Frank Rich Visits Reddit
The former Butcher of Broadway submitted to one of the site’s AMAs
Reddit has been drawing some heavy-hitters for its AMA, or Ask Me Anything, segments, where a public figure submits to a round of questioning from the site’s users. Just yesterday, President Obama took a spin through the AMA machine. “I am Barack Obama, President of the United States”â€”so went hisÂ introduction. Dude, we know.
For the uninitiated: Reddit is the world’s largest message board and a veritable meme factory. In theÂ wordsÂ of Tablet Magazine contributor Matthew Shaer, the site is now “a web power broker nonpareil.” A link on the front page of Reddit can draw millions of hits; the site is the agent zero of any number of viral stories; and its millions of users often come together for causes good (raising funds for a bus driver victimized by her passengers) and ill (harassing victims of sexual assault). In short, it’s a crazy place, one of those quasi-libertarian Internet outposts that, in a single visit, can both repel and entrance.
Frank Rich is of particular interest to Tableteers because he remains one of the most prominentâ€”and to many, among the most thoughtfulâ€”Jewish political commentators in the U.S. He’s reinvented himself a couple times, having started out as a feared theater critic, later taking on a column for the New York Times, and in a surprise move, absconding to New York magazine last year, where he writes monthly columns on politics and culture. He’s also done some work for HBO.
Redditors asked some good questions, and Rich offered much to chew over. Here he is on Nora Ephron:
I wasn’t planning to write about Nora. Indeed I was working on another piece for my monthly essay at New York. I didn’t like most of the pieces written after her death and didn’t want to add another. But then I went on vacation and just could not stop thinking about her, a friend for nearly 40 years, and the shock of her death and the mystery surrounding her secretiveness about her illness. So when I returned home from my break I felt I just had to do it, and the structure flowed naturally from the story I was compelled to report and then to tell.
Rich also expressed concern about the use of voter fraud allegations as a cover for voter suppression; the difficulty in overturning lies told by politicians (he cited Paul Ryan’s RNC speech in particular); and the likelihood of continued legislative gridlock. About everyone’s most/least favorite Jewish-Russian-AmericanÂ
cult leaderÂ objectivist philosopher, Rich wrote:
I think the resurgence of Ayn Rand is as remarkable as it is disturbing. Though Paul Ryan tries to soft-peddle it now, he is on record as being a Rand true believer. Amazing that he possibly could be a heartbeat away from you know what…
There’s plenty moreÂ here, including a Drake reference (!). In sum: it’s heartening to see someone like Rich giving this a shot; curiosity is a pundit’s best defense against mental atrophy.
Related:Â Held Captive by Mel GibsonÂ [Tablet Magazine]
I am Frank Rich, writer-at-large for New York Magazine. AMAÂ [Reddit]
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocalâ€”and, often, anonymousâ€”minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal feeâ€”less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, weâ€™ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.