The Dish came into full focus for me when Andrew started writing about torture in a sustained way, for which I have always honored him. I'd certanly read the Dish before -- in fact I recall complaining in a letter to Andrew in about 2002 or 03 that he was lumping "Islamofascists" together the way hardline anticommunists used to lump all communists together. In any case, I am certainly among those for whom the Dish defined blogging, as I really didn't read other blogs regularly for quite some time before branching out from the Dish, probably via Andrew's links as much as anything else.
Part of what makes the Dish addictive is the sheer variety, " the DJ factor " -- the links to interesting tidbits about everything under the sun -- which is a relatively recent development .
The Dish, as choreographed by Patrick, Chris and Zoe as well as Andrew, is uniquely tuned to the rhythms of procrastination or short-term attention breaks, i.e. mental health breaks, or mental dissipation breaks. By the same token, the Dish is also a window into so many worlds. I have a google reader and can also check my own blogroll for something new to read, but I tend to go the Dish first.
I do think that via an elaborated theory of blogging Andrew allows himself too much leeway to go off half-cocked, and that various critics are right to varying degrees that he has done so damagingly with regard to Israel at times -- nothwithstanding that like various of Andrew's critics on this front, I think he's right in broad outline about the settlements . But on Israel, Andrew doesn't do nuance, doesn't look at the countercurrents, e.g. the effect on Israelis of the violent rebuffs that have met the greatest risks they've taken for peace. Sometimes sharp attacks from others put Andrew into a more reflective, balanced mode, which is a good thing. Part of the ebb and flow of blogging, he would say.
When I began blogging myself -- also on October 10 -- in 2007, Andrew was doubtless the dominant model , and in fact the imagined interlocutor. As I once wrote to Andrew, for many years I ran silent dialogues in my head with another intimate, impassioned, opinionated Brit -- C.S. Lewis -- for whom I could only imagine answers. It's been my great privilege to carry on a similar dialogue in recent years two ways -- with Andrew. Here's to the next ten years.
Read Andrew at xpostfactoid.