Rome Scene is a different sort of Mohawk Valley blog – relatively unconcerned with pessimism and politics. Here’s a thought-provoking post on local banking and savings accounts, and another post for those who are longing for the full Turning Stone “Lava” nightclub experience.
Also: What if Spartacus had had a Piper Cub? What if the Dutch had never lost hold of New York? (via Upstate 2050)
On the subject of maps, the Post-Standard is inviting its readers to take part in an intriguing exhibition at the Redhouse: they’ve included an outline of the map of the city of Syracuse in the Sunday paper and have asked readers to create their own highly individual “alternative maps” and send them in.
Steve Balogh has posed some interesting conundrums about “Who’s Greener?”
Lastly, returning to Phil’s blog post about “Ishikoro,” or the phenomenon of abandoned blogs, and abandoned local blogs in particular…
Local blogging simply is not popular in most areas of the country, particularly economically depressed areas like ours. One Syracuse-area blogger, Jude Nagurney Camwell (aka Iddybud), has been putting out a wonderful blog regularly for years. I occasionally read (perhaps less than I should), but because the focus of my blog tends to shy away from national issues, there isn’t a lot of overlap, and so her blog goes unmentioned. And there are probably even more people keeping blogs in Syracuse that we don’t know about, because they don’t write about local issues or even mention where they are physically located. What can I say? Local culture and politics is seen by some (many?) as less relevant, while Washington and national politics is seen as the only thing worth examining. The idea that you can make things happen in the hallowed halls of power just by sitting in your pajamas, is very seductive. If one craves power and attention and influence (or the illusion thereof), local blogging will probably seem a waste of time.
Also, as for my own blogroll on the right, these are mostly Upstate bloggers who blog about local or state issues. No doubt, my blogroll confuses the hell out of people who are used to every blog having its distinct partisan slant. (Is it Blue? Is it Red? Is it Green? I’m sure it is not enough of any of those, for some.) Almost none of those bloggers found me first (I had to go out and beat the bushes to find them, a task I admit I’ve been lazy about lately – because, as Phil noted, most blogs have a short shelf life) and probably few of them think of themselves as “New York State bloggers” (or even know my blog exists). And we are as far away as we have ever been from having a statewide blogging network that could augment or even form a unified Upstate media voice.
Anyhow, blogging that is not part of a business model (media, political or personal), is never going to attract too many participants. It could be that it’s always going to be a form of communication and deliberation that is for the few, by the few — although I agree with Phil, the apparent death of some local blogs is most regrettable. If that is a dead end, consider the function of a nighttime campfire. It doesn’t take a lot of people to keep that going, even when nearly everyone else is asleep, although it does take at least two or three, and the more the merrier. Does it have a function? That is to say, does it really keep the sleeping campers from freezing to death, or being eaten by the hungry bears out in the forest, or is it just happening because a few people can’t sleep? Unknown. And when you look around and the person sitting next to you has suddenly disappeared, did they go back to sleep, or did they go out to get more wood? Hard to say.
The only thing that’s clear is that when daylight comes, the campfire will no longer seem necessary, and the fire will be ashes. Only the memory of the night’s conversation will remain.