Bloggernacle Classics! (a continuing series)

Note: Today, Brethren and Sistren, I begin a continuing series called Bloggernacle Classics[1],aimed at both educating the current generation of bloggernacle readers in the nuance, culture, and history of the Mormon blogging community, as well as providing the esteemed older guard a chance to reminisce of the days of old.[2]

Background

This first edition of Bloggernacle Classics is not only educational, but also practical. You see, things have changed in recent times at BCC. Darkness crept back into the posts and comments. Rumor grew of a Shadow in the sidebar…whispers of a nameless fear. Well, not really nameless actually–it’s Aaron B, who has made his long-awaited return to By Common Consent with two flame-inspiring posts about OD-2 and annoying right-wingers.[3] Sadly, for many current participants in the bloggernacle, Aaron B. is an unfamiliar name, and “Prudence McPrude” means nothing to them. I hope to rectify this sorry state of affairs today, and help them understand why, upon hearing of his return, my palms got all sweaty and I started to blush like a school girl.


From the Life of Aaron B.

Starting back in 2004, Aaron was one of the original Jedi at BCC–indeed, he was the sixth person to author a post, and the second person to comment.[4] In fact, had popular opinion and a host of uncool and unfun fellow bloggers not fought in solidarity against him, By Common Consent would not be By Common Consent at all, but would instead be known as “Zeezrom and the Kori-Whores.” I personally have a testimony of that blog title, and feel strongly that BCC has been wading around in the dark valley of apostasy for rejecting it since March 2004.

One of the more memorable characteristics of Aaron B. is his close, intimate relationship with a woman known on the records of the bloggernacle as Prudence McPrude, a woman who arrived on the scene at T&S in July of 2005, and then appeared for the first time at BCC the following month.[5] When I spoke with Aaron about Prudence for this post, he was genuinely surprised I dared mention her, given Steve Evans’ past history with her. “He hated her. Well, to be more specific, he was jealous of her righteousness, as she made him confront his liberal sinfulness.”

Indeed, despite the fact that Ms. McPrude’s commenting prowess was so unmatched that she once induced bladder failure in fMhLisa, it is clear that there was no love lost between McPrude and the admins of the bloggernacle, which unfortunately renders the historical record incomplete. Aaron conjectures that the fall from grace for McPrude had to do with Ms. McPrude’s stance on the value of fMh, in which she memorably questioned, “Haven’t you all purged yourselves of your rebellious, feminist, ungodly ways yet, and returned to the Kingdom of the Lord? Apparently not. Satan will be pleased.”[6] Perhaps, instead, it was Prudence’s insistence on relevance, not poetry that drew ire instead. Despite my pressing questions, Aaron declined to comment on whether or not Prudence, absent from BCC since May of 2007, would accompany his return to the bloggernacle.


Teachings of Aaron B.

The purpose of this first edition of Bloggernacle Classics is not to simply highlight the scandalous comments linked in one way or another to Aaron. Rather, for the education of bloggernacle padawans, and for the nostalgia of the seasoned, it is important to reflect on the contribution Aaron has made through his actual posts, as well. Two posts from the archives of BCC will suffice.

Historical Artifact #1: The Enema Post

Without Aaron, we would not have a post at BCC titled “Best Mormon Missionary Story Ever (yep, it’s about enemas)” in which we learn that Aaron and his companions, while in the MTC, chose not to flirt with the young female cashiers in the bookstore, but instead purchased large quantities of enema kits and asked them awkward questions about how to use them. But it didn’t stop there:

I took a piece of paper and a pen, and in my best penmanship, proceeded to write the following letter:

Dear Elder _____:

Due to the primitive conditions that you may experience in your mission, it may become necessary from time to time to administer an enema to yourself in the event of severe constipation or other intestinal complications. A small percentage of elders have been known to experience mild allergic reactions to the enema solution, and for this reason, it is important that you administer the enclosed enema to yourself in order to determine your own reaction to the fluid. Please make note of any uncomfortable reaction to the enema solution that you experience, and promptly report your findings to the MTC medical staff.

Sincerely,

Dr. Richard Johnson
(forged signature featured prominently here)

We took my letter to the copy center and had it shrunk down a bit, so as to make it resemble an “official” mass flyer…We then taped one flyer to each enema kit, and the following morning, we headed for the MTC Bookstore….If you’re an RM, you may recall that every Wednesday, a new crop of elders arrives at the MTC. After their initial orientation and good-byes to family, they line up to pick up their “bluebags” filled with teaching and study materials along the far wall of the Bookstore. The three of us entered the Bookstore, positioned ourselves stragetically at various locations, and initiated Operation Stuff-a-Bag…

Historical Artifact #2: The Ignoranti

If you sit down and browse through the earlier posts of Aaron B., you will recognize quickly that he has an undeniable gift for satirically portraying the behavior and attitudes of one of the most common participant “types” in the bloggernacle: the Orthodoxy-enforcer. After penning his 12 characteristics of the Mormon Ignoranti, Aaron B. first lamented, then took courage:

“I must say that categorizing and pigeonholing my fellow Saints has become a confusing, laborious chore of late…This is just so overwhelming. At times, I feel like throwing up my hands in despair and abandoning the whole project…But… like Nephi of old, I will go and do the things the Lord has commanded. I will annihilate my ideological and doctrinal opponents, with the unwavering knowledge that my cause is just.”


There is much more to this Mormon blogging icon, with most of it being irreverent and hilarious, but the purpose of these historical lessons is not to provide a complete survey, but rather a small sampling of the goodness that can be found by scouring the archives of the bloggernacle. I am grateful for the opportunity re-introduce Aaron B. to BCC, and want to conclude by taking this opportunity to thank him for returning to the bloggernacle at such an opportune time.


Suggestions for Study and Teaching
1. What is your favorite memory of Aaron B.?
2. If you could only have one of Aaron B.’s posts to take with you on Survivor, which would you take?
3. Aaron B. has 12 characteristics of the Ignoranti, and Joseph Smith Jr. has 12 Articles of Faith. Discuss.


Related Writings
1. Muzzling the Wife
2. Questions about Tithing
3. Melee in the Mother’s Lounge
4. Am I Immoral?
5. More MTC Antics




___________________________________________________________________________
Notes

[1] Kind of like the Ensign’s old feature “Gospel Classics” except that these will be less true and more living.

[2] You may ask yourself why I, the noobest of noobs at BCC (and possibly at any of the large LDS blogs), am qualified to conduct such a course of instruction. The simplest answer is that I am not qualified at all! However, lest you begin to waver in your willingness to take lectures from me on the history of the bloggernacle, I would remind you of a couple of eternal principles: A) We have been instructed over and over again by the Brethren that one of the best ways to gain a testimony is to bear it (preferably with a tear-stained Kleenex), in front of lots of people. Because this is a true principle, it can surely be generalized to other walks of life–the best way to become a nuclear physicist, an orthodontist, a Stake Activities Chairperson, or, as in the extant case, a Bloggernacle Historian, is to strut around talking in no uncertain terms about these fields, and B) You listen to people teach in your home ward every week, and 98% of you are on record in the comments somewhere stating that they’re all incompetent, too. So don’t judge me. Waaa waaa waaa.

[3] These are the first two of what I hope will be a bloggernacle record for hyperlinks in a single post. Here’s an extra, just in case.

[4] His sophistication, diplomacy, and general charitable goodness are evident in this first comment. Clearly, greatness was sure to follow.

[5] Some folks, notably Kaimi Wenger, believe that Prudence and Aaron had more than just an improper relationship, but are actually the same person. According to Wenger, “Prudence McPrude is Aaron Brown when he’s had too much Zero-Point Joe.” An upcoming edition of “Bloggernacle Classics” will demonstrate that Wenger doesn’t know what the crap he’s talking about. Also, Aaron once tried to set Jettboy up with Prudie, so that proves me right. Disagree with me, and I’ll ban you.

[6] Despite the striking similarities, I want to immediately quash any speculation that McPrude was a pseudonym for this guy.

________________________

Bloggernacle Classics! (a continuing series)

Comments

  1. Thanks, Scott, for stoking the already massive AB ego. It’s filling Puget Sound as we speak.

  2. No one stoked my ego when I showed up, and I’ve been in therapy ever since. Don’t you worry, though–your name is not far down the list…

  3. Scott, some amazing research and legwork on what has got to be the biggest waste of time in the entire world.

  4. I see what you mean, Aaron. Seeing the name of Ms. McPrude just brings out the worst in Steve Evans!

  5. It was fun to take a peek at some of the Bloggernacle antics that came before me. Thanks for compiling this, Scott B.

  6. These are the first two of what I hope will be a bloggernacle record for hyperlinks in a single post.

    Apparently you are unfamiliar with Tim Malone over at latterdaycommentary.

  7. I, for one, dearly miss Prudence. I had hopes for the return of polyandry or some such.

  8. You didn’t hyperlink my quote, slacker.

  9. Ghost of Kurt says:

    Is Prudence up for another limerick challenge against Steve FSF?

  10. Ghost,

    The limerick war was part of the first draft, but was left on the cutting room floor. Might be best it stays there…

  11. Kaimi, no more than one link to T&S per day is allowed. Sorry! ;)

  12. Aaron B. has the best stories. That’s why I like him!

    (seriously good work here Scott)

  13. Ghost of Kurt says:

    Scott,

    Yeah, I hear you, but I’m the type who goes to hockey games just for the fights. That Prudence and potty mouth Steve poetry contest descended from fun, to a train wreck, and then they both went nuclear. The only guy who got it as bad from Steve FSF was anti-mo Bob McCue who didn’t have Prudence’s wit to make it a fair fight.

  14. Kevin Barney says:

    I appreciated this very much. But you took my favorite AB post, the MTC enema story. One of the great classics of the Bloggernacle!

  15. Ghost of Kurt,
    One could still find that thread if they searched “limerick” on certain blogs and read the comments well enough…

  16. Excellent work. I nominate Scott to write The Book of Bloggernacle.

  17. How fun! And what a great introduction to Aaron B.

  18. Thanks, Natalie. This post was meant to be just an introduction for Aaron, but since I was looking for a way to start the series, this seemed as good as any. The next entries will not be nearly so much focused on individuals as on charcertistics of the bloggernacle and on “famous” events or posts.

  19. Translation: No one else at BCC deserves a spot where his legions of screaming fans can all congregate and sing his praises to high heaven. Thank you, Scott B, for recognizing this hard but important truth. :)

    Ghost of Kurt, someday maybe I’ll put up a post explaining my point of view on the “limerick war,” as you call it. I still find fascinating the way you, Steve FSF and arJ reacted to Prudence in that thread, particularly the way you completely misread her motivation and emotions from start to finish. Then again, maybe I won’t, since there’s only about 3 people on earth that could possibly have any interest in it. :)

  20. P.S. Note to Ronan: This isn’t AB’s ego. This is just AB’s rational, objective assessment of how incredibly AWESOME he is!!! Best not to confuse the two.

  21. As a mere dabbler in the bloggernacle, I appreciate Mormon nerdery when I see it. This introduction to Aaron B. and Prudence McPrude just made my day.

  22. Great series idea, Scott!

    Some of you bloggers have been doing this for far too long.

    I only just met Aaron a few weeks ago, but now I feel like we’re BFF.

  23. Prudence was my BFF. I’m still bereft.

  24. Peter LLC says:

    Thanks to this post, I learned that Bookslinger used to go by GreenEggz.

  25. I do miss reading Aaron B.’s mission stories.

    As I recall, he had one missionary companion who chased down and killed an animal.

  26. John Mansfield says:

    My current drive-time book-on-tape is The Sea Wolf by Jack London, a bit like The Call of the Wild but with sailors instead of dogs, and therefore more dialogue. Some elements of this post also evoke that same amoral will to dominate.

  27. Mansfield, The Sea Wolf is a tremendous little book. It almost inspires me to the sea.

  28. Andrea R. says:

    As one who knew you in your pre-enema days, all I can say is: Bravo.

  29. danithew, nope. No animal killing in my mission. Perhaps you’re thinking of the elder who annointed a stray dog with consecrated oil and then blessed it that it would die? Yeah, that post was originally written for Sons of Mosiah, but I’m reposting it over here soon. Stay tuned. (By the way, the dog lived).

    Andrea, I hope my future biographer divides my life into two sections: the “Pre-enema Days” and the “Post-Enema Days”. It’s a natural dividing line, I think.

    AB

  30. Thanks for starting us on some history! I hear all these allusions in hushed tones to Prudence and was dying to know who she was…

  31. Scott–

    Sorry, but your measly 22 links falls short of my 26 in Oh say, what is an inconvenient truth?

    Better luck next time.

  32. kristine N,

    You prove once again that people who believe in the theory of global warming can’t count.

  33. Enna,
    Thanks. I have been gathering ideas for future Classics posts, so if you (or anyone else) has suggestions or requests, I’d love to hear them.

  34. Well, the obvious one is BofH.

  35. Aaron B, maybe someone else wrote this missionary story. I distinctly remember someone wrote about a crazy companion who had hunted and in the mission chased down an animal.

    I’m googling around to see if I can find an archive of any sort with this story.

  36. Tim J,
    Stay tuned re BoH. Christmas may come early.

  37. I have learned by experience that there are people out there who are still bitter over BoH. Watch your back, man.

  38. Steve Evans says:

    MCQ, I’ll take your Banner experience and raise you.

  39. At least you got the fun of knowing Jenn, the Shelver, and her other playmates. Those of us who were late to the party just got the backlash whenever we had the temerity to mention that the whole thing was “kinda funny.” Apparently, them’s fightin’ words.

  40. the problem with BoH was that it was before it’s time and involved too many voices. If BoH alums had have saved your creative energies, you could now be raking in TAMN-level cash.

  41. I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to read this post.

    Aaron B=brilliance.

    (Wish I had could have the “opportunity” to be in your ward.)

  42. Clean Cut–

    What is the link to that comment? [nevermind]

  43. MCQ,

    Certainly–one thing I’ve learned in my brief time in the ‘nacle is that bringing up BoH (channeling my inner Truman G. Madsen voice) is to call down wrath!

    That might be overstating it a bit, but I’m very aware that for many people, it was a painful experience, for others it was an angering experience, and for some subset of those two groups, it still is.

    My point is, I’m aware of the danger, but I eat pieces of danger like this for breakfast.

  44. Aaron Brown says:

    My favorite pasttime is to leave random comments on DKL’s mormonmentality posts, asking him when he’s going to apologize for his role in the BoH brouhaha.

  45. Scott, I just hope you don’t end up eating those words for breakfast.

    But heck, why not go for it? After all, what’s the worst that could happen? (Hmm, I wonder if that’s what the BoH participants said when they started out?)

    Aaron, does he ever respond? He still hasn’t answerd my repeated inquiries about when he served dinner to Bill Maher.

  46. Wm Morris says:

    The BoH participants had advice from a crisis communications expert on what the worst that could happen might be.

  47. Wm Morris says:

    (although I should say that reading the whole thing after it blew up [I didn’t pay much attention to it while it was going on], there are some really good uses of voice — some pretty decent writing happened [although I also realize that the aesthetic qualities of the experiment don’t make up for the pain it caused some people])

  48. Wm Morris,
    That has been my take in recent weeks as I’ve read through it all–lots of brilliance, but lots and lots of red flags about future pain.

  49. Prudence was my Church Lady of choice. I miss her!

  50. Great stuff, Scott! I love Bloggernacle history, and I love Aaron B.’s writing. Prudence is also wonderful. I miss her.

  51. Ziff,
    It was you with your data that first set me off into a journey through the bloggernacle archives. When I write my book, you’ll get the dedication page.

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