A large facet of human nature is the inherent need to identify with someone, something or someplace. As human’s we enjoy association - familiarity and personalisation form a large part of our individual and collective psyche. You are probably asking yourself, where is this pop sociology hokum going?
Well, in short, I’m scratching around for a justification to our universal obsession with lists, no matter how arbitrary! It seems no matter where we hail from (bar the odd Yogic retreat), we are drawn to rank and order.
So taking a look at the top ten opinion pieces as read by you the audience, we can see one overriding association. It doesn’t take a maxillofacial plastic surgeon to realise the fascination with "cablegate" in the collective imagination of those of you who regularly visit the site.
Even though the US Embassy Files provided the mobility, articles that surged up our list revolved around issues one feels would have dominated regardless: Palestine/Israel; the nascent presidency of Barack Obama; and rising tensions between Israel and Iran.
Without sounding too much like a headmaster, special mention should go to our chart topping article and its author – our very own modern day renaissance man, Professor Mark LeVine. In his article WikiLeaks: Call of Duty, he captured numerous themes producing a piece that defined the cultural zeitgeist of the last few months. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you do, in the process saving me the hassle of writing a brief and articulate summary.
Now having mentioned one author, I feel obligated to name a few more names, well one more name at least: MJ Rosenberg. Having written forty per cent of our top ten articles, it goes beyond obligation to highlight the analytical talents of Mr. Rosenberg. Deeply experienced in the subjects he comments upon, MJ provides a voice not often heard coming out of the cauldron of American politics.
Now it would be somewhat foolish of me to just focus on the most read, mention should also be given to those articles that couldn’t be here with us today, all adding to the overall discourse that makes up our opinion section. From the Ivory Towers of Oxford, Harvard and Cambridge to the back streets of the West Bank; from the hinterlands of Kwa-Zulu Natal to a bedroom in Cairo's Garden City, this year has seen an incredible diversity of sources.
From Peace Mom, Cindy Sheehan to Professor Richard Falk, our aim was to bring you a cross-section of voices on important issues, adding to the diversity of our service as well as reinforcing the mantra that guides this nascent organisation: providing a voice for the voiceless.
Finally it would be poignant to look towards the future, as this year draws to a close, we ask ourselves what will the New Year bring? Well for the Op-ed section, 2011 will be about adding more and more quality content, bridging on to new themes with new voices, as well as more of the same that has successfully taken us to this point.
If you keep reading, I’ll keep commissioning.