Tuesday, April 30, 2024

15 Years? This Blog Can Soon Get A Permit to Drive

I can be a harsh critic of myself...
 I have marked the anniversary of this blog a few times before, but, jeez, 15 years is a big number.  Much longer than I have resided anywhere although Ottawa will match that in a few years.  I started blogging in a different world--in the middle of an economic crisis, with a rising far right (remember the Tea Party?), and multiple wars.  Now, we have a housing crisis, my kid is unemployed, and the far right is rising in Canada but is already in solid control of the US courts.  So, yeah, it has been a ride.

It is very appropriate that this anniversary falls while I am on a trip.  Much of my blogging bursts of late have been travel reports, as visiting new places has given me new material.  As I have noted before, I slowed down in part because a lot of what I want to say here, I have said before.  

I haven't written as much about Gaza and the politics back home as I could because it is just so depressing and angering.  I hate that universities aror the traps that the far right have set, I hate that people think that universities are full of anti-semites who deserve to be suspended and evicted without due process.  I have yet to see any stories that justify bringing cops onto campuses to repress protests.  Snipers?  We don't need another Kent State to see how awful this is, but, yes, each day, each place this happens, we risk students (and profs) getting killed.  

I will write more about this in the coming days, but I'd rather spend this Spew-niversary thinking about the highlights of the past 15 years of this place.  I still have no regrets about starting the blog or its name, as it has been a great place to play with half-baked ideas. So, the aforementioned highlights:

  • Writing so much about Canada's experience in Afghanistan here at the Spew made it so easy to write Adapting in the Dust--I didn't cut and paste from the blog, but I did refer to it along the way to find old links and ideas.  Having blogged extensively about this topic made it so easy for the ideas to move from my head to each chapter I wrote.
  • Writing about the logic of the NATO book applied to the Avengers movie at the Duck of Minerva, as blogging here led to the Duck and other outposts.  Writing about poli sci theory applied to Marvel too ultimately led to a publication.
  • Posting the song list for the NATO book--coming up with that was fun.
  • Realizing I am, dare I say it, an influencer.  LtGen (retired) Maisonneuve's speech did not get picked up by the media since it was partly aimed at them, so it only got out and widely discussed after my post about it.  This eventually led to an op-ed where I wrote that he ought not be platformed and then the supposedly cancelled general wrote an op-ed aimed directly at me, a career first!  When people say they have read my blog, I stammer and blush less than I used to.  I still apologize whenever anyone says they follow me on twitter or bluesky, as the stuff there is even more reactive and less baked than the stuff I write here.
  • Before that, blogging made me an activist, which I had never expected (I am not the activist Hollwyood Spew is), but when I saw that the ISA developed a dumb policy on blogging, I wrote about it and then organized an official caucus within the ISA--the Online Media Caucus--to defend/protect/educate/advocate re social media.  Recently, the OMC disbanded, as our mission within the ISA has succeeded as online media stuff is very mainstream, including blogging, even as we have had to move from a very popular but now broken/far right platform to alternatives.
  • Fave? Maybe not but often repeated, re-linked, that rejection is inherent in the enterprise.  Damn near all of my publication efforts have been bumpy roads except the NATO book (one reason it is my fave book).  The CDSN was rejected a few times before we got funded.  Oh, and that whole job search thing. 
  • A recurring theme here has been discussion of sexism in poli sci.  Have things gotten better for women in the profession?  Damned if I know, ask a women who has been doing it for thirty years or so.  I have also addressed racism in poli sci, but not as much.  Why not?  It has not been as obvious to me, I guess, in mostly white departments and with the racists being a bit less overt than the sexists?  When it comes to sexism, I find it easier to engage for whatever reason.  Some folks have called me a good ally, but that has always made me a bit uncomfortable for a few reasons.
    • Doing the right thing should just be the right thing.
    • Calling oneself an ally is usually a hint that one is not, so I have not referred to this label much.  
    • I like to sometimes be subversive is only slightly subtle ways (as I am not a subtle person), like with this post about the best books in the biz
  • I thought about this post for a long time before writing it.  It could be read as a rationalization for my media stuff, but I honestly believe the stuff I said about relative value of different folks who appear in the media.  I know I am not the best, but I have seen the worst and it ain't me 😃.
  • When I saw a survey about xenophobia, I had to put on my old hat as ethnic conflict scholar, and that piece (and its sequels) got picked up by Max Fisher then of WP and made a dent.
  • Oh and some stats from 15 years:
    • 6250 posts
    • 3384 comments, which shows that this has mostly been me talking to myself except ...
    • 3,648,197


Dukey said...

Congrats! On universities, James Millward has a great piece at Chinafile that might be of interest.

Steve Saideman said...