I sincerely thank STH for the recognition! That post she links was difficult to write, but it got loads of traffic, great comments and some nice signal boosts, so I guess it’s…good? (I’m partial to The Abattoir myself, but seriously wtf do I know? I’m a blogger. Albeit a VERY INSPIRING one.)
So here is how this is all supposed to go down: I am to inform you about the whys and wherefores of this prestigious award, and then present it to bloggers that have inspired me in turn. I clicked through to the blogger who nominated STH, and then followed a few more links back from there, and noticed that the award guidelines had been tweaked with almost every iteration. I have therefore taken the liberty to pick and choose between the versions among them, because (a) there is no rule that says I can’t, and even if there were, (b) rules are not the boss of me. One example: STH’s post says I need to nominate ten bloggers, while an earlier rule just said “other bloggers.” Well what if I can’t think of ten very inspiring bloggers right now, and someone worthy ends up getting left out and feeling dissed? Or what if I think of more than ten? Then I would have to weigh them all against each other to cull the list? No. This “ten” rule is obviously going to create WAY too much pressure, and since I fully intend to enjoy this exercise I will be awarding the award to “other bloggers,” and leaving it at that.
Now all of this may sound like nothing more than a silly and pointless chain letter to you, but I assure you it is not: it is a VERY IMPORTANT Very Inspiring Blogger Award—and I have won it fair and square.
Wait, are blogs even A Thing anymore? Well, whatever.
So, what is the Very Inspiring Blogger Award?
The Very Inspiring Blogger Award is an award given to bloggers from fellow bloggers. It recognizes bloggers who work hard to keep the blogosphere a beautiful place.
- Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog. [Done and done.]
- Display the award logo in a blog entry. [Done.]
- List the award guidelines so your nominees will know what to do. [Aaaaand here they are. You are actually reading them right now!]
- State 7 hidden facts about yourself OR 3 things that inspire you. [See below.]
- Nominate other blogger friends for the award. [As many or as few bloggers as you feel like, or, you know, none. You’re welcome!]
“7 hidden facts about myself OR 3 things that inspire me?” Listen, it’s a pretty good bet that if there are indeed any hidden facts about myself—and for the record, I am neither confirming nor denying that there are—they would be hidden for very good reasons, and it would not serve me well to reveal them here.
But okay, I’ll give up one. As much as I looooove these shoes, I really have no need for them because my feet already look exactly like this:
Art. Construed broadly, so as to include everything you’re probably thinking of like music, movies and writing, but also innovative cuisine. And architecture. And cocktails. And Banksy.
Science. I.e., the natural world, and what we can know about it.
New York City. The only place that has ever felt like home.
Finally, in no particular order, here are some bloggers I find very inspiring—and to the extent I can parse it, why. (My usual disclaimer applies: inclusion here does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with any particular individual and their every post. That list would contain approximately zero entries.)
The Rancid Honeytrap. Tarzie is a brilliant and scathing critic of professional liberals. He notes that “what most people regard as the American left is largely a status-quo fortifying fraud, regardless of how its individual members see themselves, and that exposing and ridiculing this fraud is a good thing.” I could not agree more. Mocking the Christian right and Republicans is as easy as shooting the proverbial fish in a barrel: hell, I have pointed out here on many occasions that it’s even easier than that, because conservatives helpfully mock themselves on a regular basis. All I have to do is point you to them and my work is done (which obviously suits my Lazy Royal Arse™ just fine). It is much more challenging and, I would argue much more necessary, to directly critique what passes for “the left,” which has drifted ever further rightward for at least my lifetime. Our public and media discourse is so stultifyingly restricted and narrow that people actually believe Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and their compatriot Democrats are actually bona fide lefties. Except for mocking them, I want absolutely nothing to do with either of them, their shitty political party, or their media supporters and enablers, all of whom entrench and reinforce an unsustainable, imperialist, sexist, white supremacist, Christianist, planet-destroying, brutally violent, corrupt, oligarchical, hierarchical, ubercapitalist status quo. That is the very definition of conservatism, people. Regardless of whether or not I ultimately agree with his analysis or conclusions, Tarzie never fails to remind me to view with a critical eye those narratives I may find intuitively appealing and…convenient.
Tl;dr: I wanna have Tarzie’s rancid baybeez.
Gradient Lair. Trudy’s is the quintessential “womanist blog about Black women and art, media, social media, socio-politics and culture.” It will not be lost on Loyal Readers™ that our White Supremacist culture—and this includes White feminism—fails Black women in uniquely terrible ways. As a card-carrying member of the STFU and Listen School of Allyship™, I have benefited tremendously from Trudy’s perspective. I ain’t gonna lie: sometimes her trenchant observations really, really sting. And that of course is a gift, not just because it inspires self-reflection and personal growth, but because it broadens my understanding of the world in which all of us find ourselves. Her prolific output, large following on multiple social media platforms, and honesty about her vulnerabilities unfortunately attracts an endless torrent of abuse from Capital A Assholes of all races and genders. It’s like sharks to blood in the water. (Okay, that was an entirely unwarranted insult to sharks, which are ridiculously cool animals. I’M SORRY SHARKS!) I am also wowed and inspired by the gorgeous images Trudy frequently posts that celebrate vibrant and diverse Black womanhood and Black art: frankly we could all use more exposure to non-Eurocentric standards of female beauty, and that certainly goes for Whitney McWhitepersons like yours truly. ♥
Pharyngula. There’s a reason PZ Myers is the Palace’s Patron Saint. Many reasons, actually, including taking strong stands for liberalism, feminism, racial inequality, science- and evidence-based reasoning, and the moral and political implications of atheism. He takes a ton of shit for it, too, mainly from the White Douchebro Atheist Brigades and their poo-flinging flying monkeys, but also from creationists and the incorrigibly religious. Fortunately for us, though, these clashes often result in biting comedy gold. YMMV of course, but for me PZ hits the infotainment sweet spot, and his commentariat is eagle-eyed and notoriously ferocious with bullshitters of every stripe. Years ago as an Internet fledgeling I cut my teeth at Pharyngula, and I have met some amazing people via that site. Also: cephalopods. So, you know, WIN.
Seriously?!? Feminace describes herself as “low-income, disabled, and snarky.” And oh, her snark is sublime. Consider this gem from her recent piece A Prescription from Dr. Feminace, PH.D of Done With This Shit:
You’re missing the point so hard that you can’t catch a fucking clue with clue bait, a clue hunting rifle and covered in clue pee in the middle of clue hunting season.
She is a reproductive justice activist and clinic escort, a gamer and a geek—and in her spare time she writes dirty novels. I FUCKING LOVE THIS WOMAN.
The Shoops Roost. My friend Tony is a fellow Pharyngulite, a hawt d00d, and a fierce Social Justice Warrior who writes about LGBT issues (he lives them!), feminism (he’s for it!), and racial inequality (he lives that too—and he’s against it!). Tony is also a professional bartender by trade, ahem. All of this is why, were it not for my undying devotion to My Amazing Lover™ AND OH YEAH THE FACT THAT TONY IS GAY, I would be writing this post from Florida where he lives and relentlessly cajoling him into marrying me. OBVIOUSLY. Tony is also a Loyal Reader™, commenter and supportive fan of the Palace’s trademark snarkittude. The other day he had either a massive brain fart or a flash of brilliance when he proposed that we join forces for a podcast, “Tea Time With Iris and Tony,” wherein we (a) discuss, you know, stuff, and (b) presumably reclaim tea for the left. (Mar-Tea-ni, anyone?) If that isn’t inspiring some serious Next Level shit, well, I don’t know what is.
Shakesville. Melissa McEwan is a relentless advocate for intersectional feminism, which is inspiring enough, but the sheer amount of thoughtful and eloquent content she generates on a regular basis is nothing short of astonishing. She has more than once opened my mind up to seeing social justice issues in new ways, and her blog roundups have turned me on to many other amazing writers (e.g. Trudy at Gradient Lair). Perhaps most inspiring, Liss and her mods maintain a truly safe space on the Internet, like a cool oasis in a scorching desert—no small feat, to put it mildly, particularly when she has been the target of relentless threats and abuse, online and in meatspace, for years. And yet she soldiers on. FUCK YEAH.
MofoNation. Elyse is one of the most gifted writers I know—and one of the bravest. If you want to understand what feminists deal with on the Internet, just read the comments on virtually any of her recent posts. In response, she has decided that rather than taking the “safe space” approach à la Shakesville, i.e. blocking and deleting the comments of shitweasels who viciously berate and threaten her, she plans to leave every shitty comment on the record:
I was told to be quieter and ask my fellow feminists to be quieter, too. But also, that hides the abuse. It doesn’t take it off me. It doesn’t make it so I do not endure it. It moves it to a place where others do not have to see what is being done and said. And I won’t do that.
I want it on full display. I want for people to be able to see what uttering feminist words does. I want people to see.
So I am doing none of those things. I turned off comment moderation. I turned off comment flagging. I brought on one person to help me manage comments for threats against me and my family, but informed that person to never delete a single comment.
Just…wow. To be clear, I am not saying that I admire this approach over Shakesville’s; people can and should curate their blog comment sections however they see fit. I’m for “all hands on deck” approaches to most problems, and this one is no exception.
Bitches Gotta Eat. Samantha Irby is a Chicago-based comedian and author who never, ever fails to elicit howling gales of laughter from the core of my very being. She suffers from Crohn’s disease, which is not fucking funny in the least, but the way she writes about it sure is (see: “i wore a diaper to speed dating.” OMFG). She somehow manages to be simultaneously crude and classy, disgusting and dignified, misanthropic and humanistic. I love the way she plays with language and storytelling: it’s unorthodox and can sometimes be jarring, but for that very reason she pushes me out of my comfort zone as a writer, and thereby sparks new possibilities. Her blog has no comment section; in light of the above, this policy should be perfectly understandable.
The Pervocracy. Cliff’s palace of kink is a treasure trove of BDSM advice and uproarious critiques of sexism from a sex-positive feminist perspective. His series on the incomprehensibly terrible of Fifty Shades of Grey is a goddamn masterwork. I find Cliff’s writing inspiring not just for his wicked wit, but for his nuanced thinking and honesty about deeply personal experiences with sexuality, gender and intimate relationships.
We Hunted the Mammoth. David Futrelle expertly, hilariously and mercilessly mocks the manosphere, but believe it or not that isn’t why I find him inspiring. It’s because he deploys his (male) privilege to take a principled stand against oppression that doesn’t directly target him: misogyny. That is the kind of writer and ally I aspire to be: one who infotains, yes, but also one who signal boosts the voices and perspectives of those whose lived experience does not comport with the false and harmful narratives that dominate our culture—be they racial, sexual, nativist, class- or ability-based, or otherwise.
That was ten? Well crap. : |
When I started this little blog venture, I really didn’t know whether I would (or should) persist with it. I had no idea whether I would find my own voice as a writer, and I definitely did not know whether anyone, anywhere, would find my rantings worth their time to read. But to my great surprise, my Many Tens of Loyal Readers™ answered those questions in the affirmative, for which I am so very grateful. Thank you, all of you, for your encouragement. And an extra special shout-out goes to my co-bloggers SJ and Don Ardell, for making the Palace a much better place than I could possibly make it alone.