Sunday, February 14, 2010

Blag Hag Census Results Continued

Next time I make a survey, I'm putting an "Other" option on every question. Seriously, nearly everything someone wrote in was insightful, heartwarming, or cracked me up so much that I probably scared my roommate with my intermittent laughter. That's why I think some of my favorites should get a post of their own, so I can address your anonymous comments.

But before I say anything else - seriously guys, you are all so fucking nice. Some of your comments made a tear up a bit. I started this blog as a fun hobby, and I never thought so many people would enjoy it, let alone see it as influential and important. I just hope that I can live up to your expectations! You all rock!
Just continue chronicling your journey and sharing your growth as you stumble towards intellectual maturity. I find your naivete and occasional hypocrisy both refreshing and nostalgic. Had I kept as extensive a journal when I was your age, I doubt I could be as proud of it as you will be when you are my age, looking back. You'll also be embarrassed as hell, but that's life. I really love your work.
Usually someone calling me naive and hypocritical would get me cranky, but I just can't in this case because I know it's so true. I already have things that I disagree with from my older posts, and it hasn't even been a year. My views on atheism were very different even just a couple of years ago when I was a freshman. I often make posts where I don't know the answer because I'm trying to figure everything out. And I know I'll be embarrassed when I read some of these again. I've kept a LiveJournal since middle school, and sweet Jesus - I went back and read some of my posts recently, and they were so freaking embarrassing. Seriously, you should all be glad that I don't finish every single one of my sentences with an emoticon anymore.
Don't video blog! Make people read!
A sentiment held by many readers, usually in all caps. I actually prefer reading, mainly because I can go at the pace I want. Skip parts, skim...can't exactly do that with a video. I honestly rarely watch tv or youtube videos - just isn't my thing.
Videotape yourself kicking all those chauvinistic trolls in the balls.
Hmm, okay, maybe I'll have to make an exception...
Okay, I know your busy so this is kinda harsh and all. In fact I honestly cant see you doing it but if you can by some miracle find some more time to blog even more regularly do that.

What really keeps me coming back to any blog, regardless of topic, is daily posts. I wake up and run to the computer and know there's going to be something new for me to learn about on BlagHag!
Oh great, because I didn't feel guilty enough when I skip a couple of days, haha. I'm not sure how much more I can post - sometimes I just don't have anything else to say, even when I have time. Quality over quantity, everyone!
Less focus on negative news stories. It was getting a bit depressing there, for awhile.
Oh man, I totally agree. The problem is twofold: 1. News coverage of negative stories is a lot better, so I see it and get linked to it a lot more often. 2. I usually have nothing insightful to add to positive stories other that "Yay, that was cool." I'll try to be better though!
Fix the bug that makes me enter comments twice (and no, I'm not even using IE).A 'remember me' function would be nice, save inputting name and URL manually each time. Get some spamtrap software, or at least delete shills and 'bots.
These are all annoying Blogger problems that I have little control of (I think?). If anyone has any solutions, please offer them in the comments, because I have no idea. Sorry! I'll try to be better about deleting spam, I've gotten a bit lazy.
I think you are better when you write about what you know; atheism, science and generalised social issues to do with your age/gender. While I sometimes enjoy your articles on religion/ Christianity/theology, I think that your knowledge on these matters is too influenced by the stand you have taken (being an 'out atheist' in an atheist club) and is sometimes prone to being quite shallow (sorry for being harsh, just trying to be honest).
I know theology isn't my strong point, which is why I generally don't discuss it. Whenever I talk about religion, I try to focus on its affects on society and individuals, rather than actual debates against theology. To be honest, debating theology just isn't interesting to me, and there are plenty of other blogs who do a great job at it. If I ever say something stupid, feel free to call me out on it.
I'm looking forward to seeing what grad school you get into and reading about your experiences there. Hopefully you will have time to engage the local community and blog about it like you have done while at Purdue. Take care.
A lot of people indicated that they were looking forward to me blogging about getting into grad school and my experiences there. Don't worry, I plan on continuing blogging, assuming there isn't some university wide ban on it (which would go into my decision...). Right now I don't want to talk about it too much, since I don't want my posts to possibly affect my odds of being accepted. Because you know, benign posts about grad school questions would totally scare professors away more than rants about religion. I may post a bit about it retrospectively, once I know I'm safe.

Speaking of rants about a religion, some people mentioned I get a little too cranky/mean when I'm ranting. An equal amount of people said they loved it and that I need to rant more. As a compromise, I will not change my level of ranting, though it may fluctuate monthly (hmm, I think I have a new statistics project...)
I think you're in a position to really apply feminism to science in both theory and practice. These two positions don't seem to overlap much in your commentary, and I find that a bit odd.
To be honest, I've been lucky enough to have a wonderful experience as a female scientist at Purdue, so I don't have many personal anecdotes to talk about. I definitely try to keep an eye out for relevant articles. Maybe I'll have more to talk about once I become a "real" part of academia, but hopefully not!
Focus a little bit more on feminism. There are a bazillion blogs out there and the online atheist blogging community needs a popular young female - of which you are no doubt qualified for.
Popular Young Female Atheist sounds like an awesome superhero. Give me a cape and I'm totally in. Seriously though, I think finding a niche is important, which is why I usually don't repost popular stories unless I have my own unique comment to make about it. A lot of people asked me to keep writing about feminism, and I definitely will!

A lot of people also mentioned that they enjoyed posts about the Purdue Non-Theists and other local atheist events. I'll definitely keep it up, no matter where I go - all of the schools I've applied to have active atheist groups. I think one of my niche's is being a young person on "front lines of the atheist movement," doing a lot of the actual activism rather than passive blogging or writing.
Aside from the crude suggestion of 'show us your tits'- I genuinely, as a man, appreciate a lot of the feminism displayed on your blog. It is novel in its approach thanks to its use of what I would describe as being 'sensibility', but perhaps I've simply been biased by radical elements of feminism and their blatant use of ridiculous appeals to emotion. The Sagan/Dawkins recounting of some descriptions of, say, Isaac Newton's Principia as a 'rape manual', or derisive reference to hypothesis as an 'invention of rich white males'. These people are farrrrr too polarizing in their approach, so hooray for the BlagHag voice of reason. Turning to freethought is such a comfort, especially when I find my self at a loss for words at a lot of the student initiatives at my university to favour in no uncertain terms the 'radical' or 'revolutionary' perspective-- in itself, is not a bad thing, but that it comes at the cost of a comprehensible and rational backing! Uch! Keep up the good work, Jen. You're an inspiration to the female atheists (especially the one I've been dating for the past 3 years!), and a great place to find an utter facepalming at the day's irrationalities. Kudos. Also: Show us your tits!

Can I check more comics 10,000 times? Love your art, Jen. Community building sounds neat too - we have all met very interesting people through your site, and that's just awesomeness. And, you know, sexy pirate stuff. Since you put it there. hurrrrr girl atheist has boobs hurrrrr
I really appreciate knowing there are guys out there who enjoy my feminism posts. But I think what I appreciate even more is guys who know how to appropriately use boob humor. I lol'd.
More sexy ninja outfit pictures; remember that you should teach the controversy so that everyone can make an informed decision. Only posting the sexy pirate outfit pictures is so one sided. ;-)
While I do have a sexy pirate outfit, I would only be able to pull off a shirt ninja, which wouldn't be very sexy.
Not really, just a thank you for your time helping keep us entertained and out of trouble. You know, if we didn't read this we may end up as satanists. Or worse, Mormons.
Eat plenty of Vegetables
You know, I really should. My eating habits are so bad. My parents never instilled good habits in me - we're a meat, potatoes, and corn family. I've been thinking of trying to drastically improve my eating and exercise habits this summer so I make it my routine when I "start over" at grad school. I figure if I don't get fit now, I'm going to doom myself to a sedentary, unhealthy life.
Personal suggestion: Do something with your hair! I know, I and vanity are not your thing. But take it from a guy who has had to intelligently critique his spouse's hair beyond 'it's fine, dear' for 20+ years. The lank, center-part, just let it hang doesn't do anything for you. Spend some time & money with a decent stylist & you could be a Lab/Pirate Goddess!
SO TRUE. I have always hated my hair. It used to be a giant frizzy mess, but years of fiddling with hair care products made it only a semi frizzy mess. I'm really low maintenance, so the idea of doing something more than blow drying my hair and brushing it doesn't appeal to me at all. I had bangs until I was 12, and I loathed them so much that I'm afraid to give them a chance ever again. As a result, I'm rocking the boring middle part. My hair is longer then usual now because I'm waiting to donate it to Locks of Love again. But if I have readers who are actually knowledgeable about hair and can suggest a low maintenance style that will turn me into a Lab Goddess, I will totally do it when I donate my hair.
Torture communion wafers, it worked for PZ. Or even better, write a whole series of really popular books, it worked for Dawkins.The wafer one is probably easier.
I think I'll go for the popular books one. Not only have I always wanted to do that, but it's also the option that's less likely to get me lynched.

And the winner of the night:
PZ Myers. Sorry, had to. :P
I think I would have been disappointed if no one did.

Again, thanks so much to everyone for their input! Some people had more detailed comments that are worthy of their own post, so I may pull them out in the near future.


  1. I love that you're going to donate your hair to Locks of Love. That's fucking awesome.

    And now I'm going to do a girly hair thing: I used to do the part in the middle/grow long business because I hated hair upkeep too. And still hate it. If you're looking for a different style that's still low-upkeep, I can say that I go for layers with the length just around my shoulders or a bit below, and it works great. That means a) air-drying it looks good, b) when I need it out of my way for some reason, it's still long enough to tie back and keep out of my way, and c) I get to look all fancy-fancy when I want, with a about ten minutes of blowdrying and big round brush.

  2. I didn't bother to write any comments in the survey, because I honestly don't think I ought to be giving input. I don't blog myself and therefore I think it'd be obnoxious to offer suggestions; whatever you choose to do is perfectly fine by me. As long as you're still saying something interesting, I'll keep reading, but I see no reason to try to influence what you write about.

  3. Echoecho: I chop my hair really short about every 4 years. Chop number three will probably come right after graduation - my hair should be long enough for donation then. I usually do a layer thing like you describe; my hair has just been growing so long that my layers disappeared.

    mcbender: Trust me, I won't do anything that I don't want to do ;) There are just areas that I'm ambivalent about, and I'm curious about what people think.

  4. I'm glad to hear that you'll do more art. I think it's one of the more unique things about your blog. You write about current events AND have some art. It's cool.

    As far as hair goes, I definitely agree with the layers suggestion. Also, when you go to get your hair cut, ask the stylist to maybe give you a side part for your hair.

    Just know that it WILL SUCK to change your part after you've had it for so long. Your hair won't want to work, but just bear with it if you really want to switch it up (Although I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to change your part. I like center parts.).

    Also, don't be scared to use just some simply hair product. Things that lifts up your roots/add volume really do a lot of great things for hair styles. Plus, it's really easy, and with some products, you don't even need to have your hair damp.

    Either way you go (dry or damp), you just put it in and run a blow-dryer. It's really quick. Maybe you could also get a flat iron and straighten it up a bit, too.

    (Sorry about all this. I watch a lot of hair style shows, and I know a lot of people in the salon business)

  5. Obviously, you should shave your head for a few years. It will be awesome.

  6. "Whenever I talk about religion, I try to focus on its affects on society and individuals, rather than actual debates against theology."

    Quite. I think people waste a lot of time on the question whether we can prove that there is or isn't a god. There is nothing new to be said. If I may shill for myself a moment, I treat religion as a set of technologies -- economic, political, social-status and emotional. The first category, regarding it as a scam and/or a tool of the regime, used to be very common, as in the French Revolution and then in Marxism. Remember the slogan of strangling the last lawyer with the guts of the last priest? But it has all but disappeared in our time, and the reasons why might be a good topic for discussion. The alternative social hierarchy aspect (the secret elite) goes back to Nietzsche but we haven't seen too much of it lately. And people writing about the emotional satisfactions of religion too readily assume that all these are positive emotions, as opposed to the pleasures of being mean with permission.

    As I wrote earlier, I regard my inability to prove that there is no god as being on a par with my inability to prove that the offer of 30 million dollars from the head of the Nigerian oil ministry is not real and genuine.

  7. Hi, Jen. Unfortunately, I missed the time period your census was open (yay personal activities and the Cold From Hell). I'm a 40something female who found your blog from PZ's link one time. Keep reading because I like your thinking, I have a daughter your age (also a graduating college senior), and 2 family members who went to Purdue. I have nothing to say about your hair, since I have the same issues. I wear it long because I've always wanted it long, center parted because that's how it goes. I use anti-frizz stuff to keep from looking like a Brillo queen, and short hair for me takes WAY too much work.

    I look forward to your continual blogging! Dawn (anonymous choice because I'm too lazy to deal with signing in birthday and I'm off from work!)

  8. I like *your* brand of feminism, Jen.

  9. Hee! My boyfriend just told me to double-check this post and look for his poll comment. He does know how to utilize boob humor effectively- and he's right, you're an inspiration to both of us, and to young atheists everywhere.

  10. jessica, your avatar is amazing.

  11. Thanks! I can't claim credit for its creation- I have no artistic talent whatsoever. I came across it years ago, though, and a quick search on TinEye only turned up this:

  12. Always eat before you grocery shop. It makes resisting delicious but seriously unhealthy food a LOT easier.

  13. It's awesome, and it basically sums up my childhood. I miss you, NES.

  14. Yay! My responses were boring!

  15. *AHEM*

    You only have a fashion-conscious female friend who has been trying to update your look for years now. Layers and body wave = never have to fiddle with it, sex goddess hair. Google image search "body wave" and you'll see what I mean.

  16. I have to post a firm vote for keeping the unadorned, unprocessed hair style in place.

    I already feel bad for caring about looks enough to even bother advocating for not bothering with them, but since I am a complete anti-fan of hairstyling (and cosmetics and jewelry and fashion-sense -- unless done with a sense of irony pr parody, perhaps), I thought I should speak up to break the apparent unanimity that More Fashun & Stylyness = Always Betterz.

    That said... everyone has their own ideal image of how they should look at any given time; do whatever you think will move you closest to that, and don't worry about what anyone else thinks.

    Preferring Google Wave over Body Wave since... uh... 2010. Yeah.

  17. I would like to send out a hearty Fuck You to the commenter who said 'do something with your hair', and the one who said 'dress more sexxy for us!!'

    I'm disappointed that I missed participating in the survey while my internet was broken. I could have added to the female part of the pie chart!

    Can I still make a request? Don't pull any punches on the feminism front just because a large part of your audience is male. So many of their comments above seem to be summed up thusly: "keep writing on feminist issues, as long as you don't make me uncomfortable, of course."

  18. I am way far behind on all my blog readings. Sorry.

    I left the free comment area of the survey blank, and now I'm jealous, so I will tell you what I think in comment form.

    Your hair is fine.

    I like reading about your exploits at atheist events because it's the kind of thing I wish I would have done in college.

    As far as vegetables, have you considered getting some kind of share? In the Seattle area there's Full Circle Farm. Hopefully there will be something similar wherever you end up. For a fixed price you can pick up a box of vegetables once a week or every other week. It's affordable (but I'm not a student, so...)and good, and you're pretty much forced to eat these vegetables. Or feed them to your rabbit. But don't get a rabbit.

    As I've told you before, I've learned a lot about how to be a better human and a better man through your feminism posts. So nothing but kudos on that.

    I also am interested in hearing about grad school so I can live vicariously through you. I wish I were more educated.

    I find your level ranting against religion appropriate. I think you get just mean enough.

    All in all, Blag Hag is one of my favorite things to read for a myriad of reasons. Admittedly, critiquing the product of other people's brains is NOT a strength of mine, but I cannot think of anything you're doing wrong.