Web Design

As those who read this blog on the actual site will have noticed, I’ve been playing around a bit with my “look.”  Neither famous nor influential, I’m just a regular guy with a doctorate who wants to make some use of it.  This blog is a way of doing that.  In any case, as I was changing templates and background images, I noticed my rather lengthy blogroll.  Apart from sounding like a particularly tasteless eastern appetizer, blogrolls are pretty much outdated these days.  Back when I started this, there was a community of like-minded bloggers who linked to each others’ pages and helped stir some stats.  In those days doing something like posting on the winner of the Super Bowl could garner you a thousand hits in a day.  The web’s become a bit more crowded since then, I suspect.

So I went to edit my blogroll.  As I did so I found no other blogs linked to mine—no offense taken!—and many that had become defunct.  Many, many.  And there were many blogs that hadn’t been updated in years.  Now, I understand that it is possible to make a living as a blogger these days.  According to my stats, this will be my 3,447th post.  When I consider the time it takes each day to write one of these things, I realize it’s a considerable piece of my life.  Seeing the blogs that have become inactive was like walking through a technological graveyard where many virtual comrades are buried.  For me, the exercise of writing (and I don’t mean the physical typing) is an essential part of each day.  I’d miss it if I stopped.

My redesign focuses on a couple of things: books and pelicans.  Since the books part should be obvious, the pelicans might need explaining.  The background image is one I took while visiting the University of California, Santa Barbara for Routledge.  On my lunch break I went down to the beach and this flock of pelicans flew right over my head.  The iPhone was new in those days, so I pulled it out and snapped a picture.  It won a company photo of the month prize (no monetary value).  There’s quite a bit of symbolism in this image of birds against the California sun.   This blog tends to be metaphorical and those who’ve complained on it over the years don’t really get that.  That’s because things are not what they seem.  There’s something valuable about having to dig for meaning, even if it means looking up.

If God Could Blog

My wife pointed me to the current Shouts and Murmurs section of the New Yorker online; this issue’s is “God’s Blog” by Paul Simms. It is witty, as usual, and the comments outshine the divine post. I had a good smirk and soon forgot about it. I found my thoughts turning to recent events and the idea of God blogging returned to me with a greater intensity. What if God could blog? The responses of online experts might be notoriously predictable.

Most politicians and Tea Partiers would fail to recognize the author, I’m sure. The conservative life-style and outlook have their own particular structures that may have had roots in Christianity at one time, but have now taken on an agenda of their own. God, admittedly a long-haired liberal in his last incarnation, certainly doesn’t advocate the way his dad’s name is taken in vain by such political bluster. I suspect he’d be denied more than three times before the stock market bell sounds.

The theological liberals would probably find such an anthropomorphic activity distasteful for a being as abstract as the divine. After all, by stooping to our level and showing himself active in the world he would be raising the ugly question of theodicy again. If the Big Guy can afford the time to type out a blog post from his android in the sky couldn’t he at least solve one of the more pressing human problems such as starvation or war?

Bibliobloggers would surely rate his posts pretty low. Erudition is born of online prestige and although God is a big draw, his book is still a bestseller and literary types are much more comfortable deconstructing the written word. Besides, since he doesn’t belong to any denomination (or monotheistic religion, for that matter) his authoritative comments would certainly be disconcerting.

I suspect the atheist camp would suggest it was all a hoax. With sufficient skill the source of the posts could be pinned to a physical machine and the words themselves would be traced to a physical brain that is no more than an organic computer. The God Blog could safely be ignored.

We live in an age that has outlived the need for a live feed from the divine. Real-time responses from on high would make everyone uncomfortable. Since we construct God in our own image, those who blog already know what the divine would write if s/he could blog.