Last week, I was given the Liebster Award by my friends at Applied Sentience, a humanist blog based out of Rutgers University. The chief editor at Applied Sentience is an old Semester at Sea friend, Paul Chiariello, and we’ve been following each other for – Christ, it’s been 7 years since SAS now.
Here’s what the Liebster Award is:
A blogger-to-blogger award that tells a fellow newbie blogger that they are making the world a more interesting/intellectual/funny/better place. It is given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
Basically, it’s like a chain letter, except it’s actually useful in that it can help bring exposure to up-and-coming blogs. Which means Applied Sentience was nominated by another blog, that I was nominated by them, and that I get to nominate another group of blogs that I follow.
With the Liebster Award, I’m technically supposed to finish 5 tasks: I have to give 11 random facts about myself, I have to answer 11 questions that Applied Sentience provided for me, I have to ask the next round of blogs 11 questions, and I have to choose another 11 blogs.
I feel bad, because I don’t want to blow the spirit of the award, but as this blog is basically just a catalog of things I’ve done and thought, I’m gonna skip the 11 random facts. I also don’t know a full 11 blogs with under 200 followers, so I’m just gonna list people with relatively small followings you should follow instead. They can choose to reciprocate to other blogs they follow (thus granting themselves the Liebster award) if they choose. The one of these steps I am going to follow through on is answering Applied Sentience’s questions. I’ll do that right underneath the blogs you should follow, because that’s more important.
Blogs You Should Follow According to the Award-Winning Matt Hershberger
Applied Sentience – Duh. Seriously though, Applied Sentience is run by people who actually think hard about life, and produce some really interesting content in between. And they’re humanists, too! These aren’t religion bashers, and the content you find on here won’t sound like some asshole atheist on Reddit. They are genuinely interested in virtually everything (the way a good blog should be). So check them out.
TL;DR - TL;DR is a blog done by my good friend and old co-blogger Jesse Steele. Jesse’s finishing up a master’s in Public Administration and Policy at Virginia Tech, so naturally his blog covers politics and urban issues. Jesse’s great at providing context to big issues that most of news media doesn’t get into with their reporting. He’s like David Simon (the creator of The Wire), except he still has some hope for the world.
Amanda Elsewhere - Amanda’s another SAS friend and blogger (a few months ago we did a blog debate over whether New Jersey is the worst state in America). She’s got a pretty terminal case of wanderlust, and she writes about her struggles with this lifelong illness.
The Write Way Around - I spent a summer in Beijing working as an intern/journalist for the shitty China Daily newspaper with Alexandra Petri, and she made way more of it than I did. She also kept traveling afterward, and has been everywhere. She’s still going, and she’s writing about it.
danniedoodles - Dannie (also an SASer) is living and teaching in Korea, and she’s been blogging about it for a while now. Dannie’s got a personal style of writing (I wanna say e.e. cummings-esque, but that might just be because she doesn’t use a lot of capitals) that makes for really pleasant reading.
Okay. Sorry if I left anyone out.
Answering the Big Questions (from Applied Sentience)
Q: What will (you imagine) be your “Oh, not this one again!” favorite story which you recount over and over to your kids and grandchildren.
A: Definitely the time I got robbed by a whore.
Q: Walking down the street you run into a quite eloquent and polite mini-Godzilla, about as tall as you are, sitting in a café reading a paper. Give us the 2-3 sentence Reader’s Digest of how you then became best-est friends?
A: I smash his cup of coffee, tear up his paper, and slap him with a glove to challenge him to a duel. We battle. The coffee shop is in ruins afterward, but we’re feeling pretty good so we grab a beer and talk about Asian politics. We’re friends now.
Q: Who is your favorite Shakespearean character, and why?
A: Puck, probably, just because I have a thing for tricksters. I also like Iago because he’s Shakespeare’s best villain, but honestly, I read all of his lines like the parrot from Aladdin.
Q: What would your 16-year-old self think if they met you as you are now?
A: “It took you how long to lose your virginity?”
Q: What will you say when your child asks: why didn’t you invest in Eastern Poland?
A: “Because I was poor as fuck, son. Now finish your anklebone soup, we’ve gotta get on Thunder Road and catch some more of the Deadliest Game if we want to eat tomorrow.”
Q: What problem is stealing your sleep at this point in life?
A: During the apocalypse, I’m probably going to have no access to jelly beans or scallions. What good is a fucking salad without jelly beans or scallions?
Q: What is your greatest love story?
A: That’s between me and Steph.
Q: What is the corniest pun you know?
A: Mark Antony is cooking corn-on-the-cob. He goes to the nearest farmer and says, “Lend me your ears!”
It’s supposed to be about corn, right?
Q: Best music album ever made?
A: Probably Born to Run.
Q: Best non-fiction book ever written?
A: I haven’t read all of them yet. But A People’s History of the United States.
Q: What fact are you most uncomfortable with?
A: Either the futility of human existence or that clothes actually matter to people.