Best Post of 2007?

Reasonable conservative Jon Swift is compiling a list of various bloggers’ self-designated “best post(s) of 2007,” and kindly sent an email asking me to suggest mine. And then a few days later he sent another, because I hadn’t answered the first one.

It wasn’t that I had forgotten, or didn’t care to send him a link, or anything like that.

It was that I had no idea how to define “best.”

I have the sense that a lot of bloggers would define “best” as the post that made the biggest splash out there in the world. For CRN in 2007, that would almost certainly be this post, which got linked to hell and back. It also happens to be the single post I most wish I had kept to myself, as I took a significant amount of grief over it from people who felt slighted. (2007 was an improvement in that sense, as there was really just that one post I’d toss down the memory hole, compared to a number of them in 2006.)

Judging the writing quality in the posts is another approach, perhaps the most sensible and straightforward one, and I am I think singularly unqualified to make that judgment of my own writing. I find much I would rewrite in every post, and I also find lines and phrases of my own with which I fall back in love and decide for forty-five seconds that each is the Best Thing I Ever Wrote, Period.

The post that best characterizes the year 2007 at CRN? That would undeniably be this one. And no one’s gonna appreciate having that sent in to a list of best blog posts, even someone generous and kind like the esteemed Mr. Swift.

Funniest? Most lyrical? Most helpful? Most insightful? Judgment calls, each and every one, and each an arbitrary definition of “best” with plenty of arguments against it. This post is probably the one I think most deserving of more attention than it got, but that’s a different question.

At long last this is what I sent in to Mr. Swift:

I did receive your gracious offer, Mr. Swift.

I haven’t been ignoring it. I’ve been contemplating what definition of “best” I ought apply.

I’ll be explaining my thought process in a blog post, but I’ll spare you the details in this email, and simply say that though many other posts received more attention and more comment, this is the one I would save if all the others had to be erased forever.

Thank you for your continuing generosity.

I chose that post because that’s the post I wrote the most carefully.

And then I heard that little “whoosh” sound makes when it sends mail, and in a blinding flash I realized I’d been an idiot, as the answer was so obvious I should have seen it all along. I opened up another email message to Jon Swift, in which I said:

Oh, wait. Is it MY best post we’re talking about, or CRN’s? Because if it’s the latter, then — no contest, no argument possible — the best post would be any of the series that CRN’s guest blogger Theriomorph did on Abundance Model Vs. Scarcity Model Thinking, and I’d suggest the first one of those as the one to link to.

Sheer thoughtful wonderfulness.

And then I hit “send” again.

Jon Swift’s compilation should be up on his site in a day or two.

Do you have posts you thought were particularly good, on this blog or yours or anyone else’s? Lay ‘em on us. Or hold forth on how, or whether, you’d define “best.”


2 thoughts on “Best Post of 2007?

  1. Hugo Schwyzer

    I’m devoted to you and your writing, Chris, so I’m almost tempted to impose upon you my own version of your ten best posts, ranked.  (But hey, I’m the sort of guy who thinks topiaries are a good idea, so don’t take me too seriously.)

    I’ve been doing my “best” list since 2004, and I define “best” as “the post I think comes closest to saying something unique, insightful, important, or interesting to someone other than myself or my loved ones.”  I say “closest to”, because I may fail all around.

  2. Jym

    =v= I’ve been so unprolific this year that I can’t imagine picking a favorite posting, though clearly the most representative is Shrinkage, in which I lament this very state of affairs. I also get misty-eyed over my glory days of two-and three-word coinages.

    This has just led to the realization that my proudest contribution to Usenet ever was replying to the claim that two positives never make a negative with, “Yeah, right.”  Earlier but independent thinkers who’ve mined this vein were Sidney Morgenbesser (with “Yeah, yeah …”) and our own Joe Eaton (with a positively mindbending “Yeah, yeah, yeah …”).