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Monday, December 18, 2006

Post mortem post

All right, so the results are now official, and you are now officially reading the Best Educatious Blog on the Internets.  I think Sherman Dorn, of the rival (and craftily-named) Education Policy Blog has precisely the right attitude about all this as he graciously offers you, my faithful readers, his heartfelt salute:

a tentative congrats to Michael Bérubé’s loyal readership for having beaten out the readership of a defunct homeschool blog, an Ivy League gossip site, and all the others.

As I pointed out in my comment chez EdPoliBlog, Sherman forgot to say that we barely beat out the readership of a defunct homeschool blog.  And not without some controversy along the way, which Sherman generously refers to as “the silly competition to see who can get away with the most fraud in the 2006 Weblog Awards for best educationalisteseazamatazz blog.”

Well, merci beaucoup, Sherman!  We appreciate the gesture, and we congratulate you and Education Policy Wonk Blog of Wonkers on a most impressive three-way tie for eighth place:

Michael Bérubé 38.62 % (6177)
SpunkyHomeSchool 34.41 % (5505)
IvyGate 14.59 % (2334)
A Shrewdness of Apes 3.01 % (482)
Joanne Jacobs 2.34 % (374)
Eduwonk 1.93 % (309)
Faith and Theology 1.71 % (273)
Education Policy Blog 1.22 % (195)
History is Elementary 1.17 % (187)
The Education Wonks 1.00 % (160)

Total votes: 15996

But I do have two serious things to say about this.  The first is that I’m sorry for inadvertently antagonizing homeschoolers when I should have been mocking Education Policy Blog instead.  As Bill Benzon kept pointing out in comments, people homeschool their kids for all kinds of reasons.  Some of those reasons, I should add, sometimes have to do with children with learning disabilities.  For obvious reasons, though, the Christian-secular split involved here threatened to overshadow everything else.  Now, it did not escape my notice that the only Weblog Awards races that generated any ill will were the ones that involved people from significantly different political communities, as in the Kos v. LGF heavyweight bout and the Lesbian Dad v. Hang Right Politics undercard.  Those races got real nasty real fast; ours didn’t.  But when those illegal votes and cheating scripts started coming in, it became clear that some of our fans were, indeed, taking this thing too seriously.  So my sincere thanks to Spunky and the Harris twins for helping put everything in perspective when things got weird—and for being such charitable competitors.

Besides (this is thing two), the important point isn’t that we won or they won.  The important point is that I avenged last year’s inexplicable loss to Sadly, No! Last year, you’ll recall, the chortling snarkmeisters at S,N! just managed to squeak by us in the crucial Best of the Two Hundred and Fifty-First Through Five Hundredth Blogs as Ranked by Some Capricious Ranking Device competition, 2240 votes to 1318.  This year, Sadly, No! stomped all over its right-wing competitors in a noticeably Poor Man-less field, winning 5604 votes, 36.94 percent of the 15,170 votes cast in their category.  So the real totals, for those of you keeping track of the real competition, are:

Michael Bérubé 38.62 % (6177)
Sadly, No!  36.94% (5604)

And so we are the champions, my friends.  Never mind the petty technicalities.  Let’s not bicker and argue about who was in what category, now!  The people have spoken.  Some of them more than once!

I have to say, though, that I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to write my big concession speech.  After all, those of you who’ve been following this blog since its early days in 2004, when it was still “cool” and was opening for The Arcade Fire in tiny Montréal clubs, know that writing concession speeches is one of our specialities here at Le Blogue Bérubé.  In early 2005 we fought over Best New Blog with James Wolcott and BradBlog only to wind up pwned by Amanda Marcotte; we battled over Most Humorous Post with the Rude Pundit only to lose to The Poor Man; we struggled vainly for Best Writing with Wolcott and Meteor Blades only to fall to the mighty Digby.  In late 2005 we lost inexplicably, inexplicably I say, to Sadly, No!  In early 2006 we finished second in Best Series to some blog called FireDogLake.  And then, in the unkindest cut of all, Todd Gitlin came out of nowhere in the third heat (as FrontPage reset their results again and again) to strip me of my rightful title as America’s Most Dangeral Professor.

So this time, as I squared off (I thought) against IvyGate only to be (I thought) beaten by SpunkyHomeSchool, I composed a concession speech in which I congratulated Spunky on a race well run (that still holds!) and noted that this competition marked the first time I’d been beaten by a defunct blog.  Granted, Spunky’s blog was newly-defunct, having posted its farewell on December 5, but still.  So I was going to take this opportunity for reflection and post a few draft chapters of my forthcoming Blogging and Time about Being-Toward-Defunctness (Ger. Sein-zum-Defunkt).  For someday, this too will be a defunct blog.  Possibly quite soon!  You never know.  For defunctness comes to us all in its own time, and at my back from time to time I hear the GNF’s winged chariot hurrying near.

Not just yet, though.  I still have to give a couple of blog-related talks at the MLA later this month, and I have no intention of doing so as an ex-blogger.  I haven’t yet replied adequately to this contribution and that contribution to Liberalpalooza®, or Mark Bauerlein’s essay in last week’s Chronicle of Higher Education.  We still haven’t quite completed the saga of my journey to the Land that Time Forgot.  And there are a couple more things on our mind as well, like the question of how we wound up speaking about ourselves in the first person plural again even though we just used “mind” in the singular.

In the meantime, here’s this week’s schedule.  I’m flying down to Virginia Beach tomorrow and staying through Friday to help take care of my mother, who recently fractured her hip and broke her wrist.  (All this talk of my sports-related injuries has been mere deflection, you see.) Send her some good wishes and Skele-Gro!  I’ll post a few excerpts from my essay on 2001: A Space Odyssey in the meantime, because research suggests that almost two percent of all commenters on the previous thread might actually be interested in reading ‘em.  And I’ll be back on Friday, don’t you worry, don’t you fret, with the most arbitrary Friday yet.

Thanks again to everyone who voted for me (legally) in this Weblog Awards thing, and to everyone who made our Cage Match and Show Trial such a world-historical success!

Posted by Michael on 12/18 at 03:38 PM
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