Friday, September 4, 2009

The Mother Of Us All is gone.

I've been writing this blog since April Fools' Day of 2007. I had only been reading blogs regularly for less than half a year before that, when my longtime pal and former bandmate Michael Dresbach started his blog Padre Mickey's Dance Party.

The Padre has a very long blog buddy list. There are a lot of sites on the list I have never visited. But one day I was scanning the list and I was struck by simple curiosity.

Who is Princess Sparkle Pony?

The Princess is a middle aged guy pretending to be a teenaged girl, sort of. This is not an original idea, but in the hands of an artist, it became like nothing else on the internet.

The character of Princess Sparkle Pony was like an adolescent girl obsessive about fashion and diplomacy, and the focus of her blog was Condoleezza Rice. Instead of writing searing critiques of Dr. Rice's inept handling of a nearly impossible job, being the face of diplomacy for the least diplomatic administration the United States has seen in generations, the Princess found photo after photo of Condi "doing her job", which turned out to be little more than an endless stream of photo ops with world leaders and foriegn ministers, with the occasional celebrity like Michelle Kwan or Don Cheadle thrown in for good measure.

And by not being constantly derisive, but instead taking an attitude of being breathlessly in awe of Condi, the Princess made one of the most devastating critiques of the Bush administration that I read in the past eight years. Let others worry about death counts and failed negotiations and lies that start wars and strained relations with countries we have been allies with for centuries. It's much more interesting to talk about shoes and matching armchairs and the positions and sizes of national flags and the Arab habit of always having Kleenex available at a seated meeting.

Princess Sparkle Pony was regularly funny, a very hard thing to do, but she always left room. Her comments' pages were always worth reading, and some of the comments were just as funny as the posts. Before I was a blogger, I was a commenter on Princess Sparkle Pony. I met most of my blog buddies on that comment page, including FranIAm, dguzman, sfmike, Karen Zipdrive, Pissed Off Patricia and many others. I can't think of anyone on my blog buddy list that is more than two degrees of separation from the Princess.

There have been artists that have made me think "I'm going to do something." Sometimes, the thing I do is somewhat derivative, like when I started writing songs again after listening to Elvis Costello for the first time in the early 1980's. Other times, it's just an impulse to create something. I remember going home and staying up most of the night writing a story after I saw Pulp Fiction, and I had a similar experience after finishing Conrad's Heart of Darkness, writing stories that were nothing like the work I had just experienced. Reading Princess Sparkle Pony made me want to write a blog. I was already thinking about it when I read Padre Mickey's blog, but the core of the Padre's stuff is writing about his work as a priest, and I'm not comfortable writing that much about teaching. The only thing that makes my blog even vaguely similar to the Princess' is that I decided I didn't have to write about my day to day life.

But after nearly five years of blogging, Princess Sparkle Pony has decided her work here is done. Other people can be superficial in her place. Of course, it won't really be like when the Princess did it, because most people being superficial don't have the self-awareness the Princess brought to the task.

I, for one, will never forget her. I wouldn't be doing this if not for her glittery example, and there's more than a few of my regular readers who can say the same.


Anonymous said...

Very nice post Matty. I often wondered if someone would start a blog about the real people behind blogs. I found this post interesting as I always thought the Princess was a girl. I thought I read once where "she" was chosen to edit Crooks & Liars for a week. So much for that memory. I'm sorry he's leaving blogosphere. But ya know? he had a running show stopper when Condi was in office. It made for some great material daily.

Fran said...

Oh I could go on and on.

I can't remember if Dcap got me started on it or not, I think he did. He and I would read PSP and send emails back and forth to each other.

Your comments were always wry, insightful and funny and I remember that you and I started to "talk" to each other in the comments.

Then one day I clicked on your name, this would have been in early May 2007 and I saw that you had a blog. I thought, however foolishly, "I can do that!"

And I did.


And you were my first real blog buddy and from that came so many blog friends and a whole new world for me.

Oh boy.

I ended FranIam but I knew I would have something else and it only took two weeks for that to happen. I don't think that PSP will be back.

And to think that I got to meet the esteemed Princess. That was quite a day, one day that I will never forget. Peter the man and PSP the blogger were two very different and most fascinating people.

I owe him and her a debt of gratitude that goes on forever.

P.S. you and Delia hanging out and actually speaking on the phone. Srsly jealous from over here in NY!

Jess Wundrun said...

Spot on.

PSP will be sorely missed. But I'm crossing my fingers that after some time in a rainbow pasture full of fluffy marshmallow dreams, the little pony will return with more sparkly goodness.

Padre Mickey said...

I certainly will miss Princess Sparklepony, except for the photos of tour buses.

I think that an innertoobs swap should be made: keep Princess Sparklepony and close down Free Republic!

WV: pronst, which sounds like one of the Sparkle Pony's gaits.

Distributorcap said...

psp - was one of the best blogs evuh! for all the reasons you point out - he was snide and biting without being nasty.

he is not coming back - fran and kz can attest to that.

and that is too bad. no one made me laugh as hard as psp.

great tribute and wonderful words

ps - i did tell fran about psp

Fran said...

Well that is clarified! I truly wasn't sure.

I will take credit for this - Dcap was blogging on Daily Kos and got me going on that. I started the blogspot blog and told him to do that.

The rest is history!

Matty Boy said...

z&m: The Princess had a relationship with Wonkette, not Crooks & Liars, IIRC.

Fran: You've always been very nice to me, but it's a little odd that you treat me like an esteemed veteran when my blog began a couple of weeks before yours did.

Jess: Nice to hear from you! People miss regular posts from you, too, girl!

Just sayin'.

Padre: Sadly, the Free Republic is made by a never-ending supply of idiots, while Our Princess was a single artist. It was inevitable that one would fade away eventually, while the other might outlast us all.

D-Cap: In the spirit of full disclosure, PSP sometimes crossed lines I wouldn't, like when she used the four letter word for female sex organ describing Sarah Palin. But in general, I did not try to judge.

There are some artists whose work makes me think, "I could have done that, but this guy (or gal) beat me to it." With other artists, I think "I could never have done that."

The Princess easily falls in the second category.

sfmike said...

Life on the internet just got a lot less interesting. There was always an artistic prickliness to the Princess and I'm glad she lasted as long as she did. As you know, publishing pretty much continuously is a huge amount of work, and Peter Huestis obviously burned out with the whole thing.

Still, he was an odd master, and probably the most revolutionary blogger in his own way that I've run across. A printed anthology of the best of the Princess would definitely go on my bookshelf. If I ever go back to Washington, D.C., he's the only person I really would want to meet.

Anonymous said...

Wonkette, yes, thank you.

Peter Dow said...

For The Fallen

She shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary her, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember Princess Sparkle Pony.

- Peter Dow,
Group Owner, Rice for President Yahoo Group
"Condoleezza Rice for President in 2012. Join this group of supporters from everywhere on the world wide web."

dguzman said...


What a great tribute. You were so right--The Princess "left room" for others to riff on the great ideas and the distinctive take she had on this crazy world.

They broke the mold.

Peter Dow said...

Rice for President Yahoo Group Message 2030: KNACKERED! Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog ends. Tribute video.

YouTube: Condi's Ride of the Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog