Blogging for Beginners

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

1st Ever Blogged Final Paper (for me at least)

An exploration of the personal


In his theories on the Hierarchy of Needs, Abraham Maslow states that in order to be fully developed, a person must initially satisfy his bodily needs, security needs, social needs and then ego needs before he can be self-actualized (or fulfilled). Although they may only exist on a subconscious level, most bloggers focus on sating two needs in particular. The social desire speaks to wanting love and a sense of belonging which many bloggers look to in forming their own blogging communities. These arenas have developed around everything from the need to unite people based on their location as in CTweblogs to their religious preference like John Rush’s missionary work Additionally, the need to fulfill the ego, or the need to find self-respect and respect from others as well is a force that bloggers deal with daily when they check their comments. Although they know that many times these comments will be either worthless or ignorantly obnoxious, there is still the guiding need leading them to see who is linking to their blog and why. At the point of self-actualization, the blogger has realized his potential and reached personal growth through the blog. This does not necessarily mean that the person has to become a “blogbrity” in order to be self-actualized, going on book signing tours like Tucker Max, who came to fame through his blog are darling Coffee Rhetoric who is now publishing her novels. Rather, self-actualization can come simply by learning about yourself through the process of blogging. If anything, our class provides an ideal template for this. As we have expounded upon during every discussion, every member of our course has learned something about their selves through blogging, even if, in the case of JP or Marc, it is that blogging is not the right medium for them. Blogs provide immediate gratification for the primal stages in development for those that do feel connected to them.

The fulfillment of the social and ego needs are most evident in the personal blogs in which people emote about whatever strikes them as interesting about themselves for the day. Sarah Green’s fascinated me the most of out of this genre. What compels this angsty former teeny bopper to express herself in such a public forum? At least once a week, she writes lengthy diatribes, addressing the same guy who wronged her. It’s been over a year now and things do not seem to be progressing very well for her. Her blog’s title, “Take me Back to Once Upon a Time” waxes poetic about her nostalgia for her past with him. Perhaps if she did not spend so much time obsessing over this boy, she would be able to move on.

However, blogs help us fuel our obsessions. Because they are such inviting places where anyone can ramble about an interest and someone else on the internet is bound to share similar a similar liking, the blogosphere allows people like Sarah to post her musings on herself. In essence, she embodies a little bit of everything that we have been ruminating about in this course. Firstly, her need for expression seems to be what drives her blog. She is obviously looking to connect with an audience however her intended audience is slightly ambiguous. She writes her entries specifically directed to “him” but the people who comment on her walls are an assortment of her gal-pals and fellow brooding teenaged girls just like her. Sarah is looking for catharsis to mend her ego which has clearly been hurt upon her rejection from her love interest. The enthralling part of her blog experience is that her ramblings do not seem to get old. I realize this could be a widely contested statement but for the same type of audience that is drawn to anything starring Hugh Grant, or more accurately for her demographic, anything with an off-beat quirky protagonist (like a young Christina Ricci) who gets the guy in the end, this blog is the stuff of cinematic magic. It is both nauseating and addictive.

Eudora Welty once said, "I am a writer who came of a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well, for all serious daring starts from within." From the aesthetic of her blog, it would certainly seem that Sarah comes from a sheltered life. Her blog is littered with pictures of her and her friends with such daring to be witty captions as “drunk, anyone?” and another photo of one of Sarah’s walls which sports a poster of James Dean and a construction paper heart. Although there probably is not much else to do in Krum, Texas other than fixate on guys and drink underage (the same could naturally be true for most suburban areas), Sarah is able to create an entire over analytical network of imagination in her mind to keep her occupied. She dares to obsess.

On November 22nd, she writes,

“ I just woke up. 3 in the morning...because I was dreaming and you were there. Only you were lashing out at me. You were back to the way things used to be. You had your booze, your drugs, and something you've never done, you had females, pictures, physical, anything, to hurt me. I didn't understand it. You wouldn't look at me, just made it clear you were doing everything out of spite. I am, indeed, going quite insane. Do you remember that first shooting star in the park? Oh, I do reminisce quite often.”

Sarah longs to rekindle her intimacy with her vagabond ex. It would seem that she has no other friends the way she uncomfortably writes what feels like bad Coldplay lyrics to this punk who I’ve determined is not worth it. However, all of her friends support her and comment that she is beautiful and strong. While I have no doubt that Sarah is both of those things, I’m not sure how much I would support a friend who obsessed over one person for over a year. Breezeface comments, “Sarah Green when you write about him it only makes me want to cry. Not only because it's sad, but for you in general. I wish he hadn't hurt you like he did, and I would give anything to take the pain away, but I can't...so the best I can do is be a good friend.”

When I was in high school I was unhealthily enamored with a boy but only after I dated him. In order to soothe my self-important soul I wrote an article for the school newspaper entitled, “I am obsessed” and charted the development of my crush and in the end concluded that obsessions can be positive things to have provided they keep your mind off of truly negative thoughts, like SATs and illness. I secretly wanted him to stumble across it but that did not even matter. The idea that I had sent it out into a void that he was a part of was enough for me to have some relief. To a certain extent I think that Sarah and I share the same kindred spirit. Fortunately, I have long since moved on since my sophomore year, or so I thought before I started reading the emo blogs and I realized that the need to air your proverbial dirty laundry, or dirty relationship details is innate in more people than just the small town Sarah that I am focusing on.

The most uncomfortable part about Sarah’s blog is that it invites the reader to become a voyeur in a much more profound way than blogs about politics or hobbies do. Of course I mean voyeur in the more colloquial sense and not technically as a paraphilia involving sexual arousal because of these blogs. If that’s the goal of perusing the internet you can find much better sites to become stimulated by then this wholesome account of a first love. However, voyeurism as we understand it as the Rear Window or Peyton Place need to know about other people’s lives certainly comes alive when reading her blog. What is it about Sarah that’s more interesting than our own lives? Is it because she’s unrelenting? Is it because she’s developed a genuine voice without an air of pretension? Because we know that her audience is specific and unless we are her high school mates or the boy that scorned her, we are not who she is directing, it helps to assure any other readers that she is not blogging for fame or recognition. We are even told on September 5th, “Sarah, you weren’t in school today.” Perhaps it is endemic of high school culture, but this is not something that would ever pop up in Kyrie O’Connor’s “cultural musings” or any of the other blogs we have become familiar with.

I do not know this girl, and in all honesty, would not be friends with her. I’m sure she’s lovely but my friends have grown out of the “it’s cool to look drunker than you are phase” not because we are better than Sarah but because her peers are fifteen. However, in general, I know that I am not her intended audience yet I can not stop feeling the need to connect with her and her pain just as she is trying to connect with her skateboarding antagonist. On November 5th she writes,

“At times when you look at me and storm away so quickly with nothing to say, it seems that I ruin you. But how could I do that? And the 'three-day-funk' turned into four and I was too scared to even tell you goodbye, and I just left with my bouquet of nothing that mattered then. I can read you vaguely, but when you say that it's nothing, I just want to hug you. And how can I stand here with you when I realize that I'm involuntarily hurting you? You always talk too little and too late when you explode with your tensions and frustrations. And then you laugh about it. That's what gets me the worst. Because you don't want to laugh at all, you want to scream and kick and gauge my eyes out, but instead you just laugh and begin to start boiling again”

I am clearly not the “you” she is referring to. I did not storm away from her and I have not been in a “three-day-funk” that I can note. Yet, I enjoy overhearing her conversations and being allowed insight into her mind.

How much more ranting can her posse take? Perhaps I am just bitter because I emailed her over two weeks ago and posted on her blog but she still has not responded to my questions. I am taking this as a sign that Sarah is meant to be observed from a far and not communicated with. In order to be intrigued by her blogging personality, I need to feel that she is not a real person.

We have discussed in class the notion that bloggers are disembodied. Even when they attach pictures, it is easier to assume that they are the type of manufactured press release photos that you see before a film screening and not photos of real people. Character is so strong with blogs, even in terms of those who have characters who don’t appeal to you that it is eerie when you see the blogger in the flesh. When we first met Aldon I was surprised by his appearance and demeanor, even though I had seen his photos. In researching Sarah’s commentators, I found that many of them had Facebook Profiles, which was yet another way of reaffirming her status as real person.

On September 8th, 2005 Sarah tells us, “I don't want to be the disembodied face that comes to you as you close your eyes before you fall to sleep. I want to be there” but obviously the person she wants to be embodied for is not me or any one outside of her immediate circle.

The Facebook (that's my roommate) is another forum of self-expression that we barely touched upon in class yet it is listed as #51 on the Top 100 Best Blogs that we scanned at the beginning of the semester. But does a profile of yourself and links to your friends really constitute a blog? I think that it is too small of a glimpse into a person to give us the wide scope of who that individual is. If Sarah had a Facebook profile (which after many attempts to find, I can safely say that she doesn't) she would feel utterly removed from the Sarah that I know because there is so much more depth to a blogger’s personality than simply a few lines about favorite movies and quotes they enjoy.

Additionally, you can learn a lot about a blogger based on the people who they link to on their blog rolls or by clicking on the profiles of the comment makers. The people who most readily post on Sarah’s sights are the creators of the similarly pseudo-poetic mind fields of “Me from my Words,” and “Music Makes my Heart Melt,” at which is yet another floridly worded sight where a passionate singer tries to pass off Kelly Clarkson lyrics as her own. She says, “music touches my heart in a way that no man ever will.” She tells us, in yet another beauteous poem that she and her crush could have “sat around all day, drinking in life.” These are slightly more saccharine versions of Sarah’s words. After a while, the friends you keep begin to reflect each other and this is certainly true of the blogosphere. However, Alyssa, master of the music heart melting domain spells appreciate “appricate” which is something Sarah would not do.

Additionally, there is “Imperfect Isolation” in which this young man tries to pass John Mayer lyrics off as his own. I am convinced that he is the person that once broke our lovely protagonist’s heart. After his post on August 28th, entitled “Needs and Wants” in which he proudly declares, want to play the piano. I need to play the blues. I want to marry you. I need to love you,” Sarah comments to him, “I just wanted to say something......I'm not sure what though. I miss you.” There exchange however does not last long because his blog stops being edited shortly thereafter. However, if he is indeed her Romeo, it becomes more evident why she has held on to his sentimental drivel for so long. Their relationship is both beautiful and tragic in that it’s so purely high school, there’s something sacred about it. Does posting something so private on the blogosphere make it less meaningful or more meaningful? According to someone like Sarah, creating a blog immortalizes her feelings and therefore gives more importance to her epic love.

Foucault argued that people have an innate desire to make the private public. In this sense, Sarah must be exercising her right to exhibitionism in the same way that all of her friends are. Where else than the blogosphere can pre-teen girls have a voice that is celebrated for being annoying authentic. Novels attempt to recreate this authenticity but often fall short. Coming of age stories written by middle aged women seldom have the same flair for style and language that Sarah and her friends have. Thanks to their need for expression and their Maslowian need for affirmation and self-respect, these young people are pioneering not only the blogosphere, but perhaps the future of literary development.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Linx

Linking seems to be the current hot topic (okay, when isn't it a topic?) but especially this week and I have to say that being a terribly slow reader who gets easily overwhelmed and or distracted, links have taken a lot for me to get used to. Their like hundreds of footnotes in a giant incoherent text book that's difficult enough to get familiar with without the limtless excuses to leave the page. I never like to feel as though I've missed out on anything but in the blog world i always feel that i've missed out on everyhting. There is no closure or thrill of accomplishment. That's why I like your blogs-most of them are new and i can easily chart the beginning and end. BUT, today (entering into inspired blog student moment/yet another sentimental course wrap up speech), I was skimming New York Magazine, or was it the New Yorker? (you can tell how literate I am) and there were lots of small articles when every few words were in bold face and my natural instinct was to click on them and I couldn't. I really wanted to also becuase half the stuff was esoteric and referenced things I wasn't familiar of but easily could have been if i had been reading the article as a blog. Then I got all together nostalgic (another "hot topic" for the week, a la Meredith Viera, everyone's all time fave Lady of the View, with the exception, of course of Star Jones). I wish I wasn't linking inept, because then you could have clicked on her photo and I think everyone's mood would be made better having done that. Perhaps I'll bring one to class along with the Franzia.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

in the year 2000...

Papa Bill will be pleased to know that one of my flat mates (true, my Trin-quad isn't quite posh or British enough to be a "flat" but go with me here) read his sexual awakening blog over my shoulder and is now attempting to cyber with me from her bedroom. This is procrastination at an all time low. Eric thought he had a bad case of it becuase he went to the movies instead of working but I'd wager that my roommate instant messaging me from 2 feet away such delightful romances as, "i want to tounge your engorged anal cavity" and "imagine my small, chubby fingers inside of you" is slightly rock bottom. I'm sorry if I just lost a large portion of my obligatory audience, but now that things have come to a close, I do feel a lot more comfortable divulging personal information than I would have before. I have never been a member of a class with such eager people so as a result i may have taken a more passive role but i think you're all pretty quirky and wonderful. Allow me to clarify, i've been in classes with enthusiastic students, but they were usually prententious and pumped to be heard to prove their esoteric knowledge to the Professor, or to pick up chicks-this was certainly not the case here. In any event, I'm sorry again if tonight's sexual content was largely oversharing, but I believe that the future in blogging community may be taking a turn towards that. I think there will be more incorporation of dating websites with blogging, sort of like what Holly and Jeff have the potential to do with myspace. Seeing as Brett is such a master at this domain, he'll have no problem getting a date (although he may only attract xanax addicts and tree-peepers based on his new format). And our Capote lover won't have to go on any more "fake dates." I like the comment feature as is but I still don't think it's conducive to real conversations-maybe im just saying that because i give comments like kindergarten teachers and i can only dialogue with someone when i agree. Perhaps icons should be incorporated into the comment features. Blogs will be around for quite some time-how's that for a scholarly analysis? As long as their are amateurs who want a performance space there will be blogs, at least of a sort. If you can upload your photos into a permament online database so you can't lose them, blogs can be utilized as thought storage-you can upload your diaries. As our lovely classmate, who has been witholding his "secret" blog from us said, it's a wonderful place to store random musings that we all think are brilliant at the time. And sadly, I have no more at the moment and am being seduced by a totally uneccesary 3 am dunkin donut run. Have a wonderful evening!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

more on the personal

This week, I had a little experiment in non-self created identity. My friends, who have entirely too much free time decided to create 2 separate facebook accounts for me (which, as we've been over, is sort of the myspace equivalent). They made my interests into such wonderful things as "vomitting out car windows" and "cow-tipping" (neither of which is true, just so you know). Additionally, they put up a series of atrocious photos of me and friended over 300 people, mostly freshman boys who I've never seen. They had fun creating my identity becuase it was safer than changing there's. Through my accounts they could comment on other people's profiles such things as "you're cute, wanna bang" which they were probably thinking, but wouldn't say if their own personas were at stake. I realize this is terribly sophmoric but it made me think even more about what makes a persona. Is it how we express ourselves? How we act? How we dress? Whether or not we smile while walking to class/work? And if these factors are the most important elements than it's more difficult to express this on blogs, but easier to sort of fake an idenity, which, if my friend's are any indication of isn't that difficult to do.

I think it all ties back again to the limitless nature of blogs. Seeing as there are so many possibilities and each person can have several blogs if they'd like, you can choose from any type of identity but as Brett said when your identity doesn't seem authentic, that's when it's "silly." Most of the people in class have 2 blogs-one for class and one for "personal" because we all have different aspects of our lives that we'd like to share with different audiences, but in the end, the blogosphere is omniscien. That was my gripe about the blog created by Cosmo magazine and XiaXia, our favorite asian princess. While it was amusing, the fact that we had to second guess it's authenticity made us more connected to blogs that we had no doubt were real.

P.S. I was listening to Eric's autoblog as I posted. It was comforting and yet creepy at the same time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Why lack of anonymity has ruined my love life

I write a column for the Trinity newspaper. It's not as fancy as Colin's and at times may lack the merrit that many of your blogs have, but for better or for worse, it's my column and it's developed a bit of a following. I write about college relationships which, as you may recall is best summarized as an idiot's guide to getting drunk and finding someone to take home. I'm slightly classier than all of that, but the fact is, I put myself very much out there and as a result, I have a history of exploiting the boys who have been victimized by me. I keep their names anonymous but apparently it's not that difficult to figure out, or so I was reminded two weeks ago when the kid I had been seeing "dumped me" for being as candid as I was in the newspaper. Ironically, for the first time, I had actually said nice things about him. I (dare I say it) actually may have liked him, and the saddest part is, Jeff aka http://blog.myspace.com/jprzech would have liked him too. He looked a lot like Jon Cusack (and not even in his Serendipity days). Sadly, he valued privacy over me and things in my romance sector have been spiraling down since then. Word got out amongst the paranoid men on campus that any type of engagement with me may result in a public commentary. They're afraid of my persona. I wouldn't have had this problem if I had adapted a psuedonym like many of the bloggers. There's always going to be someone who doesn't like your opinion or your style

This reminded me of Eric the Fearless, As he so aptly points out, poor christian slater would not have been as persecuted if his broadcast was "undercover" but at the same time, it may have lost something. I personally respect people more when their identity isn't as concealed because if the person feels comfortable enough to talk freely and openly about something then it makes whatever the subject is feel less taboo. I realize that there may be a lot of dangers associated with giving too much contact info out over the internet and then saying something offensive, but in general, i give a lot of credit to the bloggers that stand by their opinions enough to sign it with their name. On the other hand, I wouldn't know the difference either way, and I certainly don't use my real name. Also, the beauty of the blogosphere is that it's generally accepted that people can be anonymous where as in print journalism, if you publish an anonymous article, it's kind of seedy. So, in short, I guess I'm conflicted.

"no one is alone, truly"

So a longer than expected Thanksgiving break at home with a dial-up aging computer put me out of blogging comission for awhile but like most things, it's refreshing to see that the blogging community has gone on quite smoothly and quite overwhelmingly with out me. I hope everyone did something delightful with their brief holiday!

I thoroughly enjoyed Aldon's touching post (no sarcasm intended), but I'm not sure if I can whole heartedly agree with the idea that blogging takes away the feeling of aloneness. Obviously, on a many levels it does-we spent a week reviwing how it connects communities and the fact that we as a class can keep up with each other's lives is indicative of how it can bring people together but it also promotes a certain breed of anti-socialism despite how social it is. For every hour I spend sitting at the computer, sending my thoughts into a void, that is one more hour I could be spending communicating with people face to face. I realize this isn't always feasible and I also realize that blogs work brilliantly for those "pj types" who are more literary than they are good in person, but there is some danger in the addictive distance blogs create even though they try to bring people closer. I did really love Michele Agnew’s blog. That truly does encourage cooperation. It's like the anti-(insert name of that blog that made us all mad the first week of school). Her little "word a day" format gives me nice things to ponder. It's like boingboing for people who would rather get poetry flashes than news flashes.

Another great website for fostering community is www.answerology.com. I don't think it would classify as a blog, per se but it's an online network where people can give and recieve advice. They are typically about relationships but the topics run the gamut and theirs nothing tacky about it. It's also quite addictive and like a blog, if you think a person's feedback is good you can make friends with them. And I'm not just advocating this site because I spent the summer working there, editing people's responses, but because it brings people together for a good cause-even if that cause is wining about ex-gfs, but what else is there, really?


Aldon also points to Brett's blog and from there I found one of the most infuriating sights. I was really tempted to email this "thebestpageintheuniverse" guy but my email address isn't as conducive to anonymity as my Vivica A. Fox honorarium blogging name is. What makes his narcissistic home page any different than a blog? It seems like a bit of projection here.

The quote on http://looseleafnotes.com/ blog, "Things I would not tell anyone, I tell the public." ~Michel de Montaigne basically sums up my rationale on blogs. We've discussed this ad hominem (is that the word im looking for, it's foreign for "a lot"?). Just like theater, for me it's always been easier to perform if you can't make eye contact with the audience and you don't know who is there. Realizing that a few key people are watching you gives you the added adrenalin rush to do your best but when you connect with them while you're in the spotlight it suddenly makes you feel even more vulnerable and silly to be performing, oh hey, for thematics sake, a Sondheim ballad about hats. Like blogging, I'm sure if I had a reputation like many of you, in the class, have developed, it would be nice to know that random commentors were out there and may be checking it but as coffeerhetoric said, if my mom ever wanted to have a direct conversation about what I had written I may feel awkward. Back to the blog though, it's pretty heart wrenching. I'm glad to see that the comments have been nice. It fortunately attracts a different audience than some of the other blogs we have read, who wouldn't have been as kind.

I'll leave this post with yet another Sondheim reference that I thought was especially pertinent about blogging, for those of you who just can't get enough musical theater:

This reminded me of yet another Sondheim reference, for those of you out there who I just know, love, love, LOVE musical theater:

"Someone is on your side.
Someone else is not.
While you're seeing your side maybe you forgot: They are not alone. No one is alone."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Vlogs (sounds dirty)

Vlogs are creepy! They run totally counter to everything we have learned about blogging. We aren't dealing with disembodied people anymore. We now get to see and hear the people behind the opinions who we so readily trash. Enter, the man. I feel like I know him now so I am less inclined to weild my opinion so freely and make blanketed generalizations. Furthermore, here I am sitting with my labtop on my lab, in my cozy pink laura ashley vomitted in room and this guy is looking me in the eye telling me his opinions on vlogs. Totally breaking down the 3rd wall here. They are also harder to keep track of. you can skim words and pretty much get the content within the first two keystrokes of blatant republican or liberalism but you need to actually listen here. Vlogs are certainly not for the boring day at the office types who want some quick news. They are also not for the i spend all my time in the library types, like this girl, right here, because when you do actually get the thing to play, they don't play with volume/fellow patrons of the libes get mad when they do.

So instead, now i have these guys in my bedroom. Jerry is currently getting me intimately acquainted with the blisters on his hand. He seems to have all the same mindless comments to make that most of the other bloggers we have, ie, "i go into a bar and i meet a girl" but becuase he litters it with interesting visuals, his tale is a lot more interesting-although it certainly makes me feel more awkward. He's actually quite painful, but in that indy film sort of way that makes you uncomfortable to watch yet you can't end it. Is it funny? My fave comment on his vlog being, "you need a girlfriend and no, your mother won't do." What if comments could be vloged. Wouldn't it be neat if you could record your comments and post them on other people's vlogs and then you would essentially be having a disconnected conversation. Talk about tripy! Rocketboom chick, Amanda says (once again, right to my face) that "I get some pretty crappy comments and to have some fun, I like to visualize the commenters"-now, she wouldn't have to. Although I think this would change the face of what people were saying. It's harder assuming a fake identity or a character when you're totally putting yourself out there. Does that alter what people are willing to say? It hasn't yet, but it seems that the genre is so different that generally people aren't saying, "Hi. I'm Will and here's why I don't like Bush"

I also look at vlogers a lot more than bloggers. It seems to take a lot more time and effort so what's the general motivation? If it's fame it's certainly a very specific, less anonomyous sort of fame. I mean, Amanda Rocketboom has costume changes and everything. Does she have a tonuge ring (totally irrelevant). She's like a diet tina fey.

Her comment from the "angry republican character is" i watch your show every day and i can't stand it but i can't help but keep watching becuase i keep hoping you'll change." it seems that this attitude fuels a lot of people-but weren't we saying in class that most of the gents reading blogs are looking into like minded blogs? It's different here though with vlogs because things have so much more flava! You are so much less limited to format.

This Minnesota chick is also creepy. Are there no normal people who vlog? I guess they'd be just as boring as normal bloggers. Or maybe I'm just hypersensitive becuase it's late at night. Are these people using vlogs to get their cinematic "talents" out there just the way that amateur writers use blogs? some of this stuff is quite good. Has anyone been discovered yet?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A call to all bigots

http://christianretail.blogspot.com/ or the "impish post" has a good level of distance from the topic. He's got some edge which is what I missed about the other more religious blogs. I mean, he calls Christians lazy, that's something.

And as for my fav yenta, I appreciate that she directs her audience to posts we should read first. Not being up on my Jew speak (don't let me last name, Schwartz fool you) I had no idea what a Rebbetzin was. She's totally with it and has a great style, BUT, once again, she falls into the stereotypical voice that I assumed she would take on. Does that make any sense? I find that no matter how authentic the zealots and critics among the bloggers are, I can still see them as film characters that I've watched before-more so than I have in the past with other bloggers. Maybe because what is at the heart of their blogs is something a lot more ancient than Harriet Miller.

Like Brett's suggestion of http://www.reallivepreacher.com/newsite there's something so, dare i say, priceless about a preacher who asks you to pay that it's like everything that has been stereotpyically trashed about hypocrisy in organized religion comes through, right there on the screen.

And I enjoy Jesus of the week suggestion, it's a new brand of religious dorkery that's pretty awesome. Ahh, I'm starting to get used to these G-rated blogs on such contested issues.

Jainism

Based on last weeks discussion on repetition in the blogosphere I got the sense that the blog world was getting a lot smaller. Millions of strangers were talking about the same petty things which they won't care about next week. But, this topic has opened the blog world back up again and made me realize how freakishly dissimilar we can be from other people. It's one thing to sit in a room with a raging liberal if you are a republican but reading about some of these religious thoughts showed me that there are some topics that are so much bigger than Bush's role in New Orleans. I did a little search for blogs on Jainism (an Eastern religion which, to grossly over simplify doesn't believe in harming any living thing-including dust and therefore celebrate nudity, root veggies and peace). There weren't many blogs on the topic, basically because it goes against a lot of what they stand for, but I did come across this http://www.yja.org/blog/. It doesn't say much, but once again it boggles my mind how many types of people are out there blogging (the pictures are pretty priceless too)

Faithful Bloggers

http://anvilfire.blogspot.com/ or the "serious one" as Colin calls it, is indeed just that. It's the first blog I've ever come across that actually uses footnotes and it is similarly unpersonal. I'm not used to blogs that are so unheated. Bloggers usually try to make the most uninteresting things (a trip to the store) seem like breaking news and here we have a presumably very nice man talking about something that he is very passionate about and because he is so calm and eerily "good natured" he seems removed from the topic. Where's the fire? A critic called John says that "Anvil & Fire has plenty of passion, of a kind, but this Tennessean of faith seems more fond of sermons than conversations.” Do religous blogs exist to preach to us? How is this any different from political blogs? In both cases, they're basically just preaching to the converted. As we mentioned in class last week, usually you're talking to an audience who agrees with you becasue they're typically the people who will be the most avid readers of your blog.

Tricky stuff. Anvil Fire guy says, "I have never taken a class on blogging. It is probably a good idea to do so"-well, there you go. I guess we're on the right path. The thing that's so striking about this guy though is that he is so consistently Christian and it's not a voice I'm accustomed to. Even the way he accepts his criticism is both thankful and apologetic. Most other bloggers would say, "f. off. I like my style just the way it is."

I personally prefer the http://badchristian.com/index.php and not just becuase of the context but because it felt more like a blog. The anvil and fire seemed like he was looking for a place to organize and immortalize his sermons. It had a very big copy and pasted from microsoft wordness to it that lacks the immediacy of other blogs. I say we go to the "blogenvention"! Here, he has a conversation with us and actually speaks to his audience on a topic that is much more compelling when anecdotes are provided and we are being engaged. If someone was interested in a pedantic telling of the fundaments of christianity they could pick up a bible-they don't need a blog for that.

Thus far, there seems to be a resistance on the bloggers part to say anything too risque. It's one thing to piss off a fellow blogger, it's quite another to piss off God. Granted, the badasschristian does call Jesus a "loser" but just in case those of us who are a little bit dense didn't get that he was being sarcastic, he makes it quite clear that his account was a satire-let their be no mistakes. Even so, he does give practical applications to Christianity in a way that the more dogmatic views do not. In his worlds, Christians can swear, and I guess that's a step in a good direction.