Greetings and Salutations
You knew I could go only so long without opining...
After six years at Foreign Policy and eight years at the Washington Post, I’m back to where it all began, a blogging platform. The circle is now complete.
Before getting to anything substantive, it’s probably worth spelling out my reasons and intentions for Drezner’s World. Let’s do it in the form of a Q&A!
Q: So why Substack, you big loser? You couldn’t get a regular writing gig after leaving WaPo?!
A: Whoa, that’s some serious hostility right out of the gate, alter ego! No the problem has not been a lack of interest so much as the conundrum of writing for an outlet like the Washington Post. As I noted in my last column there, the Stakhanovite pace was exhausting. I have a big book that I am trying to write, and eliminating the daily pressure of producing a column will hopefully clear up some headspace for the Big Thoughts.
I’ll occasionally have essay-length thoughts, and those will appear in a range of different outlets, whether it’s Slate or Reason or Foreign Policy or the Wall Street Journal or whoever else comes calling. Drezner’s World will be reserved for the ideas that I want out in the world as soon as possible — the ones where when something is published matters as much as what that something is.
Q: So will Drezner’s World have longer or shorter entries that Spoiler Alerts?
A: Contrary to the trend I have witnessed of columnists migrating to Substack to write much more winding columns, I suspect my entries will be shorter. The goal in Spoiler Alerts was always a minimum of 500 words that usually spilled over to 750 words. This is my circus and my monkeys, however, so expect shorter and quicker entries — ideas longer than a tweet but lacking the occasionally excessive windups that my Spoiler Alerts columns had.
Q: What about topics? Will Drezner’s World have the same mix of politics, international relations, and pop culture of Spoiler Alerts?
A: Probably? I am not entirely sure, I’m making this up as I go along to be honest. My foreign policy thoughts are probably more likely to find their way into, say, Foreign Affairs or Foreign Policy. One thing that I will probably write a little more here than I did at WaPo will be about the evolution of cancel culture in media and the academy. Just a little more, however — I cannot get too worked up about that phenomenon, and to be perfectly honest I find myself reacting negatively to those on either side of the argument who do get worked up about it.
There will likely be more popular culture as well. I’m still co-hosting Space the Nation every week with Ana Marie Cox, and that podcast will likely inspire more sci-fi and poli-sci musings. Also, if there’s a topic you want me to write about more frequently, post a comment below and tell me!
Q: So how often will you be writing at Drezner’s World?
A: As often as I damn well like and not an iota more than that. But I do seem to like writing an awful lot! So, in all likelihood, about the same amount as I did at Spoiler Alerts, but perhaps spaced out a bit differently during the week.
Q: One last question: without editors, how much degradation should we expect in your prose stylings?
A: Not all that much. After a few months of beta-testing, the team at PostEverything trusted me enough to have a very light editorial touch. I will miss the copy-editors who saved my bacon by fixing typos and factual errors; I will not miss the rare occasions when they introduced errors into my columns.
More to come!
"This is my circus and my monkeys, however, so expect shorter and quicker entries — ideas longer than a tweet but lacking the occasionally excessive windups that my Spoiler Alerts columns had."
That's the part of the blogosphere that really missed out: post sizes largers than the Twitter character limit and smaller than a full-length piece (whatever that is - 800 words?). Twitter org has refused to get that, and so it's all fountains of hostility because nasty insults can easily be delivered inside the Twitter length limit, unlike a reasonable thought.
"The circle is now complete."
I believe it's been ...16? years since I left comments on the Drenzer blog.
I'm so glad to follow you here. I was really disappointed when your PostEverything gig ended and I missed catching up on your thoughts.