Fifteen years later & still not famous

Fifteen years ago I wrote the first post on this blog as a way of getting me to shout at my television less often. It worked. These days I shout at Twitter.

A lot happened in those fifteen years. I moved jobs three-four times (once involuntarily), got three cats and lost one, started living together with Sandra, bought our first house together, donated a kidney to her, spent two years struggling to ger her healthy again, failed, learned to live alone again. The blog meanwhile continued steadily, madly swerving in content as well as blogging system every few years, from pure reacting to the news using blosxom (as recommended by Charlie Stross) to finally settling down to WordPress with mostly anime, taking my cue in this if nothing else from Steve Den Beste. Its archives are now a vast warehouse of half assed ideas and temporary obsessions and every so often I look at them and despair.

The world has changed a lot since 2002 too as well. We got a mad Republican regime hell bent in driving its own country to destruction while sowing the seeds for war, pandering to a following of out and out racists and assholes who don’t care how bad it gets, as long as those people get what’s coming. The UK meanwhile is not much better, with a sycophantic prime minister happy to lick US arse and pretending there’s such a thing as a Special Relationship while flogging of the country to whoever wants it. And in the Netherlands some xenophobic wanker is poised to win big in the upcoming national elections while establishment parties can only countered with a watered down version of same.

Sometimes you wonder why you get out of bed.

Ten years of Eschaton and all I got were these lousy wankers

Time flies when you’re having fun: Eschaton is ten years old today. I must’ve been one of the first people to put Atrios on the blogroll back then, having barely been blogging for a month myself; no idea how I even found him — probably via Avedon? Back then the closest thing to a liberal (let alone leftwing) voice in the American blogosphere was Andy Sullivan, he who accused the “liberal elites in their coastal enclaves” of treason while the bodies were still falling out of the WTC. The only real progressive bloggers were people like Avedon and other science fiction fans, small voices lost in a wilderness of howling rightwing insanity.

And then came Atrios and he quickly became a focal point for all those people disgusted with these wingnuts and warbloggers, inspiring quite a few others to start blogging while, certainly in these first critical years, he himself was also very good at promoting new, interesting bloggers. For better or worse, he was crucial in the establishment of the liberal blogosphere, in providing pushback against the insanity of both the warbloggers and the wankers in the socalled professional press.

To celebrate, he has put together a list of the Ten Greatest Wankers of the Decade, a veritable treasure trove of assholes and douchecopters:

Some are more active these days than other, many other worthwhile candidates were skipped (where are Glenn Reynolds or Anne Coulter?), but this parade of horrors is still a sadly accurate view of a decade that’s been more bad than good.

The moving finger blogs; and, having blogged, moves on, selfconsciously

Just put a post up at Prog Gold, where I try to explain what I think is now happening in Tunesia in that great blogging tradition of instant expertise on subjects learnt about in five minutes of cribbing from smarter people. You may want to go over there and see if I make any sense.

Or you could read Lenny’s last, three posts and get his, much more self assured, analysis of the situation,as he’s actually quite good at this sort of thing. Mind, there’s a thin line between what Lenny does and the sort of communique put up on the websites of every obscure Trotskyite three man band revolutionary tendency, explaining Tunesia in their own, slightly warped Marxist theory and why only their interpretation of what $INSERT_DEAD_SOCIALIST said about The Revolution can provide a full understanding of the revolt in Tunesia and why this is the True Start of the WorldWide Revolution, or just a Intra-Capitalist Struggle, though not why they never paid attention to the country before.

Because for the most part of course none of us in the English language, political/socialist blogosphere did, but we do now do our level best to become instant experts on it. Just as we did with Honduras last year, or Georgia before that. Nothing wrong with that, but there is a tendency to fit such happenings in whichever schema we’re pushing on our blogs, especially on the more hardcore socialist blogs, without much regards for what’s happening on the ground.

Meme time

Phil has managed to put together an interesting little blog meme together, asking the following five questions:

  1. the blogs you read regularly when you started blogging
  2. the blogs you read regularly now
  3. some blogs you’ve stopped reading (and why)
  4. the blog you’ve started reading most recently
  5. every blog you’ve ever contributed to

He has done a pretty good job answering his own questions, let’s see if I can do as well:

1 the blogs you read regularly when you started blogging: I became aware of blogs in 2000/2001 but was still mostly an Usenet person, as well as being on dailup rather than broadband. So the first blogs I read where by regulars fromt he science fiction newsgroups, like Avedon Carol or the Nielsen Haydens. This was just before the warbloggers took over the medium when it was still mainly nerds ‘n geeks that blogged, to me more a sideline to Usenet than a replacement. It was only a year later, as the great flood of rightwing assholes starting blogs about how we need to kill all the ragheads that I started Wis[s]e Words, as Usenet had become unusable and I needed somewhere to shout, rather than just at the telly. The booklog however had been going for a year already at that point, having been started in 2001 as a way of keeping track of everything I’d read. So it was mainly nerdy and booklogs I read, things like Boing Boing. This is the earliest existing snapshot of blogs I follwoed on the Internet Archive.

2 the blogs you read regularly now: I tried to regularly read all the blogs in the sidebar to the right, as well as those on my other blogs. Usually however I start at Unfogged, where the posts are dull but the threads are as Usenetty as everything you’d be likely to find these days, followed by Jamie, Roy and Aaronvitch Watch. These four I hit up first thing in the morning everyday, as they usually all have something new every day that’s interesting, funny and easy to digest. Phil himself is somebody I regularly check as well, but is one of those bloggers you have patience for, but if there’s something there it’s always a treat. Then there’s James, the various comics bloggers, the more serious political bloggers and depending how dull the day is, I go through the entire blogroll.

3 some blogs you’ve stopped reading (and why): quite a few blogs I’ve stopped following through the years. Some just stopped blogging, like Justin, but with a lot I just lost interest, either because a blog itself became boring, or more that I lost interest in a given category of blogs. Ditched the nerdy blogs, the “readable rightwingers”, the techy blogs, added more socialists, and so on. Since Obama’s election it has been the American socalled liberal blogs that have become utterly dull, either hegemonised into the Democratic Party mainstream, or just so demoralised by the amazing revelation that Barack Obama is not quite the second coming of FDR they’ve become boring in their hatred. Some of the more mainstream political English blogs may go the same way, as the new political realities hit home.

But the blog I miss the most didn’t end because the blogger lost interest or that I lost interest, but because he killed himself. I’m talking about Aaron Hawkins, the self styled Uppity Negro who was geeky, smart, wickedly funny, incredibly good at getting at the not so hidden racist within each warblogger, overall perhaps the best blogger I’ve ever read, but it wasn’t enough. On September 3, 2004 he committed suicide. Almost six years ago now, I still miss him.

4 the blog you’ve started reading most recently: let’s make that three. First, K-Punk, socialist theory made interesting and even a bit cool. Then there’s Indistinguishable from Magic, all about how one particular person thinks about comics and creating comics, which is always been the sort of thing I like. Finally, Gin and Tacos, a sarky and sane look at US politics, one of the few American politics orientated blogs still worth reading.

5 every blog you’ve ever contributed to: quite a few. My Booklog is the oldest, started in 2001. This was followed on March 7 2002 with this one, Wis[s]e Words, as an outlet for political and other frustrations. Prog Gold was set up on November 1, 2002, back when I still thought blogs could change the world and I could harness their power. Intended to be something like what Daily Kos is now, a central clearinghouse for the “progressive blogosphere” it has since mutated into a two person groupblog, though with S. still in hospital even this is not true at the moment. When she was blogging, it always got more hits than Wis[s]e Words ever did.

Inbetween those two I also started Linkse Gedachten, een Dutch language blog and contributed occasionally to American Samizdat. I won’t even mention the Livejournal, mainly kept to be able to comment on other people’s journals…

So…. Your turn?