"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
-Oscar Wilde
Brilliant at Breakfast title banner "The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
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"I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum." -- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (1954-2015), They Live
Wednesday, December 28, 2011

An end-of-year wrapup worth your time
Posted by Jill | 12:58 PM
For some reason, the end of the year always brings with it, along with the obligatory 'best of" lists (and I'm still mulling over whether to do one), the "Who We Lost" recaps. This year's "Lives They Led" in the New York Times magazine section is more interesting than usual, compiled as it is by Ira Glass and focusing on some people who left us this year of whom many of us had never heard. The Times does this sometimes; there was a lovely remembrane of Steve Gilliard a few years ago -- a surprising inclusion of a blogger in a publication that was back then still clinging to its Gray Lady status. But in reading about the contributions of some of the less-heralded people, these people become part of the collective memory by becoming part of ours. It's actually kind of refreshing. I mean, do we really need yet another remembrance of Steve Jobs?

But some people warrant more than a one-shot remembrance, and one of these is Al Wiesel, a.k.a. Jon Swift, who left us in 2010 at the too-early age of 46 and whose loss is still keenly felt. Two bloggers have taken it upon themselves to assume the mantle of generosity that Al demonstrated towards his fellow bloggren. Skippy coordinates Blogroll Amnesty Day, which is coming up in Februrary, and Batocchio has taken on the Herculean task of compiling the The Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves.

Here's what Al/Jon said in 2007 about this project, remarks that perfectly encapsulate his wit and his generosity:
Just as nobody anticipated the levees breaking in New Orleans, according to President Bush, I don't think anybody anticipated the overwhelming response I would get when I asked the members of my very extensive and eclectic blogroll to send me links to their best posts of the year. Not even Condoleeza Rice could have predicted the shock and awe you will feel at the sheer magnitude of the talent out there, of which this is just a small sampling. These posts were not chosen by a panel of experts or TV viewers, but by the bloggers themselves as each blog's best work of 2007. There are posts on politics by liberals, conservatives and moderates, posts on movies, music, television, books, economics, health care, science, sports, religion and history, personal stories and slices of life, poetry, prose, pictures and video. Some are very funny, some are quite serious, some will make you angry and some will make you say "Huh?" Go ahead and click on a link that sounds intriguing or from a blog you haven't read before or check in with an old favorite. You may not agree with what someone has written, but contrary to popular belief, there hasn't been a single documented case of anyone's head exploding from reading a post he or she disagrees with. I certainly don't agree with everything that is linked to here, but I do believe, like a real conservative, in the marketplace of ideas, in letting 1,000 flowers bloom (as Chiang Kai-shek once said), that more discussion is better than less, and every one of these posts is worth reading. So come back anytime and check out what these bloggers have to offer because they all deserve your support. I think this round-up reflects what is best about the blogosphere -- that it gives so many talented people a chance to express themselves and makes it so much easier for the government to know who to arrest first in case of a national emergency.

And here is the 2011 list, in memory of and in honor of the man who started it all, and with thanks to Batocchio for taking on this massive endeavor. Now grab a cup of tea or cocoa and, as Christy Hardin Smith used to say over at FDL, pull up a chair...

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Anonymous the heretik said...
Thanks for this.

Blogger Batocchio said...
Thanks for spreading the word, Jill.