Thoughts on Being "Laverne and Shirley" to Paul Harvey's "Happy Days"



4 comments
John Fea

Paul Harvey is Cheers, I am Frasier. Harvey is Dallas, I am Knots Landing. Harvey is The Mary Tyler Moore Show, I am Rhoda (or maybe Lou Grant).

Hopefully you are picking up the theme.  My blog "The Way of Improvement Leads Home" will always be known as a somewhat inferior spin-off to Paul Harvey's "Religion in American History." (RiAH).

When I was asked to write something for the 10th anniversary of RiAH, I dug up an old post at The Way of Improvement Leads Home that captures my blogging journey and the role that Paul and RiAH has played in it. Here is a taste of that post: 

Whatever blogging "career" I might have I owe to Paul Harvey.  On July 5, 2007 I found Harvey's new blog (it was a solo operation then) called Religion in American History and wrote a comment on a post I liked on W.E.B. DuBois. Here is what I wrote: 

Paul: Great post. I found your blog on the Cliopatria blogroll and have enjoyed reading it so far. --John 

About an hour later, Paul responded: 

John: Thanks! Please spread the blog address to Am. religious history folks, and let me know if you have any interest in contributing to the blog -- Paul 

I decided to take the plunge and within a few days I was listed as the blog's first "Contributing Editor." On July 7, 2007 (7-7-07) I wrote my first blog post-- a review of a Boston Review essay by Lew Daly on Catholicism and the common good. I have since written 58 posts for Harvey's blog, including [at the time] one of his most popular, and still try to contribute something worthwhile every now and then.

Paul's vision for a blog that would combine opinion, news from the profession, historical reflection on current events, and new research seemed to be a wonderful outlet for my rather eclectic interests in American history, religious history, and academic life.  But I was also taken by the sense of community that Paul always fostered at the blog.  I tried to cultivate this kind of online community when I started The Way of Improvement Leads Home in 2008.

It has been very exciting to watch the RiAH grow and become a place where many younger scholars in the field can try out their ideas.  I know that this is the kind of online space Paul wanted to create back when he began this venture a decade ago.

I have not blogged at RiAH in a long time, but I still check-in every day.  I always learn something in the process.

Congratulations to all who have been involved in the leadership of RiAH--Paul Harvey, Kelly Baker, Randall Stephens, Cara Burnidge, and Michael Hammond (I hope I am not forgetting anyone here).  I think it is fair to say that your work has brought a new vibrancy to the field of American religious history and American history broadly.

And I will always be honored to be Trapper John M.D. to Paul Harvey's MASH!

4 comments:

Paul Harvey at: July 12, 2017 at 12:24 PM said...

John: I think of you as Better Call Saul after Breaking Bad, if we want to go quality.

Or if you want to go bad tv, "Buddies" after "Home Improvement," which I hadn't heard of but apparently was a show that wasted the talents of Dave Chappelle, much as I wasted your talents in the early seasons of this blog.

http://www.oregonlive.com/tv/2017/04/25_tv_spinoff_series_ranked_fr.html

Paul Harvey at: July 12, 2017 at 12:38 PM said...

Now have it nailed down thanks to our facebook conversation: if I was "Toma," you became "Baretta," and believe me, you'd rather be Baretta. Keep your eye on the sparrow, John.

There's also "Baywatch," followed by "Baywatch Nights." Just sayin'



John Fea at: July 12, 2017 at 6:05 PM said...

Don't forget "The Colbys," a spin-off of Dynasty

John Fea at: July 12, 2017 at 6:07 PM said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toma_(TV_series)

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