It’s as good as any time to share this; the blog started without any fanfare back in 2004, so why not drop the news when people should be out (hopefully) enjoying life offline, and fellow bloggers are heading off to Netroots Nation. It’s also only fitting that this occurs as major Supreme Court decisions on LGBT equality, voting rights, and equal opportunity in higher education are upon us; major changes are ahead that touch on topics covered over the years at PHB.
All good things must come to an end, even after numerous awards and accolades, it’s time to acknowledge that I cannot continue to run on fumes alone. The Blend could continue limping along, but my health and well-being come first; over the last few years burning the candle at both ends with a full-time offline job and PHB. It has taken a severe toll — most readers have learned that I am dealing with chronic pain conditions — fibromyalgia, and in the last couple of years, aggressive rheumatoid arthritis.
My decision to close the blog is just as reality-based as its content has been. If I cannot produce material at the frequency or with the same level of quality, enthusiasm and effectiveness, it’s really time to close the doors to this coffeehouse — and work to ensure it continues to have a life as an archive, a snapshot in our digital political history. Pamshouseblend.com will redirect to archives.
Looking back, I churned out pieces at an incredible pace — up to ten posts a day– many long-form pieces, commentary, curating news articles I thought my audience should check out, and occasionally (and increasingly) doing citizen journalism at news events and conferences. All of this while holding down a full-time day job with no connection to politics or activism. And most of of those posts were done in the wee hours, so I didn’t get much sleep over the lifespan of this blog.
Political blogging changed mainstream journalism in many ways. Save for a few who were able to monetize their blogs or who were cherry picked to help traditional outlets get their feet wet in new media, the vast majority of citizen journalists and opinion-makers toiled with little hope of quitting that day job. The LGBT movement was energized by the speed and reach of new media, and at times appeared quite threatened by it — mostly because it was a venue where Beltway orgs, and even the White House, didn’t see any possible way to co-opt or control what was being produced by this first generation of online political rabble rousers and activists. I’ve made a lot of great friends and met a lot of people along the way, and hopefully opened a few eyes, particularly with my posts about the intersection of LGBT and race.
The Blend sat in a unique place in all of this — I brought the perspective of a black lesbian living in the South to the dialogue — broadcasting a voice certainly not represented in the power structure of the LGBT movement. It was the first major blog to feature a transgender contributor, and it was important to me to bring talent to the blog from under-represented regions and voices.
By the way, I’m not disappearing into complete obscurity (though that would be OK as well), I’ll continue to be active on social media and make time to mentor folks as I can. It’s just time for someone else to pick up the ball and run with the daily activist grind, and forge new ground in an ever-shifting new media.
Speaking of which — on FDL, a rebranded blog will debut on the channel with my talented current contributors Laurel Ramseyer, Alvin McEwen and Autumn Sandeen. Look for more information on that effort soon.
I’ll have a “goodbye” post on July 1 that takes a look at some of PHB’s nine-year history.