Since I closed down the Dish, my bloggy website, five years ago, after fifteen years of daily blogging, I have not missed the insane work-hours that all but broke my health. But here’s what I do truly and deeply miss: writing freely without being in a defensive crouch; airing tough, smart dissent and engaging with readers in a substantive, challenging way that avoids Twitter madness; a truly free intellectual space where anything, yes anything, can be debated without personal abuse or questioning of motives; and where readers can force me to change my mind by sheer logic or personal testimony.
I miss a readership that truly was eclectic—left, liberal, centrist, right, reactionary—and that loved to be challenged by me and by each other; and just the fun that used to be a part of being a hack before all these dreadfully earnest, humor-free puritans took it over: jokes, window views, silly videos, contests, puns, rickrolls, and so on. The most popular feature we ever ran was completely apolitical—The View from Your Window contest. It was as simple and humanizing as the current web is so fraught and dehumanizing. And in this era of Covid19 isolation and despair, the need for a humane, tolerant community is more urgent than ever.
As a small, poignant sign of that urgency, here’s a window view that a reader sent to the Dish inbox on March 20, 2020—even though the inbox, like the blog, had been shuttered for more than five years. The reader labeled his view of a field hospital outside Mt. Sinai in New York City at 9.20 am, “The View from My Window - Coronavirus Edition”:
So, yeah, after being prodded for years by Dishheads, I’ve brought back the Dish—now called The Weekly Dish. TWD is hosted by Substack, a fantastic company that hosts an increasingly impressive number of individual free-thinkers, like Jesse Singal and Matt Taibbi.
The initial basic formula for The Weekly Dish—which, as with all things Dish, will no doubt evolve—is the following: a three-part column, with perhaps a couple of added short posts or features; a serious dissent section, where I can air real disagreement with my column, and engage with it constructively and civilly; a podcast, which I’ve long wanted to do, but never found a way to fit in; and yes, reader window views again, and the return of The View From Your Window Contest. I’m able to do all this because Chris Bodenner, the guru of the Dish in-box and master of the Window View contest, has come back to join me. He’ll select the dissents, as he long did, in ways that will put me on the spot.
Dishness lives. All we’re waiting for is you.
Sign up with your email address now so you don’t miss the first issue, coming soon on Friday, July 24 (and if you’re a Dishhead, you can subscribe now and set your own price above the minimum):
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