Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ten Years of the Daily Dish

I'm a huge fan.  I mean, it's just the greatest formula: he thinks, we watch.  I can't remember exactly when I started reading Andrew Sullivan...I think I started with Mickey Kaus first, and I know I read Kaus real early, so I probably started reading the Dish within the first several months, I guess. 

Actually, I have to divide this, pre-blogging and then as a blogger.  Speaking as a blogger...Andrew has been incredibly supportive to me.  Just incredibly.  And I appreciate it, and thank him.  And I'll echo what others have said -- it certainly doesn't appear to be dependent on whether he agrees with my positions on things or not.  Indeed, and I have no idea whether he'd remember this or not, but my first appearance at the Dish was as a dissent of the day, long before I started blogging (yes, I wrote the occasional cranky note to bloggers.  Not, I should say, very many).  But that's not the half of it.  What I've found in my year-plus of doing this is that people in general are helpful, cooperative, and supportive.  I've been happily shocked at how friendly everyone has been, whether it's much-appreciated links or even more appreciated helpful advice.  I give Andrew Sullivan a very large share of the credit for that, for creating a community that's open to new folks.

Pre-blogging...well, without Andrew Sullivan, I have no idea how things would have evolved, but I do remember very well what the world was like for political junkies before the Daily Dish, and it pretty much stunk compared to the world now.  Then as now, there were plenty of long-form articles and essays.  But intelligent political conversation?  I remember when I first watched Crossfire on CNN when it was new, and thinking it was more intelligent than whatever else was available (no, really.  Not joking)..  People watched the McLaughlin Group because it was more entertaining than other political shows.  And then Sullivan and Kaus showed up, and as far as I was concerned most TV talk shows became instantly obsolete.  They weren't nearly as intelligent or entertaining as the blogs. And then, the blogs got better, and Andrew Sullivan deserves a lot of credit for that, too.

So from Plain Blog, a hearty Mazel Tov to the Daily Dish, and I hope to be reading it for a long time to come.


  1. I forget exactly how I found your blog. But I'm pretty sure it was through the Dish. It had to be either that or Yglesias. Its really a great site.

  2. how I found your blog: I'm sure it was through the Dish.

  3. I enjoy his blog, but I don't take Sullivan seriously. His 'thinking' often abounds in non sequiturs.

    This delusional rant is the most egregious example.

    'The sophisticated form of anthrax delivered to Tom Daschle's office forces us to ask a simple question. What are these people trying to do? I think they're testing the waters. . . . At this point, it seems to me that a refusal to extend the war to Iraq is not even an option. We have to extend it to Iraq. It is by far the most likely source of this weapon; it is clearly willing to use such weapons in the future; and no war against terrorism of this kind can be won without dealing decisively with the Iraqi threat. We no longer have any choice in the matter. Slowly, incrementally, a Rubicon has been crossed. The terrorists have launched a biological weapon against the United States. They have therefore made biological warfare thinkable and thus repeatable. We once had a doctrine that such a Rubicon would be answered with a nuclear response. We backed down on that threat in the Gulf War but Saddam didn't dare use biological weapons then. Someone has dared to use them now. Our response must be as grave as this new threat. I know that this means that this conflict is deepening and widening beyond its initial phony stage. But what choice do we have? Inaction in the face of biological warfare is an invitation for more in a world where that is now thinkable. Appropriate response will no doubt inflame an already inflamed region, as people seek solace through the usual ideological fire. Either way the war will grow and I feel nothing but dread in my heart. But we didn't seek this conflict. It has sought us. If we do not wage war now, we may have to wage an even bloodier war in the very near future.'

  4. My gosh, I can't understand why anyone would read Andrew Sullivan. He's just a big pile of emotional language with no logic behind it, like that whole Palin's baby thing. I've tried his blog, I read the posts Tigerhawk links to from his blog, and the best I ever figured out was that he was some kind of famous at the Atlantic and people link to him because of that. I also can't believe he claims to be a conservative. It really frustrates me that he gets to keep blogging -- even though I don't read it, I feel like people should have better taste than that.

  5. He's just a big pile of emotional language with no logic behind it, like that whole Palin's baby thing...

    There's no doubt that Sullivan engages in plenty of invective where Palin is concerned. As an aside, that baby certainly might be Palin's, but anyone who has paid a speck of attention these past few years understands that the official 'story' is almost certainly, at a minimum, an embellishment of whatever actually happened when that baby came into the world.

    When I encounter Sullivan bashers, animated by defense of Palin and her kid, I occasionally imagine myself in a bar or other social setting, and pinning them with the question: "So you believe Trig Palin's birth story as officially told?" It's an interesting thought experiment, because here on the intertubes, there's immense hostility toward Sullivan, but I've yet to encounter a commenter who endorses the Trig birth narrative as officially relayed. Does anyone really believe the official story?

    Which I think points to the true miracle of the Daily Dish: how viral the place is, in spite of Sullivan's unapologetic willingness to attempt to call it like he sees it, unpleasant consequences be damned. Palinophiles have likely concluded that she is of Presidential timbre; they are no doubt uncomfortable with the facie implausibility of the official Trig birth story, and they hate Sullivan for poking his finger in the eye of their uncomfortable cognitive dissonance.

    But its not just the Palinophiles; Sullivan pisses everyone off from time to time. Like Jonathan, I've written a cranky note or two to him over the years. But when you stop to think how so many blogs trip over themselves to make the next me-too argument in support of whatever is the hideous cause du jour, it is simply amazing that Sullivan can be so crankily contrarian and also so viral.

    Amazing, and really quite encouraging about the prospects for representative democracy.


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