April 27, 2007

The Thinking Blog Award

Natasha and I often talk about blogging: about how much effort it takes to blog and what is the value of blogging when there are times it seems no one is reading.

But what we continue to find is that blogging is a good way to work through your thoughts and reactions to events, much like a good conversation. In the way others use journals to capture their impressions and insights, we have found a blog to be a useful memory device. Furthermore, we use it to provide good, accurate information that helps clarify and refine the issues so that people can critically examine their own thoughts and reactions. Natasha is particularly good at taking a personal situation and showing how it is part of a larger pattern or system and provides a progressive and compassionate perspective that expands our understanding and our empathy, she definitely writes in a way to make one think. Our other delightful partner, Magpie, can be counted on to find all kinds of interesting stuff, both here and on her own blog.

This week we got a very nice affirmation that what we are doing is making a difference. David Neiwert, one of my favorite bloggers who make you think tagged us as a thinking blog and so did PA_lady at The Lady Speaks who said, "I discovered a new interest in science as a result of some of their posts. Wouldnít my high school teachers be amazed?" What a nice compliment.


The thinking blog meme was started by ilker yoldas because he wanted to see if a meme based on linking and naming blogs that made you think would work.

The participation rules are simple:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).

I'm with David -- how do you pick just five blogs to highlight in this category? In fact, David's blog is one of my personal favorite, thinking person's blogs along with Digby, Glenn Greenwald, Mahablog, etc.

Nevertheless, after a lot of thought, here are my picks.

Arthur Silber: Arthur is someone who writes from the soul and with gift of illuminating the horror of torture and what activities like torture do to those who engage in it as well as those who experience it.

Fred Clark: Fred is a thoughtful evangelical who expresses his faith and his Christian charity eloquently. Fred has also taken upon himself the awful job of reading the Left Behind series and providing his readers a review of it rooted in a deep understanding of how badly off the rails this series is from the message of Jesus for the world.

Feministe: A terrific set of writers who provide an insightful feminist viewpoint.

Dave Johnson: Seeing the Forest was the first blog I commented on back in 2002. Dave provides crisp and to-the-point messages that strike home. Want to work on how do we build a progressive infrastructure that supports a progressive community? Dave's the place to go.

Echidne of the Snakes: This minor greek goddess can be relied on providing a new way at looking at a number of things. And she does it in real style.

Addendum by natasha: Well, since we got tagged twice, I declare by fiat that we get to tag an additional five blogs.

Mary gave me a call to ask me to add my take on this before it went live, so here I am. The best thing about blogging with Mary, as long as we're getting supermeta already, is that she's become one of my best friends. She's always there with moral support and good advice in tough times, and interesting conversation in all seasons. The best thing about her blogging is that she's both well-read and humane, qualities that shine through in her carefully thought out posts.

Mary also suggested bringing Magpie on board, which turned out to be an excellent plan. Magpie is well-known to us for having a good eye for things that will be simply fun or enjoyable to read about, but also a keen sense of what's newsworthy. For example, she wrote the first post on this blog about the Alaskan 'bridge to nowhere' earmark. To this very day, that post continues to get daily Google hits for some variation of that phrase.

So, to the other blogs. It certainly is hard to pick only five. Mary already tapped some of the ones that I'd name right off the top of my head, but fortunately for me and all of us, lack of choice isn't really the problem. There are also definitely blogs that make me think that I wouldn't put on a list like this, if only because I suspect that everybody and their sister in the english-speaking, blog-reading world already knows about them.

In addition, no blogs on evolution or climate disruption are going on this list, because no one capable of passing a Turing test doubts their founding premises anyway. So my finalists are ...

The Sideshow by Avedon Carol: A blog packed chock-a-block with luscious links and snappy snark. Visiting Avedon's blog is always an educational experience for me, and hey, bras!

Alas, A Blog by Ampersand: This is now a group blog and the additional contributors certainly pull their weight, having brought many illuminating posts and discussions to the public domain. However, if there's any one person who deserves credit for turning me from someone who thought that feminism had long since served its purpose to someone who believes that women have a long way to go, it would be Ampersand, Alas' founder. Considering that this would be a radical shift in perspective by anyone's reckoning, putting this blog on the list is a gimme.

I Blame the Patriarchy by Twisty Faster: Twisty is my favorite adopted spinster aunt, but is an acquired taste only appreciable by advanced patriarchy blamers. Do I blame the patriarchy? You bet I do.

Electrolite by Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden: My only regret about this blog is that they don't post as often as I'd like, which is actually a regret I have about many blogs whose authors grace us with their wit and wisdom all too infrequently. The Haydens are wise, funny and passionate citizens. Also in their favor, they know all the good sci-fi books to read and pointed me to Rebecca of Hitherby Dragons, who wrote my two all-time favorite short stories: Higher Jam and An Oracle for NP.

The Republic of T by Terrance: Another blogger that I'd like to hear more from, if only he had the time. Terrance writes about gender and queer issues with vervacious clarity, poking at the consciences of his readers with questions that get right to the root of the problem.

Posted by Mary at April 27, 2007 10:27 PM | Blogging | Technorati links |

I'm glad you named The Sideshow and Making Light. Those are among my favorites, as is Pacific Views.

I see that you put my web log on your sidebar. I'm overwhelmed -- thank you!

Posted by: Scorpio at April 29, 2007 02:28 PM

Scorpio - it was long overdue. I found myself often finding out what you are writing via your comments and felt it was time to make it easier to get there regularly.....

Posted by: Mary at April 29, 2007 10:22 PM

Scorpio - I second Mary on the overdueness of it. We can only plead the disrepair and decrepitude into which we have allowed our blogroll to fall.

Posted by: natasha at April 30, 2007 11:19 AM

I completely agree about the value of the blogs you mention. It's worth noting that the proprietors of Making Light are the Nielsen Haydens, not the Haydens.

Posted by: Kevin J. Maroney at May 2, 2007 07:30 AM