In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« More Self-Promotion | Main | Read and Discuss »

August 05, 2008

Bloggers I Like to Read

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Believe it or not -- well, okay, you already probably believe it because I don't do much link-posting -- I don't read a lot of blogs. I have just over 20 sites bookmarked and should add a few more, but not many. As it is, this list normally takes me an hour to peruse each morning and I might spend another hour each day checking back for updates. And I'll click on interesting links. Most of this online effort is to gather news and opinions, but some of the sites I visit eagerly because of the quality of the writing (quality as I see it, benighted non-English major me). That is, I enjoy these bloggers' writing and look forward to reading more whenever I sit down at my computer.

I'll mention some of my favorite blog-writers below. But first I need to mention that I'm excluding bloggers I know personally and those who comment here (many fine writers amongst them) -- to keep things as dispassionate as I can manage.

One blogger I enjoy reading is Jonah Goldberg at the Corner on National Review's site. Jonah's writing influenced my blogging style in terms of using a casual, conversational style where appropriate and tossing in odd, funny bits. His early postings reflected his age (late 20s at the time), the casualness and humor dominating. Ten years, a book and many syndicated columns under his belt later, there is much less kid-stuff. Even so, I almost never skip a Jonah posting.

So he's mostly a print-medium guy, but he does have a blog. That's Terry Teachout who is theater critic for The Wall Street Journal and writes for Commentary and other publications. His theater and music criticism strikes me as being fair and reasonable; perhaps that's because theater and music are definitely not my fields. And what he has to say about literary topics (about which I'm a dab better informed) also makes sense. Where I part company is painting. He seems to like soft, casually-painted landscapes and still-lifes whereas I go more for dramatic works featuring people. Teachout says he tries to write as he would speak, and his style is indeed conversational including the occasional colloquial or slangy phrase in his criticism pieces.

The post 9/11 world brought forth a commentator on things military who blogged under the pen-name "Wretchard." Now he writes under his real name, Richard Fernandez. Fernandez is a Filipino living in Sydney, Australia. I don't know whether English is his first language, but he writes as if it were. His style tends to the "Just the facts, Ma'am" genre -- a spare, analytical stream of sentences and paragraphs with opinion and conjecture clearly labeled where necessary. I found this especially useful when military operations were discussed, because facts can be slippery during and immediately following operations and Fernandez seemed to know what he was talking about at the tactical level.

The last blogger I'll mention today is Dean Barnett who currently writes for the Weekly Standard. At the Standard's site, he usually can be found on their blog (the above link) and recently has been handling the "Required Reading" posts. Barnett is a Harvard graduate who suffers from cystic fibrosis. Despite these two burdens, he writes in a breezy, upbeat style with plenty of humor and practical political savvy.

There are many other fine writers who blog, and I might well do another post on the subject later. Now that so much talent has appeared thanks to the Internet revolution, I find myself amazed when I think about how narrow and constrictive opportunities were for good (and often non-professional) writers even 20 years ago. Think: There were not all that many writers with a national platform, a lot of them having been reduced to hacks after their writing juices were squeezed out; yet they still got an allotment of column-inches.

Please understand that I don't expect you to agree with my assessments. If our Comments are any guide (heck, they're the only guide that I have!), 2Blowhards readers are a well-educated, well seasoned (from life experiences), sophisticated bunch who have informed and often strong opinions. So to the extent that you disagree with my selection, blast away (but no personal attacks on other commenters, please; we try to be civilized hereabouts). And be sure to include references to any blog writers you really enjoy reading.



posted by Donald at August 5, 2008


Goldberg's gotten better since he stopped referencing the Simpsons every time he posts, but he's not a must-read. Teachout has that problem M. Blowhard has mentioned elsewhere: a great critic of post-modernism who staunchly defends modernism. I reckon there's a little tension between you and MB on that stuff-- eg. Jed Perl.

So aside from 2blows, me likes View from the Right (Lawrence Auster), Steve Sailer, Rod Dreher at beliefnet, and Luke Ford, even though he's selling out. I'm slightly to the right, and all of the above poke me in the right places.

Posted by: James M. on August 5, 2008 7:26 PM

I wish I had more time (and sometimes, interest) to read blogs as I used to; for my new place I distilled my reading to a bare bones list. Some recent additions are on probation of sorts, some - on rotation. About half of the bloggers became personal friends (online and off) that I check on every day, often more than once.
Every item on my blogroll is a guaranteed pleasure to read.

Posted by: Tatyana on August 5, 2008 8:17 PM

For shock value and guilty pleasure, there's always Roissy. Reading his blog is highly entertaining, even though you feel like you have to shower with a powerful disinfectant afterwards.

Posted by: Peter on August 5, 2008 9:18 PM

I've seen some of Goldberg's and Wretchard's work: utter pinheads, both of them. You must be insane.

Posted by: gcochran on August 5, 2008 9:56 PM

gcochran -- I won't rule out the possibility that I'm dimwitted or misinformed. Pray tell us on what basis you accuse me of insanity. And kindly provide details as to why you think Goldberg and Wretchard are pin-heads. Name-calling is kid's stuff and I'll assume you can treat matters on a calm, adult basis.

Posted by: Donald Pittenger on August 5, 2008 10:19 PM

Wretchard was often spectacularly wrong, and in a verbose, windbagging way, about a lot of low-level military stuff on the ground in Iraq. He was caught out on blunder after blunder by Bruce Rolston (who writes at "Flit"), a staff sergeant in the Canadian military. He showed that Wretchard really just didn't know what he was talking about. I remember Rolston calling him a "pompous fool" for his writing on the battle for Fallujah. He seemed to view Wretchard as an embarrassment. I don't know enough about the details to make any kind of judgment, but Rolston has written so knowledgeably about low-level military stuff in other contexts, I'm inclined to side with my countryman (and that gcochran fellow) in dismissing Wretchard as anyone serious.

You don't strike me as insane, though, Donald. Odd perhaps. But not insane.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 5, 2008 11:01 PM

"...utter pinheads, both of them. You must be insane."
Bombast of an unlettered sputterer, vain, dogmatic and humorless.

By the way, Donald, your galleries are a bit of a must-view for me. Old chevvies, military hardware, vintage calendar-art, under-the-radar artists...what's next?

Posted by: Robert Townshend on August 5, 2008 11:14 PM

I think Ross Douthat is quite good. I also like Charles Johnson, Agnostic, Thursday, Galley Slaves, Nikki Finke, and Inductivist and Steve Sailer. All provoke thought, which should be the goal of blogging. And, of course, you guys....

Posted by: jonathanjones02 on August 5, 2008 11:27 PM

Oh god. If only I was allowed to make a personal attack.

Posted by: Sister Wolf on August 5, 2008 11:39 PM

If you care to get a skeptical take on the overwrought global warming rhetoric, Anthony Watts is good.

Posted by: Patrick W. on August 6, 2008 1:12 AM

Goldberg redefines "wet behind the ears." He makes Jamie Kirchik look seasoned and mature. Have you tried to read his book LIBERAL FASCISM, which managed the two-fer of exhibiting complete ignorance of both liberalism AND fascism?

Posted by: Steve on August 6, 2008 1:32 AM

Of course, anyone who disagrees with gcochran is insane - just like in the old USSR.

Really, GC, you know we love ya, but you gotta stop this business of calling anyone who disagrees with you insane. It's getting creepy...


Posted by: tschafer on August 6, 2008 2:07 AM

One of my favorite bloggers is Clayton Cramer. He's an odd character. He wears a suit and tie in his blog picture.

Cramer is an historian who specializes in Second Amendment issues. His work was cited in the recent Supreme Court decision on a citizen's right to own a handgun. He also writes with a lot of style about what it's like to live in Boise. He moved there from L.A. to escape the hedonist, hip lifestyle.

Cramer produces some of the best writing I've read on the global warming hoax. He points out that we are unable (still) to forecast daily weather with precision. Global warming hoaxers pretend to be able to forecast weather trends for decades in advance!

Cramer is roundly hated on the left for daring to point out that homosexuality has dire consequences, and for busting one of the great literary scams... Michael Beiseilles book that argued that colonial Americans were unlikely to own a gun.

He's such a solid, even tempered guy. His conservative views earned him the usual blacklisting from academia. He compensated by making a good living in software development, and he sold his home in L.A. for a fortune.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on August 6, 2008 5:47 AM

Teachout has links to some very fine jazz Youtubes. Steve Sailer's blog is fascinating.

Posted by: dearieme on August 6, 2008 6:25 AM

As Mr. Pittenger's favorite writers are always reminding us, "we are at war." In times of conflict, when our troops are in the field and American blood is the price of mistakes made by elected politicians and the simplistic wastrel hacks who analyze and validate their decisions, Professor Cochran is perfectly justified in referring to his ideological opposites as "insane."
It's not as if nothing depends on who was right and who was wrong, after all.

Dean Barnett is not living in the same world as the rest of us, a common affliction of Weekly Standard writers, while Belmont Club and the Neo-Conservative Social Democrat bloggers, have a writing style that borders on the infantile.

As for Mr. Teachout, the Wall Street Journal's answer to Frank Rich is a pious bore, not fit to shine the shoes of Kevin Michael Grace.

Posted by: Savrola on August 6, 2008 10:00 AM

This place, normblog and Instapundit (well, it's where I first 'learned' about blogs and it's habit, now, although I'm not so into the politics these days).

normblog is consistently interesting, especially his features with writers about writers. I really enjoy those.

Posted by: MD on August 6, 2008 11:43 AM

My daily stops are as follows:
Steve Sailer, here, Gene Expression, Agnostic, Roissy, Laurence Auster, Ross Douthat.

Deogolwulf at Joy of Curmudgeonry is also excellent.

Teachout can be very good, but he posts way too much and quality suffers. I haven't kept up with him much lately.

Posted by: Thursday on August 6, 2008 12:23 PM

Most of the authors of the blogs I read daily have no name recognition, so hee's no point in listing them, but I'll mention Dennis Perin, author of the book Savage Mules.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on August 6, 2008 4:19 PM

I don't put my blogroll people On Probation, that's how generous and not suffering from delusions of grandeur I am.

Posted by: Sister Wolf on August 7, 2008 2:35 AM

Blowhards, Roissy, Auster, Sailer, Mencius, and Clio.

I used to constantly refresh NRO's the Corner, mainly for Derbyshire, but his quality of writing fell off over the past year or so and he is stuck in a completely pointles feud with Creationists, which seems to consume much of his energy.

Plus, it was fun to watch everybody beat on Podhoretz, especially during the McBushKennedy Amnesty debates.

Posted by: PA on August 7, 2008 8:44 AM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?