Well, it’s come to this. I do apologize for my long absences this year. After 16+ years, I’m going to be either handing off the blog, or shutting it down. My grad program is taking up most of my time; I don’t have the time to put into making good content or good writing; and I’ve been moving into expending my civic energies in other ways. (I did get re-elected to Town Meeting, so more long evenings on Zoom for me. Woot!)
I want to thank absolutely everyone who showed up and has made this a really unique community for so many years, but especially the cadre of folks who have stuck around to this point. It’s been an honor to know you, and let’s get together in real life for beers … when we’re all vaccinated.
And I’ve been feeling a sense of finality — like I’ve said everything I know how to say, in as many ways as I know how to say it:
- Climate change is the end of the world; we should take that personally, and avoid it by all means.
- Save the MBTA. Expand public transit. Ride your bike.
- Let’s be better human beings, and end racism: Yes in policing and the justice system, but also in medicine, education, housing, environment …
- Never give up.
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, going back to a couple of years ago. I was ready to do it last year, but the Ed Markey primary kept me in. Now the prospect of paying for another year of hosting is forcing the issue a bit.
I’d like to hand off the blog to a group of people who are still interested in medium-long-form informal writing … you know, blogging. I’d love for that group of interested people (if such exist) to be diverse in age, race, background, geography, and class. If you know someone who might be interested, by all means send them my way.
Doing this site has gotten me access to really amazing events: State and national conventions, debates, TV and radio … it’s been crazy, especially a few years ago. But the fact is that there are many options for blogging, even now: Substack, Medium, social media, etc. I can imagine that someone getting into this would be just as happy to start their own site, rather than have to upgrade this one. Why renovate when you can build new?
And if there are no takers … well, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.
With greatest affection for you all –
The first thing to say is thank you. I know it’s been a thankless job to run this place, and I have (some) idea of how much work it is.
I might have some interest in the job. I need to sleep on it though. 🙂
Thank you Charley – and David and Bob.
The conversations and debates you’ve facilitated have been important.
The organizing you promoted and participated in has been impactful.
The organizERS you have welcomed, inspired, trained and empowered might be your greatest legacy.
And those concerts…
Thank you for all of it.
Please stay in touch.
Charley on the MTA says
Thanks John. Coming from you, that’s the highest compliment I can imagine.
Talk about the end of an era. It’s been years since I was very active (but oh, the…exuberant, let’s say…discussions we used to have!) but I believe I’ve been reading BMG since not too long after the beginning, and the thought of Charley’s commentary no longer being a steady presence in the #mapoli world is a big adjustment.
Still, I do know that maintaining a big blog, let alone managing a big community, is more work than anyone who hasn’t done it thinks, and I can’t blame you for deciding you’ve had enough.
Thanks for everything.
Steve Consilvio says
Saving the world is a pretty thankless task, no matter the nature of your belief system.
I have sent Charley an email offering to maintain BMG, if it makes sense, but I’d like to ask everyone if they have thoughts on how to improve BMG (or another site), how to grow the audience, how to explore more policy, create a broader and solid consensus with the GOP, and basically get democracy working properly again.
A lot of groups seem only to forge alliances within themselves, and only form coalitions based on narrow questions. I think our challenges are the exact opposite. We have lost the foundational base of right and wrong, true or false, good and bad, and we need to reestablish those before building laws or policies. We the people need to talk to each other, especially the people we disagree with. It’s the only place you can learn anything new, and the only path to improvement.
I’d also like to say THANK YOU to Charley, no matter what happens next. A dent in the universe was made.
Thank you for all you have done. I’ve honestly been wondering for a while how much longer this would last. This style and medium may have run its course. I have commented a few times how much less active this has been in the past few years. Nobody’s fault that people get busy, but there are a few commenters in particular I miss – Ryan and Sabutai come to mind. There used to be many more participants and many more posts. I could not make the commitment to be an editor at the level of you, Bob, and David (though I do sometimes think me, jconway, and SomervilleTom would make an interesting trio). I second the motion to have an in-person gathering at some point.
I’ve known this was coming for awhile, and part of me wishes I had the capital and free time to keep it going and recruit a more diverse readership and authorship, but alas, all good things must come to an end. I’m glad we’ll go out like Seinfeld or the Wire than hang on too long like the Simpsons or Bill Belichick. I truly grew up on this site, from a 17 year old in high school to a 32 year old teaching high school. This blog was one of my tethers to Boston during my decade away in Chicago. It led directly to a whirlwind campaign job that in its own way, convinced me to get into the more financially secure (and frankly more fun and rewarding) world of teaching for good. So, it’s been an education. I regret the times I was unkind to others online here, we really need to do better, but I treasure what I learned from the community. Agree on beers down the road.
You and I still have not met, and I would love to rectify that.
Without BMG, there’s no Representative Steve Owens, that’s for sure. Thanks so much for all you’ve done and whatever happens, just know that you & David & Bob made a huge difference.
I remember those early days when it was just impossible for people to find any sort of progressive take on Massachusetts state legislature races (or even Gubernatorial races!). I think Facebook, Twitter & Podcasts have probably caused us to reach a level of take saturation in the discourse, but I’m so glad to have been a part of BMG since the beginning.
At very least as I recall BMG was responsible for firmly establishing that you are, in fact, an “insider” 🙂
I, too have known this was coming for awhile. It’s been a great ride.
I confess to having a fantasy that the three musketeers (James Conway, Christopher, and I) might somehow continue it. I didn’t realize that James and Christopher have never met face-to-face — those evenings at the Saloon were a joy.
I know all too well how challenging it’s been to run this place, especially in the past few years when it’s been just you. Thank you SO much for all you’ve done for all of us.
I was a snowbird for years going from a central Mass town which voted for Trump twice to a Fla county which supported four “Trump for Pres” stores (one of which is still open). Most of the people I know are Trumpsters, so when I wanted another take on a political position I read this blog. (A local Congressman is a big Trump guy, and he’s Black.) The exchange of ideas is the only way forward and sadly now one will be gone, (not that dissent was always really encouraged here). Good luck, thanks for the insights.
Like so many on here, I’m neither pleased nor surprised to read this. Maintaining a site, especially through some of the hippos–t that could happen, was a great service you all gave to progressives (and progressive-curious) people in Massachusetts. I’ve fallen off here, but the raillery, learning, and opportunities this blog gave me growth and memories. Blogging is changing, and I’m of that generation that remembers when the Internet was big, messy, conversant, and not controlled by five evil companies.
In addition to the Big 3 Founders, I also appreciate the many here with whom I agreed and argued over the years when I was wrong (Tom Reilly for guv, what was I thinking?) and when I was right (that horrible Mass. Dems platform). There’s Ryan, Jim, jconway, centralmassdad!, mark-bail, Deb, peter porcupine, hester-prynne, and so many others I forget at the moment. I’m FB friends with three of those, and talk regularly with one of them. It was a great forum and got me into some meetings and opportunities where I had no business being.
I thank the three of you for what you did, and everyone else who made BMG so excellent!
Thanks sab, back at ya.
Not altogether surprising, as traffic has dwindled in recent years, including my own. I have been reading and commenting here since the aftermath of the 2004 election.
Thank you for what you have done. To sabutai’s list, I would add raj and Kbusch.
No love for the Rock Radio Machine guy?
Thank you Charley for teaching us that to remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all.
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” Dr. Seuss, Theodore Geisel
Trickle up says
Thanks for all the fish, Charley! To every thing there is a season.
See you at Town Meeting. (PS Program—UEP?)
Charley on the MTA says
Yup, UEP, the mid-career MPP program.
Charlie — I wanted to log in and say thanks for all the effort and time you’ve put into this site and the progressive community in Massachusetts.
BMG wasn’t just a great place to discuss ideas — it was infrastructure for a movement across this state, and very effective infrastructure at that.
The Democratic Party (and liberal organizing/advocacy more generally) is, alas, somewhat myopic and never recognized the importance of investing in the netroots. For the price of one or two 30 second metro statewide ads every election cycle, all the hosting costs for BMG and other MA blogs/sites could have been funded for years, along with other investments to recruit ‘new blood’ and help community building — a much more effective use of money that pays dividends.
But it’s just one of the countless ways our party and associated interest groups have failed to invest in the future or display any serious efforts at longterm strategy. (Much of this I don’t blame on these organizations — but we’ve lacked vision to look outside our own organizations in ways that help network and grow interest beyond a single organization. BMG and the netroots was very effective at doing this.)
That said, regardless of what happens, this isn’t a sour note. You hung on a lot longer than a lot of us despite the grind of life and the effort — I’m sure that was hard, but it was appreciated and made a difference.
Cheers to this beautiful accomplishment that made a difference in a lot of people’s lives.
PS. I hope some people in the Democratic Party’s umbrella of interest groups with access to leadership/the donor class are already on the phone with Charlie, asking how they can step in and help BMG transition and invest in the future.
The netroots is different than it was 10 years ago, but MA needs a space for long-ish form thought and community building that is seperate from Twitter and FB (neither of which the netroots has any control over). It wouldn’t take a lot — and relying on major social media sites is not only slipperly grounds, but displays a fundamental misunderstanding for how algorithms on major social media sites work and will continue to change over time.
What we think we gain out of FB, Twitter and beyond is illusory on a good day, and seriously destructive on the bad ones.