Jul 232012

Ten years ago today I entered into the blogosphere with my first post.

Warning ahead: Self-reflective ego post on ten years of blogging.

I first became aware of Catholic blogging via the National Catholic Register which did an article on Catholic bloggers. I found Mark Shea’s blog that way and have been hooked ever since. In those early days of Catholic blogging you could read every Catholic blog over lunchtime. No RSS feeds back then so I would just click on all my bookmarks.

It was interacting in the comment sections on Catholic blogs that first got me to think about starting my own blog. As I noted in my first post is was my vanity that wanted to bring my comments out of the comment section and into full view. Embarrassingly my first blog post contained the extremely pretentious “This blog is my comment section on life.” My blog was the first to reference Chesterton’s “if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.”, but it certainly was not the last to do so in an opening post. This quote is often taken out of context as Chesterton actually used in a defense of hobbies – which blogging certainly is for me.

My first blog was on blogspot and was called “Atheist to A Theist.” After six months I moved to my own domain with Movable Type and started The Curt Jester. Of that handful of Catholic bloggers ten years ago some of them are still blogging. Mark Shea, Amy Welborn, Tom at Disputations, Domenico Bettinelli, TS at Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor.   Victor Lams was also one of those early pioneering Catholic bloggers and his creativity and humor really sparked me into blogging.  The first Catholic blogger though was  Kathy Shaidle  of Relapsed Catholic which started in 2000. I’ve also seen many blogs come and go and among those many that are sorely missed.  There have also been some interesting rises and falls.  One very popular  blog that went all wobbly  and then closed, ironically it was called “The Cafeteria is Closed”.  Another early Catholic blogger went back to being a Seven Day Adventist.  Though my favorite exit from St. Blogs was a former atheist who blogged on his new found faith and later became a Monk in an Eastern Catholic Church.  Nicely in the early days of St. Blogs there weren’t really any liberal Catholic blogs.  An article in Commonweal despaired of this lack and even took some potshots at me and other so-called conservative bloggers.   Due to a suggestion from Kathy Shaidle I started a parody blog called Thoroughly Modern Mary where I blogged as an extremely liberal religious sister to give Commonweal what they asked for   Though that blog is several changes behind in Blogger templates and so now only has the text of my posts.

So ten years and some 7,556 posts later I am still rather surprised to be still writing. Writing was never something I really aspired towards.  It was the joy of conversion and a way of expressing it that lead me in this direction.  In real life I am one of those quiet class clowns that will sit in the back of the room waiting for an opportunity for a quip while also being rather shy and bookish. So I don’t naturally find many opportunities to express my faith. I remember when my blog was getting five to ten hits a day how wondrous it was for me that five to ten people were paying attention to what I was saying.  That was a 500 to 1000 percent increase for me.  This blog has kind of taken of life of it’s own since it went down channels I never expected.  The funny thing is that I never originally intended a humor related blog – how little I knew myself.  My first humor post is still one of my fondest “A Night at the the Jesus Seminar” a mashup between the Marx Brothers movie and a conversation with an adherent of the Jesus Seminar.  Another thing I never expected was becoming a book reviewer.  As my blog started to get popular enough I started to get offers from publishers to review their books.  The idea of getting books for free certainly appealed to me as way too much of my disposable income goes to them.  Having to write a review in exchange seemed like a pretty good deal, though I don’t find book reviewing particularly easy.

What I like the most about St. Blogs though is how much I have continued to learn about the faith as there are so many quite excellent Catholic writers that range from the amateurs to the professionals.  There is so much expertise out there on so many topics that it can really help you from having a narrow view of the faith.  The long tail of St. Blogs creates a lot of great writing even if these bloggers will never get awards or are hardly noticed.  Not to diminish those more well-known Catholic writers who became bloggers, but one thing I always liked about the blogosphere is that you didn’t have to have a pre-built audience and that you could create one from scratch.  There is something very Catholic about the blogosphere in a very “here comes everybody” way.  There is a very small bar to do so and I remember another sadly missed Catholic blogger who blogged from the library computer.  The other thing I so like about St. Blogs is that you seem to have a personal connection to these writers.  Writers with a byline seem to be off in the distance, but members of St. Blogs I seem to have grown up with as they get married, have children, etc.

Over these ten years I have also had some 50,000 comments.  Though I think 49,000 of them were from my atheist commenter Salvage.

Now to close out this overly long post I leave you with a story of my naiveté.

Before I started blogging I noticed that often Mark Shea would announce some new blog.  So after I started my blog I kept waiting for Mark to announce mine.  For some reason I must have thought he was omniblogospheric and notice every new Catholic blog that came on the scene.  I am not the self-promoter enough to realize these new bloggers simply wrote Mark announcing their blogs.  Though Mark Shea did ironically link to my Litany of Blog Humility

The Litany of Blog Humility

From the desire of my blog being read
Deliver me dear Jesus
From the desire of my blog being praised
Deliver me dear Jesus
From the fear of my blog being despised
Deliver me dear Jesus
From the fear of my blog being forgotten
Deliver me dear Jesus
From the fear of no page views
Deliver me dear Jesus
That other blogs may be loved more than mine
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That Nihil Obstat may find all my grammatical and spelling errors
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That Google may never list my blog
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That comments always be negative and abusive
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That my commenting system always say “commenting temporarily unavailable”
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That Mark Shea may notice every blog but mine
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That others may be pithier than I, provided that I may become as pithy as I should
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it

* Nihil Obstat  was another early Catholic blogger who corrected the grammatical mistakes on Catholic blogs until his anonymity was accidentally compromised by Barbara Nicolosi. There really needs to be a history of Catholic blogging full of these stories.

* Ten Years After is a nod to the group by the same name. Alvin Lee named the group referencing ten years after Elvis, though I did write a post about the amazing coincidences between Elvis and Pope John XXIII.

  40 Responses to “Ten Years After”

  1. Congratulations, Jeff. (10 years is the “aluminum” anniversary. How romantic!)

  2. Interesting. I’ll have been formally blogging for 10 years in September (though I can only claim to have been a Catholic blogger for about half that time). Before 2002, though, I’d been doing a monthly book review page for about five years. What a long, strange trip and all that.

  3. Congratulations, Jeff. You were an inspiration for me to start blogging. I hope that isn’t held against you on your particular judgment day.

  4. Congrats! Reading your blog did me a lot of good when I was having my reversion experience. You and the guys on Catholic Answers were the only people I know of who were uncompromising, unaplogetic and even enthusiastic about the Catholic faith and even your silly parodies brought me closer to God.

  5. Ah I love these sorts of “oral histories” of Catholic blogging. Ate it up.

  6. Wow! Ten years is a tremendous achievement. I’ve been reading your blog for several years now and I always enjoy your take on things. Oh, and your word verification always makes me smile.

  7. Blessings, sir.
    Thank you for sharing. Your blog has always been a source of light in an often dark world. You are truly doing the work of the Lord:
    “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Cor 9:7

    Thank you for giving us so much.

  8. Well deserved kudos to you, Jeff, you were one of my inspirations to start blogging (feel free to delete this comment if that’s too embarassing) and you’re still one of the best out there. God bless.

  9. I have to add my own kudos, this has been a thoughtful place in the Internet’s chaos.

  10. Congratulations, Jeff! Keep the posts coming and please forgive us when we say something stupid on your blog. You give us the opportunity to think and to be corrected on the errors we make, provided, of course, we are open to being corrected.
    May God bless you and you work on the web.

  11. […] kills me »New (on a Geologic Timescale) Blog!July 24, 2012 By Mark Shea Leave a CommentCongrats to the Curt Jester on 10 years!Filed Under: Uncategorized Tagged With: Doings on Other Blogs Leave a Comment « Prayer […]

  12. Congratulations, Jeff, from another old man of the blogosphere. I must have missed the outing of Nihil Obstat. Who was it?

    God love me man ’cause he knows that I am his stupid bitch…
    Miss Goody 2 shoes, that’s me …
    “cause I actually & truely believe in Him … man…
    INEPT YOU …..
    you goofed
    INSINCERITY…………………………so easy to believe…………

  14. PRETENDERS are rife…………………
    Bullshit artists ? .
    MAYBE :- they are frady cats
    GUTLESS ……………
    because life & truth & God is not for the escapeist nor the faint of heart………….
    Blessed be the name of the Lord

  15. Congrats.

    And many happy returns of the day

  16. You have one of the blogs most valuable to me in the last ten years because I never expected to revert to a faith filled with people both smart AND funny. I needed that example so much, to know that joyful nuttiness went hand-in-hand with devotion.


  17. Rosie Davis,

    Don’t do drugs. That is all.

  18. Congrats Jeff! You’ve been in my RSS feeds since the early days.
    This December marks 12 years for me. While I appreciate social networks, I still have a special place in my heart for blogs and RSS aggregators.

  19. […] Self-Reflective Post on Ten Years of Blogging – Jeff Miller, The Curt Jester […]

  20. Jeff, I’m so glad that you’ve been surprising yourself with your writing skills while delighting and informing me along the way. You have been an inspiration to me and I really enjoyed reading about your blogging journey. Happy anniversary!

  21. Congrats, Jeff! Blogs come and go (like mine), but yours is one of the few that has always been in my feed reader and has never disappointed. Looking forward to the next 10.

  22. 1 comment

    1 Victor { 07.24.12 at 12:13 pm } (((I throw my blog on the mercy of Nihil Obstat.)))

    So do “I” Jeff and with this post, you’ve certainly reminded me of what “Jesus” said in so many words, What was hidden in the dark will someday be brought to the light.

    (((Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    Victor, Victor

    Et tu, mister victor?

    “I’m not sure I’d buy it on the strength of it’s 30-second-preview …”

    Monday, January 16, 2006

    It’s no secret – the apostrophe can be quite enticing.

    The Anchoress could not resist the temptation to misuse this mark in an attempt to construct a plural form.

    “… if their newfangled tv’s are going to identify them as interested, or something.”)))

    I would like to take this time to appologize to “Steve Bogner” for having con, I mean convinced him to include my old blog in his. “IT” only goes to show that he’s got a good heart and God bless him where ever he is.


    Jeff, I could go on and on, on fire butt, I mean but instead I’ll just take a little time to read the comments NOW!

    Fiat Lux


    Get with the times Victor!

    There’s nothing wrong with him folks, “IT” is the rest of the world! 🙂


  23. Congratulations on the decade of blogging! Reading this post was like reflecting on my own journey in those days. I began by reading Mark, Amy and you initially (and still do) and have been going at it off and on myself since 2003. So Happy Anniversary to you sir, and here’s to many more!

  24. “In real life I am one of those quiet class clowns that will sit in the back of the room waiting for an opportunity for a quip while also being rather shy and bookish.”

    I had a very similar temperament too, Mr. Miller, except I was a bit quieter and a lot less funny. Perhaps you might be looking for an apprentice jester. But, still, congratulations on 10 years of blogging!

  25. Dom,

    “Nihil Obstat” was David Impastato

  26. Congratulations, Jeff! You are one of the Catholic bloggers who helped to lead me into the Church. I just reread your 2004 “Jack Chick-fil-A” for old time’s sake and it was even funnier than I remember it. But what happened to your PMRC parody, with the Vatican labeling publications “Episcopal Advisory: Explicit Theology”? Was it too explicitly theological for the archives?

  27. Yours is the only one I read every word of. Thank you.

  28. well done!

  29. Your work has been an inspiration and your humour a relief to me on too many occasions to count.

    Yours was one of the first blogs I discovered when I began walking the web.

    Congratulations on your achievement!

  30. Congrat’s Jeff – and thanks for being willing to answer questions 🙂

  31. Me too. Yours was one of the blogs that convinced me to start blogging. Congratulations on your blogiversary.

  32. […] 10 years of blogging, in honor of which he has created a veritable rogues’ gallery of his most awful posts [WARNING: site contains links to funny things that may result in laughter and […]

  33. Congratulations, Jeff! Here’s to ten more years!

    By the way, why hasn’t salvage written to congratulate you? As much
    as he uses your blog, you’d think he could spare a moment to say

  34. […] the following Litany of Blog Humility the other day on The hermeneutic of continuity (quoting from here).   Whilst I clearly fail on most points, it’s good to be reminded of the need for humility […]

  35. Congratulations on your 10-year Blogversary! I stand by what I said 10 years ago: Brilliance truly does abound!

  36. Belated congratulations! You are still an awesome read, and I’m glad you’re still blogging along.

  37. I still remember when Atheist to a Theist shut down and we all thought we’d lost you forever. Then suddenly you sprang back into view in this new and, thankfully, enduring form.

  38. Congratulations on your 10th year of blogging and my 10th year of chuckling at your blogging. Shaidle is still a spifire and suffered in the courts for it but what happened to Gerald Augustinus at Cafeteria? Is he still in the fold?

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