Like most Dish readers I know, I have a love-hate relationship with Andrew's writing. This "Christianist" meme of his is unfair, inaccurate and tiresome. I grow weary of the emotionalism in The Dish, even when I agree with Andrew's point of view on a topic, and I wince when Andrew falls into treating his opponents as enemies -- especially when that opponent is me!

And yet, I keep reading The Dish, probably more than any other single blog on my blogroll. For one thing, Andrew's chief flaws as a blogger are pretty much my own -- the histrionics, the tendency to over-moralize everything, the exhausting beating of dead horses (Andrew's got pot legalization and bear culture; I've got the Benedict Option and foodie fanaticism). But I hope that Andrew's virtues as a blogger are also mine: the passion, the eclecticism, and the capacity to surprise, and the irrepressible urge to share my enthusiasm with readers.

The reason I keep reading The Dish, even when Andrew drives me crazy, is because I know there's a real person writing it, and that someone is a voice I feel that I have some sort of daily relationship with. It's a voice of someone who is keeping an eye on things that are important to me, even if he and I are going to be on entirely opposite sides of the issue. It's the voice of someone who is messy, inconsistent, crusading (did anybody make a more powerful stand against torture than Andrew and The Dish?), intelligent, often annoying, sometimes thrilling, and above all, unignorable. That, I think, is the best any blogger can hope for: not to be loved, or to be hated, but to be thought of as impossible to ignore. For Andrew, it's all personal, and that's what makes The Dish so vital.

Love it or hate it -- and most days I've done both before lunch -- the damn thing is alive! May The Dish, and Andrew, continue to thrive, and to keep me challenged, entertained, delighted and infuriated for many years to come.

Rod is between blogs right now.

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