Sunday, September 09, 2007
Being a Pin in the Bubble Factory
Many of you have probably been asking yourself where have I been? Actually, I doubt that because I doubt many of you are even here. At best a few people came across my blog posts from back in January of 2005... So where have I been since then?
Numerous things in my personal life but mostly a random post about creationism on Andrew Sullivan's blog (www.AndrewSullivan.com) lead me to Joe Carter's blog (www.EvangelicalOutpost.com). Joe is not at Sullivan's level. He is quite an amateur but that is what blogging is supposed to be about. No one blog will contain all wisdom, the average of all of them, though, will contain quite a bit. It's the wisdom of crowds, which I'm sure you have all heard about in one form or another. If you haven't, here's the short story from economics. One time there was this fair which included a contest to guess a pig's weight. An economist didn't much care about the winner but instead cared about all the guesses. He took the entries and averaged them all together and discovered that the average of all the guesses was much closer than the winning guess. In fact, it was almost amazingly close to the true value. So I keep maybe thirty or forty news feeds going in my Google Reader.
As the comment writers on Joe's blog know quite well, I've spent much of my free time there inflicting much pain on their poor souls. While many of them might have wished I kept to my own field here (where they wouldn't read me since no one does here...just about), I think the crossing sides is useful to both of us. A blog is kind of like a whale. It cruises the ocean and tourists and documentary filmmakers love to watch it. The whale, though, is surrounded by a little city of various parasites, hangers on, helpers and so forth. A blog that is updated often develops its own little city around it of comments and hopefully fellow blogs that reference it.
Like any city, what usually makes it fresh and exciting is its diversity. Sure sometimes you don't want diversity in a city. Visiting the Amish country, for example, would be missing something if right next to bearded farmers there were hip-hop kids, techno-geeks, and Republicans (then again I've never been there, I wouldn't be surprised if those types were right there in 'Amish Country'). Just like in any city you get community types that try to preserve the culture, flavor, style of the 'authentic city' and you get disrupters. You need both. A disrupter can be a developer who wants to tear down those 'historic' buildings to make condos or it can be someone challenging an unjust prejudice. The community builder can be the noble activist seeking to stop that mega-highway from tearing the neighborhood apart or it could be the less noble activist trying to keep out 'undesirables'.
Blogs need their communities and it's good to be part of them. I know here I'm speaking to more people than I would if I just addressed blog owners. After all, there's usually one blog author but maybe a dozen regulars who comment and perhaps dozens more who chime in every now and then.
If you have a monochrome community things get stale quickly. As much as one should value traditions and history you wouldn't want to live inside a 'historic recreation' all the time. The old historic building that is so charming is so charming because all the other buildings are new. So like everything else in life you need a mix of disruption and conservation, yin and yang if you will.
So for quite some time now I've given a lot of effort playing the role of devil's advocate over on Joe's blog. For that I'm quite thankful. Even though I disagree with Joe on just about everything, his blog is a wonderful place where all types of issues get discussed and explored. While I would happily change every part of it, I also wouldn't change a thing about it. (BTW, Joe had a post once on how a rational person cannot embrace such contradictions....) If my role as the disrupter has helped some over there be a little bit less full of themselves, a little bit more willing to explore their positions a bit more deeply then my time has been well spent. If not, at least I've spent some good time practicing my writing.
But balance is important. While I will continue to comment all over the place on other people's blogs, I should work on my own home rather than being forever the traveling tramp. So I'm going to make an effort to post here more often. At least once a week although I'd like to post once a day. So hopefully some of you are still reading this and some will come back and some new faces will show up. So here we go...