As suggested by the title of this post, this will be my last entry at Balloon-Juice. Before I say anything else, I must thank both John and Tim… I have really enjoyed this – more than you both know. And, for the rest of you, I haven’t mentioned my leaving before now to either John or Tim. I’m just leaving and they are learning with the rest of y’all!
When I started writing here several months ago, I was absolutely honored. I had my own blog at the time, and I was attracting between 1500-2200 readers a day, mostly on gay issues. I think I shut my own blog down about a couple months before I started blogging here. I can’t quite remember which came first – me shutting down Gay Orbit or being invited to post here!
My experience in voicing my opinions has normally been about gay issues. I know a lot about that, and I’ve expressed some very good opinions and rationales over the years, whether it’s on marriage or hate crimes legislation (which, unlike Andrew Sullivan, I completely support). When it comes to general politics, I have a lot to say as well. I just don’t think I am very good at expressing them – at least not good enough to be expressing them on a blog as widely read as Balloon-Juice. Here, we get about 30-40,000 readers a day. John is amazing at snark and putting his thoughts down in a way that is very intesesting. Tim is great at science and technology. I love reading their posts. Tim is especially interesting to me because I always learn something when I read what he writes. I already know I will agree with John. Tim writes shit I don’t even know about!!
However, while my opinions are as strong and as legit as either of theirs, I don’t think I put them “on paper” as well as they do. They are simply better writers and are what you expect from this site.
Now, some of you might think, “Michael’s leaving because he can’t take the heat.” Well, when I first started writing here, I have to admit, I was surprised as the animosity directed towards me – especially when I wrote the post about being a Republican (I do regret that one! I am no longer a Republican!) I learned a lot about having a thick skin from that one thanks to you, and I also learned not to care too much about what some of you thought of me! Having said that….
Let me be clear: I am thankful to each and every one of you for keeping me honest. I have learned SO much from the commentariat here. On my old blog, I could say whatever I wanted and people would just agree or disagree with me. Here, I had to learn to defend my positions – even though I didn’t always do that well. It’s the difference between a couple thousand readers and tens of thousands. It’s taught me to be better about defending my positions – something I am still getting used to.
Even though, as someone noted awhile back, I got the gig at Balloon-Juice because of a joke I made about Larry Craig, I learned a lot here. I really did. Most of all, I learned that you can’t take things personally, even though there are some idiots that want to piss you off and make you feel like an idiot! All personal stuff.
In any case, to all of you who agreed with me, disagreed with me, thought I was an idiot, or simply wanted to keep me honest — thank you so much. My short stint here at Balloon-Juice has made me a better person. It has made me think about issues more clearly before voicing my opinions on them (even if it doesn’t seem like it, it really has.)
My favorite part about this site is not Tim or John – it’s you. I learn so much, and will continue to do so from reading the comments. You are a smart bunch – much more so than me – and much smarter than most center left sites. In fact, I was a staunch defender of the Bush Administration for years. It’s from reading the comments from people like you that I decided I was wrong, and I am so happy that I have the capacity, unlike a lot of people, to see that. You have made me a better person because of that.
This is a terrific site and I am proud to have been a part of it for a short while. I am not leaving because of anything someone said or did. I am leaving because I don’t think I can contribute to the site in the same way that such terrific writers as John and Tim continue to be on a day to day basis.
I appreciate each and every one of you.
Thank you. You all are pretty damned awesome and I learn from all of you every day – whether I agree with you or not!!