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Well, this blog began three years ago today on a cold winter's day (is there any other kind) in Cambridge, Massachusetts and I think it's served me well up until this much-milder winter's night in Washington, DC. Thanks to everyone for reading. Special thanks to the even-older bloggers who helped promote this site in the early days, and especially to the early-adopting journalist/bloggers who encouraged me to consider going pro. Hopefully, no one has any regrets.

UPDATE: A couple of people have inquired after my blogger origin story, so here it is below the fold. Kind of funny, I think:

In case anyone cares, the story of the blog. As Seth notes in comments, it was reading period at the time in school. Reading period was always my least-favorite time of year. There were no classes and basically nothing to do all day. I'd like to think that in normal places that would lead to a lot of debauchery. But this was Harvard, Land of the Pathetic Dork, so people weren't out having fun. Instead they were mostly shut into their little rooms or Lamont or wherever studying away and writing term papers. I was a philosophy concentrator (or "major" as the normal humans call it) so my workload was always heavily weighted toward writing papers. As people who follow my output here and for the Prospect have probably notices, I write pretty damn quickly. One thing I was fascinated and slightly horrified to learn as a became a more advanced undergraduate and had more substantive contact with grad students and professors was that a lot of people in academia -- a trade that, fundamentally, involves a great deal of writing -- don't actually like the process of writing very much.

They like research. They like thinking about issues. They like forming ideas. But they don't much care for the part where you actually need to write them down. I've been even more fascinated and weirded-out by the realization that many journalists (at least in the magazine realm) feel the same way. It's the reporting, researching, thinking, etc. that they love. Sitting down to bang out a piece, however, strikes them as a chore. I'm not at all like that. I love to write. Perhaps it's in the blood or something. So it always seemed to me that reading period was a very long time relative to the amount of work I needed to do. I would always get bored and antsy.

The January 2002 reading period was especially painful. I'd been seeing this girl since the spring/summer of 1999 or so, and she'd decided to go off and spend her junior spring in Oxford. Since we'd been dating since right before we started college, my non-girlfriend social life was a bit on the stunted side and tended to revolve around The Harvard Independent which was, of course, not publishing during reading period. So I was bored and depressed and had been reading blogs since the summer of '01. Starting with Kausfiles, through which I discovered TPM, Andrew Sullivan, and Virginia Postrel. Through Virginia's site, I became aware of the wonderful world of more amateurish blogging and figured, "hey, I can do that!" So I did. Eventually, the girlfriend dumped me and I broke up. But on the plus side when we were together she used to want to be a political pundit but was pessimistic about a young person's ability to break into the field. So in a sense, the whole enterprise has been driven by loneliness and then, later, the loftier sentiment of spite. But then, of course, there's the talent. The raw, awesome talent. And the connections and generally privileged background. But I like to think of it as mostly a mixture of talent and bitterness.

I do tend to forget, however, another key ingredient: Insomnia. People sometimes ask, "Matt, how do you get so much done?" The story, however, is all there in the time stamps. Here's one from 2:20 AM on January 10. After that, I read the final 20 pages of Stephen King's The Wolves of The Calla (tragically lowbrow) and went to sleep, only to wake up in town to shower, etc., take the Metro to work, buy a coffee, and do a post by 10:20 AM. Except that post followed a 9:52 AM Tapped post. So you see, not much sleep. I'm just that kind of guy.

January 10, 2005 | Permalink


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Congratulations mate.
Excellent stuff so far. Your's was one of the first blogs I began reading, and if it wasn't for your excellent work, I probably wouldn't have stuck with blogs. I'm sure I'm not alone.

Posted by: WillieStyle | Jan 10, 2005 10:20:50 PM

Thank you for this blog. It's existence - and by extension yours - benefits human civilization.

Posted by: Brian Ulrich | Jan 10, 2005 10:30:18 PM

Christ, for a second there, I thought you were announcing the end of your site.

We love you, Matt.

Posted by: ehmer | Jan 10, 2005 10:34:30 PM

Many congratulations, Matt. A sign of a good blog is that it makes you think even when you agree with it - by that criteria you have one of the best.

Posted by: Jonathan Dworkin | Jan 10, 2005 10:35:22 PM

Brad DeLong's blog was the first I started reading and he recommended yours - I read him for economic expertise and great links, Juan Cole for Iraq, Talking Points Memo for beltway Democrat spin and you for intellectual stimulation - nuance, that is. You do a great job, as do those others. Any one got any blogs written by hard-nosed skeptics working in the hard sciences? They are probably working too hard for that kind of thing, unfortunately.

Posted by: msf | Jan 10, 2005 10:47:49 PM

Happy Birthday Mat! I, too, for a second thought you were quitting. It would have been more than a loss. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Jean Pierre Bonin | Jan 10, 2005 11:02:34 PM

Congrats and good work, Matt.

Posted by: Russell Arben Fox | Jan 10, 2005 11:05:53 PM

needs more boobies.

Posted by: jerry | Jan 10, 2005 11:09:01 PM


Congrats on the 3 years man, glad you turned pro.

I like the new layout but unless I'm missing something the archive links are gone. Are you going to bring those back, sometimes I like to dig through your past posts.

Posted by: James | Jan 10, 2005 11:19:56 PM

Wow, that's cool. Congratulations! Please keep it up. Ever consider putting up a tip jar/CafePress stuff? There are certainly enough blog jokes for a couple t-shirts.

Posted by: Saheli | Jan 10, 2005 11:20:56 PM

You know, I never used to read you much when you had that strange picture of the top of your curly head as your blog photo. But then you put the normal picture up and everything was ok. Now you seem to be going for a Hemingway look...

Posted by: ac | Jan 10, 2005 11:33:41 PM

You're a good man, Matthew Yglesias. Keep on rockin'.

Posted by: yesh | Jan 10, 2005 11:39:19 PM

So you started the blog during reading period? Shouldn't you have been studying?

Posted by: seth | Jan 10, 2005 11:48:52 PM

Keep up the good work! (But with more philosophy!) :-)

Posted by: Jonathan Weinberg | Jan 11, 2005 12:01:13 AM

Yours is one of the first blogs I started to read regularly. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: ScrewyRabbit | Jan 11, 2005 12:07:32 AM

Congratulations Matt. I'm a bit old and in the way, so I have a hard time understanding how it's possible for you to maintain your current level of productivity. But if you're game, here's to 2005! It's not like there's not gonna be plenty of material to work with.

Posted by: fnook | Jan 11, 2005 12:11:56 AM

Happy blogday, Yglesias. I have no idea how you work a full time mag job and keep up this volume--but if it's some kind of cloning device, like that godawful Michael Keaton movie, I want one.

Posted by: Julian Sanchez | Jan 11, 2005 12:28:36 AM

Congrats to the best liberal blog in the game.

Posted by: rd | Jan 11, 2005 12:36:28 AM

i enjoy your blog. but seriously, how do you keep up with so many posts when you have a job and a social life(it seems)? congrats on 3!

Posted by: sk | Jan 11, 2005 12:46:14 AM

Thanks and congratulations.

Although you should be aware that your new picture rips you from the previous 'cheery undergrad' thing right into the 'Kevin Federline at 40' camp. Fathering Britney's babies perhaps a plus, but I'd say the old one was more attractive overall, and lord knows I'm not the only one coming here for the good looks.

Posted by: Ruth | Jan 11, 2005 1:11:24 AM

TAPPED was one of the first blogs I started reading,and when through that I started reading you I realized why. The adoption of bylines over there only confirmed it. keep it up--your writing gives us lonely liberals hope for the future

Posted by: future man | Jan 11, 2005 1:13:06 AM

I can't comprehend what it means to be able to read the last 20 pages of a piece of fiction. Either the book sucked and you tossed it out at page 120, or the book was good and when you got within 50 pages of the end you finished it.

This maybe why I have trouble holding down a job.

Anyway, the story of your blog was pretty boring. No offense. Please consider the suggestion of adding more boobies to the blog, harvard chicks are okay too! Nothing says that an ardent Democrat can't show boobies! Instead of U Texas girls flashing, or USC girls with markers all over their boobs, why not Harvard chicks with exciting treatises written on their bods as tattoos?

What a great way to up the joe beercan market share!

Posted by: jerry | Jan 11, 2005 2:21:11 AM

In the story of your blog, didn't you leave out the part where you battled Glenn Reynolds to the faint? I keed, I keed.

No really, you have a great blog.

For me to poop on!

Posted by: triumph | Jan 11, 2005 2:25:20 AM

One of my favorite blogs. Keep up the excellent work!

Posted by: Joel | Jan 11, 2005 7:07:57 AM

Same as what everyone else said. This is the best blog there is. It's also got the best comment section there is (no thanks to me), and that's only possible if the blogger sets the tone.

I'm also glad to see that production levels have more or less returned to their pre-Tapped status over the last few months. Those early days of Prospect employment were looking pretty dark.

There are lots of people who enjoy writing, but can't do it fast. It's a real blessing to have boths kills.

Posted by: JP | Jan 11, 2005 8:49:00 AM

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