| 7 comments ]

A recent post on FPR offers useful insight into the past, present, and possible future of FPR. The past month (8/2007-9/2007) is a hodgepodge of topics, themes, and approaches. They address ancient and modern scripture trivia, tangents in Mormon history, occasionally debate with evangelical commentators, pay tribute to an ageing Mormon historian, book reviews, a review of Terryl Givens, and a couple of off-topic posts. This month's content on FPR is, indeed, a many-sided thing.

Glancing across the landscape of Mormon blogs, it is easy to see where many of these contributions might have been posted. In fact, almost all of them would have readily found a place within T&S or BCC or MM or the Mormon Wasp. There are three categories of writing that wouldn’t migrate as easily to other venues, and it is these that make FPR different: (1) the permablogger's (and guest's) rambling, idiosyncratic, indulgent reflections on whatever topical matters he (and we do mean "he" since Mogget isn't posting anymore, much to FPR's detriment) feels like writing about; (2) collections of Scripture trivia (which are largely just distillations of odd stuff they learn in class); and (3) tete-a-tetes with average, unschooled Mormons regarding scriptural interpretation.

Let’s consider for a moment each of these three categories, taken in reverse order, and think through what they might suggest about the future of FPR in its institutional, scholarly, and blogging roles.

In the area of blogging, FPR seems to be rapidly losing ground to Waters of Mormon, in terms of coverage, impact, and limelight. The Bloggernacle has been all atwitter over the new WofM blog. WofM has a pretty blogsite, hosts big conversations, and has attracted big names.

On the second category: Scripture debates have long been a specialty of FPR posts, but here too the field is changing. Note that FPR has been doing little but trivia and speculation revolving around sexual themes. Gone are the substantive posts where Scriptural texts are treated exegetically. In this area too, then, the relevance of FPR seems to be dwindling.

The first category, finally, is FPR's turn towards it being a personal Rameumpton for proclaiming the Truth as they see it, spitting on their critics, and sorting out the Good, the Bad, and the Pathetic. The ignorant TBMs are at the gates and the FPR troops are now shouldering the burden to beat them into the ground. Perhaps FPR is tired of giving in to their long-time critics, so they have silently acknowledged that the caustic tone and steady barrage of personal insults will wear out their readers and, who knows, perhaps lead them to victory. Many are by now familiar with their reactions to criticism. Let’s call it The FPR Three-Step. First, seek to overwhelm your critics with your unparalleled education and extraordinary grasp of rhetoric. Second, deny that you are appealing to credentialism or using sophistry. Third, wait for some old friend to come out of the woodwork in support of FPR. (To which we might add a fourth step: Carry on, carry on.)

Many of FPR's online posts have taken a more caustic tone lately. They seems fully aware that FPR is losing some ground, some relevance—partly, I should emphasize, as a result of its own former success. The organization of the Bloggernacle as a broad umbrella of Mormon bloggers has decentralized power structures and is fickle in whom they follow. Put differently, it may slowly fade away, diffused into other blogs and fora.

Ten months from now, will FPR still exist?

7 comments

Anonymous said... @ September 11, 2007 at 11:11 AM

From one "personal Rameumpton" to another... what a breath of fresh air...

Snarkimus Prime said... @ September 11, 2007 at 12:58 PM

As if any blog isn't a Rameumptom? I am sure there is plenty of fresh air at your blog, anonymous.

Anonymous said... @ September 11, 2007 at 1:53 PM

This has the feel of vendetta all over it. What happened, did snarkimus prime get hurt by those bad bad FPR Decepticons?

Anonymous said... @ September 11, 2007 at 4:47 PM

blah blah blah

Snarkimus Prime said... @ September 11, 2007 at 6:55 PM

Vendetta? You mean like the original axe-grinding post by VRT? Sorry, anonymous, but this is a satirical take on VRT's post. Duh.

Haiku Master said... @ September 11, 2007 at 10:25 PM

Like wind in the sand
We ask you to be funny
Twirling out in space

Snarkimus Prime said... @ September 12, 2007 at 5:13 AM

haiku butcher,

look up the word "snark"

thanks.

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