ViA @ The Blog Awards Reception, ISA ’14

Venus in Arms was at the Blog Awards Reception at the ISA Annual Convention (Toronto, 27 March). The Reception was sponsored by SAGE and Duck of Minerva. The event, which awarded the best blogs in IR for the 2013-2014, confirms why the Ducks are at the best in the “IR blogosphere”. Indeed the reception was fun and fascinating (…and there was also good food, especially American cheese). Obviously Venus in Arms was not among the candidates (we started on Wednesday…) but we ambitiously aim at being part of the party in the near future (ambitious is crucial as recently stated by relevant scholars, Josè Mourinho to begin with).

Some random thoughts on the event:

  •  “The winners take it all”.

Political violence @ a glance won in two categories: the Best Blog (group) and Best Blog Post (by C.Davenport). They absolutely deserve the award.  As for Dart Throwing Chimp, who won for Best Blog (individual). Jay Ulferder gave a nice speech, a fantastic example of humility, recognizing the importance of having the possibility (in terms of time and resources) to develop a so clever individual blog. Nuclear Diner also won in the category “New Blog”.

  • “A Lannister always pays his debts”

Tyrion Lannister and Ryan Gosling were the most quoted icons of the reception. As stressed in a speech, Pop-culture is one the main reason why blogging: talking about serious (and sometime) boring issues in a funny and more comprehensible way. This is also one of the reasons why Venus in Arms is on the blogosphere. Indeed we have a called a category “Pop-culture”, adding as subtitle “Mos Eisley” (yes, we indirectly refer at the increasing role of non-state actors such insurgents and smugglers in contemporary warfare). Just talking about Italian defense and security (adopting both academic literature or Star Wars), is really important for us in order to rip up the national indifference over these issues.

  • “Nicholas Kristof in the room?”

After the recent op-ed by Kristof on the NYT, a lot of posts and comments have focused on the issue of IR academics and political relevance. As excellently stated yesterday by Paul Kirby (The Disorder of Things), the main aim of a blogger is not to be  the counselor of the Prince. Blogging should not be not a mere tool of power but a way to enhance the debate, focusing on contradictions and disagreements. 100% agree.  Best speech of the evening for me.

  • “ We’re gonna need a bigger boat”

After the overcrowded reception in San Francisco last year (I was not able to enter!…)  Ducks and SAGE have probably adopted the same approach by Martin Brody in “Jaws”. They have chosen a bigger room. Well done.

  • “Lineker and the blogosphere”

According to the former English superstar striker Gary Lineker, football (we are Italians, so the term soccer is forbidden!): “is a simple game. Twenty- two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win”. Thus, we can define the blog awards as the game among different smart candidates, and at the end Dan Drezner always wins (this year: Special Achievement Award).

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