The Best Of The Dish This Weekend


It’s a particularly dire moment in the world to take a vacation. But when recently would have been a better one? So I’m sticking to plans and taking a real break from the blog this August. It’s been an exhilarating but utterly draining couple of years and I need a real break from the grid’s persistent pounding to get some balance and perspective and rest. I have a couple of chores to finish – including a transcript of a phone-call debate with Sam Harris over Israel-Palestine which we’ll be posting soon – but thereafter, I won’t be blogging until after the weekend after Labor Day. I hope you’ll indulge me this time away. It’s hard to explain exactly how intensely draining  blogging every day for months on end can be. And I’m now 51. Time, I’ve decided, to take a little better care of myself – so I can do this job without the constant tinge of exhaustion and stress.

But happily, the Dish now has a team more than capable of taking over when I’m gone. And this summer break, we’re trying a slightly new formula for guest-blogging and by-lines. All the posts that are products of our relentless aggregation and curation of the best of the web will be by-lined “by Dish Staff”. Only much longer posts will get bylines – and each week, one Dish staffer and one outside guest-writer will be tasked with the bigger, opinion-heavy posts that I usually tackle. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and this is a time when mine don’t matter here. So to kick off, we have Elizabeth Nolan Brown and our own Phoebe Maltz Bovy. Next week Freddie deBoer will be joining us. The week after that Bill McKibben and his wife Sue Halpern will stop by. And our final week will be hosted by Alex Pareene. It’s quite a line-up. So stay tuned as Dish staffers get to opine without my oversight, and as guests get to stir shit up. I’ve no doubt the news will also give the staff a huge amount to work with.

Speaking of whom, I just wanted to thank my editorial colleagues – Chris and Patrick, Jessie, Matt and Chas, Tracy and Jonah, Alice and Phoebe, for creating this concoction with me from scratch every day month after month. They are the backbone of the Dish, the reason it still exists, and a daily inspiration – both as bloggers and as human beings. And also a thanks to you, for subscribing in such numbers, for keeping me on my toes, and for adding so much insight and knowledge and wit and honesty to our rambling conversation. I look back on what we’ve created this past year and a half and am amazed.

Our Iraq coverage over the weekend is here, here, and here.

The most popular post remained The Last And First Temptation Of Israel, followed by Why Sam Harris Won’t Criticize Israel.

Many of our recent posts were updated with your emails – read them all here.  You can always leave your unfiltered comments at our Facebook page and @sullydish. 24 more readers became subscribers this weekend. You can join them here – and get access to all the readons and Deep Dish – for a little as $1.99 month. Gift subscriptions are available here. A reader writes:

I have finally joined your group of merry subscribers. I have been reading The Dish for a while, and realized that it was past time to put my $19.99 where my intellect was. I learn a great deal from what you and your team write, as well as from the pieces to which you link. The perspicacity of your readers is an additional draw – and the fact that you give them a platform, even when (especially when?) they wholeheartedly disagree with you.

The moral clarity of your voice on Israel and Gaza has been particularly welcome, as well as your thunderous pronouncements on the sins of the Church, like some (bearded!) prophet of old. What I particularly appreciate about The Dish is that it is removed from the Manichean discourse that permeates our political discourse. Do I always agree with you? Nope – where would be the fun in that? But I am always challenged to think. What more could one ask?

I bring the following as a housewarming gift:

Caption from the Paris Review:

If you had asked me two days ago if there existed any Catholic-themed YouTube video stranger than the one where G. K. Chesterton battles a cartoonishly evil Nietzsche, I would have said, “Of course not.” But that was before I saw this group of French feminists in beards paying tribute to Saint Wilgefortis. Wilgefortis is described by the Catholic Encyclopedia as “a fabulous female saint … her attributes are listed as “bearded woman; depicted crucified, often shown with a small fiddler at her feet, and with one shoe off.” Considered a “pious fiction”—that is, a sort of unofficial folktale—she enjoyed popularity throughout Europe.

Good luck with The Dish. I look forward to being part of the extended family.

See you in September.