Yesterday (August 9, 2023) was the thirteenth anniversary of the day I discovered ricochet.com. I’ve written before about how much that site, and its members, have meant to me over the years, but here’s the post from yesterday, the date itself. I urge those of you with a Centerish and Rightwards political bent to take a look and consider signing up. You won’t be sorry. (Even if you’re a civil Lefty, you won’t be sorry. We have several of those, as well. We’ve converted one or two, so watch out!) The link for membership, with descriptions of what it all means, is here: https://ricochet.com/membership/. Note that the “Coolidge Level” (which gives you the right to create your own posts as well as to comment on everything and to participate in site groups) comes with a a free two-week trial, and is only $55 a year thereafter. That’s the one I’d go for. “Just sayen,” FWIW.
Thirteen years ago today, I came across a post on one of the few blog sites I followed, so very long ago. The post was titled Moonlighting at Ricochet.
That blog, which I follow still, is Powerline. I first became acquainted with it during the Killian documents controversy in 2004, during which the slavering media (with Dan Blather to the fore) posited that an LTC in the Texas Army National Guard would have been proficient enough with an IBM Executive Typewriter (which must have had special keys in the not-yet-released Windows version of the Times New Roman font) to have produced the several proportionally-spaced memos alleging that George W. Bush was a less than exemplary Guard member.
Glory be. Totally in my wheelhouse, and if I’d looked at the memos before I discovered Powerline, I’d have concluded the same thing. That Killian couldn’t possibly have typed them. No man could.
That the guys subsequently did the “overlay” thing, where they demonstrated that the memos were fraudulent because they exactly mimicked a layout produced in Windows, using Microsoft Word, with a Times New Roman font was just the icing on the cake.
By that time, though, I was hooked. And so, on August 9, 2010, when John Hinderaker wrote his “Moonlighting at Ricochet” post, I followed the link:
Ricochet is a fun site operated by our friends Peter Robinson, Rob Long, Mark Steyn and others. You can register at a nominal price and join in via comments, if you are so inclined. I’ve participated in several Ricochet podcasts, and they invited me to spend this week as a guest poster.
I did my first Ricochet post here, and reminisced a bit about the history of this site. Over the coming days I will probably cross-post a few observations and do some original material at Ricochet, too.
There are lots of good conservative sites on the web, and we’re happy to refer our readers to those we especially enjoy. Please do check out Ricochet along with the other sites we feature as favorites on our sidebar.
(FTR, I’ve advocated several times for the reappearance of the occasional and short-term, time-limited, “guest poster.” Can you imagine? Jordan Peterson? Douglas Murray? Nigel Biggar? Writing on the member feed? How much fun would that be?)
Anyhoo, I lurked for a few months without joining, and then, along came what we used to call, all those years ago, “the killer app.”
That’s what decided me. I was going to sign up, and actually pay to belong. Because, by heavens, I love to write, and, right or wrong, I often think I have something to say. And here was a perfect opportunity–to say whatever it was to a group of complete strangers, where it wouldn’t really matter if I horrified, bored, or frightened them. And where I could be assured of a readership that was, at least in theory, politically and thoughtfully on approximately the same page as I was. In other words, a complete no-brainer (something, as many of you have helpfully pointed out over the years, I am really good at, and eminently qualified for), and a win all-round!
Many, many years ago, on December 12, 2016, I wrote a post on my sixth anniversary here. In it, I did a retrospective roundup of every single post which appeared on my first day as a member, December 12, 2010. That post is here. I concluded it thus:
I was heartened to see how many old-timers have stayed, and I enjoyed visiting again, even if only for a short time, with those I miss. I’m glad those of us who survived–the upgrade to Ricochet 2.0 (unbelievably traumatic–we didn’t appreciate the two guys in Estonia (or wherever it was) with the hamster-powered server until they were gone), the 2012 election, the upgrade to 3.0 (better, but still disruptive), the same-sex marriage wars, and most recently TRUMP!–are still here. We should try and keep it that way. I’m glad of those who have joined up in the intervening years, and I hope they stick around, too. And that new members come on board, for all the reasons that they they have in the past, and perhaps for reasons we can’t yet see. Here’s hoping we can be kind to each other and that we can learn a little, even from those with whom we most vehemently disagree.
In retrospect, I think I completely missed the boat about only one significant thing: I thought I was interacting with, and writing to, and for, strangers. I never expected so many of those strangers to worm their way into my affections, to become people I’d actually meet in real life, and to become those who matter so much to me. Thank you @peterrobinson, @roblong, and @blueyeti, for launching this grand experiment which has changed lives.
We are the Ricochetti.
What happens to the site over the next six years is largely up to us.
Let’s make them count.
In those respects, at least, nothing has changed.
But. Back to my first day.
Agita. Nervousness. Angst.
What to call myself here?
I could have followed the example of the late Queen who–when she was asked upon the death of her father in 1952 how she would liked to be styled as monarch, answered somewhat snippily, “As Elizabeth, of course. That is my name.”
Or I could pick anything I liked.
I thought and thought.
Did I want to stand out? Did I want my own name (which is rather distinctive) to lead anyone exercising the Internet search engines to round up my entire online ouevre, from my professional life to my personal opinions and present them all in a nifty and accessible list for anyone to peruse?
I decided I didn’t.
And so I chose the vaguest, most applicable, and most general handle I could think of. And was amazed to find that no one here had picked it before me.
Even today, searches for “Ricochet She” don’t get you very far (if you’re looking for me, at least). Not like some of the unique handles here that are far more easily discoverable.
I have to admit, though, that I’ve enjoyed, over the ensuing almost-thirteen years, some of the ideas and opinions as to why I must have chosen the name I did–almost none of which suss out the real reason:
No, it wasn’t a shoutout to “She Who Must Be Obeyed.” Although Dad did introduce me to the H. Rider Haggard Book (I discovered for myself the ensuing and execrable movie), and I was a devotee of Rumpole of the Bailey. Nor does it have anything to do–no matter those of you who might wish such a thing–with any feminist or control-mania proclivities on my part.
Quite the reverse, in fact.
I’m happy and proud to be a girl. I’ve always been a girl. One who’s been very happy to have that established from the start, who’s always been quite self-sufficient and independent, and one who’s always had very agreeable relations with the men in her life–in no matter what role–and the best of whom aren’t at all threatened because of it. So why not here?
I’ve seen, many times over the years, confusion arise when a member’s Riconym isn’t clear as to sex. “Are you a woman?” someone will inquire of someone whose member name might be “Bumpy.” Or, “I’ve always assumed you’re a man,” someone else might say about “Atlas.” And many other such. (Those names are made up to protect the guilty.)
I’m happy to avoid such issues.
And to know that–while there are many wonderful “shes” on this site, there is only one “She With A Capital ‘S’.”
You know it too. Of course, you do.
Thanks for the many memories. Here’s to the next thirteen years. I’ll keep trendsetting if you will. The future of the conservative movement may be at stake!
Last night, I watched the movie Notting Hill for the second or third time. It’s not one of my favorites, but it’s an OK RomCom, part of the stable of films produced over the course of a decade or so which involved Richard Curtis and which had a somewhat-the-same and somewhat-revolving cast of British and American character actors and actresses.
In Notting Hill’s case, they were Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville, Rhys Ifans, Julia Roberts, and a few more.
It’s entirely possible that the featured musical number–She–sung here by Elvis Costello, reviving a moldy oldie my granny loved when it was sung by Charles Aznavour somewhere back in the third quarter of the twentieth century, is what started me down this rabbit hole. (Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes, not.) In any event, here it is: