Friday, December 31, 2010

Jon Swift Memorial Roundup 2010

Batocchio at Vagabond Scholar has taken on the effort of continuing the yearly practice of the much-missed Jon Swift (Al Weisel in real life) of posting links to The Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves. It's being called the Jon Swift Memorial Roundup 2010 (hopefully to gain a new number next year) and you really should check it out.

My own submission, after a lot of fussing and fumbling and fuming, was "And another thing," posted on November 14. It was addressed to the august members of the Cat Food Commission, who grandly declared how we have to face the necessity of "shared sacrifice." But just who, I wondered, did they mean by "we?" And what constitutes "sharing?"

Well, the very prospect of choosing my "best" rather than my "least bad" got my ego going and looking for an easy post to fill out the year and seeing as how there are always year-end roundups of various sorts and - well, anyway, I decided to put up links to the posts that made my first cut with reasons why they weren't the final choice.

January 8: "Unhealthy compromise" laid out why I was against the health care "reform." I think it's held up well but it dropped off the list fairly quickly because - well, primarily because I just didn't like the idea that my best post of the year came just a week after New Year's Day, okay?

January 17: "Life and death" expressed some despair as I declared there is too much of the latter. Even though the personal context behind it makes it still meaningful to me, I suspected (and suspect) to most it would just seem like a list of statistics.

January 28 and February 2: "Everybody's talkin', Part 1," "Everybody's talkin', Part 3," and "Footnote to Everybody's talkin', Parts 1 and 3" were a series (and yes, the numbers are correct; Part 2 was about something else) in which I went after Glenn Greenwald's seriously wrong endorsement of the Citizens United decision. I think it was well done, but the submission had to be one post and this really needed at least the first two and preferably all three. So, gone.

March 5: "The giant economy size" described the economy in numbers and made the observation that "numbers" can also be pronounced with a silent "b" and become "numbers," things that make us numb and that to avoid that we can't just read the numbers with our eyes, we have to "listen to them with our consciences." On later consideration, maybe a few too many numbers and so a little too much numbing.

April 8: "It's just a question" I asked of Barack Obama in the wake of the revelation he had ordered the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki. The question was "Mr. President, just who the hell do you think you are?" This was one of the last to be dropped. I think it may be the most important post I wrote all year, but I just didn't think it was as well-written as some others.

April 22: "A not altogether unsympathetic look at the teabaggers" was exactly that. Another late drop. I still think it's worth a read.

May 20: "Goodbye to all that, Part One" and "Goodbye to all that, Part Two" explained why Bob Somerby is gone from my list of media sources, among which reasons was his "greasily sanctimonious condescension." It resulted in my losing one reader and (I think) gaining another for reasons which had nothing at all to do with Bob Somerby. However, again only one post per blogger, please.

June 20: "Let me explain" one example of why I'd been feeling dispirited: So many people still buy into the "progressive = Obama = progressive" bullshit that Rachel Maddow - Rachel Maddow, for god's sake - was belittled and attacked in a comment thread at TPM for being insufficiently supportive of President Hopey-Changey. It was an okay post, but I thought I quoted myself rather a lot for a "best of the year" candidate post.

July 23: "Which side are you on? #1" was the first of a series of four arguing that that's a question we all have to answer and that the answer may not be obvious because, as another in the series said, "no matter where your heart may imagine you are or desire you to be, it's where your feet are that matters." This one tried to give a sense of where I think "our proper place to stand" is - but I decided the list of particulars is too long for smooth reading.

September 7: "Happy half-anniversary" commemorated, if you'll pardon the expression, six months since the Iraqi elections and still no government. A decent analysis, I think, but, I dunno, I wanted to pick something with a greater feeling of passion rather than cool analysis.

September 11: "Consider this my own personal observance" on the date, which consisted of some things I wrote in the weeks following 9/11. As I said in the post, "I think they have held up well," but since none of it was new material and I posted the same things last September 11th and plan on doing it next year as well, it didn't seem an appropriate candidate.

October 8: "Ashes amid the hopes" looked at the state of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and explained why Israel is to blame for the impasse. It made the first cut on the strength of the analysis but I decided the writing just wasn't as good as it should have been.

November 1: "Show who's placed to win" recalled how supporters of third parties are always told they're just "spoilers" who should drop out because they're "only helping the worse candidate win" and asked what happens when the candidate running a distant third is a Democrat. The answer, of course, is that the rules change. This was one of the last to go.

November 1: "Are you happy now?" went after a study which got used to push the already-tiresome claim that rightists are happier than lefties. Again, it made the first cut but "best of the year?" Eh.

November 12: "This should have gone up yesterday #1," which it should have, because it was my now-annual Veterans' Day posting of "Heroics," my most popular (or notorious) post ever, one which was intended to object to the increasing tendency of the left to embrace all things military as a way to "prove" our "national security" credentials but instead was most noted for its declaration that "soldiers are not heroes." Again, it was dropped because it wasn't new.

December 7: "Once more into the breach" was about WikiLeaks and the attempts to destroy the organization by people who do not have the moral standing to criticize it. My wife wanted me to pick this one, but - well, I didn't.

December 16: "It taxes me" pointed out how the tax deal created a threat to Social Security: Cutting payroll taxes and making up the difference from general revenues makes SS arguably responsible for part of the deficit - which had never been true before and opens up a new line of attack for the reactionaries, a prospect so obvious that I had to wonder if the O-crowd didn't know exactly what it was doing. When I wrote the post I hadn't seen anyone pointing that out - but subsequently discovered several people had, some of them before my post, which killed its chances for a "best of the year" nomination.

Finally, one from after I had already submitted my choice but which would have been a contender:

December 29: "Where we are at, Part Two" looks at the dramatic rise in temporary jobs and considers the increasing possibility of a bleak future of a nation of "rootless workers" jumping from one temp job to the next, never able to set down roots and be part of a stable community. One side note: If you want to understand the last line, you should read "Where we are at, Part One," in which it served as something of a refrain.

So hey, go over to Vagabond Scholar, check out all the submissions, then come back here and look at these links and tell me if you think I made a good final choice or am I full of crap. And remember: Even if you want to say "They all suck!" still, did the one I picked suck the least?


Batocchio said...

Thanks for participating and spreading the word. This is a good approach for anyone wrestling with a dozen-some posts. Have a Happy New Year!

LarryE said...

Thanks for doing it. And HNY to you, too!

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