Amazing. Amazing to me at least. Today is the third anniversary of TPM. I wrote the first TPM post on November 13th 2000, which was early on in the Florida recount. And Iâve written, I guess, thousands since.
I was staying at my then-girlfriendâs apartment in New Haven that week --- for what was supposed to be some R&R after the presidential election. Of course, I didnât know when I planned the weekâs getaway that the drama would really only be beginning.
At the time, Iâd never heard the word âblog.â But Iâd sort of wanted to start one for a while. Basically, in my mind, that meant starting something like Mickey Kausâ âKausfilesâ which was the only example of the medium that I was aware of. Come to think of it, at the time I think Andrew Sullivan had just recently started his site. So there were two I knew of.
Iâd helped support myself in grad school doing web design so I had a basic sense of how to put one together and stuff like that. (Oddly enough, I specialized in designing websites for law firms. Go figure. Hereâs an example of a website for a firm in California I designed back in â96 or something.) And I was looking for an outlet for my opinion and reporting pieces which didnât force them to go through the merciless ideological sieve that most of what I wrote had to go through at the time.
Plus, in truth, having a political opinion website just seemed cool. And could I attract an audience of readers on my own?
And why the title âtalking points memoâ? Iâd always imagined that this would have been more clear. But people seldom seem to get the allusion. Itâs a wry reference to the alleged Linda Tripp Monica Lewinsky âtalking points memoâ which of course never really existed --- at least not with the authorship the more frothing âwingers eagerly suspected.
Hereâs the first TPM post, which was about Ted Olson. And hereâs how it looked in the original, intentionally minimalist TPM design I whipped up that afternoon.
So thatâs the deal. People now know me far more for this website than for my magazine journalism --- which is a funny thing on many levels, but I guess okay. Iâm hoping that the book that emerges out of the book proposal Iâm now finishing up might eclipse both. But weâll see.
Three other TPM points. First, TPM continues to rely on your voluntary support. Weâve started accepting advertising of course, as you can see. But your support is still what floats the operation. So if youâre overwhelmed by emotion over TPMâs anniversary by all means channel it into some much-needed giving. (Believe me, it really is much needed.) And if even that doesn't sate your enthusiasm, you can drop by the TPM Shop for some TPM apparel or perhaps a mug.
Second, if youâre a regular reader, you can no doubt see a lot has happened with the site recently. Weâve done a redesign. Weâre doing more interviews, which get turned around much faster. And all sorts of other stuff. Almost all of that has been possible --- and a lot more that will be coming soon --- because I now have the help of TPM editorial assistant Alexander Dryer. I have no doubt that in the not-too-distant future you'll be seeing Zander's byline showing up all over the place. But for the moment he's doing all sorts of work in the background helping to improve TPM.
Third, doing invaluable tech work for the redesign has been Larry Glenn, without whom none of the heavy-lifting on the redesign would have been possible. If you're looking for some expert site design and programming Larry has TPM's strong recommendation.
So a special thanks to both of them.