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After 12 Years, A Farewell To This Blog

The end of an era, but the start of a new one at Rod Dreher's Diary, my Substack newsletter
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Big changes coming here to TAC. After a glorious run of almost twelve years, this blog is coming to an end on this website. We expect it to wind down sometime in the next two weeks. Nothing bad happened, and I'm not leaving TAC; I will stay on as editor at large, and will probably contribute a column. It's just that TAC's strategy is changing a bit, and so will my role at the magazine.

I will continue my culture war coverage at Rod Dreher's Diary, my subscriber-only Substack newsletter. You might know that I have been writing a twice-weekly separate Substack newsletter that focuses on religion, books, and other things seen very much not through the culture war lens. That will continue, but I will now make it a daily newsletter, writing about politics, the culture war, and all the things that I blog about here. If you already subscribe to Rod Dreher's Diary, all this means is that you will soon be getting a daily dispatch. Because so many of you have told me you like reading the non-culture war stuff I write about art, religion, literature, and so forth, I will keep doing that, but will give those dispatches a specific title, so you can safely ignore the culture war and politics stuff that you don't like (or dip into it if you want to walk on the wild side).

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I know that many, many of you hated the loss of this blog's comments section when the site redesign happened. Well, the good news is that you can comment to your heart's delight on the Substack, if you're a subscriber. I have found that the comments section there now works well without me having to moderate to keep trolls off. If people pay five dollars a month for content, they're the kind of people who can be counted on not to troll or be otherwise abusive. And if somehow trolls make it onto the site, I'll just cancel their subscription. I hope readers who stepped away from this blog because you could not comment, and the fun, smart, engaging comments section went away, will consider subscribing to Rod Dreher's Diary, and reviving the feature that we all loved so much -- and re-establishing contact with old friends.

By the way, Rod Dreher's Diary charges the minimum price that Substack will allow: five dollars per month, or fifty dollars per year. If you want to support me at a higher level, you have that option too. It's something I would appreciate for those with the means to do so, because it's scary to be leaving my safe institutional home for the past twelve years.

About these past twelve years: In my 34 years as a professional journalist, TAC is the place where I have worked the longest. I've been here through a succession of editors, all of whom have treated me with great kindness, respect, and support. The late, great Wick Allison, TAC's former publisher, hired me in the summer of 2011, and when my sister died of cancer, he agreed to let me work from south Louisiana, where my wife and I felt called to move. That was characteristically generous of him, and I've had that kind of professional and personal support from everybody at TAC since then. It really is a dream for a writer to be paid actual money and given the freedom to write whatever he wants. Life at TAC has been, for me, living the dream. I'm so grateful to all of those who made it possible for me -- my TAC colleagues, past and present, and all you readers and subscribers.

Here's what this blog has done for me professionally: my blogging about my late sister's battle with cancer turned into The Little Way of Ruthie Leming. My blogging about Dante turned into How Dante Can Save Your Life. My blogging about the Benedict Option turned into The Benedict Option. The massive amount of coverage I've given to wokeness and the culture war turned into Live Not By Lies. I owe my career as a writer of books to this blog, and this magazine, and what you readers have given to me over the years. Thank you.

And Walker Percy Weekend! It was organized in part on this here blog.

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I think the greatest hit ever on this blog was the July 2016 interview I did with the first-time writer J.D. Vance, about his new book Hillbilly Elegy. The book had been out for a few weeks, and had done okay in sales, but looked like it might be reaching the end of its run. One of this blog's readers bought me a Kindle copy of the book, and said I should read it. I did, on a flight to Boston, and was blown away. I reached out to J.D. and asked for an interview. He gave it to me. I published it on this blog ... and everything exploded. It went viral, melting down the server twice that weekend. Eventually over two million people read that interview. Suddenly, Hillbilly Elegy rocketed up the bestseller charts, where it stayed for many weeks, selling in the millions. A feature film was made of it. And now, our friend J.D. is US Senator Vance. I expect great things from him, because I've gotten to know him personally over the years since then, and believe him to be a genuinely good man. What a privilege it was to have been there right at the beginning of what I think will be an extraordinary political career of a young man upon whom the future of America may one day depend. It was all thanks to TAC, and thanks to you readers.

So, look: I will still be blogging in this space for the next two weeks, but if you are inclined to keep reading my reporting and commentary on the culture war, religion, politics, Dreher Bait, and so forth, I really do hope you will go over to the Rod Dreher's Diary page and subscribe right now. If I don't get enough subscribers to replace the lost income from my TAC blogging, I'll have to figure something else out. (If you are a current subscriber, you don't need to do anything; that won't change, no matter what.) If you do subscribe between now and the expanded Rod Dreher's Diary launch in a couple of weeks, and I end up not having enough new subscribers to make a daily mailing feasible, then I will refund your subscription. So, no risk.

I'm also going to try some new things with the Substack format that I wasn't able to do here. I hope to reproduce everything that you like about this blog, but also add some new stuff. It'll be fun, and I hope you'll be part of this new chapter in my writing life.

I also hope you'll still keep coming to TAC to see what our writers and contributors are saying and doing. TAC has been an important voice on the American scene for over twenty years. It can only keep on keeping on with your readership, your donations, and your subscriptions. I may not be here in the format that you're used to reading me, but I'm still going to be part of Team TAC, and I hope you will be too.

Remember: this blog continues for the next two weeks. Once I see people moving over to Rod Dreher's Diary, I'll start ramping up copy there too. Happy to receive your goodbyes-and-good-luck and your good-riddances at rod -- at -- amconmag -- dot -- com, if you'd like to send any.

Who knows? Maybe we can bring the great Uncle Chuckie (see him with me below) out of hiding on the Substack. And come back, Siarlys! And Franklin and Jon F. (also pictured below)!