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Archive for May, 2014

Miss American Vampire, 1970

[ 46 ] May 31, 2014 |

After a vigorous day of book submission and navel-gazing, I think we could all use a serious topic for this Saturday night. Like this:

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Blog of the Week, and Possibly Decade

[ 22 ] May 31, 2014 |

This is a guest post by Lance Mannion.

Over the last ten years I’ve read many great blogs that have been informative, many that have been entertaining, many that have riled me up and set me to work. There have been blogs that have made me think, blogs that challenged my thinking, some that have regularly changed my mind. There have been blogs that have made me feel smart for reading them.

There have been few that have made me smarter, very few that have done it while doing all the above. One of those very few, maybe chief among those, has been Lawyers, Guns & Money.

A decade ago today, when LG&M started, the liberal side of the bandwidth was crowding itself with blogs dedicated to proving that the legacy media was wrong about Iraq and George W. Bush, a worthy and necessary endeavor. Passionate and creative opinionizing and invective spewing ruled the day. But Rob, Scott, and Dave gave themselves the additional job of being right…about whatever subject they posted on, and their subjects were from the beginning, varied and wide-ranging. They made sure they knew what they were talking about before they started talking and they showed their readers where and how they’d got to know what they knew.

When they didn’t know, they were careful not to let opinions and speculations pass as knowledge. They made it clear they were still working things out, and they made that work interesting, fun, and enlightening. They were thinking out loud and made that both an entertainment and a lesson in how it should be done.

They were practicing the almost lost of art of being public intellectuals.

In the years since, the team has expanded, contracted, and expanded again, but each new member has blogged by that standard. Whatever their individual area of expertise, whatever their personal style and approach, they have all been careful to know what they’re talking about and to separate what they know from what they are working towards knowing. They know their stuff and they know lots of stuff about lots of other stuff, and the result has been that their thinking out loud has been an ongoing lesson in how to think about, well, everything really, politics, history, baseball, hockey, movies, teaching, art, dinosaurs, and, of course, law, military and foreign policy, and economics.

And they have one of the rare comment sections that are not just worth reading and contain real discussions but that actually enhance and expand the posts being commented on. So congratulations to Rob and Scott and the gang for putting that community together and congratulations to that community for all they do for LG&M.

Oh, one more great thing, at least in my opinion.

No cats.

Thanks for that, gang, and thanks for ten great years.

Decade

[ 14 ] May 31, 2014 |

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On LGM’s 10th anniversary, I’d like to thank the Founders for inviting me to join the gang all the way back in 2008. For me it was a timely invitation, as a decade-long stint as a weekly columnist for the Rocky Mountain News was about to end, due to the paper’s demise.

I’m also grateful to the management of our anarcho-syndicalist commune for allowing me to integrate the 19 months I spent producing Inside the Law School Scam into LGM’s capacious platform.

For me, this blog’s greatest strength is its eclecticism, both in regard to the perspectives of its front pagers, who have supported positions as varied as “Derek Jeter is annoyingly overrated” to “Derek Jeter is overrated, but dreamily handsome,” to “who exactly is Derek Jeter again?”

This seems like a good time to share my Derek Jeter story: A friend of mine was the star of the Kalamazoo Central High School baseball team, and was named captain going into his senior year. He was at that time certain he was going to be a professional baseball player. On the first day of practice, a ninth grade kid showed up to try out for the varsity. By the end of the day, one dream of professional baseball greatness was defunct.

Some wise person said recently that we live in an age in which “everyone has a platform but nobody has a career.” Writing for LGM isn’t yet a career (I’m still waiting for George Soros’ checks to clear), but it remains a great platform, not least because of our erudite if occasionally batter-soaked commentariat. You’ve brought us fame and fortune and everything that goes with it — I thank you all.

Ah, memories.

[ 16 ] May 31, 2014 |

I started blogging on a lark back in March 2005, mostly out of an interest in doing some non-professional (or unprofessional, if you prefer) writing; within a few weeks, more people—and by that I mean “a few dozen”—had read my blog than had, or ever would, likely read all of my academic publications combined. Everything was horrible and stupid in the spring of 2005. The war in Iraq was a gruesome stew of death and fuckery, Pope John Paul II was weeks away from realizing that God does not in fact exist, and wingnuts aplenty were camped behind the Kum & Go, huffing sacks of glue over Terri Schiavo’s dissolving brain. At some point that month, James Wolcott offered some approving words for a blog called “Lawyers, Guns and Money,” and—lacking all three—I decided to drop by and see what the big deal was.

Within a few weeks, this blog was probably at the top of my daily reading list; the authors and readers were meditating on important questions, including “who is America’s Worst Blogger?” and when would the Mariners call up Felix Hernandez? (Note: Rob was off by three weeks, but accurately predicted four wins. Though I have no data to back this up, I’m reasonably sure that no one at LGM has ever since predicted anything quite so accurately.) Over the next year, I commented regularly and unctuously linked to LGM at my own blog, doing so at a pace that ought to have raised stalker warnings. Charitably, Rob, Scott and DJW would from time to time link to something I’d written; most touchingly, Rob linked to a series of rather gloomy “This Day in History” posts I wrote in anticipation of my first child. In part because of those posts (and some later, related writing I did at my own place), the OG asked me to join this blog later that summer. I was beyond honored. I have always admired the quality of the writing here by everyone who’s ever participated, and though I don’t quite know what the straight line is that connects me to the vastly superior brains who keep this operation afloat, I don’t exaggerate when I sad that the existence of this blog has been an important part of my intellectual life for the past decade.

Since 9 October 2006, I’ve made some rather eccentric contributions to LGM. I provided us with arguably our most important feline mascot; I wrote a shitload of happy birthday posts to horrible people (especially this monster); there was the Althouse tiny prick fiasco; and of course the internet traditions, about all of which you are doubtlessly aware. Over the years, my writing here has conspicuously tailed off. The challenges of parenthood, combined with a series of unforced personal and professional errors, combined with the fact that I am an agonizingly slow writer prone to fits of undermedicated and over-whiskeyed self-loathing, have from time to time conspired to fuck my life up flatter than hammered shit. I remain grateful, however, to everyone here—co-bloggers and especially commenters with long memories—for indulging my long absences and to return from time to time like a plague of locusts to pester and annoy.

At some point, I will (I hope) return to a more regular schedule of contributions. One idea I’m toying with is a series called “The 25 Percent True Erotic History of the American Presidency,” which would detail the assorted preferences and perversions of the nation’s chief executives. If you’re curious about the famous necrophiliac Millard Fillmore, who hauled his dead wife around in a wheelbarrow for six months after pneumonia took her life in 1853, this series will not disappoint.

Also: There were many reasons George Washington hated wearing dentures. What you learn will shock you!

Also: Though Woodrow Wilson tried to remain neutral on the issue of war in Europe, he was never in doubt about butt plugs.

But, like, don’t hold your breath or anything.

Writing for an audience

[ 30 ] May 31, 2014 |

I want to begin by thanking Rob and Scott for the idea here, and for including me. It’s nice to not only have a ‘home’ on the internet, but to have one populated by the many  thoughtful and challenging people who live here. That we’re still going after 10 years is remarkable, especially given the typical lifespan of a blog.

The truly long time readers of LGM may remember that in the early days–the first couple of years, roughly, if memory serves me correctly–Rob, Scott and I posted roughly similar quantities of material. For a couple of years, I was a daily (or, at least, several substantive posts weekly) blogger. It didn’t seem hard to do. Then, one day, it did seem hard. I didn’t really understand why–I didn’t feel ‘burnt out’ particularly, or bored with or tired of blogging or the blog, or anything like that. While perhaps part of the story is that I was getting busier elsewhere in my life (I was just entering my “full time adjunct” stage while also trying to get more serious about writing the damn dissertation), I don’t think that’s the whole story. I think, although I didn’t recognize it at the time, that I found my greater awareness of a ‘real’ audience intimidating, if not paralyzing. Prior to this blog I’d never really attempted to write for any sort of public, beyond the narrow academic community I was hoped my scholarly work would eventually be read by. When I started blogging, I didn’t really write for a public either, at least not self-consciously. I didn’t really internalize the possibility that other people–beyond my co-bloggers and a handful of friends from graduate school who I knew read the blog–were really there. I gave little thought to audience, and wrote about whatever I liked, in whatever way struck me at the moment.

Awareness of audience was great in one way–my posts could become not just a record of whatever was on my mind at the moment, but the start of a conversation. But as our readership grew from double to triple to (unfathomably) quadruple digits and beyond, I became a much more self-conscious writer. Am I sure I’m right about this? Do I actually know enough about this to hit publish? Is this actually an interesting insight or repackaged banality? Is the idea I think I’m expressing too half-baked for public consumption? Does anyone reading this actually care about this topic? As Rob has pointed out to me on multiple occasions, these are strange questions to obsess over in light of the fact that we built this blog and its audience by writing about whatever the hell we felt like writing about. But these questions are hard to shake; and many an idea for a blog post has been scuttled because of them. It’s led me to conclude that part of being a writer–a real and successful one, who writes significant for large audiences regularly–must surely be an ability to manage one’s awareness of audience. To be able to turn it on and off as necessary to guide one’s writing without impeding it is a skill I wish I had. I think I’ve made a some progress in that area, but I still find it a real challenge. At any rate, it’s a small price to pay for having an not just any audience but a responsive and impressive one we’ve got.

LGM at Ten, the Hungover Version

[ 5 ] May 31, 2014 |

I’ve known Scott (scooter), Rob (full beard Rob, sadly we’re missing his sidekick Bo, about whom last I heard is tenured in one of the Dakotas), and Dave (sideshow) since they foolishly signed on to get a Ph.D. at the University of Washington.  This was long before Paul schooled the world on the economic futility of such endeavours.  They followed me in the rough and tumble environment that was UW poll sci, but I took to them quickly.  Alcohol helped in that quest.  And my one best approbation was affording Watkins the nickname “sideshow”, as it stuck for a while.

When they started the blog, I received an email, so I followed it.  I wasn’t new to this internet thing, having written beer reviews for rec. food.drink.beer, and having them on the ‘web’ as early as 1994, as I chatted about this past autumn. Rob and Scott tried to get me on board prior to the 2008 election, but I was either busy, drinking, watching my daughter, or in some ER.  Let’s focus on the busy bit as I was chairing my department after all (which probably explains the nascent drinking problem).  When I did sign on, it was to be a guest blogger for Rob who was off on some ill advised mission to destroy the air force (I honestly don’t recall what he was up to those two weeks, but that sounds like a high probability endeavour of his).  I wrote a handful of posts over those two weeks, and they decided to approach me to be a masthead author here.  I had to say yes, as my credit cards were all maxed out and the vast sums of money suddenly flowing my way were appreciated.  I do remember telling the guys that I felt like the fan of the band who suddenly got to play bass for them.

I’m still a fan of LGM, and as we’ve added authors since (Charli, SEK, Erik, and Bethany, in particular) I’ve been exposed to different ideas, styles of writing, and people. As our readers know, I’m not part of the blogosphere per se. Yeah, I’ve interacted with Nate Silver when he was pre-NYT and especially when he wrote something boilerplate about the 2010 British elections, about which I took him to task here, and he graciously replied in the NYT. But, I am not part of the entire inside baseball thing that crops up from time to time. I’m a dad first, academic second, and latterly, the data guy for my local party third. But based on my Usenet days, I’d fit right in.

Since, I’ve made an effort to meet our authors during my many travels back to the US (my wife lives in Oregon and I don’t, and I like her a hell of a lot, so I’m there whenever I can be).  I have succeeded in meeting both Erik (in Eugene) and Kaufman (in New Orleans, following an epic visit to the LSU ER), and both meets involved not a tame amount of liquor. Both brilliant people FTF. One of my life goals, along with converting one of our Ph.D. students from Tory to Labour, is to find Dave Noon and make sure he’s still alive, and give him brewing tips. I’m thinking both have the same probability of success. I don’t have many regrets in life nor do I really do regret (I should and I guess I do as I’ve been married thrice, and one of my best friends is my first and I’ve got a good relationship with the mother of my daughter), but I do regret not being an omnipresence here. As I said a couple days ago, when things get busy in my life, LGM is one of the first commitments to go. I’m surprised that they still keep me around, to be honest.

I’ve also encountered many people back in the States, in bars, who read LGM (that might be a trend). Writing and blogging comes up, and I humbly point out that I, on occasion, write for some blog. For whom is asked, and I spill it, and with surprising frequency, this one is known.  This happened once in Chicago and twice in New York in April.  It still astonishes me. Indeed, several of my colleagues in my department read the damn thing to the point where they made me the blog guy. We have one now, but the release of that album won’t happen for a few more weeks.

So as for our commentariat, got to love them. I’m constantly fascinated at the time and effort that our readers expend on dissecting and peer reviewing our contributions (and each others’ comments). I barely have enough time in my life to write for LGM, yet anything I do write, I know if there’s anything I got wrong, it will come out.  That’s perhaps the most brilliant part of being part of the LGM team, exposing our sloppy musings to our readers.  You guys really make us better.

Here’s to the next ten years.

Deserve’s got nothing to do with it

[ 73 ] May 31, 2014 |

Since Lord Saletan, the most overplaced troll in all the internets, has linked my last post in his latest exercise in indignant outrage on behalf of the extremely powerful and privileged, I’ll clarify and expand on my original remarks.

The substance of Saletan’s post is that there appear to be grounds on which we might judge Sterling as a far worse, and more worthy, target of our ire than Eich. Some commenters on my previous post made a similar observation. I don’t contest this–based on what we know, the evidence available seems to suggest that Sterling may well be a far worse person than Eich. My original post, for what it’s worth, was not premised on moral and ethical equivalence broadly construed. Rather it was focused on a particular argument used on Eich’s behalf and how Sterling might fare under it. That there might not be other arguments, or other facts not assumed in that scenario that didn’t create some potential daylight between the two cases, was not something I intended or attempted to argue.

With that said, allow me to comment on the analytic poverty of Saletan’s approach to the question at hand. He poses the dilemma thusly:

If Sterling deserves to lose his team for being a racist—as the NBA has just affirmed—did Eich deserve to lose his job for opposing gay marriage?

Perhaps some people were committed to the proposition that Eich “deserved” to be forced out of his position at Mozilla (assuming he was). Many other people, including myself, dissented from Saletan’s histrionics on other grounds. My position was that Eich’s resignation was (merely) a non-injustice. I take no particular position on the question of what he deserves. That’s a far more difficult question; a great deal of the good and bad things that happen to us have little to do with what any of us deserve. A friend of mine was recently dumped by his girlfriend: he was a good guy who treated her well, but she didn’t want to be with him. Did he “deserve” that? No. Was it an injustice? Of course not. In our associational lives, including careers and relationships, the stuff that happens to us often has a great deal more to do with luck and chance than desert. In some ways, it’s almost certain that someone who’s had as much right-time right-place luck as Eich has had more success than he deserves, strictly speaking, if we were to try to construct a theory in which career success and desert are tightly linked.

Is this just nomenclature? John Rawls, a more thorough-going desert/justice relationship skeptic than I, replaces what many of us would would call desert with ‘legitimate expectations.’ If I win the lottery, for example, it’s silly to say I ‘deserve’ a million dollars. But I now have a legitimate expectation to get paid.

(Note–I wrote this a while ago but never finished it and didn’t intend to publish it–it may have been inadvertantly published in the 10th anniversary flurry of posts. In fact, my failure to finish and post it in real time is a good example of the anxieties I discuss in my anniversary post. Since it’s been up for a bit, I’ll leave it up, with a brief conclusion here:)

I’ve long felt that desert is overdone. It moralizes issues that shouldn’t necessarily be moralized, and suggest a greater precision than we can reasonably expect. Justice tolerates multiple possible outcomes for someone like Eich, where as desert implies getting the precisely correct one. Whatever contribution desert makes to a theory of justice it is sorely misapplied in this situation. Shifting to legitimate expectations, Eich losing his job over a political controversy seems well within the range of outcomes anyone taking a CEO job should reasonably expect.

Reflections

[ 33 ] May 31, 2014 |

So I am supposed to write something for this 10th anniversary deal. Not really sure what to say. It’s certainly nice to have an audience after blogging for eons in obscurity and I am very glad to help provide coverage of the labor movement and working class issues. When I started writing here in 2011, the blogosphere was pretty lacking in coverage of labor and poverty. Then Occupy happened and a lot more interest developed in these issues, which continues today. That’s great and I hope I am a useful part of that conversation. There are other issues too–climate change, historical films of cats boxing, chronicling the diabolical nature of the coal industry, Americans’ unfortunate tolerance of ketchup, dead horses in American history–that I like to think I add something to. But nothing as much as labor issues, both in the past and present, where I try to use this space not only to complain or think about how this will affect the next election cycle (although both of those things have value) but to begin to figure out ways out of the New Gilded Age. Not everyone thinks my ideas are good or practical (and in the short term, I’d agree on the latter), but you have to articulate this stuff to put together the intellectual and social movement framework that will eventually tame the capitalist beast.

Hopefully, my book does some of that work too, as I turn the completed manuscript draft in today (in about 1 hour actually–OMG!). It comes out of my work here so at least someone thinks this stuff is useful. Like SEK and others, writing here has directly advanced my career in amazing ways (even if it has threatened it at times as well) and I certainly never expected concrete gains to come out of my ranting and raving.

Now if there was just a way to clean up my Google search from the attacks from gun nuts and the Greenwald/DeBoer/various internet anarchists group over the 2012 election.

It’s also worth noting that on the 10th anniversary of LGM, we have again broken our monthly record for the most page views and with a good day could hit 1 million for May. In a period where liberal blogs have complained about declining readership numbers, I guess it means that we are doing something right around here. I’m glad you all like it enough to keep coming back.

So here’s to another 10 years of talking and working toward economic and social justice. And here’s something far more interesting than my navel-gazing. A man who, as I age, I model myself increasingly after: W.C. Fields.

Donations to this site will be used for me to get a prosthetic nose so I can look like W.C.

bspencer In

[ 55 ] May 31, 2014 |

I started lurking here at LGM roughly two or three years ago. Lurking turned into commenting and commenting–happily– turned into a front page gig, for which I’m immensely grateful.

At first glance, I feel like I must seem like an odd fit for this place. I’m not not an academic; I never even graduated from college. But one of the reasons I began reading this blog is because it covers a weird and wonderful diversity of topics. And I’d like to think I round out that weirdness. Think of me as the author who plugs that hole that was left by a distinct lack of posts about horror movies, crockpot recipes and dinosaur erotica.

Anyway, posting here for the last year has been a genuine honor and privilege. Honestly, it’s mostly just a lot of fun. And then there’s the thing where I’ve become genuinely fond of my co-authors and the commentariat here. So, congratulations to Lawyers, Guns and Money on its first illustrious decade and here’s hoping I’ll be around for its scandalous next one. Because, as a caring person, I want to make sure you stay up-to-date on the latest innovations in dino porn. YOU’RE. WELCOME.

Is This Thing On?

The last time I wrote for LGM was August 15, 2008 — my sign-off post. So it’s been nearly six years. It feels like a long time ago that I was part of the LGM family; that I could shed my law-student skin and become bean and be brassier and more vocal and less measured and more engaged than life in law school allowed. And it was a long time ago. But when I logged on to write this post in celebration of 10 years (!) of LGM, there all my old posts were. Just sitting there. In WordPress. As if I had never left.

But I did leave, to begin practicing civil rights law and pushing to effect some of the changes I called for (and so unstintingly) in my tenure at LGM. And wow, what a difference it’s made. In August 2008, George W. Bush was the president; the U.S. was engaged in armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; the government was indefinitely detaining prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and fighting the detainees’ efforts to access Article III courts; and reproductive rights were under attack. Now, in May 2014, things have changed! For the better! Barack Obama is the president; the Iraq war has ended; we still have troops in Afghanistan; Guantanamo Bay remains open with no end in sight; and the rights to abortion and contraception are under fierce attack. Wait a minute….

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

While more change certainly would be better in some arenas — the cartoonish nature of our politics and the inefficacy of our federal government, by way of head-palm-obvious examples — there’s great comfort in the steadiness of LGM. It remains today home to the same diverse and engaging posts as in 2008 (and more of them) by a too-heavily-male motley crew of very similar composition, with the same loyal, overeducated, engaged cast of commenters that I came to know as an LGM contributor and to rely upon to test my assumptions and assertions and call me out when I went too far or got something wrong. (Though of course there are amusing and legendary exceptions. I’m

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looking at you, “I am aware of all Internet traditions,” known to some as the “greatest thread in the history of the Intertrons.”)

Recently, I’ve taken baby steps back into online conversations. I became an active Twitter user; I commented on blogs; I agitated for my current workplace to start its own blog. These tentative efforts at a (triumphant?) return to online life have given me renewed appreciation for the open, freewheeling, multidisciplinary, earnest-one-minute-and-satirizing-the-next online home I had at LGM, and made me grateful to the original LGM team for creating this place and keeping it going all this time.

So here’s to 10 years of LGM and to 10 more (at least). Maybe by the time LGM can drink legally, we’ll have seen some real political change. Hey, a bean can dream.

 

Happy Tenth Birthday? Anniversary? Whatever you call it, have a happy one, LG&M!

[ 33 ] May 31, 2014 |

It feels strange to think that this is the tenth anniversary of this humble little blog, and stranger still when I realize that means I’ve been around for half of its life, as my first post was back in 2009.

Since then, I’ve written 821 posts — approximately 164 per year, if my math doesn’t fail me — which is a frighteningly absurd number to consider, so I won’t. Instead, I’ll note that most days I still feel like “the new guy,” so much so that when I don’t post for a week, I’m always reluctant to post again for fear I’ve been demoted during my absence. (Of course, that’s never been the case, and both the folks in the masthead and you lot in the comments have always welcomed me back.)

But Rob asked us to think about what the tenth anniversary means — at least, that’s how I understood his email — and for me, it’s likely a little different from everybody else, because right now what it means is that I have a career.

Most of you already know that my job at the AV Club was a direct result of this post, and my opportunity to write for RogerEbert.com came from this one and its laser beams.

But most of you probably don’t know that my main job, at Raw Story, can also be directly attributed to my time here.

When I decided to leave California last year — for a whole host of reasons, some related to my family, others stemming from my general hatred of the state — I had planned on continuing my academic career in the South. I had two jobs lined up, one of which could easily have turned into a tenure-track position, but I wouldn’t say I was looking forward to it.

I enjoyed teaching as much as I ever did, but I’d grown tired of the stuff that all academics grow tired of, and so I did what all academics do when they’re tired of such stuff — I bitched about it on Facebook. One of the people who read my bitching and knew my work from here encouraged me to apply for a job for which I wasn’t remotely qualified at Raw Story, so I did.

As I haven’t been fired yet, you can guess how that worked out.

My point is, I owe Other Scott, Rob, Dave, Other Dave, David, Erik, Paul, Beth, and Charli quite a bit. I’ve managed to turn my random life and failed academic career into a living, and I wouldn’t have been able to have pulled it off were it not for Lawyers, Guns & Money.

Eventually, I hope to get back into the swing of attacking conservatives for the conservative things they say, but it’s taken me a long time to learn how to write without an overtly editorial voice, so writing with one feels a little schizophrenic. I’m sure, in time, I’ll be able to deal, because it’s not like I don’t have opinions anymore.

Similarly, this summer I’m going to start doing visual rhetoric series, beginning with one on the first half of this season of Mad Men. Then it’s on to The Sopranos, which I’m now watching for the first time thanks to Amazon Prime. It’s all about developing a new, non-academic writing routine, which I haven’t been able to do yet because freelancing is much harder than it seems.

And, of course, I’ll keep on turning my life into one act plays, because that’s what I do. (Sad as it is to say, I owe these two jackasses more than I’d like to admit, since they’re the ones who put me on the radar in the first place.)

Honestly, the only thing I’d change about the place — and I’m sorry if this offends anyone on the masthead, but I’ve been meaning to say it for a long time now — but I really hate our logo. It’s missing that je ne sais quoi, but I mocked up a possible new one:

mockup

Isn’t that just much better?

SEK’S FAVORITE POSTS:

I’m really not the one who should be compiling this list, because I have the memory of an inattentive llama at this point, but if I had to choose, I’d say I thoroughly enjoyed creating a new internet tradition, teaching people what violent rhetoric is, wearing a hat, and being busted. As well as all those posts breaking down Mad Men, Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones. And the podcast with Steven Attewell, even if they throw my technological shortcomings into high relief.

Like I said, you’re probably better suited to telling me which of the 812 posts I’ve written are the best. I’m just glad I had the opportunity to write them here.

Anniversary Reflections

[ 50 ] May 31, 2014 |

It’s amazing that it’s been ten years since Rob, Dave and I started this project. (I’m proud of it in part because it’s one of the few times I’ve ever come up with a good title.) As my quantity of posts makes clear, I still love it.

Rather than further navel-gazing, I wanted above all to thank the readers, who make this all worthwhile. I especially wanted to thanks our commenters. We have that increasingly rare thing, an actual community that’s big enough to generate good discussions while not so big as to be entirely dominated by trolls. It’s a delicate balance, as anyone who’s read blogs for a while is well aware, and we’ve been very lucky. I have to particularly single out Howard, who has done so much to build up my jazz collection although his anecdotes about music and baseball are more than enough of a gift. (I’m still working through the remarkable David Murray set he recently purchased me, and I can’t think him enough.)

I also wanted to thank the other bloggers who engaged with LGM when we were a guppy in the ecosystem of the blogosphere. In a non-exhaustive list, let me thank Duncan Black, Roy Edroso, Lindsay Beyerstein, Matt Yglesias, Brad DeLong, and Ezra Klein. I assume a fairly high percentage of readers have discovered the blog through one of these sources who found us early, and we’re grateful. And, of course, we’re grateful to those who have continued to engage with us over the years, which remarkably enough now includes at least two New York Times columnists.

There wouldn’t be much point in doing this without you. We immensely appreciate the support.

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