Review 2511

This was not my first stop at ‘Patriot Paradox’; I actually first saw the site a couple of months ago (around the time of the site’s last review), but haven’t visited since then. From the first look, it’s clear that this weblog will center around conservative American politics and values, from the American flag and quote in the header to the suggested reading list to the name of the site itself. This is a blog that immediately suggests it will contain views and opinions from a very specific and very strident viewpoint.

I dug into the ‘About’ page to learn more about the site’s author, Nick. The information is presented in an interview format, and definitely reinforced my first impressions — many of the answers deal with conservative politics, America, Christianity, and the author’s rather strong opinions on those and related topics. Browsing through the archives, I found mostly the same, with occasional posts used by Nick to introduce himself (in the very first entry), discuss his favorite comic characters, and advice regarding RSS technology, for example. But Christian conservative commentary is the order of the day at ‘Patriot Paradox’, and the vast majority of the recent entries deal in some way with American politics, religion, or patriotic themes. If that’s your bag, you’ll find much content of interest within this site.

In terms of design and features, ‘Patriot Paradox’ is fairly standard, with a three-column layout featuring a central region for text framed by areas dedicated to blogrolls, a poll, archive links, ads, and more. Comments, trackbacks, and search features are also enabled and easily accessible. Deserving special mention is an ‘extra’ called ‘King of the Blogs‘, which is a blog contest run separately by Nick, but linked in the sidebar.

To be honest, it’s difficult for me to review a site like ‘Patriot Paradox’. I have little personal interest in politics, find that I have few opinions in common with the author, and am a bit taken aback by the fervent partisanship evident in many of the posts. It’s simply difficult for me to relate to many of the entries personally.

That said, I feel that a good review should reflect how well the author accomplishes his or her mission. Nick certainly gets high marks for consistency and persistence in that regard — there are few surprises here, and my first impressions of the site were echoed throughout the posts I read. I do, however, feel that as a blogger concerned largely with politics, Nick could provide and encourage more discussion and debate over the topics he introduces. I found quite a few entries containing quoted news items and minimal or no personal commentary — I would prefer to see more discourse and individual perspective on the stories, rather than just a catchy title and perhaps a quick one-liner. Nick’s unique viewpoint and opinions show through in the longer, more analytical posts, but these are too few and far between for this type of site, in my opinion.

With Nick’s strong and passionate views, I would have expected a more involved readership (both for and against his point of view, most likely), but I don’t see strong evidence of this in the recent comments on posts concerning current events. I believe that a political, highly partisan weblog such as ‘Patriot Paradox’ would be enhanced by more in-depth and compelling analysis by the author, and a stronger sense of community throughout. Nick seems to be on his way there, but may have a bit further to go. I give ‘Patriot Paradox’ 3 out of 5.Patriot Paradox

Review 2640

A blue head floats rather creepily on the left side of the page as you enter StupidTom’s domain. But at least it’s a smiling head, so I gather the courage to venture further. On his “About Me” page the author has a picture of himself with a little boy on his shoulders. He then proceeds to tell us if you want to know more about him, read what he has written, and that he writes every day. And I see that he has been doing just that since August 2003.

The entries are generally short to moderate in length and have an edginess to them. “Wiseacre” would be a good one word description of our author, but a generally good-natured one, who writes clearly and to the point. Though said points are often profanity laden, they are lighthearted, in a sort of “all male, all the time” style that are not unpleasant to read. He writes about all manner of things going on around him. Work, family, his struggles with mold and technology providers, and his artistic efforts in lawnmowing, and plastic melting. And he does most of this with a generous dose of humor.

He seems to lead a hectic life at a hectic pace but this does not prevent him from occasionally making a profound insight or two. In one entry he was bemoaning how polite casual conversations are unsatisfying so much of the time, and concludes with the following:

“Nobody has time to give anything but the standard replies to the same old questions. That’s sad. So blog on and let me know some Real things about your lives. Everything that someone writes, no matter what it is, tell something about the author.”

I found that I could not have agreed more with this statement.

There are pictures on many of the recent posts that liven up the dialog, and I noticed in the list of blogs he reads daily, a link to Wil Wheaton’s site. I of course felt an instant affinity to Tom because I read Wil too.

All in all, I enjoyed my visit. I think this is a guy’s guy kind of blog and would appeal to a no nonsense male audience.