#45 Blogging to Display Their Superior Thinking
Submitted by Kim, who (every now and then) also blogs at Kim, Colin and Caleb in Kenya.
We’ve previously established that a good part of the allure of the EAW lifestyle is the bragging rights afforded by far flung humanitarian adventures. But bragging rights imply an audience. Facebook helps bridge that gap, but only superficially. A blog platform allows the experienced EAW to more fully expound upon his or her sensitivity and savvy in the face of cross-cultural predicaments, moast about enduring exotic tropical disease and illustrate a profound depth of insight on international development theories. Blogging is, most importantly, the EAW bullhorn of self righteousness.
Development and aid blogging [not to be confused with blogging for the folks back home] is typically full of snark and quick to criticize. How better to demonstrate your insider field cred than to lambast the naïve? The more popular, catchy, trendy, or yes, misguided, the anti-poverty solution, the bigger target it is for blogging snark.
Microlending? Oversold uncritically as a silver bullet and only your Kiva-donating grandma still thinks this is a cure-all. Girl Effect? Undoes its own message with its objectionable messaging. Advocacy? You mean, “badvocacy?” Perilously reductionist and, anyway, spearheaded by way too many celebrities, neo-hippies and naive idealists for it to do any real good. In-kind donations? Logistical nightmare and destroyer of local markets. Popular journalists on the developing country beat (and Nicolas Kristof in particular)? Dangerously oversimplify complex global issues that only the real EAW bloggers truly understand.
The secret and deep hope of the EAW blogger is to get the blessing of the aid blog patriarch, Bill Easterly, and any of his disciples, and get a shout out or, better yet, featured on his blogroll.
Because the EAW’s insights are just too important or ground-breaking not to share with the world, he or she will always find a clever way to express them. The EAW is likely overqualified for his or her paper-pushing field job, leaving the luxury of time and mental space to expound on any of the issues studied in whatever elite east coast institution he or she attended.
EAW bloggers know that the climate of intellectual sparring in the aid blogosphere sharpens mental acuity. Each time the aid blogger makes what he or she thinks is a snappy retort in the comment section of an intellectual rival, it only serves to fuel that growing sense of smug self-satisfaction. But, no worry, the hubris is usually tempered by some humiliating misstep in field or some frustrating bureaucratic hurdle that we’re sure to hear about it in a future post….