Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Jon Swift Roundup 2020

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

(A Jon Swift picture that captures the spirit of 2020.)

Welcome to the 2020 edition. This year was much, much more eventful than most of us would have liked.

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 2010–2019 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, and apologies to anyone I missed. (As always, my goal is to find the right balance between inclusive and manageable.) Special thanks to DougJ at Balloon Juice for hosting a submissions thread. 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 #jonswift2020.

This has been a rough year for many of us, and in addition to the usual political insights, this year's crop of posts features a number of personal reflections and remembrances. 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:

Mock, Paper, Scissors
"October Surprised"
Tengrain: "This post showed the intersection of the 2020 Election and pandemic news as the story was breaking fast that Prznint Stupid had caught the disease that he refused to deal with. Karma is a bitch."

You Might Notice a Trend
"What If: Think Of the Future Heading Into Bidenworld"
Paul Wartenberg: "Musing over what needs doing when Biden enters the Presidency, and the potential damage trump and McConnell will throw up to obstruct Biden's rebuilding efforts."

The Rude Pundit
"Oh, Fuck You, Trump Voters. Just Fuck You"
Lee Papa: "The stupidity of Trump voters is wrecking the country, and they should never be forgiven for that."

The Rectification of Names
"A Senate Trial"
Yastreblyansky: "It seems so long ago that Donald Trump was sort of tried for his crimes of attempted bribery and obstruction of Congress and sort of acquitted that we can look back on it almost with nostalgia. My reaction was a 1930s song parody ("A Fine Romance") that didn't get a lot of attention at the time, but I think it was pretty good, plus there's video of Ginger and Fred."

This Is So Gay
"Scripture and Karen Armstrong"
Duncan Mitchel: " Karen Armstrong is a best-selling popularizer of an ecumenical, pan-denominational American style of religion. It may be less socially harmful than some varieties, but it's still wrong."

Just an Earthbound Misfit, I
Comrade Misfit: "Musings on why I will never again vote for a Republican."

Brilliant at Breakfast Rebooted
"What will American society look like when this is over?"
Jill: " COVID first wave musings on what "new normal" will look like in post-pandemic America."

Poor Impulse Control
"Underneath A Red Moon"
Tata: "Get yourself some stamps and get in touch with the people who know you for the giant doofus you are: your actual friends."

The Way of Cats
"The Rescue Imperative"
Pamela Merritt: "A random event led to me adopting two feral kitten brothers. I explain it was because I followed a Law of the Universe: The Rescue Imperative."

his vorpal sword
"The Festival of Mendacity™ — Law & Order Edition"
Hart Williams: "Anti-intellectualism threatens the very soul of our democracy: describing (presciently, as it turns out) the fall campaign and the modern GOP by looking at their bizarro-world "convention" – including Matt Gaetz modeling for a DEVO album cover."

David E's Fablog
"The Biggest Loser and His Lawn Jockey Twins"
David Ehrenstein

Show Me Progress
" Edited for Accuracy*"
Michael Bersin: "Nine months later – nothing has changed."

"What I love about the Democratic Party"
bluzdude: "In response to a Republican meme intimating that the only thing Democrats have going for them is the hatred of Trump, I wrote a post listing the myriad of reasons I love the Democratic Party."

Lotus – Surviving a Dark Time
"Death in the time of COVID-19 is different"
Larry Erickson: "My usual pieces report on or analyze some public issue, but something happened in the spring that caused me to write something very personal. I don't know if it's my best of the year, but it's the one means the most to me."

[this space intentionally left blank]
"Shit Mountain Blues: Anti-masking, Open Carry, and the Right to Do Harm"
Dallas Taylor: "How is refusing to mask like open carrying a long gun? Both are assertions of a positive right to do harm, both an affirmation of hierarchical power and a desperate attempt to preserve it in the face of the long arc of history. Neither is doing anyone any good."

Strangely Blogged
We've Seen This Before
Vixen Strangely: "Trump and friends might find their little "coincidences" funny, but I'm not laughing."

The two nations and the new migratory politics
Infidel753: "The United States has become two mutually-hostile nations. The solution is not political separatism, but colonization."

Hysterical Raisins
Corned Beef and Cabbage
nonnie9999: "This is not the snark I usually write. Instead, it is a tribute to my mom and the post dearest to my heart."

"Why I See Kamala's Racial Attack on Joe as a Positive Seminal Moment for Our Country"
Annie: "Many people (myself included) were offended when Kamala Harris attacked Joe Biden during the first Presidential debate for his position on school integration decades earlier. I believe Biden's selecting her as his running mate—and her acceptance—demonstrate fine qualities about them both and bode well for our nation."

"The Songs Our Mothers Sang to Us"
Ellen O'Neill: " Yoko Ono told an extremely moving story on Desert Island Discs about her mother in crisis and a song she taught Yoko as a child. My mom taught me the same song, Seems unlikely, but music unites the world. Plus a fabulous rendition by Linda Rondstat and the Muppets.

First Draft
"If Life Were a Capra Movie"
Peter Adrastos Athas: "A Trump removal/impeachment trial reverie."

God's Spies
" '95% Effective' May Not Mean What You Think It Means"
Thomas Neuburger (Gaius Publius as was): " Excessive haste could have fatal consequences, since public trust and wide vaccination are the only ways any vaccine, even the best ones, can work."

World O' Crap
"The Masque of the Orange Death"
Scott Clevenger: "Meet Henry Tifft Gage, the wildly petty and incompetent California governor who showed Donald Trump how to bobble a plague."

"The Reagan Revolution at 40: Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!"
driftglass: "The ruin you see all around you is not because we're four years into the Trump administration. It's because we're 40 years into the Reagan Revolution."

The Professional Left Podcast
"Ep 577: Political University #6 – Define The 'Center' "
Blue Gal chose this episode of her podcast with Driftglass: "Just because Steve Schmidt registered as a Democrat (Welcome to the party, pal!) does NOT make him a "Centrist." We don't let the Right decide what is center, American, or reasonable any more after Donald Trump, period. Also, we are noted experts on the use of the eff bomb."

"You Can't Put a Mask on My Liberty"
Jon Perr: "My personal law firm of Mr. AR and Mr. Glock are all I need to know my constitutional rights. That means no waiting to get into your store, no keeping six feet away from anyone else and, for damn sure, no face mask."

Balloon Juice
"Pandemic Paranoia Open Thread: Presenting the 'New' Wuhan Coronovirus"
Balloon Juice readers nominated Anne Laurie's series of COVID-19 posts, which started with this one.

Bark Bark Woof Woof
"Philip Williams 1926–2020"
Mustang Bobby: "A tribute to my father who died on May 25, 2020 at the age of 93, due to Covid-19. He loved his family and his four children, and as my mom wrote to us, 'please keep his memory enshrined by going forward as he would have you do... giving back and making sure that wherever you are you’re not just sitting, but marching.' "

The New World
"Randy Newman and the Golden Horde"
Gary Koutnik: " 'The New World' began in April as a project to give me something to do, and keep me writing, during what was shaping up to be a very long and strict quarantine (70 y.o., hypertension, etc.). It's thoughts and speculations about what the new world might be like – the world after the pandemic is all over. I began by comparing our journey through the pandemic to Columbus' journey in 1492, and came back to that analogy many times (but not in this post)."

Battle Born Econ
"The Invisible Hand is Wearing PPE"
BattleBornEcon: "My goal as a blogger is to apply my economics background to help people who don't have that understanding grasp what's going on and why. This post is my best example of that. I break down the basics of game theory for a lay audience and relate that to our current COVID reality to explain exactly what we've been seeing since this post was published in May."

The Debate Link
"The Cycle of Republican Acquiescence to Authoritarianism"
David Schraub: "For every GOP lurch towards authoritarianism, a predictable pattern emerges. Prior to the fact, Republican apologists are appalled that anyone would suggest they'd do something so outrageous. Then Trump supports the authoritarian, and Republicans are put in a position of opposing their leader. Then it becomes plausible that the step would succeed, and Republicans are tempted by the allure of ill-gotten authoritarian power. Then they acquiesce. And then the cycle restarts."

Mark Painter
"Chadwick Boseman and Black Panther"
Mark Painter: "My thoughts on the passing of Chadwick Boseman and the meaning of Black Panther to white people."

Bluestem Prairie
"Baldurshof: Third Hof of the Asatru Folk Assembly setting up in Murdock, Minnesota"
Sally Jo Sorensen: "After a tip from a reader in tiny Murdock, Minnesota, I broke the story of a white supremacist pagan band, deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, establishing a little hof on the prairie. The ongoing saga drew national media attention."

Mad Kane's Political Madness
"Non-Deal-Maker-In-Chief (2-Verse Limerick)"
Madeleine Begun Kane: "My 2-verse limerick about Trump's belated interest in the Covid Relief Bill."

Lance Mannion
"Joe among the poets"
Lance Mannion: "Where Joe Biden, Seamus Heaney, Thomas Hardy, and I meet. "So we go back emptied,/ to nourish and resist/ the words of coming to rest:// "birthplace, roofbeam, whitewash,/ flagstone, hearth,/ like unstacked iron weights// afloat among galaxies."

Roy Edroso Breaks It Down
Hillbilly Effigy
Roy Edroso: "Sometimes a movie is so bad it can only be reviewed as a parody."

Vagabond Scholar
"Punishment Conservatives"
Batocchio: " 'Law and order' conservatives don't really support the law, due process or civil rights. They just want to see the people they hate punished."

Thanks again, folks. Happy blogging and everything else in 2021, which we can hope is a happier year.


Tengrain said...

Thank you for keeping this tradition alive Batocchio, it always introduces me to (new to me) new voices.

Labor of love and all that, but still: take a bow!

Best regards,


Paul said...

Many thanks, Batocchio, not only for adding my blog but for your work in sharing and promoting all these other active blogs that are voices calling for hope and better days ahead.

nonnie9999 said...

In this Bizarro world we are now living in, how nice for the sliver of normalcy this continuation of a wonderful tradition brings. Thank you, Batocchio. I will read every post. Thank you for including me.

Wishing you and all your readers and their loved ones good health and hopes for better times ahead.

Comrade Misfit said...

Thank you for doing this each year.

Comrade Misfit said...

Thank you for doing this each year.

Annie said...

This is such a lovely tradition! I am very pleased to be a part of it —and grateful to you for for the time and dedication you devote to keep it going.

I wish a better 2021 to us all.


ed waldo (Hart Williams) said...

Thank you Batocchio for keeping this alive.

roy edroso said...

Thanks, Bat. The world ought to hear voices like these more -- they might learn something, not least that there are people in that world whose thoughts resonate with theirs, and the cookie-cutter information factories are not all there is.

Pinku-Sensei said...

Paul Wartenberg of You Might Notice A Trend suggested that I submit an entry to you a couple of years ago, but I never followed through. Nonnie9999 suggested that, even though you compiled and posted already, that I should still submit a late entry. Here it is, 'Star Wars' political parodies for Star Wars Day in an election year.

"Happy Star Wars Day and May the Fourth be with you! For today's cosmic cinematic celebration, I am shifting gears because it's an election year to present a post in the spirit of Darth Vader for President and other entertainment leftovers, Chewbacca arrested as Darth Vader campaigns for Mayor of Odessa, Ukraine, Darth Trump, Obi-Wan Kenobi for President and Darth Vader beats Trump but not Clinton, Darth Trump strikes back as The Farce awakens, Silly candidates, real and fictional, for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, and 'Star Wars' attack ads — wow, I've posted a lot of Star Wars political content over the years — I'm sharing Star-Wars-themed political parodies for the 2020 election."

Batocchio said...

Hi Pinku-Sensei, thanks for participating. If you send me your e-mail address, I'll add you to the list for next year. If you click my Blogger profile, there's a link with my e-mail address. Thanks.