My final day at Slate was pleasingly ordinary, and included a tricky travel problem, a blown deadline, and several blog posts about politics on the general theme of people Doing It Wrong. Yet I’m really done now—I am at the Texas Tribune Festival this weekend, hence the travel—and can’t stick around much longer. You’ve met that guy, right? The one who keeps saying goodbye at the party then keeps appearing for progressively awkward goodbyes? If not, I’ll illustrate:
No one wants to be in that position. So for all the fun I’ve had at Slate, for all the time I could spend pointing to our—suddenly their—fantastic coverage, it’s time to admit that I’ve already done that, here and here. You should subscribe to Slate Plus. You should follow the team at Bloomberg Politics. And you should be tingling with excitement about what Slate’s political reporters do next. As if through osmosis, this place makes you a better writer, reader, and debater of fine points in comment sections. My goal with this blog and with my stories and podcasts was to cover politics as if you and I were having a conversation, with plenty of context and digression. I learned that from Slate.
To the commenters: Thank you for all the lively and funny and “oh, I didn’t think of that”-filled conversations. I would have engaged in more of them, had I not learned that the busiest threads were often the ones where people made jokes about my typos. This is the Internet, and typos can be fixed in real time instead of crying over a botched print issue. But more people should follow the example of Auros Harman and traumatize writers directly, by emailing them about their pratfalls, instead of snarking below the posts. Every moment you spend publicly dunking on a writer for forgetting an “L” in “Hillary Clinton,” and insisting that this error of eyesight or finger movement proves that the author’s entire argument or story is worthless, is a moment you could have been working on the great American novel.
And in closing: I was going to write a quick item yesterday about the 1987 folk album/interview tape released by then-Burlington, Vermont Mayor Bernie Sanders. Asawin Suebsaeng beat me to it, and beat me to my angle, of talking to music critics about the relative worth of this art.
I talked to a critic anyway.
“It’s funny,” wrote Pitchfork senior editor Ryan Dombal in an email. “Bernie’s spoken word parts make this weirdly distinct and actually more powerful than it would be otherwise. It’s like if Dylan was a little out of it after dental surgery and decided to crash Peter, Paul and Mary’s ‘Blowing in the Wind’ session.”
Readers: Live every day like you’re high on novocaine and crashing a folk music studio session.