I was blissfully off the grid for a short time (too short).

I feel similarly. I've been clear about my disappointment with this and irritated by the whole thing.

I don't want to add anything more to the debate, but it is annoyingly sticking with me. Part of it is just disappointment. I've been embarrassingly evangelical about Substack as an avenue for artists/writers to publish work and find support.

The way that the Elle Griffin piece was pushed right ahead of the anti-Nazi group letter was a really frustrating way for the company to handle the situation. I'm glad that Hamish finally acknowledged that letter as Substack’s position. Substack is totally within their rights to have the position--I completely disagree with that position--but at least we know their position and how they’ve chosen to justify it.

I can understand why they didn’t want to respond, it’s not an easy decision and they’ll take lots of criticism either way. But, the way they've circumvented talking about it and turned it into a debate about “free speech” and caused a toilet flushing of the discourse on Notes is a shame.

The free speech debate is completely disingenuous. Substack can’t send you to the gulag. It’s a website. A private company (of which I am a small investor) and has a responsibility to make corporate policy decisions. These are not public policy decisions. Substack has zero control over what types of speech occur globally. They only control their platform. Anyone can create a newsletter platform(haha Joel did in like 2 weeks?). Now that we thankfully have their response, we can make a decision to stay or go. There are plenty of other platforms. I’d be extremely sad to leave Substack, but it’s a tool. The value is the writing, the human expression and creativity-- these things seem to be far behind the priority of growth at Substack.

I love Ted Gioia’s writing to death, but I also feel a bit disappointed by how he’s pushed the free speech arguments into the debate.

I can’t believe I subscribed to Elle Griffin. I canceled my paid subscription before that cringey letter because the pub was genuinely bad. I thought it would be a place for useful and informed policy discussions. Not so. (how's that for free speech).

If you don’t think words have consequences, stop writing.

Expand full comment

Absolutely agree with everything in this, Ryan. Disappointment as a small investor (me too), disappointment in Ted G (I expect better from him), toilet flushing of Notes discourse, incredulity at Elle Griffin of all writers being the voice of Substack... 🤝

Expand full comment

Paid comments...my time to shine!

Expand full comment

“Because people like Ms. Griffin think we’re better now, that it could never happen again — and enquire no further.”

I read her article and frankly, though she appeared pro-immigration, there was a heavy implication of national self-aggrandizement. She forgets how we are intertwined in a global economy powered by technology, and attempts to colonize a year back by a so-called military superpower has already led to their utter economic devastation.

What irks me as an immigrant and a citizen of a country long-ruled as a colony is the sheer amount of effort required to climb up the ladder, something Ms. Elle’s apathy ignores. The issue is not “a whether.” You can’t, that’s a fact. Economic and trade sanctions are far superior than any military force a nation can muster. Lest we forget, even a brand new pair of Levis jeans is often made in a country that you thought was quaint and requiring emancipation. The degree of a superiority complex enmeshed within a tangle of “immigration is rad. Gooo immigrants!” was annoying. I wasn’t as much offended as peeved by her lack of exposure to other lives. I guess, the only person who needs to immigrate are such writers 😂 Let them try being productive residents of countries they think are not required to be colonized anymore.

Expand full comment