Sunday, December 04, 2005

I Suppose Some Thanks Are In Order

I didn't mention it at the time, but I was rewarded twice in the Memphis Flyer's annual Best of Memphis ad magnet. For the second time, Jackson Baker highlighted Half-Bakered (along with Fishkite, Smart City Memphis and his colleague The Pesky Fly). It's the second time he's done it, though this year he seems to be a bit less back-handed in his compliments. I'll take "industriously quirky" any day but you have to admit the following is carefully couching his barbs:
His misreadings are as frequent as his right guesses -- something true of any wild swinger and an explanation of sorts for the name of this blog (don't ask). A bonus: He does long takes on the local media -- interesting even when they are misguided.
Misreader, misguider, wild swinger, guesser. OOOOOOOOOOoooooo-kay then. Thank you!

Anyway, they had a reader's poll question on best local blogger and Half-Bakered tied with Rachel Hurley's two sites, Rachel and the City and Scenestars. I'm fine with this. Rachel's blog is definitely more fun reading than here.

I take these things with a grain of salt. I mean, look at what else got voted on in the reader's poll. Best department store? Best mall? Best bank? Jeez. And look at the winners, too. The writers and editors of the paper may fancy themselves exemplars of the Left, mainstream progressives or whatever, but their readers are decidedly bourgeouis, the very folks they ought to be mocking. But no, they pander to them instead, and their self-delusions, while profiting handsomely.

I'm not being mean. They are who they are more honestly (comparatively speaking) than the folks at the Commercial Appeal. It's why I don't criticise them so much. They don't make pretensions of being objective and neutral as the daily does. I certainly don't agree with a lot of what they publish, but it doesn't require deeper examination for ulterior motives, either. Jackson Baker excepted, of course.

After all, even Editor in Chief Bruce Van Wyngarden admits to reading this blog. Can't hardly dislike that guy, now can I?

Anyway, I was surprised to learn I won the reader's poll. H-B is a pretty acquired taste, after all. I'm relentlessy negative and critical, lacking in humor, and I regularly disappear for varying lengths of time. I don't comment on every topic of the day. I don't cover nightlife -- having no social life -- like a dozen other blogs do. On the other hand, I'd imagine that only a very few of the Flyer's readers even know what blogs are, much less read them.

I am one of the very few Memphis blogs that critically comments on local politics, though we have plenty of other political blogs. Smart City is much more in-depth; Thaddeus is more scandalous. But I guess my willingness to ask about the rumors of Herenton's crack addiction or call Carol Chumney a watery-eyed grind or call corruption what it is carry some interest.

The sad reason I don't worry so much about these kinds of things is that I've learned they don't mean much to this blog. I watched the traffic meter after the print edition of the Best of Memphis poll came out. I think the weekly total of visitors coming from the Flyer's site was less than fifty. I can't quantify search engine hits for "halfbakered" but they didn't noticeably spike either.

Fifty out of the "500,000" readers the Flyer claims, is one-hundredth of one percent. Negligible at best. So, while the esteem, such as it is, of paid professional writers means something, winning the "readers" poll only means the local media has done a terrible job of alerting Memphis to the other possibilities out there.

And why am I not surprised by that?

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