By: Matt WelchPublished: December 31, 2022

Thank You, Friends!

Good-bye to this website, hello to so much else, now and in the future

When Nancy Rommelmann and I in early 2019 began kicking around the ideas that would eventually become this website, we’d frequently hit on the old Tom Waits question: What are we building in there? And as importantly: Why?

We wanted to make something beautiful for beauty’s sake, sure (hello, Beauty Mark!). Spelunk rabbit holes and venerate historical oddballs (Person of the Day!). Conjure up a meeting point to celebrate and signal-boost voices in the media—our friends, old and new!—who found themselves increasingly, oftentimes suddenly, occasionally life-alteringly, at odds with the creepingly conformist, Puritanical worlds of professional journalism and social media.

This was prior to the 2020 liberal-institution defenestration season, mind you, or the widespread Pivot to Substack among certain independent-bent journalists and commentators. You didn’t need a weatherman to know the media winds were blowing in this illiberal direction; the question was what to do about it. One thing we were—we are—adamant about, in every iteration, was: Do not become reactionary. Don’t let the fact of the walls closing in warp our own priorities to make every new piece of content about the walls, rather than the wider world. The point to forcibly creating latitude for free expression is to continue speaking widely and freely, rather than monomaniacally focus on dreary, Lenny Bruce-style denunciations of the surrounding scolds.

There were moments during the plotting when things got unreasonably if hilariously ambitious—media tycoons whose names would surprise you talking scores of millions of dollars in seed money to build an “aircraft carrier” for the New Alternative Media Entity, that kind of thing. But time and again we kept coming back to what we would end up calling “punk-rock Paloma,” meaning: DIY, no investor expectations, experiment/discover/fail as we go, see where it leads us.

Where it has led us, dear reader/listener/viewer, is to this fond New Year’s expression of gratitude for your patronage, as we shut down daily exertions at this website, in favor of increasing output at the other places you can (and do!) find us.

Two of the goals we had from the beginning were to incubate new talent/media properties, and help fund the kind journalistic work we find most meaningful. For the latter, you need look no further than Nancy’s terrific, harrowing piece in the Washington Examiner about the horrible yet predictable Portland murder of Rachael Abraham by a man who should have never been let out on lenient bail paid for by would-be do-gooders. Nancy is not a magazine writer with the luxury of a salary and fat bank account; she’s a freelancer who has been able to fund her forays to Portland and Minneapolis and Ukraine and elsewhere through your generous contributions. Wanna see more deep work from a journalist you can trust? Mash that subscription button on Nancy’s Substack.

On the incubation side (or I should probably say baking, to use a metaphor closer to home), in addition to Make More Pie we now have the fab podcast Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em, with Sarah Hepola (which also has a paid-subscriber button to mash); one of Paloma’s two breakout, totally unplanned-for stars, along with the beloved Chaya Leah Sufrin/Yael Bar tur joint Ask a Jew. (And yes, you can subscribe to that Substack as well.)

Ridiculous as it may seem, the first Paloma gleam in our eyes started twinkling even before The Fifth Column podcast was on Patreon, let alone Substack. It is one thing to nurture an extra-curricular labor of love; quite another (exciting!) thing entirely to have material financial incentive to build out your sideline into a going business.

Those of you who have been supporting Paloma through Patreon: Thank you so very much for allowing us to build this out! We will be shutting down our Patreon account, and hope you consider following us at any/all of the sites listed above. We will still be adding material as it comes to our Paloma podcast and YouTube pages. And a very special thank-you to Andrew “Busty” Wimsatt, for generous help-outery (especially on the aforementioned YouTube page), and to Scott Ross, for being the unsung anchor (and undisputed best sportswriter) of this website for the duration of its existence.

So thank you, friends! We had fun here, and will continue to have fun elsewhere going forward. Happy 2023!

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