Friday, March 14, 2014

What does the so-called "Benedict Option" mean for Catholics?

Yeah, I thought that might get your attention. Serious post time. Put aside your FreeOCR translation of the book I got at a garage sale till next week and let's think this through.

Once again anonymous commenter Anonymous has pointed us to a topic for consideration, namely, what does the "Benedict Option" mean - apart, that is, from being a content-free marketing meme to lure rubes to line up at the booth to win a bear.

Now, as I've mentioned before, I'm not Catholic, just a bad Methodist who tries more often than not. And I'd just as soon as one of the faithful Catholics here had written this. But I don't think I need to be Catholic to think through what Rod Dreher's "Benedict Option" means. He "came up with the concept"; for better or worse, now, like Obama's Obamacare, he owns it, regardless of what it turns out to mean and how it may necessarily really turn out to work.

Let's start by asking the obvious questions: what does the "Benedict Option" seek, and when and under what conditions can it be realized?

To answer the first, the "Benedict Option" assumes we live in a time so fraught that a certain self-defined class of individuals - let's call them the BOs for short - cannot make common cause with the world they live in: in crucial ways, it fails to supply them with what they need. They therefore seek a different world, a world somehow beyond this current substandard one, a world in which what is missing now can one day, beyond today, finally be supplied or realized.

Implicit in this "Benedict Option" yearning is the projected assumption that the current world will collapse in some way, maybe apocalyptically, and thus with the current, unsatisfactory world broken and no longer resistant or a threat, the BOs will then function as carefully husbanded world-seed of whatever variety (morally better, religiously better, better beer makers, whatever) and re-sow the world into their own more appropriate fruitfulness.

The problem is, there are a whole host of implicit assumptions, many of them psychopathic, poking out like fractured bones sticking out of a rotting corpse which can't help but give us pause.

Set aside just the implicit schadenfreude, worthy of Dr. Evil himself: once the world is destroyed, the Master Race can repopulate it anew. How charitable of them.

What just happens to be already filling up the current morally/religiously/tastesnotgreatenough-toofilling world which first must pass away for the better, "Benedict Option" world to be realized?

Huh...let's see...a Vatican...oh, and a Pope and his Magisterium...and an entire catechistic world order...and a billion or so Catholics, give or take. They're all part of the deeply unsatisfying inertia of the currently deeply unsatisfying world which implicitly, necessarily, gets in their way and which must pass away before the happiness of the BOs can finally be realized.

Or forget the Catholics, if you want. You can run the same analysis on the Orthodox Church, or the Anglicans, or the Episcopalians, or even the constitutional republic of the United States. All must first pass from the scene.

The point is, implicitly all these institutions, their values and their rules and their communicants, implicitly all this current order fails the yearnings of the BOs.

All of these impediments must pass away before the BOs can satisfactorily have things the right way.

Their particular, customized way.

This is, pure and simple, collective infantilism; or, if you believe as I do that Dreher is the wannabe-guru I mock him to be, the infantilism of a wannabe shepherd and however many unfortunate sheep he can collect to sheer on the journey.

This is the petulant adolescent who can't wait till his daddy dies so that finally he can get things his way - without having to deal with all those tiresome things like growing up, becoming mature, engaging the world on its terms and prevailing within it.

But, even assuming this is the sort of petulant adolescent inability to deal with the adult world I describe (and even with a juggernaut like the Catholic Church rolling with you), what signs should we also look for to reveal it as a predatory psychological hustle as well?

A repeated insistence on urgency and need, to be specifically satisfied by what the vendor is selling. You can move shrink-wrapped pallets of freeze-dried foods and 5-gallon buckets of dried pinto beans only as long as you can keep your potential customers constantly anxious about a need to constantly be "prepping" for Armageddon.

This is standard Gold Rush marketing: the only ones sure to get rich are the map sellers and suppliers, the ones that sell the picks and shovels and provisions and the mules and wagons to move them; after that, whatever gold there may be is between you and God.

So to broker the goods of a "Benedict Option" - that is, to accomplish the only really important part, convincing others that your picks and shovels and provisions and the mules and wagons to move them are the only thing that will get your pilgrims to their future salvic "Benedict Option" - you need to repeatedly be harping on the unsatisfactory dirt hereabouts and, by comparison, the gold in them thar hills beyond, which they can only get to by buying your picks and shovels and provisions and the mules and wagons and following your special secret map to get there.

And, whatever you do, make sure your rubes pay no attention to existing means to achieve your moral/religious/hoppy satisfaction - like, oh, say, the Catholic Church there on the corner: that's the competition, pure and simple - or, if they do, you point out all the little ways it fails them. There's only one agency they can really depend on: the BOG.

So when it finally comes down to it, what fierce little cosmic ember burns in the heart of the "Benedict Option" Guru, hoping to one day fan itself into the flame of a grownup star?

A fierce psychopathic dissatisfaction with all that currently is, born of a congenital, defective inability to function as a mature adult within the world and the perfectly functional institutions of his time.

And above all - the eclipsing need to replace them with his own. To push Daddy out of the way and take his place. To push the Vatican out of its way and take its place. To replace existing institutions with his own, superior ones. To replace existing patterns of faith and morality with new, superior ones of his superior design and craftsmanship, even if they are built from the bones of the old.

Not just narcissism - solipsism.

To run the story of Genesis in reverse: out of the world, back through the Garden, back before there was a Garden, back to the only point that matters: back to where there is only his word, and the "Benedict Option" Guru finally sees that his word has become the new, replacement Good, give or take a vowel.

Now if it was me, I'd stick with the original options guy, the one who died on the Cross 2,000-plus years ago. But that's just me - because I've been to the carnival before.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Of course I do this all for you

As I gently stir the Sudafed and lithium strips into the muriatic acid, lye, and lighter fluid - ha, ha, just kidding - I mean, as I gently stir the beet roots, ghost chiles, lemon rinds, oak leaves, and dust bunnies into the piquant organic fluid I found pooled in the tree roots out back behind my rent house, all now brought to a gentle, some might even say emollient, foodie simmer, I was already pondering next week's together reading together and thinking that perhaps an inspirational photo of me in my most compelling mystical guru pose might inspire all of you to the peak of ecstatic mindlessness you're craving, not to mention drive pre-sales of my soon to be proposed book on certain multi-level marketing opportunities in newly emerging nations even more vigorously.

An anonymous reader writes "Can I huddle under your robe, just for a little while?"

No. And what's that on your fingers? Have you pre-ordered your copy of my soon to be proposed book on certain multi-level marketing opportunities in newly emerging nations? I think you'll find that gives you the peace and comfort you've obviously come to me for.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Readings from a book I got at a garage sale: Week 3

 Can you believe it? Another week has flown by since our last together reading together. Before we begin our third together reading together today, I have two great announcements to make.

The first is that the reader to guess the title of the book I got at a garage sale which we've been reading together thanks to the FreeOCR translation available will be treated to a free meal under $10 at our next "View From the Hood of Your Car" meetup. Pretty cool, huh? So let's put those guessing caps on and start guessing, gang.

The second thing I want to preface our third together reading together with today will be a long, rambling account of something to make this seem more like a genuine Biblical parable, to hook those of you out there psychologically incapable of resisting people like me who resort to things like this.

So before we resume our journey through our third together reading together of a book I got at a garage sale, I want to tell you a story about my old man. This is a story my longtime shut-in and mentally incapacitated readers will have heard before (because what are they going to do, not read me even as I tell it over, and over, and over?), but some of you will be hearing it for the first time. Once you do, you will voluntarily sort yourselves into two groups, those who now know better, and those who have now become more grist for my mill. Reading about Orv and the mystery has made me think of it in a new dimension.

The picture I'm looking at which you can't see is of my father's father, back in the old country, whichever one that was. As some of you long time readers will remember, my family comes from a long and honorable line of shepherds and traveling grifters born way back before today. Most of them died a long time ago, as people do. Today I was thinking of my dad, who died just like the rest of them. Today as I'm stuffing myself with hot wings and cold beer, I'm making up a conversation with him to fill up these paragraphs.

"Da'," I ask him - I call him Da because that sounds more sophisticated and old-countryish, although his name is Earl, or was Earl before he died. "Da'," I ask him, "tell me the story of the ghosts and the pumpkin on Da-Da-Da's grave again." My father's father was called Da-Da because he was my Da's Da, you see, and his father before him was called Da-Da-Da and so on.

My father's father, Da-Da, (pron. “dah-dah”), lived in a town called Shelbyville, which used to be called Morganville before they changed it. One day as Da-Da was herding his sheep down the road to the Shelbyville ferry and casing the houses along the way, the heel of his boot suddenly broke. "Tarnation!" Da-Da exclaimed, because in those days when people herded sheep on the road to the Shelbyville ferry they seldom cursed.

My father's father, Da-Da, was crushed. Those boots had looked fairly new when he had nicked them from a porch just up the road, and it was his duty to look out for those boots' best interests as long as they were his now, but he chose to believe an evil spirit must have jinxed them, and over the clear evidence.

Da-Da confronted the renegade boot heel with the clear evidence, because with an onion tied to his belt, which was the way you thwarted the power of evil spirits to cloud your mind back in those days, it was now obvious the heel hadn't just broken.

“That’s it,” the spirit responsible for the broken heel said in a voice that sounded like thousands of bumblebees, because in those days spirits on the road to Shelbyville sounded like bumblebees. "Tell you what I'll do to make it up to you, though. Go up the hill right here to Da-Da-Da's grave and I'll give you a free pumpkin."

And so he did, and, lo and behold, there on Da-Da-Da's grave was a free pumpkin.

As Da-Da looked in wonder at the free pumpkin, because in those days a free pumpkin was nothing to sneeze at, Father Terminix, who had been strolling through the cemetery straightening the plastic flowers left by loved ones and collecting the stray hockey pucks, looked at him and said, “Do you forgive him?”

"Who?" Da-Da asked him.

"Why, whoever talked you into climbing that seventy-degree hill up from the Shelbyville ferry road."

"Oh, you mean the evil spirit that broke my boot heel. H-E-double-hockey-sticks no!" Da-Da exclaimed, because in those days people played a lot of hockey in the hilly graveyards overlooking the road to the Shelbyville ferry. "I still need a new boot heel."

As I write this getting into our third together reading together, with my belly swollen with colder beer and better wings than you had today, with a book I got at a garage sale open on the arm of my chair in my cozy corner, I’m thinking of four sorry suckers I’ve known in life, all now mysteriously gone from this place, who tried to wrong me or my loved ones. Are they lost somewhere on the road home, ruined by my actions and unforgiveness? You know, I'm not going to even pretend I care. Who am I kidding? What am I going to do about it? Nothing. But here's a better question: What would I want those I’ve hurt in my life, even without meaning to or knowing I had done it, to do for me after I’m gone? Why, I'd want them to offer me the soft side of the double standard I've always demanded in my dealings with others, pissing on others at my pleasure and whining petulantly if anything blows back on me. Why would I want anything different now?

This is not just a scene from some movie. This pseudo-parable is something I just made up on the spot right now, to gull the credulous among you. You know who you are, and thanks for your slavish adoration. Without it to pay the bills, I might have to get a real job. Boot heels don't grow on graves, you know.

And now our third reading together begins.

“Yes, he could," Tim said. “I don't like to think about it but he could have.” The Baileys’ place, Club Malibar, was downtown on Reyes Boulevard. Tim pulled in and parked close to the 8f mg? $QWW6&°- trance. The rest of the area was empty except for a big black convertible and two older cars parked in the rear. The front stood wide open to the W shim g. It was a door covered on the inside with quilted green rst pa e. The green rug was entrance. The club was empty. It was dark. The only light came from the open front door and a pair of naked W0m pps s4$ behind the bar at the rear. If there were windows they were covered. Robbed of its indirect lighting, the Mag Ow aim looked tired and cheap. The colors were fl I'lOtel‘I‘l:l:1I]lf. There was a stale smell as they walked the door and between the tables with their stacked chairs. Away from the entrance the rug was thick. They made no sound. They heard 0¢K Ox 08 O/Oh? from behind the service door on one side of the bar. Tim knew his way to the o?-ice. He had been here once before with Joe to pay a nine-thousand-dollar note. He was remembering that time; how Joe, after they had left, cursed the Bailey cursed himself and swore off gambling. They stopped in front the clatter of dishes. They heard someone moving inside Tim rapped on the door. Ann, rapped brie?y and opened the door. He stepped inside. And saw it! Bloody Orv.

Bloody Orv. But why? That's the mystery. Could Orv be a butcher? Perhaps even a Cockney butcher, so that we now find the author subtly toying with us with double-entendres.

An anonymous reader writes, "Oh, gosh, Keith! My emu herd had gotten into the datura again and were alternating between projectile vomiting and trying to peck each other to death all night, so thank goodness when I was finally able to come inside just before dawn, roll a fat one, and rest my soul with our wonderful together reading together!"

That's illegal, Reader. Still, I hope the emu's are better.

But now things get tense:

W the possib ' future act a Yyingness ' 317;, B6“ ys) there opene 11113, Qf his 01/v1; freedom galbst the background Of N051‘ is at once fascina ting and dreafifulalfn gness is a presence OW“ Bemg ‘W26, gugldgg that goes on beneath th }lipation With l‘11illé’S- “1'1"“eU_’ before Hes andgnises: novy trelnltllllé’ and tbotl-Vq. but always it is as inseparab teathing because ansiellv IS 0"’ W)’. In anxiety We both are and §e and this ls our dread. 0'1’ negative 1'Iit@IP@’1@t"*’te our erely a psy0~501°€i°al ea NO, 1-S 1,6 ?nite merely_ this earth 13 11-’""ted' He .18 etrates the V615’ Core of 1218 eri'v@dP F1“ ("11 Bej" his lozifhirz 0291179 h.'t[ZIl'1g5', that 1'"”"“” E here We he VG gone Vhers of t he a systeIn- e

Another anonymous reader writes, "Keith, I don’t know you. We’ve never met. Half the time I don't undersatand you. Can I have your baby?"

No, Reader. As sweet as that sentiment might be, it's just wrong in so many ways.


That made Pete grin broadly. “Claims he specialist.” He picked up another lllgsu %:_W?Um frorr brought this in, a little rundown.” He read, “ is for Allen. Lives at 47 Eaton Drive. Excel] Four-?gure bank account. No known mean: most of every day at Biceps Beach exercising That’s all we have so far. Not much, but we’ll “Biceps Beach?” Tim said. “Then he’s one ful boys

and at er ime is was almost hospitalized for not being able to make had grown up since then, developed ?g’, 6 £0 syév 6W choice-maker, but the same thing happened again and eps# t50 thought, now (((8 in this part of the world, Vs# in Thailand, and how many times will r be here again? What should Es iwsmsm 2 do? Well, maybe go to China, was the ?rst thing that came to mind. And varts3 pictured 6b f** jit hitchhiking through China. Then thought, ,,,, maybe get stuck on some tour of the cities and it would be hot and it would be ,b a ehno vyeare— maybe Nepal. Orv would get up there in the mountains—— then Tim thought, too landlocked, down to Bali, maybe. So Pete had a kind of China-Nepal-Bali triangle going in 4q nb mind, and would keep taking to the woman who was in charge of transportation on the ?lm, and ih¢&@@v would say, ”Barbara, ble's vur5 going to be going to China." ”Well, $ed/ 99 s" she'd say, ”I think you've got to go

Now, before we all do go, to China or anywhere else, I thought it would behoove us all to enjoy just how musical our selections for today sound in Armenian, a language I picked at random which I don't speak, read, or understand, but which someone out there might, and which if nothing else tees this whole effort up as being smoking hot and academicky enough to slam dunk my book proposal on certain multi-level marketing opportunities in newly emerging nations:

«Այո, նա կարող է », - Tim - ասել է «Ես չեմ սիրում մտածել դրա մասին , բայց նա կարող է ունենալ ». The Baileys ' տեղը, ակումբ Malibar էր Փոքր Կենտրոն Reyes Boulevard . Tim քաշեց եւ կայանել մոտ է 8F մգ . $ QWW6 & ° - Trance. Մնացած տարածքում դատարկ էր , բացի մի մեծ սեւ Փոխարկելի եւ երկու ավելի ավտոմեքենա parked է թիկունքում. The Front կանգնած լայն բաց է W Shim g. Դա մի դուռ որոնց վրա տարածվում է ներսում quilted կանաչ RST pa ե. Կանաչ գորգ էր մուտքի. Ակումբը դատարկ էր. Մութ էր . Միակ լույսը եկել է բաց առջեւի դուռը եւ մի զույգ մերկ W0m pps S4 $ ետեւում բար է թիկունքում. Եթե եղել են , պատուհանները նրանք ծածկված. կողոպտել դրա անուղղակի լուսավորման, Mag OW նպատակը նայեց հոգնած ու էժան. գույներով էին, FL I'lOtel'I'l : L: 1i ] LF . Կար մի հնացած հոտը, քանի որ նրանք քայլում դուռը միջեւ սեղանների իրենց stacked աթոռներ. հեռավորության վրա - ից մուտքի որ կարպետ էր հաստ. Նրանք ոչ մի ձայն. նրանք լսել 0 ¢ K Ox 08 O / Oh . ետեւից ծառայությունների դռան մի կողմում բար. Tim գիտեր իր ճանապարհը դեպի o : - սառույցի. Նա եղել է այստեղ , երբ առաջ է Joe է վճարել ինը հազար դոլար նոտա. Նա հիշել, որ անգամ , թե ինչպես Joe, երբ նրանք թողել , հայհոյել է Bailey հայհոյել է իրեն, եւ երդվեց Off Դրամախաղ. Նրանք կանգ առջեւ որ աղմուկ է ուտեստների. Նրանք լսել ինչ - որ մեկը գնում է ներսում, Tim rapped դուռը . Ann, rapped Brie . Y, եւ բացել դուռը. Նա եկանք ներսում. Եվ տեսա այն! Արյունոտ Orv

Վտ, possib, ապագան ակտը, որը Yyingness ' 317;, B6 " YS) առկա opene 11113, Qf իր 01/v1. Ազատություն galbst ֆոնին N051, այն միանգամից fascina Ting եւ dreafifulalfn gness մի ներկայություն OW »Bemg «W26, gugldgg, որ շարունակվում է վարը րդ } lipation կապնվել L'11illé'S-"1'1" "eU_ 'առաջ Hes andgnises: Novy trelnltllllé եւ tbotl - VQ. բայց միշտ դա, ինչպես inseparab teathing քանի ansiellv է 0 " W) '. Անհանգստության Մենք երկուսս էլ, եւ § E եւ այս ls մեր ահ. 0'1 ' բացասական 1'Iit @ IP @ '1 @ t »* 'Te մեր erely մի psy0 ~ 501 ° € i ° al EA NO, 1-S 1.6. Դեմք merely_ այս երկիրը 13 11 - ից «" Ted Նա .18 etrates է V615 'առանցքը 1218 eri'v @ DP F1 »(« 11 bej " նրա lozifhirz 0291179 ժ 't [ZIl'1g5, որ 1' "" "" " E այստեղ Մենք էլ VG Gone Vhers t- նա ա systeIn - ե

Որ պատրաստվում Pete grin ընդհանուր առմամբ . " Պնդում է նա: մասնագետ : «Նա վերցրեց մեկ այլ lllgsu % : _W . Um frorr բերել այս , մի քիչ էլ հյուծված »: Նա կարդում ," համար Allen. Ապրում է 47 Eaton Drive. Excel ] Քառանիշ . Մեր բանկային հաշիվը: Ոչ հայտնի նշանակում մեծ մասը ամեն օր , ժամը երկգլուխ մկան Beach իրականացնելիս Սա ամենն է, մենք ունենք մինչ օրս. Ոչ շատ , բայց մենք « Երկգլուխ մկան Beach » Tim թ. «Հետո նա մի տարիմ տղաները

եւ er ռեժիմը , որը գրեթե հոսպիտալացվել է չկարողանալով անել մեծացել էր: Դրանից հետո , որը մշակվել ? գ , 6 £ 0 syév 6W ընտրության ստեղծողի, բայց նույն բանը տեղի ունեցավ , նորից եւ EPS # t50 մտածեցի, հիմա ( (( 8 այս մասում աշխարհը, Vs # Թաիլանդում , եւ քանի անգամ պիտի r այստեղ կրկին. Ինչ պետք Es iwsmsm 2 անել? Դե, գուցե գնալ մինչեւ Չինաստան էր . RST բանը, որ եկավ մտքում. իսկ varts3 պատկերված 6b F ** JIT hitchhiking միջոցով Չինաստան. ապա մտածեցի ,,,, ,,,, , գուցե ստանում խրված է ինչ - որ փուլում է քաղաքներում, եւ դա կլինի տաք եւ դա կլինի , BA ehno vyeare - Գուցե Նեպալ . Orv կստանա մինչեւ այնտեղ լեռներում . ապա Tim մտածեցի, որ դեպի ծով ելք չունեցող , ներքեւ Բալի , գուցե. Այնպես որ, Pete մի տեսակ China - Նեպալ - Բալի եռանկյունու պատրաստվում է 4Q nb միտքը , ու պահել հաշվի է կին, ով էր պատասխանատու փոխադրման վրա : lm , եւ IH ¢ & @ @ v կասեի, "Barbara , BLE ի vur5 լինելու պատրաստվում է Չինաստան . " «Դե, $ ացված / 99 վ »: Նա ուզում է ասել, «Ես կարծում եմ, որ դու պետք է գնալ

And so our lesson for today ends, with a parable about a broken boot heel on the road to the Shelbyville ferry, a bloody Orv, or a "Bloody Orv!", or a "Bloody bloody Orv!", a mysterious encounter on Biceps Beach, a China-Nepal-Bali triangle, and what looks to be an upcoming trip to China

And Armenian, ftw.

A lot to digest, I know, but preordering my soon to be proposed book on certain multi-level marketing opportunities in newly emerging nations is one sure way to take the load off your conscience.

Until our next together reading together, and good luck in our guessing the title of the book I got at a garage sale contest.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Andrew Sullivan is for gay marriage. Rod Dreher isn't sure.

But he is still very vocal and agitated about something.

Rod concludes his latest outreach in the mutual titty twister he and Sullivan are currently engaged in by nailing these theses to the bathhouse door:

I am glad we don’t live in that world anymore. We don’t live in that world anymore because people like Andrew insisted that gay lives had more dignity than the majority of Americans believed. Again, they did us all a favor by awakening us morally to what it is like to live in a country where what matters the most to you is treated in custom and in law as anathema. But I do not look forward to the world Andrew and his righteous allies are building for those religious people who do not conform. They will demonize dissent, and pat themselves on the back for their moral courage the whole time.

This perplexes conservative commenter Joseph Dooley, who writes

Not sure why Dreher comes out in favor of civil unions and tolerance of homosexuality. It’s a middle ground that is merely a transition stage between hedonism and Judeo-Christian civil society.

Conservative commenter Thursday is more direct:

I honestly do think America is a better place for what they’ve done, on the whole, because it has made us more tolerant and understanding.

I’ll be blunt: this is insane.

If a movement promoting gay sex (however monogamously practiced, or not, as the case may be) has somehow resulted in making American society morally superior to what it was before, then logically gay sex can’t really be that big of a deal. I mean it clearly has to be less of a sin than intolerance for that to be the case. And, if that’s true, then why exactly are we opposing gay marriage?

I mean really, if gay sex isn’t an utter abomination against nature, then what the hell are we doing making gay people suffer by denying them the ability to find love and get married? Are we opposing this for something we truly believe to be noble and pure, or just to be obstinate a**holes?

And if we give every indication that we don’t really believe gay sex to be a terrible sin, why shouldn’t gay rights people take our protests to the contrary all that seriously. Really, why shouldn’t they put the pressure on us to change? It does kind of look like we’re doing this out of pure bigotry.

P.S. A lot this post sounds like Stockholm Syndrome. I’ve said it before, the soft message sends out the impression that we don’t really believe what we say we believe, and so it may actually encourage more pressure and persecution.

Stockholm Syndrome. Now that's a really interesting take.

The liberal commenters in favor of SSM are just as befuddled by Dreher's fey coyness:

Beyond says:
[NFR: "Valid" = the state has the right to pass such laws;

Can you explain why the state has a right to regulate what you and your wife do in bed?

[NFR: Yes, I can explain it, but no, I don't care to get into this with you. -- RD]

BWAHAHA...WHAT kind of infantalism is THIS?

 'Yes I can explain superstring theory complete with full mathematical proofs, but no, I don't care to get into this with you.'

'Yes I can explain what advice I offered Obama and Putin in our three-way conference call, but no, I don't care to get into this with you.'

'Yes I can build a Boeing 777 Dreamliner using nothing but coffee cans, but no, I don't care to get into this with you.'

Chekhovian says:
[NFR: Yes, I can explain it, but no, I don't care to get into this with you. -- RD]

That’s disappointing. This is something I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on.

Beyond will do anything to get Dreher to say what he means about anything:

[NFR: Yes, I can explain it, but no, I don't care to get into this with you. -- RD]

If you do a thread about it, I promise I won’t comment. Others might find it fascinating.

Finally brought to heel like a small dog on a leash by Thursday
Judging by these bizarre Stockholm Syndrome-ish responses from the likes of our host here and Ross Douthat, I suspect that ordinary Christians are just going to have to have to show that we really do believe what we believe by suffering for it. That is something we can do for God, for God himself suffered far more for us.

Dreher moonwalks back, rolls over, belly up, and becomes even more passive, if that's even possible without simply imploding into his own orifices and vanishing entirely, now wanting to claim that he has just been an irenicist cruelly exploited as a useful idiot:

[NFR: You call it Stockholm Syndrome, but I really have known and loved, as friends, gay people for all my adult life. My oldest and closest friend is gay (and chaste; he's a believing Catholic). I believe gays have been badly mistreated; some still are. As a Christian, I genuinely want to be more compassionate in my dealings with them. It's not a suck-up or a put-on. What's happening, though, is that the militancy of the pro-SSM side makes people like Douthat and me look like suckers, and ends up empowering people who believe as you do, because you aren't fooled about what's coming. I don't agree with you about what a just outcome would be, but I'm becoming convinced now that relatively irenic Christians like me were and are useful idiots. -- RD]

Which, if nothing else, lays a whole bunch of chips on Thursday's Stockholm Syndrome theory.

So what in the world is going on here with Dreher? Why can't he find some gravitational ground, any ground, to plant his boots on with respect to gay marriage instead of flitting from one evanescent dewdrop to another like Tinker Bell?

Because he wants to be Andrew Sullivan - or at least, he wants to be the blogger Andrew Sullivan is.

(In the vernacular of the gay culture Sullivan inhabits Sullivan's known as a "top" - which means just what you think it means - while Dreher, well we've all read Dreher, and, really, Dreher could only be the complement to a "top", a "bottom". So Dreher can't really be Andrew Sullivan.)

Maybe Dreher doesn't really want Sullivan to hold him and stroke his hair gently, but he does want to write on the same things, to the same (including gay) people that Sullivan does, in the same way with only minor aesthetic twists (like avoiding anything which might pin him down).

For Pete's sake, he directly ripped off Sullivan's "View From Your Window" and repurposed it as his own "View From Your Table" (which we, in turn, have repurposed as "View From the Hood of Your Car". Speaking of which: after the Blue Rhino incident, we're going to need a new meetup place).

So, at the end of the day, he can't really hold to anything much different from Sullivan. That could only leave him contravening his own essence.

Or maybe all these parallels between Dreher and Sullivan are just me overthinking things once again, and the problem is that all we've been hearing from Dreher all along on this SSM thing is really no more than the outgassing of some sort of mock-Christian-flavored outrage porn, all show, no substance, and certainly no Christian principles.

In which case Sullivan calling out Dreher as an imitation "Christianist" instead of a true Christian may really be more honestly accurate and less of an insult than we first thought.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"Give a nod to Rod"

Because "Better Call Saul" was already taken, that's my offering to help fill the aching void that drives Rod Dreher's one true Holy Grail in life, being known for coining a popular internet meme or other type of catchy slogan.

The latest corpse once again in the sweaty hands of Reanimator Rod is his "Benedict Option" which, as best I can tell from Dylan Pahman's thoughtful analysis here, and a commenter named WorldWideProfessor's remarks here and here, has the same claim to religious or cultural gravitas that the "Danish-sounding" "Häagen-Dazs" does: it's nothing more than a brand name invented to flog a product to naive rubes.

Except that with Häagen-Dazs, you actually get something for your effort, not a vague Mosquito Coast or Jonestown that ends badly, and shouldn't be pursued in the first place for the very good reasons Erika Rudzis has already explained here.

With the so-called "Benedict Option", Rod Dreher gets cash-yielding blog meme hits that allow him to live the good, Paris-vacationing, wine-sipping, newest Apple products, non-Benedict Option life - and you get left holding the bag like a chump.

Remember "Crunchy Cons"? Yeah, me, too - barely.

But whatever was valid (if it ever was) about "Crunchy Cons" when that was all the Rod Dreher rage is certainly no less valid today. So what, if anything, changed? Why isn't Dreher still blogging heavily about "Crunchy Conservatism"? It certainly isn't as if that wouldn't fit in the garage sale of post-graduate thinking that fills his current home, TAC, today.

What happened to "Crunchy Cons"? At the end of the day it simply turned out to be - and first and foremost for its creator himself - nothing more than that other made-up ice cream name, "Bloggin Snotz", the one that never caught on and so vanished into the dustbin of failed brand names like a red-headed stepchild.

Bye-bye, Crunchy Cons...(but, hey, whoa...has anyone tried "Dante Dads" yet?)

So "give a nod to Rod" and help him try to come up with something, anything in the way of a catchy internet slogan he can become famous for so that he can finally stop perverting the saints of the Church into his own instantly forgettable version of a brand name dessert.