Welcome back, students of Bloggernacle History, to another entry in Bloggernacle Classics! It’s been a few months since our last lesson, but I hope that you’ve kept your pencils sharp and your notebooks dust-free, because our next lesson is a whopper.
Every community, no matter the size or location, has some common features and characteristics–it has heroes, villains, successes, and failures. Every community also has it’s dark secrets. Mind you, I’m not talking about simple rumors that get passed around the hair salon or ghost stories used to scare little kids into behaving properly–I’m talking about the sort of thing that no one ever talks about. Ever. Anyone who enters the community after such a secret is buried will possibly see passing references to it here and there, but vagueness and confusion surround them, because again, no one will talk about these dark secrets. Naturally, the unwillingness of the locals to talk about these community secrets serves only to make them even more a point of curiosity and intrigue to newcomers, and unless you’ve got the Sheriff on your side, eventually the curiosity will win out and the skeletons will be dragged out of the closet by force.
For the Bloggernacle, the dark secret is the Banner of Heaven weblog, its rise, fall, and the Bloggernacle-wide explosion of anger, bitterness, hilarity, incredulity, moralizing, apologizing, prophesying, and insanity that followed its exposure as a prank (or fraud, depending on your perspective).
Exactly five years ago today–May 30, 2005–a group of six bloggers launched the Banner of Heaven weblog, setting in motion a scandal that lasted nearly six months. That inaugural post, titled simply “A Declaration” is reproduced for your viewing pleasure below:
When in the course of the bloggernacle it becomes necessary for one blog to assume the separate and equal station to which it is entitled, a decent respect for the other blogs out there requires that they should declare the reason that impels them to exist.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that not all bloggers are created equal, that they blog for various reasons, that among these are to sound smart, to argue with total strangers, and to advance and defend ideas that for the most part they came up with all by themselves—that to accomplish these purposes group blogs are instituted upon the ‘net, deriving their prestige from the number of graduate degrees that have been collected—that whenever any or all blogs become rife with self-aggrandizement and navel-gazing, it is the right of the people to try and do better, to institute a new blog, layings its foundation on such principles and organizing its permabloggers in such form, as to them seems most likely to effect brutal honesty, plain-speaking, and insight into the lives of Mormons just like you. Such has been the patient suffering of these lurkers and commenters, and such is now the necessity that constrains them to alter all former systems of blogging.
So then, we are dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored old blogs we may take increased caution to avoid those misguided purposes listed above to which they give the most full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that such old blogs will not have crusted over in vain—that this blog, the Banner of Heaven, shall give a new birth of fresh perspective—and that posts about real people, by real people, and for real people will not perish from the earth.
For the next week or two, I invite all of you Bloggernacle newbies to curl up next to the campfire of By Common Consent and Bloggernacle Times and listen to the tale of the Banner of Heaven Weblog. You’ll be introduced to the dreaded Aaron B. Cox and a man named Septimus; the word “shelf” will take on an entirely different meaning for you, and you’ll never be able to sing the music from Cats again.
Stay tuned for BCC’s and BT’s Banner of Heaven 5-Year Anniversary Retrospective: Podcasts, posts, imagery, and analysis detailing the greatest (only?) scandal to ever take place in the Bloggernacle from it’s very origins to it’s (in)glorious descent into mayhem and destruction.
Index of Posts in the 5-Year Retrospective
Part 2: Origins
Part 3: The Blog
Part 4: SeptimusH
Part 5: Miranda PJ (podcast with DKL)
Part 6: Jenn Mailer
Part 7: Commenting Statistics
Part 8: More Commenting Statistics
Part 9: Mari Collier
Part 10: Aaron B. Cox
Part 11: Greg Fox
Part 12: The Expose (Podcast with Rusty Clifton)
Part 13: Kurt aka Snarkimus Prime, 5 Years Later
Part 14: The Meltdown (podcast with Geoff J)
Part 15: annegb, 5 Years Later
Part 16: a random John, 5 Years Later
Part 17: The Aftermath (podcast with Steve Evans)
Part 18: Banner of Heaven Art Gallery
Part 19: Rosalynde Welch, 5 Years Later