Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks from the Wild Web by Sarah BoxerUltimate Blogs: Masterworks from the Wild Web by Sarah Boxer

Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks from the Wild Web

bySarah Boxer

Paperback | February 12, 2008

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“What are you working on?”
“An anthology of blogs.”
“I didn’t know you had a blog.”
“I don’t. It’s an anthology of other people’s blogs.”
“How do you find good blogs?”
“I read. I surf. I look at blog contests. I follow links. I ask people about the blogs they like.”
“Is a good blog hard to find?”
“Yes. Very.”

A Book of Blogs? WTF!!

Sarah Boxer, a former New York Times reporter and critic, travels through the blogosphere (more than 80 million blogs — and counting) and finds some masterpieces along the way. Among the bloggers in the anthology are:

two fashion critics mocking the inexplicable “fugliness” of celebrities
a Marine Corps lieutenant stationed in Fallujah in 2006
a 19-year old student in Singapore cheerfully pining for her ex
an illustrator’s tiny saga of a rodent and his ball of crap
Odysseus’s sidekick telling his side of the Iliad and Odyssey

Revealing and deceptive, grand and niggling, worldly and parochial, these blogs comprise a snapshot of life on the wild, wild Web.
Sarah Boxer, formerly a critic and reporter at The New York Times, is the author and illustrator of the cartoon novel "In the Floyd Archives: A Psycho-Bestiary." She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and son.
Title:Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks from the Wild WebFormat:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 8.09 × 6.06 × 0.82 inPublished:February 12, 2008Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307278069

ISBN - 13:9780307278067

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Read from the Book

ANGRYBLACKBITCH http://angryblackbitch.blogspot.com FRIDAY, DECEMBER 02, 2005 King Kong . . . A bitch is ready for the weekend! This bitch woke up today in frenzy. My ass has been invited to attend a ritzy event and, of course, waiting until the very last minute to decide what to wear! Shit! Somewhere between drama and meltdown a bitch remembered why my ass is usually anti-social. 2 cups coffee with Splenda and organic milk, followed by 1 Claritin,  2 pseudo Sudafed and cigs . . . As a bitch jumped through the morning television in a desperate attempt to avoid multiple viewings of the Oprah/Letterman reconciliation (give a bitch a break, people) something caught my eye. Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame has remade King Kong. Immediately, a bitch got pissed. Why ABB Hates the King Kong Story . . . A bitch has no hatred for Peter Jackson or his team of amazing folks. What this bitch hates . . . fucking cannot stand and thinks should be relegated to the same dark, murky hole in Hades that hopefully holds the entire body of black-face entertainment is the story. King Kong, which was made famous as a 1930s film, is the story of a white, very white . . . extremely white and Aryan the way Ann Coulter wishes she was Aryan . . . woman who somehow ends up on a tropical, very tropical, WILD and untamed island populated by . . . NATIVES! Yep, natives who become entranced with this Aryan representation of civilized female beauty even though they have never set eyes on a white woman. Depending on the version, they either have always worshiped white women or simply begin to worship them once they set eyes on the blond bombshell that plops down on their island. Now, they have a secret. A big fucking secret! There is a giant highly sexualized primate lurking on the island! Oh no! Jesus, why would a loving Gawd ever create such a beast? In the words of Wolf Blitzer . . . he’s so black! In order to pacify said giant black primate, the natives offer up sacrificial women. The giant primate then takes the women and leaves the natives alone for a while. ’Cause . . . well, you know . . . he’s getting his freak on. And everyone knows that giant sexualized primates are soothed and calmed by the company of a terrified nubile woman. Even though the regular offering of native women has pacified the giant primate, the natives know that this stunning white woman will put his ass over the top. Shit, they started coveting her right from the start! No way is their giant highly sexualized primate going to turn down a tryst with an unwilling blond beauty. So, they capture the girl, tie her ass to a stake and offer her. The giant primate, who represents society’s notion that black men are obsessed with white women and are driven into uncontrollable frenzies by them, comes upon the blonde and . . . well . . . becomes obsessed with her and is driven into an uncontrollable frenzy. It gets better! The blonde, at first disgusted and terrified by the giant black primate, begins to fall under its spell. This is vital, because EVERYONE knows that the black man . . . oh, shit . . . no that would be the ‘giant black primate’ . . . has skills and, given enough time, can seduce pure untouched blondes with his sexual prowess! Lets see . . . ummm . . . oh yes . . . blonde is freed, primate is captured, marketing blitz hits New York, blonde feels sorry for primate, primate is obsessing over blonde, primate gets loose . . . city is terrorized, blonde is kidnapped by obsessed primate, they get to the Empire State building and somehow the primate gets to the top. Makes sense since we’re talking about a GIANT primate who just has to be used to climbing tall buildings and shit like that. Anyhoo . . . the primate, with blonde in hand, is shot and falls to the bottom. Terrorized blonde cries and primate dies with one . . . large . . . extremely large and black . . . . . . fucking GIANT and BLAAAAAACK hand reaching out towards said blond symbol of white pure beauty. Sigh. Yeah, a bitch fucking hates this story. My ass knows that Hollywood can’t and/or won’t get its shit together regarding portrayals of minorities. But fuck this fucking shit! Fuck everyone involved in bringing this historic insult back to the screen . . . to insult the fucking shit out of me again! Fuckers! And as far as the portrayal of women . . . oh shit, that requires another post. [ . . . ] Between the portrayal of women and the resurrection of antiquated racial stereotypes, this black woman can find little good in the King Kong story. Which means that this remake will join the other blockbuster films of 2005 on the ‘this bitch won’t even watch it on cable’ list. Happy Friday, chil’ren . . . posted by Shark-fu at 1:50 PM MONDAY, MARCH 13, 2006 The myth of the black student who stole  your spot at Yale . . . This bitch had a fantabulous day off! The sun was shining, the birds were singing and my phone wasn’t ringing . . . fantabulous indeed. Thank you to my international readers for your concern over a bitch’s safety. Yes, Missouri has been hit with some serious storms. This is the Midwest and we tend to have dramatic spring weather. Sadly, some lives have been lost. But rest assured that a bitch was blessed and did not face the full fury of nature here in St. Louis. We Midwesterners kind of take it all in stride . . . we cut our teeth on tornadoes and floods ’round here. But a bitch is touched that y’all care. No, a bitch was not at O’Connell’s Pub recently! But they do have yummy food. Mayhap a bitch will swing on by and get my St. Patrick’s Day on. Anyhoo, whoever is out there looking like a bitch needs to cease . . . unless you’re fine as hell, which only helps my brand image. On to bitchitude! The myth of the black student who stole your spot at Yale . . . A certain Anonymous requested this bitch’s opinion regarding minority preferences. Specifically, Anonymous said . . . I heard a white former South African once say: ‘I was born and raised in Africa, I am an African. So when I become an American, am I not an African American? . . . Then why can I not get minority entrance points for college? . . . Am I not discriminated against?’ . . . Since Black Africans won that conflict, maybe you would like to comment? From an historical perspective of course. Well, a bitch only took one South African history course and that was years ago . . . but black South Africans having ‘won’ a conflict in South Africa doesn’t have a damned thing to do with a white South African getting minority entrance points here in America . . . speaking from a historical perspective. Having said that, a white South African who immigrates to America and feels that he is an African American can rock that identity all he wants to. Lawd knows checking African American on forms is beyond beneficial, sure as shit gets your foot in the front door and is the reason why so many top positions are held by African Americans. Ummm . . . that’s what my people call bullshit (wink). Which brings a bitch to the underlying assumption that affirmative action is the reason some students don’t get to go to State. That’s what we’re talking about, right? The fear of a black person taking ‘your’ spot at Yale? A bitch was pretty fucking pissed off when my ass showed up at a certain liberal arts college (no, not Yale . . . shudder and perish the thought) and realized that my ass had out tested most of the sorry assed motherfuckers raising hell about affirmative action. Shit. A bitch isn’t trying to say my ass is wicked smart . . . shit, this bitch can’t spell for shit . . . but my ass just wishes some of the assholes bitching about not getting in would look in the mirror and have a come-to-Jesus with their own ass about their GPA and those sorry assed SAT scores that really got them circular filed. A bitch only got more pissed when my ass realized that some of the dumbest motherfuckers at school . . . and my ass means dumb . . . were legacies. See, the dude who may have taken your spot at Yale is most likely not the brown and black students who make up less than 10% of the student body. He’s that legacy admit . . . you know, Carter Silverspoon from Choate? . . . yeah, him and his forever unimpressive non-intellectual ass. College ain’t a meritocracy, but that fact is better explored through a conversation with the heir to your right and not the black chick to your left. My father went to college on the G.I. Bill and he went to grad school through an affirmative action program. He worked his ass off, was not academically prepared and struggled to get through. But he did it and he never let his chil’ren forget that struggle was mixed in with the blessing of an education. His daughters reaped the benefits of his efforts, attended strong public schools and had a much easier road to college as a result. Sometimes affirmative action works. Which brings us to this word ‘fair.’ Fair does not apply to college admissions. Most universities apply tons of qualifications and they don’t exactly do it fairly. My alma mater would have been majority Asian and international if ‘fair’ applied to college admissions. Colleges seek to have a diverse population because diversity enriches the educational experience. International students, rural students, rich students, black students and so on add to the college experience. The problem comes when some students apply a sense of entitlement to college admissions . . . they then latch on to the most offensive ‘got into school’ practice and proceed to show their natural ass on Dateline by bitching about why they didn’t get in and claiming that Keisha or Coretta or Michael took their spot. A healthier . . . dare a bitch say more fair . . . rant would start with the legacies who took up 20% of the freshman class. Then you could move on down to the 50% of hyper-qualified students who didn’t get accepted because said school had ‘reached’ a certain quota . . . then mosey on over to the ‘daddy paid for this building’ admissions . . . oh, and the ‘our sports program is a revenue generator,’ but don’t hold your breath on that academic scholarship admission. The road is long and muddy as a motherfucker before you even get to the 10% that may or may not have been admitted with some racial preference . . .  not that many are bothered by the ‘may,’ because a bitch wishes my ass had a dollar for every ignorant assumed-affirmative-action comment my ass heard while ‘getting schooled.’ Yeah. What was the original question? Oh, can a former white South African now white African American get special treatment when applying to college? Sure, as long as an AngryBlackBitch can get my reparations paid in South African gold . . . honey. posted by Shark-fu at 10:59 AM TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2006 Some thoughts on the documentary F**K . . . C-Money and this bitch caught F**K, which is a documentary participating in the St. Louis International Film Festival. Most of y’all know that a bitch adores ripe language. Shit, this bitch has even been accused of having quite the potty mouth my damned self (wink). So there was no way in hell my ass was going to miss seeing this movie . . . even if it did start at 9:45pm on a school night! F**K was fucking worth the late night viewage. FUCK . . . and a bitch is going to uncensor the spelling of that shit going forward . . . took me on a journey through the various uses of the word. I was introduced to the diverse population of people that freak out about it. The movie explored fear of fuck, the humor contained within fuck, the power contained within fuck, the impact of censorship on culture, the FCC’s split personality on how to handle the word fuck and the culture war feeding off of naughty language and behavior. Whew! And this was all done in fucking fantabulous detail. The interviews were, however, the best part of the film. They included but were not limited to Ice-T, Drew Carey, Bill Maher, Dennis Prager, Billy Connolly (funny as hell . . . for real!), Alan Keyes (total freak . . . and apparently rotting from within), Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (Gawd, a bitch misses the hell out of that motherfucker!), Michael Medved (still desperately seeking a Puritan revival), Janeane Garofalo (SisterGirl was rocking some seriously fantabulous fashion forward with a vintage twist eyeglasses), Ben Bradlee (of the Watergate Washington Post Bradlees), and last but certainly not least Mr. Pat Boone. Yes, Pat Boone. A bitch can’t name a single song of his and yet I do know that he was a ‘somebody’ sometime somewhere in the history of the ‘used to be star fuckable’ sorta-celebrities. Even after seeing him in the movie this bitch probably couldn’t pick him out of a lineup. Doesn’t matter . . . honestly, fuck it . . . Pat Boone still stole the show by giving this bitch a new naughty word! Boone. What? Shit, Pat Boone said that he doesn’t curse . . . he just replaces words like fuck with his name. Boone! Go boone yourself you motherbooner! Get the boone out of my face, you boone-tool! Gawd, this situation is booned up from the floor up! Sigh. Boone is fan-fucking-tabulous. Thank you, Pat Boone, for being such a judgmental motherbooner! A bitch is giving FUCK by Steven Anderson 4 out of 5 militant Afros. posted by Shark-fu at 12:32 PM TUESDAY, JANUARY 02, 2007 A quick review . . . Shall we? Fantabulous! This bitch couldn’t avoid the coverage of the execution of a Saddam Hussein . . . and it got me thinking about the entire Saddam saga. The Capture . . . Saddam was found in a hole-esque bunker. Okay, hold it. Fuck that shit. That was a motherfucking hole! Bunker my black ass. Saddam was pulled out of that nastified hole looking tore up . . . hair all crazy tore up. A bitch watched the telly as images of Saddam being inspected for . . . ugh . . . flashed across the screen. Now, this bitch was surprised that they didn’t just blow Saddam’s ass away outside of the hole. What? Well, I was! But I quickly came to the conclusion that the United States must want a trial. Yeah, they must want some confirmation that Saddam was indeed the Dark Side and the new Iraqi government is indeed full of goodness that shines like a warm light and shall serve as an example to the region, which will facilitate the eventual democratization of the blah, blah and blah. Oh, fuck it. Ahem. My ass came to the conclusion that they wanted a trial to demonstrate that Saddam was a tyrannical asshole. Which was known to our government . . . ’cause we used to be tight like that . . . way back in the day when Saddam was our tyrannical asshole. So, bring on the made-for-television call to justice! Not. The Jerry Springer-esque Trial . . . Postinvasion, war crime trials of known used-to-be-our-homeboy tyrants should go smoothly. There’s an abundance of evidence . . . everyone wants to find the tyrant guilty . . . no need to fret about an impartial jury . . . hell, you’ve even got a fresh-off-the-motherfucking-presses judicial system that was written knowing that said tyrant might one day be brought before it. But the trial of Saddam started to play out like the mutant love child of Maury P. and Jerry Springer! Assassinations . . . attempted assassinations . . . public rantings and fist wavings. [ . . . ] Shit, we can’t even get a well produced show trial out of these assholes! Okay then. Cough. Anyhoo, surely the current puppet government is going to pull it together post conviction and get some mileage out of the execution of the tyrannical leader of the former puppet government. Not so fast . . . think again!

Table of Contents


AngryBlackBitch, Pamela Merritt

Becker-Posner Blog, Gary S. Becker and Richard Posner

Click Opera, Nick Currie

Cosmic Variance, Sean Carroll

El Guapo in DC, author known as El Guapo

Eurotrash, Delly Hayward

Get Your War On, David Rees

Go Fug Yourself, Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks

How to Learn Swedish in 1000 Difficult Lessons, author known as Francis Strand

I Blame The Patriarchy, Jill Posey-Smith

In The Middle, Raed Jarrar

Ironic Sans, David Friedman

Its raining noodles!, Angelique Chan

Johnny i hardly knew you, Jennie Portnof

Julia {Here Be Hippogriffs}, Julia Litton

Language Log, Benjamin Zimmer

Matthew Yglesias, Matthew Yglesias

Micrographica, Renée French

Midnight in Iraq, Jeffrey Barnett

Nina Paley.com, Nina Paley

Old Hag, Lizzie Skurnick

Radio.Uruguay, Dmitri Goutnik

Rootless Cosmopolitan, Tony Karon

The Rest Is Noise, Alex Ross

The Smoking Gun, William Bastone

Under Odysseus, Mark Katakowski


Editorial Reviews

“Winning. . . Bold. . . . Provides a rousing awareness that many people, in many places, are thinking, feeling, and eager to connect.”—The New Republic“Aptly eclectic. . . . Ultimate Blogs does exactly what it’s supposed to do.” —The New York Times Book Review“Eclectic anthology of superb writing.”—Chicago Tribune “Turning a book nerd into a blog fiend can prove to be as difficult a transition as turning a blogger into an author. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible — quite the opposite, particularly given the overall curatorial tone Boxer displays here. Celebrated on paper and ink, protected from the snark, the fawning, the bitchiness, the link whoring, and the exhausting self-referential attacks, the Internet in Ultimate Blogs is cherished in a wide-eyed, doting manner that even the most popular bloggers don’t seem to enjoy very much anymore.”—The Boston Phoenix“Most of Boxer’s selections don’t read like a new species of writing, but like very close cousins of once-venerable print genres that have been forced out of public discourse by the shrinkage of major American media: passionate arts criticism, critical theory, colorful polemics, and, above all, the personal essay.” —New York Magazine“A provocative introduction to the art form.”—Baltimore Sun“One way to find blogs worth reading . . . . [A] Norton Anthology of Blogging.”—The New York Times“Here you'll find excerpts from 27 online journals-comprising punditry, poetry, ranting, raving and drawing of both pictures and conclusions. You'll also find some wonderful writing; you'll laugh, cry and scratch your head. . . .Boxer has gone out of her way to seek out content that can make the leap from one medium to another.”—Newsweek“[Ultimate Blogs] serves as a gateway to some true Web gems.”—Rocky Mountain News“. . . the real utility of Ultimate Blogs might be as a relic of an odd, fleeting cultural moment when unfettered online self-expression was still new enough to seem worth documenting but was actually old enough to be decadent.”—New York Observer“Boxer brings a generalist's curiosity to her task, finding engaging writing on classical music, miscarriage, Iraq and more. . .The common thread is the excellent (and personal and sometimes edgy) writing.”—Los Angeles Times“Boxer displays tastes so broad as to accommodate ingratiating cranks and cunning charmers alike, and she hurdles what would seem to be the chief problem of assembling such a book—the likelihood of its emerging as fresh as Best American Weather Reports 2007—by seizing upon posts with a literary bent and respectable half-life.”—Slate Magazine “Sarah Boxer, ex of The New York Times, culls mightily from the Amazons, Niles and Mississippis of blog flow. Her journey begins as a blog neophyte, and ends in her Top 25 blog choices. Many of the destinations are funny and fascinating, not to mention attractive in their intentions.—Paste Magazine “. . [Sarah Boxer’s} journey into the unruly realm of blogging is a journey of self-discovery. “—Houston Chronicle“Sarah Boxer, who has assembled a little print anthology of blog "writing." Which means that her task is two-fold, actually: explaining blogs to old people and justifying collecting them into a book to herself. How does she fare? Hilariously!”—Gawker“Much of the writing contained in the book is well worth browsing for even the most hardened Web aficionado . . . Benjamin Zimmer's “Language Log” reads like a wonderfully expansive and more self-aware William Safire column, while Sean Carroll's “Cosmic Variance” manages to be wryly humorous even while discussing theoretical physics at the Ph.D. level. Ringers like Alex Ross of The New Yorker and Matthew Yglesias of The Atlantic Monthly hardly seem like fair choices to demonstrate the democratization of the Web, but their blogs, on music and classical politics, respectively, are must-reads…”—Publishers Weekly “Interesting authors, different viewpoints, good writing, and you can curl up with it next to the fire.”—Library Journal