Goodbye to The Straight Dope

posted by Tim Carmody   Jul 02, 2018

The Straight Dope — which some readers might know only as an online message board with impressive Google Juice — is closing up the weekly print column that got the whole mess started.

Why the change, and why now? With the planned sale of the Chicago Reader, the folks at Sun-Times Media, which will continue to own the Straight Dope, are re-thinking the once-a-week deep dive (sorta) on a single topic (usually) in question-and-answer format. It’s possible a successor to the Straight Dope will emerge, possibly with daily online content. But no decision has been made, and my role, if any, has not been determined. In the meantime, I’m thinking about publishing another Straight Dope book - it’s been nigh on 20 years since the last one.

However that works out, the Straight Dope legacy will remain intact. The Straight Dope archive - some 3,400 columns, most written by me, the balance by the Straight Dope Science Advisory Board, my online auxiliary - will remain accessible at www.straightdope.com. The Straight Dope homepage will continue to be updated with recycled classics. The Straight Dope Message Board (SDMB), the online community that has grown up around the column, will remain open for business.

The Straight Dope was and remains really important to me. It was an alt-weekly question-and-answer column about anything and everything. Pre-internet, I gobbled up the collected columns in paperback. My grandmother gave me my first copy, which I don’t know if she would have done if she’d known the semi-lewd contents inside. She just knew that like her, I liked to read and liked to know things. In college, I used to say that half the things I knew were things I’d read in The Straight Dope. After college, I moved to Chicago, and read it in the Reader regularly, where it now seemed tweedy and straight-laced. When I was talking to Jason about developing Ask Dr. Time, TSD was my first reference. I’m going to miss it.