The Showcase: Right Wing choices and new blogs I passed on
Yes, I know the contest is over. And, that the right person won it (though Billmon's entry was truly competitive). But, I believe we can still learn some things about the blogosphere by looking at the entries. After all, they represent where blogging is headed.
As I said previously, the main motivation for Right Wing bloggers in reviewing or voting for blogs in the Truth Laid Bear's New Weblog Showcase was ideology. A positive review or a yes vote translated into "You're a dittohead. Excellent!" So, Jay Solo linked to Tiger's tiny and inaccurate entry, while ignoring Billmon's masterpiece of research and delivery, "A Tangled Web. . .," at Whiskey Bar.
There is an easy answer to the future continuation of this problem
I heard one of those charitable institution commercials yesterday that began by stating:
One of every six children in the US lives in poverty.*
I have no doubt at the truth of such statement. It is alarming and sad that we have so many underprivileged children living within our borders. But I have the distinct feeling that it is very rare that any of those impoverished children are the only child in their family. This immediately points to the real cause of this problem. People who cannot afford to support their children should not continue to have more children.
*OK, OK, I admit that this may not be exactly what was stated. It is what I remember being stated.
Yes, that is Solo's notion of an admirable submission in its totality.
Neanderthal MOG gave the thumbs up to someone even more reasoning challenged, Serenity (one of those monickers that make you smirk) at Serenity's Journal for a doltish claim there is WMD in Iraq just waiting to be found.
My own approach, probably influenced by all those years of trying to maintain reportorial objectivity, was to try to read a cross-section of blogs. Since I did not know the political leanings of most of the entrants, that was pretty easy to do.
However, in a last hours look at the entries, I asked myself why I had omitted voting for the ones I did. Here are a few blogs and a few reasons.
I did not read "Meat, if you only knew," at Cyber Ecology. I am a vegetarian. Surprising, huh? I didn't read it beyond the blurb because I expected another effort by an animal rights activist to drive the omnivorous creature known as Man away from one of his propensities by using graphic, and sometimes inaccurate descriptions, of how animals are raised and slaughtered for food. I've read enough of those not to need to read anymore. I also doubt the effectiveness of the maneuver. It would be interesting to know what proportion of vegetarians arrive there by being brow-beaten and how many make a choice not to eat meat on their own.
I did read Hi. I'm Black's entry about attending a sells talk. In fact, I wrote a review in which I said Glenn was being gutsy to use that title for his blog considering the bigotry so very present in the conservative dominated blogosphere. But, then, I looked at the entry objectively. There wasn't much of anything there -- just an uninspired description of the salespersons and their techniques. I had already hit the Publish button for that list of recommendations. I went back to Edit, opened the file and erased Glenn's entry. No link. No vote. Later, while browsing, I saw several bloggers of the Right patting Glenn on the head for being a black guy who did not say anything they found disagreeable. He achieved that by not saying much of anything, period.
I read the long excerpt from Collinization. The entry is a description of semi-comical setbacks in a day or so of the life of a young man. He accidentally breaks his nose, learns his new car will be a "gay" purple and discovers he has been taking the dog's medication, not his own. (Reading the bottle not being an option, I guess.) The entry and the blog might appeal to people who are fans of personal blogging. But, I'm not much of a fan of personal blogging. Even the Pansexual Guy held my attention for only about ten minutes of 'Really?' 'Huh?' I know the majority of blogs in existence are said to be closer to John's than Nathan Newman's. However, I'm more the Newman type of reader. The only personal things I can recall knowing about him offhand are he is half-Jewish and single. For me, that's enough.
Newer bloggers seek my counsel fairly often. Based on what I've learned from reading, or not reading, more than 30 new blogs in a week, here's some of what I will tell them.
*A single issue blog is going to be a challenge because you will have to come up with material from a narrow range and present it as fresh. For example, the 10,001st description of how animals are reared for food probably will not attract readers.
*Trying to be inoffensive can result in being voiceless. It is probably best to say what you think within reason and let people respond however they will. If you are afraid to speak out, it doesn't make sense to start a blog in the first place.
*Personal blogging may be the norm, but I think it wise to include some evidence one's every thought is not banal for the readers who want some substance in even their light reading.
I don't know whether advice like this makes any difference to new bloggers. One thing I have noticed is a stubborn insistence that 'my blog is fine' or even 'my blog is good' when inadequacies are pointed out in reviews of new weblogs. I suspect that those who are willing to learn will be the ones who develop successful blogs.