The State Of The Website And The Two Types Of Butter

I wouldn’t say that I was anxious about Defector’s team meetings, which are, as you read this, happening in the extremely well air-conditioned basement conference space of a hotel in Brooklyn. But I don’t know that I’d say I wasn’t anxious, either. The most accurate way to describe it, which is not really the most flattering to me, is that the funky fog of anxiety that surrounds me, Pigpen-style, had on the occasion of the meetings, assumed a distressingly coherent shape, and that it looked like work.

Some of this, admittedly, is a me problem. More important for our purposes here, a lot of this episode, which is otherwise a classic Two-Handed Mess Around that we recorded last week, is about Defector, the website on which you are reading this post. Please rest assured that we will go back to dinging other people for huffing their own farts next week. This week, we are out here trying to get our huff on, baby!

The good news is that I was not at all worried about the future of Defector; we are, delightfully, doing quite well, and still enjoying ourselves in doing it. Some of what I felt was just the anxiety that comes with change, but most of it, I think, had to do with the fact that this goofy website of ours is going on four years old, now, and so is real enough to worry about in a concrete way. The concern isn’t whether it’s going to work, but what it’s going to be. That it is doing well, and in fact has become a community and workplace that far outpace my most hopeful hopes for either, only raises the stakes on the work we’ve got ahead. But also it’s risky to care about a thing, and the more you commit, the more you commit. When I am doing my work for the website, I am not really thinking about it. When I am thinking about it, on the other hand, buddy I am really thinking about it.

Drew and I talk some about the site and our ambitions for it, but most of what we discussed in this portion of the episode is about running a website in an age when most of the people running websites don’t want to be running them, and when all we want is to keep running ours. The grim broader context of the Writing Stuff Business at this moment rides over all of this conversation, and while some of this portion of the podcast is about the specific challenges of our specific business and our ambitions for it, none of that exists either outside of the context of this broader desperate moment or the small but growing community that is trying to do it in a different way. So we talked about that.

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But also there’s a whole half of the podcast that’s just classic Distraction dumb shit. We talked about different butters, and the worst available smells and Drew’s experiences of them, and the political coding of overstated dental implants. There was some discussion of how and why rich people go insane in boring ways, and some of what is emerging as a weekly segment in which Drew talks about the deluxe airplane pods where you get to lie down. Also we fielded some Funbag questions about mustard—the best kinds, the challenges of raising “a mustard guy,” honey mustard as a gateway condiment, making Stephen A. Smith Faces after ingesting German mustard, stuff like that. Also, via voicemail, we fielded a question from a Canadian listener that politely but firmly put us in our place re: Canadian sports loyalties. Next week, we will be back to normal—a guest, some sports talk and some non-sports talk. We’ll be just as grateful to be here and just as excited about what’s next as we were this week, but we’ll be thinking about it all less, and talking about it much less, and I’m looking forward to that. I’m looking forward to all of it.

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