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#45 Blogging to Display Their Superior Thinking

April 13, 2011

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….

11 Comments leave one →
  1. First against the wall in Beserkistan permalink
    April 15, 2011 6:44 am

    It’s all so true – and thankyou for putting your tongue in your cheek. I don’t know whether I should compliment you or make a clever remark that shows that I know what you mean and am currently dodging gun-fire while giving life-saving conflict resolution advice (hide!). But I do admire those who are un-stimulated enough to write these blogs – guess I am a bit dumb :)

  2. April 16, 2011 9:12 am

    My question: why did it take EAWs so freaking long to discover blogging? The “blog revolution” had come and gone before any of what you say happened.

  3. April 16, 2011 11:39 pm

    omg, soo true! You have inspired me to do a similar post on my own blog, but looking at ex-pat teachers rather than aid workers. Similar, but we have some other foibles, too. Thanks!

    • kayti permalink
      April 18, 2011 8:02 am

      Ex-pat teachers..where, where are you at on the web..what is your blog called and can you be both EAW and EPT?

  4. old sense permalink
    April 18, 2011 5:06 pm

    anyone reading this should reconsider the value of humility…a long forgotten artifact in today’s cultural climate….so all the more valuable.

    i think a good test of what you write is to think of someone in your life that you truly admire and maybe love…and then if you imagine them looking over your shoulder as you write and it does NOT make you cringe a bit…then go ahead and click submit/post…otherwise rethink and re-examine why you need to do the things you do…


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