For reasons we don’t yet know, The Dissolve, a film site launched two years ago by some of the founding members of the AV Club, closed up shop today; here is the official announcement. We spun off as a site from them just under a year ago.
Those are the facts. This is the truth: like everything created, it comes down to love. As commenters, we were drawn to The Dissolve because we loved movies and we loved our lives and we wanted to share that love. We went there because it wasn’t a place for the writers to show off their cleverness, or to dictate what was Good and what was Bad, or God forbid to provide text beneath a clickbaity headline. I can’t remember a single article on The Dissolve that didn’t speak of the writers enthusiasm in every line, including Scott Tobias’ takedown of Birdman. You could disagree with them, but you never doubted the sincerity of the life behind them.
And it’s such a diversity of life! Founder Keith Phipps said the subject of The Dissolve was “the movies, all of them.” The writers spun off from movies into so many subjects, from the music of 1980s Southern California punk to the proper way to make porchetta to 1970s science fiction. The writers spun off into so many of their own obsessions and drew us into them. They wrote because they loved movies and they loved their lives; they understood what Lester Bangs said: “all art is an act of love towards the entire human race,” and all criticism is saying I love you back.
Writing as a Dissolve commenter meant being challenged every day. You knew your words were gonna appear on the same page as Phipps’, Tobias’, Tasha Robinson’s, Nathan Rabin’s, Mike d’Angelo’s, Noel Murray’s, Genevieve Koski’s. You knew you’d be facing an audience of commenters who were on that level and you damn well better respect them and have as much love as they did. I simply don’t know of a smarter, more respectful, more articulate community out there.
I’m old enough to remember life before the Internet. The most absolutely compelling aspect of online life, hands down, is that no one need be alone anymore. No one has to go through life thinking that there’s no one to talk to, no one who can share their experiences and obsessions, no one who understands what it’s like. Anyone can find a community.
The challenge, then, is living with that community and making it something worthwhile. Like no other place online, the Dissolve’s writers and commenters did this. We (and I’m so proud I can say “we”) made something that wasn’t there before; the world is different than what it was because of what we did. And once you make something, no matter how big or small, the world can never go back to being what it was.
To the extraordinary writers of The Dissolve: thank you. We’ll go back and we’ll keep reading and thinking, and we’ll go forward wherever you go and keep following. To the extraordinary community of The Dissolve: we’re still here. We still love each other. We will go forward. We will always be together.