Saturday, January 11, 2014

My Daddy Can Beat You Up Morally

Rod Dreher sics his father Ray Dreher, Sr.'s work ethics on the widowed, disabled Alan Beggerow.

You don’t need to sit down with me and talk, Mr. Beggerow. You need to sit down and talk to my elderly father. I doubt you would enjoy it, but it would probably do you some good, like it did me.

I think we all understand why Dreher chooses a proxy for this duel instead of himself.

Beggerow, in Dreher's initial post, reveals details unreported by either The New York Times or Dreher. Mr. Beggerow also, in my opinion, acquits himself as far more of a man temperamentally and rhetorically than Ray Dreher, Jr. or, by the unfortunate route of Junior's proxy, Ray Dreher, Sr.

Having somehow established himself as The Hardest Working Boy in Show Business - Rod keeps this country running, after all - Dreher proceeds to wring this teat out even more painfully by offering up some Cambodian refugees as the latest heirs of the Dreher Family Work Ethic.

So, after this many bracing rounds of Dreher sanctimony shots (like retsina, except crafted with the finest local turpentine), why don't we all cleanse our palates now by wishing Mr. Beggerow well for his remaining years while praying that Rod never finds himself in an occupation like steelworker, McDonald's associate, or flunky when one of his regular mono naps or anxiety attacks comes a-calling.

Oh...would it be insufferably ironic of me to point out that the work ethic of Ray Dreher, Sr., which Ray, Jr. opportunistically straps on here as his battering shield, is that historically well-known  Protestant work ethic fundamental to the Moralistic Therapeutic Deism which Senior shares with his late daughter Ruthie?


  1. Yeah, there's a sale on judging others over at the Dreher blog these days. First Dreher consigns Frank Luntz to Hell, and now he dogpiles onto a non-public figure (who has the poor taste to defend himself).

    My favorite part is Dreher telling Mr. Beggerow:

    You presented yourself in the Times not as someone who couldn’t find work, but as someone who would only accept work that measured up to his own standards of fulfillment.

    That's a laugh. If this is true, I'd bet it's the first time that the New York Times allowed someone to "present themselves" in a piece they ran on them. Newspaper"men" have to stick together, I guess.

    And with all this angst surfacing (especially in judging others' life's work), I'm starting to sense that a new gig for Dreher is in the offing.

  2. I know you guys will just respond to me by reminding me that Dreher is never consistent, logical or sensible. But isn't he being *exactly* the kind of person to whom paleo-conservatives and "crunchy conservatives" are superior in terms of understanding and empathy? I mean, if your job gets outsourced aren't we all supposed to say "This is due to NAFTA, BAFTA or SHAFTA, and the Republicans are as guilty for that as the Democrats!" If instead we say "Well, suck it up and get another job. Talk to a wise old-timer, he'll tell y'all how to do it...." isn't that the kind of Judge Smails "The world needs ditch diggers, too" remark that was supposed to show just how mean and out-of-touch mainstream conservatives are?

    I confess I didn't read any of this stuff written by Beggerow or Dreher's response, but from Keith's quote it seems to be tough-guy posturing for sure on Dreher's part whether or no Beggerow's gripes are legitimate.

    1. Dreher's being perfectly consistent. Just like in the crunchy days, it's necessarily OK if Dreher himself does it.

  3. Pauli, you may be missing a classic series here.

    After both the most conservative Catholic commenters and the liberal squishes jointly chase him out of the 3 posts I linked until he shuts comments down, he tries to make one last stand here by fabricating a "thought experiment" that proves his original points while dictating how his commenters can respond. The result is predictable - a comment which is nothing but an NFR:

    relstprof says:
    January 13, 2014 at 3:03 am

    [NFR: You are not really answering the questions, but using the thought experiment to sermonize about the Beggerow case. We've all had a crack at that in the earlier thread. Answer the questions here and I'll publish your remarks. -- RD]

    The only way to top this is to stand his cooking spoons up in cups and respond to his own posts only with NFRs addressed to them.

    But what really gets me wound up about this little shit and his punching-down moralizing is that he doesn't say, "Dude, the same or worse happened to me, and this is what I had to do to recover from it."

    Not possible. No, this is the guy who tumbles into psychotic vertigo if someone recommends the wrong wine for dinner, someone who, as my subject line points out, moralizes on the basis of his Daddy's life, not his own, while conveniently medicalizing all his own failings - without a shred of public evidence to support it, I might add. For Dreher, it's medical; for all others, it's moral.

    Dreher says

    Besides, you, like many others in this thread, are substituting indignation for trying to morally reason through this situation. Hey, I could be wrong about this. Show me why I'm wrong instead of saying, "How dare you!"

    So someone does:

    He is well within acceptable ethical boundaries to live his life as he sees fit and accept whatever the consequences may be. Nobody really needs to be parsing his life for him.

    In other words, Dreher, you ostentatiously stand-up praying little Pharisee, I don't think Jesus done it this way.


    1. That "thought experiment" really cracks me up. I thought the lead-in was especially funny:

      Here’s an attempt, probably futile, to depersonalize the thread below on the moral judgment of the actions of an unemployed/underemployed man.

      (emphasis added)

      As if Dreher or anyone commenting on the prior threads had any clue who Mr. Beggerow was in the first place -- it might as well have been about Bartleby the Scrivener. It only became "personalized" when said Mr. Beggerow (presumably) dared speak up. (I say presumably of course because either Dreher could have been spoofed, or the Times invented him in the first place, as they are known to do.)

      Even that was too much for Dreher, so he had to move to a "safe" place where the lab rat can't talk back. Even so, hopefully someone calling themselves "Jones the Idler" sent Dreher a comment telling him to ___ himself.

      The "thought experiment" is also funny on another level, because it is so Dreher. Hey, gang, let's all sit around and moralize in fantasy land, with Dreher serving the role as moralizer-in-chief.
      Just like so many things that Dreher has written about, whatever he says simply doesn't matter to anybody in the end. There is no accountability to him or anyone for what is said, and no one has to live with the results. Perfect!

      Meanwhile, everybody including especially Dreher get to pontificate, and feel better about themselves for having done so.

    2. I have to tell you I don't really get why some of you guys want this guy back as a Catholic. This whole post series of his, gratuitously punching down on some old refugee from Springsteen's "Youngstown" and culminating in the ritual humiliation of The Gratefully Obedient Ones in the Jones the Idler post doesn't seem the sort of thing to me that puts a shine on the brand. Maybe the hope eternal is that somehow the reverse would happen?

      But across all his religions Dreher has always behaved exactly the same, treating religion and morality as found superpowers that he can weaponize and that he can then use to somehow rescue himself from his congenitally wretched, cowardly self, like the bullied child he remains suddenly discovering the Green Lantern's signet ring, but using it instead to make his little brother mute so he can't tattle, looking up the neighbor girl's skirt against her will, getting back at the pants-pullers that haunt him without having to develop any internal character of his own, etc. In short, what the French call a enfant terrible, wielding a very secularized power talisman.


    3. Keith, I know people who've have left the Church and come back. Most people here do. No one comes back unchanged. That's my hope for anyone.

    4. It's not the Church we hope is improved when someone is reconciled.

      As for the brand, any religion that practices infant baptism isn't really focused on quality control.

    5. As for the brand, any religion that practices infant baptism isn't really focused on quality control.

      Tom, is that yours? I'm going to steal that either way.

  4. Pikkumatti: "…I'm starting to sense that a new gig for Dreher is in the offing. "

    Just when I think RD can't possibly outdo himself, he outdoes himself.

  5. I just wish he would stop being Orthodox...We do not want him...He is playing Church in his little House Church...I would like to think that even though we Orthodox do practice Infant Baptism we could do quality control with converts. We totally f--ked up with this Sonic the Hedge Hog wannabe !