Friday, December 27, 2013

Let's learn to blog like Rod Dreher

I know there are a bunch of you out there asking yourselves, "Why am I busting my hump working at a real job when I could be making money telling the world all about myself online instead?"

Well, today's your lucky day. Today we'll learn step by step how to blog like Rod Dreher using a tutorial post he's generously provided for just that purpose.

Now, if you're going to edit, notate, and "curate" your blog and its comments - because, in the final analysis, how much different is Rod Dreher's blog (or yours!) from a museum like the Louvre when it comes to "curating"? - first and foremost you're going to need a naturally docile and slavishly sympathetic readership. So the first thing to do is to establish yourself early and often as an existentially victimized object of perpetual sympathy for the widest possible audience. You, grasshopper, are a slice of soft, white bread a-sail on the seas of sympathy gravy. You sop, therefore you exist.

It really doesn't matter what that victimizing factor is: a religion that failed you, a mysterious malady that provides you with regular cat-naps, a childhood penpal friend who dies, even a close family member who departs at an extremely opportune time. The important thing is that you leave no quarter for any existing shut-in Great Aunt Gertie, her GG bosom powdered to avalanche danger, or her petulant, failed-to-launch 36-year-old grand-nephew Wurlitzer, or Wurlitzer's tenure-free adjunct Professor of Verbiage Loris, or Loris's understandably yearning wife Almond, or any other remotely emotionally trigger-happy creature to escape every possible opportunity to feel sorry for you, wish you were better, and thus naturally want to do anything to help to make it all better for you. Like, for example, blindly acceding to the rules of your universe and all the thinking that governs it. Others, be gone. Did you get a boo-boo today? Blog it.

The next step is to constantly work topical material into your act, the more provocative the better, regardless of whether or not it's in any way pertinent or germane to anything you're saying. These days, for example, anything "Duck"-Robertson will do. In our tutorial post, frankly, an arbitrarily chosen Willie would have served just as well as the arbitrarily chosen Si (Gertie has apparently become temporarily weary of Phil), but Si has more of that Phil-as-not-Phil gravitas you wanted to push, so you used Si. And of course - a fundamental principle in its own right to never forget - it's not as if anyone can prove anything you're blogging didn't happen just as you say it did. This is also why you curate an obeisantly sympathetic readership: it would be a matter of being just plain mean to an obviously suffering person (you) not to believe any event you relate at face value. So they will and do. And therefore your reader will readily believe on his own accord that Si rather than Phil or Willie must have come up in some unblogged part of the blogged conversation, because no reason to mention him is given in the blogged part.

Now it's at this point that things may get a little technical, but if you want to become a blogger like Rod Dreher rather than working for a living you'll hang in there. It involves something we could call auto-deep-linking (like auto...whatever): in this case, linking back into a previously published post in your own blog so as to provide it with hits again from a different source and to tie both posts together.

In this post, Miriam dies tragically, far too young, from breast cancer, and her verbosely blogged death serves its greater purpose, lining your readers up in the milking shed. However, in this, our tutorial post, Miriam is now not only already dead, but also already sympathy-blogged post mortem. So what purpose other than redundancy does another mention of her serve?

Ah! I see you're beginning to catch on, grasshopper. As the Big Lebowski (long may he abide) would say, she becomes the rug which ties the whole room together. Her function as an auto-deep-link is really secondary: her primary function is to become the reason for the Facetime conversation (if it even ever actually happened, and no sympathetic reader would doubt it did) to have occurred at all. Without Miriam, no trifecta Facetime conversation which reprises sympathy, deep-links to a previous post, and miraculously offers up another conveniently gratuitous serving of Duck.

Why Si? At this point, really, why not?

So this is how you blog like Rod Dreher: sympathy, gratuitous topical references, unfalsifiable narratives, recycling and re-purposing the dead, and auto-deep-linking rugs to tie the whole room together.

Oh - I also threw a tag in for TLWORL on my post here for none other than the same reason Rod pulled Uncle Si (rather than Phil, Willie, etc.) out of thin air: so that anyone searching on that phrase might be baited into clicking on my post.


  1. Remember, until you learn to blog like Rod Dreher, your most precious friends and loved ones can only be human, fully complete already as ends in themselves deserving of nothing more than your love and respect.

    But when you learn to blog like Rod Dreher, why your previously done for friends and loved ones can now become expedient blog utilities as well, as endlessly recycleable as aluminum beer cans and subordinately useful to whatever passing blogging need might pop up next.

    Maybe you read about how, in the short time since her untimely death on Christmas Day, poor Miriam has already been through the slag furnace twice now.

    So what's keeping your dear departed friends and loved ones idling, unoptimized, in their current conditions of mere Christian respect?


  2. Keith: "…sympathy, gratuitous topical references, unfalsifiable narratives, recycling and re-purposing the dead, and auto-deep-linking rugs to tie the whole room together. … poor Miriam has already been through the slag furnace twice now."

    I think you gave a accurate breakdown of how RD's blogging works and have described his shtick pretty well.

    Perhaps, the saddest thing of all is how most of his adoring fans appear to accept at face value RD's stuff: " …blindly acceding to the rules of your universe and all the thinking that governs it."

  3. Also remember to throw in something about a dream you had last night.

    1. Oh, my little list is by no means exhaustive. But I can't remember as short a post where he so explicitly shows just how the human sausage is made, using so many different identifiable elements.

      BTW, did anyone else perceive Miriam as the physical female archetype for what one day would become Mrs. Dreher?


  4. Just checked out that photo. Wow. My wife would hurl something at me if I posted a photo of myself and another woman together like that. Then there would be a mandatory waiting period, IYKWIM.

    1. Pauli: "My wife would hurl something at me if I posted a photo of myself and another woman together like that"

      Yeah, you would think. That RD gets away with it without any apparent domestic repercussions makes me think that the spouse already knows that it is all part of the shtick. Or that is how it seems.

      But what really goes on behind the scenes in the Dreher household is anyone's guess.

    2. Not to mention that RD publicly wrote that he said "I love you" to her.

      I don't mean to insinuate that Dreher had anything other than good intentions with this poor woman -- it may well be that his relationship with her was important for the reasons he gives, and that he did a nice thing visiting her.

      But in a normal relationship, it would be incredibly insensitive to his wife for Dreher to over-share his "I love you" and also this photo, especially on his very public blog.

      I guess the narcissistic buzz he gets from doing this is worth the price he pays on the home front (if any), tho.

  5. Now Rod has to troll his past for more friends who might be dying prolonged untimely deaths, rev the friendship back up and blog the slow-mo tragic outcome.