html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Here's your meme, Ezra.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Here's your meme, Ezra.

Ezra Klein tapped me to do a meme. I don’t like chain letters or memes or anything that obligates the recipient to do stuff, but I’m happy to do this one because Ezra was really nice and easy to talk to when I met him. So I was thinking about it on my bike ride in, and I got a theme going (I particularly liked Ezra’s Two Truths and a Lie variant, and then I was thinking that I would do Two Truths and a Lie for each of the five things, and I haven’t written anything salacious recently, so it might include some naughty bits.) But then I saw the other people he tapped for the meme and I got intimidated.

Besides me, Ezra tapped another political blogger, an editor at In These Times, and the bloggers at Feministing. It is my impression that these are influential thinkers, who write about important things. That makes me nervous. Political bloggers, at least the good ones, always sound like they’re doing more important work than I am. I mean, they’re analyzing the dynamics that are shaping policy, and they know the names of staff people, and make predictions about what changes to expect. I don’t know how to evaluate their assertions, except to find someone I like and blindly believe that person. I don’t follow national politics closely, which I’m ashamed of, except that I don’t trust much besides what I can see or learn first-hand so I don’t want to have opinions about Senate committee debates when I didn’t attend them. Also, I keep not following national news. I’m surprised I don’t; I mean, I’m concerned and all and want to be an educated citizen, but every day I don’t read much national news and I don’t listen to the radio now that I don’t have a car and I never watch the news on TV because I would rather love life. Every day, I don’t miss the national news. So I get intimidated by political bloggers, because they seem to know lots about important things I should know better.

I probably should be intimidated by the senior editor at In These Times, except that I know a guy who was an editor at In These Times, and he’s completely super-cool and awesome and I’ll hang out with him in LA this weekend. From my sample, editors at In These Times are great and like me plenty. So whatever, Mr. EditorGuy at In These Times. Call me. We’ll kick it.

But then, Ezra linked to women who blog at Feministing, and that gets me back to being intimidated and feeling like I am just dicking around instead of writing about worthwhile things. I feel like I should have stuff to say about feminism, seeing as how I call myself a feminist and believe very strongly that girls are just as good as men. But most write-ups about feminism are commentary about how other people are acting, and some of them attribute motives to the actors, and lots of them sound aggrieved. I read posts or discussions about feminism and get mildly outraged, but it doesn’t lead anywhere. There isn’t anything to do, because the sexist interaction is past and I wasn’t there. I know having my attention called to the biases influencing a discussion is useful, but nine times out of ten, I am more interested in the content of the discussion.

I am truly grateful to women and men who do hard work pointing out and decreasing sexism. I know that I am the beneficiary of their efforts. But much as I respect women and men who battle sexism by battling sexism, I naturally love the women who battle sexism by going out and doing kick-ass things. Like Amanda, who is personally making New York safe for bicycles and artists and open source software, and eDubin, who could re-design a building for you, and my sister, who could design a container port for you, and Margie, who can fix your fish crossing structure, and Capella, whose many-particle simulator actually aggregates, and Krista who can lift heavy things and make you lift heavy things, and like Roxie, who makes leagues and tournaments happen when she’s not sitting on city committees, and like that. They do lots of things and fight sexism as a side-note, by their sheer awesomeness and sometimes by their conscious efforts. I know men who do that too, who ignore gender roles and behave as openminded people in all sorts of wonderful ways. So I don’t want feminism to be the primary thing that I am doing, but then I feel like an inadequate feminist compared to people who make that their full-time deal.

Then I wonder why I am comparing myself to their blogs, and wanting to shift my focus to the things they think about, especially since I think their blogs have a purpose and I think also money, and my blog is just a place for me to tell you and an imaginary boy what I think about. (Who, you know, can write me any day now. Seriously. If you have wondered whether you should hit on me, yes, you should.) How come I get insecure and confused and sucked away from my intent when I am mentioned in impressive company, especially since our blogs are doing different things? What do I want this blog to be, that a little attention turns my head so?



Blogger Megan said...

You weren't going to do anything like denigrate other people on your way to complimenting me, right? You know that's not how we roll.

4:37 PM  
Blogger ScottM said...

I envy that you've met Ezra-- he seems like a good, often surprisingly insightful, guy.

Beyond that, your blog is wonderful and has the Megan niche sewn right up, so thoroughly that no one even things of trying to sidle on in.

Or is there a better Megan blog out there that you're hiding?

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

blah blah, we all feel like there's more we could/should be doing. I wish I had time to still play insturments. I always feel like I should be spending more time investing. I love to cook, but it requires time and money.

Ultimately, we only have so many resources to spend. So, you may not be as much of a feminist as someone else, it's not your thing. This water thing seems to be what you really care about. That, and whatever you do with your free time.

Being really involved in an issue takes up a lot of free time. I'm sure you COULD fit in the national news every day, but you seem to keep track of the local news, and water issues instead.

Anyway, point being, I don't really find anyone intimidating. I don't think you should either. I'm yet to meet anyone who's got me beat in all things.



5:09 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I do not recommend moving in on the Megan niche.

No other blog, although I've thought of having a secret one. I would just talk about canals and regulating reservoirs and give it all away, though.

5:11 PM  
Blogger amanda bee said...

Say hi to Joe for me.

I've struggled a lot to let my own blog be what it is, since I started reading yours. It is, for the most part, a place for me to write about my travels (when I'm travelling) and to sort of log puzzles I wish I'd been able to google before I solved them. A place to practice writing a little bit, since I don't do enough of that.

But then I start reading dubinology and I think I'm supposed to make every post witty, when what's rolling around in my head is an essay about the slow boil at the IPA and the unhealthy obsession with applying best practices from the for-profit sector to non-profit work, a meme upon which I call bullshit. I might finish the essay, but it won't be very witty or clever and probably no one will read it.

So there.

Where is your meme already?

PS, Justin, I actually think that it is sort of healthy to take stock of your life. Megan isn't beating herself up, here, just confessing a wee bit of intimidation and a dose of inspiration.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous sasha said...

Actually, I think we need more blogs that actually talk about policy, or things, anyway, that are areas of expertise of the author.

I get it, we're fucked in Iraq. Let's talk about Hydroengineering or Digital Inclusion or, hell, organic farming.

If you talk about stuff you care about, and do it well, then people will read your blog.

At least that's my theory, although it's getting time I ought to get the doing it well part down more consistently.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous John Hughes said...

I like your blog. It's your blog. And if you are fishing for compliments I'm happy to fill a bucket to overflowing with them. I will add that when I'm cruising through the 240-plus blogs I monitor, I always read your blog post first. That's a personal choice made for personal enjoyment.

You are, of course, free to change your blog in any way you wish. Just don't do it because you think someone else does a better job. They don't

5:33 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Thanks, although I was only a little fishing for compliments and mostly thinking aloud.

I'm going to tell Uneasy Rhetoric you read my blog first.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amanda, I agree. I'm just saying, it's something we all do. We all have minor interests, and meet the person who's really involved, and then feel like we're not involved enough. But, the reality is, we give our time to our major interests. And, we need people with varied interests so we keep everything covered. Blah


5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is excellent that a woman with a (quasi) anonymous blog now thinks about writing a secret blog, one which would not be linked to her anonymous but now very definite identity. One can imagine quite a regress of secret blogs.

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Jake said...

Krista rocks, and has from the days when she was a regular on And I think that her (and the other people you listed, and certainly not least yours) works advance the feminist cause in a way that is complimentary to the more academic/theoretical approach from other blogs but just as essential; for you can tell someone he's wrong to make snap judgments about women until you're blue in the face, but until he gets burned a few times by the "not only do you know what you're talking about, but you know more than me, and now I look like an idiot", he'll never truly learn.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous justus said...

Adding my voice to the acclaim of Krista's awesomeness. I love the picture of her doing the A2G front squats. Every day I go to the gym I secretly hope to see a woman lifting like her. Or at least showing an interest in lifting like her instead of doing the stereotypical and useless treadmill/adductor/abductor/abdominals routine.

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do seem to fill the niche of wonderful-sounding person very well. It's very difficult to imagine, after reading your blog for a little while, that you are not up to your eyeballs in admirers, hangers on, and other people wanting to soak up the general Megan-ness you spread around you.

The world is a strange place.

My preference is that you continue to write about whatever seems like a good idea, to you, at the time. I'm happy to blindly, and firmly, believe that it will be worthwhile.

7:42 PM  
Blogger Neil Sinhababu said...

As the other political blogger whom Ezra tapped for this meme, I was reading your post and going, "since when did I get so big and scary?" What we do, or at least what I do, isn't much different from being an obsessive fan of a sport or a TV show, and then blogging about it a lot. There's people like Ezra and Matt Yglesias who are in a completely different league from me, but they do that stuff for a living.

On a completely different topic, I was looking at your blog earlier today, and I saw your Just say what you mean post from last month. I've bookmarked it and I intend to read it next time I need to buck up my courage. I wish I'd read it in freshman year of college, or earlier.

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Megan, I guess your last statement was a rhetorical question but I'll hazard an answer nevertheless.

I think you want your blog to be *your* signature. And so it might reflect those other issues that you care about but it will do so in your own way. [I might want to write in a different way or about different things but deep down I know what I choose to write is somehow a reflection of my own style]

But I think your blog is not just about your panache-that everyone's is. I think it is also a signature in the sense that you want to move to the next page, to move on to life. When we imaginaries sign our real names that will be our final post as well.

Merry Christmas all.

12:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Political bloggers, at least the good ones, always sound like they’re doing more important work than I am.

There already are too many political bloggers. Most of them contribute little and spend much of the time preaching to the choir.

Iron Rails & Iron Weights

6:25 AM  
Blogger jens said...

In fact, you've got that Megan niche so sewn up that perfectly wonderful Megans end up blogging under pseudonyms like "Jane Galt" rather than competing for that niche.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous eb said...

It is excellent that a woman with a (quasi) anonymous blog now thinks about writing a secret blog, one which would not be linked to her anonymous but now very definite identity. One can imagine quite a regress of secret blogs.

This world already exists.

12:39 AM  

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