Life has taken some odd turns for me since I started Slugger 17 years ago next Wednesday. But the most unexpected, was an invite from Alex Salmond to do an interview on the great Slugger O’Toole on Russia Today.
A lot of it is about Slugger, the play the ball not the man rule, and a bit about what has always been for me the enabling anology of the blog as a well run Irish pub where civility and tolerance is prized and (hopefully) trouble is spotted early and dealt with.
For those of you with longer experience of Slugger O’Toole you may recognise the pub analogy which I’ve used before (here) and the importance of conviviality of space in growing possibility rather than restricting it.
There’s a good question from Alex about how Slugger has managed to avoid the pigeonholing that you might expect of a blog (in fact any blog, but not least with a name like Slugger O’Toole).
I actually started Slugger as a lone voice, and then after a year I decided I needed help. It’s indicative of the oddly haphazard way the blog grasped the opportunities afforded by the technology that the multiplicity of voice on the blog came about.
Then we get to the hard core of Northern Irish politics, and the speculation amongst some commenters at least that Slugger’s time would end when the parties finally went back into Stormont and started talking to each other.
Then, topically with the recent tremendous performance of the constitutionally unengaged middle the conversation turned to the largely unobserved rise of the political middle in Northern Ireland, segueing into the signal lessons from Scotland for Northern Ireland.
Then finally how the relationship between society in Northern Ireland and that of the Republic has radically changed in forty years…
If you want to skip over the programme intro (ie the bit where Mr Salmond announces that Slugger “is not drunk as a rule, but right as a rule”) you can start about here roughly where the interview proper starts.
If you want a bona fide (as the Americans say) 101 on Slugger, how and why it works and where it came from, this is probably as good as it gets (so far).
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty