Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bloggernacle/cathedral/"Cathedral" parallels

After doing some more research and reading the awesome responses to my last post about how/if the bloggernacle is a community, I think I want to argue that the bloggernacle, like a cathedral, is not a community itself, but a place that facilitates community, and has a similar effect on people that drawing the cathedral with Robert has on the narrator of "Cathedral" (or something like that. I'm glad we have more time to hone our arguments). Here are some interesting parallels between the bloggernacle, cathedrals, and the story "Cathedral" that I found today while reading "The Bloggernacle Scares Me," a post from a few years back on Mormon Feminist Housewives:
  • Post #5 says: "I have always felt pretty isolated both physically and intellectually from the saints. When I found the bloggernacle almost two years ago, I felt like I had found a whole new world that was glorious! It was like my eyes were opened after years of walking around in a haze." Before his experience with Robert, the narrator of "Cathedral" was isolated physically and intellectually. Blindness and sight is another major theme in "Cathedral" since the blind man Robert teaches the narrator to "see"
  • Post #3: "I used to fantasize about a “safe place” to learn and grow in these areas…and for me, that is what FMH is." Cathedrals were considered sanctuaries
  • Comment #9: "It seems Mormons, even on the anonymous internet still love to cling one to another and have a hard time letting others in." A comment on my last post defined community as "an insular group gathered together." When the narrator's wife asks what he and Robert are doing as they draw, he kind of ignores her.
Anyone have more parallels, or suggestions on how to make my argument more argumentative?


  1. The article "The Bloggernacle Scares Me" really, really reminds me of Augustine's "Confessions" ( for some reason. I think that it's because the bloggernacle invites people to muse about the same self-reflective, spiritual things that Augustine is so hung up on. Augustine writes about every single life experience he had and interprets it from a spiritual perspective. Is a similar thing happening in the bloggernacle? The second to last paragraph of this article ( that you shared with me says, "The act of stopping several times a day to observe what you’re feeling or thinking can become, after weeks and weeks, a sort of philosophical act." It goes on to explain that blogging and microblogging are in many ways spiritual, meditative experiences, and "having an audience can make the self-reflection more acute". The concept of community, which seems to be in important theme in the story "Cathedral", is what makes blogging a spiritual act. It's like how Augustine writing his "Confessions" helped him to come to terms with his spirituality and his sins.

  2. It seems like you are defining "community" in terms of both inclusion and exclusion. Cathedrals were sanctuaries, but then, the term "insular" implies that people do not want to let others into their community at all--like with the narrator's wife. On that Mormon Housewives Blog, Under "Can't I Just throw Bricks," one woman said, "Many women and men alike have found hurt and isolation in a church where they expected to find hope and love." I've read "Cathedral" once, and it seems to me that maybe a theme is the ability to move from exclusion to inclusion, or maybe being able to move from a false sense of inclusion to a real inclusion. Maybe not...after all, the narrator still ignores his wife at the end, like you said. But still, is this what the bloggernacle does? Or is there still a great amount of "hurt" experiences online? Just wondering! I think it's really interesting how you've been looking at these parallels.

  3. Amanda, its interesting that you should make a connection to "Confessions." One of my critical sources is a whole dissertation comparing "Confessions" to "Cathedral"