Monday, January 04, 2010

That post about Philo

Got an email from LinguistFriend the other day. I shall reprint it in its entirety, sans salutation and signature:

You need to post a salute to Chris on the demise of his blog, while acknowledging gratitude for his continuing contribution in a different form, as editor of UU World and gray eminence in the blogging world.

While I prefer my suggestions for blog posts to come to me phrased as questions, I had to concede that LF was correct. At the time, I wrote LF back to say that a lot of people had already written about the demise of Philocrites. But not enough people have, so here goes.

Philocrites was a great UU blog. Indeed, it was the blog that really got me started blogging. I had been posting on beliefnet for awhile and its current admin and I didn't get along, so I was primed to leave. I read Philo's blog and thought "Hey, I could do a funnier, less informed version of that." Then one day I was posting a comment to Ministrare and literally created a blog for myself by accident while trying to just create a login for myself. But reading Philocrites put me on that path.

It's funny how even with this memory, I can go back and read something of Philo's and be blown away by how thoughtful and wonderful it is, but I totally can. Philo's reflection on the transformative nature of Evangelical faith and how we don't really do that, for example.

Philo was always very direct and forthcoming with challenging ideas like "By acknowledging that there are parts of my personal religious life that take place outside of Unitarian Universalism, I'm not suggesting that Unitarian Universalist congregations and institutions can't serve or promote genuinely satisfying religious lives. I think they can. In fact, they do. But I am saying that UU congregations operate within an increasingly post-denominational world in which people bring a range of expectations and needs that a single institution may not be able to fulfill. I always found that wonderful and admirable, especially in a man who works for the UUA and might have to deal with an annoyed reader in person first thing in the morning.*

He was kind of the silverbacked monkey of UU bloggers and was treated as such by other UU bloggers for years. I have several times written him with questions like "What's the UU World's policy on...?" "Have you heard of this crazy person who is writing me..." and what to do about various issues arising in the blogosphere. His response was unfailingly polite and quick and thoughtful and reasonable.

I really don't think the UU blogosphere would be what it is without Philo's early contributions and he will be missed around here. IMHO, you can best honor the legacy of Philocrites by reading his blog, thinking about what you find there, and writing about it on a blog of your own.


*Whether I am blogging or reviewing a play, I hate dealing with people I've written about. Last summer, I found myself physically hiding from someone whose work I had very positively reviewed in the DC City Paper. Philo never really had that choice, and still he didn't pull punches.


LinguistFriend said...

Thanks.I thought of trying to write something, but I realized that you were much more qualified. I was right.

fausto said...

Well said, CC. Thanks. And thanks, Philo.

The same admin still moderates the Beliefnet UU boards, which are almost moribund now in contrast to the lively place they were back then, but just look at what has become of the UU blogosphere over the same period! We owe much of that to Philocrites.

Philocrites said...

Thank you for these kind words, CC. And thanks for making the epic trek to Boston for our UU bloggers picnic lo those many years ago! I'm so glad you and the other Beliefnet refugees set up shop in the blogosphere.

Robin Edgar said...

Indeed, Philocrites *was* the Big Fat U*U Blog that *really* got me started blogging. :-)

Seriously U*Us. . .

Well it wasn't the Philocrites blog itself so much as its owner and "moderator" aka "memory hole" operator UU World magazine editor Christopher L. Walton who censored and suppressed aka "memory holed" pretty much every single comment that I ever submitted to it (right up to the Big Fat U*U Bitter End) and absolU*Utely insisted that I get my own damned blog.

So I did. :-)

Not inappropriately right around Hallowe'en, and The Day of the Corpse-Cold Unitarian Dead, and All U*U Souls Day. :-)

And the U*U blogosphere has been a bit louder ever since, although the loud and proud Peacebang gives (gave?) me a run for my money every now and then. ;-)

Here's the (in)appropriate jU*UveNile "dick waving" U*U Tube video that I posted in a parting shot comment to Chris Walton's corpse-cold Unitarian Philocrites blog as a quite loving tribute that he none-the-less chose the Big Fat U*U Fate of promptly "memory holing". . . Maybe Chris was just standing on tradition or something.

I *must* get around to blogging about the U*U Blog Graveyard one of these days since it *does* seem to be experiencing considerably more growth than The U*U Movement is these days. OTOH It does seem that new brand-spanking new U*U blogs are popping up quite regularly, and I know for a fact that there a good number of existing U*U blogs that are not listed in or other lists of U*U blogs.

Hasta La Vista Philocrites!

Robin Edgar said...

"I'm so glad you and the other Beliefnet refugees set up shop in the blogosphere."

Thank you for these kind words, CW. :-)

Philocrites said...

Robin is one of only three commenters I permanently barred from Philocrites, after I had wasted a month of my free time dealing with his persistent, tangential, conversation-derailing comments. After that experience, I explained my comments policy in some detail.

Chalicechick said...


I had no idea there were two others.


Philocrites said...

The other two were a combative fundamentalist and an anonymous right-winger who kept using a fake email address.

Robin Edgar said...

"after I had wasted a month of my free time dealing with his persistent, tangential, conversation-derailing comments."

You wouldn't have had to waste so much as a second of your free time if you had simply allowed my allegedly "tangential, conversation-derailing comments" stand Chris. Your proclivity towards censorship and suppression of my comments had everything to do with attempting to cover up and hide what (for the most part) was not *that* tangential legitimate criticism of U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy. Really not all *that* surprising for an editor of the UUA's Big Fat U*U Propaganda Organ is it Chris? So when *is* the UU World magazine going to finally get around to *freely* and *responsibly* reporting on The War Of The U*U World Chris? Do tell. . . If I come down to Boston again and stand right on the doorsteps of The Place That Reeks Of 97% White Privilege And Hierarchy aka 25 Beacon Street and display picket signs saying -




etc. etc. yet again. . .

Will you refuse to so much as send down a reporter to talk to me as the UU World magazine did almost a decade ago now? Are you "under instructions" from your *employer* not to talk to me at all, just like former UU World senior editor Tom Stites claimed he was when he did in fact talk with me for perhaps a bit longer than he *should* have way back in the spring of 2000?

How about if I bring down a sledge hammer, or Big Fat U*U JackHammer, or some other tool that can be reasonably described as a weapon, and quite freely and (ir)responsibly smash up a few things like Big Fat U*U "Folk Hero" Mona "The Hammer" Shaw did at a Comcast office a while back? Is *that* what I need to do to get the UUA and UU World magazine to pay some proverbial *attention* to the U*U injustices, abuses, and hypocrisy that I am dealing with Chris?

Robin Edgar said...

I mean while I do *appreciate* the few brief mentions of some of the "highlights" of this Big Fat U*U Saga on the UU World blog I don't think they "do justice" to the Big Picture and believe that this shameful and ludicrously drawn out "episode" of Big Fat U*U History *could* be and *should* be presented in a full story in the UU World magazine or, at minimum, some much more detailed and balanced reporting on the UU World blog. You know there *is* this thing called investigative journalism Chris, and if the UU World had the Big Fat U*U *Guts* to assign a decent investigative journalist to do a free and, more importamtly, *responsible* search for the truth and meaning of my "alternative spiritual practice" in a genuinely fair and balanced report on my Big Fat U*U His*Story they *could* produce a "less than flattering" feature article, or even two or three. . .

When is the last time that the UUA's Big Fat U*U Propaganda Organ *freely* and *responsibly* reported on the UUA's well-documented irresponsible and incompetent mishandling of my own and too many other people's clergy misconduct complaints? Why is it that no one from the UU World contacted me to get my side of the story before posting those few mentions to the blog? Proper answers to the above questions would be *appreciated* Chris, although I do appreciate the Big Fat U*U Position U R in when it comes to *freely* and *responsibly* reporting on the considerably "less than flattering" Big Fat U*U Truth and Meaning of such things. For the record I posted an interesting response to Rev. Dan Harper's somewhat questionable Big Fat U*U Allegation to the effect that "sexual misconduct by male ministers all too often gets passed over lightly" on The Blog That Cannot Be Named*. . .

*At least not on the UU World blog or in the UU World magazine.

Interestingly enough Chris, the WVC for this comment automatically produced by the Ghost in the Google Machine is -


Maybe that's a little cosmic hint Chris. How about assigning Doug Muder to do a free and *responsible* story about my Big Fat U*U Mud Slinging in the UU World magazine? I mean this *could* be a sign from Almighty Google, if not Almighty God. Heck it *might* even be the Mudder Of All Rattles or something like that.

Chalicechick said...

((((I *must* get around to blogging about the U*U Blog Graveyard one of these days)))

OH my gosh... you mean... A UU will sometimes start keeping a blog, then get bored with it after awhile and stop?

Wow, Robin, that's a shocking insight. You better get on that project right away. When the world knows that UUs sometimes start hobbies and then get tired of them, wow, that will show UUism a thing or two.


Robin Edgar said...

Did Chris Walton "get tired" of his Philocrites "hobby" or did other factors cause him to stop blogging CC?

The fact of the matter is that there are some quite interesting Corpse-Cold Unitarian blogs in the U*U Blog Graveyard that *ended* up in it for any number of reasons, not the least of them being the fact that some of the blog owners are now quite literally corpse-cold Unitarians.

Chalicechick said...

You mean some UUs develop different priorities when they have kids and some UUs die?

This graveyard list of yours is sounding less interesting by the minute.