Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mark comments ...

No doubt as a feature of our continuing irrelevance and his lack of interest in our blog. And at a time when I was just about to post a prayer request for his current woes. As Victor and I have repeatedly stated here, as much as we may disagree with Mark we have no desire to see him suffer, either personally or financially. I am aware that there are other people here who may have different opinions on that and I would strongly suggest that such individuals keep it to themselves.

In any case, Mark writes:
No. Mark hasn't [embraced Ron Paul]. But I'm sure it must be a consolation to tell yourself he has.

Short of a public declaration of fealty, it sure seems to this observer as though Mark has. Given his own argument that Victor and I shill for the GOP, I hope he isn't too terribly surprised when what's good for the goose is good for the gander. By the same standards that Mark uses to illustrate that Victor and I desire the abuse of prisoners and war crimes (to say nothing of the election of Rudy Giuliani!), I don't think that it is at all hard to document the same for him with regard to Ron Paul. The complete 180 on libertarianism where before it was a selfish ideology for people without children, knee-jerk defense of the man despite the more egregious things that he's said (including opposition to the war in Afghanistan), the anger at the electorate that he isn't gaining in the polls (except when he is - see the following), and then the embrace of conspiracism whenever any serious criticism of the man gains traction all seem to qualify in this regard.
The funny thing is, Rod Dreher has a lot more unabashed enthusiasm for both Ron Paul and Daniel Larison than my ocassional mention of them demonstrates. Similarly, his words about the Bushies and their conduct of the war have been none too kind for some months now. But since Rod is a friend of Victor's this does not come up here. Oh sure, diane and pauli like to obsess about Rod, but the managers of this site would prefer to keep the focus on Shea-hating. So they simply ignore it in favor of expanding my various chance comments into an opportunity for dimestore psychoanalysis. You never see loooooong ranting pieces about how Rod is cracking up and a menace to the Republic who can safely be ignored (except when you are obsessing over him).

A couple of points here. First of all, Rod is now Eastern Orthodox rather than Catholic, which to put it crudely means that while I continue to pray for his return to the Church, he can say whatever he likes without me worrying about a scandal to the faithful. He has also never tried to pass off his nuttier political or social views as being in synch with the Catholic Church (indeed, his conversion to Orthodoxy would seem to preclude such things) or questioned the fidelity to the Church of those with whom he disagrees. Rod's main shtick, near as I can determine, is crunchy conservatism, which while I disagree strenuously with it as an ideology am not too worried about because it has been repeatedly critiqued by every respectable non-paleocon conservative media outlet that has addressed it. I'm not too worried about the coming crunchy conservative revolution because it is Monty Python's dead parrot sketch as a political ideology. Rod has also been willing to engage those who disagree with him in substantive debates, such as those that occurred on NRO before he decided that he was so much smarter than Jonah Goldberg.

Were Mark's political or theological ideas subjected to this same degree of serious criticism, I probably wouldn't be blogging here. Instead, they have grown a lot shriller and intolerant over time and near as I can determine few within the professional apologetics community have been willing to point out that some of the stuff that he writes, particularly whenever he gets going about neocons or the war, is literally Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs and drawn from less than reputable sources. If Mark wants to embrace fringe political views, that's between himself and his critical mindset, but I have a big problem with them being touted from the bully pulpit of the more widely-read Catholic blogs. And this goes way beyond whatever he thinks about interrogation, despite his attempts to pigeonhole Victor and myself into that category because we don't accept his fundamentalist reading of Gaudium et Spes. I have compared this to the issue of Sungenis before he lost his following and I think that it's a perfectly valid one.
Me: I don't mind Rod's remarks on politics much, but I do think the hypocrisy of Victor and his various partners-in-dialogue here is pretty funny. The personal really is the political, ain't it? Why not just rename the place "We Hate Mark Shea and we Can't Stand Zippy Either" and be done with it?

As a practical matter, neither Victor nor myself write that much about Zippy. No doubt that's because (as in the case of Rod) we're secretly in league with him and don't want to expose the connection lest it harm the broader conspiracy. From my point of view, his level of personal arrogance and frequent declarations of his own correctness as a way of ending an argument tend to preclude him developing a broad following. To the extent that he is important, it is largely because Mark tends to outsource most of the actual arguing for some of his claims to him. That said, I don't hate Mark Shea because I don't really know the man. At the end of the day, he is ultimately a stranger who makes crazy comments online with a habit of hurling ad hominems at my character. I could care less for what he thinks about me, but as long as he continues to write crazy stuff I remain concerned for my fellow Catholics. Thankfully, his continued descent into the magical land of Ron Paul has made that less and less of an issue as he becomes more and more identified with the lunatic fringe.

76 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh sure, diane and pauli like to obsess about Rod, but the managers of this site would prefer to keep the focus on Shea-hating.

Well, if it's any consolation, Mark, I like you about 100,000 times better than I like Rod. ;)

I also think Rod has completely lost it---so completely that I do not bother with him anymore. Which hardly qualifies as "obsession," but, then, accuracy and precision of expression aren't your strong points these days.

Anyway, just wanted to clarify. Believe it or not, I do not dislike you. I still think you are the most lucid, accessible apologetical writer out there. I am appalled by the way you treat people who disagree with you nowadays. But I have seen you apologize for this. I have never seen Rod Dreher apologize for anything. Not to those he has actuaslly offended, that is. ;)

Diane, dodging the snarky comeback

Steve Golay said...

My issue with his site is its boredom. For some time its been nothing but the cobbling of links.

Mark was one of the first of the Catholic bloggers. He hasn't even figured out how to work upon a visually interesting format.

Sorry for his troubles. Maybe he ought to get an honest-to-goodness job at a school or a publishing company - someplace where his, honestly good talents can be put to rewarding ($) use.

kathleen said...

"Rod has also been willing to engage those who disagree with him in substantive debates"

err, beg to differ on that point.

Anonymous said...

err, beg to differ on that point.

Yeah, moi aussi. I nearly swallowed my back teeth when I read that line. LOL!!!!

Diane the Non-Theocrat

Peter T Chattaway said...

Forgive a completely off-topic query ... but what has happened to Victor's movie blog!? It seems to have vanished from the face of the earth! I hope it's just a temporary glitch ...

Victor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Victor said...

Peter:

Look here. I explain in this post.

I was planning on letting people who link to me know, but just ... well, hadn't gotten around to it in the two days since I decided I had to move.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Victor's finally managed to steal a few minutes of Internet access during his Zipp Huang Shang-di-commanded exile to Buranda. Hip, hip, hooray!

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