On Meeting Other Bloggers at SBL . . . Initial Thoughts (and your thoughts of me!)

As my series of SBL posts indicate (see below), I was fortunate enough to meet and speak with a number of fellow bloggers at SBL in New Orleans.  For some reason, I am always intrigued by how a person looks, especially when I have long known them only by name, perhaps having my own construct of what they look like floating numinously in my mind.  Oftentimes I will google a scholar, such as von Rad or Gunkel or Wellhausen or even Childs or Barr, to see what they look like.  Similarly, meeting people always offers surprises . . . take, for instance, Rob Kashow’s utter surprise (shared by Mike Whitenton), at the deepness of my voice (see HERE).  So, in an unthoughtful though reflective moment, I submit to you my list of “knee-jerk first impressions” of the bloggers I met (and my apologies if I mistakenly left you off this list; if I did, let me know and I’ll be glad to share my thoughts).  But first, two ‘extended’ examples:

Jim West: I start with JW first for no particular reason (just to get that out of the way first, for our #1 biblioblogger, wink).  I had already heard from a trusted friend and mentor that JW was quite different than his online persona.  And I find myself wondering right now whether it is just that . . . a persona.  There is a discontinuity (and perhaps others–I’m looking at you, Joseph Kelly–can attest to this) between the abrasive, name-calling individual I read on screen and the quiet, dare I say meek individual I encountered in person.  Let me clarify: Jim was a delight in person.  I enjoyed razzing him (asking him to call me a git or dilletante, which he sheepishly and nervously refused to do, and which I think says a lot).  He seems to be a genuine, kind, gentle man, but the man I met does not match the rhetoric I often see coming from his blog.  That is fine, we all have ways of expressing ourselves.  This, however, was quite unexpected.  I now have a very different sense of JW.  Quite the long knee-jerk, eh?

Chris Heard: I was glad to meet Chris for the Pepperdine/SBL recording series.  Having recently followed his youtube videos, I had a better sense of things.  My only regret is that we were unable to talk in any sort of depth; both our schedules were insanely busy.  But Chris ended up being quite what I expected: a kind and thoughtful scholar out to help younger scholars such as myself.  Many thanks!
I must admit also (and I trust Chris will call me a geek for this) that meeting him was quite exciting for me.  Readers of this blog will know of my deep appreciation for his Dynamics of Diselection (see HERE), so I confess to a bit of nerves before meeting him.  He simply has been quite formative for my own work on Genesis.

(Ok, now I can begin to get to providing a bit of the internal monologue, near as I can recall, about meeting my fellow bloggers; this is what went through my head):

Jim West: “Really?  That’s Jim West?  The man in person and the man on the screen do NOT synch up, at all.”

Chris Heard: “Omigosh omigosh omigosh!  It’s Chris Heard.  This is too cool!  Hey, he’s shorter than I expected.”

Mike Whitenton: “Wow, I think I met someone whiter than me!  Surely he’s related to Conan O’  Brien.  He’s a tall fella, too.”

Rob Kashow: “Hey, this guy is way better looking in person than his blog picture would lead you to believe.”

Doug Mangum: “Those are some seriously wicked awesome chops!  Why can’t I grow facial hair?!”

Joseph Kelly: “You look familiar but I have no idea why. I swear I’ve met you before.”

Brandon Wason: “In that suit, with that hair greased and spiked like that, this guy totally looks like an Italian mob boss.  ‘Hey, you talkin’ ta me?!  Fahgettaboutit!!’

Kevin Scull: “Love the hair.” (Unfortunately I can’t explain this one, but it is what I recall).

Chris Tilling: “Oh look, it’s Chris Tilling, someone who’s never read my blog I’m sure.  I bet he has no idea who I am.”

Pat McCullough: “Lordy that guy is huge.  I did not expect that . . . he could totally take me!”

Art Boulet: “I’m jealous; I wish I could totally rock the bald head look.  But my wife tells me I probably have a lumpy head.”

Brian Bibb: “Hmmmm, he looks younger in his pictures” (my sincerest apologies, Brian!).

Claude Mariottini: “I love the way this guy says his name!  I wish I had a cool accent.”

Brooke Lester: “You look remarkably like one of our ethics profs at Baylor.”

Daniel and Tonya: “Master linguists in my presence; don’t mention Hebrew.  Oooo, he’s going to come to my paper, and it’s making a translation argument.  Uh oh!”

Ken Brown: “Really?  I thought this guy was older than me.”

Mike Kok: “This guy looks super young!  I’m only 28 and I’m feeling old . . . ”

Inside my head . . . it’s a scary place sometimes.

And now . . . dear reader, I extend the same question to you.  If you met me at SBL, what was the narrative running through your mind?  Levity and  honesty, all in good fun!

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4 thoughts on “On Meeting Other Bloggers at SBL . . . Initial Thoughts (and your thoughts of me!)

  1. Joseph Kelly says:

    For those of you who didn’t meet John, you would be surprised (as I was) at how high this guy’s voice is. I was expecting a rather deep, masculine voice. Quite the contrary. The guy could probably sing soprano I in the Hallelujah chorus!

  2. John Anderson says:

    Ha! You have captured my essence perfectly. If this whole scholar thing doesn’t work out, I’ve got a solid shot with the Vienna Boys Choir.

    But seriously…do I lie about JW? Your impressions, Joseph?

  3. Mike Koke says:

    I know, I’m only four years younger than you but probably look like I am about 16 or 17 🙂 Maybe I will count my blessings about that later in life. It was good to meet you with all the other bloggers at SBL.

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