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Amnesty internet-ional

Shamefacedly, I realise that I missed the deadline to celebrate Blogrolling Amnesty Day. But hey, has never been devoted to zero-day critical news, so let’s do it now anyway. One way I could celebrate is by linking to some “smaller blogs” than mine, but I’m not sure I know of any; and what’s more, apparently I’m not even allowed to say that unless I have blogged every single day for a year, which is something I might try once one of my books becomes a New York Times bestseller. Luckily, there is a more generous concept of celebrating Blogrolling Amnesty Day, viz. to “celebrate the idea of linking or blogrolling in any way you see fit”.

So let me celebrate it, first, by laughing at Cass Sunstein’s poignant plea, in his book Republic 2.0, that people on the “left” should link more often to people on the “right”, for purposes other than critique (eg in their blogrolls), and vice versa, so as to help democracy. In other words, bloggers should proactively link to bloggers with whose writings they don’t agree at all. Well, the virtue of doing this somehow randomly, as a form of nonideological statistical “balance”, is mysterious to me, unless Sunstein cares to pop up and explain in comments exactly why, for example, I should arbitrarily link to people I consider idiots at best and, if proven not idiots, then liars. To take one example, readers who have taken a close interest in the evolution of my blogroll (ie, I sincerely hope, none of you) will have noticed that I used to link therein to a quite well-known British group blog of pretend leftists who just so happen to spend all their time making excuses for acts of large-scale violence committed by their preferred states, joining in witchhunts started by fellow pretend leftists against people who write or say things they don’t like, and generally stirring up paranoiac fear about the Muslim horde of killers in our midst. I take it that those of my readers who aren’t already aware of that site are done a service by my omitting to provide a link that sends them there. Of course, the assumption that those who remain in my blogroll after I refuse to link to such maniacs must be people with whom I always agree is as dumb as a wet sock.

Secondly, I will celebrate Blogroll Amnesty Day by recommending to you some blogs from my current Google Reader list that I didn’t previously recommend here, and none of which, by the way, falls into Sunstein’s dully manichean taxonomy of the blogo-icosahedron: Brainiac, Paper Cuts, Stanley Fish, Ben’s Blogbox, An and für sich, and The Triforce. I won’t spoil your inevitable delight by describing them: just click on the links and see.

What are your favourite blogs, readers? (And yes, since it’s still Blogroll Amnesty Day hereabouts, you’re allowed to nominate your own.)

  1. 1  Leinad  February 5, 2009, 12:19 am – eyeburningly awful layout, but good for being ahead of the curve when country X collapses. – read this compellingly morbid blog to better understand why the terrorists hate America. – less a blog than a public service (for anyone interested in Western Sahara)

  2. 2  Gregor  February 5, 2009, 10:17 am 

    uh, tried posting, but was told my post was ‘spammy’. I wrote it in word this time so still have it.

  3. 3  Steven  February 5, 2009, 10:31 am 

    It might work now…

  4. 4  Gregor  February 5, 2009, 10:39 am 

    Oddly, this blog is probably the only one I read regularly, where I largely agree with the writer (apart from Aaronovitch watch and Encyclopedia of decency). After this, Da Russophile/ Sublime Oblivion is probably the closest. Whilst the writer Anatoly Karlin admits to being openly partisan for Russia, I’d say it is amongst the least biased of blogs on the subject. Whilst I don’t agree with everything (and the design is pure cheese) some of his articles on western bias are essential:

    His mockery of British ‘Russia expert’ Edward Lucas is brilliant (though isn’t it depressing that his bullshit is published here to great acclaim):

    And it also has some clever humour items:

    I probably won’t make myself popular for saying this, but Taki Theodorocopoulos, Pat Buchanan and Justin Raimondo have well-written and interesting blogs:

    Not to say I agree with them on much, but… compared to the likes of ‘left wing’ Garton Ash, John Rentoul and Martin Kettle (even writing their names makes me feel sleepy), the paleocons’ lively language and open mockery of the neo-cons is sheer joy.

  5. 5  roger migently  February 5, 2009, 12:35 pm 

    Sadly enough I have a long list of blogs I must visit every day in order to feel whole (one of which, “obviously” is Unspeak). One is Norm Jenson’s One Good Move. Norm very likely is one of those once a day bloggers. He has wise and tempting pickings from the sceptics’ tree and excellent video selections, including The Daily Show and Bill Maher’s Real Time. Now playing: A very special and satisfying Tim Minchin clip (audio only) – which I admit to liking even more because Tim’s an Aussie. You can get it here.

    But probably the most must-see is 3 Quarks Daily. It’s so de rigeur amongst the smart set that I am surprised not to see it on Steven’s blogroll. Or perhaps that’s an insult… It is not a blog so much as a group-edited compendium of some of the best writing on issues around. It includes mostly excerpts from longer articles from prestige magazines, newspapers and the internet with occasional original pieces from 3QD panelists often already published elsewhere in prestige magazines. What they do is to save you having to do all the research yourself to find the best writing on the most interesting ideas. In any case it is a mind-boggling (mind bloggling?) intellectual-bauble-fest; a relentlessly classy portal to new avenues of exploration and stimulation; a rigorous, sometimes emotional, eclectic, sometimes joyous, always optimistic celebration. Getting on the internet to go to 3QD is like going out for a sausage roll and ending up at the opera. The only trouble with it is, it’s also like eating chocolate mudcake. I have to ration myself, otherwise I’d get nothing else done but follow their links.

    Dawkins placed it at the head of his list of web bookmarks. Pinker likes it. And Dan Dennett. And …. David Byrne!

    I’ll go back in my box now. Would you mind closing the lid?

  6. 6  Barney  February 5, 2009, 2:47 pm 

    I must recommend Sadly, No! – a group blog that exists to prove right wing bloggers wrong, with some fairly vicious humour.

  7. 7  Steven  February 5, 2009, 6:52 pm 

    3 Quarks Daily […] I am surprised not to see it on Steven’s blogroll.

    3QD is great even if Dawkins likes it. I hadn’t noticed that I had somehow failed to link to it permanently. Thanks!

  8. 8  RobWeaver  February 6, 2009, 2:16 pm 


    A sublime/ridiculous selection:

    Sadly, three of my faves are defunct, though their archives are still viewable: the nonist; Giornale Nuovo and the sporadic-before-it-ceased-entirely Sterne.

  9. 9  RobWeaver  February 6, 2009, 2:17 pm 


    But Barista is still around, as are things magazine, the inferior 4+1

  10. 10  RobWeaver  February 6, 2009, 2:18 pm 


    … and the spectacularly obtuse blog.

    A daily must-read is friend of Dennis Perrin, Jon Schwarz (and guests) at A Tiny Revolution. And whenever I want to feel like an ignorant cretin I read Limited Inc.

  11. 11  RobWeaver  February 6, 2009, 2:21 pm 


    There must be a more sensible way to stop spam than just blocking comments with more than three hyperlinks. Excessive hyperlinking is what teh internets is for.

    Oh, and I’ve thoroughly checked your blogroll, Mr Poole, and I couldn’t find Fafblog! anywhere.

  12. 12  Steven  February 6, 2009, 2:27 pm 

    There must be a more sensible way to stop spam than just blocking comments with more than three hyperlinks.

    I didn’t know my antispam plugin was stupid enough to enforce that as one of its criteria. D’oh! Thanks for working around it.

  13. 13  Steven  February 7, 2009, 11:55 am 

    Thanks for all the recommendations so far, which have had the effect of swelling my RSS subscriptions to the point where I will get much less work done from now on.

  14. 14  sonofajoiner  February 7, 2009, 10:58 pm 

    I already visit a fair number of blogs already on your blogroll. I also go to many (really far too many) others written in a broadly similar vein such as

    and for some sublime Daily Mail parody action

    And I do visit several others written by people who hold political/ideological opinions that I don’t simply to check that I still believe what I believe, if that makes sense!

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