The Best Of The Dish Today

The great thing about a blog is that in real time, you can amend and clarify your thoughts. So a couple of things about my long post today about the history of gay America in the last few decades. The title was meant to be a way of reminding everyone that AIDS was absolutely instrumental and central to all of it. That’s all. I believe that there can be no history of gay rights which isn’t in some ways a history of the plague. But, of course, it doesn’t sum up all gay history. My post was prompted by two remarkable pieces – Walter Armstrong’s and Tim Murphy’s – and they are both centered on gay men.

I just want to make clear that I was not intending in any way to erase the critical and central contributions of lesbians in this movement and in the AIDS crisis, which are indisputable. I wanted merely to tell the story from the gay male perspective, because that is where the plague hit hardest, and that is what I can write about personally. So please do not mistake it for a balanced history; it is more of a memoir of a movement and its extraordinary twists and turns.

I don’t know why but I have felt its weight this summer very acutely, perhaps because it seems so remote from so many today, and I cannot but feel, like many in my generation, as if I need to write this down in case people forget it. (I did already, of course, but long ago now.) Even in Provincetown, a place devastated, waves and waves of gay men arrive today for whom it means close to nothing. And the emotional bond of those years makes reading histories of the movement that simply erase it before 2008 not just frustrating; but some kind of assault on what we did and how we did it. An assault on my loved ones, so many of whom are no longer here.

Anyway … we covered a lot of other ground today as well. The conflict in Gaza kept coming up – and readers pushed back in defense of the Israelis, even as I tried to explain my serious moral qualms. (The tweet above, for example, is one of countless collected by David Sheen of teen Israelis making duck faces and calling for the genocide of Arabs. Yes, genocide. In bikinis. And you thought Max Blumenthal is making it up?) Plus: an amazing beard of the week; all the accents in the British Isles; and the strange low-but-high voice that straight guys use when chatting up women.

The most popular post of the day was “Understanding The Permanence Of Greater Israel“, followed by “The Astonishing, Actual History Of The Gay Rights Movement.”

Many of today’s posts were updated with your emails – read them all here.  You can always leave your unfiltered comments at our Facebook page and @sullydish. 17 more readers became subscribers today. You can join them here – and get access to all the readons and Deep Dish – for a little as $1.99 month. One writes:

I don’t pay for the LAT or NYT or WSJ or WaPo, or any newspaper, but I pay for my Dish Howler Beagle (tr) subscription. I think, at a very cursory level, it’s probably because I find the big newspapers to be very commoditized and the Dish is, well, unique.  However, it wasn’t till I read this long piece in the Columbia Journalism Review about Jeff Bezos’ efforts to transform the Washington Post, that a few things really clicked within me about what makes The Dish unique and worth paying for compared to these mainstream publications.  First, even though that linked piece is long, it can be summed up with a few snippets from it:

Editors and reporters talk about the Post becoming a “global” paper. They say that the Post will create a news “bundle” that will repackage all the elements of the print newspaper in a way that readers will pay for in digital form. Using tablets and other devices, Bezos aims to recreate the intimate, cohesive, and somewhat linear consumption experience of old media in a way that makes sense for digital…. An editor added: “I think Bezos wants us to be everything for everyone, the same way Amazon is.” …

The journalism isn’t what he (Bezos) plans to revamp, or necessarily invest significant new funds in—the new hires notwithstanding—at least initially. His main focus is the pipeline: reaching the maximum number of customers by putting the Post’s journalism in a package (a tablet, a mobile site) that will draw the greatest number of readers.

It’s pretty funny right?  The “journalism isn’t what he plans to revamp.” Rather, Bezos just wants to figure out how to get as many people as possible to read this thing in digital format, rather like a candy company pushing its latest confection.  Perhaps, if they truly stepped back and evaluated the shoddy essence of the core product – the, ahem, journalism – they might realize that their product quality is no longer good enough to convince customers to pay for it.  In my mind, that is absolutely the difference between the Dish and the major dailies.

A soul and a conscience – all institutions, big and small, need them to be have real credibility and relevance with whom they seek to serve. And especially those that seek to inform and explain the world to us in a democracy so that we may do our part as citizens.  The Dish has both, which is why it is worth paying for.

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