Saturday, December 1, 2012

Carnival - analysis and reflection

In the work done last month, I wondered what would arise from it as I proceeded. I have to admit some apprehension, some excitement, fear, and some difficulty afterwards letting it go. (You can see a bit of the emotion in that I hardly blogged at all apart from the carnival, 8 of 11 posts, in November.)

I began on day 1. I was reasonably sure that if I did not work every day, I would fail to finish with an adequate product. I worried about the delays in the October Carnival. I wondered if I could fit everything into one post. (I kept independent back ups on a test blog, and I tested on various devices like handhelds, laptops, etc to ensure it was technically OK - shows quite well on my Blackberry for instance). The columns, incidentally, which allow just a little more juxtaposition, are simply an extra table. They were not particularly easy to manage - so I am not sure I recommend it. I just worked with a simple editor and notepad where necessary.

Mid month, I had scanned roughly 2000 posts and selected about 10%. (low signal to noise ration). We ended up with about 350 posts contributed by about 90 persons.  The art and commentary also just appeared.

I had vague goals: how many posts written by women would I find?  How many different languages could I unearth?  Could there be representation from several religious traditions?  Are all continents represented?  And I am biased towards the aural and oral these days (except in posts like this one) so I was glad to include some music.

Then there was how to organize the thing - by book? - no, too much detail. By major section and century? - eventually, this emerged.

Then the content - the month began and ended with such trouble that by the end I realized I could have created a litany instead of a carnival. The idea of using John Donne just appeared - and with le Donne as mentor, it stuck. Mid month, I went to a lecture on the anniversaries and was utterly delighted with the summing up of my history from childhood to liturgy in these poems.

So instead of  Torah, Prophets, Writings, NT, various related extra-canonical items, archaeology and the usual dose of polemics and current events that simply cannot be ignored, I arrived at the Patriarchs, Prophets, 'waters' for the whole Bible. Apostles, Martyrs, and Virgins - and I left out Confessors and Doctors - though there's hay to be made here.

The idea sets the carnival in the 16th century. I bet some earlier and later settings (medieval, 19th C) might also be a challenge to other creators.  Anyway, it was a good month for reading John Donne again even if occasionally out of context.

So - did I represent all continents? Yes, almost:

  • North America dominates with about 65 (25% female) of the approximately 90 persons represented. 
  • South America - only 1 from Brazil. 
  • Asia, a couple from India, 
  • Africa - 4 I think (but I guess a couple - the Arabic fundamentalist, and one from Malawi, and maybe 2 others). 
  • Australia/NZ had 5 persons represented, 2 female.
  • Europe - Britain, 7 of which 2 are female, Continent, 7 or so, none from Germany, but Italy, France (at least Languedoc for content), the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, were represented. I know several scholars from Denmark, but they don't blog I suppose...
What do you think?  Could something more than Noyse emerge from the Biblioblogs, heading toward that equal music?