ModFabulous: Best Blogs of 2005
If blogs made their entry onto the national stage in 2004, this year they pulled up a chair and sat down at the table. Still considered "outsiders" by mainstream pundits (who are terrified and running for their lives), blogs broke major news stories and covered world events with a detail, compassion, and wit that hadn't previously been part of the media picture.
There are some ugly trends emerging, like blogs sponsored by mainstream media (usually embarrassing, like the New York Times' Carpetbagger) or blogs specifically designed to teach other blogs how to look like every other blog (the ironically named Successful Blog and Performancing, the Benedict Arnolds of the blog movement). And a starfucking hierarchy came into play...2004's blog stars Kos, Ana Marie Cox, and Choire Sicha were supplanted by Perez Hilton, Cory Doctorow, Andy Towle, Bradley Shellhammer, and the saga of Andrew Krucoff.
Still, there's much to love in the blogosphere...here are some that made the world a better place to be in 2005:
Honorable Mention - The Next Generation: Although I didn't find room for them on the big list, five new blogs of 2005 have become indispensible: the film blog Nick's Flick Picks, the gay academic Queering The Apparatus, the music download oasis Digital Eargasm, the snarky and sexy Ultranow, and in a category all its own, the zen listology of Six Things.
10. Overheard in New York
Word for word, the funniest site in the universe. Real conversations (theoretically) are eavesdropped, then posted for your amusement.
9. Daily GreenCine
Movie blogs appeared this year with a frightening frequency, but none of them surpassed the classically eloquent, link-rich folks at GreenCine. Practically a course in how to become a film conossieur.
Brilliant idea of the year: have a computer pick news stories at random, then follow liberal and conservative blogs as they link to them. Unpartisan is a nuttily entertaining lesson in political spin, sure, but it also reveals the substance AND the perspective of today's volatile world.
The world's best real estate blog recently expanded to cover cities beyond New York; it's about time the rest of the world got to enjoy the savvy insights, inside jokes and witty commentary that makes livin' in the city so much damn fun.
Part porn blog and part fine art primer, the men captured on the pages of Beautiful are more than just eye candy. In this blog's assured hands, they become contextualized erotic moments that shake free the moralist underpinnings that bore you to tears in most babelicious sites. Bring your sex drive AND your brain.
No blog had a better year than AmericaBlog, period. John Aravosis built his mini-empire on the Jeff Gannon scandal, and they waged a one-man war upon Republican hypocrisy and homophobic corporate behavior. Gay, straight, or in-between, it's the political must-read blog of the year.
4. Rod 2.0
I excised most of my friends from consideration this year, but I just couldn't deny Rod his place in the pantheon. Why? Because whether he's talking pop culture, politics, society, education, art, or science, he always discusses the intersections of racism and homophobia with a grace that eludes 99.9% of blog writers. In a perfect world, everyone would read him daily.
You'll find only one Gawker Media blog on this list, and (suprise!) it's not Gawker, Defamer, or Wonkette. Lifehacker has, in its short life, established itself as the computer user's essential daily guide, talking to us non-geeks in plain, simple language that makes our online lives run better, smoother, faster, and more interestingly. Truly essential.
2. Arjan Writes About Music
There are great music sites...and then there's Arjan. The difference? The passion to champion his favorites, the discernment to see through trendy acts, and the smarts to let us know what we'll want to be listening to next. Half the music I bought this year, I bought because of this blog...and that's no small thing.
1. I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing
Screenwriter Josh Friedman's blog is the first personal diary blog I've ever been able to stand...and I love it. Its (sadly infrequent) updates cover Hollywood's darker side with a savage understanding and laugh-out-loud sardonicism. Perhaps the best part is its genius at illuminating how, where, and why movies are made. If it were a novel, it would be Flaubert...as it is, it's merely heaven.