Friday, September 28, 2007

There's No Creationist Meme, Is There?

I’ve been tagged by vjack of Atheist Revolution with the Evolution Meme, which has nothing to do with the science of evolution. This meme is different from the usual ha-ha triviality of memes; it’s asking me to be introspective and examine the evolution of my own blog, No More Hornets. I’m supposed to select five posts that show how my blog has changed and developed – evolved – over time, and include some commentary. When I’m done, I tag five other blogs to perform the same task.

I’m not convinced that No More Hornets is worth that kind of critical analysis, but I’m flattered that vjack selected me. Oddly enough, since my blog is approaching its one-year birthday, I’ve already been thinking about what I’m trying to accomplish here in the Atheosphere.

1. My very first post, on October 24, 2006, was Let’s Skip Campbell. Notice that I didn’t bother to introduce myself to the blog-world; I just plunged right in with a rant about a local politician. (He lost, by the way — but certainly no thanks to my post.) My wife had urged me to start a blog because she was getting tired of hearing me sputter about politics and religion while we were eating dinner. “You need an audience,” she said. Since I pretentiously saw myself as a modern-day revolutionary pamphleteer, I picked a pseudonym much as colonial Americans had done when they raged against the British. The post went up, and I waited smugly for the deluge of responses. Take a moment to look at the number of comments I earned.

2. By the time I’d been posting for two months, I knew that I wasn't going to change the world. I’d also familiarized myself with the Atheosphere. In December, I discovered and immediately applied for admission to Mojoey’s Atheist Blogroll, then merely 100-odd strong. I was delighted and proud to be listed among so many great blogs, and still am. But I also found that quite a few of my fellow atheists went on and on, over and over, about the same things. I hadn’t yet discovered how I wanted my posts to be different, but I did know a few all-too-common subject areas that I did not want to write about. So I decided to indulge myself and get preachy. What a pain in the ass I can be, eh? I still think of myself as an atheist gadfly, though, and the opinions in this post Where is H.LMencken When We Need Him? still pretty much reflect how I feel. You’ll notice that I had two commenters by then.

3. I continued to write my angry editorials — still do — but I also tried to think of ways I could develop my own particular voice. Years ago, in real, non-blog life, I’d written a newspaper column for a local rag. I became infamous in my town for off-the-wall stuff; just weird funny shit that I committed to paper even though it had no real relevance to current events. Yes, I still wrote topical articles then, but I also published parodies, personal reminiscences, humorous lists, all kinds of random junk. In March, when I thought of a song parody for atheists, I decided to post it. By then, I had a Christian troll who was commenting regularly; he tried—unsuccessfully—to better my parody; check out the comments if you want to see how someone with no sense of rhythm writes poetry. Anyway, If I Only Had a God got few other comments, but I still perform the song at parties to great applause.

4. I suppose the silliest post I ever did — but believe me, that title has lots of competition — was my take on Paris Hilton, Paris Hilton, Paris Hilton. In one short essay, I managed to make fun of celebrity-mad fans, fundamentalists, atheists who take themselves too seriously, and my own tendency toward hyper-inflated self-importance. It’s one of my favorites.

5. I can't predict where my blog is headed. I’m still posting oddball surprises as often as I can, as my regular readers know. I’m also still engaging in political and legal discourse, although I do refrain from posting on a topic if I feel I have nothing new and urgent to add. In the last few months, just as vjack has, I've become interested in doing my own small part to help create a sense of atheist community on the Internet. One way to do this, I believe, is to have dialogues that spill over from one blog to another. We don’t post in a vacuum, after all, and I think it’s important for us to link to one another when we differ with, expand on, embellish, or just add our own two cents to someone else’s thoughts. I do that a lot these days. But to end this little evolutionary ramble, I’ll include one of the first times I continued a conversation started on another blog. My offering, Ron Paul: Linking Church and State, still gets lots of hits from Google. The comments to this post were particularly interesting to me because they were my initial encounters with atheists who had their own areas of blind faith. If you read the thread, you’ll find that some nonbelievers are so eager to believe in something that they suspend their insistence on evidence. The implications of that concept scare me. When is an atheist not an atheist? When he/she has a political viewpoint based on fantasy.

Here are the blogs I'm tagging:

Spanish Inquisitor
A Whore in the Temple of Reason
Why Don’t You Blog?
A Load of Bright
Evolutionary Middleman


PhillyChief said...

Fascinating. I'm following the exact same progression, only I'm just at stage 2. I also was inspired by a certain colonial pamphleteer, as you can clearly see in my avatar.

Sadly, I don't think it's had any effect on limiting my "sputter about politics and religion" at the dinner table. Has it worked for you? If anything, it's made it worse. I suppose I'm more encouraged now getting supportive responses instead of the rolling eyes and sighs at home.

Well your blog is one of my favorites and I would be lucky to follow anywhere near your evolution. Where you have grown lungs and legs and walk on the land of success I'm still a tadpole, but you're example is inspiring. I especially enjoy the fact that you'll object to other atheists and hold them just as accountable. Fair is fair. I think that shows great integrity, even when it pisses me off that you're objecting to my opinions but hey, you can't be right all the time. ;)

John - Evolutionary Middleman said...

Philly - save the insights. You're going to need them soon enough! :)

The Exterminator said...

Well, I don't want to sound like a mutual admiration society, but I enjoy your blog a lot, too. I didn't tag you in this meme because I felt that you were still too young in your blog life to talk about your evolution. But John-Evo's right; before you know it, you too will be called on to defend your existence.

Do I detect a little annoyance from you that you were tagged? Stop being so interesting if you'd like to avoid such bothers in the future.