Enter Stage Gabbing
By Steven Martinovich
(June 1, 2006) What a long strange trip it’s been.
It’s hard to believe that ten years ago today on borrowed server space that a humble little magazine known as Enter Stage Right was born. If you weren't around in 1996, and I'd say that is a virtual guarantee given the number of readers we had during those first few months, I can say that it's a miracle we're still around today. A small number of articles presented on an incredibly amateurishly designed web site (those two graphics you see in front of you are survivors from those distant days). Thank God we had a great personality.
What started out as a little vanity effort on the World Wide Web – complete with articles written by yours truly that were an odd mish-mash of Rush Limbaugh and Ayn Rand – today is a reasonably respected effort with some of the best writers donating their efforts week in and week out. What I began on a lark is today one of the oldest continuing online publications which boasts some pretty exceptional talent attached to it.
Along the way we’ve gotten into some controversies, did some pretty good reporting and commentating, got some stuff wrong, got more stuff right and had a good time along the way.
From a personal perspective, ESR has been extraordinarily enriching. Along with giving me a platform to vent – sparing my long suffering family and friends from the grief of hearing me rail once again about the issues of the day – I’ve had the opportunity of meeting, mostly virtually, hundreds of great people. Among the first was an extraordinarily talented writer from Calgary, Alberta named Michael Miller. In many ways Michael is responsible for the magazine you see today thanks to his constant intellectual challenges, forcing myself and the magazine to grow.
From there ESR slowly collected a stable of writers, some still with us, others departed into the virtual ether never to be heard from again, that propelled the magazine even further upwards. It would be impossible to mention them all so I’ll just give you all a big thank you (though special shout-outs go to W. James Antle III and Charles Bloomer for their incredibly long and generous service to the magazine). This magazine would have died many moons ago had it not been for your tireless efforts. Every essay is a gift from you and I am in your debt more than you could possibly know. Though I carry the lofty title of "Editor on Chief," in reality I am merely one small part of the family. I do some lifting in the background by putting it together but it is the writers that make the place look so nice.
The other half of the equation are the readers, untold numbers who have passed through our doors to check us out. I’ve heard from many thousands of you over the years and I’ll say to you now how I begin every email in response, thank you very much for taking the time to visit ESR and for writing in, both are very much appreciated. There would be little point in all the work we do every week if you didn’t bother to keep coming back so on behalf of the entire ESR family I thank you very much.
As I mentioned earlier, ESR was launched with the original mission of allowing me to simply post my editorials online in the hopes that others would listen. Today I view our mission as promoting dialogue both within the conservative movement and society as a whole, and advancing conservative ideals.
The results of our mission occasionally have some people scratching their heads. Essays from libertarians run alongside those of social conservatives. Paleoconservative thoughts contradict those of neoconservatives running in the same issue. Religious conservatives share space with those who argue for a more secular society. It is an endless source of humour to me when I read our emails and find one writer bemoaning the libertarian/social conservative/neoconservative/paleoconservatives/etc. orientation of the magazine, while another is exasperated by the lack of libertarian/social conservative/neoconservative/paleoconservatives/etc. voices.
I believe, and have always ran this web site with this thought in mind, that the conservative tent is a big one. We may not always agree on the finer points of conservatism but we are all generally moving in the same direction. By including different voices in ESR, hopefully I’ve managed to persuade a few people that the only label we should attaching to each other is “conservative.” Let’s debate within the movement – and occasionally agree to disagree – but let’s always remember that we’re all members of a proud ideological and philosophical heritage. Internecine wars only help our opponents.
So what’s on tap for the next ten years? I think this week’s issue of ESR should provide a hint. As you can see, we eschewed the self-indulgent anniversary issue that is so popular in media today and simply went ahead with another week of original and interesting essays. God willing, that’s our plan for the next years as well. Outside of a collection of our best essays that have run over the past decade that will be published in the coming months and available for sale, we remain focused only fulfilling our mission of finding and publishing the finest writers around.
In the plans are a new site design – our current look dates back to the days of the dot com bubble – and, hopefully, a new publishing schedule which will see us update twice a week. Those are other changes will be rolled out gradually – as time permits, ESR is still essentially a hobby for all those involved – and we’re always investigating new ways of improving the web site. I hope you stick around and see what we come up with.
Again, thank you for being a part of the ESR family, regardless of whether your contribution is as a writer or reader. I am grateful that you have spent time with us over the past decade and I hope we can continue to earn your patronage.
Thanks for reading,
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