1. How seriously should we take the nacle?
In a perfect world the bloggernacle could be all things to all people, a place people can take extremely seriously and also a place where others would feel free to make fun of those people. I keed. I keed. Seriously, (no pun intended) there should be blogs and bloggers that suit all tastes and inclinations. Maybe in 2005 people took it much more seriously, and as Steve alludes to, we at BoH and most of our commenters clearly did not. Maybe that’s where much of the conflict sprang from. The disparity between how we saw the bloggernacle and how others did was a gulf much larger than we ever anticipated. The thought leads to other questions: is that gulf bigger or smaller now? Can it be bridged? Anyhow, I agree with Steve: the bloggernacle can’t save you. I personally can’t take it too seriously because I find of the many wonderful things it does sometimes offer, none of them compare to the real article when it’s found in the offline world.
2. Is it possible (or maybe “appropriate” is a better word) to be justly proud of anything about BoH?
Not surprisingly, I think the answer is, yes, it’s possible, and yes, it’s appropriate. Especially after five years. A certain amount of time has passed. Trouble has been taken to respect those with hurt feelings in the past, and to those with hurt feelings in the present. Scott in his retrospective has sought to give voice to those feelings as well. In 2005, when feelings were still raw it wasn’t as appropriate, moreover it wasn’t even possible, not without getting pounced on.
Love it or hate it, there was never anything quite like Banner of Heaven before, and there will probably never be anything like it again. For a small sliver of time, there was something new under the sun. Does saying this make me egotistical? Probably. Evil? Maybe. Unrepentant? Not necessarily.
3. Following repentance, is there a statute of limitations on continuing to deplore the sinful behavior?
I think it depends on the gravity of the sin, of course. If we take the scriptures at their word our sins though crimson will be white as snow. I feel like I have confessed and forsaken. Five years fake-blog free! Yay! For my part I am no longer harrowed up by BoH. I like to think I recognize what was deplorable about BoH and wouldn’t repeat those mistakes.
And, I might add, there is no statute of limitations on my apology. It was resurrected with the blog, and my email address is right at the end of it still, and anyone who is still hurt by it is still welcome to contact me and we can try to reason it out together.
4. What’s the proper post-mortem verdict on BoH? Was it simply “ethically and morally wrong” as Scott suggests, or is there some level on which it can be justified?
This one is very tricky.
It’s impossible to say it’s wrong and justifiable simultaneously. Particularly, if one believes God doesn’t look on sin with the least degree of allowance. I’ve admitted to justifying it in my mind for artistic reasons at the time. Part of me is still tempted to do so. So like most people do when they have two conflicting values (in this case, integrity on one side, and artistic ambition on the other) I compartmentalize. Some days I wish the wall between the compartments could come crashing down and integrity would flood in and eliminate all the artistic ambition, but I don’t think that will ever happen, and frankly, I don’t even think God would want that to happen. I’ll say this because I know this answer is no answer at all: the lessons I learned from BoH made the artistic ambition compartment smaller and more limited, perhaps more concentrated. There’s less spillover. Believe it or not, I’ve had ideas that are even more suspect and inappropriate than Banner of Heaven and allowed them to shrivel up and die, so that’s probably a good thing.
5. What are the permanent effects of BoHoin the nacle? Are there any? If so, are any of them positive (other than the obvious “bonds of war” formed between the co-conspiritors)?
Is anything really permanent? Isn’t that one lesson of history? That the answer is no.
I don’t regularly read the bloggernacle these days so it’s hard for me to say, but I think that among the possible positive side effects are that people are less naïve. People possibly have more realistic expectations of their fellow bloggers. That’s good, I think. Nobody’s perfect.
Of all the possible negative side effects I think the one I’m afraid could be legitimately laid at the feet of Banner of Heaven is that people are reluctant to be more experimental in pushing the boundaries of what Mormon blogging can be and do. That’s regrettable. I don’t even think the surface has been scratched yet. Some days I’d like to really take a rusty garden rake and scratch the hell out of it.
Many of most active commmenters on BoH now write for Mormon Mentality.
If it weren’t for BoH, there might not have ever been MM.
So just to respond on my part – I was one of the three co-founders of Mormon Mentality and never heard any mention of BoH in connection to its origins. Certainly my agreeing to participate had nothing to do with BoH.
To be absolutely sure – you could always ask DKL and a random John what their opinions are on that matter.]]>
the disenchanted, the smirking scholars, the antagonists, p’d off alternative lifestylers, atheists and born agains.
I love those guys, man. Met them at a poker game. Boy can they drink!]]>
I guess I was hoping to discover replications of those wonderful, enlightening aside talks I had with Institute teachers, of Cosmos and kingdoms.
If you want those, David, you can have them, you just have to write the post yourself. I’m looking forward to reading it.]]>
It seems to me that you’re determined to take a negative approach to something that could be positive.
If even you don’t know you’re a cat, Andrew, then maybe you’re not.]]>