One day back in 2003, Wick informed me that D Magazine would launch something called a weblog. After he described what exactly a weblog was, I said, “Hang on. In addition to making the magazine every month, you expect us to write additional content for the web — on a daily basis?” I told him he was insane. There was no way we could handle the extra work. And how would we fact check and copy edit all these articles? Words to that effect. Wick explained that we wouldn’t be writing articles; we’d be writing crap. It wouldn’t need to be punctuated or reported or accurate or even well-considered. I’m kidding! He didn’t say that. He described what a “post” was and told me to call an editor at The National Review and ask him about their experience running a blog. That was Wick’s inspiration. Their blog is called The Corner.
I forget who it was at TNR that I spoke with, but here’s what he told me: no, no, no, you don’t get it. The blog won’t feel like a burden. Exactly the opposite. You’ll find yourself playing around on the blog when you ought to be producing the magazine. It’s the greatest way to procrastinate ever invented. He was, of course, correct. As I type these words, I am putting off editing our bar column and making phone calls for something I’m supposed to write for our May issue.
So that’s how it all started 10 years ago. At some point, we switched servers and lost a bunch of early posts, but thanks to the Wayback Machine, you can still find them. Here’s what FrontBurner looked like when it launched on March 20, 2003. You’ll notice from reading those first few posts that the war had just begun (who knew it would cost $6 trillion?), Adam McGill predicted Twitter, I was still using a Palm Pilot, Rod Dreher had just announced he was coming to work for the Dallas Morning News, and Wick hadn’t yet lost interest in the blog.
Oh, what a time it was. Here’s hoping someone is still here in 2023, posting away when he ought to be editing a manuscript. Cheers.