Saturday, March 19, 2005

Blogs and Deviation

On women bloggers - P. Z. Myers says something here that I completely agree with. In fact, he says it so goddamned well, I am just going to quote it:

We're all concerned about politics, so most people toss a link to the political blogs, just to keep track of what's going on in these things that affect all of our lives…but you know what that means? The political blogs are the lowest common denominator. They're like bacteria, ubiquitous, omnipresent, floating and sliming and breeding everywhere. But people don't aspire to be bacteria (not that I have anything against bacteria—wonderful critters, interesting and deserving of respect), we try to be a bit more complicated and diverse. Sure, we come up short when everyone starts bragging about their colony size or how many petri dishes they've infested or how many clonal descendants they have, but seriously, who cares? We want to be unique. We want to explore unusual experiences. We want to express ourselves in different ways. Let's agree to be different people. Flaunt your metazoan nature, rather than wishing you were more like those prolific prokaryotes.

As a reader (and I think much of the function of blogs is to indicate what you are reading, and to point to things you think other people might like to read), I know that politics is not what pulls me. It's true that the last 3-4 years have been very politically charged - so I have been reading a lot of politics - but other than the period right around the beginning of the Iraq war, and the whole election season, politics has always been a bit secondary. I get my Atrios fix, and check in on Josh Marshall and Alterman now and then, but most of my reading is elsewhere. Pharyngula; Majikthise; Long Story, Short Pier; Berube and Wolcott; Crooked Timber (currently down) and John and Belle; Pandagon. Teresa Neilson Hayden was, for a long time, at the top of the list - she has cut back on the number of posts lately, which is the only reason she isn't so high anymore...

None of these is a traditional politically oriented blog. Pandagon is closest, especially when Ezra Klein was on board - and I had slacked off reading them before Mouse Words came on board. She is not a traditional political blogger - though the problem there seems to be more with the "traditional" part than the "political" part. She writes plenty about politics - but it's not policy wonkery, it's, oh, frightening court cases or insane Christians. Which, as far as I am concerned, is what makes her worth reading. The Kevin Drum types get very boring very quickly - letting them define politics (as policy, really) is bad enough - letting them define what constitutes blogging is even worse.

So... I can see, by the way, that I listed more men than women in my list of favorites - I have also noticed that as I have tried, over the last month or so, to find more variation in the blogs I read (basically, to shift from politics to culture/academics/the arts), I have started reading more women bloggers. If that is because women don't blog on "politics" I think that might be because women who are interested in politics have a broader and more sophisticated view of what politics is.

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