April 17th, 2012
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.
Categories: US politics, wingnuts
January 18th, 2011
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.
Categories: Meta, socialism
August 4th, 2010
Phil has managed to put together an interesting little blog meme together, asking the following five questions:
- the blogs you read regularly when you started blogging
- the blogs you read regularly now
- some blogs you’ve stopped reading (and why)
- the blog you’ve started reading most recently
- 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?
Categories: Meta, posts interesting only to me
March 22nd, 2010
A more succint example of trolling your own blog I haven’t seen yet:
Why is 1990s popular music so inferior to the music of the 1980s, 1970s, 1960s and 1950s?
Cue 100+ comments thread…
Categories: funny, Meta, Music
March 10th, 2010
Last year I claimed that I started this blog on 10 March 2002, but I was lying. It was actually March 7 2002, which means I once again missed my anniversary. Not that it’s that important; I only started blogging because I needed some outlet for my frustration at reading the news and Usenet was dying and poisoned and by and large Wis[s]e Words has remained just that, a vehicle for my own thoughts. Anything more ambitious I might have hoped for has not been realised, largely because of my own laziness and reluctance to become a Stan Lee -like self promoter, as well as the usual distractions of Real Life. Over the years I’ve written a lot of reasonable posts, some truly bad ones and slightly more quite good ones, or so I’d like to think. Neilalien, a far better blogger than I, put it best when on his ten year anniversary he said:
It’s a creative outlet that brings me great joy- but I don’t let it take over my life, and I never make it a job. I don’t blog when I don’t feel like blogging. I don’t link to something that doesn’t interest me or that I haven’t read. (Nothing is more obvious and damning than a lack of interest.) I’ve always refused free review copies partly because I never wanted to feel the pressure of having to review a book. Adding ads to the site adds obligation to generate eyeballs, and potential smell-tests. The blog is not toil and trouble, it’s an escape from toil and trouble. So as yet, I never burned out. I kept it fun. If by protecting my joy, that means I haven’t shared or given of myself as much as I could have or as much as people expect from a weblog, or seem aloof, or I haven’t reviewed a comic book in a timely fashion, or I don’t get that book deal or get paid for blogging, or it means the night-sweat horror of a million missed links- so be it. The weblog is what it is. I do stubbornly addictively resist going a week without blogging, but if I do, so be it- you’ve always known what you’re getting, a working guy in his pajamas when he has time to blog about one of his life’s passions. I respect the audience, and try to be the consummate classy professional- like a Broadway actor or the Undertaker, when that curtain goes up, it’s A-Game time, regardless of what’s happening backstage or if the entrance pyrotechnics just gave you second-degree burns- I have never blogged about ennui with comics or blogging- but the moment I think to myself that I *must* blog today, that I owe you anything for visiting a free personal website, it’s over.