Tag Archives: blogging

Frank Miller on the Occupy Movement

Comics over the last thirty or so years have produced quite a few superstars. Okay, maybe they’re not particularly well known outside the industry, with the exception of Neil Gaiman and possibly a couple of others, but if you’re a fan of comic books then chances are you have something by Grant Morrison on your shelves. Or Alan Moore. Or Frank Miller.

Frank Miller is probably the most influential Batman writer of recent decades, mainly down to two works – Batman: Year One and The Dark Knight Returns. If you’re not a comic fan, then you may have seen the movies 300 or Sin City – same guy. Well, Frank kicked up a bit of a stir over the weekend with his blog post on the Occupy movement.

Now, it’s pretty clear that Frank doesn’t altogether have the strongest grasp on current affairs – heck, he gets World of Warcraft’s name wrong, and that’s before conflating Occupy’s protests against corporate corruption with, I guess, the anti-war movement (I’d imagine there’s a reasonable crossover, but they’re hardly the same thing).

It’d be easy to take the blog post apart, especially when he gets on to suggesting that the protestors join the military so they can fight ‘Islamicism’ (which is interesting because Miller has never been in the armed forces while injured Occupy protestor Scott Olsen served with the Marines in Iraq before getting his skull fractured by police in Oakland, California). There’s really no point, because it’s an uninformed screed. However, it comes on the back of recent attention given to the abuse suffered by female bloggers, as well as racist comments relating to the news that the new Spider-Man would be half-black, half-hispanic. The question somehow becomes why, in a medium where most of the characters would probably support Occupy, or at the very least respect their right to protest, and where treating people with respect and compassion is a pretty standard subject for speeches from the likes of Superman and Captain America, does the audience reaction get so ugly sometimes?

(Of course, the flipside of that question is why wouldn’t it – after all, comics are still pretty white, pretty violent and female characters are more sexualised than the men… Just playing devil’s advocate…!)

I guess it’s an issue all of us who engage in online community have to face – the internet can be a harsh, nasty and unforgiving place at times. Miller’s blog post proves that, so do countless comments threatening to rape female writers, and while the majority of us no doubt find this abhorrent, the fact is those attitudes vocally exist. And while maybe the question should be “How can we bring civility back to the internet?”, the darker question is why does such behaviour happen in the first place?

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PS. 3.12.2011 – And now Alan Moore has responded to Frank’s comments. Needless to say, he disagrees.


Fallen Bloggers

I’ve recently written a couple of posts about my blog, and while they may be a little self-indulgent, I make no apology for that – blogging is about the things you’re interested in, your life, your passions. However, over the last few months there have been a few news items about bloggers who have felt called to a riskier form of writing, and who have therefore paid the ultimate price, in Mexico yesterday, in Libya and Brazil earlier in the year.  I think it’s worth remembering their stories, and that this hobby that so many of us treasure and enjoy can become a calling that places brave people in danger. I don’t have anything more intelligent or helpful to add, let’s just remember that there are more important things in the blogosphere than page hits and Search Engine Optimisation, and remember how writing can make a difference, to a society or to an individual.



Grasping the Reading Nettle

Right. That’s it. I’ve had enough. I’m making a stand. Apathy, I’m kicking your unmotivated candy-ass, but I’m letting you live, just so you can tell procrastination that I’m coming and hell’s coming with me!!!

Sorry. Just having a moment.

See, a while back I wrote a post on how I’d lost my reading mojo. I got some nice suggestions in response to it, and now the time has come to put them into practice. I’m going to put an extra page on the blog where I track the books I’ve read – probably not reviews, because I’m not that organised, but the accountability is important. I’m taking my bookcase back.

And so the first book to go on the list is The Wrong Messiah by Nick Page, which basically gave me about half the material I needed for the Bible Study I lead this week. Books are awesome.

PS. I should note that the idea of having a blog page for reading lists came from Deborah Bryan over at The Monster in Your Closet (and she’s having her first author interview released today, so check that out) and egb63. Thanks both!



Seeking Some Blogging Advice

I’ve been blogging for a few years now, and while I’d like to say I’ve cracked the myriad secrets of the blogosphere, I haven’t. In fact, some days I can’t even remember how to type. It therefore goes without saying that sometimes I could use a little advice. Today is one of those days.

My problem is this – somewhere along the line I must have done something that impressed Google or Bing or Ask Jeeves* because my blog is getting a little more passing traffic than it used to. This is great, because let’s face it, we’re all here because a part of us wants an audience, but my problem seems to be getting people to stick around.

Now, this may be because this place simply isn’t what they want, like all those poor people who find themselves here looking for the lyrics to I Am The Music Man. I’ll also confess that I’ve ever so slightly been hit with the tl;dr stick. Even considering all this though, I’d still hope the blog has enough merit to make it worth coming back a couple of times.

So I guess that’s my question – how do you turn that passing traffic into something approximating an audience? Or is it best not to get caught up in that sort of thinking? All answers, suggestions and clicks of the Like button are welcome!

*People must still ask Jeeves, right? Right? I mean, I know I can remember when my favourite search engine was Alta Vista, but things can’t have changed that much can they?

Blog Action Day 2011: #BAD11

I am proud to take part in Blog Action Day Oct 16, 2011 www.blogactionday.org

I wrote most of this after my church’s harvest festival in September; when I discovered that this year’s Blog Action Day is all about food, I figured I’d give it a repost rather than reinvent the wheel…

Harvest is one of those services that feels more rooted in a particular social context than something like Christmas or Easter – it feels like something that comes from our rural history, the days in which everyone in the community was acutely aware of whether or not the harvest had failed. We’ve become divorced from that – refrigeration, air travel and supermarket mega-chains have conspired to hide the reality of where our food comes from (strawberries are available all year round, and how many rice paddies are there in the UK?), and so in that context, harvest festivals take on a new edge. Because the hidden aspects of our food often impact some of the most vulnerable people and environments on the planet.


For instance, the need for space to grow this food also has knock-on effects – according to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, agriculture is the primary cause of deforestation, with the attendant ecological and cultural losses that come from the extinction of species and the threat to tribal cultures. Our commercial choices have ramifications for people a couple of continents away.

(It’s worth noting that one of the chief causes of the 1930s American ‘Dust Bowl’ was over-farming.)

That why organisations such as the Fairtrade Foundation are so important. In a world where people exist on a couple of pence a day, it’s a moral imperative to ensure they receive a decent income. A worker deserves a wage, not exploitation.

It’s not just about exploitation though, it’s about what happens when the harvest fails. We’ve all seen news pictures from the Horn of Africa, so I’m just going to point you to the Disasters Emergency Committee website.

And yeah, I can be cheesy – you can’t spell ‘harvest’ without ‘share’.

There’s a more specifically 20110918-184537.jpgreligious slant to all this as well – if God is creator (via whatever mechanism) of all there is, then respect for that creation and acknowledgement of God’s role in sustaining it should become part of worship. This is something that various branches of religious thought have lost sight of – certainly there seems to be a view among sections of American Christianity that the environment is there for the taking with no regard to the consequences – plunder not stewardship. Maybe that’s tied up with the USA’s roots in apocalyptic millenarianism, but as we’ve seen above, that sort of thinking has terrible ramifications. Churches need to adopt a view of the environment that’s rooted in love and compassion, not greed.

So like many other traditional services, there was wisdom behind the development of harvest festivals. In a world where most of us don’t a connection to the soil, it’s good that there are community events that seek to remind us that there’s more to life than concrete and shppping malls – and I’m speaking as a man who doesn’t walk through nearly enough green spaces. We need to take a moment to stop, look at all that we have, and be thankful, mindful that we’re part of a wider, greener world.

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