As one of The Daily Banter's newest additions, I knew from day one that this place was a good fit. Months later, I still do.
There are a few reasons Banter feels like home. For someone who spends an awful lot of his time blogging, I'm not actually all that comfortable writing about myself. I grew up in a nice home in Pittsburgh, went to hippie college for political science in Florida and somehow emerged from the last three long and often frustrating years in New York City fortunate enough to be a full-time blogger. (My previous job was an ill-fated two-month gig selling bronze statues online.)
(Your humble narrator disguised as a pagan tomato)
Along the way I jumped past a lot of the opportunities and unforgiving work other writers have to build their voice -- the all-nighters at the college paper, the nervous first pitches and the countless revisions. I haven't really had the time to contribute to lots of different venues or tailor work for different audiences. Banter is a great place to help hone my voice as a writer as well as explore writing for a new crowd.
But the most important thing about Banter is that I never feel like writing for them is an obligation, a chore or even just a job. I've never felt like it is for the rest of the team here, either. Jamie was right to say there's an element of catharsis that comes along with writing for a place where you don't have to worry about filters or hew to a standard news model. But there's also the element of satisfaction seeing a piece done just the way you like it, appearing alongside a bunch of other good writers doing the same thing. Ben has done a good job of building a place where a like-minded set of writers can collaborate on one of the smarter, wittier sites publishing today.
It's a definite plus that my Banter colleagues are funny, smart and well-informed. I am continually impressed by their backgrounds and experience. Chez went to Ferguson, for god's sake. Tommy knew Helen Thomas. Mike and I go back two years, while Ben and Bob continually post great content. And Jamie called Barbara Walters basic. Together, we're like Captain Planet, except instead of saving the environment we're contemptuously calling out people who suck and telling lively stories without buying into the bullshit paradigms killing the rest of the industry. (I also don't think the Planeteers consumed nearly as much alcohol, got maced by cops or hated God so much. Nerds.)
It also helps that Banter allows me to indulge my perverted obsession with right-wing media, the depths of which I assure you have only begun to be plunged. As the country descends into dark times under a GOP-dominated Congress next year, I hope that by our powers combined we'll at least be able to help keep a few people sane for the time being. But if we're real lucky, we can help drive some of the others crazy.