Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The virtual envelope, please!

No, not the Grammy Awards. We'll get to those next week. This week we've got something really exciting in the works.

There is, in the confines of the Catholic blogosphere, that which is known as the Catholic Blog Awards, sponsored once again by our friends at cyberCatholics.com. Nominations are currently open until February 3.

Some of my St Blog's colleagues will urge you to vote for them. But I can do better than that; you already know why you should or should not nominate MWBH. So I'm going to make some predictions as to who will win.

Regardless of the list of nominees, the winners in all categories will fit one or more of the following criteria:

1) A noted Catholic writer

2) A noted Catholic speaker, also promoting their work as a Catholic writer

3) A priest

4) Someone in "none of the above" who has been nominated or has won before

Now, unless you are in one of those categories, you don't stand a snowball's chance in hell of winning. I submit that this is a sad commentary on the whole idea of this award.

Before radio was supplanted by television as a dominant medium, the latter consisted mostly of talent from the older medium who attempted to adapt. Some did better than others. Television eventually took prominence, as evidenced by the 1960 presidential debates, in which Kennedy swayed the popular opinion quite handily, even though most radio listeners were convinced that Nixon had won.

When satellite radio came on the scene, specialty radio personalities (including a number from the field of classical music and elsewhere in public radio) flocked to its bandwidth, in the wake of corporate takeovers of on-air channels and the tyranny of canned formats.

But what of the blogosphere? Where the Catholic writer is concerned, is it truly a medium in its own right, or simply an extension of the more traditional end of publishing? No, there is nothing wrong with that. But it is dishonest to contend that the Catholic weblog has come on its own as a distinct medium, especially when the same one or two individuals -- who fit handily in the first category -- are mentioned in every scrap of journalism on the subject.

No, the Catholic weblog has not come of age, not yet. Until it does, there is little basis for claiming innovation, therefore little point in handing out awards.

By the way, I did manage to nominate myself for "Most Insightful Blog" just to see if anyone is paying attention.

I just know I'm gonna get nailed. Stay tuned...


M.Z. said...

As my politics prof once told me, "That is a very cynical view of it. I'm not saying it is incorrect, just cynical."

David L Alexander said...

Very well said. We'll find out soon enough, won't we?

M. Alexander said...

Don't disillusion me! I still want to hold onto the dream! LOL

Maureen said...

Maybe there should be separate categories for "Amateur Catholics" and the "Pros."


Jeff Miller said...

While what you say is mostly true - it is not quite.

For example Julie at Happy Catholic won best blog by a women last year and she fits in none of the categories.

Gerald at The Cafeteria is Closed is another blog that will also probably do well this year.

Your catch all of #4 is just a little too broad because well liked blogs that don't fit the first three categories are likely to appear in it. Do you think popular blogs that don't fit the first three categories just don't count? There have been winners not in the first three categories and who had won on their first nomination so I wouldn't call that a snowball's chance in hell. Now of course the caveat is that I have been nominated and won in the past so you can take what I say with a large grain of salt - though my own blog started a month after yours has done fairly well for one from a total unknown who is as amateur as you can get.

Of course people who are already good writers or known public speakers will gain a wider audience faster. And a larger number of readers of course does translate to more nominations and votes, but the blogs with the highest traffic are not necessarily the ones that come in first place.

David L Alexander said...

Jeff, your submission is written one year later, by which time I concede to having been proven mistaken. But I've since returned to my gift for genius, and you can find my sparkling commentary on the current situation by clicking here.