By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
She thinks that's a little rich, as she does the slighting attitude toward blogs expressed by print veteran Pete Hamill in a 2007 radio interview ("When I teach at NYU, I try to tell these young potential journalists: Don't waste your time with blogs . . ."). " 'Beat reporters,' as the Pete Hamills of the world knew them, no longer exist," says Miss Heather. "In some ways, blogs have filled this void, whether the print establishment cares to admit it or not. They are certainly using them for news leads." —edroso
Food in Mouth
A Food in Mouth post begins with a discovered item of street food or a recently consumed meal, then zooms off on thought-provoking tangents, touching on pop-culture topics unrelated to food before ending in an existential yelp. The prose is fresh and lean, and not marred by the occasional syntactic inconsistency, while the level of sincerity hovers up near 100 percent. Posts are often witty as hell.
The blog is the work of Danny, a 28-year-old Brooklynite who describes himself as an "Asian dude" born in Taiwan but raised in the American Midwest. He won't go any further than that: "I work at a very stiff type of place . . . so I try to keep on the DL, as they say." He started the site in 2007, he says, "because I needed a way to channel free time toward something productive." You might suspect that Danny works in a Web job of some sort, because the layout of his blog is gorgeous and the pictures much better than they need to be.
A recent rumination on the cable show The Wire and the Milk Bar's crack pie led to an elaborate allegory featuring chef Chang: "So the 'high-rises' in this case would be the Momofuku Empire. They rule in the East Village area. The guy playing Avon Barksdale is David Chang."
But it's Danny's very alienation from the food blogosphere that makes Food in Mouth most memorable. Of the recent FTC rules concerning the acceptance of free food by blog writers (he doesn't do it), he writes: "It's just fun to note that yes, the government thinks that when you want to gush about something, your experience probably was affected by whether you paid for all, some, or none of the food you just ate." Jeez, that guy can write! —Robert Sietsema
If the Internet does not need another music geek's poorly written take on Vampire Weekend or a self-proclaimed foodie's poorly lit photos from Momofuku, the Internet most certainly does not need another mommy blog.
These blogs (and, yes, they are almost always gender-specific—even The New York Times' parenting blog is called Motherlode) take on many forms: There are the "attachment parenting" bloggers (co-sleeping, babywearing, extended breastfeeding acolytes of Dr. Sears, whose own wife was such a super-mom that she breastfed her adopted children) and the "underparenting" bloggers (who often refer to their child as "the kid," confess negative feelings toward said kid as if this was somehow breaking a taboo, and feign detachment, even though they are blogging about parenting). There are hipster mom blogs, sexy mom blogs, blogs by moms who believe strongly in bringing babies to bars, and blogs by moms who believe strongly in not bringing babies to bars. There are the crafty mom bloggers and the really crafty mom bloggers who get a ton of free baby gear, we bet. There are the Park Slope moms—somehow the villains of New York—and the obviously much better Prospect-Lefferts Gardens moms. And maybe some moms who don't live in Brooklyn?
And you can roll your eyes at all of them—the mostly bad reputation of mommy blogs is mostly earned—until, a few days after pushing a human being out of that area that used to be for something else, you find yourself desperately Googling "low milk supply," "plugged duct," and "fix my baby" at 3 a.m.
And here is where we arrive at Ask Moxie—a beacon of non-judgmental, un-dogmatic parenting advice, neutral territory in an exhausting and endless cycle of online mommy war violence. The blog belongs to Magda Pecsenye, a divorced NYC mother of two boys who introduces herself online with a radical sentiment: "I don't know where my parenting bent lies. I think you know your own kids best." Pecsenye launched her site in 2005, and it consists largely of readers' questions, which she posts almost daily, her considered but by no means expert responses (comforting but not too touchy-feely, personal but not grossly confessional, challenging but not intentionally provocative), and then a ton of comments, often equally as helpful as her own. Whereas most parenting blogs (and their old-school counterparts: the parenting books) actually sap a parent's confidence, Ask Moxie can make you feel like a decent parent (which you might be) by encouraging you to trust your instincts—instincts that often get drowned in the sea of bullshit that doubles as parenting advice. —Allison Benedikt