Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Centennial Post Retrospective

This will be my hundredth post and it seems appropriate to do a retrospective and speculation on the future of my blog. I remember originally doing this for a kick more than anything, just to practice my writing, keep the prose muscles toned. But I did have a goal to communicate my opinions to people in as straightforward, but considerate, a way as possible. In that sense, I think I’ve gotten better. I seem to recall some of my older posts from 2010 being a bit more combative or ranting in nature, so I hope that’s toned down.

I’ve definitely begun advertising the blog more, putting it on my signatures on forums and profiles across the web. I’ve also shifted to a bi weekly schedule, though at the moment, I’m furiously trying to catch up from over three weeks of not having my original blog files to edit and post, which I will do in the future through a flash drive, since I have plenty. I might try to get into a tri weekly schedule, though if I do, the articles would be shorter overall. I’m also thinking of branching off into a project I’ve been contemplating for a while, which I won’t spoil much, except that it involves comics.

My topic coverage has varied a lot over the last year, especially since I commonly went with whatever was fresh at the time, which meant I was usually behind in terms of reporting. Though in the case of the updates come Thursday, there’s an excuse of me not having the blog files I would’ve posted the last three weeks, including two (count ‘em two) topics on the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, not to mention Sarah Palin’s notorious/infamous letter she sent to her family addressed as “God” (this is a shortening of what she actually signed, which was a bit verbose) among others like New York’s legislation of gay marriage and the danger some people think it poses as well as a supposed gap between millenials and pre millenials about gay marriage. The upgrade to bi weekly status was not a huge leap, since I had a backlog of articles to work with. I originally did once a week because I was either working or studying/reading for class, so I couldn’t do anything more, not to mention my interests for writing weren’t as broad as they are these days. Now that I’m breaking out into freelancing and job searching in earnest, I think this will be a good testing ground for my writing for a more editorial stance. Of course, I’m not anything of a great copy editor, since my proofreading skills are piecemeal from high school grammar more than anything, along with some advice from writing tutors and professors in college.

In terms of my popular topics, I guarantee two of them that still throw people off, especially high school classmates, are politics and GLBT (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender). I was never one to speak out about political issues in public or really care about them for the most part and I didn’t have thoughts one way or another about people’s sexual orientation, even growing up in what many would consider backwoods areas of Tennessee, pretty far from Chattanooga or Nashville. Of course, Murfreesboro, a town of over 100,000 people, wasn’t free of controversy with the Islamic Center of Tennessee being built in its backyard. Tennessee wasn’t the worst about being backwards, but when a lot of controversy came from Texas, it kind of struck home a bit with my girlfriend being from east Texas herself, but she was free of any direct criticism of her hometown. Even recent news hasn’t spared Texas’ large swath of influence, with Governor Rick Perry’s notable issues of church/state endorsement of sorts coming up on August 6th.
Speaking of church and state, I think it’s pretty clear that it’s a big interest of mine to blog on, even if I have admittedly only a general intermediate or novice knowledge about the subject. The other interests I’ve done a lot of reading in but haven’t posted in a while on or at all are Buddhism/Zen and pacifism of one sort or another, though I referenced Anabaptist’s pacifist tendencies in the Mennonite church recently in “Separation of Church and State Loyalty” . Technically I’ve referenced Buddhism over and over, but the closest topics to any explicit reference to Buddhism as the center would be the “How Cats Help Me Learn Zen” topic as well as the occasional references to the 14th Dalai Lama, which have become more prominent these days.
On church and state, I’ve considered a wide range of topics, and even my return with surprise topics last week started with the NBC issue of editing the pledge of allegiance and associated church/state problems that came about, particularly with the Family Research Council’s indignation. There were times when I almost thought I was tapped out on certain topics, especially the Ground Zero “mosque”, which is still in progress of sorts, as well as the Quran burning by pastor Terry Jones and the issues of school sponsored prayer that bubbled up in droves within the last few months with graduations seeming more like revivals (to use an expression from an article on a particular graduation in Vermont, if I’m not mistaken).

Many might think it gets a bit boring to get all my news from CNN, but I think they do pretty good, plus I have other options if I ever hit a dry spell. I’ve done commentary and opinions on news from other sources, but I’ll admit I’m very fond of CNN. If things come up locally in my state, I also try to make an effort to speak about them in particular, since I have a vested interest in commenting on how my state is progressing (or not in some cases). But it would get boring if I was just doing topics in a narrowed interest. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I do have confidence in my skills of expression through words, owing part of it to high school education on persuasive essays.

I think my start in engagement with these kinds of issues began, however, further back in high school when I wrote my first letter to the editor at the local county newspaper. It was, ironically again, on GLBT issues, presenting a counterpoint to claims from Focus on the Family that Spongebob Squarepants, beloved by children across the country, was promoting homosexuality. I think that people could understand why I feel strongly about GLBT even if I’m confirmed straight myself, but I haven’t had such direct experience of discrimination or even understanding that prejudice against this group existed until late high school or college. And shortly after joining the Gay Straight Alliance at college, I’ve seen that some of my friends, near and far, have already shown me the stark division and opposition that exists in Tennessee alone against gay people even among family members.

All in all, this has been a learning experience, but I don’t ever think it’ll ever become boring. Looking back on my posts from the last year and a half (almost) makes me see how my beliefs have changed, how my perspective on people of the caliber of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin has mellowed and how much more things I find myself compelled to write about. I don’t regret it at all and at least this blog has continued for this long, unlike my last one on Blogger under another name which I forget. Until next time, Namaste and aloha for another 100 posts.

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