Socrates opined that the unexamined life is a tragedy. The same goes for blog writing. Let’s take a look at the lament by Mark Shea over the canning of Simcha Fisher:
Msgr. Charles Pope, has a piece warning us to prepare for persecution.
Prophetic considering that a very good Catholic woman named Simcha Fisher, faithful to the Catholic Church, a mother of *ten* children who has worked tirelessly as a witness to the greatness and goodness of our Holy Catholic Faith, a fine writer who could be making a million bucks somewhere but who is spending her prodigious gifts in the service of the gospel, has been kicked out of her job to the salacious screams of a mob, all for using the English equivalent of “skubala” (Philippians 3:8) now and then and for making a couple of bawdy dick jokes on her private FB page (you know, like when St. Paul remarks to the Galatians that he wishes the circumcision enthusiasts would castrate themselves).
Look, I *get* that I’m abrasive and I get the rejoicing over my losing a job. Fair enough. But don’t hand me a load of bushwah about how Simcha Fisher had this coming. Somehow or other, the anti-abortion-but-not-prolife movement has mutated into a thing that eats its young and imagines that the unborn are being served by punishing a mother of 10 children with loss of her livelihood.
This. Was. Wrong.
Simcha Fisher is an ornament of the Church. She has been such a gift to so many and I will be grateful to God for her till the day I die. Punishing a mother of 10 with loss of income over something this utterly trivial is a judgment, not on her, but on the mob of bullies across St. Blog’s rejoicing over her humiliation. She does none harm. She says none harm. She thinks none harm. Nevertheless, it is not for the bawdy jokes that this mob have sought her blood, but because she would not bend to the marriage of the Faith with a fraudulent disgrace like Donald Trump.
If you value her witness, check out her book and think about hiring this funny, earthy, humble, godly and orthodox woman to come and speak at your parish.
Let’s parse this out shall we?
1. Shea starts out by comparing the persecution of the Church with a writer losing a writing gig.
2. He goes on to say that Fisher could be making a million bucks somewhere unnamed. (I guess then that losing a minor writing job is not an immense tragedy for her?)
3. Shea is unable to see why a Catholic publication would find it problematic to have a writer who makes “dick jokes” on her Facebook page.
4. Shea utilizes the old pro-abort technique of condemning people who oppose abortion as not being pro-life.
5. With no evidence other than his assertion he proclaims Fisher an “ornament of the Church”.
6. Once again he laments the loss of what I assume was a fairly modest income to someone who could earn a million bucks elsewhere.
7. Shea concludes by comparing Fisher to Saint Thomas More and Donald Trump to Henry VIII. Continue reading
Alas, I must part company with our bruin friend in his most recent tongue-in-bear-cheek post at Saint Corbinian’s Bear:
Blogs are essential to the well-informed and motivated Catholic. Therefore, it is important to know which blogs are edifying, while avoiding the gimcrack offerings of slipshod shysters. To this end, the Bear offers the following qualifications you should demand from anyone who seeks your valuable time and attention. If you follow the Bear’s advice, you will avoid bloggers who are just sensationalistic click-prostitutes out to make a buck.
The kind of blogger you want must combine the following education and experience.
A blogger must be able to persuade people to follow the right course of action. Someone equally skilled in forensic debating and arguing before regular folks is required. To give an example of someone who should not be in Catholic media is a journalist. Journalists strive to maintain a detached objectivity. Is that who we’re looking for in these dark days? No. We need advocates!
A good blogger should be able to sort out competing claims using a well-developed instinct. He should be able to employ relentless questioning to wring the truth out of unwilling witnesses. He must have a razor sharp intellect.
A good blogger, it goes without saying, should be more than a pretty face. In fact, good looks are definitely not a requirement, because, after all, this is not television! He should be capable of writing his own material, employing all the tools of the wordsmith: interview, narrative, analysis, and even humor and irony. He must be persuasive, even as he remains fair and accurate.
A good blogger is capable of doing his own tireless research. He must be able to put together the jigsaw puzzle of complicated situations, and determining the means, motives and opportunities of the various actors.
If you look at these qualifications, you’ll see that there is really only one profession that should be allowed to blog:
The blogger must have a JD. Lawyers are even licensed, so you know they’re legit. Are journalists licensed? No. Anybody can call himself a journalist and scribble for whoever will hire him.
But, still, something is missing. Not just any lawyer will do. Not even a good one. He must have an appeal that combines scary and cute.
When necessary, he should have the talent to employ the Old Razzle Dazzle. This requires extensive experience in secular show business:
It’s all show business kid,
These trials, the whole world, show business.
But kid, you’re workin’ with a star, the biggest!
So, unless your blogger combines all of these qualifications, he’s just in it for the money and should be avoided at all costs. Continue reading
Well, well, well, Father Thomas Rosica has decided not to sue blogger Vox Cantoris after all. Go here to read all about the original suit threat. Here is Rosica’s graceless announcement that he is not going to sue:
The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said,“Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah.It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests,nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets.And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue;let us carefully note his every word.”Heed me, O LORD, and listen to what my adversaries say.Must good be repaid with evil
that they should dig a pit to take my life? Remember that I stood before you to speak in their behalf, to turn away your wrath from them.
CEO, Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation
Blogging can be rough amusement. I will attempt to keep the Definition of a Gentleman written by Cardinal Newman in 1852 in mind as much as I can and still keep the readers of TAC informed and amused. It is almost as if Newman could perceive blogging over a century and a third before it began, as his Definition of a Gentleman is, in part, almost a code of behavior for bloggers. Here are some rules for blogging I have distilled from it:
Bloggers would do well to keep the following in mind:
1. His great concern being to make every one at their ease and at home. He has his eyes on all his company; he is tender towards the bashful, gentle towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd.
2. He never defends himself by a mere retort.
3. He has no ears for slander or gossip.
4. He is scrupulous in imputing motives to those who interfere with him, and interprets every thing for the best.
5. He is never mean or little in his disputes, never takes unfair advantage, never mistakes personalities or sharp sayings for arguments, or insinuates evil which he dare not say out.
6. From a long-sighted prudence, he observes the maxim of the ancient sage, that we should ever conduct ourselves towards our enemy as if he were one day to be our friend.
7. He has too much good sense to be affronted at insults.
8. He is too well employed to remember injuries, and too indolent to bear malice.
9. He is patient, forbearing, and resigned, on philosophical principles.
10. If he engages in controversy of any kind, his disciplined intellect preserves him from the blundering discourtesy of better, perhaps, but less educated minds; who, like blunt weapons, tear and hack instead of cutting clean, who mistake the point in argument, waste their strength on trifles, misconceive their adversary, and leave the question more involved than they find it. Continue reading
One of the services your humble servant performs for readers of this blog is to send to the trash the insane comments which we receive before you have to be exposed to them. However, for your amusement I will now reveal a comment we received under the Only Dead Christians post:
Of course, Israel and the U.S. are behind ISIS (which is not an Islamic group, but a satanist one hiding behind Islam to try to destroy it), and so they, the Anglo/American/Zionist Empire, and not Muslims, are behind the killing of Christians.
Once you realize that not one Muslim had anything to do with 911, rather, it was a CIA/Mossad operation, it all starts to make sense. The purpose is to demonize Islam, so Christians will go to war with Islam instead of its real enemy, Zionism. Continue reading
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