Shooting the Wounded

I know I’m the fiftieth person in the blogosphere to get here, but it’s worth it, because God, Amy Alexander is a tool of the first order.

First of all, I read blogs that don’t have to do with politics. I read so-called Mommy blogs and local-happenings-about-town blogs and entertainment blogs and fashion blogs (well, Go Fug Yourself, so I guess a bad fashion blog) and lots of Livejournals to keep up with friends I don’t have time to call or e-mail regularly. One blog does not fit all, and Amy’s commentary is so fact-free it’s almost not worth addressing except in mockery.

But if blogs do have one common characteristic it’s the one Amy abhors and the one I love: anybody can do it.

Amy describes an atmosphere of a network of well-placed white guys slapping each other on the back; I don’t know what blogs she’s reading (maybe Ass Missile and InstAppliance) but they’re not the ones I see. Half the time I don’t know the slightest thing about the personal background of the person I’m reading, and I don’t care. I care if they’re factual, interesting, if they make me laugh or make me curse the screen or make me see the world in new ways. I don’t care if Billmon has two heads; I’ll keep reading him so long as he keeps writing like he does. In real life Watertiger might be a nuclear physicist; I’m at her blog for the funneh, which she does brilliantly, so nuclear physicists don’t matter one bit (I mean, I’d think it was cool and all, but it wouldn’t change my opinion of her blog).

When I started blogging no one knew what my resume looked like or whether I was really a chick. You didn’t know where I lived or where I’d gone to school or who my friends were or what my parents did for a living. All you knew was the work, and so you were free to like it or dislike it as you chose. I’m not claiming pure meritocracy here; I got lucky guest-blogging at the Crack Den and working with some really kickass people there who now work here, but the bottom line is, if you didn’t like what I did, you wouldn’t read it. If you didn’t like the team we had here, you wouldn’t visit.

Maybe that’s what Amy and some of the more paranoid traditional journalists dislike about blogs. It’s all about what you can do. And all the scheming and clawing and climbing and numerals-for-middle-names and fantastic dinner parties and all the crap you’ve been putting yourself through for years and years, all those things don’t matter. You’ve got a marginally readable platform, that means you’ve got the same chance everybody else has got.

From there, it’s all you.