Mark Shea has a habit of saying that unless people do x, x always being a policy he endorses, they really are not pro-life. This of course is simply an attempt, at least among pro-lifers, to stop debate on x and says nothing about the merits of x as a policy. His latest attempt to do so is on the issue of smart guns, technology that purports to prevent a firearm from being fired, unless the owner is the one pulling the trigger. Go here to read one of his posts on the subject. Blogger Rebecca Frech, at her blog Shoved to Them, relates an incident to describe why Shea is wrong as a practical matter:
The argument seems to center around smart gun technology. Shea reasons that if gun owners were truly pro-life then we would support all efforts to create guns which would only fire for their owners, and then the world would be a better place. People who don’t support such legislation and research, even if they support the protection of life from conception to natural death, are not truly pro-life because they participate in a culture which accepts the possibility of death by gun shot (Mark and his readers haven’t mentioned how they aim to prevent people from being bludgeoned with a rifle butt or pistol whipped with a handgun).
Lifesite News has responded to the assault on Hilary White of Lifesite News orchestrated by some Catholic bloggers. Go here to read Paul Zummo’s post on the controversy, and go here to read mine. Here is the post of Steve Jalsevac, one of the two co-founders of Lifesite News:
Now and then various Church officials complain about deeply uncharitable and harmful discussions on some Catholic blogs. Facebook, blogs, Twitter and even email can each far too easily allow angry thoughts that cross people’s minds to be published for all the world to see without the sober second thought that would naturally accompany face-to-face or spoken communication.
There was a recent attack against LifeSiteNews from a very well known Catholic writer and another such writer and her husband. Using these means of unfiltered near-instant communications, they poured calumny and invective on LifeSiteNews and our talented and committed staff.
- “Two sentences that make me turn on my bullshit detector: ones that start, ‘Guess what Pope Francis just did?’ and ones that start, ‘According to LifeSiteNews . . . ‘”
- “lying assholes who attack the Church”
- “lazy, biased, and stupid reporting”
- “no respect for LSN as a whole”
- “an organization with a bad reputation”
- “no news sense and no conscience”
- hang your “head in shame for attempting to bring division in the Church through inaccurate and dishonest reporting”
- “anti-Catholic bias”
- “They have a distorted view of reality, and no conscience when it comes to reporting lies in order to advance the agenda.”
- “sleazier than the National Enquirer”
- “They don’t actually do any reporting. They rewrite a lot of other people’s reporting without checking facts or giving attribution.”
- “The narcissism and pride is epic.”
Criticism naturally comes with the territory of journalism and should always be expected. However, when this kind of crude assault is hurled so recklessly from fellow Catholics or other Christians, it does leave us unsettled. Moreover, when such vile language and character assassination comes from Catholics who are published at influential Catholic publications, it is also a concern for the writers’ own Catholic reputation and that of their employers.
LifeSiteNews does not claim to be a Catholic organization. We have many good and faithful Catholics on staff, but we do not claim to be a Catholic organization and our reporting is intended for people of all faiths and even no faith.
Nothing written by LifeSiteNews ever remotely approaches the level of calumny in the condemnations and criticisms seen in the Facebook posts mentioned. We explicitly forbid our writers from making such comments and are constantly removing similar comments from readers commenting under our reports. That is not free speech. We consider it to be an abuse of freedom. We also have a policy of never responding in kind to such comments. Continue reading
I have always been fairly indifferent to the hits my blog posts receive, possibly since blogging makes up 0.00000 % of my income. However, over the years I have noticed that certain topics usually do draw massive amounts of hits. Here are the top ten:
1. Anything with Satan in the title.
2. Sarah Palin-A sure fire blog crowd draw since 2008, and I suspect she will remain so for the rest of her life.
3. Ted Kennedy-The “lion of the senate” has been dead for four years, but he still ignites intense emotion. (Overwhelmingly negative on this blog. You leave one, just one, young woman to die in a car and some people hold it against you!)
4. Obama and canine cuisine.
5. Jimmy Carter and his senile anti-Catholic rants. Continue reading
I can’t thank enough all of you who extended your kind wishes and prayers for the repose of the soul of my son Larry after his passing. Last week was the hardest week of my life and in the lives of my wife and remaining two children. We would have found it impossible to endure but for the assistance of friends and neighbors, and just plain good people who came forward to rally around my family in our hour of need. There is much evil in the world, but I think there is more good, something I will attempt in future to keep in mind.
My thoughts of my boy will always remain with me as a treasured possession, and prayers for him and requests for his intercession are now a permanent part of the prayer life of my wife and me. Going through this terrible tragedy has only deepened my faith that we are children of a loving God and that in this vale of tears our ultimate purpose is to love Him and our neighbor to the best of our ability. My Larry is now with Him, the source of all love, and I am content. Continue reading
Pat Archbold has a great post here at National Catholic Register about the seven deadly sins of Catholic blogging. Saint Blogs is a wild and woolly place and there are blogs on a vast range of subjects and for all temperaments. Here are seven sins that drive me away from a Catholic blog:
1. Thou shalt not bore!-The cardinal sin of any blog, Catholic or not.
2. Don’t you Dare Smile!-Too many Catholic bloggers give the impression that their day job is bringing tablets down from Mount Sinai.
3. Send in the Trolls!- Nothing ruins a blog quicker than allowing trolls to dominate the com boxes.
4. Ignorance Isn’t Bliss-If you are bone ignorant on a topic, please do not attempt to blog about it. Continue reading
I am happy to see that Dale Price has resumed blogging regularly at his Dyspeptic Mutterings. I stop by every day to read some of the wittiest blog writing on the internet. Here is a recent sample:
I am building a giant cybernetic war badger in my basement.
I love the music of Marty Haugen.
I am receiving locutions from Krishna.
I think Obama is the only permissible electoral choice for Catholics in 2012.
I don’t think women should ever wear pants or breastfeed in public.
OK–they can do the latter if they’re wearing only pants.
Janeway is way better than Kirk and Picard combined.
The Dallas Cowboys are going to win the next three Super Bowls.
Or the Washington Redskins–whichever you hate more.
Yes, that outfit makes your ass look fat.
The best Stooge was Shemp.
Only Anglican orders are valid.
–I mean, seriously–is this thing on? Traffic is allegedly going up, but I’m feeling like a performance artist here. Continue reading
Walter Russell Meade at Via Meadia, a blog I frequently read, is ending comments and here is his explanation why:
We apologize to the readers who participated in or valued the comments section on the blog, and especially to the well mannered and thoughtful contributors who never tried to hog the microphone, launch flame wars, smuggle hate speech into the comment page, rant about personal pet peeves repeatedly and predictably, let partisan or ideological animus run wild or otherwise abuse what at its best was a forum for reflection and thoughtful debate. To such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven, and your insights were appreciated, your praise cherished and your thoughtful censure was a cause for reflection. You know who you are, and this would be a much poorer world without you.
For the rest, we wish you well, and are confident that you will find many opportunities both in cyberspace and in the meat world for the kind of exchanges and conversations you seek. Thankfully this remains a free country where all of us can pursue happiness along whatever paths look promising; enjoy the pursuit and may we all find our heart’s deepest desire at the end of the road.
I believe that comments add a lot to the blog. They turn a monologue into hopefully an entertaining give and take; thoughtful criticism can improve most posts; the blogger gets immediate feedback on what he or she has written, etc. I have found for the past few years however, that in order for comments to be useful, it is necessary for a blogger to be quite familiar with the terms “moderation” and “ban”. Continue reading
My friend Dale Price is posting again regularly at his blog Dyspeptic Mutterings after something of a hiatus. Go here to have a gander at his blog. Dale has long written some of the sharpest commentary on Saint Blog’s. I stop in every day looking for blogging topics to
steal borrow, and I rejoice that he is writing frequently again.
There are plenty of tips on the internet on how to build a blog audience. Here are some tips on how to lose a blog audience:
10. Be nitpicky-If someone deigns to leave a comment on your blog, make certain to correct their grammar, pick apart their argument ruthlessly over minor points and never, absolutely never, address the main point they are making.
9. Never explain-If you want to post on the Albigensian Crusade, jump right into the subject and give no explanatory background. If your readers are ignorant on the subject, tough.
8. Ignorance Doesn’t Matter-Just because you are bone ignorant on a subject doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion! Write what you want to, no matter how factually deprived it is, and let your readers sort things out. Life is too short for research and fact checking.
7. Use your blog as a substitute for therapy-Scream at your readers if you are feeling miserable, and lose your temper over small matters with your commenters. You will feel better and that is all that counts. If no one reads your blog, that is a small price to pay.
6. Spellcheck?-Spellcheck and concerns about grammar are for dweebs. If your readers worry about such things, who needs them!
5. Humor is verboten!-Blogging is a deadly serious business and if what you write causes one of your readers to crack even the teeniest of smiles you have failed.
One of Megan McArdle’s readers provides a guest post on useful tactics for “winning” online arguments. If you spend much time fighting on the internets, many of the items here will sound familiar. Indeed, I think I’ve seen all of these used here at TAC by various regulars at times, and there are a few where I found myself thinking “Oh, that would be so-and-so’s favorite tactic.”
Enjoy a chuckle.
The inaptly named City of Brotherly Love is attempting to license bloggers. If bloggers make any money from their blogs, they will have to pay a $300.00 “business privilege tax” to obtain a business privilege license. (I rather like the Orwellian term “business privilege”, as if the right to buy and to sell was some sort of gift of the State.) Go here to read the details at the Philadelphia Citypaper.
Just how many things are wrong about this? Let us count the ways: Continue reading
I finally returned to internet connectivity this week, which has meant catching up on news & blogs I have neglected. Part of this “reconnecting” included denying a facebook friend request from someone I never heard of-only to find out that this someone was a fake online persona created in the Catholic Fascist’s attempt at satire. Having looked over all of the posts there, I was struck by how eerily similar the site was to another parody group blog-The Spirit of Vatican II.
Both blogs employed a host of satirical characters with enough resemblance to real life to make laugh (I think whoever thought of danmclockinload deserves a guest post on TAC) at first, both got roaring laughter from their own partisans-and neither blog was funny after a few days.
As hard as it may be for the mainstream media to recognize, our octogenarian Pope is pretty on top of new developments in social media. Pope Benedict recognizes the need for the Church to be a living presence on the internet, while also providing a sense of balance, reminding us of the moral and human consequences of internet use.
“Without fear we must set sail on the digital sea facing into the deep with the same passion that has governed the ship of the Church for two thousand years. Rather than for, albeit necessary, technical resources, we want to qualify ourselves by living in the digital world with a believer’s heart, helping to give a soul to the Internet’s incessant flow of communication”.
Sadly the full text of the Pope’s address is not online yet. In the meantime, you will have to make do with some quotes from this Vatican Radio report. I will try to update this post when the Vatican posts the full text.
Blogger Michael Iafrate of Vox Nova has written a post objecting to a comment moderation incident which occurred last night/this morning here on The American Catholic. Michael had written a comment in which he described a fellow commenter as:
typical of the death-worshiping Christofacists that this blog… attracts
Such comments are typically deleted in keeping with our comment policy. However, in this instance the comment was, for humorous effect, replaced with new content so clearly out of keeping with Michael’s online persona that Michael himself admits the effect was amusing. However, Michael objects to having content posted under his name which is not in fact his creation, and we agree that this represented a momentary lapse in judgment, however humorous. Clearly, the right thing to do in this sort of situation is simply to delete the offending comment or verbiage, and in cases of repeated offense to ban the commenter entirely. We, the editors of The American Catholic apologize for this lapse in our judgment, and commit to our readers that we will not, in future, modify comments. If comments contain objectionable statements which detract from civility and discourse, they will be wholly or partially deleted, but never replaced, even for humorous effect.
Given that Michael made several more specific complaints about TAC blog administration, which are doubtless of interest to few, I will address those briefly below the fold. Continue reading
Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Senate of the State of New-Jersey: I am very grateful to you for the honorable reception of which I have been the object. I cannot but remember the place that New-Jersey holds in our early history. In the early Revolutionary struggle, few of the States among the old Thirteen had more of the battle-fields of the country within their limits than old New-Jersey. May I be pardoned if, upon this occasion, I mention that away back in my childhood, the earliest days of my being able to read, I got hold of a small book, such a one as few of the younger members have ever seen, “Weem’s Life of Washington.” I remember all the accounts there given of the battle fields and struggles for the liberties of the country, and none fixed themselves upon my imagination so deeply as the struggle here at Trenton, New-Jersey. The crossing of the river; the contest with the Hessians; the great hardships endured at that time, all fixed themselves on my memory more than any single revolutionary event; and you all know, for you have all been boys, how these early impressions last longer than any others. I recollect thinking then, boy even though I was, that there must have been something more than common that those men struggled for; that something even more than National Independence; that something that held out a great promise to all the people of the world to all time to come; I am exceedingly anxious that this Union, the Constitution, and the liberties of the people shall be perpetuated in accordance with the original idea for which that struggle was made, and I shall be most happy indeed if I shall be an humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty, and of this, his almost chosen people, for perpetuating the object of that great struggle. You give me this reception, as I understand, without distinction of party. I learn that this body is composed of a majority of gentlemen who, in the exercise of their best judgment in the choice of a Chief Magistrate, did not think I was the man. I understand, nevertheless, that they came forward here to greet me as the constitutional President of the United States — as citizens of the United States, to meet the man who, for the time being, is the representative man of the nation, united by a purpose to perpetuate the Union and liberties of the people. As such, I accept this reception more gratefully than I could do did I believe it was tendered to me as an individual.
Abraham Lincoln, February 21, 1861
Announcing a new blog, Almost Chosen People. It is a blog dedicated to American history up through Reconstruction. I am one of the contributors. A fair amount of my initial posts at this blog will be reposts of material first posted at The American Catholic, but they will be interspersed with new material. My fellow contributors, including Paul Zummo of the Cranky Conservative, and Dale Price of Dyspeptic Mutterings, will be providing posts that will be well worth reading, so please stop by. Needless to say, although I’ll say it anyway, this new blog will not lessen my posting frequency here at The American Catholic.