The View From Your Window


Patagonia, Arizona, 12.23 pm. The reader is arguably our best VFYW contributor ever, given all of her great submissions over the years, stretching back nearly to the beginning of the feature. We got her permission to print her full name below (given the Dish’s default anonymity policy):

Andrew, you have become a HUGE part of my day, my husband’s day (he is copied on this), and our marriage, as you have provided us much fodder for conversation as well as little digressions from me while on vacation, etc., to take VFYW pics.  (Vince is very patient!)  You have enhanced the classes we both teach at ASU through timely blog posts or less-timely ones we’ve saved for the future or dug back to find.

We have exposed our kids (now 26 – our daughter who was cat-called in DC and moved to Silver Spring, is now in Tucson getting her Master’s degree – and almost-24 – our son whose HuffPo blogs on being transgender you have linked to more than once, is still in San Francisco, living with his wonderful girlfriend and gainfully employed – yay!), who have also found you interesting, informative, and entertaining. I have shared many of your posts on Facebook and know I am personally responsible for getting you several more readers. :-) (It was lovely to click on the link in the pets’ deaths comment and see our sweet Zella looking back at me.)

You will be GREATLY missed, and if you ever can resume The Dish on a part-time basis (with the excellent Dish staff’s assistance, of course), we will follow you again, immediately.  (Post only M-F AM, with the Window Contest on Saturday, and take off one week a month? No need for guest bloggers – Patrick, Chris, Zoe, et al. are FAB-U-LOUS!)  But I am sure you have thought of every possible permutation …

I wish you God-speed and good health and much happiness, with Aaron and your parents and your family and your LIFE.  If you ever want to visit Arizona, we have a guest house that you (and Aaron) would be welcome to stay in.

Kathleen Waldron
Phoenix, AZ

Her first view was posted on January 11, 2007:


Sedona, Arizona, 9 am. Kathleen adds:

My father-in-law died later that day after a 10-year battle with prostate cancer.  (And he did battle it – went through every clinical trial he could find.) It was from a cabin we rented a few days previously.  Nice and snowy!  Zella and our other golden, Zoe, had a great time!

She sends a followup:

Good Lord, I’ve had so many – the Contest view from Mankato; the VFYW Book view from Bright Angel Lodge at the Grand Canyon (y’all accidentally mislabeled it as Williams) :-) At least two Patagonia views, the one last week from our kitchen window, one from the French doors in our living room, one from a classroom on the Downtown ASU campus (of the historic Rosson house); one from Tucson (very boring – a lamppost from a restaurant’s backdoor); one from Minturn, CO; the last VFYW of 2014, from snowy Prescott; a bunch of others!

But never the views from my son’s two AWFUL air-shaft windows!  Of pipes and a scary Raggedy Ann type doll that used to give him the creeps and other detritus. I forgive you!

And a number of airplane views, too – the Washington Monument under scaffolding, the Rio Grande in Albuquerque, the Grand Canyon, the “lake somewhere in Nebraska” that some readers took deserved umbrage to!, the SF Bay, …

I have SO enjoyed this run, and I will continue to take window views, but they will be limited to my FB page, alas!

Here’s that scaffolding view that never got posted:

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The Best Of The Dish Today

by Chris Bodenner

Travelers Check In To Flight To Havana, Cuba From Miami

Today on the Dish, Michelle shook her head at the long-overdue exoneration of a black teenager executed in 1944, reflected on a perceived sexist remark made during her J-school days, and added her final thoughts on the Serial finale. More from Michelle on Dorothy Parker tomorrow and a sign-off post with reflections on TNR’s collapse on Sunday.

Our most popular posts today were Howard Roark and the Hacker’s Veto and On The Right Not To Be “Triggered”. Two other posts from Will included his musings over the rapid acceptance of same-sex marriage and his hatho-induced awe over Glenn Beck’s newest video.

Phoebe, our wonderfully bright intern leaving the Dish soon, examined the evolving ways we look at gentrification, highlighted French author Éric Zemmour’s look at his nation’s decline, and joined Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart in considering the role of masculinity in their lives and literature.

Be sure to check out Andrew’s cameo in the Colbert finale and this hilarious story from a reader who ran into the senior Senator from Colbert’s home state of South Carolina. More Santa-crushing stories from readers here.

We’ve updated many recent posts with your emails – read them all here. You can always leave your gifting-cartoonunfiltered comments at our Facebook page and @dishfeed. 20 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. Gift subscriptions are available here (you purchase one today and have it auto-delivered on Christmas Day). Dish t-shirts are for sale here and our coffee mugs here.

One of our newest subscribers has been a regular emailer since 2010:

The Dish staff photo finally prompted me to subscribe today. I had been dodging the pay-meter on a daily basis since its inception, but seeing the staff photo helped humanize the team, replacing my mental image of a gaggle of flaming liberals – though if I squint real hard, I think I do see a few sparks coming off a couple of you. Happy holidays!

Andrew will be back on Sunday night and likely torture-blogging throughout the week, so be sure to tune in for more on waterboarding, rectal feeding, and war criminals … Merry Christmas!

(Photo: A sign shows the departure times for flights to Cuba at Miami International Airport on December 19, 2014 in Miami, Florida. By Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Best Of The Dish Today

by Chris Bodenner

We missed a BOTDT last night because of a Dish holiday reunion with current and former staffers at Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor, near where we hold staff meetings. Before the drunken revelry, we snapped a rare photo of the whole staff together (except Alice, who joined us at the bar):


Update from a reader:

Love the staff photo. Can you please let us know who’s who? It’s nice to put a face to the name that we see all too rarely. Thanks for all your work and contributing so much to so many.

Left to right, that’s Phoebe (Dishtern), Jonah (international editor), Matt (literary editor), “some clapped out old bear“, me (editor, in charge of email), Patrick (editor, in charge of RSS), Jessie (editor, in charge of weekend), Chas (managing editor, aka Special Teams), and Tracy (associate editor, Jill of all trades). At the bar were former interns Brendan, Doug, Gwynn, Katie, and general manager Brian.

Andrew, now officially the most frequent guest on the Colbert Report, is attending the series finale tonight, so be sure to tune in. For a dose of nostalgia, check out Andrew’s first appearance on the show back in 2006. And for an even bigger dose, don’t miss this new supercut of Colbert over the years.

The most popular posts today were Will’s “On The Right Not To Be “Triggered” and “Obama Just Ruined Cuba!” His followup to that Cuba post is here. Will also responded to a dissenting reader over his semi-defense of dynasty, spied on the “Elf on the Shelf” Christmas trend, and absorbed the American public’s acceptance of torture.

Michelle, meanwhile, confronted in two parts the caving of Sony Pictures to the terrorist threat over The Interview. She also discussed the discussion of rape, touched on the cycle of outrage stoked by Twitter, took before and after looks at the end of the Serial podcast, and penned an appreciation for Penelope Fitzgerald.

Phoebe also chipped in with her thoughts on white privilege. Don’t miss this epic MHB of Germans playing head-pong, and be sure to contribute to our new Losing Your Faith In Santa reader thread, which is a much lighter counterpart to our popular and continued thread on rape.

We’ve updated many recent posts with your emails – read them all here. You can always leave your unfiltered comments at our Facebook page and @dishfeed. 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. Gift subscriptions are available here (you purchase one today and have it auto-delivered on Christmas Day). Dish t-shirts are for sale here and our new mugs here.

See you in the morning.

The Best Of The Dish Today

by Chris Bodenner

Try not to watch this Michael Bay GIF over and over and over again:


Today on the Dish, guest-blogger Will Wilkinson used the news of Jeb’s exploratory committee Leadership PAC to make a contrarian case for dynastic presidents. He also argued for the abolishment of police unions, defended Uber against its snarky and socialist detractors, and reflected on his less frenetic life in Chattanooga.

Meanwhile, our other guest-blogger for the week, Michelle Dean, pondered the state of Truth in 2014, trashed year-end book lists, replied to a dissenting reader over the Sony scandal, and ended the day with Herzog.

The most popular posts were Will’s take on dynasty and Andrew’s takedown of Cheney on MTP. On that note, a reader writes:

Under Obama, the only evil-doers sent to prison are whistleblowers. Today is Chelsea Manning’s 27th birthday – and she’s barely begun an immoral 35 year sentence. Think of Dick Cheney, and Chelsea today.

Other top posts today included Dishtern Phoebe’s look at the You Had One Job meme and a reader-submitted graphic on Republican values. And don’t miss our latest installment of the riveting reader thread, “Would You Report Your Rape?” If you’re a fan of the VFYW Contest, Chas has you covered:


Many of our posts were updated with your emails – read them all here. You can always leave your unfiltered comments at our Facebook page and @dishfeed. 18 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. Gift subscriptions are available here (you purchase one today and have it auto-delivered on Christmas Day). Dish t-shirts are for sale here and our new mugs here. A final email for the day:

I recently let my subscription lapse because I just couldn’t muster the emotional energy to keep up with partisan politics any more after my euphoric involvement with the 2008 campaign. Your “Was it something we said?” email didn’t get me to change my mind about the subscription. But as someone who shares the same experiences with TNR that Ross depicts here, and Andrew’s explanation about why The Dish is important in keeping that kind of experience afloat … well, guess what: partisanship crap or no, that is one compelling argument for a renewal of the subscription. Here’s to your ongoing stewardship of our common culture at the highest levels of intellectual engagement.

And panda GIFs. More in the morning.

Bigger, But Better?

by Chris Bodenner

Looking back at 2014, Felix Salmon runs through all the high revenue and venture capital numbers of new media companies like Buzzfeed, Vice, and Vox:

The small but self-sustaining bloggy site is a thing of the past: if you’re not getting 20-30 million unique visitors every month, and don’t aspire to such heights, then you’re basically an economic irrelevance. Advertisers won’t touch you, you won’t make any money, and your remaining visitors will inexorably leach away as they move from their desktops to their phones.

But if you’re like the Dish and rely on subscribers rather than advertisers, you don’t need to be so dependent on huge traffic numbers. And even if you can get those numbers and their corresponding ad dollars, advertisers are fickle, as Gawker recently saw when it lost “seven figures” in ad revenue from their controversial coverage of Gamergate. (Can you imagine the ad backlash over Dish controversies like Scrotumgate or all the graphic photos of dead children in war zones?) Speaking of Gawker, Michael Wolff absorbs a recent staff memo from founder Nick Denton, who outlined a big management shakeup and a refocus on generating scoops over Facebook-friendly fodder. Here’s Wolff:

Gawker, or the Gawker identity, Denton seemed to acknowledge in his memo, is a casualty in the race for traffic: Gawker succeeded because it was a carefully molded product (a small band of young people overseen by Denton — with Denton constantly hiring and firing his editors). But then it morphed into a business with a much larger number of ever-younger people having to produce more and more, and working with less and less editorial vision or leadership. Gawker began to focus on an open area of parallel writing (i.e. free writing) designed to enhance its traffic base — but, too, with the natural effect of diluting quality and confusing purpose. … [A]t somewhat cross purposes to his desire to better compete with BuzzFeed (or admitting that this is impossible), Denton urged his company back to its blogging roots.

In Denton’s words:

[Blogging is] the only truly new media in the age of the web.

It is ours. Blogging is the essential act of journalism in an interactive and conversational age. Our bloggers surface buried information, whether it’s in an orphaned paragraph in a newspaper article, or in the government archives. And we can give the story further energy by tapping readers for information, for the next instalment of the story, and the next round of debate. The natural form of online media is the exchange, not the blast. [New executive editor Tommy Cragg’s] ethos gives us the best chance of recapturing the honesty of blogs, before their spirit was sapped by the tastes of the Facebook masses.

Denton is even jumping back into the blog saddle himself, something he hasn’t done regularly since 2008. Responding to Wolff and Salmon, Mathew Ingram pushes back on the perception that bigger is better when it comes to new media:

[They both] seem to see media success as being composed of just one thing: namely, huge amounts of traffic gained by reaching a massive audience of millennials and then selling them to advertisers for tens of millions of dollars. That’s what Salmon seems to mean by talking about how the “table stakes” for starting a digital media company have never been higher, and small sites are a thing of the past.

But this is demonstrably not true. The cost of starting a digital-media entity, even a potentially successful one, has never been lower. Ask Jessica Lessin, who left the Wall Street Journal to start The Information, or Lara Setrakian of News Deeply, or Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Dish, who is now making close to $1 million a year from his readers — or blogger Ben Thompson, who went from being a relative unknown to running his own self-financed blog company. As Thompson put it in a recent post on his site Stratechery:

“The thing about Internet scale is it doesn’t just have to mean you strive to serve the most possible people at the lowest possible price; individuals and focused publications or companies can go the other way and charge relatively high prices but with far better products or services than were possible previously.”

… It may not make you a billionaire, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. The New Republic’s problem isn’t that it somehow needs to transform itself into a massive mega-media entity like BuzzFeed, it just needs to do a better job of identifying a market need or an audience that is passionate about its content, and then giving them a way of helping to support that mission.

That’s precisely the insight that venture capitalist Roger McNamee shared when discussing the Dish to Charlie Rose shortly after we went independent two years ago, and it’s an insight even more relevant today as sponsored content and click-bait are consuming the new media landscape.

The Best Of The Dish Today

by Chris Bodenner

And the best Christmas card ever:

Andrew is off the blog for the week, but he may pop on to write a post or two on the torture report (his parting takedown of Cheney is here if you missed it). To help in his absence are guest-bloggers Michelle Dean and Will Wilkinson, whose introductory posts are here and here, respectively. Michelle today invoked her time as a corporate litigator to scrutinize the Sony hacking story and then commented on a few drunken Santas harassing a Garner/Brown protest. Will, meanwhile, tackled the SCOTUS ruling that just gave cops even more discretion to detain, search, and arrest people.

The most popular posts of the day remained Andrew’s takedowns of Dick Cheney on Meet the Press and Fox News. A reader’s take:

Dick Cheney is not a psychopathic evil “sith lord”; he is a moral relativist, which is actually much worse. If he were the former, it would be far easier for him to be sidelined by the press and all people of good conscience the way serial killers are. The right is so quick to claim their moral authority based on the Founding Fathers and their interpretation of the Constitution. In this context, it’s important to remember that George Washington was no moral relativist, when speaking about how the Continental Army should respond to rumors of British bayonetings at the Battle of Paoli:

Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to complain of our copying the brutal example of the British Army in their treatment of our unfortunate brethren who have fallen into their hand.

Many recent posts were updated with your emails – read them all here. You can always leave your unfiltered comments at our Facebook page and @dishfeed. Gift subscriptions are available here (you purchase one today and have it auto-delivered on Christmas Day). Dish t-shirts are for sale here and our new mugs here. 25 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. A new subscriber writes:

Although a Northern CA lefty, I began reading the Dish before Obama’s first election. I was impressed by your dedicated adherence to “balanced” discussions and the willingness to expose epistemic closure. I have felt guilty for not subscribing before, but signed up to quantify my support of your stance on the historically significant damages this dark episode of torture has done to our nation.

Although an Obama supporter, I have, from the start of his administration – to the revulsion of my friends – decided that his unwillingness to even consider bringing to trial those responsible for this horror will far out weigh his accomplishments. My perspective on this comes from my 27 years as part of a nonprofit aiding veterans and their families from the generational impact of service to this country. The craven destruction of America’s code of honor regarding the treatment of our enemies has removed the shield that may protect our military personnel from comparable base and depraved actions when captured.

For that alone, even if they never face the justice they deserve, Cheney and all of the architects deserve, and, I believe, will be remembered as the true traitors to this country. Keep up the great work.

See you in the morning.

Dish Shirts: 100% Cotton Tees Are Here!

by Chris Bodenner


We are sold out of the screen-printed tri-blend t-shirts we launched last month, but Dish polos are still available – in navy blue and white. When we released our premium tri-blends, a reader wrote:

Shirts do look beautiful, congratulations and hope you sell a lot because I am a big fan of your blog.  I will unfortunately be abstaining because I am allergic to polyester and can only buy all natural fibers – cotton, all linen or rayon mix, etc.

Another had a similar concern:

Please consider finding a really soft 100% cotton shirt (for purists as well as those of us with sensory issues).

We took those considerations to heart and are now offering a 100% cotton version of both t-shirt designs – the Howler (seen above) and the Logo, seen below next to the navy Polo:


Both the Logo and Howler versions of our 100% cotton t-shirts come in nine different colors: White, Navy Blue, Light Blue, Royal Blue, Red, Kelly Green, Asphalt, Teal, and Brown. So go here if you’d like to purchase a Howler shirt in one of those colors or go here for a Logo version. And both designs still come in men’s sizes and women’s sizes – no unisex.

Another big thanks to Jerzy Shustin and everyone else at BustedTees for hosting our shirts. As always, we welcome your feedback in the inbox: