Now You Know

No, by the grace of God, you will NOT plead ignorance. You will NOT testify that you never knew any better because no one ever taught you anything better. You will not plead that you were never told.

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Weblog Awards and Categorization

When Kevin Aylward of Wizbang announced that nominations were being accepted for the 2004 Weblog Awards, I gave a lot of thought to whom I wanted to nominate and why. I did not want to rush over and nominate a lot of very popular well-known blogs with plenty of exposure and a huge following, simply so that I could say I had jumped on the bandwagon with all their other many admirers. You know how in high school they would have various votes for most popular, or homecoming king and queen, etc.? Remember how it was really a foregone conclusion who would be nominated and who would win? The worst part was when people who didn't really even know the person they were nominating, or for whom they were voting, did so anyway, just because they knew everybody else was going to do so. It was a way of fitting in with the crowd.

Screw that. I wanted to nominate people who are really busting their backsides to have a fantastic blog, regardless of any contest or recognition, and whose efforts show in their excellent results. I wanted to nominate people who deserve not only recognition but exposure. (Notice how I bolded, italicized and put in bright red that last word? If I could have made it flash like a neon sign, I would have done that too.)

What on earth is the point of giving recognition to people who are already recognized? It's equivalent to opening the Olympics to professional paid athletes. Everybody already knows the mega-popular blogs.

Keeping the above in mind, I knew that there were certain blogs that deserve both recognition and exposure, blogs that I feel are so excellent that they are already on their way up, and yet it wouldn't hurt to give them a pat on the back and a nudge of approval.

Knowing all the above, it wasn't difficult for me to choose some excellent blogs that met my own idiosyncratic criteria. The difficulty was in fitting them into the given categories. (By the way, this post is in no way meant as a criticism or a slam against the Weblog Awards or Kevin Aylward. The awards are a marvelous idea. I'm sure that a lot of effort and thought are being put into them and it must have been difficult to come up with the categories. Nevertheless, one has to start somewhere and categories were made.)

Even so, I suppose I wanted more categories, more specific categories, less overlap (a stated aim of the Weblog awards), and darn it, I wanted all my favorite blogs to be nominated and to WIN.

Here was my dilemna: let's start with the truly wonderful blog Protein Wisdom that is written with amazing talent by Jeff Goldstein. If you are familiar with his blog, you already know that it is a conservative blog. (If you are not familiar with it, you should remedy that deficiency right away. I provided you with the link. You have no excuse anymore.) However, should it really be nominated in that category? Does the label "conservative" best describe it? That is the crux of the problem with which I wrestled. After all, one could also make a very convincing case that it should be nominated for "Best Humor Blog." Yes, Protein Wisdom is indeed humorous, witty, satirical, ironic, slapstick, comical and sometimes just plain weird. What then to make of it when it also can be completely, earnestly serious about very important matters? Such matters it can equally present in a sober and dignified manner, in a way that recognizes their seriousness. And what of its topics that aren't necessarily conservative politics or humor? Jeff demonstrates a knowledge of literature, film, music, the arts. He's informed about current events and pop culture. Should he therefore be nominated as "Best Culture Blog"?

I confess, I copped out and nominated him for "Best Culture Blog" simply because he defies easy categorization, and yet that appeared to be the best catch-all category. Why couldn't there have been a category such as "Best Variety Blog" or "Most Original Blog" or something else? As I said, Protein Wisdom defies such labels. I've got it; perhaps "Best Eclectic Blog."

Another example of a blog that I knew I wanted to nominate is La Shawn Barber's Corner. Rarely have I come across anyone with such uncommonly good sense as La Shawn Barber. (Sorry, but the phrase "common sense" is an oxymoron. They are mutually exclusive terms.)
Add to that a sparklingly clear writing style, conservative values, and most of all a Christian perspective. I have found no other blog which explains basic Christian tenets in such a concise and easily understandable way and handles liberal and anti-Christian detractors with class and distinction without descending to their level. Do you want to know why being pro-life for the unborn is not contradictory to favoring the death penalty? She will explain it for you in such a way that you will either understand or prove that you are beyond understanding. If there had been a "Best Christian Blog" category, I would have nominated her there in a heartbeat. I suppose the Weblog Awards did not want to cause controversy or alienate people by having such a category. Maybe they also feared that some would insist that they include a "Best Buddhist" or "Best Islamic" or "Best Jewish" blog category as well. Be that as it may, I nominated it for "Best Media/Journalist" blog, and since she is a journalist, that seems fitting. I cannot recommend her blog highly enough.

The Ace of Spades HQ received my nomination for "Best Conservative Blog," though once again he could just as easily have been accurately nominated for "Best Humor Blog." Speaking of which, Jim Treacher of Mother, May I Sleep With Treacher received my nomination for that category. Why not Scrappleface in that category? Because I would hardly call Scrappleface a blog, although it is uproariously funny, and because its creator, Scott Ott, hardly needs exposure.

Steve and Robert of The Llama Butchers received my nomination for "Best Group Blog" (but I have a sneaking suspicion in real life they are Oscar Madison and Felix Unger.) ;) ;) ;) Can you guess which one is the Virgo-ish Felix Unger?

The "Best On-Line Community" that deserves some more exposure is . Ditto for Tim Blair in the "Best Australia or New Zealand Blog" category.

Wretchard of the blog Belmont Club was the easiest choice for a category that for once truly fits: "Best Essayist." As I went over there just now to get the URL for the link, it proved once again why I think it is the best essay blog; I was caught-up in his latest posting and almost forgot I had only gone there to get the URL!

If only there some more categories for the deserving! I nominated in the categories provided as best I could, but it left some glaring lacunae for blogs that deserve a nomination. So here and now, although it will do little good, I nominate the following blogs which deserve nominating anyway, and I'll make up categories as I go along. I'll leave the fine tuning of the categories to others:

Jeff Percifield of Beautiful Atrocities [Best "Variety Show-esque"Blog?]

Allahpundit of Allah Is In the House [Best "We All Wish You Would Come Back Blog"]

Patterico of Patterico's Pontifications [Best "Curing the Californication of America Blog"]

Dr. Pat Santy of Dr. Sanity [Best "Shining a Psychological Spotlight on the Insanities of Life Blog"]

Tall Glass of Milk of Drink This. . . [Best "There Is Some Class and Brains on the West Coast Blog"]

Stephen Green of VodkaPundit and the Weblog of Tomorrow [Best "Vodka Must Be the Antidote for Kool-Aid Blog"]

Jeff Percifield of Beautiful Atrocities and Steve and Robert of The Llama Butchers [Best Blog Rivalry]

Yes, these blogs all deserve a Weblog Award. Until they get one, they daily earn their readership and they merit you reading them if you don't already.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.

Update: Wouldn't you know that I got Jeff Percifield's name wrong TWICE?!?! Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa et cetera.