Signs of Life in the Blogosphere
I previously referred to blogging as “electronic graffiti. It’s an apt phrase. The blog medium is filled with short, sometimes irreverent, passages. There’s a lot of sarcasm, parody and other kinds of chops-busting humor. But that doesn’t mean blogs are never serious.
A few blogs, in fact, are deadly serious.
In an age when millions of unborn babies are destroyed annually, when millions of Americans scream for an end to the barbaric practice and millions want it to continue, it was to be expected that quite a few blogs focused on abortion would materialize.
Quite a few have. Some are pro-life, some are pro-abortion. Some are well written, others incoherent. Where to begin?
I recommend After Abortion (afterabortion.blogspot.com). It’s run by Emilie Peterson and Annie Banno, two women who had abortions in the 1970s. Today they’re doing what they can to make amends and prevent other women from making the same mistake they made.
After Abortion tries to avoid the political tug-of-war that tends to come with this turf. They concentrate instead on discussing the troubling personal effects of abortion on the mothers. According to Peterson, the blog’s main focus is on “the emotional aftermath of abortion. … Its goal is to provide comprehensive coverage of post-abortion ministries, published studies about the emotional aftermath and the efforts of post-abortive people to raise awareness about the negative emotional impact of abortion by speaking out about their own experience.”
Peterson and Banno cover those topics well. Readers also find personal testimonials from women who underwent abortions, along with abortion news, analysis of abortion studies and other information that any pro-life Catholic (a redundancy) will appreciate. There’s also a scad of links to other pro-life bloggers and web pages, and even a handful of pro-abortion blogs. Evidently the pair isn’t afraid to directly engage “the other side.”
Are Peterson and Banno making a difference? I suspect they are. After Abortion brings in about 500 visitors every day. The site also comes up in web searches for “abortion,” so it is increasingly visible to women considering an abortion.
And last summer, After Abortion challenged syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman’s urban-legend assertion that, before Roe, 10,000 women died every year from illegal abortions. After a group of pro-abortion researchers looked into the matter and sided with After Abortion, the Associated Press picked up the story, compelling Goodman to retract her statement.
Another vibrant pro-life blog worth a visit is The S.I.C.L.E. Cell (thesiclecell.blogspot.com), a highly personal, sometimes graphic and somewhat dark blog promoting the sanctity of life. Its tagline explains its name: “My view from the prison of a SICLE (Self Imposed Child Loss Experience) due to debilitating maternal disease.”
Then there’s Jivin’ Jehoshaphat (jivinjehoshaphat.blogspot.com), which offers a lighter look at pro-life issues, The Real Choice (realchoice.blogspot.com) and The Fact Is (thefactis.org), a joint project of the Culture of Life Foundation and the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. All worth a visit, if not a daily stop.
Among general-interest Catholic bloggers that emphasize pro-life promotion, Peterson says Amy Welborn’s Open Book (amywelborn.typepad.com/openbook) is one of the best, and I tend to agree. Also recommended: Catholic and Enjoying It (markshea.blogspot.com), Exceptional Marriages (exceptionalmarriages.com/weblog) and The Anchoress (theanchoressonline.com).
And if you want a general-interest blog that attacks pro-life issues from a humorous angle, often mocking the outrageousness of Planned Parenthood’s shenanigans, I recommend Dawn Eden’s blog, The Dawn Patrol (dawneden.com/blogger.html).
If you’ve surfed the Internet, you’re no doubt acquainted with search engines: Yahoo, Google, Alta Vista, Ask Jeeves and so on. Thing is, if you’ve used those search engines to find good bloggers, you may have been frustrated.
Although blogs do come up in conventional search engines, they rarely rise to the top of the returns. You might have to scroll to page five of a Yahoo search, for instance, to find a blog entry. I don’t know all the reasons for this, but, for a while, some of the major search engines didn’t even want blogs to register with them. Blogs were second-class cyber-citizens. The effect seemingly lingers today.
Well, now the blog-search void has been filled as a handful of search engines dedicated solely to finding blogs have sprung up. The most popular is Technorati (technorati.com), which is deemed the industry leader in blog tracking and searching. Whenever you see a statement like, “There are 28 billion blogs,” the statistic is coming from Technorati.
But, in my experience, Technorati misses a lot. If you want a good swath of samples of what bloggers are saying about a topic, I suggest you run searches in other blog search engines as well, such as Google’s Blog Search (blogsearch.google.com), Ice Rocket (icerocket.com) and Blogpulse (blogpulse.com).
This month’s reader recommendation will flatter my editor, David Pearson. The Register staffer is, in his spare time, a contributor to Suicide of the West (suicideofthewest.com), a blog launched in December by Mark Gordon, a Rhode Island-based entrepreneur and occasional Register contributor. The eponymous title is taken from the classic book by James Burnham and — unsurprisingly — it chronicles “Western cultural disintegration,” commenting on our society’s decline in the context of St. Augustine’s hope in the “City of God.”
I regularly lift material from Gordon’s blog to use on my own. It’s updated nearly every day, the posts are pithy and the topics are timely. It addresses the foreign and domestic developments that are eating away at the Christian roots of our culture, along with the threat of Islam, the population fallout in Western societies and other topics political, sociological and cultural. I highly recommend it. And not just because Pearson is my editor.
Not much time for surfing the blogosphere? The newspaper you’re now reading is developing a new online feature that should prove helpful: Blog Watch. In technical terms it’s an aggregator, but you don’t need to know that. All you need to know is that it will be posted at the Register’s website (ncregister.com) — and that it will quote and link blogs from all over the web, paying particular attention to the faithful Catholic ones.
The Register plans to update Blog Watch every day. I will be primarily responsible for making sure it’s timely, informative and insightful. I’ll work hard to make sure we don’t waste your time.
Blog Watch should be running by the time my next column appears in these pages. See you online.
Eric Scheske blogs at
- February 26-March 4, 2006