Do you know exactly what you think?
Green. OK for trees, but generally nah.
Scissors. Necessary, but I don’t trust ’em.
Tom Jones. My mom would totally sleep with him, and not just because he’s Welsh.
As you can see, I usually do. So for me the primary joy of this site has always been reading our comments, escaping for awhile into what someone else thinks. And for the first several years, we had a community that was (so people said) almost unique on the internet. New users would remark on how our site—posts and comments—was both genial and passionate, good-natured and informative, rigorous yet readable.
A lot of this was due, I think, to the personalities and professions of the original Dullbloggers. Ed, Devin, Mollie and I are all intense but fundamentally genial people…who write and edit professionally. Then Nancy came along and fit right in because she too is an easygoing professional writer and editor. So for some period of time, we had great, well-written posts, and excellent, lively, happy discussions.
This attracted readers—and degree by degree the overheated culture of the internet began invading the cool and comfortable microclimate of Dullblog. Even when I began to sweat, I kept comments open because there wasn’t another place doing what we did, and fans of something as fascinating and culturally important as The Beatles simply required this kind of outlet.
Happily, there are now several Beatles-related sites offering the gewgaw-collecting-followed-by-intense-examination-of-said-gewgaws that we pioneered back in 2008. So I feel that offering an unfettered public square is less important. And over the same spread of years, the world has changed in ways that make intelligent geniality even more precious.
In an attempt to return to those halcyon days—I know, famous last words, but we’re romantics at heart—Nancy and I have decided to begin moderating comments. We hope this will increase the ratio of light to heat. We’d also like to see more people commenting—this site gets a lot of traffic, but only a tiny fraction of our readership actually pipes up, and we’d like to change that. By having Blogmoms on duty, we hope you’ll be less intimidated, and there will be more diversity of viewpoints.
We want our comments to reflect what is special about this site: thoughtfulness, good humor, and sharp, clear writing. At its best, Dullblog doesn’t offer mere opinions about The Beatles, but a generous glimpse inside the writer’s life and mind. (Even when—or especially when—it periodically morphs into the Beatle Sexuality Speculation Blog.)
If your comment doesn’t show up, don’t take it personally, because it isn’t personal—we’re editors, editing. But whatever you do, please don’t lobby us, or ask us to explain why. If you play by those rules, we’ll try to err on the side of “yes.” Don’t worry if you’re not the greatest writer in the world, the right attitude will usually get you through: kindness, intelligence, respect for your fellow fans, a sense that you’re writing to be read.
Hey Dullblog began for a very simple reason: a group of smart, word-mad people suddenly realized they shared a passion for The Beatles, and began posting their thoughts online. This attracted others for whom a certain intensity of love inevitably morphs into analysis. Together we’ve demonstrated that a well-expressed passion generously held—even passion for something as seemingly ephemeral and overexposed as John/Paul/George/Ringo—can deliver clarity and pleasure. Nancy and I hope that shaping the discourse here will provide more of both for all concerned.
Thanks, as ever, for reading.