Permalink to Troy Senik on What Ricochet Means to All of Us

Troy Senik on What Ricochet Means to All of Us

 

Troy and I exchanged a few emails this morning–just routine matters about who might be posting later in the day, topics that might prompt good conversations, and so on. My fellow White House speechwriter–as you’ll recall, Troy wrote for Dubya, just as, an even 20 years earlier, I wrote for the Gipper– closed our exchange with a couple of paragraphs at once so lovely and so powerful that I’d like to share them:

Re: this weekend, it has been tough sledding, though I’m glad to hear things are potentially looking up. One thought to keep in mind, though: We can spend our lives writing presidential speeches (which — the good ones, anyway — matter greatly) or penning op-eds (which matter a little), but I hope you, Rob, and George Savage have paused for a moment in this maelstrom to consider the fact that what you’ve created here may, in some respects, be your most meaningful professional accomplishment (well, maybe not Dr. Savage — in his day job, after all, he saves lives). 

You set out to start a conversation. Instead, you started a family. The bonds of affection run so deep on the site that we basically had a virtual wake for a member of Ricochet this weekend because we’d all come to love Kennedy Smith. That’s something to be proud of. When everyone was hand-wringing about how the internet would isolate us, you guys came up with something that actually brought strangers closer together. And in that way, you’ve contributed your bit to human flourishing. I’d be proud.

I can’t thank you enough, Troy. Honestly, I can’t. And I am proud.

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Members have made 42 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Yeah...ok. Member

    In that photo, Troy looks like he just got away with cheating on his taxes.

    • #1
    • December 18, 2012 at 3:41 am
  2. Profile photo of Troy Senik Editor
    Yeah…ok.: In that photo, Troy looks like he just got away with cheating on his taxes. · 2 minutes ago

    It’s not cheating if you don’t pay to begin with.

    • #2
    • December 18, 2012 at 3:44 am
  3. Profile photo of Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Yeah…ok.: In that photo, Troy looks like he just got away with cheating on his taxes. · 19 minutes ago

    And here I was wondering why Peter had added a picture of Carlton Lassiter from Psych to his post.

    • #3
    • December 18, 2012 at 4:04 am
  4. Profile photo of Whiskey Sam Inactive

    Kidding aside, Troy is dead on with what he said about Riocochet.

    • #4
    • December 18, 2012 at 4:06 am
  5. Profile photo of Yeah...ok. Member
    Whiskey Sam
    Yeah…ok.: In that photo, Troy looks like he just got away with cheating on his taxes. · 19 minutes ago

    And hear I was wondering why Peter had added a picture of Carlton Lassiter from Psych to his post. · 0 minutes ago

    I thought Snidely Whiplash.

    • #5
    • December 18, 2012 at 4:06 am
  6. Profile photo of Percival Thatcher
    Yeah…ok.
    Whiskey Sam
    Yeah…ok.: In that photo, Troy looks like he just got away with cheating on his taxes. · 19 minutes ago

    And hear I was wondering why Peter had added a picture of Carlton Lassiter from Psych to his post. · 0 minutes ago

    I thought Snidely Whiplash. · 2 minutes ago

    Needs a mustache. And the hat.

    • #6
    • December 18, 2012 at 4:22 am
  7. Profile photo of flownover Inactive

    Absolutely, thanks for the friends .

    It’s a fine club with high standards. (thanks to the CoC)

    And the members goad each other to be intelligent . (see above)

    And the editors challenge us to craft a message that stand next to theirs, however tall . ( Regrettable Food is the iron fist in the kitschy glove that I fear)

    Thank you Ricofounders . 

    • #7
    • December 18, 2012 at 5:11 am
  8. Profile photo of Scott R Member

    Something did seem meaningful in the passing of Kennedy and the outpouring here just as all our minds were being concentrated by the possible demise of Ricochet. Troy captured why. 

    • #8
    • December 18, 2012 at 5:22 am
  9. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member

    Agreed. Ricochet is an admirable community. Now, allow me to temper your enthusiasm with a dash of realism.

    First, some of us have been participating in online communities for many years now, and Ricochet is not unique in the closeness of its members. I have witnessed similar connections on many free forums devoted to content not half so serious. I have seen spontaneous charities, such as the one for Linda’s van. I have seen virtual wakes after the death of a member.

    What makes Ricochet unique is that we are united politically. We are not just friends and associates, but allies in a very serious struggle.

    Second, Ricochet’s management would be foolish to assume that the recent uptick in membership will persist long past the present cry for help. Ricochet’s business model still needs reconsideration even if you gain enough members this month to endure for another year.

    • #9
    • December 18, 2012 at 5:23 am
  10. Profile photo of Spin Thatcher

    Hear hear…

    • #10
    • December 18, 2012 at 5:39 am
  11. Profile photo of Bryan G. Stephens Reagan

    I agree.

    • #11
    • December 18, 2012 at 6:07 am
  12. Profile photo of GingerB Member

    Would it help if I joined twice?

    • #12
    • December 18, 2012 at 6:09 am
  13. Profile photo of Midget Faded Rattlesnake Moderator

    Touching, truly. (On the other hand, no one has yet responded to my e-mail to info@ricochet regarding investors — albeit very small-scale investors.)

    And I’d like to add that Troy looks like he’s wearing eyeliner in that photo.

    • #13
    • December 18, 2012 at 6:26 am
  14. Profile photo of Tom Lindholtz Inactive

    That is really the only reason I’m still here. Politics is an important facet of life. But it is a facet, not life itself. Ricochet started as a one-faceted stone, but the place you built has turned it into much more. The politics waxes and wanes, and thus is an unreliable foundation for a “business”. But by making it possible for relationships to flourish, you have created something of far greater import. I hope it will remain commercially feasible.

    I read that you’ve eschewed turning to foundations, etc. I can understand that rationale, but offer a contrary perspective. If there is any hope for conservatism to be restored, I’d argue it will be restored “relationally”. The Founders may originally not have all known each other, coming, as they did from disparate locales. But by the time they’d signed away their “lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor”, they were relationally connected. In our more complex age, it may be that entities like Ricochet are more important than you can imagine to the future of conservatism. Perhaps even more important than funding some enterprise of institute.

    • #14
    • December 18, 2012 at 6:28 am
  15. Profile photo of Keith Preston Member
    Tom Lindholtz: 

    I read that you’ve eschewed turning to foundations, etc. I can understand that rationale, but offer a contrary perspective. If there is any hope for conservatism to be restored, I’d argue it will be restored “relationally”. The Founders may originally not have all known each other, coming, as they did from disparate locales. But by the time they’d signed away their “lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor”, they were relationally connected. In our more complex age, it may be that entities like Ricochet are more important than you can imagine to the future of conservatism. Perhaps even more important than funding some enterprise of institute. · 11 hours ago

    yes. The “no turning back” moment in the American Revolution was the foundation of the Sons of Liberty and the Committees of Correspondence. Were they “foundations?” I think we shouldn’t be so restrictively “principled.”

    • #15
    • December 18, 2012 at 6:42 am
  16. Profile photo of Jim Chase Member
    Whiskey Sam
    Yeah…ok.: In that photo, Troy looks like he just got away with cheating on his taxes. · 19 minutes ago

    And here I was wondering why Peter had added a picture of Carlton Lassiter from Psych to his post. · 2 hours ago

    Edited 2 hours ago

    That was my first reaction to the photo, too, WS.

    In all seriousness though, Troy’s on the mark, and his observation is well stated. I’m already on record for my appreciation of this community we have here. No matter what happens, I’m the richer for it.

    • #16
    • December 18, 2012 at 7:06 am
  17. Profile photo of Doctor Bean Thatcher

    Well said.

    Would this be a good time to beg for more “Young Guns” podcasts, or have they disappeared for good?

    • #17
    • December 18, 2012 at 7:18 am
  18. Profile photo of rosegarden sj dad Member

    I love ricochet and it takes up way too much of my time. And I, too, am sad about possible demise. As a marketing exec who’s worked for far too many online community sites, I feel the founder’s pain. Setting the ‘civil’ parameter in the business model decreases eyeballs by an order of magnitude, and the question is: can you make that up with increased membership prices? And does that drive away your contributors when you decrease eyeballs. 

    I have no easy answers, there are smart guys running this shop and they’re running up against many of the issues we’ve all run into before. Great product, high quality, but will people pay for it? That’s the question.

    • #18
    • December 18, 2012 at 7:19 am
  19. Profile photo of Robert Dammers Thatcher

    Now I get it – cash flow. So I renewed five months early (I was just being selfish trying to reduce the length of time I had two subs to NR Digital).

    The thing is, one can feel tremendously engaged in the community even if one contributes only occasionally (time zones mean that I often find that someone else has said what I would have said by the time I have time to say it 🙂 ). I listen most podcasts assiduously (some flagships on multiple occasions – its the nearest thing to a Bleatcast Lileks is still doing), and one ends up referring to Rob, Peter, James, Jonah and so on as if they were people with whom one spoke every week. Which is what it feels like, in a totally non-creepy way, honest.

    I’m slightly concerned about the scalability of the enterprise, though. Will the community still function at 10K plus members? Will it segment and lose the familiarity which is such a pleasure at present? That says to me that changes should be incremental and organic (which is why going from 1% to 2% rather than 10% us a good goal) rather than revolutionary. We are, after all, conservatives.

    • #19
    • December 18, 2012 at 7:21 am
  20. Profile photo of Jimmy Carter Member

    A few have mentioned that if We never had opposing opinions Here, then We’re just “preaching to the choir.” Well, I have a different perspective:

    In My world, Family and Friends are simply politically apathetic. Conversations wind up with Me speaking and Them nodding agreeably. So, to a junkie such as Me it’s equivalent to a mathematician discussing 2+2 all day.

    To Me Ricochet is the political Family and Friends I never had. Ricochet is a Life, evidence that I’m not the only One Who has such thoughts or sees such things, articulated in words I can’t.

    I start My morning and end My evening with Ricochet.

    Thank You, RicoFounders.

    Besides…. where else could I go to get “[redacted][?]”

    • #20
    • December 18, 2012 at 7:35 am
  21. Profile photo of Brian Watt Thatcher

    Okay, here’s my situation. I have a speech challenged Autistic son and a tabby cat, both of whom get vocal when they get hungry. Exploring politics, philosophy, religion or the culture with them is a bit of a struggle. A few years ago I had a liberal wife who interpreted every comment about the Global Warming scam as a personal attack on her.

    After she left, I found my voice by posting a blog – The Barking Dog of the Radical Right (a tongue-in-cheek reference to the term that the very, very liberal KCRW general manager once used to refer to Rush Limbaugh, Dana Rohrabacher and the other “barking dogs of the radical right” during the contentious Bush/Gore recounts in Florida. My site no longer exists because Apple abandoned both me.com which hosted the site and iWeb which I used to create it. 

    Then I happened upon Ricochet and a community of other bull-headed, bloviating, opinionated reprobates like myself. It’s my hang out where everybody knows my name…and what a pain I can be. For my cat’s sake, Ricochet must endure.

    • #21
    • December 18, 2012 at 7:36 am
  22. Profile photo of Doctor Bean Thatcher
    Troy Senik, Ed.

    Well, we’re all old now.

    With Diane leaving…

    Drat. I feared that her engagement would lead to that. Didn’t Peter or someone have to sign off on such a decision? You guys let editors just get married willie-nillie? What kind of operation is that?

    Harumph. I liked that podcast. Perhaps in 30 years you can do a reunion Where-Are-They-Now podcast in which you note that the entitlements you paid payroll taxes for are gone…

    • #22
    • December 18, 2012 at 7:42 am
  23. Profile photo of Midget Faded Rattlesnake Moderator
    Troy Senik, Ed.
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake: And I’d like to add that Troy looks like he’s wearing eyeliner in that photo.

    That’s what happens when you have deep, dark circles below and the eyelashes of a drag queen (thanks God, that was helpful) above. 

    Ah, so you are well-endowed. (I’m talking eyelashes here.)

    Count me as green with envy (or greener than usual, for a snake). Most gals have one Big Feminine Trait that they wished they had but don’t. Long eyelashes are mine.

    We reptiles have to make do with modified scales, which serve the same purpose as eyelashes, but aren’t nearly as fetching.

    • #23
    • December 18, 2012 at 7:56 am
  24. Profile photo of Chris Campion Thatcher
    Troy Senik, Ed.
    Yeah…ok.: In that photo, Troy looks like he just got away with cheating on his taxes. · 2 minutes ago

    It’s not cheating if you don’t pay to begin with. · 4 hours ago

    He’s a 47%-er!

    • #24
    • December 18, 2012 at 8:13 am
  25. Profile photo of raycon and lindacon Member

    “When everyone was hand-wringing about how the internet would isolate us, you guys came up with something that actually brought strangers closer together. ” 

    Linda and I are direct beneficiaries of this community of friends that Peter and Co. have created. lindaneedsavan has raised $6,108.04 to date towards Linda’s new van. It has been less than a month since we began collecting donations.

    This effort was started by Ricochet members Western Chauvinist and Tabula Raza, and we have been overwhelmed by the amount of interest and outright love that has been shown in our direction. 

    Many thanks to the Ricochet community and especially to the visionary efforts of Peter and the other founders.

    • #25
    • December 18, 2012 at 8:25 am
  26. Profile photo of Stephen Hall Member

    Troy and Peter are absolutely right to imply (as I think they do) that human flourishing is what it’s all ultimately about – our family, our friendships, our politics, our patriotism(s), our work, our little platoons, and even our faith (because it is also what God wants for us). Ricochet is another opportunity for human flourishing – long may it be so.

    • #26
    • December 18, 2012 at 8:40 am
  27. Profile photo of Clandesteyn Member

    This is the perfect internet community. Though I periodically have disagreements with people here, I know I’ll get a fair and civil response. In fact, I’ll usually get a nice, long conversation on the matter. I have learned a lot and have been able to express a lot of my ideas. Knowing that I’m going up against people who won’t go ad hominem and sign off, forces me research and study my beliefs and theirs. That breeds mutual respect and understanding. Our movement is richer for having Ricochet.

    Please, if it can’t survive commercially, allow us to continue with help from endowments and donations.

    • #27
    • December 18, 2012 at 8:58 am
  28. Profile photo of Captain Red Beard Inactive

    I’m so happy that Mr. Bean and Jimmy Carter are members of Ricochet! Peter and Troy have basically brought the whole world together in fraternal bonding 🙂

    • #28
    • December 18, 2012 at 9:03 am
  29. Profile photo of Southern Pessimist Member
    Captain Red Beard: I’m so happy that Mr. Bean and Jimmy Carter are members of Ricochet! Peter and Troy have basically brought the whole world together in fraternal bonding 🙂 · 33 minutes ago

    As a pessimist, I use sarcasm as my stock in trade.

    Whole world together in fraternal bonding? 

    This whole conumbrum gets more depressing by the moment.

    • #29
    • December 18, 2012 at 9:55 am
  30. Profile photo of Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    Captain Red Beard: I’m so happy that Mr. Bean and Jimmy Carter are members of Ricochet! Peter and Troy have basically brought the whole world together in fraternal bonding 🙂 · 33 minutes ago

    As a pessimist, I use sarcasm as my stock in trade.

    Whole world together in fraternal bonding? 

    This whole conumbrum (sic) gets more depressing by the moment. · 2 minutes ago

    I embedded that link because I always wondered what sic was based on and it took posting on Ricochet to motivate me to look it up.

    • #30
    • December 18, 2012 at 10:02 am
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