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The Dissolve Legacy

written by rick July 7, 2016
The Dissolve Legacy

The Week of The Dissolve soldiers on.

At this point, you may well wonder how much more I could possibly have to say. It’s not an unreasonable thing to wonder, but you may be surprised — I’ve actually been pretty moderate in my gushing praise so far. In my mind, I am a polite guest at a party, nodding amiably and praising the appetizers, helping bus the tables, making sure the elderly have chairs. Point being: I’m just happy to be invited.

Is that a ridiculous way to construe engagement with a website? In a word, “yes.” But in two other words, “also yes.” The answer, it turns out, is basically yes. Spoiler.

After Monday’s Keynote and Tuesday’s highlights, I wrote a bit, in general terms, about you glorious bastards whose comments both supplemented and constituted the site. Today, we get more specific.

One of The Dissolve’s defining features was its generosity — in scope and analysis, but also in participation. Its readers were often creators in their own right, and many others became creators afterwards. (I’d suggest this was not a coincidence.)

There’s a certain element of internet creation and engagement that shuts things down. I, personally, have often felt anxious about posting anything, because people will jump down your throat. Or you might read through things so overloaded with references you shake your head and decide you’ll never have a seat at the table — it just feels silly. Like, “How can I even get into this conversation? I don’t know anything.” The internet can be a dispiriting, shitty place.

The Dissolve, on the other hand, opened things up. It was an invitation. The prevailing sense, fostered by writers and mostly maintained by readers, was that there were plenty of seats, so calm down and come on in. If you saw a movie, then you have exactly as much authority as everyone else. Or, to get political on you, authority itself is the illness infecting the social body. As a person who exists, your viewpoint is worthwhile.

I was on BART last night, coming home from work. The seat in front of me had lots of graffiti scrawled on it. But the one that I focused in on was a simple statement, written in plain text with an exclamation point.

It read, “SAY IT!”

Here are some sites Dissolvers have been posting on, and some various endeavors. They represent a number of different avenues, and a variety of ways people have considered the mediated worlds in which they exist. I’d like to think they embody a particular kind of inquisitiveness The Dissolve itself fostered.

Please check them out and support them.

Thanks for efforts, folks. I know it’s not easy, and I’m so grateful you exist.

Without further ado, here are some things! If I missed you, feel free to self-promote.


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