The internet has one more venue for conservative thinkers. It’s an interesting entrepreneurial experiment, in that visitors must pay-to-play. Reading the conversations is free for all, but if you want to contribute a comment, you must buy the site’s subscription service.
Former Reagan speechwriter and Uncommon Knowledge host Peter Robinson joined with National Review contributor, Hollywood producer and screenwriter Rob Long to create Ricochet. The site debuted in late May and has attracted a solid following, among conservatives at least, during its first few weeks.
According to its creators, Ricochet is “a place that’s built to fulfill the promise of banter at its best.” Those involved are engaged in “one big conversation, where anyone, anywhere, can chime in at any time. … At Ricochet, a good conversation is more than our interest. It’s our mission. We live for the collegial spirit, the taste for frankness, and the foundation of mutual respect that inspires the fastest-paced, widest-ranging, and most relevant of exchanges.”
I discovered Ricochet while visiting Andrew Klavan’s internet digs. About the first 30 minutes of the Ricochet podcast, Klavan posted, includes a fascinating and wide ranging conversation between Klavan, Rob Long, Peter Robinson and Mark Steyn. Here are a few choice exchanges:
Robinson: Have you had to pay a price for [coming out of the closet as a conservative]?
Klavan: Yes, … my phone stopped ringing for two years. It’s only recently really started again.… Things did get back to me through agents and managers where they said, “They won’t hire you. You’re considered a firebrand.” … But I never lost a night’s sleep over it. Not once. Because I felt people were getting shot at and not getting meetings in Hollywood is a small price to pay.”
Long: I take the personally opposite side, that I’ve never felt, in my career as a writer, ever held back. I’ve been writing for National Review since ’93. The chief benefit of that is that absolutely nobody in Hollywood reads National Review.…
Their conversation continues in that vein, and I strongly encourage you to listen to the whole thing. They make an interesting distinction between television and film productions, and divulge a secret about one of the writers on the classic Wizard of Oz.
Why Rob Long holds the “personally opposite” position is beyond me. He admits “no one in Hollywood reads National Review” and the only political stories produced are left-wing. But conservatives aren’t given short shrift in Tinsel Town? Hmmm…. Things really get cooking when the brilliant Mark Steyn joins the conversation.
Whether the site’s business model will be a success is an open question. Do you want to pay for the privilege of typing your opinions in a comment box along side Mark Steyn, Andrew Klavan, and Peter Robinson? It is interesting that Long and Robinson have taken this approach, and I don’t begrudge their entrepreneurial spirit. The idea of paying for a “subscription” to a blog is foreign and will take some getting used to.
Currently, the content is free for anyone to listen to, read, and enjoy.