So it’s four days until the winner of the Guardian’s Best British Weblog is to be announced and interesting new facts are emerging about how it’s being conducted and the attitude of (at least one of) the judges. Via Quinquireme I came upon Bowblog – which is the site of Steve Bowbrick, one of the Guardian-elected arbiters of our huge online community. He talks a bit about the Not the Best Project in vaguely completely-missing-the-point kind of terms, but I’ll pass swiftly over that. What I won’t pass over are these particularly stunning statements:
“I think the competition will prove to be a real validation for the new form and, I hope, a springboard for the weblog’s leap into the mainstream.”
And my particular favourite:
“It’s always difficult to see your clever, groovy, pioneering passion popularised but I’m certain that even the elite would prefer the visibility and influence that competitions like this will provide to obscurity and irrelevance.”
Is there anyone out there who runs a site who feels that weblogs really need validation any more? Three years after they exploded, with hundreds of thousands of sites in the world, talking on every subject possible? Is it really the Guardian’s place to give you permission to feel good about your medium? Bugger off. And looking around the room again, I ask you all – do you really think that the Guardian’s able to rescue us all from the ‘obscurity and irrelevance’ that we’re apparently all languishing in?
Some more interesting information can be gleaned from these couple of posts – the judges have received a list of ‘dozens’ of weblogs. Clearly this doesn’t amount to everyone who entered – when I met Simon Waldman he told me that several hundred people had entered. So who’s been written off the list before it even gets to the judges, and on what grounds? Who the hell is actually judging this thing?
I’ll tell you what – next year make the name less tendentious, conduct the competition openly and honestly, and don’t be so bloody full of what you can do for us – stop treating it as something that a superior grown-up media organisation is doing as a favour for the little tiny people – and maybe some of this year’s grumpy ‘refuseniks’ won’t be able to claim that this is more about co-opting our revolution than it is about promoting the medium… Do that, and I might even enter… In the meantime, I’m going to completely agree with Quinquireme when she says… “Look mate, you’ve totally missed the point. You’re not validating us, we’re invalidating you!”