Tag Archives: blogging

The real question about those one-star votes


OK, I’m bored, and I need a break from grading, so I’ll take the bait.

I’ve wondered about the motivation within the person who occasionally finds it meaningful to jump on my blog here and give one-star votes to everything on the first page of posts, regardless of extremely wide differences in the content of each. It has happened before, and this week, happened again.

These disapproving votes first appeared shortly after I added a link to a reputable charity seeking to help Syrian refugees, who through no fault of their own have been forced from their homes with their children. So I suspect the voter dislikes Syrians or Muslims. I wish it bothered me more, but that sort of dislike has become cliché.

However, for me, at the moment, the motivation behind the one-star votes is not the real question.

The real question is why, after voting one star on six posts on my homepage, did the voter fail to click that single left-hand star on the final post?

The homepage, the landing page, always displays seven posts. Until the post you’re reading right now was published, the seventh post on this page stood without a vote. It was right there, barely a mouse-twitch away. I assure you that post is just as hostile as the six previous posts to everything the voter stands for. Now it’s gone over to the second page, out of reach to quick protest votes.

So, since the voter missed it, I’ll extend the opportunity and give the link. It’s right here. Go click one star on the post you missed, right here, right now.

One star is better than nothing. Thank you.

So, I took the bait. You’re welcome. Thanks for the break from grading.

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Footnote: Blog Stats at the End of the Semester


I just took some time out from the final grading crunch to peek at my stats. It’s interesting to see which blog posts get hits during the end of the semester—more interesting than some of the stuff I’m grading.

To be clear, I don’t think the hits come from the university where I teach, but based on stats, I think it’s fairly obvious students near and far are searching the Internet for sources and backgrounds.

I don’t see huge numbers, but I see some definite clusters. Of particular interest at the end of the semester are my previous posts here about Jonathan Edwards, Martin Luther, Descartes, Kierkegaard, Chekhov, Bart Ehrman, Stoicism, and Paul Holmer on how literature functions. Last week, I even saw a referring link from a plagiarism-detection site, suggesting that, whether someone gave proper credit or not, info in one of my links appeared in a research paper.

More pleasantly, and probably not due to college students, another trending post is “The Cultivation of Christmas Trees” by T.S. Eliot.

Now, for me, it’s back to grading fiction portfolios.

Tyndale House’s outrageous PR sacrifices more credibility


“It is disturbing to us to see how quickly some are willing to criticize fellow Christians.” — Tyndale House

The execs at Tyndale House, the religious publisher, probably don’t realize how the company’s defense of Mark Driscoll has hurt their credibility yet again.

Long story short, Tyndale House has altered some of its previous plans for releasing books through the Mark Driscoll-affiliated Resurgence imprint, as Warren Throckmorton reported in The Daily Beast.

The headline on that Daily Beast article, however, made the relationship between Driscoll’s Resurgence imprint and Tyndale House sound like divorce: “Megachurch Star Mark Driscoll’s Publishing Downfall.”

LIT Throck Daily Beast Headline

Actually, it was probably the headline plus an omission in the last paragraph — but an omission that was immediately clarified by a direct quotation that followed.

LIT Throck Daily Beast last para

Throckmorton began the last paragraph with, “In addition to putting Driscoll’s books on hold, Tyndale does not plan to print further titles under the Resurgence imprint” (emphasis added).

However, the next sentence directly quoted Tyndale representative Todd Starowitz, who said, “To my knowledge we do not have any additional Resurgence titles that have release dates scheduled at this time” (emphasis added).

To many readers, the headline might have suggested a lot that wasn’t true.

However, the article itself was solid, aside from the omission of a word or phrase that would have foreshadowed what Starowitz said in the next sentence: “at this time.”

As part of its statement that the relationship between Driscoll’s Resurgence imprint and Tyndale House is not over, the publishing company made a thinly veiled retaliatory remark against Throckmorton.

LIT Throck Charisma Tyndale

“It is disturbing to us to see how quickly some are willing to criticize fellow Christians,” the publisher said.

‘How quickly’? What’s that?

The Tyndale House execs probably aren’t kidding, but I wish they were.

Their statement implies that Driscoll has had a spotless record and the real-world issues mentioned by Throckmorton are just little aberrations that just popped-up on the radar screen.

In the first place, on his blog, Throckmorton has cataloged numerous problems in Mars Hill Church and with Mark Driscoll.

In the second place, another blogger has recorded numerous Driscoll contradictions and outrages, from recent memory as well as from the past.

I’ll go so far as to say, there are no new criticisms of Driscoll, only new details related to those criticisms.

Straining Editorial Standards

Tyndale House’s credibility already has been damaged following its defense of Driscoll against plagiarism allegations that surfaced last year.

While Tyndale House believed Driscoll had given adequate credit to those who influenced his work, reputable sources outside the publishing company disagree.

Neil Holdway, treasurer of the American Copy Editors Society and newspaper editor, disagrees.

A university professor disagrees.

In my opinion, the Chicago Manual of Style disagrees.

And the MLA Handbook disagrees.

And the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association disagrees.

In the PR world, of the PR world

Rather than address Driscoll’s problems and the allegations against him straight on, Tyndale House chose to do exactly what those “worldly” and “secular” strategists do — they took the emphasis off the facts related to Driscoll and placed it on the person who pointed out the facts.

But Tyndale House should get at least one thing straight. There is no “how quickly” to anyone’s criticism Driscoll.

Due to his own words and actions, Driscoll has been inviting criticism for years.

Clarification on my previous post


So much for blogging by smart phone.

The first version of the previous post had a final paragraph in which I began to make comments about the composition of worship teams in contemporary services — and then, I accidentally published the post before it was finished.

Big fingers on a small device.

Due to that premature posting and an uncompleted final paragraph, I might have unfairly and unintentionally offended some people. I really didn’t mean to.

Sincerely, the point I was trying to make about worship teams in contemporary services was that the musicians and singers tend to be artsy and sophisticated people, and I was going toward the question of whether, in some cases, the fullness of a worship team’s efforts are lost on some visitors (and that might not be important, witness Babette’s Feast).

I should add, too, that I was not aiming the comments at a specific worship team.

Maybe it’s too easy to assume I’m aiming many posts at a local church, but I have attended numerous Sunday contemporary services in the Carolinas, including churches in Raleigh, Cary, Charlotte, Myrtle Beach, and Pawleys Island, as well as across the pond in London and somewhere in Hampshire County, U.K.

Most of the time, the musicianship was outstanding.

My thoughts about the ubiquity, the near cliche’, of contemporary services are not intended to criticize individual musicians and singers and performers, or their abilities.

Twenty years ago, an early version of Crossroads Fellowship (a church that only had contemporary services) was meeting in Sanderson High School in Raleigh, N.C. There, I frequently heard an outstanding saxophone player who I remember to this day. I also recall a bass player who was good enough to play gigs (jazz maybe?) around town, in addition to his service at Crossroads on Sunday mornings.

Not all contemporary services have skits and short dramas, but back when Beach Church was Myrtle Beach Community Church, I played parts in two short performances, and I wrote a short play that was used in another Sunday morning service.

So, today, while I was out and about, when I realized the post had been published prematurely, I decided to delete the entire final paragraph as a quick and easy solution.

But I realized that some people might have seen the first version and, due to the uncompleted paragraph, might have thought I was ending with a snide remark about the worship teams. I wasn’t and I apologize for any undeserved offenses.

 

2012 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 23,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.