Suzanne McCarthy: No more crankypants!
When Theophrastus announced that Suzanne McCarthy was joining him, Craig Smith, and me to start blogging here, one of her blogs had been, for some months, earlier in that same year, one of the “Top 50” most-visited biblioblogs and had been voted by bibliobloggers, one month, as being in the “Top 10” blogs on the Bible and then, in a later month, had been voted #1.
Suzanne, the first time this Top-10 thing happened, said:
I decided some time ago to completely ignore the list of top 50 biblioblogs. I was just being a pain about it, and I didn’t want to foist my irritation on others ad infinitum. So imagine my astonishment on finding out that somebody, or a collection of somebody’s, has voted this blog among the top ten biblioblogs. Shoot, now I am going to have to improve my manners and act like one of the gang. No more crankypants!
In a timely fashion, longtime blogfriend, Dan Brennan has emailed me about this post on cross gender friendship. What a bouquet of roses it is tonight.
The second time the Top-10 thing happened (with the very Top-1 blog vote), Suzanne posted this way:
The Top 10 Biblioblogs reports that I have been voted number 1! (No artwork, though.) I don’t know how to interpret this, since I have no idea how many people vote. But let me say that I sincerely appreciate the response.
I take this two ways. First, I personally should keep on blogging. In spite of my single issue blogging, some people still want to read it. Second, I choose to read into the results that the biblioblogosphere wants to affirm the participation of women. I don’t think I am far off there.
There are still few women biblioblogging, and there certainly is a lack of women with an academic background blogging in biblical studies.
She went on in the same post to reiterate something of importance to her about blogging in general and about blogging on the Bible in particular:
I truly feel that there is a great deal of friendship and empathy expressed for women in the biblioblogosphere…. So, lots of friendly interaction and I appreciate that. But the question remains, why would anyone blog about my spiritual condition? Women, effeminates, and atheists routinely draw fire in some very unpleasant ways. There are nasty things said about our status and right to exist and function alongside the “real men” all the time. Although only a very small proportion of bibliobloggers are mean, this has some dampening effect. Most of the negative comments are said by those who are not actually bibliobloggers, but these more outspoken authors are often affirmed by bibliobloggers….
Her full post is here.
I mention this because Suzanne would often acknowledge when others positively influenced her, even through blogging. For example, a couple of years before BLT, she posted this post that started this way:
She is there, in particular, making a point to say how in specific ways other bloggers, in this case Theophrastus and me, have provided her with stuff that she considers great. And yet, whenever some of us were discussing stuff on our blogs in not-so-great ways, Sue would express hope that we might change those ways of ours, just a bit at least; and she’d get us thinking about other, related great stuff. Here’s another example:
Her “two” she refers to in this comment are Theophrastus and me again (he writing in vigorous defense of Aristotle’s teachings and I in disdain of Aristotle’s misogyny); see how Suzanne gets us moving on, hoping for friendliness and for friendship in blogging, having us read something she’d already read as it is more clearly where we might share learning and come to some agreement.
But Suzanne McCarthy was not necessarily ever all about agreement. In fact, she enjoyed difference of opinion, intelligent disagreement, and smart debate. She urged us in starting BLT to promote this.
“That’s the thing,” she wrote to the two of us on this idea of co-blogging inclusively on various subjects related to the Bible, literature, and translation. “There is stimulation to be had from an active interchange, even with lots of disagreement, but no bullying.”
And so Suzanne McCarthy modeled this sort of blogging, and biblioblogging, for all of us. She never stopped blogging and never stopped blogging this way, and always with humour. To the end of her life, she was troubled by the ignorant and the sexists and the bullies, who offer little and damage much and many. Her crankypants crack is in their honour, I must say. Thankfully, she left us all with a few wonderful published articles (like this one) and a possible book on the way and a set of wonderful blog posts and trans-formative conversations with many. Below are her top-10-most-read BLT posts in order from first-written to most-recently posted. You might just find again some great stuff there.
Ann Nyland on publishing the GLTB Study Bible
SEPTEMBER 13, 2011
Hugo and the train stations of Paris
FEBRUARY 26, 2012
The Opramoas Inscription
JUNE 22, 2012
Women, IQ and complementarianism
JULY 18, 2012
Pagninus Latin Bible online
NOVEMBER 17, 2012
The Dovekeepers and Ancient Jewish Magic
JANUARY 27, 2013
Tim Keller, Allender and Longman need a refresher course in biology.
JANUARY 16, 2014
Noah: A rabbi’s review
MARCH 29, 2014
Ishi not Baali
APRIL 3, 2014
Susannah Heschel on “Selma”
JANUARY 18, 2015