When giving Occasional Subversion the once-over, I noticed that it had only one month’s worth of posts, an observation that made me frown. Because, usually, that just isn’t enough material. I changed my mind after reading through.
Occasional Subversion is not your usual personal weblog. In fact, I contemplated relocating it from the ‘Personal’ category to the ‘News/Links’ one, before deciding to let it stay where the author had deemed appropriate. On one hand, Occasional Subversion is made up almost entirely of articles that have been published in a newspaper. On the other hand, all of those articles were written by the author himself. Sound like a fascinating idea for a weblog? It is. However, there are areas for improvement.
First of all, a good personal weblog needs to be personal. Although Matthew Cheney, author of Occasional Subversions, does reveal his opinions and stands on current issues in his articles, readers just do not get enough glimpses beyond this public image of his. There are rare, if any, descriptions of his personal life. However, it might very well be that Cheney thinks it is all personal enough, as illustrated in the entry where he quotes Ani DiFranco: “The personal and political are of one realm; to separate them is artificial.”
This, then, is the gist of Occasional Subversion. It has a scope, a narrow one – America and its politics. Being not an American, I didn’t have much trouble digesting his strong and forceful deliveries of his version of right and wrong. I can’t say the same for other readers, though, and I suspect some of them might find the bombardment of article after article a little hard to stomach. In my opinion, a simple way to make this weblog an easier and less tiring read is to add in more facades, more aspects of the author’s life. Because there is such a thing as too much goodness.
The metaphor that comes to mind is slightly too thick chicken soup. I can imagine that Cheney’s column in the newspaper changes quite a few minds and opens some eyes, because coming across a well-written piece against the war on Iraq in between reports of the actual war makes you stop and think. It has impact. On the other hand, when you read, one after another, articles that require heavy thinking and inner debate, there is just so much you can take before you abandon the rigorous battle of finding a firm stand. As Cheney himself puts it, and I paraphrase, if we were to take reality as it is we would be insane. And that is the ‘problem’ with Occasional Subversion – it has too huge a serving of reality with no fluff in between. Again, my suggestion is that Cheney blog about his personal life in between, and not concentrate on just “America According To Michael Cheney”. More points would hit home with a clear and receptive mind, rather than one numbed by a few bashings too many. One last thing: the links at the bottom of the page are impossible to read; a change of colors would be helpful.