*Awards (grunt),
What are they good for?


This past Saturday my little town had a really fun party with lots of pizza and schmoozing, the evening culminating in the presentation of the coveted Azalea Awards.   As an award show it was a total hoot.  The funky local band accompanied winners on their journey through the auditorium to the stage, and there were even thank-you speeches.  It was all tongue in cheek and sincere at the same time.  No gift bags, though –  I was nominated for the Environmental Leader award, so I’d know if nominees cashed in.  And there were plenty more categories, like Educator, Coach, Volunteer of the Year, and Cultural Event.

So the Azaleas aren’t about gardening, but were named in honor of the town’s signature plant.  TheHelen National Arboretum’s primary hybridizer lived here and even people with a personal distaste for the plant are proud of the town’s collection.

But here’s something I especially liked.  None of last year’s winners were eligible in this, the second year of the award program.  Instead, they announced the 2007 winners, just like previous years’ winners do at the Oscars, so they were recognized all over again, while helping to recognize and honor someone else.

BettyBy contrast, consider the Emmy Awards.  Like websites and blogs, TV shows continue from year to year basically unchanged and some good shows win year after year and some tired old shows continue winning, too.  And when the likes of "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Third Rock" win year after year, what good has the damn award done at all?  I know I’ll be getting angry comments from Raymond-lovers but even if the wonderful "Ugly Betty" won again next year I’d feel the same way. 

Where is this going?  To the Mouse&Trowels, of course, and how they might work next year.  Colleen has asked readers for ideas and some new categories have been suggested – Best New Blog and Best New Site.  Sounds good, and what about having new winners in every category?  Discuss among yourselves.

*For the generationally challenged, long ago during another war there was a song called "War, (grunt), what is it good for?"


  1. If it were coming from me, your suggestion would sound self-serving. But hey. Coming from you it sounds like a great idea. Can’t think of a downside. And you can always carry the honor of winning three ‘Mousies’ the first year — back in the day when it really meant something. ;-7

    Gotta go putter while the sun shines.

  2. I agree about the Mousies–the awareness of garden blogs is still in its infancy and we have a lot of wonderful sites and blogs to discover–but on the whole I think quality should be rewarded.

    The best should win–especially if you’re talking about TV, where there is such a range between great and dismal. If everyone deserves to win (and they don’t), why have a contest at all?

  3. I think the important thing is to ensure a greater number of nominees in each category. Then the awards will take care of themselves.

    When Colleen solicited comments about the award process recently, I wrote suggesting two ways to increase diversity of nominees: eliminate “straight-ticket” nominations by capping at three the number of categories a blog could be nominated for on any given nomination form; and by requiring each nominator to nominate at least three different blogs.

    Other folks have suggested increasing the number of finalists for each award, which I also think is a good idea. Maybe 5, like the Oscars?

    Like Elizabeth, I don’t see the need to tinker with the final voting process. But with greater numbers of nominees, I believe there will be more winners overall. And that’s a good thing.

  4. I think rules limiting who you can vote for, or how often, take the fun out of it. But maybe that’s just because I think rules take the fun out of most things.

  5. Keep the suggestions coming! Any ideas at all are welcome and appreciated. I also had a suggestion about changing when the awards are held—starting in January instead of April. Any thoughts? I’d kind of like to keep them as a spring thing, but I’d welcome any arguments for why they should end in spring rather than beginning in spring. Other than the fact that “hey, we’re all gardening in spring…we don’t have time for blogs, because if that were the truth, none of us would be reading this now, would we? 🙂

    Thanks, Susan, for bringing this up, and thanks for any suggestions that come my way!

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