Thinking Bloggery

[“The Thinkers” (at SF’s Palace of the Legion of Honor) from pmeidinger’s Flickr photostream.]

I didn’t understand the whole Thinking Blogger Award meme thing when I first got meme’d. Hell, I barely knew what a meme was. Two very different blogger gals (one from each coast) tagged me: the first was someone I hadn’t had the good fortune to read yet, Dante’s Inferno With Children, so I was doubly treated to both a compliment and another intriguing voice. The only problem was that I had no idea that I was being tagged and that there was a tacit invitation from Liesel for me to join the fun.

Then I got tagged by the inimitable Katie over at all the way from oy to vey. It should have helped me that she clipped the original meme guidelines in her post. I note, should have. Alas, I was beyond help, because it was April, the cruelest month, and not because T.S. Elliot said so (want some trippy poetry fun? check out this “hypertext” rendition of The Wasteland, done in a kind of retro web design, if you believe that web design is aged enough to have left some retro in its wake).

No, this year, April’s cruelty had more to do with the fact that it marked the third month of our fresh son’s life, and by that point, whatever duct tape we’d applied to hold together the various parts of our lives, post-second child, had begun to fray and unstick. The sleep deprivation also began to reach critical mass by around then, too. Since then, the madcap scene hasn’t let up that much; we just slowly began to get accustomed to the sleep deprivation-induced hallucinations, and the scrambled snatches of kid-free, house clean-up-free, overdue work-free, overdue errand-free time. Both minutes of it. So for these reasons and more, it has taken me another seven months to get around to (a) thanking these two fine gals for the honor (thanks!), and (b) passing the honorific on down the line. At least the intervening time has enabled me to learn what the word “meme” means.

[Later note: Yegods! And then there was Blue Milk, an Aussie feminist mum blogger who tagged me in August! See, it’s that thick of a fog. She was ever so kind in her post, and closed her description with the tart observation (in reference to my post on turkey basters and their discontents) “sperm, you are powerful but ridiculous.”]

I should offer a quickie summary of the award/meme, by the way, for those of you who haven’t been feeding yourself a steady diet of blog lately. The Thinking Blogger Award was originated by a chap named Ilker back in February of this year. Here are the guidelines:

    1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
    2. Link to this post [read: his inaugural post] so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
    3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

Some folks, I should note, are critical about Ilker’s intentions. Once you’re “tagged” and turn around and tagged others, you’re all supposed to link to his original post (item #2 in the meme guidelines). Given the numbes of “thinking bloggers” now linking back to him — you know, picture the subdividing images in the Faberge Organics shampoo commercial in the 70s: “If you tell two friends about Faberge Organics shampoo with wheat germ oil and honey, they’ll tell two friends, and so on..and so on…and so on…” — and given that he sells ads on his site, and therefore has a vested interest in traffic, the altruism of his motivations could be impugned. Ah well. Be that as it may, I do like the whole business of a folk-generated custom of praising thoughtfulness, and I appreciate the use of the spotlit recommendations as a means by which to promote more of the same.

In choosing which five thoughtful blogs to list, I tried to stick to the thematic parameters of this blog (parenthood generally, queer/lesbian parenthood in specific, etc.). I also tried to pick blogs that complimented one another in focus, and ones that put rumination on the front burner on a regular basis. Two last notes: first, I’d-a put Terrence from Republic of T. on this list, but he’s already got himself a Thinking Blogger badge thingy, so there. And second, any short list of anything is accompanied by a longer list of items which just as soon could have been listed. Which is a round-about way of saying that I get so much from so many things I read online, and finally punted here and settled with something I could print before another seven months passed.

Now that I’ve poured on enough ado (though can there ever really be enough ado in this multi-tasking, attention-deficited world?), here are five blogs I find thought-provoking, and very much worth your time, if you have any to spare.

    1.Daddy Dialectic. I keep a link to his blog in my tiny parent blogs blogroll. I ran across Jeremy’s online writing maybe a year back, maybe a bit more. He was the first progressive, hetero “daddy” writer I’d read online, someone who dearly wants a transformed, more gender-liberated parental world about as much as I do, so far as I can tell. He is working regularly on expanding collective understanding of the possibilities of this new parenthood, and when his book about what he calls “the 21st century family” comes out from Beacon one day, I’ll be first in line at my local bookstore to snatch it up.

    2. Stay at Homo. This is the other one that’s on my blogroll. Lisa’s an economist, and the only economics professor I know (the fact that my bro-in-law was an econ major in college, coupled with the fact that he’ll profess about pert’ near anything, does not count). Lisa’s take on so many things is illuminating to me. We come at our relationship to parenting and gender in very similar ways, and struggle with very similar challenges. But she puzzles her problems out with tools I never knew about, so I get all sorts of education heaped alongside my comiseration. I read her after Dana Rudolph’s first Blogging for LGBT Families Day (here’s the post, which references a PDF), and thought: Now that’s a writer!

    3. Peter’s Cross Station. I don’t know how or when I ran across this blog, but it was a good time back. Shannon, among many other things, is a lesbian mom who adopted cross-racially. She writes about that with luminous, probing insight (here’s just one recent e.g.). She also writes as a Christian and a progressive, and especially during this period of the Christian Right wing’s high visibility and influence, I very much need to hear from those who hold those two aspects of themselves (i.e., Christian + progressive) in a tight harmony. She does, and writes about it (again, just a recent e.g.), and for this and many other reasons I am very grateful for her presence in print.

    4. The Box Turtle Bulletin. This is where everyone who enjoys thinking should go, if they don’t already, for thoughtful, reasoned analysis of current issues in LGBT civil rights struggle and beyond. It’s worth quoting from their “Mission and Principles” page:

    Gays, lesbians and bisexuals have been a hot topic of conversation lately which, unfortunately, has turned very ugly at times. People on all sides hurl claims and counterclaims, and it seems that everyone is relying on stereotypes and misinformation to support their arguments. It’s hard for ordinary folks to know what to believe.

    In the heat of the debate, several things have been lost. We’ve lost the ability to look at the situation calmly, rationally and with civility. We’ve lost the ability to oppose other viewpoints without demonizing those who hold them. We’ve lost the ability to know who is telling the truth and who is practicing deception or spreading falsehoods. We’ve lost the ability to treat each other with respect and dignity.

    We’ve lost a lot.

    Box Turtle Bulletin exists to help address this problem. I hope to shed some light, with honesty and integrity, and without rancor. I hope to earn your trust in what we report, and your respect in how we report it.

    Everything published at BTB, as it is fondly acronymized, is well-researched, well-thought out. A treasure, relied upon by a ton of us.

    5. Waldlaw Blog. Deborah Wald is a Family Law attorney in San Francisco, whose impact spreads way beyond her immediate practice at The Wald Law Group. She’s an adjunct professor at University of San Francisco where she teaches about family law; she co-chairs the Board of Directors for the Bay Area’s LGBT family organization Our Family Coalition; she’s a prolific writer and a prodigious public speaker. And this is just what I know about. I offer this mini-curriculum vitae to clarify the breadth and authority of her insight about current issues in LGBT family life. All of which to say that whenever she does muse about something on her blog (which she updates far more frequently than anyone would expect, given how much she’s up to), I sit up and take note, and bet you’d get a lot from it if you did too.

So there you have it. My thoughts about thinking bloggers (which is really about thinking people who make their thoughts available online using the media format blog). Now you have a whole clump of new folks to consider reading, if you don’t read ’em already. I want to thank Liesel and Katie again for the high regard in which they hold (or long ago held!) my writing/thinking here, and offer renewed apologies for the vast expanse of time it took for me to cook up this smørgasbord of food for thought. Bon appétit!

2 thoughts on “Thinking Bloggery”

  1. Thanks again LD- it just gets better and better. First THIS now THAT. I can feel my metaphors rising!

    A few months ago I hadn’t read any blogs at all. IT was mainly a convenience, a dumbing down of language, a tool that made work more efficicent. None of this cunning linguistic playfulness. Never did I suspect that it would bring so many new things: new ideas; new insights; new language; new voice; almost a new coming out (such a delight without adolescent angst).

    We cant all live in Berkeley…..but I cant believe I havent ‘spoken’ to other lesbian families before. It was a joy to realise there was a-nother family let alone a whole gayby boom with all its associated trappings! Some wake up call for this sleeper from the 80s.

    *The sound of one hand doing housework.*

  2. *…which sound is a lot louder than the sound of one hand clapping.*

    You’re ever so welcome. I myself couldn’t be more tickled by the discovery that there is so much kinship floating about online — which online kinship, of course, represents family kinship all over the place. It’s an enormous relief that we aren’t the only lesbian family on the block here in Berkeley, and that sightings of folks such as us are a are familiar, if slightly exotic experience in our neck of the woods (ornithologically speaking, I’d say we’re like goldfinches, say, as vs. sparrows: eye-catching, perhaps, and not dime-a-dozen, but certainly not like cedar waxings, which alight in a gorgeous flutter for just a few days or a week, while en route from one distant part to another).

    But I’m also delighted to report, definitively, that We Are Everywhere! In the U.S., for instance, we’re officially in Every Populated County of the Nation. And by we, I mean queer people with kids. There’s gobs of us, cleaning up after our kids (with one hand or two), from coast to coast.

    And now, in honor of the joyousness of the occasion, I can’t help but paste in a link to the “Media” section of Wikipedia’s entry on Bach’s “Wachet auf (ruft uns die Stimme,” aka Sleepers Wake! Click ‘n enjoy!

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