Friday, January 16, 2015

Blogroll: The Endless Possibilities of Blogging--And Our First Blogging Assignment

For this coming Wednesday, please post your first blog entry of about 300 words or so. It can be on any topic of your choosing, and it need have no explicit connection to the assigned readings, beyond generally demonstrating Smith's point about the innate human ability to locate an interesting kernel in seemingly dull subjects. For inspiration, feel free to explore the archives of our class blog, and the student blogs from past seminars (you can also check out the other archives of the other class blog, However, I also want to encourage you not to narrow the range of possible topics you pick. What is important in this class is not so much what you talk about as how you talk about it. As long as you are able to locate a substantive point for discussion in the topic, you can consider it as fair game for your blog post.

To this end, let me share a few different blogs and blog posts that demonstrate the range of possible topics and approaches that this very versatile genre supports. While of course you are always welcome to blog about current events in the worlds of politics, economics, and international relations, you shouldn't feel that you have to blog about these topics. If you do write about them, I ask that you avoid the hot-button issues whenever possible--abortion, gun control, affirmative action, etc.--and that you think beyond the standard political framing of such issues. So, for example, if you are writing about monetary policy, and you find that many people of your ideological persuasion oppose a certain Fed action, instead of adopting the party line, try writing about the reasons why this policy might appeal to people of your ideological persuasion. In other words: scramble the circuits of the standard talking points.

Some models:

Here is an example of a fun post on a very dry topic--typography.

This post is a smart and silly critique of the inanities of popular culture.

Here's an example of a music review of an old album of an old band from my hometown that more or less became The Shins.

Of course, best and worst lists can always be a fun way to do a blog post.

You can go with something light and silly on college life or other close-to-home topics. Hey, it may seem a bit informal, but it actually does a very nice job of closely analyzing the language in the emails, albeit in a goofy way.

And of course, you can always try to elevate the dialogue when it comes to current events.

In addition to blogs like the above, you can also check out these wonderful blogs on more traditional political/economic-y subjects.

Liberal/neoliberal blogs:

Paul Krugman

Brad DeLong

Dean Baker


Libertarian/classical liberal blogs:

Scott Sumner (there's an excellent blogroll in the right hand corner)

Tyler Cowen

Arnold Kling et al. (also has an excellent blogroll to the right)

Will Wilkinson

Bleeding heart libertarians

Cafe Hayek

Conservative/Conservative-friendly blogs:

Reihan Salam

Josh Barro

The American Conservative (My personal favorite conservative publication)

Andrew Sullivan (Actually an apostate who still has a soft spot for the old ways)

Gavin McInness (A silly blogger, but can be fun)

Marxist/Marxist-friendly/Left-leaning blogs:

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Mike Konczal

Doug Henwood

Crooked Timber

Jacobin Magazine

Corey Robin

Max Speak (another good blogroll)

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