I’m very new to blogging. I go out into the world and look for blogs that I might be interested in — things that are left-wing, radical, socialist, environmentalist, anarchist, etc. The name “LeftAlign” is a clue to my general outlook. To my surprise, I discover that:
1. 90% of the blogs I find are American.
2. 90% of the posts I read start with “The Bush Administration….”
The first part I’m not so bothered about. As I get used to navigating the world of blogs (sorry, I can’t bring myself to use the word “blogosphere” just yet), I’m sure I’ll find a wider set of writers from around the world.
But the second part does bother me. Reading those hugely popular left-wing American blogs, you could be forgiven for wondering whether a world actually existed outside the US (except as a set of political battlegrounds on which to score points against the Bush Administration when it fucks up, e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan).
For that matter, it’s also not clear whether a world exists outside Washington D.C. for these folks. Everything is about the Bush Adminstration, or what John McCain said today, whether Barack Obama is a smoker or not, whether Scooter Libby lied over Valerie Plame and whether Karl Rove put him up to it and… WHO CARES?????? Never mind Azerbaijan, even Alabama is invisible to these people. They’re so myopic it’s amazing they can even see the keyboard in front of them to type out their inane, childish “Bush is an asshole” drivel.
OK, deep breath. Calm down. Breathe.
OK. I feel better now. I think that little venting of spleen was very helpful for me – hope you don’t mind. Now on a more rational note, I understand that we all are more concerned with our immediate surroundings than with distant events. It’s natural. I will write more about London and the UK than about Botswana. Fine. But I will also write about other places.
In fact, looking back over my first month of blogging I see I’ve written about Tanzania, Venezuela, Jamaica, Sudan, Germany, China, Palestine, Iran, Iraq and, yes, the USA.
I did not set out to do this. I have not made any special effort to be “inclusive.” And I mention it now not to seek praise for embracing diversity. I mention it because to me it seems utterly natural to take an interest in the world. I did it without thinking. Indeed, this seems to me to be one of the biggest advantages of blogging. If I wanted to talk about local politics, I could go nextdoor and chat with my neighbour. It’s only in the blogosph… no, still can’t say it … in the blogging world that I could talk with, for example, environmentalists from Aotearoa. That’s an interaction I would never have had before, and I find it fascinating and enriching.
I am also interested in ideas, which are completely absent from the American left-wing blogs I’ve read. What do we mean by socialism? How can we put it into practice in the modern world? What about anarchism? Feminism? Radical environmentalism? Is there, potentially, a link between these disparate ideologies? Are the problems of environmental destruction perhaps linked with patriarchy, neocolonialism, consumerism and authoritarian rule? What are some alternative ways of organizing ourselves as we struggle to find a better way than the profit motive?
All of this seems, to me, far more interesting than the day-to-day evils of the Bush Administration and what Joe Lieberman may or may not have said on “Meet the Press.” And I can’t believe that there is not one blogger in the entire United States who is interested in looking beyond the tired Republocrat slanging matches and embracing the other 99% of the globe.
Come on, somebody, help me find the good leftie bloggers! I know they’re out there!!