My first impressions of Patriot Paradox were that here I had a serious news and current affairs blog. After reading the About Me section, I came to realise that this was a news site with a fairly definite slant on it. But before I go on to the slant and the content, I will briefly describe the technicalities of the site.
It looks fine- has a fairly tasteful title bar with a picture of a US flag and a quote by Patrick Henry, though don’t ask me who he is (or what the quote actually means for that matter). It is a fairly standard three column layout with the usual paraphernalia in the sidebars- blog rings, links, favourite blogs and such. No photos though (in the sidebars or the posts) which was a bit of a shame. Archives go back to August 2003 and there are plenty of them. I also like the extensive use of the “Read More” facility, as it made scanning the archives very easy. There is not much more I can say about the layout- it is nothing out of the ordinary, but is functional and easy to read.
So on to the content then. To save any messing about, I may as well make it clear straight away that the blogger is a pro-life, Christian, Republican, patriotic American. I have made this clear from the start because these viewpoints colour nearly all the postings to be found in this blog. I feel it only fair to also point out that as a reviewer, I am not an American, and if I were I would probably be a liberal, so my assessment of the content is probably biased, though I will try to keep my personal opinions to a minimum.
The content is all well written and seemingly well researched. The author almost always argues his case intelligently, whether it be an argument for going to war in Iraq, or the case against contraceptives being used. He often quotes from other sources and clearly has built up a large network of blogs which also have similar viewpoints. I did tend to find the arguments to be very one-sided though and there seemed to be little tolerance for other’s viewpoints. The concept that others (quite validly) may see the world differently from the author seemed to get a bit lost in some of the posts, I felt. There also are a number of posts which seem to get in to the direct criticism of other blogs and bloggers, for holding differing views. Quite how serious these little wranglings are to be taken I am not sure, but they seemed to be more along the lines of petty squabbles rather than rich political discourse.
This blog also loses points because it tends to be a bit blinkered in its remit. For those of us who don’t live in a US-centric world, the arguments and content tend to become superficially interesting but ultimately irrelevant. We have nothing in the UK which compares with the pro-life/ pro-choice debate for example. Also Christianity seems to be much more hardline in the US too, which I had trouble identifying with from my own experiences. Ok, there are a few general posts to be found here (funny news stories, personal entries, film reviews and the like) but I found that these were rather few and far between.
I also took off half a point because I fundamentally disagree with many of the arguments presented in the blog – my prerogative as a reviewer! Particularly, there are some homophobic viewpoints widely discussed in this blog- you have been warned.
Overall then, this is a blog which Christian, US Republicans will probably love. Anyone who wants to get in to a political discourse with people like this will also be able to engage with the content. Those of us who are, quite frankly not interested in US politics, (and I include myself in this category) may as well move on and find something more interesting to read.Patriot Paradox