I remember last year, when the A-listers de-linked all the smaller blogs from their rolls, in what double-talking Atrios christened Blogroll Amnesty Day. The small blogs responded in true opposition by filling their own blogrolls with the links of those who had been kicked off the big blogs, in a classy demonstration of support and solidarity led by skippy the bush kangaroo and Jonathan Swift.
This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of Blogger Amnesty, and the outcasts are celebrating by sharing the link love and endorsing some of their personal lesser-known favorites.
My recommendations are coming up, but first Jon Swift gives the background —
The idea that links are the capital of the blogosphere seems so obvious that you would think an economist like Atrios of Eschaton would have realized it long ago. And as he is a progressive who has accumulated quite a bit of link wealth, you might also think he would be in favor of redistributing some of that wealth instead of just letting it trickle down. So when he announced last year that he was declaring February 3 Blogroll Amnesty Day, and other bloggers followed suit, I assumed he meant that he was opening his blogroll up to the masses. I sent him a polite email pointing out that his blog was on my blogroll and I would really appreciate it if he would add my blog to his. I never heard back from him.
When February 3 rolled around, many bloggers discovered to their horror that instead of adding new blogs to his blogroll he was throwing many off, including some bloggers who were his longtime friends. Blogroll Amnesty Day, it turned out, was a very Orwellian concept. Instead of granting amnesty to others he was granting amnesty to himself not to feel bad for hurting others feelings. Though Atrios has stubbornly refused to acknowledge that he made a mistake, some bloggers who initially joined him, backtracked. Markos of the Daily Kos instituted a second blogroll that consisted of random links from diarists. PZ Myers of Pharyngula now has real Blogroll Amnesty Days where he invites anyone who has blogrolled him to join his blogroll. And in the wake of the bloodletting quite a number of smaller blogs, like my friend skippy the bush kangaroo, changed their own blogroll policies and now link more freely to others.
Ironically, Blogroll Amnesty Day had a net positive effect for the blogosphere as a whole. I discovered a number of great blogs and made new friends and I am sure that is true for others as well. And so instead of remembering February 3 as a day that will live in infamy, let’s turn this day into a celebration of the power of smaller blogs. Let’s recognize that building an inclusive community of diverse voices is what the blogosphere should be about, not creating a new elite to replace the old mainstream media elite. This year there were a number of stories that the big blogs missed that were being covered by smaller blogs such as the Jena 6 and the situation in Burma. I hope someday that Atrios and other A-List bloggers will join us in recognizing that they could learn a lot from reading smaller blogs rather than getting all of their news from a few limited sources. And instead of attacking big blogs or each other, I hope smaller blogs will take this opportunity to expose themselves to other voices that often don’t get heard.
All weekend I will be updating this post with links from other bloggers who are recognizing Blogroll Amnesty Day and skippy will be doing the same. Blue Gal is encouraging bloggers to link to a few of their favorite blogs with traffic less than their own. Let us know how you plan to celebrate Blogroll Amnesty Day and send us a link to your post and I’ll link to it here (even if I disagree) and then please check out some of the other blogs linked to here or on my blogroll and add a few of them to your blogroll as well. It won’t cost you a thing.
I followed that awful purge last year but didn’t participate, being a humble C-lister who tends to watch the larger blogosphere from the sidelines for fear the larger blogosphere might not understand poor old Writhe Safely, but I am delighted to say thanks to the Minx at Nevada’s highly acclaimed Reno and its Discontents, I am included by name in this weekend’s tribute to blogroll amnesty & blogroll bloodbath anniversary remembrance day, and she actually gets what this mental health blog is all about:
Flawedplan of Writhe Safely simply has excellent taste and excellent taste should always be rewarded.
Now that’s a real blessing, since it’s a private distress of mine that a reader might visit this place in search of a critique of mainstream psych treatment and be non-plussed by the plethora of alternative art, when they were looking for guidance toward initiating a practice of alternative mental health, which we know means good things like vitamin and herbal remedies, acupuncture, peer support, meditation and exercise routines, all good stuff under the big tent. That said, as blogmaven of this site, I begin with the premise that good taste IS mental health, that one can move toward recovery without using shitty words like recovery and just follow what nourishes the soul, by cultivating a love of beauty. I believe the path of autonomous self-development leads to pretty much the same place the prescriptivists would take us by issuing directives. Or even a better place, since, ya know prescriptions are over-prescribed. This fill-my-cups path to mental wellness is sacred to me, as much as the subtlety in only suggesting, with the hope that one day when we think of critical psychiatry we’ll think aesthetics first, alongside the civil activism, punditry, pharma rants and policy reports and perhaps, see all these elements as of-a-piece, woven in to one tapestry. Though this may sound off-the-wall, I have to make my stand for humanism, which holds that the sum is greater than its parts. That may seem like an idea or maxim, but is in fact, an ethos, itself greater than itself.
Huh? Granted, and so much for the vision thing, back to what this day is all about; skippy sez:
each blog will celebrate the unity of progressive infrastructure amenability by posting links to a handful of smaller blogs, thus giving exposure to diverse voices thru-out blogtopia, and yes, we coined that phrase!
Here’s a short list of blogs I read regularly and wish others would too, beginning with the brilliant and up-lifting Homeless Man Speaks: “It’s funny what people think they know.”
Next up is the ghost of Violet Socks, aka Reclusive Leftist: In her youth she was a bonne vivante and circus performer; now she is a crabbed and eccentric recluse who occupies a small house deep in the forest, where she writes and researches topics of interest.
Alcoholic Poet: The only thing you need to know about the mind accountable for this place is that it exists compulsively aware of itself.
Pink Lady at In the Pink Texas: has an affinity for pinot and an irrational fear of breeders, orphans, Catholic nuns, sobriety, lactivists, miniskirts and speaking on panels. She tries to respond to all comments, especially the ones that refer to her as a sociopath.
One of the best writers out there period happens to write about the unvarnished suffering of mental illness in all its hilarity. Laugh and cry with Crazy Tracy at Time For Your Meds, where humor meets four-point restraints.
Mickey Z is Z-Net’s cool observer, and self-educated writer/martial artist/vegan who lives with his wife Michele in New York City.
Likes: sunsets, rainbows, and anarcho-syndicalism. Dislikes: mean people, traffic, and factory farming.
Jaye at at winding road in urban area , is someone to want to know, just go read her intense about page adapted from Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire – What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
‘Whenever I stand short and do it their way‘ to paraphrase David Steinberg.
Broke at Been Broken, is a diarist summed up nicely last year by John Grohol, in his 2007 top ten blog awards: Very poetic and thoughtful. It feels delicate but has an undercurrent of strength, which describes many people who have a bipolar disorder but few write this eloquently in a blog.
And, coming full circle with the silver-tongued Chuckling and crush-king of my blogroll; Atrios thinks I suck, on why he is not a popular blogger.
It’s so amazing to read all these talented writers this weekend, knowing they will never make the big blogrolls, since as of February 3rd, 2007, that’s the policy! So here’s a toast to true amnesty, community, empowerment, virtual cake, and, as Tom Waits put it “champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends.”