Thinking about linking
Martin Street at Bounder of Adventure has undertaken a daunting task: to become "Your One Stop Shop for Right-of-Centre Canadian Commentary Since 2005." He's off to a promising start, with a pile of short posts linking to some great sites, and also one or two linking to my incoherent babblings. His blogroll is growing. I could be wrong, but it seems like he's aiming to become the Glenn Reynolds of the Great White North (ka-ROO-koo-koo-koo-KOO-koo-KOO!).
Good for him for taking on such an ambitious mandate. None other than Canadian blogospheric icon Jay Currie has noted that "we need a linker - we have plenty of thinkers..." and he's right.
Now, I understand that Mr. Reynolds doesn't limit himself to American news or American sites. In that context, looking for a Canadian linker carries the faint odour of Spectoresque CANCON. Having said that, even the trivial fact that I've spelled it 'odour' instead of 'odor' indicates there's a difference between Canadian blogging and blogging from wherever else - most notably from our southron neighbours. Babbling Brooks was on the receiving end of a small Instalanche a few weeks back, and the most interesting aspect of it for me - other than the cheap thrill of watching my sitemeter scroll like the odometer on a Ferrari at full throttle - was the number of Canadians who e-mailed me to say they'd only discovered the site through Reynolds' tiny link. A Canadian linking blog would help those interested in specifically Canadian punditry - whatever that means - to access it more easily.
But here's the catch: if you're going to be the Canuck Instapundit, you're going to be compared to Glenn Reynolds. Not fair, I know. He's an original. He posts at an inhuman pace, on all manner of topics, sick or well, with consistently professional commentary. It's like trying to be the 'next Michael Jordan'.
But that's the reality, fair or not. This is the same reason most Canadian TV shows tank about sixty seconds into the first episode - they don't stand a comparison to the New York / Hollywood programming we love to complain about, but watch all the same.
Does that mean a potential Canadian linker looking to serve Reynolds' function should aim to be Reynolds' clone? If you continue with the TV analogy, probably not. Corner Gas is one of the best comedies on television these days. It's very Canadian - in fact, it's almost hoserish in its Canadianism.
But - and I think this is the key, here - that's not all it is. Corner Gas is funny and quirky and smart and Canadian, all in equal parts, and it's successful as a result. Can you compare it to American shows? Sure, the same way you compare apples and oranges. It's just as entertaining, but in a different way.
So my completely unsolicited, but hopefully not unwelcome advice to any and all aspiring Canadian linkers, including the ambitious Mr. Street, is to defy the comparison to Instapundit. A linking site whose only unique offering is that it's Canadian will be a dismal failure. Link away to Canadian commentary to your heart's content, but keep it original. Search far and wide for maple-flavoured international news. Keep track of ex-pats who can offer an interesting perspective on Singapore from under a toque, for example.
A tough task, to be sure, but a valuable one that will garner a whole pile of support from the fledgling Canadian blogosphere, if my instincts are right.