Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Jon Swift Roundup 2018

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

(A Jon Swift lolcat.)

Welcome to the 2018 edition! I hope this year ends on a hopeful note.

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 usual, I'll quote Lance Mannion, who nicely 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 massive 2007 and 2008 editions (via the Wayback Machine). Meanwhile, our more modest revivals from 2010–2017 can be found here.

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

Thanks to all the participants, to Balloon Juice for hosting a self-nomination thread again, 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 #jonswift2018.

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:

The Professional Left Podcast/Blue Gal
"Special Pre-Election 'Both Sides Don't' Podcast"
Blue Gal: "For our episode right before the midterms, we read out a list of the things "both sides don't" do. It's a really good introduction to our podcast for first-time listeners, too."

The Rectification of Names
"Literary Corner: Particular Vernacular"
Yastreblyansky: "A song about Donald Trump, using the rhyme scheme and meter (paeonic tetrameter!) of "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General". Everybody sing along!"

Bark Bark Woof Woof
"Sunday Reading – Allen’s Big Adventure"
Mustang Bobby: "A love note to my sweetheart."

Kiko's House
"What Will Trump Do When The Alternative To The White House Is The Big House?"
Shaun D. Mullen: "The Founding Fathers worried from the jump that there would be attempts to subvert the infant American democracy. What they did not foresee in their bewigged wisdom was a batshit crazy real estate developer and reality TV star with evil in his heart and nothing between his ears conspiring with America's greatest enemy to steal the presidency and then cement his primacy by installing nose rings in more-than-willing Republicans."

David E's Fablog
"The Second Amendment Solution"
David Ehrenstein: "I did this about the Parkland massacre."

Poor Impulse Control
"Hours In An Offhand Way"
Tata: "A region's disaster can be one person's art supplies."

Lotus – Surviving a Dark Time
"What's Left Special Report: Guns"
LarryE: "I largely took a break from political blogging in 2018, but did do one of significance at the request of the director of the community cable TV outlet where I work. He wanted something to address the issue of guns in the US and insisted I was the one to do it. So I did."

You Might Notice a Trend
Paul Wartenberg: "GODDAMMIT WE ARE KILLING INNOCENT CHILDREN IN THESE CONCENTRATION CAMPS ALONG THE BORDER. Thousands of children placed in baby jails, forced to live in tent cities in abysmal weather. WE SHOULD BE MARCHING EVERY HOUR OF EVERY DAY TO END THIS NIGHTMARE."

Strangely Blogged
"Die Geister, die ich rief"
Vixen Strangely: "This post examines the persistence of racism in American culture, the danger of employing racist tropes in political rhetoric, and how Donald Trump is unfit for calling up specters that encourage indefensible acts that he cannot wholly condemn, because he can not wholly own the damage of his words."

Mock, Paper, Scissors
"Unite the White and NPR"
Tengrain: "The press does not usually give valuable airtime to every racist crank from Possum Hollar who can fill out a National Park Service application for a rally, but for some reason, NPR decided to do exactly that."

"On Mike Pence's Destructive Ambition"
Melissa McEwan: "Vice-President Mike Pence is the proverbial one heartbeat away from the presidency, which he has ruthlessly pursued his entire adult life. And yet, even as Donald Trump's presidency is increasingly imperiled, Pence thrives in the inattention of a political press which continues to resist the close scrutiny of his corrupt past that it so urgently deserves."

Show Me Progress
"Be the badass on the right"
Michael Bersin: "In the late afternoon of June 29, 2018 at a Kansas City rally in support of Muslims, Immigrants, & Refugees a young woman with poster board and a marker took it upon herself to peacefully confront a right wingnut counter protester."

Darwinfish 2
"The GOP Playbook: A Study in Attaining and Maintaining Power"
Bluzdude: "How the GOP seized power and endeavors to keep it, and how The Resistance needs to use their own methods to seize it back."

his vorpal sword
"The Monster Tu Quoque Stalks the Land"
Hart Williams: "The common political "excuse" that drives policy that no mother who ever lived ever bought, or ...Donner party! Table for four! Donner party! Er ... table for three!"

The Brad Blog
"Indictment of Sitting President May Be 'Only' Means to Ensure 'Equal Justice Under Law' "
Ernest A. Canning: "Legal scholars find DoJ opinion fails to consider Constitutional measure for Executive Branch continuity during a President's criminal trial..."

"Inexorable evolution"
Infidel753: "Why are Trumpanzees so angry and resentful when they got their wish with Trump and the Republicans in power? It's because what really upsets them is cultural changes which are mostly immune from politics."

"Today In Both Sides Do It: Advice From The New York Times On The Proper Use Of 'Fuck' "
driftglass: "In the early days of Liberal blogging (when everything was made of wood and Haloscan walked the Earth) when the GOP got into extinction-level trouble and Liberal voices threatened to break through to the mainstream, the Beltway would dispatch a special enforcement squad known as the "Tone Police" to explain that the real problem was Liberals using intemperate language. Nothing has changed."

First Draft
"White Girl, White Lies"
Peter Adrastos Athas: "Hope Hicks leaves the White House. Hilarity ensues."

Brilliant at Breakfast Rebooted
"On being a secular Jew in neo-Nazi-ascendant America"
Jill: "The rise of neo-Naziism in the US in the age of Trump requires some soul-searching among secular Jews who are not Zionists and don't practice the religion of their forebears, but still strongly identify as Jewish."

"I pretty much never watch videos anymore, and this one sums up why"
Brendan Keefe: "Sums up a gripe of mine with today's Web: Please, don't make me watch. Let me read."

"The Budget Reform America Needs Most? Government Rate-Setting for Health Care"
Jon Perr: "The biggest driver of America’s long-term debt is the growing cost of health care. The remedy is for the United States—at long last—to join the vast majority of its economic competitors by having the government set the prices for drugs, tests, doctor's visits, hospitalization, surgical procedures, and just about every aspect of health care."

Spocko's Brain
"Watch The Sexy Spy, But Follow The Rubles To NRA’s GOP Campaigns"
Spocko: "There was a long-term, multimillion dollar plan by the Russians to interfere with our elections and the NRA was an eager and willful participant. But it was a boring story for the media until sexy Russian Maria Butina was arrested. Watch this short video to see all NRA execs and GOP politicians who should be in jail with her."

The Debate Link
"What We Put There Ourselves"
David Schraub: "The great philosopher Richard Rorty taught us that there is nothing deep down inside us but what we put there ourselves. We can say that banning Muslims or caging refugees is not "who we are", but the fact is – it is who we are. We put it there ourselves. And if we don't like what is indeed inside us, then it is up to us to put something else there."

Self-Styled Siren
"Anecdote of the Week: 'She hated him.' "
The Siren offers an intriguing look at actress Jennifer Jones and her relationship with producer David O. Selznick.

Just an Earth-Bound Misfit, I
"His Bone Spurs Were Acting Up"
Comrade Misfit: "How Trump and Xi are marching the world into another major war."

Way of Cats
"Where the movie starts"
Pamela Merritt: "We don’t have to adopt our cat as a kitten to have a great relationship, any more than we have to meet all our future friends in kindergarten. We can adopt a cat at any age, get to know them, and love them just the same."

Doctor Cleveland
"I Am Part of the Resistance Inside King Lear's Court"
Doctor Cleveland AKA Jim Marino: "A parody mashing of the Washington Post's anonymous "Resistance Inside the Trump White House" op-ed with Shakespeare's King Lear."

Gaius Publius
"There Will Be No Chinese Century"
Gaius Publius: "I can't imagine why people who look into the future, seeing better smart phones, smarter door locks, driverless cars, the next big thing only bigger, don't see this, don't factor in the tsunami that even now wets their faces. But it's clear they don't."

[this space intentionally left blank]
"An Open Letter to David Meinert"
Dallas Taylor: "In the summer of 2018, Seattle impresario/person of consequence David Meinert had his #metoo moment, which he vigorously fought back against. In response, I wrote this open letter, hoping it might help him see past his reflexive defensiveness and engage thoughtfully with his past behavior and the present moment."

M.A. Peel
"The Centenary of the Armistice: A Personal Cycle Closes and a Gash that Never Heals"
Ellen O'Neill: "The world recognized the centenary of the end of World War l on November 11, 2018. I became interested in WW1 in high school through T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom, and felt connected to the centenary lo these decades later."

The Steel Pen
"Warrington & Co.: 1865–1885"
AAAndrew, aka Andrew Midkiff: "My blog captures the lost history of an American industry: the steel dip pen. In between quills and fountain pens, for almost 100 years the steel dip pen was the primary means of putting ink to paper, and no one has ever gathered the history of these manufacturers until now. This post is a good example post and captures one of the first makers to emerge out of the second industrial revolution in the US."

World O’ Crap
"Dungeons & Dragons"
Scott Clevenger: "Scott takes the Better Living Through Bad Movies approach to the this timely epic which eerily predicted both the George W. Bush and Trump administrations with its focus on slimey reptiles, overpriced real estate, do-nothing legislatures, ambitious Veeps, shameless thieves, bald henchmen, lazy Chosen Ones who seem to think the Elves owe him universal health care, and kick-ass ladies who can’t even with your shit."

"In No Position to Make Demands"
Roy Edroso: "I covered all the hot topics during the course of the year, but most of them, even when treated with humor, are at least somewhat depressing because they chronicle the decline of a once-great nation. So I choose to be represented instead by one of my rare moments of uplift, a moment when a lot of people realized they don’t have to tolerate jerks like Alex Jones on bogus “free speech” or any other grounds: “….[guys like Jones are] so accustomed to bullying cowards like the New York Times editorial board that they think, in any situation, all they have to do is yell YOU'RE DEPLATFORMING ME like Rudd yelling 'Diplomatic immunity' in Lethal Weapon 2 and they'll get what they want. Guess what, guys: Revoked."

Mad Kane's Political Madness
"Our Shocking News"
Madeleine Begun Kane: "A two-verse limerick summing up the latest in the Trump Horror Show. (It includes a short audio clip of me reading my limerick.)"

Lance Mannion
"Of Pop Mannion, Mrs M, spinach pasta, and the persistence of memory"
Lance Mannion: "A story from a very hard year with a sad part, a funny part, and a happy part."

This Is So Gay
"Kindness Is Not Enough"
Duncan Mitchel: " Inspired by the recent excellent documentary "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" This is why I think that adult fans of Mr. Rogers's Neighborhood are misusing his program and dishonoring his legacy."

Bluestem Prairie
"On Labor Day, Wardlow promises to be ally for workers; in MNHouse authored right-to-work bill"
Sally Jo Sorensen: "While most of the media in Minnesota covering the state attorney general's race were still focused on Keith Ellison's past romantic breakup, I turned instead to scrutinizing the record of Republican opponent one-term state House wonder Doug Wardlow. Having just reviewed the bills he sponsored—topped by a bill to make Minnesota a right-to-work state, I was astonished to read Wardlow's pledge of support on Facebook: 'As Attorney General, I will always be an ally for Minnesota workers.' "

Schroedinger's Cat
"Happy 4th"
schroedinger's cat: "4th of July, 2017 was the anniversary of my first day as a citizen of the United States. In this post, I recount my memories of the citizenship ceremony at the Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts."

Vagabond Scholar
"What's to Be Done About Conservatives?"
Batocchio: "An attempt to assess American conservatives and the Republican Party in some depth. Spoiler: they're awful."

Thanks again, folks. Happy blogging (and everything else) in 2019. (Vive la résistance!)


Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Thanks as always for including my latest limerick and for doing such a great job with this post and throughout the year!

Vixen Strangely said...

As always, thanks so much for this year-end labor of blog-love! Thanks for including me, also. It is always a pleasure to see the works of so many bloggers together in this way, as a recap of the year, and as a selection of compelling and diverse voices.

Shaun Mullen said...

Thank you! And may Al rest in peace.

Heywood J. said...

Late entry -- I did two lightly fictionalized accounts of the so-called Singapore Summit, back in the summer, one from our Clown In Thief's point of view, and one from Kim Jong Un's. Both very different in tone and approach.

Just Us League

Rising Son

I hope people enjoy these, they were a great deal of fun to write.
Heywood J.
Hammer of the Blogs

Paul said...

As always, thank you boss! - Paul W.