Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Jon Swift Roundup 2021

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

( An appropriate Jon Swift picture for the year.)

Welcome to the 2021 edition! This year was a little saner than 2020, at least.

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.

Lance Mannion, who sadly passed away earlier this year, provided the definitive description of our endeavor:

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 2010–2020 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.

Meanwhile, if you're not familiar with Lance Mannion, the (the nom du blog for David Reilly), it's well worth checking out his work. He was a thoughtful writer who covered politics, but also wrote often about books, movies, culture in general, history and his own life. His observations were insightful and grounded in humanity. A good starting point might be his lovely post, "Robin's Last Arrow," which was read at his memorial service.

I should also mention the passing of Mike Finnigan, who was a champion of small blogs at Crooks and Liars and promoted this roundup in both its incarnations. He was a friend to many of us.

In that spirit, 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 #jonswift2021.

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:

Bark Bark Woof Woof
"Not Just Sitting, But Marching"
Mustang Bobby: "Remembering my father and his legacy. He died from Covid-19 on May 25, 2020. His ashes were interred in Northport, Michigan on what would have been his 95th birthday."

Show Me Progress
"Johnson County Community Health Services – Board of Trustees – August 2, 2021 – This is why we can’t have nice things"
Michael Bersin: "Images and audio from a county health board meeting in an anti-mask, anti-vaccine hotspot in Missouri. I don’t know what upset me more – that I was, in all probability, at risk for exposure to COVID-19 or that my IQ probably dropped forty points after listening to their tiresome luddite anti-science drivel."

Constant Commoner
"Love, Light, and Atheism"
Ramona Grigg: "We're not the doomed or the damned, we just don't believe in your gods. A case for reaching an understanding."

Mock Paper Scissors
"HR-1 Passed, Now It Goes To The Senate!"
Tengrain: "We had a lot of optimism and momentum in March; what a difference a Manchin makes. Also, I think this is the start of the new MPS nickname for the Republicans: The Coup Klux Klan!"

Self-Styled Siren
"Box Office Blues: Marty Was Right"
Farran Smith Nehme: "Looking at box-office trends from the 1920s to the present, in an attempt to figure out what the hell happened."

Brilliant at Breakfast Rebooted
"What should be the limits on our compassion?"
Jill: "Jill ponders the deaths of those who refused the COVID-19 vaccines out of ignorance, willfully believing misinformation, or just plain political partisanship, and wonders just how much compassion we should have for these people."

Just an Earth-Bound Misfit, I
"A Sincere Greeting to Everyone Who Has Chosen to Not Be Vaccinated Against the Coronavirus"
Comrade Misfit: "The post addresses the spread of the Delta variant (or, if you prefer, the Darwin variant) among the unvaccinated."

"If it Weren't for Double Standards, They'd have None at All"
Bluzdude: "Illustrating the double standards of modern Republicans, debunking memes on gas prices and alleged Socialism, and a Dad Story."

Hysterical Raisins
"Cheney Leaves the House of Twitler"
nonnie9999: "With apologies to Peter Paul Rubens, I have reworked his painting of Hagar Leaves the House of Abraham to illustrate the unceremonious ousting of Liz Cheney from the GOP House leadership by Kevin "Shecky" McCarthy and his embrace and promotion of Elise "The Little Slurmaid" Stefanik."

The Professional Left Podcast
"Ep 585: The Second Impeachment Trial"
The Professional Left Podcast with Driftglass and Blue Gal: We talk about the second impeachment of Donald Trump and I make an impassioned case for moving very quickly on the Democratic agenda. Plus I do a "Bible Bitch" segment."

his vorpal sword
"Beware the False Kumbaya"
Hart Williams: " Successfully (alas) predicted the increasing polarization of the past year, and explains why it will continue. It was a dire warning then; it is an urgent warning now."

David E's Fablog
"The Crying Game"
David E: "Not since Margaret O’Brien turned on the tears in Meet Me in St. Louis has the American public ever seen anything like the blubberfest provided by freelance murderer Kyle Rittenhouse at his trial in Kenosha Wisconsin."

You Might Notice a Trend
Paul Wartenberg: "Trump's electoral loss in 2020 did not end the madness driving the Republican Party into abandoning all civility and love for the United States."

First Draft
"Owning The Commies With John Neely Kennedy"
Peter Adrastos Athas: "Louisiana Senator John Neely Kennedy is not an idiot, he just plays one on television."

Strangely Blogged
"Does it Work on Brain Worms?"
Vixen Strangely: "One Weird Trick is no substitute for good science."

The Rectification of Names
"The Art of the Impossible"
Yastreblyansky: "I've spent a lot of blog time this difficult year trying to come up with ways of expressing a little hope for the political future, with respect to what the Biden administration is and isn't going to be able to accomplish, without sounding too stupid. This one from November may come close."

"The politicizing of everyday things"
Infidel753: "The left is self-destructing by embracing bizarre fringe positions which are repugnant to mainstream voters. These issues superficially seem trivial, but in fact are not, because they represent a threatening intrusion of ideology into everyday life, eclipsing the "big" issues that political activists imagine are more important. The US left's refusal to confront and address this problem makes it likely that Republicans will win the next few election cycles, creating an enormous danger to the country. This is definitely the most important political post I've written, and will probably be the last."

"I Wasn't Being Condescending. I Was Being Patronizing."
driftglass: "Honestly, being scolded about the harm my tone is doing and the need for us Lefties to temper our language by the same goofs who made a living for decades calling us everything but a child of God never stops being funny."

"It's Not True and You Know It's Not True"
Jon Perr: "History will record that on January 6, 2021, the President of the United States, 140 Republican House members and a dozen GOP Senators sought to overturn the results of the free and fair vote of the American people. But how these Republicans would seek to deny the will of the voters and trigger a failed insurrection in the Capitol—through the propagation and perpetuation of a disgusting lie—should have been clear years ago."

"Winning Over White Supremacists One Hater at a Time"
Annie: "I write about politics a great deal, and doing so is often depressing. But when I learned about the individuals and organizations featured in this post, I felt a sense of hope for our battered nation that I felt was worth sharing."

The Rude Pundit
"Why We're So Fucking Angry at the Unvaccinated"
Lee Papa (the Rude Pundit): "We're trying to save your dumb asses by getting vaccinated. And we're sick of you not helping."

The Debate Link
"Reflections on Being Victim of a Scam"
David Schraub: "I was the victim of a scam earlier this year. As scams go, mine was comparatively minor – it only involved Lego sets. But my reaction to it – in particular my powerful instinct to stay in denial even once the scam became obvious – gave me new insight into other people who've bought into far more serious scams; specifically, political scams. In politics just as much as in online shopping, it is a terrible and difficult thing to accept that the goods you bought will never be shipped."

Lotus – Surviving a Dark Time
"On January 6"
LarryE, aka Whoviating: "Reactions to January 6 written a day or two after the event."

Bluestem Prairie
"State rep Tim Miller: MN state public officials beholden to radical anti-livestock enviro groups"
Sally Jo Sorensen: "Minnesota House Republican member Tim Miller sent out an email claiming those public officials who want to restrict captive deer farms are "beholden to radical environmental groups who do not want livestock farming to exist." We examined what those public officials think about livestock farming, concluding with deer farm critic House Environment & Natural Resources Committee chair Rick Hansen, who is in business with Amish livestock farming neighbor near his place by Harmony and whose niece won the Minnesota State Fair 4H grand champion barrow ribbon. Uffda."

God's Spies, by Thomas Neuburger
"An Independence Day Reflection: How the Rich Plan to Rule a Burning World"
Thomas Neuburger: "This is a glimpse of the world being built as we watch, the view from a window that opens onto the day when the only freedom celebrated on the Fourth is the freedom of the super-rich from the rest of mankind."

Mad Kane's Political Madness
"Ousted Liz Cheney, Still Speaking Out"
Madeleine Begun Kane: "My two-verse limerick, in which I shock myself by saying something nice about a Cheney."

The Way of Cats
"Dear Pammy, Are Cats Family?"
Pamela Merritt: "Our pets teach us the limits of prejudice, and the extraordinary benefits of drawing our circle of humanity on a bigger scale."

"There's Ross Perot. Dr. Laura. Megan Mcardle. Wait a Minute – They're Not So Great."
Roy Edroso: "A consideration of Megan McArdle doing what she does best – humiliating herself on behalf of the richest people on earth."
Plus a bonus post:
Roy Edroso Breaks It Down
"Operation Overlord"
Roy Edroso: "On why Elon Musk will one day run for President (briefly, because he appeals to an up and coming and even more repulsive new generation of Republican scumbags).

This Is So Gay
"I May Not Know Cancel Culture, But I Know What I Like"
Duncan Mitchel: "The fuss about cancel culture seems to have died down a bit, but it will surely return, maybe in another guise, and people will be just as misinformed about its next stage as they were this time."

Balloon Juice
COVID-19 series
Balloon Juice readers nominated Anne Laurie for "the great service she’s done" with her "tour-de-force" series of COVID posts. You can see them through the category link above.

Vagabond Scholar
"The Graveyard of Democracy"
Batocchio: "Afghanistan has been called 'the graveyard of empires' because of all the supposedly mighty powers that have failed to conquer it. Unchecked military spending, endless wars, unnecessary wars and unnecessarily prolonged wars could aptly be called the graveyard of democracy for how they rob time, energy, money and lives that could be spent in far more worthwhile pursuits."

Thanks again, folks. Happy blogging and everything else in 2022, which we can hope is a good year.


ed waldo (Hart Williams) said...

Thank you Batocchio.

Hart Wms.

nonnie9999 said...

Thank you, Batocchio, for carrying on the Jon Swift/Al Weisel legacy. How sad to see so many familiar names being referred to in the past tense. It reflects the last two years of so much loss. We can only hope for better times ahead. I wish you and all your readers a happy, healthy and safe new year.

Thanks for including The Raisin in the Roundup.

Tengrain said...

This is always a hallmark of our year, Batocchio, thank you so much for continuing the tradition!

Best regards,


Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Thanks so much for doing this each year, and doing it so well! And as always, I very much appreciate your including one of my political limerick posts. I've linked your post on Facebook and I've shared your Roundup tweet.

Thanks again!

Ramona Grigg said...

I love it when I get the email link to your annual Blog roundup and I can't wait to read all of them. Thank you for including mine.
I hope I don't jinx it by wishing everyone a Happy New Year!
Sharing, of course.

Vixen Strangely said...

Thank you for continuing this great tradition and letting me contribute. I look forward to this every year!

Infidel753 said...

Some great posts here and new blogs to check out. As always, thanks for including me.

Annie Asks You said...

Batocchio: I am most grateful to you for continuing this fine tradition, and I'm delighted to be a part of it. Making my way through the links, I began with your essay, which I regard as essential reading.

Many thanks, and best wishes for 2022.



driftglass said...

So appreciative of the time and care you put into this indispensable effort every year, Batocchio!