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There’s nothing quite like watching an addled crusade to get the juices flowing again. I cannot get through the Shakesville commenting guide and maintain a straight face. At issue is whether blogs that traffic in pain and abuse be appropriately denoted “safe spaces” with trigger warnings and compulsive moderation to make sure indelicate oafs who fail to approach the walking wounded with proper temerity don’t get away with it for a single fucking second.

Maybe it seemed a good idea at the time but safe spaces end up like eXtreme mindgropes, with serious hands-on evaluation and excessive analysis of thread commenters. If there’s a point to it, they’ve failed to get it across, since plenty of us see the only gratification in putting funny people down, as if to engender the same joylessness, shame and humiliation at large that is borne in solitude by abuse survivors, who from their pain have devolved into rigid scolds haranguing their guests to “check your privilege, fauxprogressive, you’re harming us and you don’t care.”

Harm is serious, and if it’s not happening should be denied. Of course “their blog, their rules” and all that, but spread that foolishness around and it takes on the air of provocation, which makes for a beautiful day in the neighborhood, arguing about the same old same old. Oh you may call it a non sequitur, until I use it to wash out your disrespecting mouth, never thought of that now didja? Abuse; it’s a terrain. Walk a mile in these moccasins and become extra spaycial.

Simply put, this fascinating interblog PC war will never end, because some of us progressives stand for political correctness and some of us progressives won’t stand for it a whit. That’s called individuation — the development of the individual from the general. Very good for mental health, not so good for the groupthink.

Oh sure, oppressive PC nannies have the lead right now, but I’m so old I remember when they were usurpers. Those were the days my friend. I thought they’d never end. Now it seems the best you can do is try to be clear about your stances, don’t misrepresent them and inadvertently create drama and betrayal when the unbelievably awful truth about your principles will out. You know what I mean, right?

Number one, I don’t hold with all these beliefs that being offended truly matters, and hope to never put guaranteed diminishing returns into anticipating and creating strategies to ward off Internet assholery, which is a feature, not a bug. It’s tempting, I understand the impulse but there’s no strategy for asshole prevention, just a tendency to get pissed off ten times a day, and no need to turn that into something else if you don’t despise your inner life. Though there will always be someone who says my god you are an angry person, and be quite persuasive about how and why you need to change that, but fuck them people, and never stop, every single day, like so.

All this, after a four month absence, trigger warnings, seriously?

I see I’m going to have to write in depth about this problem, maybe twice as much as I originally intended. They’re so ubiquitous it’s very easy to become inured to them, the climate they create. But I know writers who use trigger warnings can just as easily have the opposite effect and put off the very people they aim to chaperone. The sheer gall of it. What makes you qualified to inform me I can’t handle the subject matter?

Good point if I say so myself. What else?

It smells like a set up. Are you warning me or priming me?

And

It’s a directive? Trigger warning as a sneaky way to tell me how I should respond to your post.

And if I ignore the hint?

This is getting dark. It seems so very well-meaning. You should know about this trigger, dear, it’s attached to my gun. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Now, now. Trigger warnings are given to convey a self-protective, cautionary approach best taken to the post at issue: Brace yourself. What you’re about to read could better be very upsetting, frightening, disruptive, distressing, devastating, leave you feeling crippled, weak, needy and worthless, but hey, I get that, and I’m in your corner!

Someone is being manipulative. And if we want to get psychological about it we’d say they were playing *hot potato* with their neurosis. Toss it over, now you have it and I don’t, hooray for endless mindfucking.

Ignore all that, respond to the trigger warning as expected, no problem. Surprise us, and it’s off to the re-education camp for you. Some progressives think this is perfectly acceptable social policy and it can’t be overstated that some of us do not.

Those who do favor restricting speech will say it’s not about preference, aesthetics or mere offense, but preventable harm. Safe spaces are ruled with an iron fist, they say, to avoid the infliction of psychological damage, which, if true, gives them the moral high ground.

HTML Mencken objects to safe spaces on those very grounds, and refers to them as hellholes –

“Since the hellholes’ policies are about moral judgment, they are subject to moral judgment.”

He shreds through the whole charade, post after post. But he would, coming from the anti-safe space blog that so happens to be the safest afoot and number one scourge of high-minded liberal PC adherents.

Coincidence? Sadly, no.

Look, run a blog however you want. But to call groupthink therapeutic and say others don’t get it  because they haven’t been traumatized is just asking for the smackdown.

That makes two of us. It’s not to champion free speech, or more level-headed comment moderation. What I am is territorial. I explained all this yesterday at a comedy blog. In no uncertain terms, I most certainly did, and repeat myself, with your forbearance:

I’ll say my piece now that this thread’s dead. I’ll never relinquish my own boundless contempt for Shakesville and Alas A Blog because I see them trivializing a horrifying psychiatric disorder that is already considered a joke among too many mental health providers. I am also one of “them” but they don’t speak for me. I find their safe spaces emotionally damaging, counterproductive toward recovery and easing re-traumatization and getting over it and shit.

I used to get triggered to where you couldn’t take me anywhere, diving under tables in restaurants and staying frozen under desks til the office cleared out, talking in a little baby voice or becoming violent and fighting with store clerks or some innocent who bumped me in passing. That’s PTSD. You lose the in between space that separates stimulus and response. Normally it’s stimulus>>thought>>response but when PTSD exists there’s nothing between the two, and there really needs to be; the ability to recognize and accurately perceive a stimulus is basic and that’s what PTSD ruins. When the stimulus/response is instantaneous, it’s impaired. People living with unresolved major trauma put current experience into the past and act as if a horrible thing is happening now and they don’t realize they’re doing this. They don’t know where they are. To be unable to tell when sounds/behaviors/facial expressions/and yes, words are a threat or benign is hell to live with, it needs to be repaired and there are ways of doing that.

Everyone I know who has sincerely worked on healing from trauma would laugh at the very fucking idea of a “safe space”, because number one we are beyond safe spaces, and second, trying to create a womblike social milieu promotes the continuing psychosis we’re trying to get over.

Recovery is about learning to discern the difference between a benign and threatening stimuli, and how to respond to each accordingly. This is broken in PTSD where everything is coming at you and all of it potentially threatening. Reactions to sounds, words, facial expressions, ringing phones and knocks on the door are often unpredictable, bizarre, disproportionate, hysterical, confusing, scary to experience and scary to witness, and come out of nowhere with a life of their own. The triggers are real, and the material being activated is meaningful, but it’s all happening inside, and that’s where the responsibility lies. Why is that so hard to grasp? I read those blogs and their trigger warnings and PTSD admonishments to everyone as if their speech is a factor in keeping the self-identified PTSD sufferer stable. Maybe the sufferer should be disturbed; PTSD is a serious mental illness.

Good therapy would have you re-engaging with life in all its noisome messiness and ambiguity, none of which carries a trigger warning. Being upset and staying with it. Building tolerance, getting stronger. But you have to pass through so much catastrophe without externalizing it, and that’s hard. Easier to say it’s you, Mencken, you’ve put me back in that horrible place I need to forget and you had better not ever do that again. But now I’ve abandoned me and made you the thing that needs attention. This is why I think what they do is so anti-therapeutic. Plus it’s lazy, no need for commitment to learning how to handle it, and the craziness is very difficult to overcome. The first step has to be in identifying who it belongs to, and I’ve yet to see an inkling of self-responsibility at those safe space blogs. It infuriates me that they’re so silly and superficial about what PTSD takes from people, and how they will ameliorate the damage with clever, wordy, linear debates about insensitive speech. I don’t see it. PTSD is a disorder, it creates disordered personalities, jumbled discourse, irrational paragraphs, regular meltdowns, if you have PTSD issues and you post regularly at a blog it’s going to show. They insult people who really do struggle with chronic re-traumatization by presenting themselves as what that looks like. And by arguing that recovery is about suppressing particular stimuli rather than confronting what it is that particular stimuli activates within. The triggers start something inside. We can ignore the words that started the process. It’s my mind at issue, not what goes on in yours. That is, if we’re talking about PTSD, which is totalizing. I don’t know what to make of it, certain female-oriented bloggers exploit a faddish disorder to legitimize garden variety irritants and use it to prop up their absolute moralism? Shocking.

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meansanta2Not another post about nuance! Yes and it all started when I heard benevolent superstar Jon Swift is offering exposure to his blogroll writers with another year-end round up of Best Posts Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves. Last year was a great success, providing hours of enjoyable reading and oodles of new visitors to the entrants’ blogs. This is not a contest, but an invitation for writers of all kinds who want a little more attention. I’m posting about it in the enduring hope of seeing psychiatric bloggers do more crossing-over into the wider progressive blogosphere. Of course you have to be on his blogroll, but since his blogroll is famous for being open to anyone I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t be on it.

I had little trouble choosing my own favorite post from this year’s slim pickens because I’m still pissed about that blogger from last year’s round-up who decided the most important post she wrote in 2007 was an injunction to readers to take their psychiatric meds. I don’t easily let go that sort of bullshit and it’s not because I’m against people taking psychotropic drugs. It was the compulsion to thrust her garbage onto the faceless reader as if the reader was any of her damn business, it’s that sort of foolishness gets stuck in my craw.

It looks like we’ve come full circle in one year’s time. These days the big drag in the psychosphere is seen in the browbeating of bloggers who actually do take their medication, to the consternation of antipsychiatry bullies who know for a fact that using meds does nothing but support corrupt big phRma. The DSM’s a bastard, mental illness a social construct, everybody hurts, but if you need a crutch there’s always B-Vitamins and Omega 3 fatty acid, looser! You may think this a caricature and sadly, so do I. But it’s for our own good, the twisted stigmatizing by double-talking activists who seem to think unvarnished contempt of their own (imagined) constituency is lost on anyone who believes other people’s choices are deserving of respect.

What are we to make of it? Unsolicited warnings about disabling side effects, but ZOMFG stopping drugs cold turkey without “tapering” will make you a school shooter, calling out fellow bloggers in a keyboard-pounding frenzy to justify their failure to denounce the modern tools of psychiatry, and without a single self-deprecating nod to their own fixation over this grave and pressing life and death matter.

One popular no-med blogger did just that to your shy and retiring flawedplan this year and thankfully I was able to maintain sufficient wit to persuade her to swiftly remove the nonsensical post but these displays of nerve can leave a chilling effect. And they’re accumulating, some phase, the pendulum swinging, whatever the reason, antipsychiatry abounds. Yes I know, google antipsychiatry and you’ll end up here, isn’t that ironic. Something’s gotta give.

Just this October while cleaning out my medicine cabinet I found a two year old bottle of un-opened Effexor and decided I’d take one a day to see what it did to my mind. First time I try psych drugs in over three years but can’t bring myself to share this experiment on my own damn blog because who wants to fight with competitive antipsychiatry ass berets? That’s fucked up . And more fool me, being so wilting lily sensitive but
when
I
can
I
will
so let the record show, Effexor kicked ass in the third week, got me talking to people, telling jokes, on the phone and off my computer, playing with kids, looking up at the sky above, cornbread moon and twinkly stars, take that, assholes! all very banal and run-of-the-mill, a mood elevator doing what it was designed to do, someone better call Ripley. But I dreaded the outcry — Placebo effect!— Uh huh, and it only took 32 trials with prior “placebos” til Effexor hit the sweet spot, what a mystery these dadgum sugar pills, 31 fakes til the real placebo kicks in.

Now, wait just a dadblasted minute. Did I not just say I’ve been off psych meds for three full years and now I’m going on about undergoing 32 drug trials? Which is it, what gives? I get these triumphant gotcha emails and don’t know what to make of them that seem to be saying “Come Clean!”

Because nothing says you’re filling a necessary void like an excruciatingly detailed exposition of your journey with psychotropic medications, therefore a blogger is beholden to describe her course in its entirety, stops and starts, gains and losses, why I changed my mind, then changed my mind again, til I came upon the final wisdom, whether from compliance to non-compliance or non-compliance to compliance and the road back to where I was before the meds destroyed my fill-in-the-blank, the fact of the matter is every veil that falls from my eyes will be validated by matching veils falling from your own. Or else.

Else what?

You can face the pathetic need to have complete strangers put their stamp on your own life choices or you can assume the identity of a pharmaceutical fetishist, choose to troll blogs, shut down discussion, expect everyone to be similarly obsessed with pharmaceuticals in a vain attempt to normalize batshit insanity by projecting your issues into the environment, which no one in the history of the world has ever tried before.

They’re out there. Trolls are meant to be smacked down, though I wouldn’t call them concern trolls, because they’re incapable of misrepresenting the concern part of the concern troll protocol. It seems more like a minority of angry antipsychiatry usurpers have united in an effort to seize the mental health discourse, make discussion ugly for any mental health blogger inclined to post about a casual relationship with said drugs and prescriber, who gives the topic due proportion, as an aside, one detail in a multi-faceted narrative. Not to mention any blogger who feels conflicted about using pharmaceuticals, you will watch your mouth or rue the day you turned off comment moderation.

Antidepressants aren’t that interesting, they are just the device in a battle of wills. It’s about control, over-powering the blight of personal sovereignty by those who feel personal sovereignty was stolen from them, and by the looks of things it was. But there has to be a way of reclaiming what’s yours without destroying the self-esteem of psychiatry’s willing guinea pigs as if their peace of mind is what’s wrong with this picture.

Perhaps I’ve gone far afield of the original subject, but it seemed some preamble was in order. I’ve come to realize that anticipating a jump to conclusions has become necessary in blogging and guess there’s nothing to be done for that but learn to address it in fewer words. I’ll aim high, meanwhile my favorite 2008 post at Writhe Safely remains this one, but I won’t submit that since it’s pure link love, I didn’t write anything. My own best typing in 2008 combines social criticism with personal confession (and if you think I exaggerate the violence of online antipsychiatry read that thread) but will submit this instead with a thought for public service. If you come away from that convinced of what I stand for you are privy to a truth that is not even in my own possession. Why would you want that responsibility? Just think about the post, not a bunch of interesting ideas about the person who wrote it.

Right now I am thinking of various mental health bloggers who deserve a wider audience. Here’s hoping half my blogroll makes an appearance in Jon Swift’s self-selected personal bests for Election Year 2008! I’ll be clicking along with my Christmas toddy, in solidarity, basking in the plenitude of complimentary hits.

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This summer it’s been living on the Outskirts of the Intranets since I found my library card, but have to mention a new toy making the scene; it’s a time-sink but beautiful, and about time. Just follow this link, cut, paste, Java does the work, you reap the warm inordinate glow of artistic accomplishment. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes, he says, though judging by the spellbinders my learning curve has hills to climb. But for now some thoughts inside my head are free. Sobering, yes I know.

they work best when you click them

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Welp, I’m back from my break. Feast your eyes to the right of this blog, after 3 months over-thinking how to set it up we now have a world of VODPOD, and I think it’s going to help. I’m just building the library now but once it holds a hundred or so clips will find a way to order the narrative so we can get lost for a day or two in there.

So what’s new? I took off a few weeks because I’ve been animated by a real serious project that I didn’t want to jinx by blogging about and since this project is uppermost in my mind found I couldn’t blog about anything until I feel secure it’s going to work out. I feel secure it’s going to work out and will explain everything tomorrow but as a tease will just share that due to this new and mysterious activity I am barred from employment at the United States Department of Justice. Of course since I live on Social Security and won’t be seeking fulltime employment any time soon, it’s only a symbolic gesture, but I am very flattered, Mr. Inspector General and will do my utmost to earn the distinction on your federal no-hire shit list. La!

I have to run now, iron my hat and polish my shoes so I can look victorious tomorrow during my special secret activity mission serving Amerikkka, but this Obama video making the news sure tickled me and I wanted to highlight the psychological two cents of his snarkiliciously broad and populist message. La la!

His top economic advisor

said the other day that

Americans should stop complaining; they’ve become a nation of whiners.

That all these

economic

problems everybody’s talkin about is just a

mental

recession.

And if you would just change your mind

everything’d be okay!

Somebody’s been laid off

Their plant’s closed or gone to

Mexico or China?

Change your mind!

It’s all good!

…True quote!!!

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I have been consumed with feline diabetes the last few days, as I should, it’s complex as it gets and the knowledge base as demanding as that of informed mental health patients. Angelbait will need me to test her glucose 4 times a day, before and after I give her the shots, that means pricking her ear and getting the reading on a monitor. She will need prescription food and I have to figure out how to do things like get the insulin from the vet to my house in 100 degree heat without a car, the insulin has to be kept refrigerated. This home-based disease management will cost about 150 a month, the only way that will work is if I quit smoking. And I have to figure out how to do all this when the legislature is in session, and bills are passed at 2 AM, when I’m at the Capitol 18 hours a day.

Sometimes the glass is half empty. I just found an Austin blogger who accuses my vet of killing 2 pets.

He killed my cat.

I don’t know if she’s right or wrong and based on her post, neither can you. All I know is Angelbait is in this same man’s hands, at that clinic still, right now, and I feel powerless. Am I? What would you do? I don’t know where to go from here. I talk to the vet, he says all the same stuff to me he said to this blogger, I went and saw X play last night and stopped crying for the first time since Sunday, thinking it’s going to be a long hard road, but if I keep my shit together Angel will make it. I can’t sleep from the hundreds of rules to learn and remember, and I stayed up to research the vet and found that post and this 2006 reprimand by the Licensing Board for violating the “PROFESSIONAL STANDARD OF HUMANE TREATMENT, by failing to begin treatment for Sarcoptic mites, even with an initial negative skin scrape when confronted with symptoms of crusty ears, generalized itching, non-responsive treatment protocols, and a human rash. Disciplinary Action: Informal Reprimand.”

Should I see red flags? Are reprimands common with vets who have been practicing long? All I know is he examined the older cat Kamikaze twice and agreed to let me administer the shots at home and he gives me a break on the price. I asked him 2 years ago if the cortisone would shorten Kami’s lifespan and he said “probably, yes, it’s likely. But it’s either that or letting her suffer like this.” His candor appealed to me, the Animal Trustees non-profit recommends him for low-income pet owners, he is a nice man, and with Angelbait he will allow me to do home-based glucose monitoring. That is a big plus in his favor, according to the progressive feline diabetes community.

I would be remiss to leave out the impact these readings are having on me. I read that post and disciplinary action and went into conversion disorder for the first time since I wrote about standing up and falling down on troublewaits. I would like people who don’t believe in mental illness to see what conversion disorder looks like, you fucks, and deal with the fact that it was a certified psychiatrist what taught me how to deal with it. (“Talk to people, express yourself; hysteria is caused by over-control and stoicism, which is contraindicated due to your trauma history”.)

Contraindicated: he was recommending I let myself fall apart, validating my craziness as the way things are supposed to be, bless you Dr. Oppressor. I’m calling him up inside my heart and going over the protocols for these times. He said you will probably have falling down spells for the rest of your life when overwhelmed by emotion and you will get through them because you have so far. I asked how I can *share* like a human being when my speech goes garbly and I drop for no apparent reason, how can I talk when I can’t form words. He put his thumb and forefinger together with a fraction of space between them and said “This is how much understanding you’ll find out there. But it’s either try or suffer in silence, and silence is why it’s happening.” He said at first the speech and falling down will be TEH SUCK, but “once you start talking everything smooths out.” I’m not telling you this to stick up for him, but to share my disdain with the antipsychiatry dickstains who feel welcomed here for some incomprehensible reason.

I have not followed my old shrink’s advice, am reclusive, have no one I am close to, the only person I talked to about Angelbait said I should prepare myself to put her down. Well-meaning betrayal stings less, but that friend is off my helplist. That’s how he escaped his certain fate, as luck would have it. I need help, some support or perspective.

UPDATE: I called the licensing board. My vet has 2 reprimands, one informal the other formal, only 2% of vets get reprimands of any kind. 98% do not get one. Angelbait is undergoing intensive regulation treatment, I asked the licensing board rep if moving her in the middle of the process would kill her. He couldn’t say. All my questions are unanswerable, I guess but they are warranted aren’t they. Should I call a philosopher?

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Sitting here thinking about the ways I’m fucked up, if I will stay in the house day after day like this til my real life starts when I lose 20 pounds, meanwhile Nick Lowe is playing at Antone’s THIS NIGHT, the beat poet Anne Waldman is giving a lecture at the Humanities Center THIS NIGHT, life passing me by because I’m too fat to partake of what the attractive people get. I know better. That only makes it worse. I’m fighting internally with the patriarchy, Mom, the social imperatives of other women who will judge me by the same standards, and I’m fighting against the entire fat pride blogosphere, which I refuse to read, because number one, I’m not THAT fat, no one is, and number two, I don’t want to be modified, intellectually, emotionally, physically in any way by anyone no matter how well-meaning. People are so glib about how change comes about. I know everything you’re going to teach me, we always do. Staying this way has to hurt more than the effort to change, the reward for staying the same has to turn into a punishment, it has to look like welcome relief, that’s what creates change. You can’t do it for someone else, not by kindness or threats. You’re gonna change or I’m agonna leave. Yeah, that’s original. When it comes to behavioral modification you can wait or make things worse. People would rather be directive, it makes them feel powerful and purposeful, but more than that, it’s hard to wait and watch someone self-destruct no matter how sacred it is to do no more than witness with complete conscious awareness of what is going to happen. Better to intervene, and right their your world. Who is the teacher, who is the student? Sit down and shut up. People who’ve been really in it are the only ones who know what it requires to get out. Me, I am nowhere near the mess I could be, better luck tomorrow.

I was rummaging around in an old file and found this scribble that I must have used to believe, whatever it means, still speaks to me, in the moment at least~

I am not gullible doesn’t mean I am not ideal-starved. I don’t idealize doesn’t mean it’s the default or something easy.

Nothing against people who are striving to be happy. I’m not a striver, don’t want to get in the way of my genuine experience, whatever it is. I experience everything I experience and without striving for something other, which would make me an ordinary self-alienated phony. Ordinary, no one wants to Be. Just be.

On what grounds? No one is free from correction. You need re-education, something to make you acceptable.

No, my experience is always appropriate, interesting and informative. Even this. Anemic. Fatuous. Hackneyed. Bumper sticker mentality.

Autonomy, differentiation as healthy and desirable, yes. Difference without resentment or loss of affection the ideal state that eludes us most of the time. I am not going to merge with people who need me to confirm them, their politics, their sloganeering, two can play at that. Be.

Would you tell Hitler to be himself?

Do you know the difference between being and doing?

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blogrollamnestydaycopy.jpg

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.”

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