Sunday, March 05, 2006

Koufax time

The nominations are in for the annual Koufax Awards for lefty blogs from the fine folks at Wampum (and while you're there be sure to tip them some change).

Polls are open. You can vote through comments or e-mail.

Orcinus is a nominee in seven categories:
Best Blog (non-professional)

Best Blog -- Sponsored or Professional

Best Writing

Best Single-Issue Blog

Best Series

Best Expert Blog

Some observations:

Orcinus probably shouldn't be a nominee in both the professional and non-professional categories, but Dwight tells me that the nominations belong to the readers, so there ya go. I can understand the confusion: this certainly is not a funded blog -- for that matter, I'm still declining to run advertising -- and I run it out of my garage as I always have. But I am a professional writer, which definitely fits the criteria for the "professional blog" category. So if you're going to vote for me for Best Blog, you should probably make it in the Professional category (where I'm doomed anyway).

As always, I'm a little uncomfortable with the "best expert" and "single issue" categories (and while I'm at it, I should mention that my "single issue" focus is probably better described as "right-wing extremism" than "hate groups"). I'm dubious about the extent to which I'm actually an "expert" at these things, but OK, whatever; and as regular readers know, I also post on a lot of other topics as well. Still, I understand how these things work, and I'm always honored to be among the finalists in these categories. (But we all know that Jeralynn and Juan Cole are used to walking away with these awards, and deservedly so.)

I'm a nominee once again for Best Series, an award I've won the previous two years. And I'm quite proud of this year's nominee, the Unhinged: Unhonest series. It's probably not quite at the level of the previous two award-winners, especially since it's essentially just an extended fisking. But I was hoping to use the whole fisking genre as a way to springboard into a discussion of something serious, namely, right-wing eliminationist rhetoric, and how right-wing Newspeak accusing liberals of being "unhinged" primarily serves as a cover for it. (I examined this even more in the followup discussion with Cathy Young.)

Still, none of it quite holds a candle to the amazing work of the gang at firedoglake on the Plame matter, does it? Sigh.

And of course, I've always coveted the Best Writing award, and I'm usually a finalist, but I don't think I've ever been really close on that.

So, in examining the field, it looks like a bit of a down year for Orcinus at the Koufaxes. And that's probably reflective of the blog this year: I've turned my attention to a number of other directions, I have had weeklong stretches with no posts, and right-wing extremists just haven't been on the national radar as much. Some of my best writing, I think, has come in posts that no one else much wants to link to, and it seems fewer people are reading, since they are on topics that are not exactly political. Certainly I noticed that, for the first time, I wasn't nominated at all for "Best Post" -- an award I came very close to winning two years ago.

Well, all that's as it should be; audiences are bound to come and go whenever you shift directions as a writer, and much of this is by design on my part. I also think that recognizing fresh blood is good for the blogosphere. I do think, though, that regular readers will see a little more to chew on this year than last, if for no other reason than that the extremists are definitely picking up their pace this year. (Also, I have plans for a kickass series to begin sometime next month, I think.)

So go vote, help me out where you think I deserve it, but most of all, spend some time and check out the other nominees. There's a ton of great writing out there.

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