Search Results For atlantic redesign

The Redesign, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Mar 8 2010 @ 11:34am

A reader writes:

There's one remaining major redesign layout issue that's driving me batty. When I click the "continue reading" link on a post, the text on the page I'm taken to is in a slightly larger font and, more importantly, the line spacing is increased. I find this incredibly visually jarring. If I can read it on the main blog page, why is it presented in a larger size on the stand-alone page? The spacing issue is completely baffling to me. Why is there so much blank space between the lines? Am I expected to talk out my red pen and edit the post onscreen? This appears to be true on all of the Atlantic blogs, not just yours.

It's driving me batty too.

It also makes it really hard to remember where you stopped reading, and find your place again, and provides a huge disincentive to click on the rest of any post.

Mercifully, the designers and editors of the tell me they're trying to find a fix. They have been enormously responsive in undoing some of the obvious errors of the past week. Please give them a little more time to fix the rest. They had a hell of a week last week and have been working under intense pressure for a long time. They're good people doing their best. My personal thanks to Bob, Betsy and everyone who reacted to the problems so swiftly and reversed the biggest blunders almost immediately. They had just finished a marathon and had to start a sprint. But we'll fix this stuff. And bring the Dish back soon.

Because I won't stop giving them hell until they do.

The Redesign, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Mar 1 2010 @ 5:23pm

by Patrick Appel

The other blogs have been restored.

In Dish specific news, Sitemeter is back up (traffic from today looks tiny because it only started counting visitors around 4 pm). We've been told that the fonts will change. Other fixes are forthcoming.

The Redesign, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Mar 1 2010 @ 3:31pm

By Andrew Sullivan

Megan chimes in:

I've been doing this nearly since the inception of the political blogosphere: I started the predecessor to this blog, Live from the WTC, in November 2001. And I know that a good many of you have been with me the whole time. The new design violates a lot of those conventions and I've heard a lot of angry pushback. Oh, boy, have I heard it.

There's been internal conversation about this, and like James and Ta-Nehisi, I'm optimistic. The internet is great precisely because it enables rapid experimentation, and failure, and change of the things that don't work. But there's no way of knowing whether something will work until you've tried it. Some of the new features are great–there are some hitches in the comment system, but overall, I think most of us agree that it's a huge improvement. The site as a whole has vastly improved navigation. But as with all new products, there probably need to be some tweaks.

The good news is: all this can be fixed and your suggestions and comments are enormously helpful in restoring what was lost while retaining some of the great new stuff. I'm just relieved that the Dish wasn't turned into a bunch of headlines. The sharpest analysis in my book comes from one of Megan's commenters (as so often). I had no input into any of this whatever – except for a final quick check of what my page would look like on a piece of printed paper. Big mistake on my part.

But I feel pretty confident we'll get the fixes you've all asked for so insistently since last week. I've certainly forwarded them all to the relevant parties. Maybe by the time I get back from vacation, all will be well again.

The Redesign, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Mar 1 2010 @ 12:23pm

by Patrick Appel

A reader writes:

I was a Content Manager at America Online back in the mid to late 1990s. Although I had a variety of roles, at the end of my tenure my primary job was to manage one of AOL's 18 content channels. This was the period just *before* AOL tore down the walls separating it from the rest of the Internet, and *before* the much maligned merger with Time Warner. It was very much AOL's heyday.

Our model within these channels? To aggregate material by subject matter into a series of always updating headline driven content areas.

The goal? Through a series of redesigns and reiterations, to make the AOL channels – rather than the partners who provided the content within each channel – the primary point of loyalty for our members.

The result? A mishmash of genericized content that diluted the very thing that had made us so successful – the uniquely identifiable voices that, along with basic features such as email and chat, had brought people flocking to the service in the first place.

As just one example, ask the guys at the Motley Fool, one of the commercial Internet's first true success stories, how it all worked out for them.

I'm sorry to have to say this, but Goldberg's description of the new site ("a thorough reimagining of what a magazine's website could be") could not possibly be more wrong.

What they've done to you, TNC, and the rest isn't new at all. It's AOL circa 1998. I realize that's the Internet's Stone Age, a time no doubt well beyond the memory of most of the people who put this design together, but…. that should underscore the point, right?

You guys are repeating one of the mistakes that I will always believe killed AOL. I have no reason to think anyone there will take my advice – the Senior VPs at AOL ignored me when I fought against this very same model, and they were paying me for my opinion! – but here it is:

Know your strengths. They are your Voices. Don't bury them. Don't integrate them under brand names and channels. Make them louder. And clearer. You should be working to bring them front and center. Instead you are pushing them to the back, putting more distance between them and your readers. That is, in a word, insane.

People don't want a series of headlines. They can get that elsewhere. They want personality. They want community.  They want names and faces they can identify and bond with.

The age of nameless, faceless "editors" is over. It has been over for quite some time, even if many don't yet realize it. People accepted it when the market provided them with no alternative, but as you both well know the moment alternatives became possible they flocked to them in droves.

And most importantly: for the love of all that is holy, please stop trying to "re-imagine" the magazine. That's an entirely backward looking enterprise. Be the entirely new thing that you ALREADY are. Or, I'm beginning to fear, were.

From the very beginning, the Atlantic was about the voices it contained, and not about the package that they came bound in. Somehow, in the move to the web, this magazine kept that tradition alive. Unlike most of its competitors it found success by combining what it had always been – strong voices in long-form articles provided at a more thoughtful pace – with the Internet's greatest innovation – strong voices in short-form updates provided in real-time to a community of not-always likeminded souls. I always assumed that this near perfect mix of 20th and 21st century publishing models was the result of some very forward thinking management. With the last redesign I began to doubt that. With this newest one, I'm on the verge of concluding it was all just dumb luck.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this model will work this time. Maybe the way forward is to borrow a failed model from the past. But, well….

The Redesign, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 28 2010 @ 8:44pm

by Andrew Sullivan

I know I’m on vacation, but since this debate has started with some sparks (see Fallows here and here, TNC here, Goldberg here and here, Ambers here), just a few words. I never saw the whole redesign before it was launched and I was not included in the process at all. It has all sorts of bells and whistles which people tell me are great – including a new “content management system” and something called Disqus which is a way cool commenting device with avatars and such.

I don’t like what was done to my own page much, as I have said, but I signed off in advance (except for the abrupt removal of the Dish’s search engine). The unnecessary new fonts, the loss of framing for the photos, the exploitation of the Dish as a relentlessly throbbing promotional tool for the Wire (a Dish duplicate with more staffers) has interrupted its flow and made it less easy to read. The biggest loss is the absence of the boxes of the most recent posts for the other bloggers. Now, you cannot use the Dish as a hub for the other bloggers (which was probably part of the point) but I fear it will reduce their traffic – and will certainly make me miss good stuff I otherwise would have clicked on.

Certainly at no point was I ever asked what I would like to see improved on this page. My requests over three years, often suggested by readers – for a continued-reading feature that does not require a new page (the new one sends you into a mass of prose where it’s very hard to find where you left off), for a much more user-friendly search function, for one-click running summaries of long threads (torture, gay rights, Obama, health reform, Window views) etc, have all been turned down, even as just three people produce 300 posts a week to the point of exhaustion and generate between 55 and 60 percent of the’s entire traffic.

But in this redesign, we should be grateful for the usual neglect. Our page is by far the least messed up – and priority for undoing the blog-messes rightly goes to those poor souls like TNC whose blog has been all but, in the words of one of his readers, “spiked“. Maybe it takes actually seeing a design live and online that brings this into focus (because TNC approved the changes beforehand). But that’s because a blog is inherently a live process and conversation and anyone who actually understands blogging’s intimate relationship to its readership – and the critical importance of conversation to the endeavor – would never have dreamed of turning it into a series of headlines. That’s what worries me deeply. Not the inevitable transitional glitches but the philosophy behind it.

I know the designers meant well and worked very hard. Like everyone else, I deeply appreciate their hard work. Maybe some agree with Goldberg that this HuffPo/DailyBeast/Gawker type melange is, in fact, “a thorough reimagining of what a magazine’s website could be: Current, topical, intellectual, earnest (and ironic), but rooted in the culture and history of one of America’s most indispensably important magazines.”

I understand that advertisers like “verticals” to pitch certain kinds of products, and are allegedly leery of individual bloggers with style. I also know in this media climate how vital advertising is, and how our survival online is critical to our endurance in print. I am not a businessman. And I deeply believe in the Atlantic, as readers well know. If this keeps us afloat, that sure is better than going under. If there is business genius here, congrats to all involved.

But treating blogs as a series of headlines, designed to maximize pageviews, is a deep misunderstanding of blogs, their reader communities and their integrity.  I hope they get restored to their previous coherence, and these amorphous “channels” gain some editorial identity. I hope writers like Fallows and Goldberg aren’t treated as random fodder – anchors! – for “channels”. I believe in the Atlantic as a place for writing. The redesign seems to me to ooze casual indifference to that and to the respect that individual writers deserve.

The redesign also makes the Dish’s role at the Atlantic even more anomalous than it has recently become. The Dish once fit into a bevy of bloggers as a kind of unifying hub for all of them. In the new design, it’s clear the Dish fits in nowhere. It has always been an experiment fitting a blogazine like the Dish into an online magazine like the Atlantic. But the experiment is clearly failing.

Still the Dish will survive, however estranged from the rest of the’s content; and relatively benign neglect is probably better than the alternatives. We may even get some more help soon – even our own unpaid interns – that will lighten the crushing workload.

But give us back our search engine!

The Redesign, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 28 2010 @ 4:38pm

by Patrick Appel

Fallows continues the conversation in TNC's comment section:

I have now literally spent the majority of my years on Earth as an employee of the Atlantic, and I could not be more loyal to the magazine, its heritage and prospects, my colleagues, and whatever it takes to keep this enterprise going. Therefore it's unusual for me to say in public that I think we've put a foot wrong. I do think that — as explained at my neighboring site — but I want to be entirely clear about the underlying reasons. No one at this company has had anything in mind except finding a way to maintain our standards of journalism in circumstances that always present new problems and new opportunities. This was an honest effort by a well-meaning and mutually supportive group of people to modernize the site, make the presentation of topics and themes more coherent, and also of course to make it more viable as a business. Everyone has quickly recognized that in the process we've created new problems for ourselves. The idea was just to make things better, not to screw up anything that worked. The point may seem obvious, but I wanted to say that I agree with TNC that this should be understood as a well-intentioned miscalculation rather than anything else.

The Redesign, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 28 2010 @ 11:48am

by Patrick Appel

Fallows isn't entirely happy. From his follow up:

I consider the new layout of "personal" blog pages to be a serious step backward, since it makes all sites look the same and drains them of personality and visual interest, plus making them much harder to read. I hope, and think, that this part of the design will be re-visited.

TNC gives his take on the redesign here. If you have problems that have not been addressed, you can comment on this thread. The Dish is still getting many emails along these lines:

The idea that quoted segments should be offset by four different mechanisms (light gray background, dark gray text, change of font to sans serif, and indentation) is just far too jarring. It is akin, in my opinion, to TV having text scrolling across the bottom of the screen while having a split screen with action on the right and info about the speaker on the left. Too many things to watch/listen-to at the same time.

The Redesign

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 26 2010 @ 3:32pm

Yep, almost everyone hates it. But almost everyone hates every redesign ever done at first. I don’t like the shift in fonts from text to blockquote (font consistency is a bug of mine) or the decision to remove the latest posts from the various bloggers, or the free floating header which once had a clean boundary. Many of you agree:

I’m all for change but there’s too many different fonts in your new format. My head is usually spinning from your content, please don’t add to it w/ your layout.

Amen. The most common criticism:

I sadly miss the box where the latest post of each correspondent was shown, with the time of said post.  Having to go to each person’s site to see what they’ve written lately is cumbersome!!

I’m sure it will hurt their traffic too. But one core point of the redesign seems to be to drive as much traffic as possible to the Atlantic Wire. The old group-of-bloggers model seems to have been commercially junked. I don’t have any say in this, of course. Not everyone’s a grouch:

Great redesign! Not as great as an actual iPhone version (one can dream!), but a vast improvement on the previous version.

There is an iPhone app. The Dish is even on it. The rest of the site, according to the readers, is a little wobbly this morning:

Okay, you are not responsible (I’m not accusing, honest!), but the whole of the Atlantic website is broken. I’m only writing to you because you’re usually pretty bullish on technical bloggy mishaps, and I thought your righteous anger could be well used.

Links are broken, archives misplaced, the Dish has gone from revolution green to an uncharacteristically-sedate blue, the “keepers” are outdated, etc etc. I know it’s a redesign, but didn’t the tech people test out the new goods first?

Most of the glitches are now fixed. It’s hard to get everything right at once.


Andrew Sullivan —  Jun 5 2007 @ 1:15pm

The Atlantic redesigned the site a little, and the result is some disruption. The reason the site is looking weird for some of you is that your browser has not refreshed its cache and is overlaying the old design onto the new one. I’m told the way to resolve this is to hold down the shift button on your computer and click the re-load button on your browser. Of course, if you have this problem, you cannot read this post. But I figure I should post it anyway. I’m sorry. And I’m sorry for how often I have to say sorry.

Your Moments Of Dishness

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 6 2015 @ 11:00am

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.

Another reader:

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:

Another elaborates:

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:

screenshots 14-11

(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:

dishiesAn “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:

e5_2My 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:

The Christmas Hathos contest, especially the finalist I submitted (naturally).

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.

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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 wtcthat 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.”

Another reader:

andrew-sullivan-i-was-wrong-coverMy 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.

Another reader:

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:

unnamed (12)

Oh the places you’ve gone …

Like here:

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-timthumb-phpopted.  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.

And another:

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.

More TMI:

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 tuxesholding 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:


Another reader:

The Psychology of Pooping” is, without a doubt, total Dishness. This particular part of the thread just had me laughing as hard as I did the first time. One reader wrote:

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:

dish themes

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.