Posted on January 1, 2011 at 6:11 pm by Dr. Jim
With James McGrath celebrating his ONE MILLIONTH site visit a while ago (congrats!), and out to topple Jim West from the position of top blogger in the Biblioblog Top 50 list, and all that internetitudinal masculine strutting and prancing going on, the rule book has drastically changed! Or has it?
The True Top Bible Blogger™ is now determined by quality of posts and not quantity of site visits. The official Keeper of the list, N. T. Wrong, decreed a few weeks ago that December’s Top blogger will assessed according to a certain new technology, the Jouissance-Meter.
The Biblioblog Jouissance-Meter will rank the Top 50 Biblioblogs each month according to the following objective standards: cutting-edge research, side-splitting humor, a high ratio of stimulating : boring-as-shit posts, well-aimed profanity/swearing, shit-stirring radicalism, startling innovation, timely scoops, risk-taking, and overall sexiness.
Ok, I’m still not in the running for the top spot, but at least I did make December’s Top 50! which is described thusly:
Welcome to the Biblioblog Top 50 for December 2010 – your guide to the very sexiest in biblical studies blogging.
The (original) Biblioblog Top 50 provides the only objective measure of the top 50 biblical studies blogs. That’s because we use The Jouissance-meter, designed by Lacan himself in the early 1970s, and accurate to twelve decimal places. No longer will we have to rely on the subjective whimsies of dodgy hit-counters, or on the elitism and auto-eroticism of bibliobloggers voting for themselves, or on some mystical determination of top biblioblogs by use of Urim and Thummim.
I’m NOW AT #27! Up from around 3,451,756 when the rankings were determined by site visits. HORRAY FOR PURE OBJECTIVITY! Even better, Jim West is down to #14 and James McGrath is #13! And, to probably everyone’s delight, the link to West’s site takes one to his defunct blog, not his new one. So, while I’ve jumped in the rankings, I’m still behind a blog with no content. Must be some sort of homeopathic thing West has going, and so, being a skeptic about that, this is a situation that must be addressed.
When not fully satisfied, there is only one responsible, internetty, thing to do. Bitch and complain about being hard done by to cover up my own internal dilemmas. So, here goes.
There are some serious questions to ask about the new criteria. Are they out to get me? Probably. But, how can I use them to my advantage and get into the top 10, where once this blog happily resided, albeit only temporarily?
Hmmm. I could blog about some cutting edge research I’m doing? Nope. Research sounds like work, and this blog is anti-work. Not sure about the rest of the criteria, as well. Side splitting humor? I guess I’m used to people laughing at me. I’m not bad at profanity and swearing, but I can’t aim it worth a damn. Shit-stirring radicalism is not really too common here, unless atheism is radical (it isn’t: its the normative state of sensible people ). Overall sexiness? Well, let’s just say you do NOT want to see me wearing only my underpants. At least not without a hat.
And, in anycase, what makes a blog, let alone a blogger, “sexy”? Are there objective criteria for this? Remember folks, these standings (or layings) are for blogs about the BIBLE! I suppose I have posted some things on Slinky Bible Babes a few times (and I must complete part III at some point) but is this objectively sexy enough? Perhaps it is simply objectifying and sexist! Or or does all sexiness imply a certain level of objectification and assorted -isms, especially when the sexy is not directed at any one person with whom one has a deeply significant personal relationship? But then, why can’t that be a criteria for being on top (pun intended)?
A Slinky Bible Babe
Indeed, rather high on the Top 50 list is Roland Boer’s Stalin’s Moustache, which I assume someone thought of as sexy (I don’t), and Boer, of course, is the shit-stirring radical who suggested that the biblical prophetic corpus was simply a Sausage Fest.
Now, as I will describe below, the old Biblioblogging sphere was something of a sausage fest too, and the new ranking have mostly sausages in it. There are only a few blogs by women in the list, with Women in Theology being the highest at #18. Ekaterini G. Tsalampouni’s is next at 20, and at 39 is Cláudia Andréa Prata Ferreira’s. Following immediately behind are Judith Wiengarten and Rachel Barenblat, while April DeConick is at that 44th position. Doubtlessly, some more women contribute posts to some of the other Top 50 blogs: some are co-operative efforts, but there remains a certain gender imbalance in the new listing as in the old one! Is there something in the new standards which marginalizes women? Could they be sexist? It cannot be circumstantial that Dierdre Good’s blog “On Not Being a Sausage” was excluded from the Top 50 ranking altogether!
Ah but the new criteria is objective, so, how about more
sexism objectivity around the old Thinking Shop? I could do that! Hell, I have stirred up some shit in the past with it and some people thought I was going a bit too far (pun intended) and so perhaps more of it can count as a little shit-stirring radicalism.
So, lets get back to basics, shall we, with a little journey down memory lane to pick up a few shreds of my past glory, fire some VERY belated return volleys in a 16 month old dispute, post some cheap
sexist objecive pictures, rile up a few bibliobloggers and generally run roughshod over everyone’s sensibilities while superficially making a superficial point about something that’s not that well thought out.
GOD, I LOVE THE INTERNET!
But should I be more
sexy… sexist objective? Is it nice to do that? But if it wasn’t fair to do that, would omnisciently objective N. T. Wrong have created criteria so open to that kind of interpretation? I’m conflicted, torn between my sense of f oreair play and lust for power and glory. So, here’s my (revisionist) life story in which I bury my regrets in a fit of indignant self-righteousness for your reading displeasure!
Back in September 2009 there was some discussion about how most Bible bloggers are male and why that might be the case. April DeConick at Forbidden Gospels expressed her concerns about the relatively few women listed as Bibliobloggers in August 2009′s Top 50 (and see the later posts here and here). DeConick wrote:
So this is my hypothesis. I think there are as many women bibliobloggers out there as men, but they are not visible. Why? Because many of us women post on subjects that are considered marginal (even heretical, especially if there is any feminist bent) to bible studies by the men who are blogging about the bible. Our blogs are easily justified as unimportant. They remain unknown or unread because they haven’t been linked to by the male bibliobloggers who dominate this blog niche and the field in general.
So I posted Throw Another Blog on the Fire: Gender Blender Bible Blogging, just for the hell of it. Therein, I commented that I didn’t have De Conick’s blog on my blogroll (still dont) and that apparently most of the blogs on her blogroll were written men. Anyway, I wrote:
I don’t think there is any evidence of a conspiracy against women bloggers. I don’t know the statistics on how many women blog as opposed to men, so it is hard to evaluate the imbalance in the field of Bible studies. Could it be that many women just want nothing to do with the “trash the other as you fear they will trash you” nature of the blogosphere? Or are there fewer female losers than men?
I think the last point may have hit the nail on the head. In any case, the post was filled with my usual stupid pictorial metacommentary. And it was those pictures that got me in trouble. Obvosuly some folks never got the self-deprecating slant to most of it.
A few days after my post, DeConick wrote that she would be making a list of female bloggers. In that post she also had this to say:
I have to say that it is striking how immediately aggressive and sexualized some of the male reaction to my gender blogging has been, and how the humor used (including the cartoons and some of my colleagues reactions to those cartoons and circulation of them) turned women like me into either bitches, madams, or dominatrixes. Much of the male interpretation of my words has literalized them and exaggerated them, so that my words have been turned into the sexist words of a “man-hater” as one blogger put it. I wonder if he would say this to my husband?
I wonder if anyone else has wondered what the purpose of this kind of sexually aggressive rhetoric is? What is it trying to accomplish?
Anyway, it wasn’t me who called her a “man-hater” (we know who you are!), but I suspect she is referring to a few (all?) of the pictures I posted. Similarly, in a comment on my post, Judy Redman wrote:
I found this post by following link a from Random Colin the blog of Colin Toffelmire. The first time I look at it, what I saw was the cartoons and I was amazed that Colin had spoken positively about it. I was quite frankly appalled, and surfed away without reading what you had to say. However, I visited somewhere else (can’t remember where) and they also spoke positively about this post, so I came back and ignored the pictures and just read the words. I don’t agree totally with everything you have to say, but the words without the pictures are definitely worth a read!!
Now, I meant to defend the pictures (at least in part) in a post over a year ago, but never quite got around it. My students started handing int their assignments on time (bad, bad students), the kerfuffle in the biblioblogosphere settled down, and I moved on to other things. But now with Top Blog criteria seemingly catering to the crass sexism with which I was once accused, it is fair to return to the fray.
Here’s a few of the pictures I think were found to be the most offensive, with some added commentary.
Ok, who is being mocked here? Certainly not the woman! Neither are all women being portrayed as dominatrixes (is that plural correct?). Certainly some women are, but I don’t see how one could suppose my use of the cartoon is suggesting that I think sexually aggressive women are a threat, or that DeConick or any other female bloggers are somehow to likened to sexually aggressive women. The target of the cartoon is the guy who is totally ignoring his lady’s more immediate desires to pontificate on matters of which he is perfectly ignorant and non-self-reflective. Of course, the cartoon assumes that bloggers are men, women are not, but isnt’ that just the stereotype that DeConick thought kept a lot of women off men’s blogrolls? The cartoon is making fun of the very ideas she was contesting.
Similarly, the following needs to be viewed in context:
Again, men are bloggers, women are not and to in that respect the cartoon is badly inaccurate. But besides supposing that women tend to see bloggers as cretins it also comments on the objectification of women among male internet users. There is a certain truth to that, of course! So what use could I have had for the image? Because it’s real target is ME, a guy who has no problem with women blogging and being treated fairly in academia and in other spheres of life, and but who also is a typically visually stimulated, overtly herterosexual male and has a number of posts on Slinky Jazz (and Bible) Babes. These posts ostensibly celebrate some great milestone around the Thinking Shop (hey, what’s a party without music?) by highlighting my favourite style of music, but really, let’s face it, I do have a thing about slinky black dresses, too.
Jessica Lalonde, a slinky jazz babe
And then there’s my page representing different religions by their characteristic bras, and another doing the same with biblical scholarship. Yup, scholarship is just a coverup of the fact that we’re all bunch of boobs.
A few examples of my bra-goodness:
Hindu “Devi Deluxe” Realize your personal goddess; with as many complementary shoulder straps as you think you have arms.
Scientology “Spiritual Technology Bra” Available only to the initiated for the low price of $50,000. Athletic-level of support and comfort even when jumping up and down on couches like an idiot. It comes with various books, pamphlets, built in flashing lights, a whistle, and a small propeller on each cup. Great support for the AUTHORIZED wearer from our legal team.
The DeuteronoHysteria. One of our most Nothworthy creations, this series comes in a number of models. The baseline DtrH is made of select pieces of the finest traditional material, sewn together in a way that will make single minded statement about how naughty you really can be! Our deluxe models include extra ”Redaction-Attraction” layers, so you can make it as appealing as you dare and smooth out any wrinkles!
This reminds me, I have a few new ones to post…
Now, I admit, I’m an objectifying, chauvinistic cretin but all of this silliness was inspired by a joke about religious bras sent to me by my friend, and former student, Nicole, so I’m not taking the blame for all of it. Some of it lies in female hands!
Sex sells, apparently to women, too.
Now, is it true that all male bloggers are drooling porn-mongers and sex addicts? Certainly not. Nor do all women see all male bloggers that way and DeConick and Rudman certainly do no. Yet, I do find it interesting that they judged my post on their gut reactions to images and not on my text which give a context to the use of the images! Perhaps there is more truth to that cartoon than first meets the eye!
Probably the most most objectionable cartoons I posted were those that pictured female bloggers, of which there were two: The first is probably not that insulting, but who knows?
The second one, though, probably ruffled a few feathers:
Ah, yes, the appalling Sheena the She-Blogger!
Claude Mariottini had the guts to reproduce the image albeit with the following comment, which I thought was nice:
J. R. Linville at Dr. Jim’s Thinking Shop has written a response to DeConick’s question. To illustrate his argument, he uses several funny pictures. One that called my attention was “The She-Blogger” picture. If your sense of humor is not up-to-date, you better not read Dr. Jim’s post.
Now what is most interesting about this is NOT that the She-blogger image plays off of supposed male fears that women bloggers are threatening to one’s masculinity, but rather THAT THE ARTIST WAS A WOMAN.
I found the image on a political blog, Frank Owens Paintbrush, that was commenting on the underrepresentation of women in the political blogosphere. The image was originally posted on a now defunct blog called Tild ~: Return of She-blogger, back in 2005 (not to be confused with the still going She-Blogger, by someone else). The artists, Tild, now has a new online home, simply called Tildology. The image was one of a series that originated with a contribution to Elayne Riggs’”Estrogen Month” (March, 2005) that celebrates women bloggers. Here is the first of the series, from Tilde’s new home for them.
Oh, hell, that was fun. Here are the rest!
Tild Dallelie has a wonderful blog, and much of her artwork that she posts from time to time is excellent. I’ve had it bookmarked in my browser for some time, but always forgot to put the link here in my blogroll, but that is fixed now.
Her pictorial commentaries are great, if you like really in-your-face sort of social commentary! Have a look at her depiction of Republican support for torture. Anyway, you can get your Tidology merchandise here:
Here's your liberal press!
Now, I wonder if I’ve stirred up enought sexist shit to catapult me into the Top 10? Or have I simply marked myself as a hopeless chauvanist? Is there something still be to hashed out about the hermeneutics of considering a picture to be worth 1000 more important words than those that actually accompany the image? JUMPIN’ JEHOSHAPHAT! I’ve ever used the word “hermeneutics” in a sentence! I’m a real biblioblogger now!
So, would the venerable N.T. Wrong please discuss the objectivity of the new criteria, or other bloggers the objectionablness (is that word? Is now) of them, and lets get blogging!
And now, a new SLINKY JAZZ BABE to celebrate my reentry into the TOP 50!
Cara Matthew is Canadian singer (most of my SJB’s are Canadian, hey, I’m lecherous old fart, but I’m patriotic!) with an album from 2009 called Make You Feel My Love (she is also on Facebook)
The album has some great covers: “Walk on by”, “She’s always a Woman” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. Needless to say, the album crosses a lot of generic borders and she has a great, soulful voice. Go here to listen to a few samples and for a link to buy the album.
So, go buy it. And drop by back at the Thinking Shop at least 5 times a day, quantity might still count for something.