the date on which an event occurred in some previous year (or the celebration of it)
This week is the first anniversary of the founding of The Solipsistic Me. This is one of the best of the small-press blogs and I am privileged to be a part of its community. The founder, editor, and heart of TSM is Michael Hulshof-Schmidt, a model of integrity, wisdom, and compassion. (He’s also a witty and insightful writer. What a package!)
Michael invited me to look back over the time I’ve been involved with the blog (first as a commenter, then as an occasional contributor, then as a columnist). I am more than happy to comply with this wish and to celebrate this wonderful bright spot on the Internet.
First, as requested by Michael, a look at what I consider to be my best contributions to TSM.
- FAMILY – In only my second Wednesday Word of the Week, I felt like I captured something important and stayed true to the heart of TSM with this post. My biological family has seen a lot of upheaval recently, and this post captures how I feel about all of the types of family and their interconnected value.
- HISTORY – This is my favorite of the “words matter, you fools” posts that I have written. Taking shots at Sarah Palin is a bit too easy, perhaps, but this post applies to so many who believe they can twist reality to fit their views and needs.
- KNOWLEDGE – One of the posts whose structure and content merged best together, this expresses my frustration with the over-abundance of noise and the lack of understanding in the digital age.
I have to include a sentimental favorite to wrap up this list. I had more fun creating the somewhat silly but information-packed ALPHABET post than any other. It doesn’t have the same kind of insight as some of my better work, perhaps, but I love it for the special wonder that it is.
Mine is but one small brush contributing to the grand canvas of The Solipsistic Me. I would like to fully celebrate this anniversary by looking at what I consider the top ten accomplishments of the past year.
a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own
a being of great strength and courage celebrated for bold exploits; someone who fights for a cause
The regular features of Bigot and Hero of the Week are insightful overviews of key issues and people, often things that are overlooked by the mainstream media. Even when the recipient is a well-known figure, TSM manages to provide a fresh perspective. A great example (and one of Michael’s finest pieces of writing) was the closing feature for LGBTQ History Month celebrating Albus Dumbledore.
a group of people who live together in the same place; the feeling that you belong to a group and that this is a good thing
This post used the delightful Britcom Jam and Jerusalem (a.k.a. Clatterford) to highlight the ways we are all connected and the importance of mutual support and care. It inspired me not only to watch the television program but to write a WWW about charity after the Japanese tsunami.
a group’s refusal to have commercial dealings with some organization in protest against its policies
TSM takes a strong stand on corporate responsibility. Michael has done wonderful work in highlighting companies whose business practices merit our discretion. I chose the series on Target because of the many ups and downs in the story.
resolute adherence to your own ideas or desires
The Solipsistic Me also highlights the willful rejection of facts so often practiced by the right wing. Many stories contain elements of this important and disturbing trend. I am particularly fond of I Will Not Be Bothered With Facts or the Truth, a stern indictment of many facets of this behavior. A magnificent overview is the calling out of the Querulous Quartet and their ilk for inventing “facts.” I am particularly fond of this post because it refers to the posts that first attracted me to TSM.
the belief that all people should feel that they are included in society, even if they lack some advantages
Michael’s dedication to ensuring rights for everyone is a singular constant on TSM. This thread of social justice includes calling out weaknesses and room for improvement wherever they occur. As a member of the LGBTQ community himself, he refuses to let his peers ignore their own opportunities to improve. I was particularly struck by his magnificent series on transgender issues and this piece (written by his husband, Robert) about the challenges faced by bisexuals.
the act of sharing in the activities of a group
Another facet of TSM is that the contributors don’t simply write about the world; they engage in it. Michael’s piece on his experience lobbying with Planned Parenthood is strong journalism, a clear call to action, and proof that he lives his ideals.
a moral duty to behave in a particular way
When Michael learned that his alma mater, Oglethorpe University, was hosting a lecture by a notorious pseudo-intellectual conservative, he took action. He held the University responsible, spoke to the parties involved, and engaged the community through this powerful post on TSM. In the interests of journalistic integrity, he also had two correspondents write pieces about the lecture to ensure a complete picture. This dedication to the whole truth is an important hallmark of this blog.
excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves
One of my all-time favorites is Robert’s searing indictment of corporate irresponsibility, the delightfully titled We the Corporations, In Order to Form a More Perfect Profit.
the property of a continuous and connected period of time
Proving that good thing can indeed last, one of Michael’s finest posts was written just last week. The insightful Bombing of Hiroshima: Lessons We Have Yet to Learn asks important questions about where we are headed as a nation and provides clear examples of history offering us the opportunity to avoid that deadly path.
What wondrous works have come from this blog! Where will it lead us next? I am honored to be a small part of this community and am more than pleased to celebrate some of its many highlights.
Solipsistic? Ironically, perhaps, but not at heart. I say rather
involving or affecting everyone in the world
Happy birthday to The Solipsistic Me.
All definitions courtesy of Macmillan Dictionary Online