"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

It's An Honor Just Being Nominated, Goddammit! 

When I started blogging, almost a year ago now, I had one modest goal - winning the Koufax Award for "Best New Blog."

Well, that's not gonna happen. Nor should it.

Let me fill you in, just in case you have no idea what I'm talking about. The good folks over at Wampum have sponsored the Koufax Awards for lefty bloggers for three years now. (Get it? Koufax? Sandy Koufax? Lefties? Get it?) And, unlike some of the other blog awards, the Koufax Awards don't suck. The people who get nominated for these awards, and most especially the people who win them, are my role models and (I fantacize) my peers. These are the writers I read - and from whom I steal shamelessly - on a daily basis.

Awards are given in the following categories (links and comments from Wampum):
Best Blog
This category seeks to recognize the best overall work across the entire year. Which lefty blog do you consider indispensable? Atrios won each of the last two years. Is he still king of the hill?

Best Writing
This category seeks to recognize the best writing by a lefty blogger. The fabulous Jeanne D'arc of Body and Soul won in 2002. In 2003, the Sandy for Best Writing was won by the now departed and much missed Billmon of Whiskey Bar.

Best Post
This category is intended to identify the one post of the year that stands above all others for originality, insight, and writing. In 2002, this category was won by Jim Capozzola of The Rittenhouse Review for his post entitled Al Gore and the Alpha Girls. Last year the best post was Billmon's What a Tangled Web We Weave, the WMD quote post. This is one category in which it is most appropriate to nominate your own work. After all, you know your posts better than anyone else.

Best Series
This category includes both regular features (such as Liberal Oasis' Sunday Talk Show Breakdown or Holden's Obsession with the Gaggle) as well as the best coverage of a single issue (such as Avedon's continuing coverage of election irregularities). This is another category where we want you to send us your best stuff. Atrios won in 2002 for his coverage of the Trent Lott controversy. Last year, David Neiwert of Orcinus won for Rush, Newspeak and Facism.

Best Single Issue Blog
This category is for blogs that focus exclusively or almost exclusively on a single specific area such as politics, economics, law, etc. It has been won the last two years by the incomparable Jeralyn Merritt of Talk Left for her coverage of legal issues.

Best Group Blog
A group is defined as two or more regular contributors. Last year, Daily Kos received the most votes in the category despite not actually being a group blog (or at least Kos left a comment that he did not consider it a group blog). I then deemed that the award would go to the entire Kos community, including Kos, the guest bloggers, the diarists, the commenters, and the readers. This year, let's nominate true group blogs, please.

Most Humorous Blog
This is a self explanatory category. In 2002, Adam Felber of Fanatical Apathy won. Last year, Tbogg carried home the prize. Who has consistently made you laugh this year?

Most Humorous Post
In 2003 [sic; should be 2002], the funniest post was Jesse Taylor of Pandagon's parody of Peggy Noonan. Last year, it was Atrios' classic Preznit giv me turkee. What post made you laugh out loud this year? If you have read or written anything particularly humorous this year, please send us a link.

Most Deserving of Wider Recognition
This category was added last year at the request of the readers. It seeks to honor those bloggers who are consistently good but for whatever reason do not receive the recognition they deserve. Last year it was won by a South Knox Bubba [link missing from original and added here] who, by virtue of the award, should no longer be eligible (he is eligible for Best Blog of course). Who do you think is this year's undiscovered gem?

Best Expert Blog
This is another category added last year at the request of the readers. It seeks to honor those who bring particular expertise, by way of knowledge, experience, or academic achievement, to a particular topic. Last year it was won by University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole who writes about the Middle East at Informed Comment. Who is this year's best expert?

Best New Blog
This category recognizes new members of the community of left of center bloggers. In 2002, there were almost no lefty bloggers at the beginning of the year. Atrios, for instance, began in the spring of 2002. That year, to qualify as new, the blog had to have begun in September or later. Last year, I moved the qualifying date to July 1. With the growth of the community, any blogger whose first post was in 2004 will be considered new. In 2002, the award went to Roger Ailes (the funny, snarky one). In 2003, the award went to the blog of the DNC, Kicking Ass.

One of the real joys of hosting these awards is becoming familiar with new blogs. It is no longer possible for any one person to keep up with all of the entrants. This is a great category for self nominations. Who is the best of the new crop of lefty bloggers?

Best Commenter
This category is for those who post comments on other people's blogs. In 2002, the award was won by Digby who now graces us with his insight at Hullabaloo. Last year, the award was won by John Emerson, a/k/a Zizka, who now writes at Seeing The Forest. Who was the best commenter of 2004?

There you go. If you followed each of these links right now you would be amused, you would be amazed, you would be outraged, and you would learn some things. These folks are the best of the best.

Now, then, as I said at the top of this post, I set out last January to win the "Best New Blog" award, but the almost-certain winner will be James Wolcott, who deserves it. Similarly, Suburban Guerilla appears to be gaining an early lead in the "Most Deserving of Wider Recognition" category, and again, it is well deserved. Even at my best, I can't hold a candle to these writers - yet.

But that doesn't mean you can't nominate me.

A nomination, should you honestly feel it is deserved, will result in dramatically increased traffic to this site. More importantly, it is traffic that will come from the writers and readers that I most respect, and from whom I most want to attract attention and valuable feedback. It will not only make me feel good - not that there's anything wrong with that! - it will help make me a better writer and a better blogger.

If, on the other hand, you don't feel comfortable nominating this blog in any category, I completely understand. There are a lot of good lefty bloggers working out there every day, and the sheer volume of quality work unfortunately means that much good writing will remain obscure. I can accept that. But, you should still follow these awards, and read the nominees (and winners, of course) if you don't do so already. You will not be disappointed.

As a wise man once said, the truth is out there. It's up to you to find it.




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