Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Sunday, July 14

Gapers Block

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Due to a variety of factors, this will be my last regular column for Gapers Block. The specifics are not so important, but unfortunately this decision was professionally necessary. It was arrived to with a heavy heart and much hand-wringing, but alas, in life sometimes you have to make the tough decisions. Actually, you have to just wring your hands until other, smarter people make these decisions for you, but the point is these decisions get made, and that's what matters.

I was part of the founding team of Gapers Block, back in early 2003. I was part of a Chicago bloggers message group, and Andrew invited me to a meetup at the Southport Lanes. After a night of bourbon, he asked if I'd be interested in joining up with them to provide some local political insight to the proceedings. I immediately accepted, although admittedly at the time I figured this would be some flash-in-the-pan thing and wouldn't require much time from me. Well, over 100 columns later, here we are. Gapers Block did something cool that nobody else had really done, at least as well: it brought lots of people together, created a community, and did it patiently and with primary concern for the content, not the bottom line. Of course, for all of us working pro bono that last part may have occasionally been annoying, but not really. It was really fun, especially for me since I got to write about a very controversial subject and spark lots of debate and vitriol. Sometimes it got out of hand, several times I got my facts backward and had to apologize, but most of the time, of course, I was 100 percent right. Whaddya gonna do, huh?

When I was embroiled in a tough campaign at work and working obscene hours, the Gapers folks were great in lending moral support and my desire to not let them down or not do my fair share kept me plugging away, and that probably went a long way in keeping me sane. And they had every reason to ditch me, including the time I bailed out of a Gapers Block Anniversary Party after-party to fight some dude outside of a bar. Man, that was embarrassing.

The reason I titled my column "Revenge of the Second City" was because I wanted my column and Gapers Block in general to be part of moving Chicago into the national online conversation, to make sure that Chicago didn't get left out while the Coasts grab hold of online culture the way they did television, movies and books. I think Gapers Block has definitely succeeded: the site is innovative, spawning many knock-offs, and it is to my mind one of the best looking and best designed blogs out there. The captains of our ship, Andrew and Naz, have made sure the Second City got its revenge this time around, and the recognition and awards the site has won prove it. Not to mention, of course, the very talented folks who spend obscene amounts of time writing and editing for the thing. The fact that this is still a voluntary endeavor, and still getting better, boggles the mind.

As for me, I won't disappear. My Bears in Five column will stick around, and I will try to contribute something once every month or so. In the meantime, I have a few replacements lined up and am considering who to hand the column over to. It will remain "Revenge of the Second City," so the archives will still be available for your perusal, reference, and general snuggling.

My question to you all out there is, what do you want to see in a replacement? What kind of stories would you like RotSC to focus on? My political leanings were never in doubt: perhaps somebody more balanced? Or even from the other side? (Note: I will likely not pick anybody from the "other side.") Over the two and a half years I've written this column, it has touched on everything from sports to drinking to national political strategy and women's rights to a day in my life. In other words, Andrew pretty much gave me free reign, and I abused his trust by writing columns about Elvis impersonators and stuff I remember thinking over the course of a day. Essentially, though, this column is supposed to be focused on social and political issues, as well as cultural things about Chicago. As I pick who is to take over for me and plan the longer pieces I'll be putting together over the next year or so, I'd like to have your feedback.

I asked Andrew to open up the comments to this column a few months ago because I didn't think it was fair that I was here mouthing off about issues that are very, very important to people without giving you all a chance to tell me to shove it. As this is my (kind of) farewell column, I hope you will use the comments option below to share whatever ideas you have about where this column should go, and maybe even somebody would be willing to compile a list of my most hilarious spelling errors and post them for everybody to laugh at.

Thanks for reading, everybody. I'll be around.

GB store


vit / January 11, 2006 9:03 AM

You'll be missed. I enjoyed your columns, and God, no! Please! I don't want anyone from "the other side" to replace you, that would be a travesty.

You're columns on Katrina and after the 2004 election were wonderful. Thanks.

Alex / January 11, 2006 9:25 AM

I always said you are the tops, baby. I'll miss your column greatly. Thank you for your insights and dedication to remaining true.

Pete / January 11, 2006 10:01 AM

Ramsin, thanks for all the great writing. Your thoughtful and witty RotSC diatribes will be sorely missed.

Naz / January 11, 2006 12:40 PM

Ramsin - you'll be missed of course.

And dude, the after party fight you got into made my night.

Seeing you walk in with your shirt askew, wife beater showing and some blood was a sight to behold. In a word, intense.

Kenzo / January 11, 2006 2:05 PM

I have an idea. You should write using a sock puppet in hand ala Ted Knight in "Too Close for Comfort." You would then use the sock puppet's name as a pseudonym, perhaps "Socky McStinkerton." That way you can continue to write your insightful, groundbreaking pieces and they never have to be attributed to the obviously fake person, Ramsin Canon.

rachael / January 12, 2006 2:44 PM

oh, Bloody Knuckles, I'll miss this column! Thanks for keeping me informed and entertained!

michelle fav / January 12, 2006 7:02 PM

stop fighting people outside bars for five damn minutes! oh, and i know a guy named peter who used to edit a paper for awhile in the 90s....maybe he could help you out with your column. i don't know if you knew i read this, but i do and i love it. good work, mrs. magnuson would be proud.

mike / January 13, 2006 3:48 AM

In grade school, Ramsin knew a kid whos name was Luigi.

He called him "Player Two."

His social satire and political name sluggin will be missed.


Jeff / January 13, 2006 12:24 PM

Ramsin --

2 things about the column:

1) Chicago in general, and the blogosphere in general, is in need of a serious politically-minded column like the one that Ramsin wrote -- great mix of "from the air" overview and "on the ground" insight from someone who works in politics. Don't change it into a full-out cultural column.

2) I'm gonna miss RC's writings.

P.S. -- Ramsin, I am looking forward to that drink. Let's make it a good one.


About the Author(s)

Ramsin Canon covers and works in politics in Chicago. If you have a tip, a borderline illegal leak, or a story that needs to be told, contact him at .

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