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Blogs flex their muscles

Posted by Joshua Glenn  March 11, 2008 09:04 AM

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A multi-authored story in The Observer (London), Britain's oldest Sunday newspaper, this past weekend lists "the world's 50 most powerful blogs."

The list is subjective, of course, but there are no surprises in the Top 10. Except one (for me): Il Blog de Beppe Grillo Blog. Grillo is a comedian -- the George Carlin of Italy, I guess -- and political commentator whose blog criticizes corruption and financial scandal in Italy... and makes one satirical suggestion after another, like requesting that Germany declare war on Italy to help its people.

Otherwise, like I said, no surprises. These are all much-trafficked and talked-about (English-language) blogs:

1. The Huffington Post
2. Boing Boing
3. TechCrunch
4. Kottke
5. Dooce
6. Perez Hilton
7. Talking Points Memo
8. icanhascheezburger
9. Il Blog de Beppe Grillo
10. Gawker

Over at Quick Study, critic and Inside Higher Ed columnist Scott McLemee notes that Crooked Timber -- an intellectual-blog aggregator to which he contributes -- is no. 33 on the Observer's Top 50 list. Crooked Timber is described as "a sort of global philosophical thinktank conducted via blog."

"We must try to remember to use our powers only for good," McLemee comments drily.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.

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