Monday, July 07, 2008

Popular Harding blogger calls it quits


Mark Elrod, a fellow colleague of mine at Harding, has decided to limit access to his popular blog to a small group of trusted friends. Elrod is a popular professor of political science at Harding University, and his blog is probably one of the most popular blogs in Arkansas. He's certainly the most prolific Harding blogger, averaging 2-3 posts per day when he's able.

Why is Elrod going underground?

...I apologize but I’ve come to the realization that I have over-estimated the capacity of both my academic (Harding University) and my religious (Church of Christ) community to deal with critical thinking or dissent in a public forum. In the last few weeks, I’ve grown tired with dealing with members of both communities who seem to view the world in black and white terms and think of all discussions as zero-sum games.

In short, I’d rather have a quiet, private discussion with friends than public arguments with anonymous critics who would rather run to my employer with complaints about something I said than trying to discuss it with me in a reasonable and rational manner.

If you've read Elrod's blog, you know that he sometimes says things that many conservatives disagree with, but if you know Mark, you know he's a good Christian man, and he certainly has not said anything that would warrant a harsh rebuke from a small, vocal minority of members from his church or school.

Unfortunately, when you blog about controversial issues (what issue in politics isn't controversial?), a backlash from a few disgruntled yahoos is inevitable. That's just the nature of the beast. That's why you rarely see me blogging about controversial topics (and that's why my blog will never be nearly as popular as Mark's wink). It's not that I am un-opinionated, it's just that I have no time or patience to deal with the anonymous crowd, and it's too easy to have your words misunderstood. Once your words enter the big bit-bucket in the sky, they are there forever.

I'm sad to see Elrod make his blog private, but it disappoints me even more that a number of individuals have somehow blamed Harding for Elrod's move, that they are censoring him or something (see the comments left on Elrod's blog). I have not spoken to Mark about his blog, but I can guarantee seriously doubt that the Harding administration is in no way forcing Mark to go underground. Those who want to attack Harding for Mark's move are sadly missing the point.

Update on 7/8/08:

I'm sure the Harding administration did say something to Mark (how else would he know about individuals "tattling" on him), but my guess is it was more along the lines of "Mark, we keep getting complaints from XYZ. We aren't going to ask that you stop saying ABC, but if you can make our lives a little easier by getting XYZ to stop complaining, we'd be thankful." So Mark did what he needed to do.

If I was spending hours of my time moderating my blog and responding to critics and being questioned left and right, and I was causing the administration a ton of trouble, I'd have done the same.