Sunday, April 12, 2009

Top 10 posts from a year of blogging

A year ago today, I took a walk to Mother's in Austin and wrote in a Moleskine notebook over breakfast (probably migas and coffee). When I was done, I walked back home, typed up what I'd written, and published it to the world:

First post

So, I've started a blog...

I want the blog to be personal. ... Does "personal" mean a blog that's obsessively self-centered and introspective, confirming all those critics of blogs as internet-powered narcissism? I certainly hope so. I'll do my best...

I want this to be a leisurely, contemplative blog, not a "Here's what's going on this second" blog. There's probably a greater excess of content in the world right now than at any previous point in history. We have a glut of content but a dearth of thought. I'm trying to correct the balance.

And as you can see from that statement, I'm also trying to avoid the false modesty that's rampant on the blogosphere. So many blogs pitch themselves as "random babblings" or "incoherent rants." Why all the self-deprecation? Anyway, I'll have none of that here! I either want to do this well or not do it all.
And now, in the spirit of self-promotion and self-aggrandizement heralded by that first post, here are my top 10 posts from a year of blogging. "Top 10" may be a misnomer, since this isn't necessarily "the best of Jaltcoh" -- I'll leave it to others to judge their actual merit. But here are the ones I find most worth going back to:
1. What are the disadvantages of being male?

2. Thank you, Tim Russert (1950-2008)

3. The top 40 grunge songs -- 40-36, 35-31, 30-26, 25-21, 20-16, 15-11, 10-6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, the end.

4. The death penalty -- does it saves lives, and if so, should liberals support it? -- post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4

5. The top 120 moments on the path to the White House -- post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4

6. Live-blogging the 2008 debates -- post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4

7. Imogen Heap - Beauty in the breakdown

8. The problem of evil -- post 1, post 2

9. How to write a New York Times article to make it seem like women work harder than men

10. Michel Petrucciani, 1962-1999
I ended that first post in mid-air: "Let's see how it goes..." So, how did it go?

In the last year, I've posted 265 posts, been linked at least 217 times, and had about 108,000 visitors.

Thanks for this goes, above all, to my mom (Ann Althouse) and Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit). Of course, the full thanks would go to more people than I can keep track of -- everyone who's followed the blog, commented, linked, and given feedback. This includes LemmusLemmus (Church of Rationality), Summer Anne Burton (Boingy Boingy), Jeff (Stuff Running 'Round My Head), Zachary Paul Sire (Sire Says), Stubborn Facts, my girlfriend (Danielle Pouliot), and my dad (Richard Lawrence Cohen).

Thanks to everyone for reading, thinking about, adding to, and arguing with what's on my mind when I'm typing on my MacBook or writing in a Moleskine at a cafe. I hope to keep going for at least a few more years.

Blackbird Parlour


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Here's to many more Moleskins-full of inspiration.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

You are truly helping correct the balance. Congratulations, John, and I'm looking forward to learning much more from you.

Kev said...

Congrats! Today is my blogiversary too! Here's to many more years!

(BTW, I'm one of those whose blog description does contain the phrase "random thoughts and rants," but I always thought of that as being not so much self-deprecating, but rather realistic. I think I do well most of the time, but I concede that I'm not exactly cranking out Shakespeare over there... *grin*)

John Althouse Cohen said...

Thanks, all!

Thanks for the link over at your blog, Kev. And happy blogiversary to you too.

BTW, I'm one of those whose blog description does contain the phrase "random thoughts and rants," but I always thought of that as being not so much self-deprecating...

Oh, don't worry, I was just on another one of my pointless diatribes when I wrote that.

TMink said...

Congratulations! I have tried to blog, but I so lack your focus and tenacity. You have done well, I would buy you a beer and toast you if I could.

Carry on!


John Althouse Cohen said...

Well, gee, thanks!

Penny said...

Congratulations, Jaltcoh. I don't know your dad, but I believe he is a writer? I don't know your mom either, but I do spend quite a bit of time reading her blog and even commenting some. I know she likes to write, too. I am pleased to see that this acorn doesn't fall far from the tree(s). All too often these days, that expression is used in some negative sense, and that's a pity.

On a more personal note to you, I want you to know that you have me thinking a LOT more about the role of young men in today's American society because of your discussions about the disadvantages. Dr.Helen made me aware of the topic first, and frankly, I was originally angered. It was really your post and the corresponding links and commentary around the internet that now has me standing back and THINKING instead of REACTING to this topic. Thank you for that.

Ann Althouse said...

You have a really cool blog! Thanks!!!1!!!

Kev said...

Trey said:
You have done well, I would buy you a beer and toast you if I could.

I first read that as "I would buy you a beer and toast if I could," and I was trying to decide if those two things would taste good together, LOL.

Unknown said...

Upon further inspection, this list is extra disappointing because instead of encompassing as wide an array of quality as you could, it seems you defaulted toward a rather obvious bias toward six or seven bands. We get the message, Radiohead was decent. Yeah, yeah, you liked Of Montreal a bunch. Big deal, give them their moment in the sun and leave room for other players, not just multiple samples from the handful of albums that you feel like pimping out without saying as much. Belle & Sebastian? The Hold Steady? Black Kids? The Noisettes? Kaiser Chiefs? Will Dailey? Jens Lekman? Sam Roberts Band? The Hush Sound? It feels like you barely scratched the surface of good stuff because you were too fixated on a select group and sorta stopped looking past that point.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Doomtrain: First of all, you apparently meant to post your comment in a different post. Second, did you see the part where I admitted that my list was subjective and I linked to 6 or 7 other lists to give a broader range? Just because you like those bands you listed doesn't mean I'm somehow obligated to like them. I wasn't "fixated" on a few bands to the exclusion of others. I listened to songs by the bands you mentioned and they didn't stand out to me. For instance, I linked to Summer Anne's list, which includes songs by Belle & Sebastian and the Hold Steady. Those are reasonable choices and I wouldn't criticize them, but I didn't include them on my list because I've never heard music from those bands that grabbed me and got me excited about listening to them on my iPod. It would have been disingenuous of me to include a song by the Hold Steady on the list just because I know a lot of people like them. Some of the mainstream-media song lists, like the ones by NME and Rolling Stone, are more of a "here's the official music you're supposed to like from this decade." My list was transparently done by one person with idiosyncratic taste, so I don't expect everyone to agree with all my choices.