Hi, everyone. This is my first post here in a while. I’m hoping to revive this as a space to, well, to write again. At all. Please forgive me if the muscles are a bit atrophied.
I’m not sure exactly what form this will take yet. In all likelihood there will be some politics and tech musings, and my favorite hobbies of beer and backpacking are likely to continue making appearances (backpacking is still many months off, but the planning is the best part, right?). Maybe even some personal stuff.
If you’re wondering who the hell I am and why you’re following me, I used to run the Curation team here at Medium. That ended in August. So I’m no longer writing as a Medium employee and won’t be discussing Medium matters here at all. Feel free to unfollow if you followed for that.
One big thing I plan to do here is to highlight great writing that resonates with me, agnostic of platform. So let’s start that today.
Yesterday, Substack announced “Letters” in an email to users. The concept is something that we’re sorely missing these days: nuanced discussion with the possibility of changed minds and further enlightenment.
I missed it at the time, but in September my former colleague Parker Molloy was one of the first to use the feature, in a 6-part conversation with Freddie deBoer about cancel culture and free speech. This topic is somehow both red-hot and extremely tired, but their exchange is refreshingly thoughtful and well worth reading in its entirety, a promising start for the feature.
But here I wanted to discuss one paragraph from deBoer’s first letter:
I have, at least, a partial defense for not writing more about right-wing assaults on free speech: I continue to ask the left-of-center specifically to defend free speech and civil liberties because I believe the left-of-center can be reached. I believe the left-of-center still broadly cares about principle and can be reasoned with, argued with. I believe in the left-of-center’s potential for change. And I just don’t believe any such thing about the right-of-center. Early in my writing career, which is now about 15 years old, I would spend a good deal of time trying to work things out with…