Presenting the apostles as holy

I don’t usually write of theological matters, because I’m not a theologian. Of course, my philosophy rejects such expertise in the first place, because as far as I’m concerned, theologians tend to embrace what they’ve been taught, and that doesn’t include doubts. It’s the same formula for all expertise based on education, and this is one of the great differences between modernity and the postmodern mind. Experience is elevated above book‐learning to pomos, and this is upsetting to the status quo. I’ve written of this many times, so bear with me as we examine something important about Christianity.

Russian painter, Simon Ushakov, painted his “Last Supper” in 1685. Ushakov was an Orthodox Christian, the primary Christian practice in Eastern European countries and elsewhere. The painting is significant, because it depicts Christ and the Disciples with halos, which was the custom when trying to present these historical figures as holy. The use of such icons is common in Orthodox history, similar to the icons of Buddhism. Only Judas is depicted sans halo.

There are two real problems with this. One, in proclaiming these disciples as “holy,” the church bends the historical narrative for its own benefit, which was to create a dependency on the church for access to God or anyone holy. If we can be convinced that the only way to gain our own halo is to live a “Christian” life in accordance with church teachings, then the hierarchy of the church is not only intact, but it has a permanent place in the lives of the community.

Two — and this is perhaps the biggest difficulty presented with this “holy disciples” narrative — it simply isn’t accurate. These were not holy men; they were just like you and me. Their clumsiness as humans is lost in the recognition of their holiness, and this alters the meaning of important texts that would greatly help each of us on our own journeys through life. The growing of Christianity’s brand, therefore, was based on a fallacy, for in order to receive the good news, we must be convinced that we are unable to become what the disciples became. We need to be kept in our place to assure order, but that all changes, if the disciples were just ordinary people. In fact, to conclude their holiness even in the early church is to lose track of the gospel in a hodgepodge of mixed messages.

The just shall live by faith, unless and except when it comes to everyday living. Then, it’s all about our behavior, and grace gets kicked aside in the need to maintain the institutions we’ve built. That is best accomplished if those 12 men were kept aside as ideals for us to chase. But that was never really the case when Jesus was teaching them, assuming one’s belief in the Bible as a teaching document.

In Luke, chapter 17, for example, the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, increase our faith.” If these were holy men, they would have no reason to make this request. Their motive would have been to help Jesus in spreading the word through performing the same signs and wonders that He did. But, they were not sanctified and separate from others in their thoughts or their behavior. Therefore, Jesus detects the self‐centered motive in asking for more faith. They’re profoundly impressed with the guy and want to share in His power. They’ve heard him talk about this “faith” thing and don’t understand. So their question really is, “Lord, increase our faith so that we can do the same cool things that you do (and gain an advantage over our fellow man).”

The parable of the mustard seed follows, in which Jesus describes the faith of a mustard seed for them (it simply does what it’s supposed to do) and challenges them with a statement that, if they were to act similarly, they could move mountains or toss trees into the ocean.

Then, however, he shifts to another parable — the unprofitable servant. He essentially tells them not to expect any personal reward for doing what we’re supposed to do — like uprooting trees — because we are nobodies compared with the Creator. So, Jesus saw through their request, and this story has become fully bastardized through this idea that these men were holy simply because they followed Jesus in the beginning of His ministry. Many translations, for example, reference the size of the mustard seed as depicting just a wee bit of faith, which is a bit like being a wee bit pregnant. In for a penny; in for a pound. The decision to think and act for the benefit of others is contrary to our nature, and Jesus certainly knew that. He was fully man and fully God, according to the book, but isn’t it amazing how rarely we speak of his humanity and the internal conflicts He must have known? We need to think about it, however, because the book — especially the New Testament — takes on new meaning and significance if we can understand that the only holy man at the time of the disciples was Jesus himself.

The story of Jesus being tested in the wilderness is a great example of the humanity of Jesus. You know the story: Jesus was dealing with the torture and death what awaited him in Jerusalem. He was suffering internal agony over the conflict. If we’re to examine only His godly nature, we think that he was actually confronted by a devilish character who tempted him to avoid crucifixion by bowing down to the devil’s wishes. This makes for chilly — almost Tolkienesque — imagery, but it’s much more likely that these ideas — the stone, the leap, the rebellion — were birthed in His own head by his own ego, for that is the realm of man wherein temptation resides. This makes the story much more relatable to all of us, for who hasn’t heard the voice of his own ego?

It’s too risky. I might get hurt.
It’s really not my ministry.
Surely, I can take just one drink, right?
Nobody will see me in the adult video store.
I’m not worthy of getting a raise.
I’m special and good.
I’m special and bad.
My intentions are good.
It’s too hot/cold to keep my commitment.
He’ll never miss that $20 I owe.

So Jesus is hungry. Bang, he entertains the thought of changing a rock into a loaf of bread. The lesson doesn’t change whatsoever, but the scenario becomes much more relatable, because we’re no longer forcing ourselves into a magical illusion in the name of holiness.

The Protestant rebellion against Rome was based on the belief that “the just shall live by faith” and that grace, not works, was the path to righteousness in God’s eyes, thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus. The reasoning was simple. The law of Moses could not be kept, so God, through His unmerited favor, intervened with one final sacrifice for all of humanity. The problem for Rome, of course, was that such a stance gutted the hierarchy in place with the church. Controlling the behavior of citizens on behalf of the haves of the culture became its “business” model. Its value proposition was it stood as God’s intermediary with His people, and God only worked through its priests, cardinals, and bishops. The church sold its blessings to the highest bidders and became the absolute governor of human behavior by promising the “right” pathway to heaven.

And if people can be persuaded to accept their lot in life as God’s plan — and that their reward for this comes in the afterlife — then the masses can be controlled on behalf of the rulers of the culture. This is what we cherished for hundreds of years.

Protestantism stood a chance at replacing the power of Rome, but corruption reared its ugly head in the name of Protestant evangelism. Destroying entire civilizations in the name of God became morally acceptable, as long as it meant growing Christianity worldwide. In establishing the faith as a dynasty, it was important for the church to picture “holy” humans with halos to justify its unique separation from the filth of humanity.

And, as long as we covet our own halos, we’re susceptible to manipulation by the alleged grantor of halos, namely the church.

Jumping the Shark: Criminal Minds

Let’s review. I’m an old guy. I mostly watch crime dramas on TV, which is typical for my age group. I’ve watched them all and have seen my share of programs come and go, but Criminal Minds has been one of my favorites for a very long time. It’s sad to see articles like this one from a Zimbio list of TV shows that are likely to get cancelled next year:

While the first 13 seasons of Criminal Minds received an average of 23 episodes per season, Season 14 garnered a mere 15‐episode order. The long‐running CBS drama will soon reach its 300th episode. All of that means nothing if ratings are down. Season 14 debuted to 4.45 million viewers, easily making it the lowest watched episode of the entire series. After suffering the loss of major characters like Aaron Hotchner and Derek Morgan, perhaps it’s time to write the final chapter for Criminal Minds.

I’ve been wanting to write about this for a couple of years, because the show has had a serious chemistry problem since Thomas Gibson (Agent Aaron Hotchner) was booted for kicking a producer on the set. When that was followed by Shemar Moore (Darek Morgan) leaving to star in his own drama (SWAT — it’s awful), it flipped the chemistry and removed all the dominant macho male characters.

There’s an old saying in television that it’s not who goes who impacts the program; it’s who comes in as replacements. It’s the one thing that producers can control, and the producers of Criminal Minds blew it completely with the new agents. The show used to be built around these strong male characters, but that’s all been replaced with mush, and despite the efforts of the remaining cast members, you can’t fix a chemistry problem with just good acting. Chemistry in a crime drama influences everything and especially the writing.

They’ve injected macho into Dr. Spencer Reid’s character. Doesn’t work at all. They put Emily Prentiss in charge of the unit, but as strong as she is, she simply cannot replace the loss of Hotchner and Morgan. Producers brought in Adam Rodriquez and Damon Gupton to fill the macho void, but it doesn’t work, because Rodriquez oozes empathy, and Gupton is, at best, warm milk. This creates an impossible task for the writers, because they’ve got to know it isn’t working.

They’ve also botched the character of David Rossi and turned him into a bit player instead of the former founder of the BAU who was brought to the team after the departure of the original Criminal Minds guru Manny Patinkin (Jason Gideon) after two seasons. Patinkin’s character was deep and dark, and that set the tone for the original scripts. I honestly can’t watch some of the first two seasons, because the shows we’re just too dark. So Patinkin up and quit over creative differences. They brought in a clone, Joe Mantegna, to play David Rossi, said to be Jason Gideon’s partner in the creation of the FBI’s profiling unit years earlier. The chemistry of the cast after hiring Mantegna was, in my view, just right, in fact, perfect. It was this cast that led the show to its position atop the crime drama genre. Sadly, that’s all gone.

Even the show’s oddball personification of love, the adorable Kirsten Vangsness as Penelope Garcia, has been negatively impacted by the loss of the Darek Morgan character. Without her lusty and charming relationship — as a submissive female — to Shemar Moore’s rock solid dominant in Agent Morgan, her character now flaps in the breeze of nothingness. We know that his loss is her loss, and none of the current cast members is able to fill that void, and so, it’s just gone. It’s eliminated the tension of their loving “babygirl” relationship.

Thomas Gibson, the story goes, was very difficult on the set: demanding and angry when he disagreed with production. Here’s how Wikipedia describes his departure.

On August 11, 2016, Gibson was suspended after appearing in two episodes of the twelfth season of Criminal Minds, following an on‐set altercation with a writer‐producer; he apologized for the confrontation in a statement, claiming the dispute arose from creative differences in an episode he was directing (Gibson had previously directed six episodes of Criminal Minds since 2013, along with two last season episodes of Dharma & Greg in 2001). Gibson had a prior altercation with an assistant director and underwent anger‐management counseling.

You know what they say about hindsight, but the truth is that temperamental artists are a part of the creative process and a wide berth is very often a necessity. No matter how ugly this kicking incident was, it wasn’t worth destroying a top‐ranked television drama, but that’s exactly what has happened. CBS blew it with one of its top products, and, as a fan, it’s really agitating and unbelievably sad to watch the whole thing just crumble.

But that’s the way it goes with television.

Honey, we’ve got to talk about marijuana

The Gallup headline yesterday says it all, “Two in Three Americans Now Support Legalizing Marijuana.” That’s right. This is one of those gems of information hidden in the midst of the culture war fueled by the GOP’s wish to take us back to the days when, cough‐cough, America was great. According to NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), the Gallup data is consistent with those of other national polls, including those conducted by Pew (62 percent) and Quinnipiac University (63 percent).

We’ve come such a long way since the days of Reefer Madness (1936) and the demonization of my generation for wishing to expand our minds through marijuana. Today, it’s big business and getting bigger, and those states who can’t get onboard due to misinformation and ignorant paranoia are going to be left behind. I mean, seriously behind, because there are now absolutely compelling reasons to rethink such misguided reticence.

Let’s just say that there’s no room anymore for emotional responses based on all the deliberate lies and manipulation behind the nearly century‐long battle. Today’s argument is over the ancillary benefits of marijuana legalization — the business opportunities, the tax revenue, the agricultural benefits, and, most importantly, the science of it all.

There are serious efforts underway by medical research to study the medical benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD oil as opposed THC, the “high” chemical). The anecdotal evidence is overwhelming as to its almost miraculous healing powers, but science needs to do its thing before we can assign certain absolute benefits to the product. Where will these studies be done? In states (and by states) where the crop is legal. Do we really — based on misinformation — want to maintain our ignorance over what could be the greatest medical discoveries of modern times? Why deliberately enjoin your universities in this race?

In states where it’s legal, there is another form of science at work in the growing of the crops. New hybrids are producing products with different human impacts (mind versus body), and the cataloging of hybrids based on effect is now underway. Users can now buy marijuana based on the effect they want to achieve. This blows big holes in the propaganda that the only reason people use marijuana is to drop out and avoid responsibility. The medical benefits to anxiety, fear, and especially pain cannot be ignored, especially in the wake of removing opioid pain medication from the culture.

Meanwhile, there’s a whole new government revenue source within those states, and we’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars. The economic impact of pot, however, goes far beyond tax revenue, and this is something other states cannot ignore forever. Here’s Gallup’s “bottom line.” It’s fascinating.

Like support for gay marriage — and in prior years, interracial marriage — support for marijuana legalization has generally only expanded, even if slowly, over the course of multiple decades — raising the question of where the ceiling in support might be. As the percentage of Americans who favor legalizing pot has continued to grow, so has the number of states that have taken up legislation to allow residents to use the substance recreationally. States that permit use of medical marijuana are even more prevalent in the U.S. than states allowing recreational pot are.

After this year’s elections, recreational pot use could be allowed in two more states, depending on what voters decide in North Dakota and Michigan. Both of these states border Canada, whose adult residents now have access to legal marijuana nationwide. Meanwhile, state lawmakers in New Jersey are moving closer to passing legislation to legalize pot, and neighboring New York might not be far behind after the state’s health department conducted a study that led to its recommendation that marijuana be legal.

But even as many states take action to legalize pot, to date, no Midwestern or Southern states permit legal recreational use — though medicinal marijuana is allowed in a few of these states. Now that public support is consistent across U.S. regions, legalization will likely spread to new areas in the future.

So, here’s what I’m seeing. Red states have no choice but to address this as a hard cost in maintaining religious or other objections to legal marijuana. To be left behind in the culture due to the emotional view of pot being evil is the dumbest form of dumb and something residents need to let their leaders know about.

I must say that this is a remarkable take on the culture war we’re currently fighting. For all appearances, the left is losing, as witnessed by the approval of Judge Kavanaugh, huge tax cuts for the rich, and a host of other actions by the government of Donald Trump. In this highly progressive issue, however, we have evidence that Americans still determine not only what they will and won’t tolerate, but also that the people will have their way.

Even if it takes a hundred years to make it so.

“But the babies!”

Roe v Wade was made law in 1973 when I was in my late 20s. That means my entire adult life has included the debate over abortion, and I’ve viewed the issue from both perspectives, because, well, that’s what news people do. I was also deeply involved in the strategic thinking involving the use of abortion as a key fund‐raising plank for Christian Republicans. As such, my window overlooking the conflict is perhaps a bit different than yours. Cynical? Perhaps, but I feel it’s justified.

Firstly, let me say that I’ve never heard anybody — even the staunchest supporter of a woman’s right to quality medical care in this matter — say that they are “for” abortion. No matter what form of new math you use, the case cannot be made that people who support choice are, in fact, supporting the killing of babies. This really grates on me, for pro‐lifers occupy a seat of self‐righteousness here in their attacks on people who vote choice. It is simply sloppy logic to erase the truth in favor of a “murdering the babies” emotional meme, no matter how effective it is as a fund‐raising or support‐inducing cause. Good and well‐intentioned people seem incapable of thinking this whole thing through in favor of the emotional appeal that comes from those who are not so well‐intentioned.

The best, most compelling analogy that I can make for the pro‐choice position is the NRA and guns. That’s right. The NRA doesn’t argue that its members want guns to kill people; they simply want their weapons IN CASE the situation ever comes up where they’re needed. This is the Second Amendment in a nutshell. It’s why most anti‐gun arguments fall flat. If we assume that guns kill people, then we ought to be able to make an argument for some form of restraint in gun sales, but that’s beside the point.

It’s this “just in case” argument that wins in the case of abortion. When my own daughter came home from the doctor after her 20‐week pregnancy check‐up that revealed a badly deformed fetus with severe chromosomal deficiencies, I was very glad that abortion was an option. My daughter, who is very well‐grounded, wouldn’t even consider it, so she carried the child until she gave birth. The baby, a boy, lived six hours. Had she chosen to end the pregnancy, I would’ve been just as proud of her as I was for carrying this child. But only the hardest of hearts would force such misery — carrying a child you know is going to die — on a young woman. Why is this so hard to see?

So legal abortion just doesn’t automatically lead to abortion, and that’s where Christian people miss the point of why we have no law prohibiting it, and that’s the way it has to be.

But, Terry, abortion is murder, and there are laws against murder. True, but so is a mass killing at an elementary school. If we can justify guns in the wake of such, what can the anti‐abortion lobby truly expect in this most personal of family decisions? Is abortion wrong? Is owning at AR‐15 wrong? Again, Terry, owning an AR‐15 doesn’t mean you’re going to use it to slaughter children at a school. Right, and that’s the identical argument for why we need to leave abortion alone. An “unwanted” child doesn’t automatically mean there will be an abortion, which is why we must leave this decision up to the family and the medical community.

This view IN NO WAY endorses abortion, and that’s where the disconnect exists. William F. Buckley used to rail against abortion as immoral — not illegal — and that’s where the argument belongs. That being so, there would still be plenty of work for pro‐lifers to do in making the case that abortion is the taking of a human life, so as to convince women to consider other options. This would be a much more productive position, but it wouldn’t raise the money that a “we need to outlaw abortion” position does.

And then there’s the horrible reality that abortion being illegal wouldn’t do a thing to stop abortion; it would just move in back to the dangerous underground practices that existed prior to Roe v Wade.

Meanwhile, missing from the debate is the reality that the abortion rate has gone down considerably over the years since Roe v Wade. The abortion rate is now below what it was in 1973, thanks to concerted efforts at birth control. The point is that the culture is already correcting the “wrong” of abortion by reaching the most vulnerable with birth control methods. And, since it’s “working,” the question of why this doesn’t satisfy the extremists is worth asking. The answer, of course, is that the right needs abortion around which to rally the emotions of decent, God‐fearing people to vote against their own best interests in supporting this one, highly manipulated issue.

The special interests — those puppet masters with sinister motives — have a bottomless well of energy they can tap to get what they want, for even if abortion wasn’t an issue, they would still rail against the behavior that led to “unwanted” pregnancies in the first place — sex outside of marriage. Effort here would also affect birth control, for the act of fornication is the problem, not how humans use various chemicals and barriers to prevent pregnancy. If the Kavanaugh court ever manages to overturn Roe v Wade, this is exactly where the evangelicals will go.

And won’t that be fun?

An open letter to the church at America

Dear Church,

Fake Christians and Fake Christianity! That’s what they’re saying about you. Imagine that? Oh, you’ll likely just dismiss this as the name calling of those evil liberals, but this cry comes from the inside, from Christians who want no part of what you claim is the real faith. These people view with righteous skepticism your willingness to support a political party whose highest priority is the wealthy. If you aren’t fabulously rich, then you, like the rest of us, are sucking hind titty with this administration when it comes to your wants and needs. The counterculture nature of Christianity has always been towards the poor and the afflicted and against the rich, and yet, here we are in a real crisis over the state of our country.

You got your so‐called Conservative Supreme Court, but the price for that is that history will tag you forever as fake Christians. Why? You are an affront to those who live simple lives in just trying to make the best of what they have and raise their children in the fear of the Lord. This is what happens when you mix politics with religion and why we have a First Amendment. It is by affiliation — the unrighteous yoking of yourselves and those who seek their reward at the expense of others. This is not Christianity, and it’s time we all came to agreement on that.

Christianity Today (or is it Fake Christianity Today) published a piece last week (The Current Storm and the Evangelical Response) by our old friend Ed Stetzer, who tried to justify all this in the name of the faith. Ed used a statement by Howard Dean on MSNBC as a springboard.

(Dean) gave his take on the state of the current GOP, saying it has “the same meaning as evangelical Christianity with young people, intolerance, bigotry and a lack of respect, not just for women but for anybody who is not on their team.” Stetzer chose to base his entire argument on the belief that this doesn’t describe all of the people or groups he knows. He called the statement by Dean “incomplete and unfair.” He’s able to indict those Christians who behave in this manner, but concludes that it’s really just a big misunderstanding.

No one can deny that the reputation of evangelical Christianity has been significantly diminished as a result of some pursing (sic) the acquisition of power and influence and blurring the lines of faith and politics.

But this does not, and cannot, change the facts: thousands of years of evidence have pointed to the true mission of those who claim to follow Jesus Christ—we seek to live humble lives of faithful service so that Jesus will be lifted high.

Howard Dean isn’t the first—nor will he be the last—to criticize evangelicals. We need to hear their critiques. But, we also need to respond in a such a way that others exclaim, “So that is what it means to be a Christian!”

And they, in turn, will turn to Christ as well.

To the church at America, if you don’t like the generalizations of Howard Dean, first remove your own generalizations about those who oppose you politically. Then, we might be able to have a discussion. Nobody is going to buy your arguments as long as your behavior represents the extreme. What’s needed is repentance, not justification for the unjustifiable. In your zeal to be models for everybody else, you’ve actually become that which you despise, the fat cats who take their ease among the refuse that’s left behind, including the poor, the sick, the afflicted, the refugees and their children, the unemployed, the strugglers and the stragglers, the lost and alone, and the people of the world who don’t have even a breath of what we possess.

Salvation promised sometime in the future is a cheap substitute for our lack of concern in the present.

Your servant,

Terry

The web is its own culture

This month is the 15th anniversary of the first Bloggercon, a conference for new media pioneers to advance the cause of blogging, which nobody else seemed to understand. The event was conceived and organized by Dave Winer, a man I certainly hope history will record as one of the key early players — if not THE key player — in the development of the paradigm shift in media:

    • That everyone with a web connection can be a media company.
    • That the cost of making media had been effectively reduced to zero.
    • That the web views hierarchies as inefficient and routed around them.
    • That the birth of so‐called “citizen’s media” was a response to a lack of trust in the pros since Watergate.
    • That the web is a culture unto itself and must be given its due as such.
    • That this networking of people would become a cultural swing point similar to what Gutenberg had brought about with moveable type in the 15th Century.
    • That the blogging format was the proper way to communicate information via the web.

    There was always a profound sense of the future at Bloggercon and all subsequent gatherings, because the people who attended were pioneers and innovators. We talked a lot about where this was all going, and honestly, there’s no contemporary replacement for what was accomplished, because there are too many people today vying for self‐centered inclusion in the web’s inner circle. Oh, there were plenty of big egos at Bloggercon; it’s just that they were all able to work together for the common good. There would be no podcasting today were it not for Bloggercon.

    So what’s happened 15‐years downstream? The efforts of those early gatherings have been absorbed by the whole, and the vision of those days continues outside the mainstream, which continues to insist that the web is merely an add‐on to our status quo. How unfortunate, for absent eyes to see, a whole generation is missing the innovations being made by mostly younger people who don’t view the web the same way as their parents. Let me give you a couple of examples.

    I’m not sure exactly how it began, but I’m a member of Bachelor Nation, that devoted group of fans who’ve crossed over into the darkness of reality dating television, specifically ABC’s The Bachelor. Even though I know it’s heavily edited to fit an ongoing producer narrative, I find that it fills a sort of mindlessness cleansing for me during exposure. The magnetism of this show is hot, young people vying for attention of a suitor, but it’s the backstory available to fans today that sheds a new light on what’s shone to the television audience.

    And, because I’m in the middle of it, I follow a guy in Dallas named Steve Carbone, known to backstory fans as the evil “Reality Steve,” who has a habit of spoiling the weekly episodes long before they air. Reality Steve provides the play‐by‐play of the creation and execution that is the narrative, and in so doing, not only “spoils” the programs (every one) but also reveals the story beneath the story, which, trust me, is far more interesting than the show itself. This knowledge, in fact, makes watching the program a different experience, because it teaches us all to think like producers.

    In this light, there’s an important media lesson in The Bachelor, a revelation, if you will, of one way the culture is adapting favorably to the digital age. You need eyes‐to‐see in order to engage, however, and this is always the problem for people trying to analyze currents as they relate to this new age. Enter the podcaster, the vlogger, the blogger, the social media influencer, and beyond. “Social media influencer” is a real job for a lot of real people who are simply responding to one of the means by which people are making a decent living while supporting themselves. And, I’m certain there will be those who’ll say that there’s really nothing new here, but vast companies are now doing business with people who have a significant following on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and so forth. Granted, it’s the old reach‐frequency game, but the money is not going to traditional media players. Reality Steve has a podcast as do a great many others in Bachelor Nation.

    The program’s recruiting of nice‐looking young people for the show has also shifted greatly in the wake of the above. Whereas earlier cast members of the program all joined with the ultimate purpose being to find love, today’s applicants have another purpose in mind when signing up to be contestants — it’s a great way to increase one’s influence in social media, which means there’s now significant income available to people who make the cast, and this has changed the nature of the program. “Is she here for him, or is she just interested in the fame?” This used to be a viable question with The Bachelor, but not anymore, for all contestants now get a shot at making significant money simply by being on the program.

    The simple truth is this: the web has evolved distribution of media (and most importantly, advertising), and this was one of the things we knew was happening back in those Bloggercon days.

    If you pay attention to how families use Facebook, you’ll notice another phenomenon occurring that has evolved to a business, and that is social media photography. Several times a year, each of the families in my daughter’s circle post professional photos of family members in addition to pictures they take themselves. Whether celebrating a season, a significant event, birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, or just a spontaneous idea, these people want to look their best for what is becoming a book of life for participants. They want to look their best as they keep up with each other for bragging rights on who posts the best photos. This is spawning a whole new industry, one that uses the very technologies we were innovating at Bloggercon.

    One day, resorts will offer a similar service designed specifically to be made a part of the customer’s own media distribution, and documenting our lives will become an even more important part of our use of social media. This discovery is being made over and over again by the people who take full advantage of the distribution patterns provided by social media. Those gathered a Bloggercon knew that what the web does best is connect people, but mainstreamers can only bring themselves to use it as an extension of their old, brand‐oriented value propositions.

    The web isn’t just another add‐on to Western Culture; it’s a culture unto itself, and this is what Dave and the others we were all trying to say those 15‐years ago.