Saturday, January 30, 2010

See, the problem with FPR is...

Both Aaron and I have at times been peeved, other times prit'near enraged, by posts of varying levels of wrongness at the internet's preëminent collection of localists, Front Porch Republic. There, it is taken for granted that any "true" "localist" must be against evangelicals/abortion/same-sex marriage/Obama. (And this is only in writings by editors. Various commenters—Mr Cheeks chief among them—reach teabaggity levels of craziness on a regular basis.) Now, it is true that I am against some of these things. But I have difficulty accepting that they are all inimical to the idea of community. Take my local farmers' market (which I visited today), for example: what difference to that community would it make if my waitress at the market café attended the Praise Jebus Bible Temple? Or if the woman selling specialty salts happened to have spousal benefits with the woman selling scented candles a few booths down? Or even if the apple-seller man voted for Obama? (Abortion, I admit, may be a different case—it certainly is, from a moral standpoint. But I suppose the odds are quite good that some woman I saw today once had a safe and legal abortion. Did that affect the community?) Yet all of these things would be heavily discouraged, if not verboten, in the idealized community envisioned by one or another of the Front Porchers.

This, I think, may be the chief problem with FPR: every contributor has a differ'nt idea of what the basis of localism is. So you have Médaille ranting about distributism while Peters bemoans the utter failures of Protestantism while Fox tries to reconcile the localist impulse with the Democratic platform. And meanwhile, in the peanut gallery, we have comments extolling the One True Faith (be it Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, or Calvinist), defending the "localism" of multimillion-dollar sports franchises, and damning Obama's socialism and Kenyan nationality. The only thing we can agree on is that Wendell Berry happens to be right (at least, some of the time).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

First Dispatches

Welcome, readers, to yet another of the internet's worth-its-while blogs—a fitting description, one suspects, of the writing, if not of the reading, that goes into most internet publications. Regarding which, we'd like to assure you early in the process that our own writing will be quite worth the while for us, and while we make no claims as to the confluence of our interests with yours, we suspect that you'll find this blog worth its weight in gold. No high aim, to be sure, for anything made entirely of pixels, but compared to the opportunity cost of reading most other things on the internet, we think you'll be served best to bookmark us straight away. Or to pick up a copy of The Republic. Whichever.

This blog is written by two graduate students once hailing from the same town, now exiled to two roughly similar post-industrial college towns. We plan to write on topics related to our respective areas of study: sacred music and theology, for one, and for the other, philosophy. (The interdisciplinarity of our posts, we think, will do the administrators of our shared undergraduate institution proud.) We will also post on whatever else interests us, including but not limited to topics related to localism and agrarianism, the weather, and general cultural commentary. Also, as you will note in the upper right, we'll have brief posts on books and articles we're reading, films and television we're watching, and the music and lectures we're listening to. We hope you'll comment and advance the discussion of those posts you find most interesting, and and we welcome film, book, and music recommendations always. Or almost always, anyway. Thanks kindly for reading, and we do hope you enjoy what you find here.