Yesterday we made one final bleg requesting “your favorite moment of Dishness” – and you delivered in spades, as you always do. It’s hard to disagree with this reader’s pick:
Your wedding, plain and simple. The photos, the setting, the dogs, the look in your faces:
I’ve been reading you for 10+ years and you kept me looking forward and to know hope. As native Texan gays, we hope our day comes for true marriage, not just a ceremony.
My favorite moment of Dishness? No question: Dusty. We miss you. RIP to Dusty and the Dish.
Another looks to the future:
For me it’s “Falling In Love Again“, about bonding with Bowie after the loss of Dusty. It gets to me every time I read it – the peculiarities that define us all (pets too), the process of moving on (but not forgetting), and everything that comes with sharing your life with another being.
Another reader gets close to home:
My mind immediately jumped to the moment you got your green card. You explained exactly just what and how much the symbolic welcoming to the country meant to you. I’m proud to consider you a brother and hope you one day get your citizenship. Thanks for everything.
Another simply sends this video, which any true Dishhead will recognize by its date – June 19, 2009:
So many moments with the Dish brought me joy, tears, enlightenment and shared frustration, but what stands out the most was the Green Revolution coverage. Unlike anything I’ve ever seen elsewhere in this life, coverage aggregation / best news reporting available with such honesty and intensity. I can’t say thank you enough to the whole Dish team who made it happen.
It was the moment when Patrick and Chris and I first truly bonded as a team. Speaking of which, one of our best teammates was intern Doug, who sends a screenshot from his July 2012 interview:
(Yeah, I set up a script to take screenshots at intervals throughout the interview process. Super creepy, but I had to memorialize the event because it was a huge fucking deal to me. And honestly, I’d say it’s not a bad pic.)
The chance to work with the three of you was amazing, but this is my moment of Dishness for so many more reasons. Because this was the moment I began to fully understand that the Dish, in so many ways, was exactly what it presented itself as. It was not just Andrew; it was a fascinating and bizarre entity all of its own (by the time I joined), in which you could see the individual personalities at work, but that was simultaneously so much more than any of you individually. It was the first time I’ve ever been really excited for an interview, rather than just dreading it. And it was the beginning of one of the most interesting adventures in my life.
Likewise, to say the least. Another reader sensed the mind meld of the whole Dish staff:
That time Andrew went on vacation and I couldn’t tell for days. The padawans had supplanted their master.
This reader would probably agree:
An “esoteric” moment of Dishness? How about a YouTube video you posted showing in time-lapse a map of Bruce Springsteen’s concert appearances over 40 years, set to a Springsteen song. The video had like 200 views before being featured at the Dish.
Sure, I have loved (and hated) the Dish’s commentary, been charmed by the window views, changed my mind after reading through the eloquent responses of your readers. But the ability of you and your staff to curate these obscure bits that speak to the quirky passions of your readers – that’s true Dishness. No other site comes close in casting such a wide net for the oddities that speak to what we love in our culture.
Speaking of oddities:
My favorite moment of Dishness was the Wedding Dress Guy. To me, this is when the Dish transcended an author’s personal/political blog and moved toward something broader, quirkier, and increasingly indefinable. I mean, one minute there’s a critique of John Kerry, the next, a tattooed guy wearing his ex-fiance’s wedding dress in an eBay ad. It’s everything I love about the free-for-all that is the Internet.
All kinds of Internet in this one:
Another reader gives us props:
My favorite moment? When you talked about paying your interns. (And when you quoted me praising you for it!) Seriously, how did working for free become OK? (I blame Reagan firing the air traffic controllers.) So thanks for paying the interns.
Thanks for your countless emails over the years – emails that were often more compelling than anything we wrote:
I’ll go with your “It’s So Personal” series on late-term abortions. I was raised Catholic, was fiercely pro-life at one point but gradually came to the pro-choice perspective. Still, there was some residue from my upbringing, and I couldn’t understand why people would opt for the procedure so late in pregnancy. When I read those searing stories of choices no parent could face, I finally understood.
Another quintessential Dish thread:
The Cannabis Closet. You’re not just my favorite political voice on the web; you’re my favorite voice on the web. And that thread goes so far beyond politics. I picked this because you were so unafraid to tackle it, and your readers followed your lead.
Another pivots to politics:
As a 14-year-long reader (I started following you when I was 22 – sigh, we’ve grown old together, Andrew), my favorite moment of Dishness was during the 2012 POTUS election. You had an absolute MELTDOWN after the first debate and outwardly lost all faith in our president.
If I’ve learned anything about the man since ’04, it’s to have faith in his abilities and talent, you clearly lost that faith for a brief period after a lackluster performance. You got spun up by the spin, overly dramatic and as you’ve been known to do over the past decade, shrill. You calmed down eventually, and as predicted, we got another four years. Take care during this next stage Andrew :)
One thing to say: I wasn’t spun by the spin. I freaked out in real time before any spin occurred. Another reader saw that debate differently:
You took a lot of flak for over-reacting, but Obama fucking up so flagrantly, with so much at stake, warranted the strongest possible reaction. You expressed my sentiments to a T, essentially saying “how dare you” to the president. At a time when many observers made a point of showing restraint, you understood (viscerally) that the situation called for something else.
Another goes back to the very early days of Dish:
Reading the Melville poem you posted on September 13th, 2001 sent a chill through my spine that day. How foreboding it seemed then, and how prescient it turned out to be. Looking back on that post now, I can’t think of anything else that more clearly foreshadows the events of the years that followed – in particular how we the weeping, blinded by grief and hungry for revenge, launched the most misguided war in our history. Perhaps it isn’t always the enemy who should be warned of those baring the iron hand. Perhaps it should be a warning to the very people baring it.
Another jumps ahead:
One moment of Dishness that makes me grin is this post from October 2004, when you linked to your endorsement of John Kerry for president:
The endorsement I once never thought I’d write… I’m now headed to an undisclosed location.
With Barack Obama having taken the mantle of the elixir to the Bush/Cheney years, I think back to that post on occasion and consider it the early draft of “Know Hope.”
My favorite moment was the time you finally realized and admitted how wrong you were about the Iraq War. Those of us who had been against the war from the beginning were being told, by you, and others, how wrong, stupid, etc. etc. we were. I was never prouder of you than I was at that moment. I downloaded the I Was Wrong e-book you put together that traced your thinking from the beginning and I understood how difficult it was for you to admit your error. If all of us could be so open to change.
The Iraq e-book was a huge editing job tackled masterfully by Chris and Patrick, with a ton of technical help from Chas. It’s now outside our Deep Dish paywall for anyone to read. Back to Dishness:
I have a clear favorite. I worked on the Obama campaign at this office in Virginia during the 2008 general election. Seeing our own tiny corner of the campaign documented amidst your reporting of important events from all over the country on that historic day provided a sense of validation and connection with the larger campaign that I still savor to this day.
The other side of that campaign:
This entry has to be one of my all-time favorites in Dishness:
“An image from Sarah Palin’s id.”
I read it as I was in the middle of drinking my morning caffeine. I literally spat out my drink and started choking because I was laughing so hard.
Another gets serious about the former half-term governor:
Okay. In the end, it has to be the subject that brought me here in the first place: Trig. Despite the ridicule, dismissal and disinterest, you never wavered in your insistence that the story mattered. Just as a candidate who uses his war record (McCain et al) or near death of a child (Al Gore) as a central part of his political identity and appeal, VP candidate Sarah Palin’s endlessly repeated, fantastical birth story was a valid area of inquiry. And you were the only one in the quasi mainstream who wouldn’t let it drop.
So I nominate “Why Does Trig Matter?“:
In the end, this story is not about Palin. It’s about the collapse of the press and the corrupt cynicism of a political system that foisted this farce upon us without performing any minimal due diligence.
Another reflects on the most recent election:
My favorite moment was “The American President.” In 2012, I was an Obama organizer in Seattle, where I worked 20-hour, high-stress days. On election night, I was too busy (and too drunk) to read blogs, so I read this post hung-over on November 7, going to the campaign office to pack my things. It was a beautiful winter morning, cold and clear and sunny. It read as a summation of all I’d worked for, and no moment online has since carried so much promise.
November 6, 2012: Karl Rove impotently raging against the forces of reality while trying to figure out how he could have spent so much money for so little gain.
Another had trouble picking a moment:
Oh, so many. But one I think deserves attention is the whole Obama/Road Runner thing. It’s so fitting. How many times have this guy’s political opponents been certain that they have him, right up until the second they look up and see the anvil? I honestly hope that the President has used the line. Maybe when the networks called the 2012 election he was never supposed to win. Meep, meep.
So I’m at a military conference, sitting in the audience, waiting for the next speaker. I pull out my phone to catch up on The Dish and start scrolling down. Without warning, before the jump, is a full-screen picture of a scrotum. A Colonel next to me barks, “Boy, what are you looking at?”
Heh. Another prefers the flip-side:
The Post-Scrotum Compromise. The debate ultimately drove the “Naughty Saturday” and “Churchy Sunday” format, right? Man, I’m gonna miss Saturdays.
The NSFW Saturday format – posts about sex, dating, booze and drugs, and other fun things typically done on a Saturday night – was already in place by then, conceived by Chris and kept prurient by weekend editors Zoe and then Jessie. Another reader looks back to the navy-blue days:
Oh the places you’ve gone …
That time when you and Goldblog got into a pissing contest – not about settlements, not about Netanyahu, not about your marks on the Anne Frank attic test, not about Iran … but about that shitty Atlantic redesign. Then, before going on vacation, you unleashed Dish Nation on HIS inbox. It took almost a week for him to crawl out of his smoldering in-tray, white flag in hand. Though hardly anyone noticed.
A far less petty battle:
For a Moment of Dishness, I nominate your coverage when the Senate torture report came out. During those days, I remember telling people, very happily and repeating myself as I often do, that Andrew was “on a roll”. I couldn’t believe how much high-quality commentary was appearing in The Dish, often minute-by-minute.
But another reader finds that “my moment of Dishness has to be negative”:
In your reactions to Sally Ride’s choice to stand as a universal icon for women, you could only see cowardice as a lesbian. Iraq should have taught me your capacity for tunnel-vision, but it took Sally Ride to really cement it for me. But it’s quintessential “Dish”: there you are – personal, flawed, passionate, revealing – and still trying for honesty and decency even when you’re bloody wrong and nasty about it. I consider you a “good man” for trying to see past your own blind spots. Even when you fail. Maybe especially then.
More readers let me have it:
OK, you asked for “embarrassing” – now this was EMBARRASSING, from October 5, 2004:
Well, I could easily be wrong, but I have a feeling Cheney will crush Edwards tonight. The format is God’s gift to Daddy. They’ll both be seated at a table, immediately allowing Cheney to do his assured, paternal, man-of-the-world schtick that makes me roll on my back and ask to have my tummy scratched. (Yes, I do think that Cheney is way sexier than Edwards. Not that you asked or anything.)
A more mortifying moment:
The butt-scratch mea culpa. Happy trails!
That time you pissed off Ryan Lizza is worthy of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
And perhaps most embarrassing of all:
When you referred to Scott Tenorman as “Stan Tenorman“, prompting all of us Dishhead South Park fans to go apeshit on you. I must have emailed 10 seconds after that post hit the blog, and you actually responded directly to me. I don’t remember exactly what you said though about 40% of the words were F-bombs. You knew the kind of trouble you were in.
Speaking of the Tenorman episode, Cartman should be given a chance to say goodbye as well:
Another reader gives me props for a principle I care about deeply:
Your piece defending Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, “The Quality of Mercy“, changed me. As someone who is young, queer, liberal, and growing up in San Francisco, this piece was the first one to push me to shed my dogmatic approach to those who disagreed with me. A movement won through understanding is such a testament to human empathy and I’ve since taken on the challenge of become a more open person. Since then, I’ve been able to learn so much because I’ve made myself an active yet vulnerable participant in a conversation instead of a bully. This was such an important lesson for me to learn at the time I did (I was 17 and incredibly self centered, as 17 year olds are want to do).
Another reader has Kenny’s back:
During the clusterfuck known as gamergate, you took the time to try to understand the perspective of the nerds who felt their culture was being co-opted. You didn’t excuse the horrible things some of them had done, but you humanized them. I don’t think feminists realize how their open contempt of nerd culture is inextricably linked to the schoolyard dynamic of preying on unattractive and low status kids to advance one’s own social standing. Male nerds are afraid of women, and for good reason. Thanks for trying to understand this. I’ll miss you.
A female reader turns to a very Dish theme:
In response to your last “bleg,” I have to tell you: this beard-of-the-week guy turns my crank. Yowza.
A male reader:
This post of dudes with beards eating cupcakes. As a product of conservative evangelicalism, it was a growing-up moment for me. “Wait. He totally posted that because he thinks it’s sexy! Hmmmmm.” Hard to explain, but my eyes were opened to orientation versus sex with cocks in a new way.
Your Dish changed my life, Andrew. Or maybe I should say “Our Dish.“
Right the second time. Another reader’s moment of Dish:
It was almost a throwaway line from several years ago. But it went something like this: “The real difference is not between gays and straights but those who have children and those who are childless.”
That, more than any other post, changed my thinking. I had already begun to respect gays more – including coming around on gay marriage – thanks to you. But this was a new perspective: It completely sidestepped the issue of sexuality (or race, or religion, to be honest). And it’s so true: People who have kids lead profoundly different lives that childless adults, regardless of their sexual orientation. And vice versa.
Several readers take us to a fount of Dishness – the window contest:
I’ve been reading your blog for more than a decade. My favorite moments have been when you’ve posted links to work by people I know personally and when you posted a contest entry from my hometown of Winooski, Vermont:
Your enthusiasm for the ‘Noosk seemed sincere. I hope you’ll come up here someday to visit now that you have all of this free time! There’s a direct flight to Burlington from DC.
The sincerity in that case belonged to Chris, who made the contest what it is today with the help of Chas, who took the baton last year. Another great VFYWC moment:
Two years ago on my 40th birthday I made a list of 40 feats I wanted to accomplish that year. One of them was to guess the city correctly in a VFYW contest. That week, the same week I signed up to be a subscriber, by pure fluke, I won the contest. (I didn’t actually guess the city correctly – but no one else did either, so proximity won out.) I was so happy I screamed and jumped around the room.
I am sure for countless readers, a special moment of Dishness was when they instantly recognized a VFYW that was not their own. In my case it was because I recognized a tree I have never seen, growing in a place I have never been. I knew that tree because I dwell in the overlooked world of garden bloggers and followed the blog of the person who submitted the window view from her Airstream Land Yacht. Politics are taboo in the garden blogging world, so that view told me a fellow garden blogger was also a Dish reader.
I then whined on my own garden blog that the Dish never published my window view. Urban views tend to get favored over nature views. I submitted another one just in case. Five days later there it was. It felt good.
I got two more window views in this winter. Chris called the last one phallic:
How many phallic window views did you get? I call it Creation. From the destruction of two colliding spirals something new is born. Something new is being born right now for all of you with the end of the Dish. Thank you, Andrew and team.
One more window moment:
I was stunned that the VFYW was taken in Chetek, Wisconsin, 2.38 pm. Not my window, but my hometown. Although I no longer live there, I felt a connection to someone in Podunk Chetek that we share an even larger, virtual community. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
For more serendipity along those lines, go here. Another reader switches gears:
My favorite moment of the Dish was your review of the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, and your comparison to the Beijing ceremony. It perfectly encapsulated what was so great about you and the Dish: a real-time introspective review of real world events. While most media outlets worried that the smaller-in-scale London ceremony proved that the West was falling behind China, you were one of the only ones that took a contrary position, arguing that London’s ability to laugh at itself is the bedrock of a free and democratic society.
Another takes this post to a whole new level:
Ask. Dina Martina. Anything:
Peep her vids here. Another reader:
Favorite may not be the right word, but for me the most memorable moment of pure Dishness is this video takedown of Joe Solmonese (when he was the head of the Human Rights Campaign) that you did at an AIDS vigil on the National Mall at the beginning of the Obama administration. It combines everything I love about the Dish: you passionately stating what you believe without care for politics or niceties; your empathy and understanding and care for others; your abhorrence for the stuffed-shirt cravenness that too often passes for “leadership” in Washington; and the clarity with which you speak about gay rights. I remember very clearly watching the video and wondering why I wasn’t hearing more people saying publicly what you were saying, which is we’re not waiting anymore for full equal rights for all gay Americans. And now look how far we’ve come.
Another takes me down a notch:
My favorite moment of Dishness: when Andrew had his beard dyed and instead of a subtle grecian formula type of deal, it came out a deep brownish hue. His freakout made me laugh out loud. Exposing himself and poking fun of his own foibles and vanity made the Dish much more fun.
Another sets a different tone:
Favorite moment of Dishness? Probably hard to call such a sad video a favorite moment, but years later it stays with me:
It touches on many Dish themes: dogs, faith, addiction, love, redemption, city living. And it just breaks my heart. I felt a fraction of this sadness upon reading about the end of the Dish.
Something much sadder:
I’d nominate almost any moment in which you took on elements of the American Israel lobby over Israel’s conduct and America’s role in enabling it or submitting to it, but I’ll pick the time Leon Wieseltier tried to insinuate your Israel posts were anti-Semitic. I chose this because I know from my own experience how hard it is for any gentile to write about this topic truly and honestly, neither flinching from the points that need to be made forcefully, or saying something that can be construed as, or actually is, anti-Semitic. This issue is so important, so tied up to the major questions of war and peace – now of course with Iran.
Now for something completely different:
I never forgot this nugget in “The Meaning Of Girls“ from Jan 22, 2013:
Have you never fantasized about fucking a carpenter with sawdust under his fingernails just after he fixed your creaking door? (#SullyTMI: I pulled that one off in real life in 1989.)
I sure as hell did after reading that.
You had me falling out of my chair at work laughing as you described your time at Burning Man “in the bowels of a throbbing, mobile homosexual sheep.”
Something a bit more civilized:
Your review of the State Dinner at the White House in 2012 was a great moment of Dishness, especially the image: you and Aaron holding hands (he, in an immaculate tuxedo, you … well, less immaculately turned out). And then the symbols: you and Aaron as a married couple attending an Obama-hosted diplomatic function, guested by a prime minister (a fellow Oxonian) who was fully supportive of gay rights in the UK. You posted pictures and gave us a review of the soiree, including the decorations, because we asked and you couldn’t help yourself. A totally exclusive event that you made totally inclusive.
But the Dish has always mixed the high with the low:
Sully’s Confession here:
[T]he founder of Popeye’s Chicken, Al Copeland, just passed away. In my humble opinion, no fried chicken comes close to Popeye’s and I have also eaten there a couple times a month for as long as I have lived in the US. May his eternal repose be both spicy and mild.
I eat fried chicken regularly, but you should know that Bojangles is way better than Popeye’s. Unfortunately Bojangles only exists in the southeast, so you Yankees have the mistaken idea that Popeye’s is the best there is.
Or this option:
When you were snapped by a Dishhead blogging from Subway – that was a great moment of Dishness:
Not sure how this is going to make it through your spam filter, but: For my money nothing beats a “potato gun”. You know, a nice compact poop that shoots out cleanly and doesn’t even require a wipe (of course, I do a couple safety wipes anyway). Shits of this nature will often be accompanied by a mid-level whooshing sound which is the reason for the name.
Is this thread an all-time low or all-time high for The Dish? I can’t decide.
And Andrew responded:
My secret: Yerba Prima Daily Fiber Caps. Seriously changed my life. They come out like large, clean, perfectly formed rabbit poops, leaving nothing but white on your toilet paper. Heaven.
I’m dying. The Dish is the only place where I feel it’s actually ok to read about this shit.
Speaking of shitty:
As a New Yorker living in DC for a long time, I loved your posts on living in New York City for a year. One of the lesser hats you wear is defender of Washington, D.C., for which I am always grateful. You are able to pinpoint why DC is good and why NYC is overinflated.
And don’t forget Satan’s Sangria. Another fave moment:
When Sam Harris kicked your ass in the God debate. It demonstrated that even one of the great independent thinkers of our time (that would be you) can’t escape the early inculcation of religion. Thanks for that, and for everything else I learned in the many, many hours I spent reading your blog. I’ll miss you!
Kicked my ass my ass. A religious reader:
My huge and everlasting thanks for introducing me to the term “Christianist”. The proud and grateful recipient of 16 years of stellar Catholic education, I was beginning to be embarrassed to be associated – even remotely – with what was called “Christian” in this country. Using your term gave me an alternative that made conversations about politics easier and clearer, especially amongst my primarily Jewish and atheist colleagues. After I started using the term in conversation, a friend (with a similar 16-year Catholic background) offered her profound thanks to me – so I pass those along to you as well.
My favorite moment of Dishness, hands down, is from November 30, 2006 as part of your “Best ‘80s Video Contest” re: Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy”:
If you were gay and young in the 1980s, the pop music was a form of emancipation and revelation. Early PSBs, Erasure and Bronski Beat captured the breakthrough. Many of us as teens lived in small towns and yearned for the big city. And no music video spoke to our lives as powerfully as “Smalltown Boy.” Even now, it chokes me up. The video is a record of the beginnings of a revolution. You can feel it coming.
So true, so true. And so simply stated.
Another reader’s source of Dishness:
In a word: Hitch.
Another is also at a loss for words:
Your post immediately after Christopher Hitchens died: “I cannot write anything worthy of him now.” That’s as far as I get with the Dish too – I cannot write anything worthy. Ridiculous comparison of course, but with both Dish and Hitch I felt as though I communed a little with each.
Another sends “some screen captures of Dishness that I’m pretty sure were due to my email suggestions,” which we’ve compiled:
Another reader’s moment:
Gah so many. I know that part of my love for your blog is the sense that I’m being listened to. I’ve sent you many emails and some percentage of them have actually been posted. Many of them have been very long, the kind of email that starts at 1000 words and then I whittle it back as far as I can. This one was not:
Andrew! Wake up! Wake up wake up wake up!
Another sends something surely to wake you up – in the middle of the night:
The favorite Dish moment for every Dishhead is the day you post one of their emails, like my “Dish themes in one photo”, submitted 5/6/11 and posted shortly thereafter:
Another’s Dishiest moment:
Yesterday! In a spasm of Dishness, you outdid yourselves: sex, drugs – no Rock & Roll, but you can be forgiven – historical view from your window, chart of the day … even Gitmo. Only a Sarah Palin reference is missing. Thanks for a huge fix before utter withdrawal.
One final hit of poetry:
I took great satisfaction when I took up the cause to have the Dish feature the poetry of William Stafford. 2014 was the 100th anniversary of Stafford’s birth, and I was a great admirer of the man and remain a champion of his work. I took it upon myself to implore (umm, more like pester) Alice Quinn and the Dish staff to highlight a few of Stafford’s poems on the centenary occasion. And you came through, posting several fine examples from Stafford’s canon. I was especially delighted that Andrew took a moment to write to me that one of the poems “stopped me in my tracks the way all great poems should” (“An Archival Print,” posted here).
So here’s one more from Stafford, which I find very appropriate to the occasion. It’s called “The Way It Is”:
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
Andrew, whatever lies ahead in your journey, don’t ever let go of the thread.
Another joins just in time:
As a ten-year reader (and proud subscriber), I CANNOT believe I waited this long to email you. My favorite moment of Dishness? Last night. Specifically, me realizing that an online community of which I’ve never interacted outside my own mind has meant so much to me that I spend 45 minutes having my fiance take 57 terrible pictures so I can have a photo to send in my first and only email. Wearing the shirt. Balancing the mug between my legs. Forgetting that I’m wearing PJ pants. The dogs not cooperating. Saying *Fuck It* I’ll just send some photos anyway:
You guys aren’t making this easy at all. Another verklempt moment:
I was with my mother in the hospital before her second open heart surgery in as many years and shared with her your “Prayer for Sunday,” which was amazingly appropriate. Brought tears to all of our eyes (my father and two of my three sisters, included), along with a silent and calm reflection on the world to come.
That prayer was selected by Matt, the heart of Dish Sundays. One more reader:
There are so many moments to choose from, Andrew, but you know what the best one is? This one right here. Because I’m really, really fucking sad right now – which means that I care about the Dish, and you, and your incredible staff, in a way that words really can’t describe. I cannot tell you how much your blog has meant to me. Thank you for all those moments – and thank you for this one. See you down the road.
So long, and thanks for all the Dish.