David Rodeback's Blog

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Life Among the Mormons, and Other Stuff

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Holly Mullen: Excellent Blogger, Almost in Town

My long-time favorite American Fork blogger, DaltonGirl, does not share many of my political views. Neither does a new favorite, Salt Lake City's Holly Mullen. What does this mean? (I don't actually answer this question in this post.)

Lately, I've enjoyed Holly Mullen's relatively new blog, mullentown. As far as I can tell, I don't share most of her political views. But she writes well -- in terms both of technique and of personality. She thinks. She has a good eye (ear?) for a quotation. I'm putting her on my blog roll.

Here this veteran journalist (who writes younger than the phrase "veteran journalist" sounds) describes the Utah to which she returned ten years ago:

A political and social culture that simultaneously edifies and enrages me. (her article)

Conservative though I am, by national standards if not Utah County's . . . I feel it.

Here's part of what she said about the Trolley Square shootings:

While we all await that answer, which may never fully come, my current thought is somewhat opposed to the mayor and police chief's disbelief. The fact is, we can never view this city as so fundamentally different than everywhere else. This city is growing and changing -- and we have invited that upward evolution every step of the way, for goodness sake. It's perfectly fine and normal in the aftermath of this numbing tragedy to act surprised, shocked, even incredulous at this unspeakable and random act of violence.

But do let's give up on the notion that our bedrock Utah values somehow save us or cocoon us from crimes and violence shared by the rest of our society. We are no better or worse than anyone else who lives and loves their family and friends -- and that means in Los Angeles, Detroit, Miami, or Newark.

Instead of looking back on Salt Lake's good old, safe old days, let's accept we no longer live in a bubble. (If we ever did at all!!) And let's start working, as soon as tomorrow I hope, on getting to know and understand the people in our midst. The people who live and work near us, the children packed into the huge warehouses we call schools. Because as this city continues its well-loved march toward expansion, the strains and stresses of urban growth will build right along with it.

We will never be safe and sound and fully protected. (her article)

I didn't really think I was only person with such thoughts in the Trolley Square aftermath.

One more, and I'll tell you why I picked this paragraph in a minute:

A young married couple the press has dubbed Utah County's Bonnie and Clyde was arrested last weekend and is now charged in federal court with armed robbery of the same Lindon bank three times. Authorities allege the once-wholesome, now skanky, pair spent the money in Las Vegas, Palm Springs and on drugs. Seems they wanted a honeymoon but couldn't afford it. Because, well, they had to -- allegedly -- buy drugs, too. (her article)

Holy semicolons, Batman! The lady even knows when to split an infinitive! (Almost never, but -- to quote George Orwell's famous rule for writing in general -- "sooner than say anything outright barbarous.") Judging by what I've read at her blog, she also knows when not to split an infinitive.

Ahem. That's why I picked that paragraph. Because of a judiciously split infinitive. Believe it.

I feel a certain blogger's kinship to Ms. Mullen. To be sure, she is a veteran journalist; I am not, at least not in her league. And she skis; I don't. But she's married to a former Salt Lake City mayor; I'm married to a current American Fork city councilor. She grew up in Utah, left, and came back ten years ago; I grew up in Colorado and Idaho, studied in Utah, left, and came back about nine years ago. She has a budding teenage driver; I have a budding teenage driver.

I will say this in my own blog's interest: I like my readers' comments better, when they happen, which isn't often enough. I'm sure the vast majority of Ms. Mullen's readers are witty, urbane, and in all other ways the very pinnacle of human civilization. But some (not all) of the folk who comment on her posts seem not to set their plows very deep, and appear limited to plowing a single furrow running in a single direction, if even that. That's not her fault. That's the Internet.

So, my commenting readers, I salute you. Like the children of Lake Wobegon, each of you is above average.

Meanwhile, the foregoing agricultural metaphor is my fault entirely. Sometimes I flash back to my agrarian youth. I've learned to live with it.

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