I resisted hosting a blog for some time. I began internet exchange in liturgy discussion groups, primarily at Resource Publications. A good bit of what I wrote is cringeworthy. I don’t make any excuses for it. On occasion, I would insult someone to the point of chasing them away from the forum. I did not realize at first that the conversations I play out in my head don’t translate well into written form. The other factor is that there are some people I can roughhouse with … my brothers, a few close friends … and some people are to be treated more gently. Like almost all the world.
A few times a year, I ponder cutting way back on my involvement here, usually to a percentage somewhere between zero and twenty. But writing is fun and I would have to get to work on my long-delayed novel if I quit. Plus, with the formatting possibilities of images, audio, and video, blogging has become more than just one-trick journalism. We get to be editors, publishers, and everything all rolled into one. And the site meter tells us we have readers. So we can imagine our somewhat sharp and semi-polished efforts racked up next to the big fish in the blogging ocean. Some people get higher hit counts, but anybody can choose at least one aspect to do better than the pros: writing quality, layout, content, and so on. We all know it’s true that the most popular blogs are not necessarily the best sites.
I don’t know how I got hooked into posting the complete Vatican II and the follow-up liturgy documents. I take some pride in knowing I’ve carved a unique niche, an internet version of what I’d dream of doing in a parish setting for adult formation. Lots of Catholic bloggers can quote their favorite documents. A few have looked at a favorite promulgation or two. I’m happy to facilitate the discussion on any or all of them, though I have no doubt other people could do a far better job of commentary.
After finally getting the new home hooked up to the grid, the past few days I’ve been browsing some sites I’ve missed the past month. Has the blogosphere has caught a fever or something? I don’t want to fan the flames or call any individual out. (Though I was tempted to do so.) The insult-trading across blogs and in the commentariats seems to have been kicked up a notch. It’s not looking good.
As an offender, I’m grateful for Liam and others who keep on me when they think I’m out of line. Thank heaven for that, or I’d have one-tenth the traffic and ten times the head size.
On the plus side, whenever there is great danger for going off the deep side, there is often the potential to do really well. Catholic bloggers could get together to set a high bar for behavior. It’s easy to play the victim and blame the trolls. I disagree. The blogger always sets the tone. And the top bloggers in terms of popularity don’t give good example enough of the time. Many hide behind the banner of truth as an excuse to say whatever pops into their mind. Then complain when the commentariat comes up with its own version of the truth.
Despite the lowest hit ratings for my series on church documents (especially when we’re off liturgy) I think I need to continue them for the sake of my own good humor. One or two posts a day of those. Neil whenever he joins us. A good, small, knowledgeable and fairly diverse commentariat. That’s the way it should be.