For seven years, I was the conservative columnist for the Aspen Times. Democrats outnumber Republicans three to one in Aspen and about twenty to one at the newspaper, where I was the one.
Despite the liberal leanings of the Aspen Times and its readers, my conservative column became the most-read thing in the newspaper. It often garnered more clicks than front page news and, I suspect, even the real estate ads for $4,000/sq ft condos.
But I evidently wasn’t hired to be a conservative success. Rather, I was hired to be a conservative token. On Christmas Eve in 2019 after savoring the clicks I had generated for seven years, they fired me in an email taking potshots at my writing. Their email culminated in the observation that my “values” did not comport with theirs.
About that last point, they may have been right.
That was a few weeks after my column again took aim at the Aspen establishment for soaking the public by giving themselves taxpayer-subsidized housing for dimes on the dollar. Those houses are sometimes adjacent the ski mountain and worth millions.
The liberal establishment that treats itself to this exorbitant housing at taxpayer expense includes, coincidentally, some of the editors, reporters and other columnists at the Aspen Times, the company that fired me after I reported on it. Small world, huh?
But Karma has a long memory.
The Karma that came my way was the good kind. I continued writing my blog after the Aspen Times fired me, and it took off. This was partly because I became more candid about my conservative sentiments when I no longer had to worry about being muzzled, partly because my firing became a national story which drew attention to me, and partly because I began writing about three times as much.
The website host of my blog, WordPress, tells me I recently passed the half-million mark in readers. To put that in perspective, the Aspen Times circulation is a few percent of that.
The Karma that came to the Aspen Times was different but equally fitting. They conduct a “Best of Aspen” contest every year where readers vote on “best” this and that. One category is “Best Columnist.”
For year 2020 when I was only writing a blog rather than a formal column after being fired by the Aspen Times back on Christmas Eve in 2019, the winner of “Best Columnist” was . . . yours truly.
It gets better. I’ve continued to write my blog and it continues to draw new readers. This year the Aspen Times once again held its annual “Best of Aspen” contest. For the second year in a row, I won “Best Columnist” even though I’m only writing a blog. The link is HERE at page 24.
And it gets even better than that. The marquee category in the Aspen Times’ contest is “Mr. Aspen.” (Don’t worry, they’ll surely have a “Mx. Aspen” soon.) In addition to voting me “Best Columnist” again, the readers of the Aspen Times in this year’s contest voted me “Mr. Aspen.” The link is HERE at page 22.
I demand a crown and the keys to the city. Or at least the keys to some of those taxpayer-subsidized slope-side digs.
One last thing. The Aspen Times is being purchased in a few weeks by a family-owned newspaper company out of West Virginia. The head is a registered Republican.
For all this, I thank my readers. You’re the best. I may or may not have those bad values for which the Aspen Times fired me. That judgment is beyond my pay grade, at least in this world. But in any event, I’m in good company with readers like you. Thank you.
Join my readers with a free subscription HERE or just send an email to theAspenBeat@gmail.com.