Sunday, January 06, 2008

Blogroll Meme

A few weeks ago, I got tagged for the seven weird things meme. I tried. I racked my brain on that one, but for the life of me, I couldn't come up with seven weird things about myself. It was weird. Unfortunately, that only makes one weird thing, so it wasn't enough to complete the meme.

Fortunately Greta Christina has tagged me with a meme that's a little less challenging:

Pick three blogs from your blogroll that you think encapsulate the unique nature of your blog.

Here's how I'd like to interpret this: I'm going to pick three blogs that are very different from one another but which illustrate different goals I have for my own blog.

1. Thoughts by Sister Mary Lisa

From the start of my blogging days, one of my goals has been to build up and nurture a community of former Mormons online. SML -- despite being a relative upstart compared to my several years of blogging -- has done an excellent job of this. She has a warm personality and a talent for reaching out and drawing people into the discussion.

You can see this from her recent series on fear in which she invited guest posters to explore what they'd do if they were free of all fear (see here, here, here, here, here, and here), and inspired a number of people on her blogroll to write their fear-free fantasies as well (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) and posted her own here.

I'm glad I got to meet her in real life.

2. feminist Mormon housewives

I hesitate to highlight these ladies because, well, in faithful Mormon circles it can sometimes be seen as a bad thing when the apostates like you and approve of what you're doing. SnarkerNackle has already claimed that half the readership of fMh is "DAMU".

But fMh has done an excellent job of demonstrating that that being religious doesn't mean taking marching orders from the religious right nor does it mean being closed-minded and afraid to hear the perspective of those who are different. To me, it shows strength of conviction to be willing to host some of the discussions they've hosted. Also, as a mom, I can relate to some of their topics (though not so much the ones about the temple or why women don't have the priesthood -- I'll let them worry about those topics amongst themselves).

I like to encourage atheists to do the same in the other direction: to be willing to befriend and have civil discussions with believers. By that I don't mean constantly rehashing the "Does God exist?" debate, but rather be willing to move past that question and talk about shared political goals such as building a sustainable society for our children. As I said in my passionate secularism, I don't favor a strategy of saying "We can't discuss politics until after I've talked you out of your irrational faith." Some issues just can't wait that long.

Some other bloggers who are working in this same direction are Hemant the friendly atheist and Mike the emerging Christian.

3. No More Hornets

The exterminator's blog illustrates a couple of additional goals I'm shooting for in my blogging: (1) talk about books and literature, and (2) keep the discussion light and fun.

Actually, he was kind enough to post his New Year's Resolutions, some of which match my own:

  • Don’t publish philosophical space-fillers on No More Hornets. Most philosoblogging, even that with which I agree, is mental masturbation masquerading as deep thinking.

  • I'm halfway with him on this one. I hope to ask interesting questions and encourage people to see things from new perspectives and think about new ideas. But all of that without taking myself too seriously... ;)

  • Challenge other atheists whenever they make statements not supported by evidence. Also, challenge other atheists whenever they say stupid things. Expect to be challenged myself.

  • Absolutely!! For an atheist, evidence and sound reasoning should be the bottom line, and I don't hesitate hold atheists to that standard.

  • Always be honest, because tact is overrated.

  • Weirdly, I feel like I don't have a problem being honest and direct and tactful. The two don't really seem to conflict for me. So I've found a second weird thing about myself -- I'm on my way to finishing that other meme!!! :D

  • Don’t waste time reading modern screeds about atheism, by atheists, for atheists. Older books and essays are great for their literary value and historical interest, but no atheist writing being done today can make a difference in my own god-free life. I don’t need to have my atheism bolstered. Anyone who does need his or her atheism bolstered is a closet theist.

  • I completely agree with this one. I haven't bothered with the "new atheist" bestsellers because I've been an atheist for like fifteen years. So I've already spent plenty of time contemplating the subject, and really it's not that complicated to begin with.

  • Remember what David Hume said: Truth springs from argument amongst friends. So I'll never shirk my duty to disagree with a pal. It’s intellectually dishonest to “play nice” all the time.

  • So true. I'd rather be constantly challenged to see things from new angles rather than get stuck in a group-think feedback loop. As far as "play nice" is concerned, it depends on your definition. For me, criticism and disagreement can be expressed in a civil and constructive manner without necessarily watering down your point. In my comments (both on atheist blogs and believers' blogs), I'm not shy about expressing disagreement. Yet (I hope) my comments are generally fairly nice.

  • Find some way to earn a living through my atheist writing.

  • That would be cool, but I feel like (for me at least) it's a totally unrealistic goal. Since I'm pretty sure this hobby will never bring me fortune, I'm willing to settle for fame instead.

  • Remind myself often that blogging is fun. Despite what I’d like to believe when I’m in Grandiosity Mode, I’m not going to change the world through my rants on No More Hornets. I might get a handful of people to laugh once in a while, or to think about something in a slightly new way. That’s great. But I’m not posting because I have any compelling atheistic mission. So if the writing process isn’t enjoyable, why do it?

  • That's my blog to a T. My only point of disagreement is the part about "remind myself" that blogging is fun. I don't need any reminder. There's pretty much nothing on the planet I'd rather be doing. Instead I have to remind myself to step away from the computer occasionally so I'll have some experiences to write about. ;)

So that's it for today's blogroll meme!!!

Everyone I've linked to above (not just the three numbered choices): consider yourself tagged!!!

(Except Exterminator, who perversely enough selected me for this same meme after I'd already planned he would be one of my choices. That's what I get for letting myself get behind on blogging....)


Beat Dad said...

So, does that mean that you have tagged me?

C. L. Hanson said...

Yes, absolutely!!! :D

The Exterminator said...

C.L., I'm flattered that you've done a critical commentary on my Resolutions post. I also have to say that I never dreamed I'd be mentioned anywhere in the same post as feminist Mormon housewives.

I see, however, that you've failed to mention my promise to myself about Brussels sprouts. Since you've spent so much time in Europe, I'm hoping you can answer this question: What do they call those things in Brussels?

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Exterminator!!!

I think they call them "choux de Bruxelles" which is French for "Cabbage of Brussels." I like vegetables in general, but that's one of my less-preferred ones....

C. L. Hanson said...

p.s. to all: In all seriousness, the one and only "weird thing about myself" that I thought of for the meme is that I talk to myself a lot, including sometimes in public. And now I see that even that's not so weird, since Holly just posted about how she does it too.

What's going on? I could have sworn I was more weird than that.....

p.p.s. since I was finishing up my novel and packing boxes for my move, I didn't get around to posting the carnival links. Here they are: The Humanist Symposium, the carnival of the godless, and the previous carnival of the godless.

mathmom said...

The question about brussels sprouts reminded me of a funny radio show from my youth. In the spirit of not taking blogging too seriously, Dr. Science (he knows more than you do), knows the reason Brussels sprouts are called Brussels sprouts:

"The Latin name for the Brussels sprout is Vegetus Infernus or "leafy thing from hell." The first botanist to identify the sprout said it came from the nether regions. An inept lab assistant changed this to the Netherlands, and this was further corrupted to Brussels."

You can find more at (He has a masters degree... in science!)

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey MathMom!!!

That is too funny!!! I thought of mentioning Dr. Science as well!!!

When I was in High School, I bought Dr. Science's Big Book of Science (at the Science Museum of Minnesota), and that question about brussels sprouts was one of my favorite quotes from it. It think it's quite likely that we laughed together over this same passage twenty years ago... :D