Reasonable Conservative Jon Swift and Seemingly Rational KangarooSkippy have asked us to drive our Chevy to the levy in solemn remembrance of The Day the Blogroll Died. Yes, it was exactly one year ago that Atrios, deciding the blogtopian ecosystem was getting a bit untidy and could use a bracing splash of monoculture, declared that all the world should be taxed. No. Wait. That was Caesar Augustus. Check that. He announced “Blogroll Amnesty Day,” which immediately earned a spot in the “I Don’t Think That Word Means What You Think It Means” Wing of the Museum of Disingenuousness, right between the “Clear Skies” exhibit and the “Healthy Forests” food court, since by “amnesty” he actually meant “massacre,” although it sounds better in the original Aramaic (“Slay all their kine, they go down to slaughter, Woe is on them for come hath their day and their site meter shall be as a desert”)
As our friend Actor212 observes at Simply Left Behind:
Studies have shown (and this was PRE-BADay) that “A” list bloggers tend to link to other “A” list bloggers nearly exclusively. This sets up an echo chamber of thought, one that resonates and creates a feedback loop that makes it hard to sort reality from a rumour that’s shot around the world three times.Worse, other blogs, like (I’m ashamed to say) Jesus’ General, then PZ Myers and Pharyngula followed suit, until the Great Orange One himself, Kos, pulled his blogroll as well. This was, for many, the last straw. The unintentional (or perhaps intentional) consequence of BAD was to eliminate an awful lot of blogs from an awful lot of exposure.
But then, as Jon points out, the self-correcting nature of the blogosphere kicked in the door and sprayed the room with Teflon-coated epiphanies!
Though Atrios has stubbornly refused to acknowledge that he made a mistake, some bloggers who initially joined him, backtracked. Markos of the Daily Kos instituted a second blogroll that consisted of random links from diarists. PZ Myers of Pharyngula now has real Blogroll Amnesty Days where he invites anyone who has blogrolled him to join his blogroll. And in the wake of the bloodletting quite a number of smaller blogs, like my friend skippy the bush kangaroo, changed their own blogroll policies and now link more freely to others.
Now I have no desire to pull up a chair and add my tears to the pity party, because even though Atrios struck World O’ Crap from his blogroll, he’s been good enough to link here a number of times, mostly back when s.z. was writing every day and it was actually worth reading. But I do like the idea of smaller blogs coming together to celebrate our many quiet virtues, for what we lack in readers and advertisers, we make up for in sheer numbers, and history shows that when the downtrodden multitudes unite in a common love of humanity, justice, and equality, such a force leads inevitably to a social and intellectual revolution, or straight to regicide. And frankly, I’m cool with either one.
To quote Jon Swift again:
Ironically, Blogroll Amnesty Day had a net positive effect for the blogosphere as a whole. I discovered a number of great blogs and made new friends and I am sure that is true for others as well. And so instead of remembering February 3 as a day that will live in infamy, let’s turn this day into a celebration of the power of smaller blogs. Let’s recognize that building an inclusive community of diverse voices is what the blogosphere should be about, not creating a new elite to replace the old mainstream media elite. This year there were a number of stories that the big blogs missedthat were being covered by smaller blogs such as the Jena 6and the situation in Burma. I hope someday that Atrios and other A-List bloggers will join us in recognizing that they could learn a lot from reading smaller blogs rather than getting all of their news from a few limited sources. And instead of attacking big blogs or each other, I hope smaller blogs will take this opportunity to expose themselves to other voices that often don’t get heard.
So let us expose ourselves and praise this day our bloggy brethren and sistren. The rules of the celebration require us to list 4 or 5 blogs, lower on the food chain than ours, which we believe to be deserving of greater attention. Since I suspect most of the smaller blogs we read regularly still pull in higher traffic than we do, I’ll just list a few that I love. (s.z. would be joining us with her picks, but it’s Adoption Day and she’s over at Petsmart attempting to fob off her kine.)
Bats Left, Throws Right. You’re probably checking him daily, and if not, get thee hence. Along with Roy at Alicublog, Doghouse Riley turns out the most intoxicatingly trenchant snark on the internet, offering long, discursive jeremiads that move faster and sting harder than a cracking bullwhip. He’s immune to the national Alzheimer’s that allows people like Jonah Goldberg to pass themselves (and their gas) off as historians, and most important of all, he uses his tongue prettier than a Kansas City whore.
Welcome to Pottersville. Sample paragraph from the State of the Union review: “Instead of “Madame Speaker, Vice President Cheney, Members of Congress, distinguished guests and fellow citizens”, he might as well have started it out with, “Hey, Vern…”
Pen-Elayne on the Web. Fun, breezy, eclectic, a great mix of the personal and the pop cultural.
Mark of the Beast. If deliriously profane fury could be bottled, the best cask-strength stuff would come from this Louisiana-based distillery run by our friend Anntichrist S. Coulter and her stable of enablers. Caution: Not to be taken internally.
Just Another Blog From L.A. isn’t, since it’s provides a ruefully funny running commentary from a homeless writer blogging from the public library. The subject is mostly local and national politics, but from a perspective far removed from the Villagers’ presumptions, and with the occasional whiplash-inducing detail on life as it’s lived with chronic depression and no permanent address.
If anyone out there has blogrolled us and we’ve failed to reciprocate, please send me an email and I’ll correct the matter asap. Thanks to all of you who take the time to stop by and sample our ramblings. And to our fellow bloggers, may your traffic soar like the mighty eagle, and may you get a good seat with an unobstructed view of the guillotine, come the Revolution.Posted by scott on February 3rd, 2008