Editor’s Note: sometime in the late hours of March 31st, we crossed the one year anniversary of establishing this website and while I was tempted to let the moment pass quietly because I desperately needed a weekend off – I’m suffering from a horrible bought of writer’s block and I’ve still got the guy who helps me manage/promote my website screaming at me via email to “make your work more accessible to new readers.”
As such, I thought I might take a stab at killing two birds with one stone and mark this occasion with a short post about my favorite ten articles from Year One of ninaillingworth.com; as well as the two stories I would address completely differently if I could rewind time. These pieces are ranked pretty much entirely based on my own subjective feelings about each of them and you can access the original story by clicking either the title or the image next to each listing on the right.
Nina’s Top Ten Stories from Year One
10) The Wall of Shame – naturally, I started off by cheating right away because this is really a whole bunch of regular updates crafted into one “living” page over time but no list of the best posts on this website in the past year would be complete without it. Originally, I had intended to divide the wall with (neo) liberal media muppets at the top and boot-licking toady conservatives towards the bottom but the fact that I follow and/or interact with so few explicitly “conservative” media munchkins online (as well as this year’s notably crooked and spectacularly dishonest Democratic Party nomination season) naturally skewed the results towards the worst of “liberal” American media. I’m still pretty sure I’ll add neocon pinheads like Sean Hannity and low-key fascists in the conservative, online “independent media” at some point but I’ve found that comedic writing is difficult when you don’t feel like laughing and there’s only so many amusing ways you can say “oh wow, they’re actual nazis” – so it might be a little while before I get around to it still.
9) Time & Pressure: the Excruciating Patience of Rafael Edward Cruz – this April 2016 longform essay was written during the final opposition efforts by the #NeverTrump movement when it looked like the Republican Party might unite under Ted Cruz to block Trump from the nomination. While I could never quite bring myself to imagine Cruz as the GOP nominee, the sheer chaos of the primary season suggested that things that weren’t possible just might be afoot; after all Trump was never supposed to finish better than third in the Republican field and as we now know, he’d end up winning the damn thing and the presidency. While some would argue that even imagining Cruz was capable of defeating Trump means this article should go in the mistakes section below, I’m still quite fond of what I think might be the most damning, soul-eviscerating profile of the suspected Zodiac Killer on the internet. I feel that I really captured the sheer methodical odiousness of Ted Cruz in a way that makes me question how anyone (myself included) could believe Cruz would ever be President under any circumstances at all.
8) A Brief Thought: The Ethics of (neo) Nazi Punching – sometimes it’s important to get right to the point as a way of reminding people about the very real world consequences of their rhetoric and that was definitely the case during the “Richard Spencer Gets Punched” scandal of February 2017. Although this piece isn’t very long and it was written while I was still experimenting with the Brief Thoughts blog format, I’m still very pleased with how it came out; far too many people are ready to show out for neo-nazis and their right to advocate horrifying political ideals, while far too few people are prepared to speak out on behalf of those ultimately victimized by those same ideals. I remain completely convinced that opposing ethno-nationalism by any means necessary is not a matter of politics, but a matter of humanity and that protecting our communities before these monstrous pricks have enough power to round people up is vitally important to the continued safety and security of all Americans – except neo-nazis because fuck them.
7) Trump’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants – although I strongly suspected even during Primary season that a Trump presidency would be not only a complete fucking disaster but also represent a tangible shift towards open fascism in America; I couldn’t really prove it and thus when people said “wait and see” or “give Trump a chance” all I could do is shake my head ruefully and say I didn’t think all of this was going to work out very well in the end. Once Trump had won the election and started selecting monstrous libertarians, unhinged warmongers and whackjob fundamentalists for his cabinet however I immediately set about tearing the mask off Trump’s new administration in what I feel are some of the finest Info Meme posts on this website. Of course, this is cheating again because as of the moment there are fifteen evil mutants (with more to come) in our gallery and each one was a separate post (which you can read just by clicking on each Info Meme.) As was the case with our Wall of Shame entry however – I just didn’t feel comfortable doing a top ten list of posts on ninaillingworth.com without including the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants page.
6) Tales from the American DMZ: It’s (Almost) All Economics – frankly, I don’t write a lot of “think-pieces” and I have in fact been known to be at least somewhat derisory about writers that do specialize in the format because bullshitting for money in long form is just about one of the most useless things I think you can do in modern society. This article however was born deep in the recesses of my subconscious mind as I assimilated over two years worth of data on protests, violent policing and economic manipulation by global elites in the wake of conversations started during the G20 protests, the Occupy movement and the 2014 Summer of Black Lives Matter. This essay attempts to explain the links between a rigged economy, automation and global conflict in a way I wouldn’t even dare attempt if I weren’t genuinely worried about a militarized, police state sprouting up all around us. I do indeed see a storm coming in America’s very near future and it goes far beyond the election of Donald Trump – the staggering inequity inherent to the West’s runaway capitalist system has pushed our society to the breaking point and only a fool would predict this won’t lead to additional conflict.
5) A Brief Message to My Fellow Caucasians About Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – this January 2017 Op-Ed tackles what I consider one of the most shameful, ongoing episodes of revisionist history in America today; the de-radicalization and active misrepresentation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr – an American socialist hero who’s memory is shat on every January by the US establishment for the purposes of maintaining white supremacy and to delegitimize direct action/protests; particularly among African Americans and the poor. The simple truth is that MLK was a radical fighter who would have embraced the modern Black Lives Matter movement while admonishing the open greed and incalculable suffering caused by global neoliberalism; but you won’t hear about that while the system “whitewashes” one of the greatest American thinkers of this past century on the nightly news.
4) Joy-Ann Reid & the Return of McCarthyism – as I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this site; if you had told me back in the fall of 2016 that I’d still be writing about ridiculous Russian conspiracy theories being pushed by the Democratic establishment here in April, I would have absolutely laughed in your face. When I sat down to write this take down last September, my entire focus was on eviscerating the grotesque spectacle of a famous Harvard Grad in the media pretending that Russia was still communist just to score points against Jill Stein’s Green Party campaign for president. Of course, as we are all now aware – eventually this fuckery would morph into mainstream liberals accusing anyone who doesn’t agree with them of directly working for Vladimir Putin; including not only Stein, but also Trump, Bernie Sanders supporters and anyone who shared a negative article about Hillary Clinton on social media during the election. Indeed, Reid somehow remains not only employed but something of a leading figure in the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory flock; there is no justice my friends.
3) Hillary Clinton, Imperialism and the Lesser of Two Evils – this August 2016 deep dive essay was written in the immediate aftermath of the objectively horrifying Democratic National Convention and arguably at the precise moment it seemed most certain Hillary Clinton would be the next President of the United States. Originally, I had intended to take a three part look at why (despite being the lesser evil in an election against Trump) another President Clinton would be a global disaster but time constraints forced me to drop the third part about Clinton’s arms sales and preference for a robust, militaristic foreign policy. Despite this, I feel the two parts I did finish represent some of my finest writing about Hillary Clinton’s vaunted thirty year service record in government, the objectively crooked Democratic nomination process and even Clinton’s private email server scandal – don’t forget to check out Part Two here.
2) A Brief Thought: A Cruel and Unusual Future – after a pretty miserable December and January period during which I lost a feline friend and endured an epic move, February 2017 was a fairly triumphant return for this website; especially in light of the new Brief Thoughts blog posts I added to help me keep writing about current issues on a more regular basis. I probably could have chosen a number of posts from that time period for this list, but ultimately this Op-Ed about three separate documented instances of staggering ICE cruelty and the type of future Trump’s (even more) draconian immigration policies will create for our children is both my favorite and the most important post I made in February. As I’ve said on Twitter, one of the most frustrating aspects of the entire Trump-Russia conspiracy theory is that it serves to mask ongoing outrages committed by ICE officers who’ve clearly gone full “V for Vendetta” in the wake of Trump’s election.
1) The Biggest Lie: Clinton, Comey & Intent as it Pertains to the Espionage Act – while choices two through ten on this list were at times difficult to make, there was never any question in my mind about which article would top this review. This lengthy Deep Dive represents some of my finest non-fiction writing to date and it is my sincere hope that I’ll manage to pull off a couple more like it before I die. In this piece I take a step by step approach to dismantling every excuse for Hillary Clinton’s objectively criminal behavior in the email server investigation as well as James Comey’s bizarre, legally unsound reasons for refusing to indict her. This heavily-sourced essay touches on both the legal aspects of Clinton’s actions as well as the common sense interpretations of those actions Comey’s FBI completely chose to ignore when committing what I can only describe as a grave injustice against the people of the United States. If you’re still convinced that Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong in the email server scandal because the FBI let her off the hook, I implore you to read this piece – those looking to go even further are also encouraged check out the follow-up article: Fallout Boy: Lynch, Comey and the Hot Potato Plot.
While I’m pretty sure a top ten list is more than enough to give new readers a sense of how year one went down on this website, there were a few pieces I wanted to include here but couldn’t shoehorn into the list above. I felt pretty good about the three part review of conservative hack artist Peter Schweizer’s “Clinton Cash” documentary because I was able to successfully balance examining the film’s evidence against the Clinton Foundation while still pointing out the parts where Schweizer is obviously mudslinging against a political candidate he’s trying to ruin. Sticking with politics, I was also proud of my examination of the coordinated mainstream media smear campaign against Bernie Sanders all the way back in April of 2016 and I definitely wish I could have worked this June 1st essay about the “Foggy Bottom of Clinton’s Muddy Waters” into the top ten somehow.
Observant readers will also notice that there are no articles from March 2017 on the top ten list and while this was by design, if I had included more recent posts there’s a pretty good chance “Fantastic Lies: the Russia Ruse Runs out of Rope” and “Recommended Reading: Giant Russia Theory Edition” would have made the cut. Additionally, while it would have felt a little petty to actually include them in the list, these take downs of Marcus “Smooth Cobra” Johnson and the now-infamous Brienne of Snarth remain two of the most popular posts in the history of this website. Finally, it feels a little weird not including a brief shout-out to my Wicked Game and Clinton Scandal Meme pages even if they aren’t my most technically impressive works because they originally brought so many new readers to ninaillingworth.com.
The Two Stories I’d Like Back
One of the things that typically annoys me about year in review posts on other websites is how the focus is entirely on what they got right and not on how the site can improve itself for the coming year. Nobody is perfect and over an entire year and in the course of more than 150 posts, it’s just not logical to assume that I didn’t make any mistakes here on ninaillingworth.com. Of course, this self-criticism is also purely subjective but if I could turn back time I would radically alter the essay about Clinton’s collapse at the 9/11 remembrance ceremony and I simply wouldn’t publish the piece asking if Julian Assange had just revealed that the original source of the DNC leaks was murdered staffer Seth Rich.
The problem with the Clinton piece is that I had already uncovered the story of the incident, which is that the Clinton campaign had shot itself in the foot by openly lying in response to Clinton’s collapse; as a result, the parts where I proceeded to speculate on what might actually be wrong with Hillary (besides pneumonia) were entirely unnecessary and in retrospect more than a little distasteful. I even argued about it with a few people on Twitter at the time but looking back, I already had the important story I wanted to tell and my barely-informed opinions on Clinton’s health only distracted from that story in a way I genuinely regret.
As for the Assange piece, it’s probably never a good idea to write a questioning headline where if the answer to your question is no, you don’t actually have a story and that’s exactly what happened to me here. Whether by design or accident, Assange’s shocking statements turned out to be unrelated to the Seth Rich murder and indeed the Wikileaks founder managed to wrangle another round of free interviews out of explaining that he was explicitly not talking about Seth Rich the last time – live and learn I guess.
- Nina Illingworth
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