Anglican Samizdat

June 17, 2009

Why blog

Filed under: Nothing in Particular — David Jenkins @ 7:05 pm

Some recent comments on this blog started me thinking about this strange medium and why people do it. Damian Thompson writes:

In April, an anonymous police blog written by a detective calling himself “NightJack” won the Orwell Prize for online political writing. And it deserved to, wrote one newspaper, “because it took you inside real life in a way you couldn’t go by yourself”.

But now you can’t go inside real life with NightJack. Visit the site, and you read: “The authors have deleted this blog. The content is no longer available.” Thishas been taken down in its entirety because the Lancashire detective lost a court case to stop his identity being revealed by The Times – the very paper that praised him to the skies when he won the Orwell Prize.

Blogging is an art. The intrinsic messiness and spontaneity of the form make it more, not less, important to write in a disciplined fashion. The unreadable websites of five years ago have largely disappeared: teenagers are bored with keeping online diaries and (except at election times) the only local politicians who can be bothered to blog are Lib Dem bedsit councillors obsessed with dog mess and broken paving stones.

But good blogs are one of the joys of the 21st century. No one set out to create this strange medium: it just evolved. And we’re lucky that it did.

For my part, this blog is the result of my being a member of an Anglican Church for over 30 years. The parish I belong to is orthodox and, until 2008, was in the diocese of Niagara. The only way an orthodox parish can exist within the Diocese of Niagara is by a mutual unspoken agreement that each ignores the other.

This separation arrangement didn’t work particularly well for my parish: we have been subject to 30 years of deranged meanderings by assorted bishops appearing at random intervals every time the diocese suffered financial embarrassment; parish representatives were subject to the pagan cavortings of God-forsaken synods; believing priests were openly derided for being naive enough to adhere to what they had promised when ordained.

And all that time, the average Anglican didn’t have a voice; well, 30 years of pent-up frustration now has an outlet in blogdom. Welcome to the 21st century, Fred Hiltz and Michael Bird – I want to say “up yours” (the Fresh Expressions version of Matt 23:27), but that wouldn’t be polite would it.

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