Jeneane started it, others rolled it around, and Halley took a stab at meme-ifying the whole thing by challenging the lucky few at a Cambridge, Mass. invitation only event to seek out and link to ten new voices, people who blog and who are not white, USian males. (The event had started in a cloud of bad publicity after the organizers were sued "for violation of The United Nations long-standing trademarks, including
the United Nations name, image, and patented seating configuration.")
Since I have long been considered a man of the peeps, and a party-crasher to boot, I took up Halley’s challenge.
On March 13 I identified my first two "new" (to me) voices. Number One was Keith Jenkins.
I continue to read Keith and my respect for his balanced
professionalism grows stronger the more I’m exposed to his work. I
don’t always agree with him, of course. Anyway, number one was a
keeper. His blog is beautiful and deep.
Number Two was Lisa Stone.
Lisa has been a disappointment. She’s a working single mom, engaged
with web publishing projects like the NASCAR blogs and she’s a
concerned feminist advancing the BlogHERcon project. The
disappointment is that she hasn’t had time to post in the last ten or
eleven days since I started tracking on her. I’m waiting eagerly for her next blog posting.
There’s a blogger named "Memer". He’s a black, middle-aged male writer from Toronto. Memer, or "Norm de Plume" as he has also been known to call himself writes a good blog and is always engaging when I see him in a comment thread. Memer’s sick today. Get well soon Memer. While not a new voice, Memer’s qualification for the diversity game is shaded by his anonymity. There are a lot of really good writers writing anonymously. The (other) Peter at loosepoodle comes to mind, and of course the brilliant Harry. Bruce at the River is another one, and the Happy Tutor — less anonymous today than he was a few years ago.
And white males… I wish the offshore limit on white males could have been raised. Niek, in Holland, whose bout with the flu has passed is just another white male. As is Stu in Germany. And Mike in South Africa. And Chris in Boulder (wait — Boulder is mostly not offshore, is it). And Gary near London. And Allan in Tasmania. And Doug in British Columbia. And Brian in Toronto. What about Ray Sweatman? He’s from Georgia which is as offshore as Boulder and we’re pretty sure he’s a white male. Well, none of these voices are really new to me, so I don’t mind excluding them from my ten new voices list which is a good thing because they are basically white, male and a couple of them are the more seriously proscribed USian white male. Where did this rant come from? Am I conflicted maybe? I read Doc and Dave every day too, and David W. and David I. As I work to become more inclusive, I wonder what I’ll be forced to exclude based on the fact that I’m not a lightning fast reader.
A few years ago, maybe three, I thought that to attract readers maybe I ought to offer interesting content. I interviewed quite a few bloggers, posted the interviews and indeed my work reached a wider community than the six people and a ferret who were initially logging in and occasionally linking to my otherwise non-distinguished blog. I started out interviewing women. I really really liked interviewing women. I could ask them all kinds of personal questions and then have my little Beavis moments at the keyboard ("Heh, she said WET"). I liked interviewing women enough that I had to consciously make the effort to add a few men to the mix. I’m not a shoulder-punching, sports-watching, golfing/bowling/hunting/fishing kind of guy. It’s easier for me to talk to women. Opening up to men, be they white, yellow, brown, avocado green or harvest gold, has been a rewarding experience. I’m definitely not a Robert Bly/Male Bonding/Drum Circle kind of guy either. I’m really just a smart-ass with a heart of gold. I’m really pleased to have met so many fine people blogging and I’m aware that it’s my privilege to listen when people address issues of exclusion or marginalization.
So back to the list… Number Three is Sooz. I met Sooz (Susan Taub) at the first BloggerCon but it’s a big blogosphere and I never checked out her site. In the face of the challenge to identify new voices, I read Sooz, and I’m proud to recommend her Boston based blog (rhymes with scrod – slant rhyme, of course) and to share her more widely. That makes three of three that I’m keeping on my blogroll.
Numbers four, five and six are a little dicey…
Number Four is Tara Calishain. Tara is a web pro with an emphasis on search. Staying current with her research buzz offerings would be a full time job, but it’s nice to know that she’s maintaining the resource. She stays on my blogroll.
Number Five was LaShawn Barber. I picked her because her work, while conservative, wasn’t particularly strident. Some folks said that they thought I was joking. I wasn’t. I just made a terrible mistake. She’s a right wing smurf, adding power to the right wing A-listers and contributing nothing original or even admirable. She’s fired. I’ll take Memer’s advice and substitute Avery Tooley.
Number Five is now Avery Tooley. His "Stereo Describes my Scenario" is a pursuit of truth that looks like it touches on some provocative stuff. Like husband beating… when is it okay for a guy to hit back? And the top five running backs. The guy won me forever with the definitive "pop drinkers" map.
Number Six was and remains Faye Anderson. Just go read her. She’s arch, sarcastic, conservative. She’s conservative but she’s not stupid. Here she is on the current Republican cause celebre…
Republican efforts to force-feed brain-damaged Terry Schiavo over the objection of her husband and legal guardian represent a new low in partisan politics. The party of statesâ€™ rights sees no limit to the role of government in a family matter, the bedroom, back seat of a car or voting booth. The GOPâ€™s "grotesque" pandering to its so-called right-to-life base again raises the question: What the hell is wrong with the religious right?
(I grabbed the now deleted LaShawn off her blogroll though so it could be said that she panders a little to the Coulter/Limbaugh claque).
Number Seven is Ka-Ping Yee. He was at SXSW, and he’s at a python conference now, and on the 18th he saw Alvin Ailey at Zellerbach. I’m going to follow this guy and see what I can learn from him.
Number Eight is Paula Offutt. Paula is working with a WordPress blog and the Gila theme. She’s been gracious sharing thoughts in email, and it was her comment on a preceding post that got me off my butt to consolidate my Ten New Voices list. Paula’s in a chair and she points to stuff like the Topica CripHumor list ("By and For the Severely Euphemized"). She’s on my blogroll for good.
Number Nine, Ten, and beyond I found at hewnandhammered.com. Here’s what I wrote about them. It seems a reasonable way to close out this lengthy post!
The sidebar at Pho King includes a list of links to "All our sites." All their sites are wonderful:
There are people working on these sites who are mostly
Americans, probably white, and in the case of Typographica at least,
predominantly male. So perhaps I’ve come full circle to reading what I
like regardless of gender, ethnicity, nationality.
It was a silly game Halley, but it served a purpose, evanescent though
the conversation was in the gnat-life attention spotlight of blogaria.
The meme seems to have crumbled. A "month long challenge" seems like
an entire career in the life of this blogger.