I did not jump into this blogging business blind. No, I looked at other blogs, too, and it seems that the ones that are successful and engaging are the niche blogs: blogs of bodybuilders, unicyclists, Las Vegas courtesans (seriously).
This is why this blog will fail. I am not, like the courtesan, an expert in any one field, and therefore cannot speak authoritatively on any one subject that a specific audience would find engaging. As a Jack-of-all-trades, I will not be the singular voice for—or the critic of—a community.
A better activist than call girl, I also checked out the blogs of the activist circle of the blogferno. There are two types of these blogs: ones that focus solely on the political/scientific aspect of important issues (environmental legislation, peak oil) and ones that focus solely on lifestyle (yoga, macrobiotic dog food recipes). The former keeps one informed, but unsure of how to apply this education productively. The latter keeps one wholly focused on ones’ own lifestyle, and frequently makes assumptions on socio-economic class. Both often carry the preachy tone implying that “their way” is the best and only way to be.
What is especially frustrating is having one foot in both the “activist” world and the other in the “non-activist” world. To activists, I don’t go far enough in my ideals. I am hypocrite or a hanger-on. To the non-activists, I am assumed to be disdainful, judgmental, a recycled-paper bible thumper.
Listen. I’ve been doing this activism thing awhile, and while I fret both about my personal impact on the world and on the larger systemic issues that I am just a cog in (racial discrimination, environmental degradation), I also see no (fatal) contradiction between deconstructing patriarchy by day and discussing the finer (cruder?) points of the Jersey Shore by night.
You can balance. I’m not saying I’m the best at it, but I’m saying thus far it has sort of worked. I will never be the expert or the wise social critic. This blog is not meant to be consciously instructive as much as it is meant to be an example that political/social activism and being a “normal” person are not mutually exclusive. The personal is political. Activists are not merely condescending ideologues, nor are Beyoncé fans one-dimensionally superficial, and both sides really lose out by painting the other as such, or even thinking about it in terms of sides.
It is a defense mechanism. If everyone who watches the Jersey Shore is an insipid pop-culture valley girl, then you effectively separate yourself from that group and do not have to engage them nor seek balancing that with being an activist, and vice-versa.
That is what this blog is: not an instructive voice written from one niche lifestyle perspective, but an experiment in balancing the personal and the political, the personal interests with the public responsibilities. And it is a balance that must continually be re-struck.