The Bloggernacle is for the Privileged
A while ago, Stephen M (Ethesis) got into a discussion with some people on a “popular” (really, how would I even know?) closed LDS Facebook group about a Doves and Serpents blog post that he considered to be “fairly hostile” (and whose author he believed to be advertising this post too much). At that point, the response was:
I agree–it was pretty hostile.
But is there ever a place for hostility? I’m asking sincerely–not to pick a fight.
…To which Stephen replied that hostility often fails to work and often offends neutral observers as well. This effectively means that if one wants to be heard, and one feels that the only way they can be heard is through a more hostile or strident message, then sure, they’ll be heard…but they will actually be hurting their cause.
One thing that became clear through this discussion is how it’s a discussion Stephen discusses a lot (probably because it’s highly relevant to his profession as a litigator and mediator.) And while Stephen’s posts at Wheat & Tares or elsewhere aren’t the flashiest, they have a quiet sense to them that I know I’ve been slow to appreciate. (If my father were to read some of Stephen’s posts, he would probably say I should start living the advice in them.)
And so, while I’m not as familiar with his posts as I should be (and I’ll have to go through them and re-read some of his posts in depth), it seems like when he was having his discussion, he could’ve said at many points: “Clearly, you did not read my series on this.”
Of course, he didn’t do that. That’s just not his style. But I found myself having a similar kind of thought process…
Fast forward to today. MikeinWeHo posted a link to Joanna Brooks’ latest beatdown: this time, of Christopher Hitchens, who has written yet another sloppy article about Mormons. Jeff Spector posted in response:
What interesting is that Hitchens sentiments are shared with many in the Bloggernacle. But yet, they do not think it is prejudice. Why do we think that Hitchens is?
I knew this would get good, so I subscribed to the topic and grabbed for my popcorn.
Eventually, MikeinWeHo suggested:
I think maybe you’re confusing the Bloggernacle with Outer Blogness.
To which Jeff responded:
I didn’t differentiate. I didn’t know there is much of a difference. So the Bloggernacle is only TBMs?
MikeinWeHo gave a SeriousResponse though:
No not at all. There are also plenty of unorthodox members, non-members, and even ex-members in the Bloggernacle. The difference is primarily one of tone and direction. The Bloggernacle is a place for people who feel that the LDS church and other branches of Mormonism represents something good in the world, whereas Outer Blogness is for individuals who feel they or their friends have been victimized by Mormonism and should therefore oppose it. I don’t know much about Outer Blogness but my sense is that the tone and content of the discussions are very different. Does that make sense?
I guess, if you can’t make sense of it all, and you haven’t read my series, then you can see Kiley’s summary picture.
…Now, the interesting thing about Wheat & Tares is that of its readership and commenters…as others have remarked, our bloggers are great…our commenters? They don’t impress others. I think that one could certainly say that W&T’s open policy definitely allows for “individuals who feel they or their friends have been victimized by Mormonism and should therefore oppose it.”
So…does that make W&T an Outer Blogness site? I sense that in many ways, W&T is seen as a red-headed stepchild of the Nacle anyway. We have to walk around on egg shells to avoid being cut off completely (this post really isn’t helping, unfortunately)…
But going deeper into the message, the dichotomy provided is interesting. The Outer Blogness is for individuals who feel they have been victimized. The Bloggernacle is a place for people who feel that the LDS church and other branches of Mormonism represents something good in the world.
The two statements aren’t quite parallel yet.
Outer Blogness is for individuals who have been victimized. The Bloggernacle is for individuals who have been privileged.
I think that for many, the system works and is uplifting. And if I were in such a situation of privilege, perhaps I’d fit right in and uphold and perpetuate the system…and wonder too why there were all of these angry ex-mos trying to derail my quaint conversation zone.
But I’m not there.
Fortunately, I don’t have a particularly rough situation either. I did have a relatively easy life. I have privilege of my own. And so, I feel like I have a position in the middle.
This middle position urges me to take a calling…to point out that for the privileged to sequester themselves from the plight of their victims, the oppressed, in perfect bonsai gardens is a manifestation of their privilege. A calling to encourage the oppressed to speak their stories.
…and so, I have to appreciate the environment that W&T has. It is one where “victims” can speak, and through speaking, perhaps, can move to healing.