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.