[Note: I’d love to credit the source of this image, but I can’t for the life of me figure out where I found it!]
The plan was for the WAAGNFNP blog to run for one year, and it saddens me to inform you that we’re not quite going to be able to meet that goal.
I’d like to offer my sincerest thanks to my chief blog co-admins christian h. and JP Stormcrow for all their support, hard work, and friendship. Equally heartfelt thanks to James Killus and Kiera who stepped in to help when we needed them most.
To everyone who contributed posts: beyond thanks, let me just say that I’m so proud of the quality of what we’ve been able to do here and so touched by your participation that it feels like a mini-GNF going off in my heart.
To everyone who participated in the comments and made this so much fun, and to everyone who just lurked: thanks for being here in any way that you were. (Never forget: Gojira sees all!)
And although real-world life (stupid day jobs!) may be impeding on blog life, we assure you, as 3Tops is our witness, the We Are All Giant Nuclear Fireball Now Party lives on!
Minister of Justice
In his intriguing, if overly verbose, article on “Capitalist democracy: elective affinity or beguiling illusion” (Daedalus, Summer 2007, pp. 5-13), John Dunn states:
“This much is clear: while in America, Tom Paine and James Madison both imagined that that a commercial society could coexist happily with a representative republic, others elsewhere, from Filippo Buonarroti and the first Duke of Wellington in the 1830s to the Guild Socialist G.D.H. Cole in the 1920s, were just as certain that the inequalities generated by the market economy were incompatible with a truly democratic republic. (p. 5)
To this latter position I would add not only generated but sustained for the benefit of some over others. In the article, John Dunn mentions aristocracy and monarchy as counterpoints to democracy, but fails to follow up on oligarchy, the far more relevant (in my opinion) form of aristocratic “ruling” behavior in a capitalist democracy, and a problem in Greek and Roman times as well. Can a group of leaders so constituted as to view their interests (esp. economic) as either constitutive of or superior to the general public be entrusted with power in a democracy?
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Most Some of you will be glad to hear that the WAAGNFNP blog will continue. While my first choice would have been to pull the plug on all of you lazy, worthless, good-for-nothing ingrates, it was clearly the desire of my Cabinet Officers and the High Council to continue on in some way. And I do try to listen to my Officers and High Council even though some of them need serious Re-Trunking from time to time.
The new plan is to scrap the idea of trying to continue on as a community blog since there’s clearly not enough interest for that. We’ll simply be your basic group blog with the philosophy that we are just a few friends talking amongst each other, and everyone is welcome to join the conversation.
There will also still be an Open Door policy for submitting posts for anyone who would like to contribute. I just will no longer be killing myself trying to keep a door open through which almost no one has an interest in walking.
The Ministry of Offense and Defense’s Tribunus Laticlavius, christian h., my valued blog co-administrator, will be gone for much of the summer. The Ministry of Justice’s GFAT (General Factotum and Tipstaff), JP Stormcrow, will be taking over for christian h. Also, stepping up to lend a hand are Loyal Party Patriots (and our two newest Cabinet Officers) James Killus and Kiera PSI. Thanks to James’ and Kiera’s help, starting in August I’ll be able to take a much-needed vacation from blog administration/organizing. Huzzah!
Wait - I know what you’re thinking: “Kiera and James? What, the WAAGNFNP blog is going to an all-Buffy, all the time format?” Well, maybe yes, maybe no. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Posting may be lighter for the remainder of the summer, (or maybe not), with a lot of our regular contributors being away. For that same reason, we may also drop our formal weekend Open Threads for the remainder of the summer unless the blog chatter picks up. Folks are welcome to use the last post of the week for any Open Thread needs they might have over the weekend. In any event, we will try our best to keep the Posting Schedule updated for you (link in the upper right hand column under “Pages”).
Yours In Service,
Minister of Justice
Why We Are Here
I know that the conventional wisdom is that the We Are All Giant Nuclear Fireball Now Party blog is just an attempt by a few desperate individuals to cling to a joke that got old a long, long time ago.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The We Are All Giant Nuclear Fireball Now Party was not the reason for this blog, it was the opportunity for this blog, and that’s a very different thing entirely. Why “opportunity”? Because I felt it was time for a new kind of blog format, specifically, a new kind of community blog. With the WAAGNFNP, we had a great foundation upon which to build for arts, sciences, humor, and progressive politics.
As you know, on most community blogs, only a few essays make the Front Page. The rest are relegated to the sidebar hoping someone might notice. Obviously, this means neglect for some really great essays that deserve way more attention. My idea was to create a community blog where there is no sidebar, so each essay posted receives the full attention of the community. This is a great way to show respect for the author even if you disagree with the viewpoint, and a great way to honor a community whose attention span is substantially greater than that of a gnat. What a concept, eh? And what a great community we had to draw from, didn’t we?
Perhaps my biggest inspiration to do the WAAGNFNP blog was to provide the space for people who had great things to share, but weren’t interested in or didn’t want the bother of keeping up a blog on their own, or joining a group blog (being part of a set group of writers). So with the WAAGNFNP blog, these brilliant, witty, erudite people would be able to submit posts when they wanted to, free from the hassle of day-to-day blogging responsibilities, and we’d all benefit. And if people already had their own blog, they could cross post at the WAAGNFNP or write original material. They’d be an active part of the community, and perhaps get a little wider exposure for their personal blog.
My other great inspiration for this blog was to provide a safe space for people in our community who would never label themselves as “writers” to actually write. I feel strongly that a lot people with some of the most interesting things to say and share aren’t “writers”, so they don’t write (at least not in public), and we all miss out. And so do they.
There are a couple of radical concepts going on here.
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Welcome to the Party! Please allow me to invite you for a walk down nostalgia lane.
My family was living in California (Palo Alto, to be precise) when the first Star Wars movie came out. Somehow my younger brother, who was five then, cajoled my parents into taking him to see it about twice as many times as I did. (I shouldn’t have been surprised: this is the kid who as a pre-schooler talked dozens of drunk college students into giving him “just one sip” of their warm, cheap beer during a faculty-student intramural softball game at my dad’s college.) Before my family made the cross-country trip back to our hometown in central New York, my bro and I saw Star Wars more times than the sum total of our years on the planet. I have an excuse for a kindergarten baby beating me in the viewings race: I had a seven-year-old’s crush on my second grade teacher, which is to say, I had other priorities. Still, losing to my brother in that and losing out to some other kid who was able to impress Ms. Buntin with his knowledge of the fancy word for “spit” were no fun to experience and just slightly less not-fun to remember (note to Party leaders: a great topic for a future Open Thread would be confessing — and ranking — the worst of your life’s trivial disappointments).
To tell you the truth, I have a terrible memory, so bad that I don’t have anything that specific to share about my reactions to Star Wars, at least anything that everybody else who saw it for the first time at that age isn’t likely to say, too (Darth Vader: scary! Luke Skywalker: cool! Princess Leia: hot! C3PO and R2D2: funny! Special effects: awesome!). Many things from that CA interlude stand out far more vividly still today than those movie-watching experiences:
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Friends, fellow-travellers, and members of the We Are All Giant Nuclear Fireball Now Party, I come before you today not to praise Technorati but to bury it. Will you join me in declaring war on this Enemy of the Party?
Consider the function of its nefarious popular page, which is a huge step toward doing to blogoramaville what was done to radio and tv (which in their day inspired similar public sphere utopianism as teh intertubes, according to Wendy Hui Kyong Chun and Thomas Keenan’s New Media, Old Media: A History and Theory Reader (Routledge, 2005) — namely, promoting crap over quality, elevating voyeurism and invective over reflection and dialogue, and making ratings and profits the name of the game. Don’t get me wrong — there are certainly some good blogs among the most linked and most favorited top 100s (a certain ex-fugitive from Party justice is at #85 on the latter list) — but everyone’s heard that even a bad function can find nuts twice a day (or something like that). It’s not like Technorati doesn’t have the capacity to do better: imagine if they produced 100 top 100s, each recognizing a particular bloggy genre. But no, what counts as a new idea for them is WFT (Where’s the Fire) — I say “wft?!” to its WTF Topics list, which takes Technorati’s default-celebrity-sex-tapes/gadgetry/wingnuttia-obsession-mode to its logical and absurd end.
Ah, but Technorati is the royal road to the American unconscious, you say; This Is What the People Want. To which I say, Fuck the People; the WAAGNFNP is all about the annihilationism, not the populism or the humanism.
Others then chime in: an imaginary political party can’t declare war — only the Congress can do that (in the U.S., at least). To which I say, ever heard of the neocons? The Project for a New American Century? Dick Cheney?
By Heraclitus (Jeff)
Of course we want our efforts here at the shiny new WAAGNFNP blog to be appreciated by as many readers as possible (all hail the effortless efforts of our glorious Minister of Justice!), and what better way to signal to readers that this isn’t just a one-joke blog than by writing that most quintessential and automatically engrossing of blog posts, a navel-gazing meditation on the nature and purpose of blogs and blogging. So although my title, “Against Centrism,” suggests that I’m going to say something of some wider interest and utility to our political life, I’m really just going to kvetch about some commenter somewhere who said something that irritated me six months ago. But of course I’m going to be as bombastic and self-inflating about it as possible, and carry on in these broad, general terms. Dismal, no? Just another reason to do everything in your power to hasten the arrival of the sublime Giant Nuclear Fireball, which will cleanse us all of our pedestrianism.
So, although the people I’m discussing no doubt manifest these traits in meat space as well, I’m thinking particularly of a certain kind of internets personage, who bemoans the “extremism” of a blog post that will “alienate the center” or “the majority” (and who can forget those always excellent admonitions about driving away “people who should be your allies”?). What probably annoys me most about these self-styled “moderates” or “centrists” is the way they manage to combine such a sanctimonious, school-marmish tone of pinched moral superiority with such excruciatingly banal opinions (although some of them are more rude and abusive). How have they managed to convince themselves that simply adopting whatever the majority position is, or letting the two extremes dictate their opinions to them, is some kind of intellectual and moral virtue? There couldn’t be a lazier or more cowardly way of arriving at a set of (most likely completely incoherent) convictions, yet these people are forever engaged in the most grating and stultifying ritual of self-congratulatory finger-wagging imaginable.
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[?aedi eno siht fo tuo teg I nac egaelim hcum woH]
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By KIRBY ALTHOUSE, Associated Press Writer