How a lousy comments section restored my faith in humanity
My heart goes out to Angie. I thought you might end this with a new GoFundMe campaign for her or something. I hope her new job treats her well. Good for you for gifting her a subscription. I’ll stay a free subscriber for now as I’m not in a position to pay at the moment, but no need to gift a subscription. Hopefully things will pick up for me soon.
Substack comments sections usually seem much better than your typical internet cesspool. They’re dominated by people who actually want to be there, not trolls.
It was a shame when the Standard ended. Glad you’re here on Substack now.
I sometimes think the comment section is more interesting and informative that the original article. (Not here, of course.)
Well, after being a 3 article freeloader I’m jumping on the paying train. Had to know if JVL recommended you that it would be worth my time. But with so so many things requiring a subscription it adds up extremely quickly. Anyway, beautifully written and thoughtful articles/essays. Over the moon happy to support a person who obviously has a talent and a good heart. Also looking forward to being part of this community and future HOA mixer! :)
Julie Barringer-Richersjust now
I am brand new to your sub stack (thx to JVL). I too am 64 years old and understand the struggle that Angie, and others, are going through. There’s some thing about being in ones 60’s that comes with a long hard look at how you want the rest of your life to go.
I’m free loading on your Sub Stack at the moment, but I am already in love with what I am reading (including the comment section), so will be subscribing by the first of next month. And by the way, I’m a huge fan of Heather Cox Richardson and I love the way you threaded her in to your very humorous comments. She is a real treasure to this country, and I have a feeling you are going to join her on my list of never-miss-a-day-reads…
Cheers, and thank you!
You were the main reason I subscribed to Weekly Standard for as long as I did. (Okay, JVL gets a little credit too).
Honestly so happy Matt Labash writing stuff that just magically slithers into my inbox like that garter snake which invaded my parents sump pump one fine spring flood. Hooray!!
Random acts of kindness are rare and beautiful. Thank you Matt for telling a story that will inspire more of the same. Thank you Angie for sharing your story (and thank you for your "likes" on The Dispatch; each one of them made me feel good!). And thank you to Old School for initiating this whole chain of events.
I don't know Angie personally, but have interacted with her over at The Dispatch, and she's one of the most pleasant commenters there. I'm glad to know a little more about her, hope she has a great day. Happy birthday, Angie!
Pretty cool to see a story about Angie. I know her personally, and although we have had our differences, I think she's a good human being with a kind heart.
Ironically enough, she also co-hosted a fan-pod for The Dispatch called "The Comments Section." https://anchor.fm/dispatchfans
Happy B-Day, Angie! Hope you're doing well!
Free loader at this point and sent here by TD and Bulwark recommendations. Marvelous and touching post-inaugural post.
Especially liked, "... no matter how well you’re doing, we are all two turns of the screw away from being dropped to our knees.". Ain't that the truth.
Full disclosure: I'm a freeloader here courtesy of The Dispatch, where I also freeload, and The Bulwark, where I don't.
Which is ironic because my point is that I've read articles suggesting that the best cure for dysfunctional (not to say loathsome) comment sections is to... charge for the privilege.
I haven't seen comparison studies of pay-to-play and free ride comment sections, so I don't know if the former actually weed out trolls, bigots and psychopaths (conceivably at least some are solvent) and preserve an ethic of stewardship.
But it seems worth investigating.
I'm here thanks to The Morning Dispatch. Lots of things to lift my spirits here - Maryland tidewater, lifetime machinists, grace and humane humans. I needed that. Thanks.
Suckers! One slightly inspiring story of one human being acting like a normal human being and everybody goes to tears. Makes me think I should take a crack at this. I got bills to pay too.
I subscribed based on this story, plus the backstory to the story (I already knew Angie's story, and I look forward to reading comments from Old Skool under whatever nick he uses here).
Admittedly, I was already primed by JVL and Sully (pretty good shillers there). And then reading your flyting* with Eric Metaxas at TNR - particularly the side remark that you opposed the Great Idiotic Invasion of 2003: that makes you a unicorn who is a conservative American Christian who unambiguously and from the beginning (I hope) opposed both the two dumbest moves of the Republican Party in my lifetime (choosing Trump being the other).
*flyting is a ritual exchange of insults, usually in poetic form. Common in Norse and Old English literature.
So . . . we were all in the same sinking boat. I am already a paid Bulwark subscriber and, yes, JVL sent me. As a lifelong Republican (although I haven't voted for one since the tea partiers took over), well, conservative really, welcome to the churning waters since you took the plunge. I have been here for over a decade so it's a rough ride but, at the very least, you can say, you didn't Captain Ahab it. I sure as hell don't want to go down with the Titanic, while the violins are playing. I really enjoy your newsletter and hope that your future in this new medium is a bright one. I have subscribed so do your thing and I am happy to support those who are in this Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole with me. Do I sound cynical? Gosh, I hope not. But anyway . . . The cognitive dissonance is quite enjoyable if you can remember two things from Lewis Carroll's (eh em Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) profound prophecy of the Republican party, "It's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then" and "We're all mad here".
"It's Just That Simple" way predates Wilco, and was from Stirrat's pre-Uncle Tupelo, pre-Wilco, Mississippi-based combo the Gimmecaps. It was a on a very obscure comp of Mississippi underground bands called "Mississippi's Dreaming" from around 1990 or 1991 (the comp included another current Wilco member in an earlier, more heavy rock configuration). Good luck finding a copy; you had to be there.
(I don't keep up with Wilco, and I didn't know they did that tune. It was nice to hear it again. Thanks for posting it. Really lovely song.)