. Without meaning to, by simple reflex, she gripped the spoon like a weapon and lifted it in defense. The little girl on the creaking bed scooted back into the corner and tried to look small. Her eyes flashed in the sudden flooding light through the door. The huge man was crusted white with snow. The old woman saw that he carried nothing but a bottle of whisky. There were no bulges in his pockets from packages of food. 
"Damn horse died!" grunted the man with the slurring voice of a drunk. The girl tried not to gasp. Big tears came to her eyes. She loved the old horse. 

The old woman, looked behind him for telltale tracks and saw only his. She took in the information. “How far away? We could eat it.” 
“You won’t eat this horse! I’m gonna make some money off it. Lucky I had my strychnine with me. I baited it good. Used the last of it. When this storm goes down, we’ll have wolves to skin. A little money!” He treated himself to more whiskey at the thought. 

Bursting into song, he sagged onto the bed. “What’s this?” The girl tried to escape but even drunk he was fast and strong enough to seize her. Grabbing her by the throat, he gave her a big smacking kiss on the face, the smell nearly gagging her. Then as he tried to turn her and pin her on the bed, she bit his hand hard. 

Cursing, he dragged her to the door and threw her out -- barred the door. The old woman fought him but he threw her across the one room of the cabin so that all the wind was knocked out of her. 
"Let her in. She'll die. It's too cold." 

"What do I care? She's not my kid. One more mouth to feed. She's just your pet." He turned on her and shouted, sending a spray of fetid spit over her, "Pay attention to me, y'hear? I'm the only thing that ought to matter to you!" 

She calculated how long the girl could bear the cold outside and whether the man would pass out first. 

"Gonna get rid a her anyway." "What's that?" 

"Gonna get rid a that brat!" 

"How do you mean?" 

"Gonna sell her to the school. They'll pay to have her." 

She knew this was true. The schools paid people who would bring children to be educated. She desperately wanted the girl with her, but she was crafty. "Take her then. Get your money. But they won't pay for her if she's frozen dead." 

He grumbled for a moment, then shrugged, went to the door and roared at the child to return. Then he flung himself down on the bed with his back to them. He still wore his big hide coat and muskrat hat. In a moment he was snoring. 

When she stopped shaking enough to talk again, the girl hissed in a whisper, "Let's kill him." 

"He's mostly French, but he's white. If we kill him, they will hang us." 

She turned back to boiling water while she thought. 

"No one cares about him. He's no good." 

"He's useful. They would miss him when there were bodies to haul."

"Someone else would do it. Everyone is starving. They will do anything for a bit of money or food." 

"Still, they would hang us." The old woman went back to her stove. "Maybe it could be an accident." She thought for a minute and then, pulling an old box of bottles from under the bed, began sorting through them. 

"What are you looking for?" 

The old woman slipped a little old bottle plugged with a scrap of rag into her apron. “Wolf poison. I stole some two weeks ago.” 

Looking at her box of bottles, she realized she could burn the box and tipped out the bottles in a jangle, which roused the drunken man. 

“Hey, old man, you want a hot toddy?” 


“I’ve got some good hot water here, put your whisky in it.” He heaved himself off the bed, went to the door and sent a steaming stream of urine into the cold, dribbling some on the threshold. Then he swung around into the room and focussed on the mug of hot water. He tried to pour whisky into it, but sloshed too much. The old woman helped him, holding his hand. After a few slurps testing the temperature he slugged it all down. 

This put him in a good mood. "Gonna get money for you, mamzelle," he boasted, grabbing the little girl. "And maybe if you clean up a little and grow up some more, I can make a lot more later outta you!" He grabbed her between the legs to show her what he meant. "Those priests are gonna do me a big favor!" 

The old woman said nothing as she broke up her old box, making her rage useful, and stuffed the ragged bits of wood into the stove. 

Now he began to feel the effects of the strychnine, his muscles tightening. The mug spilled onto the floor. He began to writhe. “You poisoned...” But his talk was already unintelligible. His back arched and his legs curled. He thrashed himself onto the filthy floor, puddled with melt from the snow on his own clothes. 

Calmly, the girl and the old woman watched. It was good to kill him, even better that he knew they had done it. His breathing became more labored, then stopped. At about that time the lamp ran out of kerosene and sputtered out. 

In the dark they listened and waited. 

The women spoke Blackfeet between them. "We’ll wait." The girl could barely see the old woman's face and then only because there were northern lights crackling across the sky and reflecting 
off the snow into the cabin. They heard wolves howling. They had found the poisoned horse. 

“Get his clothes off before he goes stiff.” They rolled him from side to side as though they were skinning a buffalo. The coat and hat came off easily, but the clothes underneath were harder. A wave of stink came out of them. 

"Open the door.  We’ll put these clothes out to freeze -- get rid of bugs.” The coat looked like a big animal out there. They searched every pocket but found no food. He was contorted, down to his longjohns. His body hair had grown through the wool, but they cut the underwear off in strips and threw that out the door. 

Now the man -- source of food and heat, misery and mockery -- was naked on the floor, his private parts small and pitiful, his face twisted unrecognizably. It was a temptation to torture him, even though he was dead, to pay back all the beatings he’d given them. The girl kicked him as hard as she could. 

But the old woman said, “Put him outside and let his bugs freeze with him.” It wasn’t easy to drag him, but they managed. They’d handled a lot of animals. 

“Now we rest.” The two huddled together under the blankets and managed to snatch a bit of riddled sleep, dreaming of running horses, spring floods, June grass in the wind. The fire went out while they slept. The wolves stopped howling as the poison killed them. 

Light came slowly. Every time there was an unusual sound, like an aspen up the slope exploding from the cold, or the light changing because a cloud moved over the sun, they jumped and moved closer together. "We got to get out of here." The wood was gone but the woman smashed the table and started a fire with the last of the booze, putting the last of the matches in her pocket. 

In a while the wind began to rise. Soon it was moaning and prying at the little house. "We go. Must be far away when this man is found." 
When they went out to get the frozen clothes, they shook them as hard as they could before they bringing them in, half fancying that some food would fall out of the heavy, stiff folds. None did, but a pepper of fleas and lice lit on the snow. 

They wound strips of longjohn around their feet. The girl put on the huge coat, though it dragged behind her in a way that made them both laugh in spite of everything. The old woman wrapped the blankets around herself. “We look like two bears.” 

The whole time they pretended they couldn’t see the man’s corpse. It was too awful and yet they felt righteous. 

Stepping carefully, they moved away from the cabin and up onto a different ridge, heading towards the mountains. “Can make it to my cousin's by tonight," said the woman. "If they won't keep us, we’ll think of something else. But they will." She thought to herself, “if we can get there,” but didn’t say it for the sake of the girl. 

In a while the wind began to shift from the west to the north again and then northeast. The temperature dropped swiftly and the day's humidity congealed into thick fog. Snow began to fall through it in big flakes. The two women walked slowly now. They had stopped talking to each other. Every gradual curve looked the same. All landmarks had faded away. Even their path behind them began to disappear. 

The white of the sky, the white of the snow, the white of the light -- they amounted to sightlessness as much as pitch dark. 
"We are lost," admitted the woman. As they went on, the day began to close. "Should see lights, but I don’t see none." 

In the darkening whiteness something large took shape. They had came to a familiar stone, a huge buffalo- sized boulder left by ancient glaciers. "Aaahhh!" cried the woman with relief. "Now I know where we are. Road just over there." 

In a moment they could feel the ruts of the road under their feet, so deep that they nearly turned their ankles. But their minds began to wander. It seemed as though many others were walking along with them, through the snowfall and nightfall. The woman thought she recognized a few of them. She was growing very tired and it cheered her up to have them with her. But they began to fall and it was more and more difficult to get up. 

Then they were alone again. "Oh, no," cried the girl. 

"What?" It was hard to stop and focus on the girl.

"The big buffalo rock again! We walk in a circle!"

Sure enough. They had approached it from a different angle this time, but it was the same rock. 

Stupidly, she stared at the boulder. Then she walked to it and put her hand on the grainy surface to make sure it was really there. It was hard to concentrate. She had almost forgotten what it was they were doing out there, why they were walking in the snow. She thought maybe they ought to eat, but when she looked down at herself she realized that she wasn't carrying anything. The girl wasn't either. They must have forgotten the food. 

They were very tired and without really making a decision, they sat down together with their backs against the rock. Cold snow still fell on them, but it was less lonely against this buffalo iniskum, this sacred object. She thought she ought to sing or pray and even began a little bit. "Natoosee! Keepahtahkee!  Stumik sah toe see..." But then she forgot.

The night closed down around them. Their body heat left them 
slowly. Their minds dimmed to a tiny point.  “We are dying,” thought the old woman, the girl heavy against her. 

But what they thought was darkness opened up and before them was a great glowing cavern. Inside was a woman wearing a white buffalo robe, or maybe it was that she herself was a white buffalo. 

She beckoned to them. They felt great peace, stood, threw off their coverings easily, and entered hand-in-hand, warm at last. So this is where the buffalo went when they disappeared! In the deep grass they grazed as they always had. 

No bones were ever found, though someone was very pleased to find the big heavy coat. The blankets were too threadbare to trouble with and the muskrat hat had blown away . Once someone who passed by in a snowstorm claimed he heard singing. 


A friend in Calgary, Ray Djuff, sent me the url to an article in the Missoulian because we are both part of the scattered “whitepeople” community with some kind of connection to the Blackfeet and specifically Heart Butte.  Ray and I are both writers and I taught in Heart Butte ’89-’91.  I live in Valier, the closest white town, and have connections to the reservation going back to 1961, plus a thick background of reading about the area.  Ray’s interest is anchored by Chief Two Guns Whitecalf whose profile might be on the buffalo nickel or ought to have been.

Kim Briggeman is a reporter with a skew to historian and a history of journalism all around Montana.  Missoula has always had tied to Heart Butte because of the outstanding Native American program.  Some say also darker trading related to the underculture.

What follows is a kind of bibliography for Heart Butte, the second largest agency service center on the rez (a clinic, several churches including a large Catholic presence, a school complex, a post office, a mercantile store and so on).  When I first visited there in the Sixties, it was a small cluster of cabins, a “round house” for ceremonies, and a log Catholic church.  The school only went to eighth grade and had high windows, because electricity was undependable, and a long extended arm of teacherages, sort of motel style.  In wet weather the road in and out of Heart Butte was impassible because the soil is largely the volcanic dust from the Pacific Northwest Cascade peaks in the paleo-past which becomes gumbo, a sticky slippery mud.

This was transformed by the flood of “64”.  The crucial novel is about the breaking of Swift Dam is Sid Gustafson’s novel from the “white” side, which is called simply “Swift Dam,” a landscape as much emotional as engineered.  David Long, on the West side of the Rockies, also has a book entitled “The Flood of ’64” which is short stories.  Heart Butte was nearly obliterated, but then rebuilt with paved roads in and out so that it suddenly became possible to work in Browning and live in Heart Butte.  Over the next half century many housing project clusters were built in Heart Butte and by now the population has been able to reinstitute the satellite Indian Days in August.

John Tatsey, who for many years was “the law” in Heart Butte, wrote a column for the weekly Browning paper that was packed with local color and inside jokes.  It was very popular and gathered into a book called “Black Moccasin.”  Percy Bullchild wrote a less local book featuring the mythology and early days of the tribe:  “The Sun Comes Down.”  

My own book about Heart Butte is called “Heartbreak Butte” and is online at  (Also pirated PDF’s are on Google — help yourself, no guilt.)  Many untold tales still remain: the Sanderville brothers, the denominational split that created “Swims Under” where Mike Swims Under lived as one of the very last traditional ceremonialists, the story of the Crawford family on whose allotments the schools and churches are built, the dubious, secretive and temporary community of white gay poets who were around for a few years, the several Vietnam vets who found a home there but brought intense political energy, and so on.  “Starvation Ridge” is mentioned in histories of the rez, but hasn’t been connected to Heart Butte specifically until this Missoulian story.

I wrote a history of the Blackfeet in short stories — “Twelve Blackfeet Stories” — which are published at  As I wrote them I published them on my blog:  The one about the Starvation Winter is called “Whiteout” (1883 to 1900).  A whiteout is when a blizzard white sky meets a snow covered landscape so that all horizons and landmarks are invisible.  The story includes the big “buffalo boulder” along the highway out to Heart Butte.

Each story is about a specific twenty-year period.  This is the grimmest tale, but also contains mystical hope for the future.  It’s about a full-blood woman and her school-aged daughter.  The woman is “with” a degenerate old white man, a wolfer (one who hunts wolves by poisoning them) who has a contract to carry the dead up to the top of Starvation Ridge.  

In reality, the bodies laid together were responding to the old way of leaving them as high as possible, preferably in a tree, but there were certainly not enough trees for this many dead.  They were not “sky-burials” in the Tibetan way, but a kind of “ridge burial.”  The wind blew in dust which eventually was thick enough for seeds to grow, and then there was a line of brush up there.

Benton Juneau used to drive the ambulance for the Indian Health Service in Browning.  One day he was taking Viney Chattin down to the Great Falls hospital, but the indomitable old scarlet-haired woman refused to lie down in the back as she was supposed to, so she rode sitting by Benton, a kind and trustworthy man.  When they came by Starvation Ridge, she told him that her father, who had been the agent, had finally responded to complaints about the bodies, now desiccated and overgrown, by sending a crew up to burn the bones and wrappings and then bury the ashes.  Few climb up there to see what remains.

Only recently have historians began to digest the papers of the Blackfeet supervisors and management.  One of the earliest accounts of this winter is online at   Helen West was the wife of our family doctor in Cut Bank.  

But now the proof comes out that it wasn’t just the general killing-off of buffalo on the prairie nor even the failure of government commodities to reach the rez (a chronic problem because of corruption, white citizen needs intercepting the goods, and risky travel on the steamboats coming up the Missouri) but that there WERE buffalo on the traditional hunting grounds — a location by then not on the shrunken rez — a small group but still enough to have fed the people, but the hunters were actively prevented from going.  They were threatened with military attack if they left the rez.  This was imposed to satisfy the wishes of ranchers who insisted that Indian hunters killed their cows and who interpreted the rez as a confinement.

Starvation is the oldest and most effective killer on the planet.  It is a war strategy, controlling armies through their families.  It is a political weapon, displacing and trafficking whole populations.  Swift Dam was built to support the irrigated grain crops that gave the Golden Triangle its name.  Now this wheat is industrialized by huge machines and conglomerates that own the land.  Shipped to the coast, it is loaded on ships that carry America’s power to feed its client nations.

Irrigation systems were never developed on the reservation side as much as on the “white” side which was carefully documented by the “Foley Report”, a commissioned study that was never formally published but circulated as xeroxes.  It is not just water that is being re-allocated but also thinking, not just about the past, but also about the future.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


Rick Bartow
MoCNA/SKYPE with the Curators
Thursday, November 10, 2016 | 12 - 1:30p.m.
MoCNA 2nd Floor Project Lab
108 Cathedral Place Santa Fe NM 87501

Join IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts Chief Curator Manuela Well-Off-Man and Danielle Knapp, McCosh Associate Curator, Jordan Schnitzer Museum as they discuss the impact of recently passed artist Rick Bartow (Wiyot tribe of Northern California) on contemporary Native art, and the exhibition Rick Bartow: Things You Know But Cannot Explain, A Retrospective Exhibition currently on display at MoCNA. Rick Bartow passed away on April 2, 2016, from congestive heart failure.This discussion will happen via Skype, a video phone call when projected onto a large screen allows for dynamic virtual dialogue.

For more information contact: 
Andrea R. Hanley, Membership + Program Manager 505.428.5907 or email: 
IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, 108 Cathedral Place, Santa 
Fe, NM 87501

In the interval between the two sleeps of my nights, the gap between 3 AM and 5AM which is dawn in summer, I was looking at the images by Rick Bartow so I could compose a post here.  At first I didn’t think I knew his work, but after looking at Google Images a while I realized that several were familiar.  They make good book covers because they are often a figure, a persona, that is intense and bright.  They conflate person, raven, bear, hawk and salmon into dream figures, metaphors, self-contained stories.  Feathers and fingers sign-talk while coyote goes passing by, stops to look back.

Richard Elmer "RickBartow (December 1946 – April 2, 2016) was a Native American artist and a member of the Mad River Band of Wiyot Indians, a small tribe indigenous to Humboldt CountyCalifornia. He primarily created pastelgraphite, and mixed media drawings, wood sculpture, acrylic paintings, drypoint etchings, monotypes, and a small number of ceramic works.  

After a number of small shows in the Newport area, Rick Bartow was offered a solo exhibition in 1985 by Portland, Oregon gallerist William Jamison of Jamison/Thomas Gallery, who operated galleries in Portland and New York City. Bartow exhibited frequently at both locations and elsewhere, and his work began to garner national attention. Following Jamison's death in 1995 and his galleries' subsequent closures, Bartow signed on with Charles Froelick of Froelick Gallery in Portland, and a fruitful twenty-year professional relationship and friendship followed. Froelick continues to represent Bartow's estate.

The Responsibility of Raising a Child was designed by Rick Bartow in 2004, cast in 2009, and completed in 2010 before being installed at the intersection of Southwest 5th Avenue and Taylor Street in the Portland Transit Mall. Cascade Fine Arts Foundry, based in Damascus, Oregon, served as the sculpture's foundry. The sculpture depicts several animals and objects being carried on the back of a coyote ("the trickster"), including a grandmother mask with a tattoo that Bartow's mother observed on the face of an elder healing woman in Siletz, Oregon, a pair of salmon, a Pacific lamprey eel feeds, a basket holding a baby (Bartow's daughter), and several birds, including a killdeer, an eagle with outstretched wings, and a raven. A moon mask on the eagle's tail symbolizes women, and a sun mark on its wing represents men.

Friday, October 21, 2016


Kevin Marks, software engineer

Sometimes I long for a parallel internet, not so I can post secret things or criminal things, so the Dark Net is not what I mean.  I mean something simple and intelligible that has not been overwhelmed by the kudzu of commercialism and techie showing off.  (Of course, they’re also trying to make sure there’s enough to do to keep them employed.) was supposed to provide a little relief and make itself worthy of fine writing, but it soon turned into Facebook with hooks and cliques.  Techies added those while evidently never reading the content.  Part of the problem is that techies are often young, still fascinated by how things work.  They would rather have little button zig-zags to chase and make into neat tricks than to settle down to struggle with content.

Nevertheless, one of the subsidiaries/intermediaries of is called “backchannel” and this essay by Kevin Marks really nailed my problem, which is that sometimes  I can’t see the damn screen.  Here’s the link.

Kevin IS a techie from my point of view, though his field of expertise and source of work is design rather than coding.  Here’s what he says:

“It’s been getting harder for me to read things on my phone and my laptop. I’ve caught myself squinting and holding the screen closer to my face. I’ve worried that my eyesight is starting to go.

“These hurdles have made me grumpier over time, but what pushed me over the edge was when Google’s App Engine console — a page that, as a developer, I use daily — changed its text from legible to illegible. Text that was once crisp and dark was suddenly lightened to a pallid gray. Though age has indeed taken its toll on my eyesight, it turns out that I was suffering from a design trend.

“There’s a widespread movement in design circles to reduce the contrast between text and background, making type harder to read. Apple is guilty. Google is, too. So is Twitter.”

I’ve been complaining about this for a while, but only to the cats, who do not care.  

It’s not just that the contrast is reduced, also the font size is often reduced and pale blue fonts that used to be for clues not necessarily seen, like punctuation markers, now become crucial for actions.  The effect is to eliminate or cripple anyone with bad eyesight, small screens, an aging capacity to grasp pattern.  This is aggravated by the use of acronyms, slang, jargon, specialist contexts and so on.  This is ageism — the skewing of access to the young and adept.  It’s also elitism, fencing the Communion, and building treehouses for boys only.  A basic human tendency that should be resisted.

I quote again:   “One of the reasons the web has become the default way that we access information is that it makes that information broadly available to everyone. “The power of the Web is in its universality,” wrote Tim Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web consortium. “Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”

Of course, some of this imperceptibility is in service to “nudge,” to make it hard to see the “fine print” that makes loopholes and conditions so you'll do what the site operator wants.  It is predatory, subtly pushing old people, squinty people, and the non-suspicious into the belief that they haven’t missed anything.

Getting access to a screen in the first place, learning how to use it in the second place, and simply figuring out the Big Picture is elusive for some.  My cousin thought they could only find help by asking a smarter neighbor.  It never occurred to them that there were books to check out of the library that would teach them to use computers — they kept books in an entirely different section of their thinking.  An entity like PMUG or any of the many “forums” about programs, computers, and so on?  They would be too shy to attend even if they knew such a thing existed.

Not everyone owns a computer or has access to a provider like a library or cyber-cafe, especially in thinly populated places.  Not every librarian will take time to teach.  Not everyone has learned to use screens, not even TV.  And yet, more and more, the only way to get access to government services or information is through the computer.  The library no longer carries tax forms because it is assumed you’ll download them.  Of course, this is a slick way to get rid of certain kinds of people, like the poor.  Also, people, esp. kids, who are trying to use the Internet to address their deficits, overcome difficulties, like using Spellchecks if you're dyslexic.

The great thing about Marks is that he understands the mathy things like the technical info for techies to use to meet a specific visibility standard and he publishes them in the article linked at the beginning.  He’s able to analyze why so many “authorities” got committed to contrast as the issue and to offer suggestions for better strategies in the language of the people who need to change.  But the same problem rears its head: it never occurs to the people who do this stuff that there’s a problem.  It’s not a problem for THEM.  It’s what “everyone” does.

People with heads that handle a lot of granular coding information tend to lose their grasp on the “big picture” or even their awareness that there is one.  Cultural problems are often circular so that lack of comfortable access leads to the discard of attempts, which means that no one is motivated to pick up the niche market of those who prefer simplicity, dependability.  It has disappeared from cultural consciousness, like the unemployed who no longer seek work.  Everything is controlled by money and "trending", so exploring and venturing and experimenting are cut off by the drive to profit unless someone with vision has venture capital to spare.  I believe there’s money to be made in the less trendy market of people who just want the basics.

Most techies are reaching for the market with money, which they take it will naturally be the big “hip” companies, so they go for the business platforms.  Cloud, Siri.  Humanities people, like writers, are brushed aside.  There is an exception: “Scrivener” which is a program specifically for writers that has boxes for characters, schemes to help plot progression beats, and so on.  BUT like all the others, it has grown in complexity until it’s hard to grasp.  Instead of helping with the intricacies of novel-writing, it imposes another layer of things to learn, so once again there’s a secondary market of things to buy that promise to teach you without grief. 

But the coup d’grace for me is that after I had begun to fill in the schema with ideas, Scrivener produced a “new, improved” version which meant that now my work had to start over because it was inaccessible, since it was written on the old version.  This is the OS trick of always “improving” to force new purchases.  I now keep an old computer so I can access my past work.

it’s not the same problem Marks complained about, but it goes to the same split between those so enamoured of tech that they obliterate the content.  In fact, it is the same struggle in our democracy where we privilege elites, process, appearance and profit over content.  The idea is not supposed to be pushing people OUT.