Peak Opinion

by Chris Bodenner

Spurred by Dave Roberts’ year-long hiatus from the Internet, Dan Savage vents about the demands of his readers to comment on every issue:

It’s not that I don’t care about Manning or about the issues raised by her actions and her prosecution and her transition. It’s just that I don’t feel I have anything of value to add to the conversation. And it’s not just Manning: I haven’t had much to say about the ban on gay blood donors (serious issue!) or Miley Cyrus’ performance at the VMAs (unserious issue!) or what the hell is going on in Syria (serious issue, yes, but one that I am disqualified from having opinions about in public). And I have been angrily called out again and again for my failure to tweet about Manning and blood bans and Miley, etc. It’s as if my failure to have a take on absolutely everything somehow violates the terms of a contract I don’t recall signing.

To my fellow writers I say…

We don’t have to have a take on everything. Yes, if we fail to comment on something—if we fail to have a take—small e-mobs gather under our e-windows demanding comment and waving our failure to comment over their heads like a bloody shirt. But fuck ’em. Don’t let the Mark Kackstetters get inside your head. It’s okay to sit some shit out. Sometimes writers get to be readers too.

That pressure to have an opinion about everything is something Andrew struggles with constantly, and every day in the inbox I see the demands of readers who can’t believe the Dish hasn’t posted on a particular story already. The flagging of stories by readers is often essential and always appreciated, but a pushy tone can be grating sometimes, especially since the Dish is already such a demanding job. From one reader a few days ago:

Seriously guys, I can’t believe you still haven’t mentioned this [the issuing of marriage licenses in five counties in New Mexico]. The Dish noted the potential for marriage equality in New Mexico only a month ago, and this is the most grassroots, organic progress on this issue I’ve ever seen. Since my email last week, two more NM counties have started licensing same-sex marriage and it’s unlikely to stop because (1) NM marriage laws are not gender-specific, but (2) the state constitution DOES prohibit sex discrimination and (3) maybe most importantly, here in New Mexico there has been virtually NO objection to this. The NM Attorney General announced early that he’s not going to challenge it, our (Republican) governor is silent so far, and there has been absolute silence as best I can tell from regular citizens and the church crowd.

Of course, a couple dozen state GOP legislators have asked for IMMEDIATE state supreme court action to stop this new evil. But that ain’t gonna fly here; New Mexico is a VERY cool state and this is a big story. Dan Savage and others are on it already and my favorite blog should be too.

On it. Update from a reader over Labor Day weekend:

Enough with the fluff, sidebar, back-of-the-book features. Where the hell is the coverage about Syria? I didn’t subscribe for crap like that at time like this. This is a disgrace