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« Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 141 -- Monetary and Financial Conditions. | WILLisms.com | Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 19. »

The Carnival Of The Vanities.

Welcome to THE CARNIVAL OF VANITIES (part 152).


The booths are arranged entirely chronologically, in order of receipt of submission. Every single submission is included. I rated the posts on a 0-10 scale.

0 = One of the most awful posts I have ever read.
1 = Don't waste your time on this post.
2 = Awful post.
3 = A very poor post.
4 = A poor post.
5 = Average post.
6 = A good post.
7 = Recommended post.
8 = Strongly recommended post.
9 = A must-read post.
10 = One of the best posts I have ever read.

A quick word on how and why I rated the posts-

I gave higher ratings to posts with original analysis, rather than cutting and pasting from news articles. I gave higher ratings to posts with multiple sources, with multiple layers, and so on. I gave higher ratings to posts that were easy to read, that flowed well, that graphically just looked good, etc. I gave higher ratings to posts that the average Carnival reader would find interesting and worthwhile. I gave higher ratings to ideas that might not be found anywhere else and posts that involved original legwork.

Don't be offended if I didn't recommend your post. The typical Carnival reader will only have the time to read a handful of posts (maybe just one or two), so this is just a helpful way for people to find something worth clicking on. Feel free to ignore the ratings, or click on the ones I found less worthwhile. You may have different tastes than I do.

Welcome, and enjoy--

Submitted August 10:

Mister Snitch! blog offers "The Blogosphere: a Giant Engine for Finding Meaning."

Rating: 7

Free Money Finance blog offers "Don't Give Up on Index Funds Yet."

Rating: 5


Submitted August 11:

Stop the ACLU blog offers "ACLU Wants All Drugs Legal."

Rating: 6

The Unrepentant Individual blog offers "Bigger is better."

Rating: 8

Critical Mastiff blog offers "The Weaponization of Tragedy, And Its Cost."

Rating: 7

IAM(also)CANADIAN blog offers "France’s Secret North American Invasion Plot Exposed!"

Rating: 6

Global Democratic Revolution blog offers "Michelle Malkin Stinks."

Rating: 0

Et Tu Bloge blog offers "Decision-making and Our Well-Being."

Rating: 6


Submitted August 12:

Political Calculations blog offers "Do You Have a Bad Job?"

Rating: 7

Camp HappyBadFun blog offers "What Women REALLY Want."

Rating: 8

The Idiom blog offers "Why Casey Sheehan Died."

Rating: 9

Different River blog offers "Ethnic Cleansing and the World’s Oldest Double Standard."

Rating: 7


Submitted August 13:

Libertarian Leanings blog offers "Gorelick's amazing powers."

Rating: 6

Searchlight Crusade blog offers "Illegal Immigrants in the Border Patrol."

Rating: 6

The Other Bloke's Blog blog offers "No Child Left Behind and Andre Agassi."

Rating: 5

Below The Beltway blog offers "Free Judith Miller."

Rating: 6


Rating: 5


Submitted August 14:

The People's Republic of Seabrook blog offers "Tune in at 11 when we'll have live team coverage of Jennifer Wilbanks trimming her toenails."

Rating: 5

Quibbles-n-Bits blog offers "Two if by Sea."

Rating: 4

Kira Zalan Blog blog offers "Prevention and Profiling."

Rating: 7

Chicken Fried Life blog offers "Would You Call This A Gift?"

Rating: 7

Mean Ol' Meany blog offers "Working on My Personals Profile."

Rating: 4

Don Surber blog offers "More NYT Corrections."

Rating: 7

Desertlight Journal blog offers "VAWA – the Threat to Working Women."

Rating: 6

Big Picture, Small Office blog offers "Far From the Madding Crowd."

Rating: 5

Science And Politics blog offers "It is strange not being OCD."

Rating: 5

Cliopatria blog offers "Infantalizing Students or Disciplining Institutions?"

Rating: 7

The Nose On Your Face blog offers "Blogosphere Survey Results."

Rating: 8


Submitted August 15:

Steve Pavlina's Personal Development Blog blog offers "Getting Organized."

Rating: 6

ROFASix blog offers "What your son died for Ms. Sheehan."

Rating: 8


Rating: 5

Conservative Friends blog offers "Fetal Stem Cells – The New McCarthyism? ."

Rating: 7

Multiple Mentality blog offers "100 Reasons I Miss The 80s."

Rating: 7

The Unalienable Right blog offers "Newsweek - Breaking: President Bush is not a heartless automaton."

Rating: 5

You Big Mouth, You! blog offers "Terrorism: Rochester Moslems Call for Cure."

Rating: 7

Mad Kane's Notables blog offers "Ode To Cindy Sheehan."

Rating: 2

Boxing Alcibiades blog offers "Huntington, Vindicated."

Rating: 9

The Right Place blog offers "The 9/11 Commission, Part 2 - Electric Boogaloo."

Rating: 7


Submitted August 16:

Wordlab blog offers "Names Behind the Dukes of Hazzard."

Rating: 8

Stop The ACLU blog offers "Putting The Fear Of God Into The ACLU."

Rating: 5

Blog Business World blog offers "Business blogs: Spread the word."

Rating: 4

Conservative Cat blog offers "News."

Rating: 6

Mark Nicodemo blog offers "Jeb on the PC-NCAA."

Rating: 9

GoD: blog blog offers "GoD prepares."

Rating: 4

Musings from Brian J. Noggle blog offers "Where Angels Fear to Tread."

Rating: 6

Ideas In Progress blog offers "Transporter Philosphy Poll."

Rating: 3

The Skwib blog offers "US Drug Enforcement Agency Asks Canada to Extradite Cows."

Rating: 7

Rightwing Nuthouse blog offers "RUM, ROMANISM, AND REBELLION."

Rating: 8

Wunderkraut blog offers "You Never Know Until…"

Rating: 8

Western Resistance blog offers "Islam is PEACE, LOVE , FAMILY and CHARITY Terrorism it doesn't teach...."

Rating: 7

TMH's Bacon Bits blog offers "Atta, Gorelick’s Wall, and Berger’s Bumble."

Rating: 6

Classical Values blog offers "'"Nothing to start a civil war over"'

Rating: 7

Cutler's Yankee Station blog offers "Who is the Enemy?"

Rating: 8

Blog d'Elisson blog offers ""Interesting" Food."

Rating: 8


Submitted August 17:

Confessions of a Political Junkie blog offers "The Withdrawal From Gaza."

Rating: 6


Next week, August 24, 2005, the Carnival will be hosted by The Big Picture. You can make your submission here. For more information, visit Silflay Hraka.

Posted by Will Franklin · 17 August 2005 10:47 AM


Not sure your rating system well go down terribly well. It does strike one as a bit on the harsh side.

For instance calling mine a poor post without any explanation seems a bit churlish. You obviously made no attempt what so ever to look at the post in the context of the rest of what is on the site.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at August 17, 2005 11:00 AM

Frankly, the average reader just won't get anything out of the post you submitted. I know I didn't.

This Carnival is about showcasing your best posts, in order for people to get a taste of what your blog is about. It's also supposed to be a worthwhile experience for people who casually land here and click on one or two links. The post you submitted would clearly not mean much to 99.9% of Carnival visitors.

Thus, the rating system...

...which, incidentally, isn't really much different from other forms of editorial recommendation and carnival organization which nearly every host uses to some degree. I could have, instead, eschewed the chronological order and just featured the better posts at the top, while burying the poorer posts in the middle somewhere.

When you're competing against so many other great posts, you're not automatically entitled to a higher rating or a prominent position. There's nothing new or radical about that.

Posted by: Will Franklin at August 17, 2005 11:23 AM

I think that The Idiom's post "Why Casey Sheehan Died" is the best of the lot.

Man that ought to be standard reading for every U.S. citzen.

Posted by: WunderKraut at August 17, 2005 11:37 AM

Why have a rating at all? You could have said that in a few sentences and let your reader decide. Instead you just tag it with poor. Poor could mean a whole lot of things: like it was written badly or full of factual errors or typos.

People didn't submit their post to the Carnival of the Vanities to get slagged off. They submitted them to showcase writing they think reflects well on them. There is a Carnival more appropriate for this sort of round-up called the Bonfire is the Carnival which actively encourages the host to be snide about posts submitted. I don't think you quite grasp the whole vibe of the CoV. Which is a great pity really.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at August 17, 2005 11:57 AM

Why have a rating at all?

As I have explained, ad nauseum. To weed out posts like yours.

Your post was poor. Get over it.

Posted by: Will Franklin at August 17, 2005 11:59 AM

Hrm...not as poor as your attempt at hosting CoV and your grasp of what the CoV really means.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at August 17, 2005 12:33 PM

I'll be honest with you. I do not find your rating system to be at all in the spirit of the Carnival. Having hosted three of them myself, I think I can speak to this with some expertise. Historically, Carnival hosts have used a wide array of means and devices to convey humor, insight, or whatever slant they wanted to lend to their endeavors. I may not always agree with what hosts do, but I admire the creative leeway that Bigwig has made part of his brainchild. This week's Carnival, unfortunately, sends exactly the wrong message.

I believe that the same thing might have been accomplished without the use of a questionably subjective rating system. What's worse, assigning a number with no explanation of why comes off as borderline judgemental.

Of course, this is merely my opinion, and we all know what opinions are like, don't we? I'm not even offended that my post only received a 5. I don't need outside validation to feel good about my writing.

In the future, perhaps Carnival hosts should remember that their role is to collect and present, not to act like an English teacher in a 10th-grade Composition class.

Posted by: Jack Cluth at August 17, 2005 12:52 PM

I agree with above commenters that a ratings system is in poor taste and not compatible with the concept of a blog carnival.

I agree with you rating of my post. Looking at all of my posts over the past year, on the scale of 0-10 this one is about 5, so fine. Your judgment on nono-political entries is subjective, but OK. However, your Right-wing bias shows heavily in your ratings of political posts. In most cases I would have rated them opposite of what you did. This carnival (or any carnival for that matter) should not be biased.

Posted by: coturnix at August 17, 2005 03:13 PM

As with most carnivals, the host may not be allowed to toss any submissions he or she feels may not qualify, etc. If that's the case with the Carnival of the Vanities then the host can and should be able to rate entries accordingly (or host it however he or she feels). The blogosphere is vain and this shows up weekly in carnivals as the full spectrum of good and bad shows up - lots of time by the same people each week, too.

I appreciate the rating system. With that many links, it's good to have a filter if you can't cut any submissions.

And the obvious good thing - next week's host has full artistic freedom to host them however they choose. Chances are, it'll be different.

Posted by: Hoodlumman at August 17, 2005 03:58 PM

I agree with Hoodlumman.

I hosted the Bonfire of the Vanities last week. I was instructed to include all submissions. No problem, as the point of THAT bonfire is to see how bad the posts are.

But this one is supposed to be all the best of the best. A chance to show off your stuff. But if some people send in, well, crap, then you still have to include it.

At least with the rating system, you can see that it got a 1 or a 0 and not waste your time even going to it.

Look, we all write stuff that we feel is the best ever written. I know that at least three to four times a week I submit posts to the big boys/girls. I have yet to get one to link to me. I am sure most of you have similar experiences. I guess my point is that every body's s**t stinks sometimes. I have an ego. I like to have that ego stroked, but if my post is not that good, then it actually helps to be told that it is not that good.

I personally like the ranking system. Maybe a bit more explanation would have helped, but this was something new and I think it is better.

Posted by: WunderKraut at August 17, 2005 05:03 PM

It came across as sophmoric and catty. I am a professional reviewer (of books, CDs, gigs etc) and understand that sometimes things are not to one's liking. I use a numerical scale as well; however I make sure the text backs up whatever rating I happen to give it. One must define our opinions; merely a numerical value says nothing. He claims my post is poor and "And it wasn’t worthwhile." But he has yet to say why...

As I have said before Will clearly does not understand the raison d'etre of CoV.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at August 17, 2005 05:17 PM

Andrew, I just read your post. It came off as "poor." Actually it came off as "WTF?"

It's a four-paragraph blurb about your band over the weekend. ??? Unless GoD is a pseudonym for COLDPLAY then why would anyone not on your band's mailing list want to read it? Will was generous - he gave it a '4'. I'd have given it a non-numerical score of 'No One Cares.' Or "accidentally" not listed it.

My oh my...

I read the other articles rated a '4' and they were accurate. The Carnival of the Vanities needs a screening priviledge so posts that don't rate higher than a '7' can be tossed. Yours should have been tossed.

Did you read the text in Will's graphic with Carly Simon?

CotV should be, but is not, a submission of the best. It's like most carnivals are becoming - Submit something every week regardless just to get the links.


Posted by: Hoodlumman at August 17, 2005 06:39 PM

No tossing. But a rating is ok. It not only says something about the post, it says something about the host. I can live with that.

Posted by: Chuck Simmins at August 17, 2005 06:59 PM

hoodlumman...you don't get the CoV vibe either do you? The whole point is that we volunteer posts we think are good for the week and the host (who gets a shedload of hits) links to them in round-up. This isn't some pop idol crap its a listing of what people think should be read. Period.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at August 17, 2005 07:25 PM

Everything I needed to know about being a columnist I learned from my four older sisters: Don't dish it out unless you can take it.
Yo, Andrew Ian Dodge, you probably got more hits outa this than you normally would.

Posted by: Don Surber at August 17, 2005 07:39 PM

Well, Andy, if that's the best you can muster, then it's a good thing it's only a once a week event. One could argue even that's too frequent.

You might do less submitting - It'd lead to less criticism.

I've never submitted anything to the CotV. I figured it was a best of the best type of carnival - material that our little blog doesn't produce often. Hell, now I can submit the same link to the CotV and the BotV each week and presto-chango - traffic!... and much to the indifference of the unaware readers.

Posted by: Hoodlumman at August 17, 2005 08:01 PM

CoTV is not about the best- or the worst. When Bigwig gave birth to it back in the Dark Ages (2003, if memory serves), it was a chance to give people some exposure that they might not otherwise get. I suppose there are "good" and "bad" posts, depending on your writing standards and ideology, but that sort of subjectivity should really have no place here. Why not be respectful of the fact that a contribution is sent by someone who put themselves into what they wrote- whatever it may be or however "good" it is.

Snarky comments may be appropriate, and subtle digs can be usefully if applied tastefully and respectfully. Will's rating system does little except display his own insensitivity and willingness to judge. I'm disappointed, because that is not what I think the Carnival should about.

Posted by: Jack Cluth at August 17, 2005 08:11 PM

CoTV is not about the best- or the worst. When Bigwig gave birth to it back in the Dark Ages (2003, if memory serves), it was a chance to give people some exposure that they might not otherwise get. I suppose there are "good" and "bad" posts, depending on your writing standards and ideology, but that sort of subjectivity should really have no place here. Why not be respectful of the fact that a contribution is sent by someone who put themselves into what they wrote- whatever it may be or however "good" it is.

Snarky comments may be appropriate, and subtle digs can be useful if applied tastefully and respectfully. Will's rating system does little except display his own insensitivity and willingness to judge. I'm disappointed, because that is not what I think the Carnival should about.

Posted by: Jack Cluth at August 17, 2005 08:11 PM

Andrew Ian Dodge,

You are the Cindy Sheehan of the Carnival.

Jack Cluth,

You are the NCAA of the Carnival.



* The quality or condition of being vain.

* Excessive pride in one's appearance or accomplishments; conceit.

* Lack of usefulness, worth, or effect; worthlessness.
- 1. Something that is vain, futile, or worthless.
- 2. Something about which one is vain or conceited.

Posted by: Will Franklin at August 17, 2005 08:26 PM

CoTV allows the host to pick and choose. Most carnivals do, though it is a prerogative rarely used mainly because the numbers of entries are not that big, even for CoTV. I have submitted a few times to CoTV before and most of the times my entry is included, but sometimes it is not. I accept editors's choice and try better next week.

And Bigwig has invented this for the exposure of the Long Tail blogs - the way for little 'uns to see and be seen and build communities. You do not always submit the best of the blogosphere ever, just something you are satisfied with and you think represent your blogging style well.

Posted by: coturnix at August 17, 2005 08:53 PM

Well that changes everything, coturnix. Will, I'd toss out everything below a seven and start over.

I keed, I keed...

Posted by: Hoodlumman at August 17, 2005 09:22 PM

I can't tear myself away from the comments to read any of the posts.

Can everyone just take a quick break? Thanks.

Posted by: Buckley F. Williams at August 17, 2005 09:37 PM

Will ad hominem attacks...how very classy.

Have you ever considered it might be a good idea to stop digging when you are in a hole?

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at August 18, 2005 05:04 AM

I read the "0" post just to see what it takes to get a zero.

Apparently it takes being a typical left-wing blogger (think Kos or Atrios). And I agree entirely with the "0" rating.

Posted by: byrd at August 18, 2005 09:03 AM

AID: I beleive we get the point, sir. One which might be better defended, as others have, with reasoning, rather than petulance.

There is no need to debate the "spirit" of CotV. Silflay Hraka said it quite clearly:
What I'd like to address is double-submits. It's an abuse of the system and needs to stop.

Full disclosure: I accidentally submitted my post to BotV as well, by misreading C-Cat's submit form. Upon seeing my error, I immediately contacted said host, but he decided to keep it anyway, and use the error itself as BoV-fodder.

I've seen a number of double-submits lately, and this is a real problem. I had to debate last night on my own Carnival whether or not to toss one what was a double-submit, as well. The problem is that Carnivals are a spur to productivity: you want that link (and perhaps, fame), you better crank out the content. For just that reason, I believe that multiple submissions do serious harm to the Carnival movement.

Posted by: Boxing Alcibiades at August 18, 2005 09:20 AM

I'm hosting COTV next week, and this is one of the most readable COTV's I've ever seen.

Posted by: Vik at August 18, 2005 12:22 PM

Thanks, Vik. Clearly other than a few disgruntled submitters, most people prefer something like this to a haphazard link melee, where good posts and bad posts intermingle without any distinction. I would hope future hosts would occasionally do what I did, if only to prevent people from submitting lousy posts on a regular basis.

Posted by: Will Franklin at August 18, 2005 12:27 PM

I also submitted accidentally to Bonfire and it was also included there.

It is not a problem if a good post is submitted to two or more carnivals, especially topical carnivals (e.g., you can send the same thing to Tangled Bank and Grand Rounds - there is some overlap in readership, but many more readers are not overlapping).

Posted by: coturnix at August 18, 2005 12:44 PM

I also think the rating system isn't bad. I agree, Vik, that if you try it, try to give a quick summary behind your rating, though, so we can distinguish between "toss-off" writing, and instances where we're at the intractible "de gustibus".

And they can certainly just be tossed. My brilliant dissection of appeasement in WWII entitled "Pat Buchanan is an unmitigated ass" somehow didn't make a few months ago. I have no idea why such *obvious* briliance was skipped....


Posted by: Boxing Alcibiades at August 18, 2005 02:20 PM


despite the mediocre "grade" for my entry (i mean, come on - it rated at least a 6), I actually think both your grading of the posts, and your particular style of chronologically listing them, are perfect ways to present this material.

i'd hope further that future carnivals of the vanities use these approaches too.

to that end, i'm emailing Silflay Hraka to let her know that i volunteer to host a carnival just so i can use this format .... and perhaps tweak it for a few more improvements.

anyway, nice job. (and bump my post up to a 6, ok? throw me a bone - i had some original analysis in mine - and i talked about an important subject - Halabja - which the main street press has bizarely ignored for the most part). i'm performing a public servive for Pete's sake!

thanks again-
-nikita demosthenes

Posted by: nikita demosthenes at August 18, 2005 08:28 PM

(Full Disclosure: I got a 7)

It's like grading... the balance between impressionism and mechanics is challenging.

My main complaint with the rating system is that, like most ten point scales, it's too much fine-tuning for quick comprehension (I note, for instance, that there were no 10s, and a few of the lower numbers seem to have gone unused). And without comment, it's very hard to know how to interpret it, until we read every single post, in the context of all the other posts that got similar or near ratings, and figure out what the standard is.

It's like a teacher who puts "76" on a paper, but no other explanation....

In theory, it could be useful, but without context, the effort would probably have been better spent on a bit of commentary.

That said, I know how much work must have gone into putting this together: thanks!

Posted by: Jonathan Dresner at August 18, 2005 08:36 PM

Well done with the rating system!

After hosting a carnival or two, I realized how annoying it is to have a BUNCH OF CRAP submitted! After all, it is just a carnival, but if you are posting it on YOUR blog, it reflects, in a way, on you!

Maybe if people have their hand slapped once or twice, they'll actually try and write something substantial, rather than some trivial link-whoring crap.

Posted by: Citizen Grim at August 19, 2005 01:55 PM

No one wants your half-baked opinion on what is and what is not good writing.

If you want to vote on what is and what is not good writing I suggest you join the watcher's council over that Watcher of Weasles.

This is not what COTV is about. I hope they never let you host it again.

Posted by: Zendo Deb at August 20, 2005 10:12 AM

Zendo Deb,

Actually, the clear consensus is that MOST PEOPLE want my half-baked opinion on what is and what is not good writing.

Most people would prefer a few less entries in the Carnival of the Vanities if it means they will be better, overall.

There's a good reason why Instapundit does not give an individual link to the Carnival of the Vanities anymore, and instead lumps it all together with several other blog carnivals. He's doing it out of obligation. And he just wants to get it all over with, since there is so much inflation in the Carnival apparatus. And generally, the Carnival of the Vanities is filled with poor posts.

Posted by: Will Franklin at August 20, 2005 10:25 AM

I love this, Will. I wrote a crappy post endorsing the concept on my blog, but a better Carnival is in everyone's interest- easier on the host, more exposure for the submitters, and THE RIGHT KIND OF EXPOSURE for the submitters.

Incidentally, I also clicked all the zeroes and ones and concur with your assessment.

Maybe we should have a Carnival of the Craptacular and use that for rejected Carnie entries?

Posted by: Allan Guyton at August 20, 2005 10:09 PM

WILLisms.com is not afraid to tell it like it is!...Like it or not!...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at August 21, 2005 08:02 PM

In hosting the previous Carnival, I made a point not to judge the entries, even the one that would stink up the filk singing contest at a third rate sci-fi convention. I took the CotV to be about bloggers highlighting their favorite posts for the week, the ones they thought deserved a bigger audience. In other words, only they decide what's worthwhile, not the blog host. But, your mileage may vary.

Posted by: Greg at August 24, 2005 11:52 AM

I am none too pleased with the ratings system either. I don't recall ever being told there would BE a ratings system, and if you're going to be graded, one of the most important things is to know what you'll be graded on BEFORE you hand in the assignment. Perhaps some sort of warning posted to the COTV announcement list would have been useful.

I undestand the concept behind using the rating system, and I understand your reasons; however, I fell prey to what you mentioned at the top of your carnival: I only read the top-rated posts, and the ones that had interesting titles. The only information I had was your rating and the post title.

I've expounded more upon this here:


I think all of us -- submitters, readers, and hosts alike -- will learn something from this experience.

Posted by: Josh Cohen at August 29, 2005 11:56 AM