The Silver Age of Blogging
Or: Making the future better
Historians of comic books commonly talk about different “ages” of superhero comics. The “Golden Age of Comic Books” broadly covered the period during, and just after, WW2, when many of the superheroes we know today were first introduced- Batman, Captain America, Wonder Woman and Superman to name but a few.
You can best understand the overall vibe of comics in those days with this picture of Captain America punching Hitler.
Comics then dipped in popularity for a few years, before seeing a surge of interest in what we call the “Silver Age”, with more sophisticated characterisation and plots.
With the invention of substack, it really feels like we’ve entered a new era of blogging and intellectual debate, akin to the comic book “Silver Age”. As someone that missed the original “Golden” era of blogging in the noughties, this new "Silver Age" fills me with real excitement.
It’s in this spirit that we saw the launch of the “Effective Ideas” blog prize on Monday. The competition will award up to 5 prizes of $100,000 for blogs and newsletters that explore themes relating to "effective altruism and long-termism". There’s a range of qualifying guidelines, which you can find here, but one in particular obviously leapt out at me:
Qualifying blogs and newsletters explore themes... including… personal agency, ambition and exposing the cheems mindset
If you’ve considered writing a blog before, why not start now. It would, after-all, be cheems not to.
It gives me a huge amount of pride that the concept of cheems mindset has captured so many people’s imaginations. Naturally, since the publication of my blog last year, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on it, and have come to the conclusion that there are in fact several different strains of cheems mindset.
In particular, I plan to explore the concept of the “personal cheems mindset” in more detail in the next few weeks.
I also wanted to use this short post to point you in the direction of some of my friends that have recently started blogs and substacks. Some of them have been posting for a while, and some of them are just about to start. All of them are interesting, and if you enjoy what I write, you will like them. You may even follow some of them already.
Ed West- Wrong Side of History: Ed is easily the single best conservative writer working in Britain today. His substack the Wrong Side of History is, in his words "political-commentary-with-history" and often explores the darkly comic side of history.
Lawrence Newport- Dangerous Precedents: A new substack by one of the UK’s premier Oliver Cromwell fans, Dangerous Precedents will explore how to build a more positive future, combat bad ideas and amplify better ones.
Dr Heloise Southwood- Heloise Investigates: Trained as a Doctor, Heloise’s new blog will take a deep dive into medical issues that affect the world, with a particular focus on population level health. I am very excited for the first piece from this.
Aria Babu- The Take Machine: Aria is perhaps best known for her “alternative political compass”, which included such important questions as “would you have sex with an attractive alien”. She also wrote this brilliant piece for Works in Progress on artificial wombs. Her blog will explore how to make the world a better place through political co-ordination and trans humanist technology
Anton Howes- Age of Invention: Dr Howes fascinating substack looks at the historical foundations of the Industrial Revolution. His concept of the “improving mindset” has been extremely influential in my thinking on cheems.
John Myers- Ziggurat: John Myers is the greatest policy mind you’ve never heard of. The Pixies to other people’s Nirvana. His opening piece on “cunning plans to change the world” is a triumph of examples of practical policy implementation.
Mugwump- Mugwumpery- the mysterious Anonymous Mugwump is most famed for writing 50,000 word pieces on liberal interventionism. More recently they wrote this thought provoking piece on some of the benefits there are to be gained from Brexit.