"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hurrah! I'm a "Thinking Blogger"

The latest interesting meme going around is the "Thinking Blogger Award." Ahistoricality
has really been the one to get it going, having named five recipients and inviting them to spread the compliment. One of the five he named is philosopher and belletrist Brandon Watson of Siris who, declining to use the delightfully ego-stroking graphic offered to us, has in turned memed me. Brandon's compliment for this blog reads: "Sober, balanced, and informed posts on issues in Catholic theology and philosophy."

Eh? "Sober?" "Balanced?" I've never thought of myself that way, but it now looks as though I'm certifiably middle-aged. Although that's not a feature of mine I incline to advertise, neither will I fail in gratitude for any compliment I can get: enough of them, and a suitable potential employer might be impressed. Thank you, Brandon!

Having accepted the compliment, I should now continue the meme. I hope my list is not entirely predictable; with many worthies out there to choose from, these are just the ones I happen to read regularly.

1. Siris, of course. What Ahistoricality said is true, but what most impresses me about Brandon's blog is how he manages to combine depth and clarity of argument with breadth of literary sensibility. That combination is rare even, perhaps especially, among philosophers. Just as important, he's a Christian who appears to be theologically orthodox—though I am unable to discover his ecclesial affiliation, or even his rationale for being quiet about it.

2. Pontifications. I would nominate Fr. Al Kimel's blog even if I had never contributed any articles to it, which I have occasionally done by his gracious invitation. I am by no means the only blogger who finds Pontifications, comboxes as well as posts, to be the most theologically absorbing of them all—even when I'm too tired to enter the jousting lists myself. And it did, after all, win the 2006 Catholic Blogs Award for Most Intellectual as well as Most Theological Blog.

3. One Cosmos. This blog was originally founded by its author, Dr. Robert "Gagdad Bob" Godwin, to flog his book of the same title. It's gone well beyond that, of course, and probably would have even if it hadn't helped sell the book. I don't always agree with Bob, but to me he seems to have the most sensitive spiritual antennae, and certainly the most reliable crap detector, in the blogosphere. He's enormously creative while being decidedly unPC—a combination you gotta love even if you're a liberal. And his writing, which makes liberal use of overstatement and downright tomfoolery, is unfailingly entertaining.

4. Maverick Philosopher. Authored and hosted by another honest-to-goodness philosopher, William Vallicella, in the broadly "analytical" tradition. What they say about MP at Fides Quaerens Intellectum is worth repeating: "I think it was Bill’s blog that showed me that it was possible to do serious philosophy on the blogosphere. His blog also has some of the best discussions in the threads of his evocative posts." (Full disclosure: he's complimented my stuff occasionally.)

5. Zippy Catholic. Fresh, provocative, sophisticated, orthodox, and uncompromising: to me, an irresistible combination. Of course he finds reason to disagree with me as often as not, but I am by no means his only or most important target. Indeed, Zippy used to advertise himself with a blog-title description that started as a half-serious insult offered by a commenter at another blog: "You can't really have a torture party until Zippy arrives."

Each of the above should consider themselves memed.
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