Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Jon Swift Roundup 2016

(The Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves)

(Not one of Jon Swift's cat pictures, but appropriate for the year.)

Welcome to the 2016 edition! It's been a long and crazy year. This tradition was started by the late Jon Swift/Al Weisel, who left behind some excellent satire, but was also a nice guy and a strong supporter of small blogs. As Lance Mannion explains:

Our late and much missed comrade in blogging, journalist and writer Al Weisel, revered and admired across the bandwidth as the "reasonable conservative" blogger Modest Jon Swift, was a champion of the lesser known and little known bloggers working tirelessly in the shadows . . .

One of his projects was a year-end Blogger Round Up. Al/Jon asked bloggers far and wide, famous and in- and not at all, to submit a link to their favorite post of the past twelve months and then he sorted, compiled, blurbed, hyperlinked and posted them on his popular blog. His round-ups presented readers with a huge banquet table of links to work many of has had missed the first time around and brought those bloggers traffic and, more important, new readers they wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed.

It may not have been the most heroic endeavor, but it was kind and generous and a lot of us owe our continued presence in the blogging biz to Al.

Here's Jon/Al's 2007 and 2008 editions. Meanwhile, here are the revivals from 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

If you're not familiar with Al Weisel's work as Jon Swift, his site features a "best of" list in the left column.

Meanwhile, Blogroll Amnesty Day (cofounded by Jon Swift and skippy) is a celebration of small blogs coming up again the first weekend in February.

Thanks to all the participants, and apologies to anyone I missed. (As always, my goal is to find the right balance between inclusive and manageable.) You still can join in, by linking your post in the comments. Whether your post appears in the modest list below or not, feel free to tweet your best post with the hatchtag #jonswift2016.

A special thank you once again to DougJ and the crew at Balloon Juice for hosting an open thread to help folks self-nominate.

As in Jon/Al's 2008 roundup, submissions are listed roughly in the order they were received. As he wrote in that post:

I'm sure you'll be interested in seeing what your favorite bloggers think were their best posts of the year, but be sure to also visit some blogs you've never read before and leave a nice comment if you like what you see or, if you must, a polite demurral if you do not.

Without further ado:

World O' Crap
"Old Mutha Hubbard"
Scott Clevenger: "The Church of Scientology shuts down Hollywood Boulevard to stage a 21st Century Passion Play, starring Thor as Jesus, and featuring special guest villain Sasquatch."

[this space intentionally left blank]
Dallas Taylor: "In which I recount some of the worst things I've done to women and connect them to rape culture, in an attempt to make an opening for other men to do the same, as a way of confronting it on a larger, culture-wide scale. . . . Please include a trigger warning for survivors of sexual assault."

"Transformation and victory"
Infidel753: "America's turn against homophobia is one of the most dramatic cultural shifts in history – and this remains true despite the election result."

Tom Sullivan
"Outwit. Outlast. Outplay. Outorganize."
Tom Sullivan: "In July I argued that it is people with "energy and a fire in their guts that Democrats will need, not just for this coming election, but beyond...." Well, it's beyond, and we won't pull our fat out of the fire unless such people stay engaged, because you must be present to win."

Kathleen Maher's Pure Fiction
Kathleen Maher: "Jasper King, who's playing James Bond in a fictional reboot, visits Woodstock's alcoholic theater director to learn to mask his feelings for the 16-year-old nanny, Brooke Logan."

Strangely Blogged
"What if Facts Were True?"
Vixen Strangely: "We have been advised that the election of Donald Trump represents the initiation of a post-truth era, but I respectfully disagree and posit that facts matter."

The Way of Cats
"Do cats understand physics?"
Pamela Merritt: "A recent study records science being surprised that cats can demonstrate knowledge of physics principles. Cat Appreciators ask, 'Just where have you been?' "

David E's Fablog
"Special Victims Unit—Hold The Anchovies"
David E: "Looks like we’re not going to need Benson and Stabler to solve 'Pizzagate.' "

Show Me Progress
"Your $27.00 won’t get you into heaven anymore"
Michael Bersin: "The goings on at the Missouri Democratic Party Convention in Sedalia."

"Oh, A Weiss Guy, Eh?"
Dave Dugan: "A comic done in India ink and watercolor on handmade paper, 'The Personification and Assignation of an Egon Schiele Painting as Performed by The Inimitable David Bowie Under the Direction of the Marquis du Gan.' "

Pruning Shears
"Actually, make lots of noise. Make all the noise you can."
Dan: " 'Just shut up' is not good advice now, and it hasn't been in the past either."

" 'LA LA Land' Meets My Thomas Hardy's 'Lines on the Loss of the Titanic' "
Ellen O'Neill: "I had read that LA LA Land was a musical, but nothing more about it. Sometimes it's dangerous not knowing more about a film before you go and see it. . . . at least it led me back to a jazz arrangement of "Blackbird" I once recorded."

Kiko's House
"When Good Things Happen To Good People: How Tiny Eldred Beat Giant Nestlé"
Shaun D. Mullen: "We live in the age of the corporatocracy, and it is a strange time indeed. Corporations have gifted us an astonishing array of goods, but also have been agents for great harm. Often more powerful than the governments who are supposed to regulate them, corporations rule our lives in subtle but extraordinarily manipulative ways. While they can make our lives better, they also are able to destroy them."

Mister Tristan
"A State of Permanent War"
Gary, A Relative of Mister Tristan: "Suppose your family was decimated by a drone stoke. If you're a survivor, wouldn't you bear hatred in your heart forever for the U.S? We are creating terrorists faster than we can kill them. It's a failed approach.

Make Common Sense Common Again
"Race, History, and Political Affiliation"
John Sheirer: "Republicans love to claim that Democrats are racist, but their claim depends on a warped view of American history. The next time someone rants that, "Republicans freed the slaves, and Democrats founded the KKK," send the confused soul here."

Poor Impulse Control
"To Have Fun With Anyone"
Tata: "The Everyone Wins! Method"

"Sunday Morning Comin' Down: This Business We Call "Show" Edition"
driftglass: "After nearly twelve years of covering the Sunday Shows, I can say unequivocally the only thing that never changes is the indestructible Big Lie of Both Siderism: the Big Lie that makes all the little lies possible. Here is a pure, uncut, Walter White-grade sample."

Simply Left Behind
"A New Direction Home"
Carl (Actor212): "We need to raise an army to win the white working class vote. Top down won't cut it, we need trusted boots on the ground. Here's how."

First Draft
"Breitbart-Bannon-Bossie Man"
Peter Adrastos Athas: "A post I wrote kinda sorta channeling the spirit of Gore Vidal. B3 has become one of my catch phrases."

Mock Paper Scissors
"If Ifs and Ands Were Pots and Pans"
Tengrain: "After the election, a call to stop the circular firing squad and blaming each other, and to focus on the real problem: Trump in the White House."

"Prepositional Pet Peeve"
Brendan Keefe: "Another year of light blogging for me, but I'm passing this along (a) to see how many of the Jon Swift Memorial Roundup participants agree or disagree, and (b) if it's mostly "agree," to rally the troops!"

"An American President Paid a Ransom to Iran, But It Wasn't Barack Obama”
Jon Perr: "Some friendly advice for my Republican friends: If you want to criticize President Obama on anything having to do with Iran, don't waste your energy seething about "ransom" and "hostages" and what Ronald Reagan would do. It won't end well for you.

Another blog about school
"Dismantle the boxes"
Chris Liebig: "This year I got elected to the local school board and started a new blog (more boring, to outsiders, than my old blog) about local school issues. I chose this post, about our district's use of "seclusion enclosures" (a/k/a "time-out rooms" a/k/a "isolation boxes") as part of its behavior management repertoire, because I thought it might be relevant beyond just our district."

The Professional Left Podcast
"Episode 362: Recovering From the Shock"
Blue Gal/Fran: "Our podcast this week was released the day after the election. We need you listeners to hang in there and work! Love you! Stay strong. xoxo."

Gaius Publius
"America Meets Its Darkness: A Look at HBO's Westworld"
Gaius Publius: "America is having dark dreams about itself. Like Allen Ginsberg, we are watching, not just the best minds of this generation, but also the worst, "destroyed by madness," trapped in a world they can neither tolerate nor change. . . . Where do the American people go from here?"

Self-Styled Siren
"In Memoriam: The Ziegfeld Theater, 1969–2016"
Farran Nehme's memories of the Ziegfield and a theory about what killed it.

Empire of the Senseless
"Where's Your Fucking Apocalypse?"
Zombie Rotten McDonald: "Discussion of Trump visiting Wisconsin (not, as the media reported, Milwaukee where the rioting occurred about 40 minutes north) to sound off about Lawn Order and Those People."

Ramona's Voices
"When Maureen Dowd Lost Hillary Clinton"
Ramona Grigg "takes Maureen to task for creating a fictional character named Hillary Clinton, thus adding to the whole pre-election confusion. So far, no "my bad" from Mo."

The Rectification of Names
"Annals of derp: Is income inequality a deadly weapon?"
Yastreblyansky "tried to find something that was moderately punchy but not directly related to the presidential campaign, and came up with an Annals of Derp piece on economist James Pethokoukis getting all smug because he thought he had proof that income inequality doesn't raise the death rate. Spoiler: It does."

Mad Kane's Political Madness
"An Open 2-Verse Limerick To Donald Trump"
Madeleine Begun Kane: "My Open Limerick to Trump features behavior-improvement suggestions which he is sure to ignore."

Politics in the Zeros
"When Trump supporters become disillusioned, we should welcome them"
Bob Morris: "At the beginning of Watergate, few were openly opposed to Nixon. Many more thought he was a sleazy crook but that nothing could be done. Yet public opinion turned against and he was forced to resign.The same can happen to Trump."

A Little Rebellion
"Twas the Night Before a Trump Presidency"
Jean-Paul: "A little poem I wrote in my spare time."

The Debate Link
"Personal Responsibility and the Infantilization of the American Right"
David Schraub: "There has been one organizing feature of the American right's outlook towards this past election: It's not their fault. The infantilization of the American right allows them to shrug off responsibility and adopt a politics of ressentiment where they are only capable of reacting against this or that (real or imagined) progressive provocation."

Bark Bark Woof Woof
"Then What?"
Mustang Bobby: "Trump is picking people for his cabinet and senior staff with the sole intent of pissing off the establishment. He said he would do that, so yip yah. But then what?"

"You Might Notice a Trend"
"What If: Day One of a Trump Presidency"
Paul Wartenberg: "I wrote way back in February what it would look like if Trump somehow pulled off – what seemed at the time like a Nightmare How-The-Hell-Could-THAT-Happen Scenario – an Electoral College win, and the likely results of Trump's victory (HINT: major disasters ahead). I didn't think it COULD happen, but I worried that it MIGHT... and damn us all that it did. And it's turning out WORSE than I predicted. I made updates to the original entry to cover the post-election nightmare."

"Photo of the Day"
Melissa McEwan : "In which I saw an entire world inside a single, unremarkable photo of Hillary Clinton."

"Let's Just State it Plainly and Directly: President-elect Donald Trump is a Traitor"
Chauncey DeVega: "Plain facts. Donald Trump is a fascist and an authoritarian. Russia's interference with the 2016 presidential election—and the GOP's complicity with Trump—shows that he and they are traitors to the United States and the country's democratic traditions."

Doctor Cleveland
"Trump vs Hamilton"
Doctor Cleveland AKA Jim Marino: "compares the Hamilton musical's vision of America to Trump's (written 8 or 9 months before the Mike Pence visit to Broadway)."

Lotus – Surviving a Dark Time
"RIP: Dan Berrigan"
LarryE: "A eulogy for Dan Berrigan led to a few thoughts on why I am a pacifist and the need for nonviolence."

This Is So Gay
"Racism As We Know It Today"
Duncan Mitchel: "I'm not sure this is my best post of the year, but it's one of the most important. It's about the vital difference between empathy and approval, and the way that liberal Democrats and others are vindictively abandoning concern for economic justice."

"The Airing of Grievances: A Festivus wail"
Nancy Friedman: "An accounting of the ways in which advertising, marketing, and tech culture laid the groundwork for the disaster that was 2016."

"The Jester Speaks – Can Winston Smith?"
Thomas Thompson IV: "An excellent rebuttal to an open letter sent to the University of Virginia (UoV) president that they were "deeply offended" by her continued use of quotes by Thomas Jefferson, the founder of the University of Virginia in 1819."

Lance Mannion
"The Republican Gospel of Enforced Virtue"
Lance Mannion: "Happiness, even comfort, are to be found in the next world. In this world, you accept the lot God apportioned to you and are grateful for that. That God has contracted out the job of apportionment to the rich and their political toadies and henchmen is his business."

Bluestem Prairie
"Gazelka can't write 'Vote Trump' or club was gay, but insists we say 'radical Islamic terrorism' "
Sally Jo Sorensen: "With the Minnesota state senate flipping to the Republicans, but with the loss of the seat held by the minority leader, Gazelka is now Minnesota Majority Leader."

his vorpal sword
"The War At Christmas"
Hart Williams: "And all of them knew exactly how much everyone had spent, because EVERYONE had shopped at the same store. And, as he knew how much THEY had all spent in their war of Christmas attrition (hundreds of dollars apiece), they all knew how much HE had spent."

"The First Three Days of the Republican Convention"
Roy Edroso: "A prediction, and very close to reality in spirit, if more creative."

Balloon Juice
"Let Me Tell You Kids About the Legend of Shitmas 2016"
John Cole delivers a memorable tale that sums up 2016 pretty well.

Vagabond Scholar
Batocchio: "In one sense, Trump's nothing new in conservative and Republican politics – like many before him over the past 50-some years, he stands for bigotry and plutocracy – but he and his supporters have given an increased, starring role to spite."

Thanks again, folks. Happy blogging (and everything else) in 2017. (Vive la résistance!)


Vixen Strangely said...

As always, thank you for the opportunity to participate, and the promotion of such a diverse group of voices. This is always a highlight of the blogular year for me. Many thanks and congrats on another fine blog round-up.

Paul said...

Thank you as always for the links, Batocchio!

roy edroso said...

You're a mensch, Bat. Thanks for keeping the standard aloft, and for doing the yearly best-of these bloggers (present company excepted) deserve.

Ramona Grigg said...

My absolute favorite list of the year! Thank you SO much. What a fine bunch of participants. I'm honored to be included.

I'm off now to spread it far and wide. Or I'm just off. . .

No, the other. Pretty sure. <3

Labrys said...

Again, thanks for the attention! I am humbled by the company in which I find myself!

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Thanks so much for including me, once again. I look forward to reading what I'm sure are some great posts, and I appreciate all the hard work you put into creating this post.

Tata said...

Thank you for including me, Batocchio! This round up looks great!

ed waldo (Hart Williams) said...

Thank you for including me, Batocchio. Writing was slow this year. Mostly because my fists were clenched in rage through most of it.

Adrastos said...

Thanks for the shout-out. I'm honored.

bjkeefe said...

Thanks once again for doing this once again, Bat!

Lots of new (to me) blogs in the list. I'm looking forward to some hours of fine reading to start off the new year.

Kevin Robbins said...

Wonderful list, Batocchio. I'm looking forward to reading many of the entries. I have limited time online, but a year to work through them.

Since the invite was extended, I'll put up an entry from my own corner of the web and not feel blogwhorish about it.

Thank you for all you do in putting this together.

Batocchio said...

Thanks, Kevin! If you e-mail me your address (click my name or the profile pic on the home page), I'll add you to the list for next time.

D. said...

I noticed this morning (!) that Blogroll Amnesty Day hasn't happened yet.

(Yes, I dropped a comment at skippy's.)

I've been remiss in linking to new small blogs, but Walk On has birthed Colorblind Christians.

Still trying to get a handle on this year.

Batocchio said...

Thanks for the reminder, D!