Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category

Tumblr: yet more Internet crack

Last week I was strung out on Tumblr, yet another form of Internet crack. That is why I was hardly here last week. I started a Tumblr blog – it already has hundreds of posts! It was pretty easy to do:

  1. Most posts are short, very short. In my case instead of being mainly thoughtful, 500-word posts like here on WordPress, most are just pictures of pretty women.
  2. Most posts are copied from other Tumblr blogs. Tumblr makes that extremely easy.
  3. Tumblr makes it easy to find content you like, so you are more likely to find stuff you would want to copy in the first place. More on that below.
  4. Tumblr gets you hooked so you wind up spending way more time on it than you intend.

Tumblr, like WordPress or Blogger, is a blogging platform. You sign up and start blogging. But where a Blogger or WordPress blog is like a public diary or a little magazine, a Tumblr blog is more like a scrapbook – one that would seem like magic 20 years ago.

Imagine if you had a scrapbook that the whole world could see. Further imagine that every time someone copied something from it to theirs – or liked something they saw in it  – you were given a link to their scrapbook!  You would quickly find scrapbooks of those who shared your interests. In addition imagine that you would be told whenever a scrapbook you liked had new content.

Well, that is what Tumblr is.

Copying posts from other blogs to yours is called reblogging. A record of where a post has been copied and who likes it is kept in a part of the post called notes. When you “follow” another blog you get told when something new appears on it.

Not mass culture but microculture: One of the cool side effects is that in place of mainstream culture or even subculture you find yourself in a sort of microculture (my word for it). So instead of seeing posts on television shows I never watch or even singers I cannot stand, like Beyonce and Lil Wayne, I get stuff like Erykah Badu, Kelis, Edward Said and C.S. Lewis. Wow! I also get to see a sort of female beauty that is way closer to my own tastes than anything I have seen in a magazine or on television.

How you get hooked:

  1. Like with YouTube you find yourself saying “just one more” and the next thing you know it is two hours later. Because most content is short and when you are done you see links to yet other related content.
  2. If you follow enough blogs there is always something new coming in – of content that you will most likely find interesting.
  3. When someone new reblogs a post of yours it makes you curious to look at their blog.

On the other hand, searching and commenting are terrible. Which makes it worse for the sort of writing and debate that goes on here. So I am not about to do most of my blogging there anytime soon.

– Abagond, 2010.

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Black and White Americans read this blog very differently

How to read this blog like many White Americans seem to:

  1. “Whites”: Imagine the word “all” before each use of the word “whites”. This is a special rule of White American English that does not appear in any grammar book.
  2. “Evil”: If “whites” and “evil” appear in the same sentence, imagine the word “uniquely” before the word “evil”. Or even “pure”. Or both.
  3. “Racist”: If the words “whites” and “racist” are in the same sentence, then do not even trouble yourself with reading the rest of the post – just jump down to the comments and start acting offended. Try it! Remember, only white  nationalists and those who use the n-word can possibly be racist. All other whites are Well Meaning, Basically Good and Would Know If They Were Racist. Blacks would have no idea because they cannot read minds.
  4. General statements about whites: these are racist and therefore false. Because whites are individuals, because to see colour in the first place is racist, because to make general statements about a race is stereotyping, a part of racism.
  5. White is right: so Abagond must be wrong. Even if you cannot say why.
  6. Abagond hates whites: This follows from #5 because what other reason could there be for him to say bad stuff about whites?
  7. This is a Bash Whitey blog: which follows from #6. Abagond hates whites so much that he wants to make them to look bad or feel bad. Clearly that is his whole reason for blogging.
  8. Stereotype his position.Here are some of the choices:
    • Playing the race card
    • Whining
    • Advanced Whining
    • Whites are pure evil (white devils)
    • Living in the past

    If he sounds kind of like he saying one of these then he is.  After all, Black America is capable of maybe six different opinions at once. If that.

  9. He is an Ungrateful Darkie: He does not seem to know that Progress Has Been Made and that blacks in America have it so much better than in Africa. Point this out to him!
  10. When he tells about a personal experience:
    1. If you or any white person you know has had the same experience then say, “It happens to whites too!” Even if you have to stretch it.
    2. Otherwise he must be making it up just to make whites look bad. What else could it be?
  11. If he says something bad about whites, get upset. Take it personally. Clearly he does not know how to talk to white people, so there is no reason to take him seriously.
  12. Your feelings are more important than anything in the post, even the stuff he talks about that affects 40 million Americans – if not the whole country. Or much of the English-speaking world. But what is that compared to your feelings?
  13. The most important rule of all: Never ever try to understand what he is saying from his point of view. Why would you? What is the point? White is right, remember?

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BE031491Keeping this blog has blown my mind. White people say stuff here that they would never  say offline in my hearing.

I knew white Americans were racist – living in so-called liberal New York left no doubt in my mind about that – but I had no idea how deep their racism ran.

I used to think they just did not know any better, that they were brainwashed by a culture founded way back by slave owners; that if they woke up and saw the truth they would change.

If only.

I know that the whites who comment on this blog are not the ordinary sort. For example, most of them are race conscious for one reason or another: they are white nationalists, they live in a place where most people are black, they have black people in their family or are even married to a black person and have black children.

But that is just it: leaving aside the white nationalists as being too far gone, they if anyone should know better and yet they do not. Whites who married black or who live in black neighbourhoods do not have the excuse that most whites do: a lack of solid, first-hand knowledge of black people. And yet they are still racist, just with fewer stereotypes.

So then I saw that racism is rooted not in a lack of facts or in bad ideas, as I thought, but in their sense of self-worth.

The truth will not set them free because they are not interested in the truth. They are interested in maintaining their sad, two-bit sense of self-worth, which is partly built on feeling that they are better than black people – and anyone else who is “different”. It is like at the end of “The Bluest Eye”.

Also: They know perfectly well that blacks are getting screwed for no good reason – they have seen the ghettos, they know the numbers – but to avoid a sense of guilt they have to believe that blacks truly are just that screwed up all on their own.

They think like wife beaters:

  • making themselves feel good by putting down others,
  • avoiding blame for their own actions,
  • listening only to their own sad, half-baked lies.

If you point out how off-base they are, they just call you names or think of a thousand and one reasons why you are wrong. Anything but taking a cold, hard, honest look at themselves. Because deep down they know the truth but are afraid to face it.

This sick, insecure frame of mind of white people seems to come from slave days when they had a relationship with black people that was nakedly abusive. They would do themselves and everyone else a world of good if they took the road to health: make right their wrongs and then base their self-worth on something good and true.

Not that I am holding my breath or anything.

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VogueChinaJanuary2009NaomiCampbe-1-1It all started when I moved my blog to WordPress and wrote a post on Naomi Campbell.

I used to be on Blogger and could not tell why people were coming to my blog. With WordPress I could see which search engine keywords were bringing them here.

So I made it a practice to write a post every week on the top unsatisfied search. One week it was “beautiful black women”, another week it was “thick black women”, and so on.

As it turned out, the Web was in effect interested in what it was that I liked in black women in terms of looks. As I later found out, people have written about the inner beauty of black women but not so much about their outer beauty, not from a male point of view at least. The Web knocked and I answered.

But, of course, it is not quite as simple as just that. It never is. Ever since my mother-in-law died my marriage has been going through a very rough patch, which I have written about, though not at great length (I keep going back and forth about how personal I should get on a blog this public). Sometimes a whole month would go by without sex. The less I have sex the more I think about women. It starts to crowd out other thoughts. It is like when you are hungry, all you can think about is food. Same sort of thing.

So, given that I have a blog where I write “500 words a day on whatever I want”, the subject becomes almost unavoidable.

Another thing that comes into it is that my idea of female beauty is at odds with what the American film and fashion industries push. So sometimes I get worked up about that too. Not that I think their idea of beauty is wrong – just too narrow.

Before I had this blog I never thought much about what it is I like in a woman’s looks. There was no reason to. I just liked what I liked. It has been interesting for me to break it down. But in breaking it down and writing about it in 500-word posts, it gives some people the wrong idea. For example, that I like only thick women or condemn those who do not fit what I prefer or that I only care about looks or that I do not love my wife because she has gained weight. None of that is true.

My troubles with my wife have nothing to do with her looks. She looks fine the way she is. I still love looking at her – and more. But I did marry her in my younger days when I valued looks over character, an error in judgement that I pay for now. I should have spent less time looking into her beautiful eyes and more time thinking about why she would not honour her bets.

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People who visit Abagond…

bhm-woman-with-vitaminsNot sure how they figure this stuff out, but according to Quantcast those who visit this blog are also likely to visit:

Of these I have heard of and visited Racialicious, Black Voices, Nairaland, Stormfront and Concrete Loop. A third of the list. Maybe they are onto something.

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Here is my second rewrite of 1 Corinthians 2, this time as a blog post. A much harder thing than turning Greek into English since it requires understanding what the Bible says and putting it in a way that works as a blog post, which is not how Paul wrote it back in the days before Blogger and WordPress. But since this is my first try, I will pretty much stick to the points Paul made and in the order he made them. As a start.

Corinthians: put your faith not in what people tell you but in the spirit of God.

When I visited you I was weak, I was afraid, I was shaking like a leaf. I did not have fine words, I was not up on all the latest thinking. All I had, all I knew – all I thought I should have to know – was Jesus Christ, Christ dying on the cross.

So instead of trying to persuade you with fine words and subtle points, I showed you the spirit and power of God. Because your faith should be built on that, the spirit of God, not on words, not on what people say, not on the wisdom of man.

The things we told you were based not the wisdom of man, but on what the spirit of God has showed us: a secret that has been hidden by God since the beginning of time – for us, for this moment, for our glory. That is what the Bible was talking about it when it said:

Eye hath not seen,
nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Think about it: no one knows what is in a man’s heart except for that man’s spirit. In the same way, no one can possibly know what is in God’s heart except for the spirit of God.

And that spirit has been given to us.

And what we say comes from that spirit.

Now the things we say might seem utterly foolish to you. And that is just how it will seem if you look at it the way most people do. Because the only way you can understand it, the only way it can make sense, is to have the spirit of God in you.

Once you have the spirit of God you will see everything the right way. What people say will no longer matter to you. Because then, like us, you will see things from God’s point of view, not man’s point of view. Because knowing the mind of Christ is knowing the mind of God. And that is all you need.

My first observations: some would call this a translation, but for me it is too loose for that. But, come to think of it, maybe you could blog the whole Bible, or at least good stretches of it, this way. At Wal-Mart I once saw the New Testament sold as a girl’s magazine!

My second observations (December 2009): This is way easier to understand than the Bible!! But it could be made better if I made the points in a different order and lost some of the old-fashioned, King James sort of language.

See also:

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Buzzomatic Tech

youtube_truckBuzzomatic Tech is my fourth and latest addition to my little empire of blogs. It is built and works just like Buzzomatic, which I started last week, but it follows tech blogs and tech news instead, the part that interests me. It is just something I am trying out to see how it goes.

While it looks like I will keep up Buzzomatic as long as I can, Buzzomatic Tech might be short-lived: the Internet is bursting with this kind of news. Most likely after a few weeks of doing Buzzomatic Tech I will discover which blogs and news websites are the best and just follow them instead.

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reading level

Reading level tells you how many years of schooling you need to read and fully understand a piece of writing. Sometimes on the back of children’s books or on the copyright page you will see something like “RL 4”, meaning you need four years of schooling to be able to read it.

To give you a rough idea of things:

  • 15+: Writing by generals and professors
  • 13+: Too unreadable for most people
  • 12: Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s  Bazaar
  • 11: Time, Newsweek
  • 10: Reader’s Digest, Cosmo, Plato, Gettysburg Address
  • 9:
  • 8: Ladies’ Home Journal, “Ivanhoe”, James Joyce, Abagond
  • 7: Pulp magazines, Steinbeck, King James Bible
  • 6: Comics, DH Lawrence, “Gone With the Wind”
  • 5: “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Micky Spillane
  • 4: nursery rhymes, books for grade school children

There is a website that can measure the reading level of blogs and most other websites:

For example, it says that this blog is written at a junior high school level, meaning it takes  seven to eight years of schooling to be able to read and understand it.

Here are some blogs from my blogroll and some other websites and how they score:

  • genius (over 18 years): The Economist.
  • college (postgrad) (16-18 years): New York Times, BBC, The Black Snob, Michelle Malkin.
  • college (undergrad) (13-16 years): the field negro, Raw Dawg Buffalo.
  • high school (9-12 years): Racialicious, USA Today, Andrew Sullivan, The Root,
    Steve Sailer, New York Daily News.
  • junior high school (7-8 years): Jack & Jill Politics, Abagond, Huffington Post, Stuff White People Like, Yahoo! News, What’s New Pussycat, New Yorker.

This makes sense: the New York Times is generally read by those with a university education, the New York Daily News by those without. The ads are pitched accordingly, by the way, with the Times having upmarket advertisers, the Daily News downmarket ones.

I love The Economist and think it is well-written, but writing at a genius level is generally a bad idea. You will lose most people simply because they lack the education for it. And even those you do not lose will have a harder time understanding you.

I think it is no accident that the blogs that were turned into books – What’s New Pussycat and Stuff White People Like – were both written at a junior high school level. It is no accident that the King James Bible is pitched at the same level.

So while some might look down on me for writing at a junior high school level, I think it is the right thing to do: the aim of writing is to be understood. So you want your writing to be as easy to understand as possible.

How to get the reading level for a piece of writing:

  • reading level = 0.4 x ((words/sentences) + 100 x (complex words/words))

where a complex word is any word of three syllables or more not counting endings like -ed, -es and -ing.

Some simple ways to make your writing easier to read:

  • Read it out loud.
  • Use short words. Avoid words of three syllables or more.
  • Use short sentences of 20 words or less.
  • Use short paragraphs of four or five sentences.

See also:

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naomi_campbell_01jun04Buzzomatic is a blog I started yesterday, my third to date: buzzomatic.blogspot.com. It is a way for me to easily keep up on the buzz, the news, in my corner of the blogosphere and to save stuff for reading later. Through it I just found out that Caroline Kennedy will be running for the Senate – great news!

On the right-hand side of the home page is the list of the 28 blogs that appear in at least four blogrolls with me, meaning that these are blogs that are both good and have interests like mine. After all, at least four bloggers who like me like them too. I came up with this list of the 28 blogs the other day in my post “Blogs you might like”.

I put Buzzomatic on Blogger because it has a cool sort of blogroll where you can list blogs according to how long ago they were last updated. You can even have it show the picture, title and first sentence or so of the post.

That makes it way easier to keep up on 28 different blogs and far less likely that I will miss something. Which is great. That is why I call it “Buzzomatic” because it makes keeping up with the buzz more automatic.

I know there are websites that do this sort of thing already. I even saw one even for black blogs. But the advantage of Buzzomatic is that it fits my interests more closely than any of those ever could.

The point is to have something that cuts out all the stuff I am probably not interested in and yet keeps the stuff I am most likely to be interested in and which, on my own, would take days or months or forever to discover.

In the middle of the home page are featured posts. I only feature the ones that I am interested in and want to save before they disappear from the blogroll. And, just to see how it turns out, I am also featuring posts on any subject that appears at least three times in the blogroll – whether I am interested in it or not.

I can create a featured post in about five minutes: I copy the title, the first four sentences or so, the picture and the link. If there is no picture, I find one that is suitable. It is like a close-up view of the more interesting bits of the blogroll.

I hope to feature one post a day or at least a few a week. We will see how it goes.

If all goes well I might start a second one, this one on smartphones or something.

And, if Buzzomatic is here to stay, then I will work on making it more automatic. For example, it should not be too hard to write a computer program that could create a post for the hottest keyword in the blogroll, something that could make reasonable choices and work even when I am away or too busy or too sick.

See also:

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bloggingIf you like this blog, there is a good chance you will like some of these:

  1. the field negro (11) *
  2. What About Our Daughters? (10) *
  3. Aunt Jemima’s Revenge (8 )
  4. The Angry Black Woman (8 ) *
  5. afrobella (8 ) *
  6. Racialicious (7)
  7. Raw Dawg Buffalo (6) *
  8. The Black Snob (6) *
  9. Beauty in Baltimore (6)
  10. Stuff White People Like (5)
  11. Siditty (5)
  12. Mirror on America (5)
  13. Hello, Negro (5)
  14. Gorgeous Black Women (5)
  15. Brown Sista (5)
  16. Black Women, Blow the Trumpet (5)
  17. What Would Thembi Do? (4)
  18. What Tami Said (4)
  19. Stuff White People Do (4)
  20. The Root (4)
  21. New Black Woman (4)
  22. Make Fetch Happen (4)
  23. Jack & Jill Politics (4) *
  24. Invisible Woman (4)
  25. Huffington Post (4)
  26. Cocoa Lounge (4)
  27. Average Bro (4)
  28. Acting White (4)

How I know this: these are the blogs that most commonly appear in blogrolls with me. So bloggers who like me also tend to like these blogs as well. The number after each blog is the number of times I have appeared with it in a blogroll.

This is based on the 34 blogs I know of that have me in their blogroll. I did the same exercise last April when I was only in 11 blogrolls. Then the top blog was Angry Black Woman, who appeared with me in 4 lists, and second was the Field Negro, who appeared with me in 3.

Seven of these – the ones I put stars next to – also appear in the top 28 of another list: the Electronic Villager’s Black Blog Rankings for December 1st 2008. He has made a list of about 1500 black blogs that he knows of and ranked them according to their Technorati ratings.

Your Technorati rating is determined by how many blogs have linked to you in the past six months. If a high-scoring blog links to you, that helps your score that much  more. It is a measure (an imperfect one) of how important your blog is.

Some of the blogs at the top of the Villager’s list are probably among the top blogs among black Americans, but not all of them. That is for two reasons:

  1. A higher Technorati score does not always mean more visitors.
  2. A higher score can come from links from white blogs just as easily as it can come from black ones. The score is an overall measure of how important your blog is, but not who it is important to.

A good example is Pam’s House Blend at number one on the Villager’s list. It only gets twice as many visitors as I do – surprisingly low for such a highly ranked blog. And, although its blogger is black, it appeals more to whites than to blacks (according to Quantcast). And it is that white appeal that helped to get it its high score, picking up links from the likes of the Huffington Post.

So the top blogs in the Villager’s list are the most important blogs in blogdom done by blacks, but that does not mean they are not necessarily the most important to black audiences.

I think my list was built in a better way, though it is only good for the particular corner of the blogosphere where I find myself.

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The top posts of 2008

toccara03Now that I have over a thousand posts, here are the top ones as seen from different points of view:

The most visited posts on this blog:

  1. Toccara Jones
  2. thick black women
  3. The most beautiful black women
  4. Angel Lola Luv
  5. Bria Myles
  6. The most beautiful black women models
  7. Vilayna Lasalle
  8. The most beautiful black actresses
  9. The most beautiful black Brazilian women
  10. Jill Marie Jones

Those with the most comments:

  1. thick black women
  2. white people
  3. The most beautiful black women
  4. The most beautiful black Brazilian women
  5. The most beautiful black women according to white people
  6. Why so few white men marry black women
  7. What white people should know
  8. Why whites are blind to their racism
  9. race and beauty
  10. Creoles
  11. black women are beautiful
  12. The most beautiful Nigerian actresses
  13. Henry Louis Wallace
  14. black father, white mother
  15. Why I love thick women
  16. black women that white men like
  17. How white people think
  18. Hey You Feministe
  19. All blacks are racist
  20. white privilege

The most influential (according to the Technorati ratings of  blogs that link to  them):

  1. thick black women
  2. Why whites are blind to their racism
  3. Stereotypes about black women
  4. Sapphire stereotype
  5. 1040 Fifth Avenue: Where Jackie O. lived
  6. Home
  7. Racism Vision Test
  8. colour-blind racism
  9. Lisa Bonet
  10. black brute stereotype

The ones I like best or visit the most:

  1. category: music
  2. style guide: troublesome words
  3. Orwell: How to make a nice cup of tea
  4. acceptable blackness
  5. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being black
  6. style guide: Oxford spelling
  7. black women are beautiful
  8. Suggestions
  9. race and beauty
  10. Getting off the W train at 42nd street
  11. Uptown
  12. The best American writers live north of 110th Street
  13. In defence of Michelle Obama
  14. category: marriage
  15. Reading Betsey Brown
  16. jihad
  17. Wahhabis
  18. Stephen King on becoming a good writer
  19. A Guide to Turks
  20. The Abagond Library
  21. Monticello
  22. crowns
  23. classic prose style
  24. Dominick Dunne
  25. Burma or Myanmar?
  26. The Ford
  27. Like turning 14 all over again

As you can tell from the last list, I write about all kinds of things – yet only certain kinds of posts get much attention:

  • Those that get linked to by more important blogs (at least as Technorati measures it) tend to be about race.
  • Those that get the most hits tend to be about beautiful black women, particularly of the video vixen sort – even though I have written about other sorts of black women and even white women too.
  • Those that get the most comments tend to be in between: they are mostly about race or black beauty or both.

What seems to drive most of the comments:

  1. I think most white Americans are racist.
  2. I like thick women over thin or fat ones (all things being equal, of course).

Both go against mainstream American ideas of whites as colour-blind and thin women as the most beautiful. It seems that whites are blind, not to colour, but to their own racism, while thin women want to be wanted not just by most men, but all men.

See also:

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I started a new blog today, Black Beauty of the Day. The idea is very simple: one picture of one beautiful black woman every day. It is kind of like Gorgeous Black Women, but simpler and from a male point of view (mine).

It will just be one picture a day. I may or may not write something about the woman in the picture. Where I manage to write 500 words, I will cross-post it here.

I am not sure how long I will keep it up. I will be happy if I can do it for a year – that alone will take 365 different women, all of them beautiful and black. But what a treasure that would be!

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Advice to new bloggers

If you want to start a blog:

  1. Do it! It is easier than you think. Go to blogger.com or wordpress.com and sign up!
  2. Write about what interests you. Write what you are hot for. Do not care if it interests anyone else. Google will bring the right readers to your blog. You will be surprised at how many people are like you!
  3. Write the truth. Tell it just like you see it. Do not hold back. The truth is so much more interesting and worth reading. If that means writing under a pen name and hiding certain facts about yourself, then do it. But be prepared to back up what you say when commenters challenge you on it.
  4. Write regularly: once a day, once a week, every Tuesday and Thursday, whatever you can manage. It creates expectation, giving your readers a reason to come back.
  5. Comments: Allow comments but make sure you have a spam filter too. One of the best things about blogging is the comments! Read your comments and try to reply to as many as you can. Let people say whatever they want so long as they remain on topic. If a comment gets you angry, do not delete it but do not answer it right away either. Wait till you are calm.
  6. Read other blogs. Learn from them. Add the ones you like best to your blog roll and go back to them.
  7. How I write a post:
    1. Write the title first.
    2. Write the first paragraph.
    3. Write another 500 words or so to flesh it out. Do not care about how it sounds or even if the paragraphs are in the right order. Just write!
    4. Put the paragraphs in the right order and make it readable.
    5. Cut it back to between 480 and 500 words. This forces you to get rid of the deadwood. Look at the longer paragraphs. Cut words where you can. Prefer fact to opinion, the important to the unimportant.
    6. Correct the English. (Get a good dictionary.)
    7. Read it over again, out loud if you can. Repeat till you find no more mistakes.
    8. Add a picture.
    9. Add cross-links to related posts.
  8. Cross-link to other posts you did on the same or related subjects, even if it was a year ago. Otherwise all that most people will ever see of your blog are the last dozen or so posts.
  9. Put  links at the end of the post since otherwise they will break up the flow of what you are saying.
  10. Keep your posts short – not more than a thousand words. I keep mine to 500 words, which seems to be a good length – not too short, not too long.
  11. Keep your paragraphs short too, like to about four sentences or so.
  12. Keep your words short: prefer words of one or two syllables.
  13. When you get an idea for a post write it down.
  14. I prefer WordPress, but Blogger is good too. Blogger might be easier for beginners. It is what I started with.

– Abagond, 2008.

See also:

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My philosophy of writing

My philosophy of writing is to write the truth as best I can in the fewest, simplest words possible, avoiding saying anything that is outright unclear or untrue. Something I got from George Orwell, James Baldwin and especially Thucydides.

That is my aim, not always achieved.

Only the truth is worth writing. Anything else is a waste of time. That is why I use a pen name – that way I do not have to guard my thoughts or my words.

When I have trouble saying something or I say it and it comes out a mess, it is mainly because I am avoiding the truth, I am not being straight. Likewise when I find myself using too many long words.

I try to write in terms of facts and arguments. I know that people are not as simple as that, that they are not just thinking machines, that they have hearts and loves and loyalties and that they have a dark side too that they do not want to look at.

I know all that – I am like that too – but I do not have a rhetoric that can reach that part of them. I am neither poet nor prophet nor adman. As a boy I was not even a good liar: my mother could see right through me. The truth is the only rhetoric I know.

It does not always work. I tend to blame my writing. I think that maybe if I say it some other way, then they would understand. You see that in this blog where I write about the same thing from different angles, like “Whites are still racist” and “white privilege”. It was the same post written two different ways.

I run into the biggest trouble when I step on the self-image of certain people. So far it has been thin black women, fat feminist women and white people. The last one I expected, the first two blindsided me.

It is hard for me to talk to such people. I find myself talking in circles, repeating myself, rarely getting through. Maybe part of them just does not want to understand. But maybe I am not saying it right.

I keep thinking there is some set of magic words and that if I say them the scales will drop from their eyes and they will see just what I see and understand just what I understand. Maybe I am too new at this or maybe it is impossible. I cannot tell which it is.

With thin women and fat women it is not so important. I hate being misunderstood, but I could learn to live with it in their case. Cut my losses, move on and all that. But with white people it is way more serious. Their blindness affects the whole country. If nothing is done, one way or another, it will affect even my grandchildren.

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What I write about

Blog experts say you should stick to just one subject – whatever you feel most strongly about. That becomes what your blog is about.

I do nothing like that, of course. I write about whatever interests me at the moment – from Ford cars to video girls to jihad.

I am pretty much forced to do this because I write 500 words a day to practise my writing. That would be hard to do if all I wrote about were, say, video girls, as much as I may love that subject. I have to cast my net wider than that.

I pick something I want to know more about. Then I read up on it and write about it. You find out all kinds of interesting things that way. Like that the Mammy stereotype started out as a complete lie.

Then, just like when you are talking with a friend over dinner, one subject leads to the next. So I wrote about Bria Myles and other video girls, for example, just because I love how they look. But that leads me to write a post on video vixens, which in turn takes me into stereotypes and then, the other day, on to “Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs”. And so on. And there are sideroads along the way too, like male gaze, anorexia, Sarah Baartman and Jim Crow.

And just like when your friend says something it can lead you onto something else, so a comment or an email sometimes takes on a life of its own and becomes a post. Like this one, which is a reply to an email. Or “Black women are beautiful”, which grew out of a comment someone made on the post “race and beauty”.

I used to get ideas from the search words that brought people to my blog, but that is almost completely mined out by now. It is how I came up with “thick black women” and “Alpha Kappa Alpha”. People were hitting my blog looking for those things, so I was happy to write about them.

When I think of an idea, I try to write it down so I do not forget. Like “Black Barbie dolls” or “Amy Winehouse”. I look at my list when I cannot think of anything to write about.

Sometimes it comes from what I am reading. Like right now I am reading Obama’s book “Dreams from My Father”, so there will be posts coming out of that soon.

For a while I was trying to put up one post a week on science and one on something in the news. Lately I have got away from that because I have been drawn into the whole stereotype thing. My interest can snowball like that. I go with it because I know I will write better and find out way more when I am hot for it. Even those blog experts agree that passion is what counts most.

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