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Enter Stage Gabbing

The next five years

By Steven Martinovich

(May 28, 2001) Five years. Sixty months. Well over 1 500 articles and essays on everything from culture to politics. One of the web's oldest continuing publications around. I'm amazed Enter Stage Right has lasted this long.

Back in June 1996 I decided to launch the web version of a column I was writing at one of Laurentian University's student newspapers, Lambda. When I look back at that column and the early era of the magazine, I sometimes laugh at the profound differences between then and now. Back in 1993, the genesis of the newspaper column, I was shamelessly aping Rush Limbaugh's style and politics, an imitation I preserved for the first few months of the magazine. Today, ESR is a disparate collection of writers that represent the various flavours conservatism, libertarianism and objectivism.

This month's editorial gave me no end of problems. I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to tell you in this space. 'Goodbye and thanks for all the fish' or 'Wait 'till you see what's next!'? A new militancy in pushing this magazine's agenda or the same path we've pursued over the past few years?

To be frank, I've been debating whether I wanted to continue this little effort. It's an enormous drain on my resources and it takes me away from things that I love in my life. Rising costs and falling revenue mean that ESR isn't even paying for itself never mind turn some kind of profit and that makes it harder month by month to justify the continuation of the amount of work I and the writers do. It also hasn't grown to the stature I expected by this point in its existence.

Of course, my dichotomous personality also wants to keep fighting in a public manner. I love the feeling I get when you e-mail me in praise or excoriation of something that ESR has run. I love it when someone of stature points to an article in ESR as an example of a point they are making. I love giving a voice to some talented writers who go out of their way week in and week out to write something for a person they have never met. ESR is something that I'm proud of. It may not be as well known as Salon or Slate but I think it is the equal of those two magazines in every way. Given more time and resources, ESR would be well in the lead.

In the end, I am a creature of habit and if I can manage it, ESR will survive for another sixty months. I don't know what it will look like in 2006, assuming any of us are still around, but I'm committed to finding out.

On each anniversary I usually lay out what I plan on doing over the next year but I'm going to skip that this year since in all honestly I have no idea what I'll be doing to improve this effort. Outside of some back end work (notably a new search engine and URLs for articles that never change) over the next couple of months, I think there won't be any major changes coming...unless you have some suggestions of course.

My Protestant-esque bearing won't permit me to celebrate this fifth anniversary with too much showiness but I would like to thank all the people who have helped ESR out over the past five years, some of whom are still around while others long ago disappeared into the electronic ether. Although I do much of the grunt work, hundreds of people in one way or another have had at least an indirect hand in shaping how ESR has turned out. I'd also like to thank the hundreds of thousands (modestly prevents me from saying more) of people who have come by this magazine and checked us out. Your patronage is very much appreciated and the reason why a collection of individuals works week in and week out to deliver something for you to chew on.

See you in 2006.

Thanks for reading,

Steven Martinovich

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