Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why TIME's 'Best Blogs of 2010' List Makes Me Sad

When I last plugged into the internet, only a couple days ago, I posted some comments on my fatigue with the "shocking!" race-story of how/why cable news is still mostly white. With my tsk-tsk sentiment duly noted I eagerly flew the coop to indulge the multicultural nightlife of Montreal, my eyes wowed by a rainbow of the most beautiful ladies our northern neighbors have to offer. To be fair, upon returning I may have had a little bit of a sexist-objectification hangover (I'm not trying to sell "perfect" here), but definitely no racism on the brain. All ready to talk about people, and pop culture, and music in non culturally-divisive terms! Only to check in today and see TIME Magazine list their "best" and "essential" blogs of 2010 and not include ONE that focuses primarily on issues/news/commentary from a race perspective, or even in lieu of that, "the hip hop generation". And now I'm sort of sad and I feel the sequence of: signing off on a somewhat-sad note of internet racism, then clearing the mind of racism, only to return and find, yup, still very racist here! gives the sadness more resonance.

i'm not big on quotas or inclusion for the sake of inclusion, but it's not like i'm suggesting the venerable Time Magazine shoehorn blacksonblondesdotcom into the mix. i'm quite certain YOU, the former Time person of the year, can rattle off at least a couple culture sites that serve as excellent melanin-supplements to your internet diet. Ta-Nehisi Coates over at the Atlantic has an informed and vibrant community, and sits right next to blog bigshot andrew sullivan (memo to Time: that's means win-win for substance and superficial traffic whoring). illdoctrine is a regular plug for me and does work for npr, another no-brainer. If you have Pitchfork present, you could consider Nah Right or their "cartel" of blogs who basically supply the internet with all their advance hip hop music and info. shit, even if you want to stay in the margins of MSM-type/sponsored blogs, you can give a nod to The Root and at least get on the board. And I skew black for my culture, but give me Angry Asian Man, or Aziz Ansari, or arroz con pollo, or really anything. Just. one. site. would make me not bummed out.

In the interest of not stepping on anyone's toes, I suspect Time Magazine could probably find the *webspace* to add a link or two to their exclusive list (I'd even accept a URL-shortener version!), and then maybe scrounge up an intern to provide the 35 words of generically-descriptive copy. But even if space is tight (25 is such a linkable number!), i don't know, maybe The Daily Kitten could be held back for next week's Best and Essential Cat Blogs of 2010? they really deserve their own listicle litterbox, don't you think?

in the words of The Roots recent single: SOMEONE HAS TO CARE. it's as simple as that. do you care, Time Magazine editors?  maybe if former man of the year Barack Obama gave another race speech? or if Haiti got another earthquake? or if Michael Jackson died again? Would any of that help? I know blogs are supposed to be disposable small-potatoes or something, so who gives a f, but, uh, no. That's incorrect. And even more so with matters of "culture".

I also imagine it's supposed to provide some solace that a list of blogs curated by Time Magazine is the equivalent of an all star baseball game as selected by, like, the fading/ancient remains of George Steinbrenner (no facial-hair if you want to play on this team!); I get that it's mostly meaningless. but "mostly" meaningless is not meaningless in an american capitalist market that still traffics in "mostly" smoke and mirrors. i'll take the MSM mention over the solace, thank you very much. A little extra smoke and mirrors is nothing to snark or sneer at in the gig economy. give a Time Magazine Hot List mention to the black-blog version of Diddy and he will give you the world. or at least a new blog clothing line and some cologne (don't act like some of y'all don't need diddy to dress you and make you smell tolerable).

but no jokes. and more to the point, per my *ahem-ing* of The Awl's Choire Sicha last week: all star games are meaningless in the context of the baseball or basketball season, but they're actually leveraged all the time for $-bonuses and other Real-World benefits when players negotiate contracts. And it's no different with silly awards on the internet. It's sort of funny how it works cause within the internet-media bubble these badges have little currency, but people outside the bubble make them mean something via their own ignorance (or marketing team). Almost like a version of internet derivatives. This is how legacies of wealth and empowerment are formed little-by-little, trinket-by-trinket, shell game-by-shell game.

So yeah, there's always next week tomorrow when I, and most of the free world, will once again forget that Time Magazine still exists. But the saddest part is not so much the racism, but the laziness. These are the seeds that perpetuate future lifecycles of apathy and injustice. This is how people in power forget the due diligence that got them there in the first place and compensate with nickel-and-dime exploitation of the disenfranchised. It's a bad "unsustainable" habit/conditioned reflex to ignore minority groups (also to eat McDonald's), and it appears from the reactions to the list that pretty much anyone who doesn't read this post will overlook yet another slighting of The People by The Man. And it all just makes me sad, and exasperated, and kinda-sorta want to pack my internet bags and go join the Ghana Black Stars or something so I can feel part of a winning team. At least this post is long enough that I probably won't want to deal with it again this week, so I guess there's that.


  1. well at least the ink was black...

  2. great post! i mean you did go off on a few tangents here and there but you made your point, nicely played - how did the Times measure which blogs were the best anyway??

  3. irukerodo: i think it's just editor's choice. michael arrington/tech crunch has a post musing on how he went from best blog to overrated to awesome again with little change in editorial content or direction on his site.

    the point i somewhat regret leaving out, but will get to independently, is that i imagine a defense would say some of the smart news/opinion/analysis sites like the awl or hilobrow tackle race and ethnocultural issues in their daily churn. ie. there's a "postracial" argument that we needn't think in these terms to access the issues. my point here is simply anyone who cares about those things are malnourished/underserved if they abide by Time's recommendations for blogs/essential content. and I'd imagine that's a lazy oversight on their end...

  4. El Cid Bechet6/29/2010

    Guess what? I don't care about the Roots, period, except maybe live. Did you read, or do you care about any of the following, from one of the top Time sites?







    I'm not disagreeing with your larger point but the topic, and possibilities of 'race perspective' are a lot broader/deeper than giving a shit about an okay TV funk band who make lousy/boring records.

  5. thanks for reading.

    "The Root" I refer to in this post is theroot.com. it's a black-perspective online magazine/news site affiliated with the washington post and slate.

    I've only recently discovered hilobrow via the Time list. per my earlier comment about them and The Awl, I like the content. but these links you mention are 200-word birthday shout-outs that I feel underscore my point. There's not the same smart-meat on the bones with these posts/subjects/points of entry as with their other content.


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