On blogging and “tone”

So. For those of you not following along with the discussion on yesterday’s post about worship… here’s an update.

I wrote that post with a healthy dose of irony. I thought. And I was aiming for humour, rather than offence, when adopting the persona of an “angry young man” essentially writing to a bunch of other “angry young people” and calling them old. I was trying to call out those people who were once advocators of change for being a bit stuck in the rut of that advocacy when things have changed. I also thought it was funny that the issue at hand dealt with music – which I thought was universally understood to be a marker of generational change…

And, in order to be noticed, I adopted hyperbole. I ironically wrote a reactive polemic against reactive polemics, calling for nuance. I thought that would be relatively clear.

But it turns out, once again, that the Internet isn’t very good for that sort of stuff. Even though I think that blogging is a medium different to other mediums (ie content is spur of the moment, geared towards the sensational, provocative, not completely thought out and referenced, opinionated, a contribution to discourse, etc), and think the reader has as much responsibility to consider the genre when responding as the writer does to consider the reader when writing… I think this post failed. People responded to the style, rather than the substance. And so, I edited it. You should read the post and join the discussion.

I am sorry that my post was not clear, and I’m sorry that it was possibly an offensive caricature of particular positions (again, ironically, because I would argue that almost all reactionary/polemic based stuff, especially on the internet, relies on caricatures and straw men).

Also, I am sorry if you’re 35 and I called you old, or if my post offended you in myriad other ways. But I guess my one response is – don’t let the offence get in the way of engaging with the issue, or be an excuse for dismissing the substance of the post or its criticism of your position.


[…] attempted humour, unduly hurt by the tone, or commenting on the style rather than the substance. I apologise for my failure to communicate clearly. I also apologise that these changes make certain comments on this post a little redundant as they […]

Dene says:

Hi Nathan, I enjoy the tone of your blog – it’s part of why I tune in. Please don’t change.

Employing a ridiculing tone on the worship issue touched a raw nerve for me because it’s something that has been used to great effect in the debate already, and has largely been unhelpful in my view. I have observed that its use has helped people to have unthinking responses – see my fb comment on your original post about the mention of “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs. Ok, at least, I had an unthinking response to it – not completely sure of others.

So my objection was to the use of that tone on this particular issue only. Again, I agreed with much of your content, and I am paying attention to that content – I’m sorry it only rated one line in my response and the tone-nazi comments filled the rest.


Nathan Campbell says:

Hi Dene,

This post isn’t indicative of a general change in tone – just indicative that I’ve reflected on the acerbic and ironic tone not being particularly helpful in certain contexts… and it’s just something I have to be more mindful of… if I keep saying “people need to understand the medium” then at some point it’s actually my problem, as well as theirs…

AndrewF says:

So I guess it’s too late to float the idea that church music has been all down hill since J.S.Bach?