By Kenneth Justice
“It wasn’t until I got my PhD that certain people at the school finally gave me the time of day” he said
~ This past week at coffee a friend of mine was complaining about certain types of bias and hypocrisy that he believes exists throughout the Western World,
“So many people won’t give you the time of day unless they feel that you are ‘in their club’” he said, “But if they find out you have a PhD then all of a sudden they take your opinions more seriously. But even though I have a PhD in History, some silly reality star is more likely to be interviewed by a television NEWS journalist about their thoughts on Middle Eastern conflict than me…..because I’m not ‘famous’ and I’m not a ‘celebrity’ so essentially…..I’m a nothing” he said
Whether my friend is entirely correct or not, I really don’t know. But there is definitely an element of truth behind the idea that celebrities in Western Culture tend to be more ‘relevant’ in the eyes of the NEWS media than the average non-celebrity.
Perhaps that is why the Internet fascinates me so much; because in many ways the Internet has leveled the playing ground.
—-) If you are a parent that has relevant and thoughtful ideas regarding childrearing; then you can start your own blog and publish your writings
—-) If you love politics and have some keen insight into economics or government policy; then you can start your own blog and publish your writings
—-) If you love entertaining people and making people laugh; then you can start your own blog and publish your writings
The Internet has in many ways become a bastion of true freedom in the midst of a world that often pushes the ‘small dude’ into the corner. On the Internet, the ‘small dude’ can be seen and read by millions of people all over the globe; you don’t have to wait for the near impossibility of being discovered in a coffee shop…..but rather, through the power of the Internet you can connect with people from all walks of life.
Of course, to borrow the colloquialism with power comes responsibility. Many people use the Internet to publish lies, promote gossip, and even worse; to slander people. Yet all of those things and more have been done by professional print journalists and television NEWS media as well; the Internet simply allows a greater number of people to easily promote falsehoods.
Sadly, even on the Internet there are little cliques. It wasn’t until the end of my first year blogging that some of the ‘bigger’ bloggers paid any attention to me; it was as though they weren’t interested in what I had to say until they saw that I received as many comments from readers (or more) as they themselves. It’s rather sad that this type of elitism exists even on the Internet.
Elitism and fraternalism in all forms has always bothered me. In the blogging world I don’t demonstrate any partiality with regard to the writers I follow; it doesn’t matter to me if you only have ten readers or ten thousand. I enjoy writers who are honest, authentic, and open-minded.
This year I’ve embarked on a 100 coffee house tour throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe in order to meet with readers, bloggers, and everyone else who comes across my path. It’s been exciting to make so many connections via the Internet over the last year and one of my goals throughout this year’s journey is to better understand the depth and nature of these blogging relationships and the effect they are having within Western Culture.
The last year has been a whirlwind. Through the medium of the Internet I’ve met more people from so many different walks of life than I ever could have imagined,
Jennifer is a Colorado native and works as a print journalist in the desert of California, and one of the nicest people I’ve met via the Internet. Every now and then I check out the Newspaper she writes for and am always impressed at the triple workload placed upon her; 1) she writes the articles 2) she takes the photographs 3) and she has to edit. Mitch Albom’s got nothing on Jen when it comes to industriousness.
Albert Moyer JR from Texas cites skills in cooking, artistry, teaching, and more…and has amazed me each time I read his very poignant posts.
Dewey Decimal holds a Master’s Degree in literature and teaches at a high school in Georgia, her love of literature is contagious
Ann Koplow is licensed therapist who works a group counselor in the Boston area but it’s her daily thoughts on just about everything which draws people into her world
Each time I check out the Nerd in the Brain blog I’m blown away by the creativity this young woman demonstrates in the games she creates and passion she exudes for learning.
Jim in Iowa has a scientific mind that far surpasses the small tidbits of knowledge that I have regarding that discipline
One of my strong suits is Theology, I’ve read a lot….and I thought I had read it all….until I came across Lee Woofenden whose favorite theologian Emmanuel Swedenborg had never registered very high in my studies (I think I had a professor mention the guy in passing once) and so thanks to Lee I ended up spending one afternoon reading everything I could find on Swedenborg
Jaklumen is a Mormon. Those are normally the people we see riding around on bicycles with white button up shirts in the summer and we try to avoid. But Jaklumen puts a whole new spin on the Mormons; he writes without any sly angle of trying to proselytize…he simply wants to connect with people (just like myself) in a spirit of charity
TK is unabashedly a nerd. She doesn’t hide her fandom from the watching public; but rather she embraces it. Her honest and genuine take on life shines through every post she publishes.
Mrs. P. has seen more of life than most of us could see in two lifetimes. She’s experienced hardships that I can only imagine…yet she has picked herself up and risen to great heights.
Mel Wild is the type of pastor that few of us have probably ever met. I’ve written some pretty ‘biting’ articles about Christianity, religion, pastors and church leaders over the past year, yet Mel has never once uttered an unkind word to me. In fact, from my perspective, Mel has always labored to understand where I was coming from instead of simply dismissing me or attacking me.
AuthorMAndyCarroll writes with a passionate intensity that often makes me feel that my own writing is a bit passionless. From wellsprings of tragedy and at times joy, the words flow from her key effortlessly.
Cate Pane is one of those mothers that we all wish we had growing up. Cate writes on a variety of topics but keeps parenting and children closest to mind as she writes each day.
Vicki from Australia has lost quite a bit of sight in her eyes, yet you would never know it looking at her photographs. To put it succinctly; they are stunning.
Dana from Romania has a blog that I often find myself drooling over; she’s traveled to A LOT of places and I only hope that I can make it to half of the places she has been. Her zeal for traveling is intoxicating and she’s one of the few photographers who help me see the beauty in Winter.
Carl Nelson embodies exactly what the blogging world is; a chance for a guy who sells copy-machines by day; and through the magic of blogging publish his poetry and plethora of thoughts to the masses by night. He’s creative, fun, intelligent…..and most of all has a great sense of humor in all that I’ve read.
Chandler Klebs has published a book and writes with an open and honesty regarding religion, sex, and God that I admire quite a bit
Priceless Joy writes with a simple peacefulness which I appreciate quite a bit. In a world filled with noise it’s nice to find a quiet place.
If Mary Widdicks had any allusions that motherhood would involve dresses and doll houses she was sadly mistaken. Mary writes from the often humorous perspective of a mother outnumbered by the guys in her life.
Kirt Tisdale is an artist. He’s not just one of the millions of people who ‘think’ they are an artist…He REALLY is one; his work is pretty incredible and every time I’ve gone to his site I’m always blown away with the talent that other people have (I can’t draw stick figures)
Chris Jordan is a Canadian pastor that impresses me because he seems so laid back. I’ve had my share of pastors who are so intense that when they walk into a room people get nervous. So when I read a pastor who seems comfortable enough to hang out at a coffee shop as he is to be behind a pulpit I tend to take notice.
Jim is a senior citizen that doesn’t want to die the death of irrelevancy. I’ve known a few people that as they entered retirement they simply wanted to ‘check out’ and ignore young people. But Jim is not that type of person; he wants to connect and make a difference in the world.
Andy & his wife and their beautiful children live in Colorado. They seem like an awesome couple (& family) and while I could say a bunch of other nice things about him and his wife Callie, at the moment I admire Andy the most for his love of Netlfix’s House of Cards. And please don’t think that is trivial; because I TOTALLY love that show. It’s also people like Andy that have reminded me why I prefer Twitter over Facebook.
Swarn Gill is a professor and writes with a tremendous amount of humility. I had a LOT of professors during my college years that I’d NEVER want to hang out with at coffee, because their heads wouldn’t fit through the door. But Swarn is every bit as laid back and chill, as he is intelligent and serious.
Separated via tons of miles, yet through the Internet I found MeWhoAmI and a blog that talks about important and relevant issues; I’m definitely not the only one who has the corner in that market!
Suzi is a teacher from the UK and while I may not be quite as big into cats as herself; I do appreciate her love of traveling and writing. She’s not afraid to question the status quo and I love reading people like that from all walks of life.
Audrey is the older red-headed sister you want by your side when everyone else is against you. Don’t let her romantic and beautiful poetry fool you; she won’t let anyone hurt you if she is in the room.
Citizen Tom is not afraid to write what he thinks. While he might swing a tad bit further in one political direction than myself; I’m glad that there are people out there like Tom who stand up for what they believe in. As far as blog years go, (they are kind of like dog-years) Tom is a veteran and has amassed a library of articles he’s written that puts most bloggers to shame.
I’m not sure where her fascination with all things piglets came from, but Iarxiv is a first rate artist and I only hope that I can write about culture with as much gusto as she writes and draws pigs.
Every time I read something by Staci Lys Dunn Silva I’m impressed with her passionate take on life. She lives with her husband in Brazil and the two of them seem to be filled to overflowing with energy regarding art, film, god and more; her husband is currently filming a documentary that will soon be released in Brazil.
Biochiklet doesn’t mix words. In a few short sentences each day she is able to loudly proclaim how she’s feeling and often does so with a vocabulary that would make an English professor jealous.
One of my favorite blogs of all is by Ranting Crow. I often don’t have time to read much each day, but Ranting Crow provides his regular ‘Thought of the day’ that I can ingest via a quick glance. And when I want to read something a little bit spicy or simply creative; he keeps a regular flow of posts published daily.
This is a mere sampling of the connections I’ve made throughout the past year. It’s been these people and more that stimulated my idea for the Drinking in the Culture Tour and visiting 100 coffee houses this year.
Connections, relationships, the Internet……..what does all of this mean? I don’t necessarily have all the answers, but with each new coffee house I enter I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to meet so many of you.
I will be in Chicago on Saturday! I’d love to meet you and share a cup of coffee with you! (Well, we won’t share the same cup, you’ll have to order your own)
I couldn’t possibly list all of the bloggers I’ve met and who I read so please don’t feel slighted if I didn’t mention your name. Over the course of the next year I’m trying to set a regular goal of listing as many of the bloggers I’ve met via the Internet and who I read on a regular basis. Each of you have been a major source of inspiration in my own efforts, and for that I’m ever grateful.
Categories: Culture & Society