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This week voting continues for the 2008 Weblog Awards, and I am proud and humbled to be a finalist in the category Best Culture Blog.  With a tremendous number of new visitors coming through and wondering just what this mess of language is all about, this is a good time to explain myself.  What is my point, after all?  As usual, I’ll answer that by questioning the value of blogging in the first place, and then point you to a few other nominated sites that I hope you’ll consider alongside Barataria.  Hopefully it’ll all work out.

hangchand-smFirst, let me say that I can see that I won’t win and that I’m not entirely surprised.  I don’t say that because I’m getting smacked down in the voting – no, I say it because I’m experienced at getting smacked down in voting.  I’ve never been a popular kind of person.  In a diametric world of dark and light, left and right, coke and pepsi I’m usually content to stand in the grey twilight with a cup of tea, alone.  I do this because I believe that life is best lived a Strong Half-Step Back, in the mix just enough to get dirty but back enough to have a little perspective.  It’s amazing how often the swirls of life create a still point right in the middle where such a place is comfortable and easy.

If you want to find out more about me, click the “About” tab.  I may repeat myself often, but not about myself.

I say this blog is about culture because I am very concerned with the spaces inbetween people, the gaps that are filled up by common understanding and points of reference.  To me, that’s what culture is.  My definition applies here and now but also to ancient Sumer and a well organized flock of ducks.  The closer we live to each other, the more important these understandings are.  Yet in our lives as a free people remarkably few members of the middle class seem to understand the machinery that makes their lives possible; I don’t see how that can continue while allowing us to remain free.  So I simply witness these gaps between people and their understanding being formed or filled and write about them as I see them.  Feel free to call me an idiot (or worse).  It’s good.

That’s what I think all worthwhile blogs are about in the end.  If you want the mainstream view of things, I suggest you turn on the teevee until your brain turns into cottage cheese.  It won’t take long.  I know of three nominated blogs that are challenging and pointed and bring me closer to people I wouldn’t otherwise know.

Best Individual BloggerField Negro

If all white middle class people read afrocentric blogs like this, we wouldn’t have the problems we do.  Since this is the best one I’ve seen, I think we can credit Field Negro with the potential to make the world a better place all by itself.  Written by a Philadelphian from Jamaica, so the author and I are ethnically the same after all.

Best Humor Blog Jonathan Swift

Jon Swift had Stephen Colbert’s schtick first, and he’s still better at it.   That’s enough of a great claim, but what Jon Swift does is take ridiculous arguments that have made it into the mainstream and turn them on their heads.  This shows how ridiculous mainstream arguments are about as well as anyone I can think of.  Plus, he’s a great guy generally.

Best Literature BlogNathan Bransford

Nathan is a book agent at Curtis Brown who has taken to blogging to bring himself closer to potential clients.  His work illuminating the publishing industry’s darker recesses is invaluable to any potential author.  In addition, the comments of his post have become a major hangout for writers, with the discussions often becoming a colo-rectal examination of the industry, satisfying both scatological and intellectual interests at the same time.

That’s all I have to say about some of my favorite finalists and myself.  Thank you for reading, voting, and commenting.  I do all of this for you!

2 thoughts on “Awards

  1. Well, you know I always enjoy reading (and sometimes arguing about) your blog. But thanks for the other suggestions. I’ve taken a look and they are worth checking out. I’m the ultimate blog skeptic, really questioning why I should be reading other people’s opinions when I’m capable of forming my own, but when bloggers have something valuable to contribute, I start to see the value of this very grassroots way of spreading one’s ideas far & wide.

  2. Pingback: Two Years On « Barataria - the work of Erik Hare

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