Don’t you wanna be a blogger too?

Friends, mutineers, countrymen, lend me your ears. There is something that has been bothering all of us here at our North Dakota headquarters for quite some time now. We talk about it often in hushed tones. It is the extreme dearth of fresh new desi bloggers out there. We are ever vigilant and constantly searching for freakishly interesting and smart bloggers to be pulled into the Mutiny and to blog tirelessly for you. We can’t keep doing this forever on our own, especially since many of us are going through transitions in our busy lives. To be perfectly honest, I think that when the time comes we will suddenly and viciously pull the plug on SM. It will be just after the moment we feel that we’ve got no blog left to give and nobody else is capable of picking up the keyboard to mutiny forward. If you like spending time on this website then don’t say we didn’t warn you. I sometimes wonder, if we never existed would more of you be blogging now? Must we burn Rome to save Rome?

So what am I asking? Some of you need to start blogging and do so with a purpose. Almost all of the guests we’ve had were bloggers even before SM was created. Where’s the new blood? We aren’t looking for suggestions like, “Hey what about so-and-so? Why don’t you ask them to guest.” Please don’t use the comments following this post for that. We wouldn’t be worth the ink on our blog unless we were also good scouts. We scout bloggers, sometimes for months, before inviting them to guest for you. Most often we find them by the content of their blogs, especially if they consistently leave interesting comments on SM or expounding on something they read here first. We are scouting several of you right now as a matter of fact.

As you may have noticed SM is very secretive (as all good mutinies must be to survive infancy), but for the first time ever I am revealing the basic requirements we look for in new bloggers (besides being desi). No surprise here:

1) Must be North American or have lived in North America for a significant amount of time.

2) Has a fabulous voice (voice = great writing + interesting perspective) and can cover a wide variety of topics (not just a small range of topics that they know really well). With a little research and a little snark they should be at ease writing about the policies of the International Monetary Fund or Diwali Barbie in under 90 minutes.

3) Have experience with blogging or internet publishing. We are too busy to teach people how to publish something on the web and how to use basic html tags. If you’ve run your own blog for a while then all this should be easy. Thus, if you aren’t already a blogger then you probably won’t be a good fit until you become one, even if you just won the Booker (just kidding Kiran…call me).

4) Be a fearless and passionate writer, not someone who worries how they “sound.”

Now maybe you are thinking to yourself, “Hey! I’m a blogger and I meet all those criteria, why haven’t they approached me?” Please don’t take it personally. You might be a great blogger/writer but we also look at other things like how much time we think you have, how well your tone complements ours, and several other intangibles. We love to see diversity in our guest bloggers but we’ll never invite someone just for the sake of being diverse.

Just today I got this email:

Hi!
I’m a South Asian American born and raised in the U.S. (my parents are from Pakistan), and right now I’m a senior in high school. I was wondering if I could write for this blog. I’ve been following it for a year and half now, and I am absolutely enamored by it! I’ve noticed though that there aren’t any Pakistani voices, so I thought I could contribute to that. K, hope to hear from you guys soon! Thanks!

You know, we’d love to have a Pakistani American and especially a young one write in this space. I’d personally (not speaking for my co-bloggers) like to invite guests that are 18-30. Perhaps some of them are hating grad school as much as I was when I started blogging. If you think you got something to say then start saying it and we’ll find you. We’re always watching.

Don’t make us burn this blog down to save the spirit of the Mutiny.

333 thoughts on “Don’t you wanna be a blogger too?

  1. No desh location is a big thing too sometimes.

    Very true. I live in the perineum of America, which is far removed from the likes of NYC. If I lived in NYC, I’m sure I’d know more of the financial types too.

  2. Sriram #301 — fair enough, although I guess my point still holds when you normalize representation in the profession against other factors like education level and so on. But I agree that the trajectory is definitely upward.

    There is a serious dearth of Asian litigators. Maybe Model Minorities have a hard time succeeding as litigators as they are prized for their ability of keeping their heads down and following the rules. Most desi lawyers shy away from being trial lawyers as well. Of course there are quite a few very successful high profile desi trial lawyers but the majority dont end up as trial lawyers.

  3. I find the marriage thing the worst. I got a damn’ law degree AND worked as a banker (may still), just to get some of the bloody pressure off, and yet every year, I have to sit down and explain to my mother that yes I do still like men, no it’s not a phase, yes that girl’s very lovely and from a good family and yes very fair-skinned too, but my ding-a-ling isn’t entering her wing-wang in order to satiate what seems to be my parent’s insatiable appetite for grandchildren.

    I feel a wedding-related post coming up.

  4. I think the proverbial sh*t just hit the fan. DUCK!

    I hope you lawyers know I was just kidding. Although I do know some doctors who voted for Bush in ’04 only because Edwards was a lawyer and had done malpractice cases…

  5. I can’t seem to find the comment, but I recall someone saying to the effect that any profession requires some amount of creativity these days. If you are content to be a lacky your whole life, and as a lazy person I do see some value in that, then by all means follow the tried and true path. However, anyone who hopes to make a name for him/herself has to think outside the box. That’s not to say that some professions aren’t more stable than others. I’m a lawyer and a musician and one reason I chose to pursue law is that music, especially jazz, is too unstable for me unless you are willing to start a full-time teaching practice, which I’m not. On the other hand, I was unemployed for some months after taking the bar, and that was not much fun either.

  6. On the other hand, I was unemployed for some months after taking the bar, and that was not much fun either.

    Food, shelter, and clothing are highly overrated these days.

  7. JoAt: you’re right. It is a loaded question. I guess I do care when I care and don’t when I don’t. Hmmmm.

    As a dreaded sell-out ‘representative of the man’ doc, let me say: a lawyer can be your best friend. Not that you want to find that out. And, may I add, except for your divorce laywer. How do those guys do it?

  8. I find the marriage thing the worst. I got a damn’ law degree AND worked as a banker (may still), just to get some of the bloody pressure off, and yet every year, I have to sit down and explain to my mother that yes I do still like men, no it’s not a phase, yes that girl’s very lovely and from a good family and yes very fair-skinned too, but my ding-a-ling isn’t entering her wing-wang in order to satiate what seems to be my parent’s insatiable appetite for grandchildren.

    That’s hilarious, Sin, way to put all the rest of our parental issues in perspective. It is funny, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that the ‘rents have become a lot more flexible about marriage. At first, they were all “we hope you marry a nice Telugu girl.” After a few years went by, they gave on the Telugu-girl requirement, and were happy to settle for an Indian girl. Now, after a few more years have gone by, they’ve even dropped the Indian requirement, and at this point they’re just hoping I marry a girl. If you wait long enough, I think all the parental expectations magically go away (well, most expectations at least, per Sin’s comment above).

  9. I find the marriage thing the worst. I got a damn’ law degree AND worked as a banker (may still), just to get some of the bloody pressure off, and yet every year, I have to sit down and explain to my mother that yes I do still like men, no it’s not a phase, yes that girl’s very lovely and from a good family and yes very fair-skinned too, but my ding-a-ling isn’t entering her wing-wang in order to satiate what seems to be my parent’s insatiable appetite for grandchildren. I feel a wedding-related post coming up.

    I feel you man. I have a cousin who is going to medical school almost entirely because of this kind of logic. It is ridiculous that we still live in a society where that kind of bargaining with life or career choices is necessary just to live honestly (not just wrt to Desi culture, but most Western cultures as well).

  10. May I ask you all a question? Why do you care what other people think?

    i think this is human nature. but as people get older they start to realize how unsatisfying it (living for the sake of pleasing/impressing others) is (although there’s a stage in adolescence when one is unconcerned too).

    Alex de Tocqueville cited this as one of the reasons Americans are unhappy. in a “classless” capitalist society, upward mobility is expected, and its failure leads to resentment and social anxiety…an anxiety not prevalent in more feudal stratified societies like old europe.

    ayn rand, who advocated capitalism, also cited this–not caring what others think–as the key to happiness. it is this–living for one’s own sake–that she defined as “integrity” and “selfishness,” that is the true central theme of her works, although many mistake the central theme to be free markets.

  11. As a dreaded sell-out ‘representative of the man’ doc, let me say: a lawyer can be your best friend. Not that you want to find that out. And, may I add, except for your divorce laywer. How do those guys do it?

    The “unintentional representative of the man” comment had nothing to do with being a doc.

  12. HMF, actually, I thought your comment was funny. I was trying to reply in kind, but, humor is not my thing.

  13. If you are content to be a lacky your whole life, and as a lazy person I do see some value in that, then by all means follow the tried and true path.

    Being a slacker is not about being “lazy”, its about cultivating a sense of awareness, living in the moment, attaining, as the Taoists would say, a harmony with Heaven and Earth. Those who really love what they actually “do” often claim how effortless it all is. 99.9% don’t love what they do.

    However, anyone who hopes to make a name for him/herself has to think outside the box.

    Pfft. 1000 years from now, every writer save five will be be out of print; ten thousand years from now, no one would have heard of Shakespeare. And animals who walk the earth with us are entirely deaf to what we consider “music”.

  14. It is ridiculous that we still live in a society where that kind of bargaining with life or career choices is necessary just to live honestly (not just wrt to Desi culture, but most Western cultures as well).

    I’m glad you mentioned this is part of Western culture as well. But clearly not all desis feel this way about choices as evidenced by the innumerable desi singers, artists, poets, social workers, public health professionals, english professors, architects, etc both in countries of origin and here. Whether these people were able to make these choices because their parents “let” them or because they were able to rock the boat (imagine! the shocking proposition of being a highly educated professional like an english professor), people can and do become things that aren’t doctors or engineers. Maybe I’m not in a position to lecture anyone, being a doctor whose family didn’t care if I was one or not, but at some point as an adult you have to stop blaming society and just do what you want. It’s not like we’re talking about any really controversial jobs here.

    I do bemoan the fact that society can’t accept loving someone “unacceptable”, same-sex or other-race, but that’s not the same as society not validating your career choice.

  15. Desishiksa,

    I agree with you, of course. The point of my post was just that it’s awful that these unrelated social/sexual stigmas exist that drive people to make career choices based on that need for acceptance. That’s all!

    Pursuing a non-traditional career always holds a level of rebellion, no matter what your national origin. There are TONS of white families that freak out when their kids decide they want to major in philosophy or drop out of school to join a band. Obviously. For most gay people, living honestly adds a whole level of “rebellion” on top of that. So it’s not surprising that some people try to balance out conflict over one by minimizing conflict over the other.

    I’m not suggesting that people “blame society” for what they do with their lives. But you can analyze the causes behind a choice without necessarily doling out blame. I know both Desis and Westerners who have chosen to pursue careers that don’t particularly interest them in order to balance expected social stigmas stemming from other inclinations. And that’s not a bad choice given the way the world is right now. A wealthy person in a high-status position who happens to be gay is in a different position than a poor person in a low-status position who is gay (or polyamorous, etc…). It’s just a shame that anyone feels the need to make that kind of choice.

    All I was trying to say was that aggressively heteronormative attitudes are bad news bears!

  16. I know both Desis and Westerners who have chosen to pursue careers that don’t particularly interest them in order to balance expected social stigmas stemming from other inclinations…It’s just a shame that anyone feels the need to make that kind of choice.

    That’s a really interesting point, and I think there’s a lot of sad truth to it.

  17. There are TONS of white families that freak out when their kids decide they want to major in philosophy or drop out of school to join a band.

    Whoa Whoa those two are not exactly equivalent. And the white freak out is a bit more status oriented rather than money, the desi freak out is mostly money I’d imagine.

  18. Risible:

    In India, lawyers often work for a cup oftea.

    Ennis:

    Do you think it’ll change now that Manmohan Singh’s daughter is a lawyer?

    Law is definitely not as respected as a profession in India as it is within the South Asian community in the US, but things are changing back in India too. I spent some time recently teaching law at what is generally considered to be India’s best law school. Over the last decade plus, the quality of students there has continued to improve. It used to be that many students were there because they didn’t get in to the more desired engineering/medical schools, but that is slowly changing (some of my students turned down the IITs to be there). And their career prospects are very good — they more or less had their pick of jobs at top law firms in Mumbai and Delhi, making very good money by Indian standards (though they end up working Wall Street hours). And several of them end up coming to top universities in the US and UK for further studies. Of course, this wasn’t a representative group of law students, but the improvement in quality of students over the years is a general trend throughout the country as other Indian law schools have also been making steady improvements in recent years. Of course, what is odd is that you end up with this weird dynamic where the students are much smarter, on average, than their professors, simply because back in the day when most of the professors went to law school, law schools weren’t attracting anywhere near the best and brightest.

  19. DTK,

    So your a prof. eh? Obviously no slacker. Now I feel strangely exposed for revealing my study habits. I have read articles indicating that the quality of law students is improving at elite institutions in India. There is certainly plenty of potential work there – everything from document review all the way up to appeals writing. That itself should create incentives for bright students. I anticipate a solid future for Indian lawyers practicing (US) law :-) And then there is the Indian market itself.

    Incidentally, two generations ago, law was actually a prestigious profession, an LLB meant something, I am told.

  20. Shruti for SM. Shruti for POTUS!

    Wha…?

    drops bottle of amphetamines

    Ask Ennis what could happen if either of those scenarios materialized.

  21. No Von Mises,

    Looks like you and I are much alike; now, we wait for the Mothership to arrive;)

  22. I smell a 55Friday in this thread- “Cogito ergo blogo.” The proletariate bloviate on life as a (SM) blogger. Or the bourgeoisie bloviate on life as a (SM) blogger. Your allegiances depend on your level of anxiety & alienation.

  23. risible #331: Well, I’m not really a prof., I just took a break from my practice here to go teach in India. Though I may try to get back into academia at some point in the future. As for legal careers in India, there’s lots of growth just from all the increased economic activity, the entry of multinationals, etc. I don’t think very many of the top law school graduates end up doing any of the “legal outsourcing” jobs — I think they find a lot of far more interesting work that probably pays better too.

  24. Pfft. 1000 years from now, every writer save five will be be out of print; ten thousand years from now, no one would have heard of Shakespeare. And animals who walk the earth with us are entirely deaf to what we consider “music”.

    But Keith Richards and Mic Jagger will still be kickin’ it.

  25. I have to share this because it completely made my day: Having worked mostly for large music/entertainment companies, having done some time in the stable (stale) investment banking world, and now with my own dancy-schmancy company, I figured my present career choice is probably the last thing my Dad would appreciate. Much to my surprise, the mellow old guy recently sent me a card saying how proud he is of me and my initiative and ambition to create my own dance company. In 30+ years (ahem, Ennis) I’ve never heard him say that, ever. He never supported my dancing through childhood and was very vocal about his feelings that I not pursue performing arts as a career or college track. And strangely, it wasn’t the puffed up salary or the stable corporate job that inspired him to say he’s proud of me. It was the fact that I chose to take some big risks and work my kundi off to be who I wanted to be in this lifetime. Laugh and call me maudlin, but all y’all know desi dads don’t come with the compliments often. if ever.

    DesiDancer — didn’t want to let this pass by without comment. That’s awesome is all I have to say.

  26. DesiDancer, building on DTK’s comment,

    Can’t say that I was as brave as you. But my parents, when they saw me play, were my biggest fans. When I wanted to record a CD, they said they’d help me out (pride prevented me from taking up their offer). My point is, our ‘rents got our backs, and that’s a really great thing.

  27. So, would we get paid? j/k. I dint read through all the 340 posts, anyways, hint me at how to get started. Do I approach someone with my blog e-credentials?