December 18, 2005

Seeing as how there's nothing more pathetic than a blogger campaigning for an award, I think it's fair to ask some obvious questions:

1. Why name the award for best "lefty" blogger after someone who could only fairly be described as the third or fourth greatest southpaw pitcher in history? Wouldn't the "Grove" be more apt? The "Spahn"? The "Big Unit"? Tying their award to a famous L.A. athlete might have been done to draw from the prestige of this region in the blogosphere, in much the same way that a DVD rental store in Flyover Country might use a picture of Tom Cruise or John Wayne in the store window. But still, couldn't they find a better local athlete?

2. While pondering the above, do the people who run the awards have the permission of Sandy Koufax to use his name and likeness? Frankly, not receiving clearance to run photos of a public figure is pretty common in the blogosphere (I don't, for example), but this seems to be a few degrees beyond that. Is there any reason to believe that Koufax is a progressive in real life? If I had to guess, he probably isn't...most athletes hew as far to the right as Hollywood actors do to the left, and are as equally out of touch. But he's also famous (if that's the right word) for being very private. His sexual preference has always been the most-whispered about in all of sports, and his only recent venture into the headlines came when he took on the Murdoch publishing empire over some slimy allegations concerning same in the New York Post two years ago. Although I could be wrong, I would be surprised if he had given his permission.

3. Shouldn't there be some quality control? These particular awards, like most blogging awards, are popularity contests. Blogs that draw a lot of traffic are more likely to win. To that end, the Koufax Awards have more in common with the People's Choice Awards then, lets say, the NY Film Critics Association. And although there are some blogs that attract tons of eyeballs that coincidentally happen to be good (Josh Marshall and Kevin Drum, of course, and especially Kos), most are still living whatever rep they developed three or four years ago, and win these awards now not because they are good, but because it would be too impolite to suggest otherwise.

Another problem such awards have to deal with is the truism that extremism and rhetorical excess seem to be an accurate barometer of popularity in the blogosphere, no matter the ideology. Since that threatens to poison the well for those bloggers who, for example, don't believe that leaking the name of a CIA agent necessarily makes one a traitor, or that Rudolph Giuliani isn't the American version of Reynard Heydrich, it would help to have some way of wheat from the chaff, the assholes from the uber-pricks, as it were.

Historically, progressivism has always been a minority ideology, so any chance of electoral success depends on forming tactical alliances with factions that do not support many of our core principles. Anything that violates our version of the Eleventh Commandment, such as a high-profile blogger resorting to personal attacks against those he disagrees with, is counterproductive to the end of achieving power to enact those ends. If we're ultimately going to start winning elections (that is, actually getting more votes than the other guys, and not simply whining that Karl Rove and Diebold foiled us again), our blogs need to develop an indoor voice.

Anyways, go vote for Crooks and Liars and The Left Coaster for any and all relevant categories.

No comments: