Wednesday, February 08, 2006

My Cat is a Democrat

Eclectic and diverse groups of people gather together in the name of blogging.

Having received a last minute e-mail, forwarded to me by Stefan, about a get-together yesterday evening with Iranian blogger Hossein Derakhhshan, who is in Stockholm for a few days, I decided to show up. (As a side note, Hossein has been instrumental in jumpstarting the Persian blogosphere, not in the least in relation to blogging as an alternate forum to promote democracy and open political debate in a country where the media is controlled by clerics).

All I knew when we made our way to the event was that we would find "wine and bloggers," which is in general a very good combination.

I was expecting that "wine and bloggers" would dictate that the venue for the event be some sort of bar, or at least a cafe. Needless to say, we were quite surprised to find that it was held in one of the tiny little red summer houses in the middle of Vitabergsparken. Since we took several unplanned detours trying to find it, we were an hour or so late for the meeting.

When we arrived, they were having a rather serious conversation about the recent debacle in the Danish media over a cartoon portraying Mohammed, so we felt a bit out of place intruding in the middle of the discussion, which we had fully expected to be more socially oriented.

Someone then posed the question whether or not there were certain "cultural" elements that predicted whether or not blogging would take-off in a particular country, in particular the impact that blogging would have on the political sphere. Stefan commented that the Swedish blogosphere has been fairy apolitical, at least as far as the actual influence blogging has had on Swedish politics, as opposed to the impact blogging has had in some other countries. Stefan then proposed the theory that perhaps "people in Sweden are too busy blogging about their cats" as an explanation to why there were not more influential political blogs.

I knew very well he was referring to the fact that my kitten, Ullrick, has recently taken up blogging, despite his lack of opposable thumbs. Thankfully, no one else in the room had any idea what he was talking about.

"You mean that blogs about about cats have had an impact on politics?" some innocent bystander asked, visibly confused, making the mistake of taking Stefan's cat blogger comment seriously.

Yes, of course, how could I forget to mention that Ullrick and other Scandinavian felines have been instrumental in the deregulation of the Norwegian fishing industry, making affordable fish available to all?!?

I have deliberately chosen NOT to write about politics in my blog, for the simple fact that the work I do involves writing about politics and policy-making. This blog is, for me, a creative outlet, intended to entertain, both myself as well as anyone who happens to find it entertaining. (I should also mention that it's unexpectedly also proven to be an interesting method to get dates.)

This does not mean that I don't take the potential impact blogging can have on politics or other important issues seriously. I follow several political blogs, but have chosen for the time being not to express my own political opinions in such an arena. If at some point an issue arises that I feel passionately enough about (for example, if Dick Cheney announces his intention to run for president in the next U.S. election and it seems there is actually a chance that he would win), you can be sure that I'll write about it. Probably not here at Kommissarie Curiosa, but somewhere.

In the meantime, I'll leave the political blogging to Ullrick, who has currently expressed concern over recent proprosals by the EU Commission to place restrictions on the personal use of catnip.


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