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Australian philosopher, literary critic, and professional writer. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

On the future of this blog (more)

This blog was largely in hiatus through October, which was for a number of reasons. One was simply that I was very busy with Udo Schuklenk putting the finishing touches on the manuscript of our next book, 50 Great Myths About Atheism. This can be seen as, in a way, a sequel to our co-edited volume 50 Voices of Disbelief.

Since we submitted the manuscript in mid-October, there's been a flurry of activity, as we plot and plan with each other and our commissioning editor at Wiley-Blackwell. There will be more news, no doubt, as the book goes through the editing/publishing process, but at this stage I can just say that we're very excited about it, and we're getting great feedback from the publisher. As the title might suggest, we'll be examining a wide range of myths, misconceptions, slanders, and half-truths about atheism and atheists. Amongst it, we'll also have quite a bit to say about the rise of modern atheism and why we think atheism is the most reasonable response to the God question.

I also have a deadline looming for another book, Humanity Enhanced, which will be published by MIT Press. This is involving a lot of work, and it is intensifying as that deadline approaches.

Some people may think that I'm a glutton for punishment, but I also stepped up during October to become the new chair of the board of a significant local arts body, here in Newcastle, Australia, the Hunter Writers' Centre. This immediately involved me (in a modest way) with the lead-up to the Centre's annual flagship event, the award night for the prestigious (and even somewhat lucrative) Newcastle Poetry Prize. The NPP is one of the most important annual literary awards in Australia. And there's the prospect of even more news relating to literature in Newcastle. That will have to wait for now, but I'm very pleased to find myself more closely involved in the cultural life of this beautiful city where I grew up, and to which I returned from Melbourne three years ago.

In the background of my own life, though, there are ongoing and worrying health issues in my family (not directly involving me!). That's placed some demands on my energy level just lately ... well, since about June.

While all this has been happening, I've been somewhat neglecting this poor blog and even wondering about its future. However, I do still think that it has a future as my personal blog, even if my lengthier and more philosophical pieces (particularly those where I feel I am writing for professional philosophers) are more likely to appear elsewhere, such as at Talking Philosophy.

Okay, so I've decided that the place needs a facelift. One thing I've been thinking of doing for some time is changing its title from "Metamagician and the Hellfire Club" to simply "The Hellfire Club". When I started blogging over six years ago, the "Metamagician" part made some sense in relation to how I saw the blog evolving. However, it has little actual relevance to the blog as it exists today - and merely makes the name more esoteric and difficult.

From now on, just plain "The Hellfire Club" it is. If the blog ever migrates elsewhere, which I do contemplate from time to time, that's the name it will continue under. The sort-of-new name, "The Hellfire Club", signals not just a certain anti-religious aspect - though I reiterate that this has never been an atheist blog more than a lot of other things - but also a certain alienation from much conventional moral and similar wisdom, which has been subjected to a running critique. That element will continue ... and, indeed, it may become more important.

Would people who have this blog listed on their blog rolls, or anything similar, please adjust accordingly.

The rest of the facelift is a work in progress, and you may see more tinkering over the next few days. But I was getting a bit bored with the look of it as it was. Time for something new!

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Design feedback: the blog theme is a bit daunting. Difficult to read and the red links are painful to look at.

Benjamin Martens said...

the blog theme is a bit daunting. Difficult to read and the red links are painful to look at. [2].

Russell Blackford said...

Well, my sense of aesthetics isn't everbody's. :)

We'll see how the colours evolve over the next few days if others are put off by them. Thanks for the feedback. As I say, the exact nature of the facelift will be a work in process, at least for a while.

Russell Blackford said...

And I've now moved to something much simpler and less, aesthetically edgy than what we're talking about above. Let's see how this works.

spiral_shell said...

Yeah, the links are too hard to see. Try purple on pink! Or perhaps just dark grey on white?

Links are always easier to see if they have underlines too.

For colours that compliment, try this website:
http://colorschemedesigner.com/

Russell Blackford said...

I'm probably going to just keep fiddling around with the colour scheme.

People coming to this thread, be warned that comments upthread are likely to be about something different from what you're seeing.

Jason Streitfeld said...

I, for one, appreciate the update. I was going to prompt you for one right before your last post. Sorry to hear about the health issues, but very glad to hear about your writing projects.

Legal Eagle said...

I second Jason's comments...

Russell Blackford said...

Thanks, folks. Like a lot of people in my age group or even a bit younger, I have to worry about the health problems of elderly parents/parents-in-law, so that's what that's all about.

The look of the blog is likely to keep changing. As I write, I've moved it to something that appears (at least to me) very clear and easy to read. I'm not sure how keen I am on its aesthetics, though, compared to a couple of the earlier tries that I rather liked. We'll see. Clarity does have to be the main consideration.

I do still think, after sleeping on it, that the simpler title for the blog is the right move. But it will take a bit of getting used to.

Sean Wright said...

You may consider Disqus or Intense debate for comments. More user friendly than native blogger coments.