Same Sex Marriage Blogalogue: Prolegomena 2 – The Limits of Blogging

Same Sex Marriage Blogalogue: Prolegomena 2 – The Limits of Blogging November 16, 2008

I’m a real fan of the blogging medium, and I’m actually becoming more so.  But I think it’s only one medium in a panoply of media that help us to engage an issue like same sex marriage.  Blogs are good, and I have great hopes for my blogalogue with Rod, but I also hope that all of our readers will also read long-form essays and articles, books, shorter op-eds, even Tweets.

An example comes from my last post.  Almost immediately after posting it, I received a couple emails from friends asking what exactly I meant in titling it, It’s “Not About Me.”  What I meant is this: One the one hand, I’m not gay, so I necessarily don’t feel the passion about this issue that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons do.

On the other hand, I’m not a social scientist.  I won’t be reporting on my blog in some sterile, forensic fashion about research that says our society will be quantitatively better if same sex marriage is legalized.  If that were the case, I could throw my hands in the air and say that the research isn’t my opinion, it’s just what the research says.

But that’s not the case.  Instead, I’m somewhere in the middle.  Rod and I, I’m sure, will both bring research to bear on the blogalogue, and we’ll use data to support our viewpoints.  But, in the end, we’re not scientists, and we’re not gay.  We’re opinionators.  I’m not ashamed of that fact — I’m just trying to call it what it is.

So I tried to communicate that on the last post, and I failed in some sense.

Which exemplifies the shortcomings of the blogging medium.  In fact, the medium is so limited that some of my friends have warned me not to enter into a blog-based dialogue on such a sensitive.  They fear that I’ll be misunderstood and misinterpreted, that a blog cannot communicate the nuance and complexities necessary to this topic, and that the comment section will become a verbally violent place.  And they may be right in all of those concerns.

But every medium has limitations — just look at the “news” that passes for the major network newscasts.  So I endeavor to do two things as I enter into this blogalogue.  First, acknowledge the limits of a blogalogue.  We won’t solve this issue; and it’s unlikely that we’ll write anything that hasn’t been written before.  But maybe we’ll shed light on some things, and hopefully we’ll dialogue in a way that will provoke further dialogue in the comment sections, at coffee shops, over dinner tables, and at church committee meetings.

And second, Rod and I are going to complement our written blog dialogue with an in-person conversation (this Thursday), maybe some video, and even a closing podcast conversation.  The point being, Rod and I will have the benefit of breaking bread together at the beginning of our dialogue.  You probably won’t if you get into a debate with someone in the comment section.  But how about you act like you have broken bread with the other?  That might be a good rule for us all to live by.

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