Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tough Guy, indeed

Way back when, the last time this blog blew up was around the time that Rod Dreher was lecturing all of us how he was afraid of being bullied by the Cool Kids because he wasn't down with SSM.  And it was noted that Sarah Palin agreed with Andrew Sullivan and vice versa that Dreher was a weakling.

Well, as they say, if you want to find out who the bully is, look for the kid who is whining the loudest about being bullied.  Over the last couple of days, Dreher has been running serial drive-by pieces (interleaved with pieces about Pope Francis's tweets) on how Sarah Palin is a blasphemer for her comment that "waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists".  Take that, Sarah Palin -- that'll show you for criticizing Dreher without mentioning his name.

Which is not the reason I posted this -- it is just another topic du jour being drowned by the fire hose that is Dreher's it's-just-a-notebook blog.  But I thought y'all might like the ordnance that Mark Levin sent Dreher's direction (summarized here, with audio link):

"Everybody knows what she meant," Levin said, "everybody knows it was a laugh line." Levin continues, "But Sarah Palin is easy pickins so they pile on.  Tough guy, huh?"

And I know you'll enjoy Dreher's response.  All he's got is name calling, and manipulating comment moderation to get the right response from his trained seals.   


  1. It's hard for me to find any behavior of Dreher's that doesn't fit within and can't be explained by a persisting infantile need for attention, no doubt launched shortly after more normal and more attractive younger sister Ruthie was born.

    "Look at me yelling about what that man just did, Mama! Ruthie didn't notice that man!"

    "Look at me, I'm being bullied. Mama! Ruthie isn't being bullied like I am!"

    "Look at me, now I'm the noisiest new Catholic in Creation, Mama! Ruthie wasn't moved aesthetically by Chartres Cathedral to become a Catholic like I was!"

    "Look at me, now I'm the noisiest new ex-Catholic in Creation, Momma! Ruthie wasn't devastated by the Scandal or whatever my reason really was like I was!"

    "Look at me making such a fuss over Ruthie now that she's dead, Momma! Ruthie never made as ostentatious a fuss over me!"

    "Look at me yelling about how that woman is dressed, Mama! Ruthie didn't notice how that woman was dressed!"

    "Look at me, I'm depressed, Momma! Ruthie was never as depressed as I was!"

    "Look at me reading Dante, Momma! Ruthie never read Dante!"

    "Look at all the meat I just ate after I just finished fasting so ostentatiously for Lent, Momma! Ruthie never fasted so ostentatiously for Lent! Plus, she can't hold as much meat as I can!"

    "Look at me yelling about what that woman just said, Mama! Ruthie didn't notice that woman saying that!"

    "Look at me telling everyone to repent, Mama! Ruthie never told everyone to repent as commandingly as I did!"

    "Bab-look at me acting out-bab-look at me acting out-bab-look at me acting out-bab-look at me acting out-bab-look at me acting out-bab-look at me acting out-bab-look at me acting out-bab-bab-bab-bab!"

    One of the better comments:
    Dreher complains and proclaims.But, he doesn’t say anything meaningful...

    But, really, why should he? It's not what's being said at any given time that's important, only the infantile, narcissistic crying out for attention.

    1. Oh, yeah. It isn't so important what Dreher says or whether he himself believes it (e.g., whether he really thinks Sarah Palin was sacreligious) -- the only thing that matters is that Dreher said what he said.

      Reminds me of the essay On Bullshit. That essay (accurately, IMO) distinguishes a lie from bullshit as such:

      A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.

    2. Justice Sotomayor would do well to read that Bullshit article.

    3. I could quibble with Frankfurt's descriptive definition, but I think his basic idea, that indifference to truth and falsehood is a distinct activity from simple speech that corresponds to or contradicts truth, has merit.

      For one thing, it sheds new light on the old chestnut that we should accept truth wherever we find it. We don't find truth in the words of a bullshitter, even if his statements are material truths. This might help explain to someone who unwittingly holds up the words of a bullshitter as truth just what is so annoying about it.

  2. Another day, the other leg to be humped for the attention it, too, provides.

    What a shame that neither Levin nor Palin could become the "future of conservatism" that Dreher has revealed himself to be for us.

    1. TAC has really turned into a Putin mouthpiece lately. Dreher plays to this in that piece, by implying Palin was stupid for saying that Ukraine and Georgia should have been admitted to NATO.

      I also enjoyed Dreher's tale of how Palin has become "what her critics said she was" rather than his beloved blank slate in 2008. Of course, she's been out in the fray since then, while during that same time period Dreher has been retreating to ever-smaller-and-less-consequential churches, schools, towns, and jobs (while mulling over taking what's left of his ball and going home to the Benedict Option). The Future of Conservatism, indeed.

      P.S. Regarding the Putin mouthpiece of TAC, on its front page online I see the essays:

      The Containment Revivals' Strategic Shortcomings

      In Ukraine, Not All Uprisings are Equal

      "The" "American" "Conservative" reporting for duty, Vlad.

  3. I liked this comment from "Dan Phillips":

    ....But in a case like Palin, who even though she is wrong on several things has all the right enemies (liberals, atheists, elitist Blue State snobs, etc.) I do think you have to be careful and clear with your criticisms lest you sound like one of the right enemies. Her statement struck me as the kind of over-the-top thing you would say, like a tough on crime candidate might say about law enforcement, that you don’t really mean but is intended to send a general message of toughness. For that reason, I think some of the rightish criticism of Palin’s remarks have been overwrought. Just because she said baptism doesn’t make it sacriligious. I mean do we really want to sound like a bunch of left-wing PC hysterics who go nuts over every verbal miscue?

    To give a rhetorical answer to the rhetorical question, no, Dreher doesn't want to sound like politically-correct hysterics, but given that he is DEAF on this sort of thing, he does sound like them.

  4. "TAC has really turned into a Putin mouthpiece lately...."

    Lately? It has been for quite a while, now, simply because it has been the TAC's self-appointed mission to revive the Lindbergh/Taft/Coughlin type of isolationism that went out with Pearl Harbor. Of course, dear ol' Pat Buchanan fosters that kind of isolationism because he's a not-so-secret, anti-Semitic Irishman who still hates Britain.

    As far as Dreher "manipulating comment moderation," goes, he learned from the master....Mark Shea. Remember, they've been friends for a long time. In fact, Dreher seems to be the more precious, delicate, pseudo-sophisticated half of the coin -- with Shea's propensity for personal attacks and deliberate distortion being the other half.

    1. I see what you mean. And so Sarah Palin isn't a target of the TAC gang only because she's too low-brow to meet their standard of taste (which Dreher conflates into a standard of truth, as usual), but because she is a direct threat to their isolationism.

    2. You know, I really thought that Pat Buchanan had "turned a corner" and moderated his paleocon'ism, but his late Putin-love shows I was wrong about that.

      I wonder if the paleocon war on the word ideology is mainly a ploy to never really have to say what they are for, but only what they are against. That way no one suspects where their allegiances really lay.

      I've also wondered why Dreher chose the Russian Orthodox church after leaving the Catholic church rather than the Greek Orthodox church. I guess the denomination he's in now, the ROCOR, is fiercely nationalistic about "mother Russia" and all that crap.

    3. Pauli, regarding the "paleocon war on the word, 'ideology,'" I think you're spot on.

      Regarding Dreher, I never thought that being Russian Orthodox (instead of Greek, Serbian, etc.) would influence his views on Putin.

      Then again, I'm a god-damned American, thank God!

  5. You know I think that this older EQE post may pertain to the topic at hand. Here's a short excerpt for Rod Dreher's original remark about "marrying" David Kuo:

    Later, I said goodnight to Julie and the kids and went downtown to meet and have dinner with my Beliefnet colleague, Beltway man of mystery David Kuo. I've thought about this, and I believe I can say confidently that if our wives ever tired of us, I would gay-marry that David Kuo. He had me at "cassoulet." We started our conversation talking about our shared love of cooking, and I asked him what he liked to cook. He said autumnal dishes, like cassoulet. He didn't know that I'm such a cassoulet fanatic that I once stopped in Paris on a trip back from the Middle East, just to eat good cassoulet. David and I had a great time over dinner, talking about food, travel, conservative politics and Jesus. We also had a fantastic bottle of Italian wine, a 2004 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, which was really one of the more memorable bottles I've ever enjoyed."

    And if you have the time, reading that entire post will provide some great context in the plus ├ža change department. Then please discuss.

    (And please, when your covering the salient points here, don't confuse Montepulciano d'Abruzzo with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano which -- as we all know -- is "a Tuscan wine made from Sangiovese and other grapes".

    Gotta love that wikipdedia.)

    1. These lines from McCain:

      I'm simply left asking myself, who is this fellow Rod Dreher? What is it, really, that he has done, accomplished, or contributed, which gives him license to take some few comments he, or others might not like, and dismiss Levin as just some virulent gasbag the Right should shun?

      and Mark Levin:

      I don't know Dreher and as best I can tell, most nobody does. He has a column for a Dallas newspaper and created his own blog site, from where he writes love letters to himself and wonders why his brilliance is lost on the multitudes (while, of course, claiming to represent them and speak for them).

      reminded me of this awesome speech.

      One could ask the same questions about Dreher himself, substituting the appropriate words for "Europe" and "Belgium".

  6. Here's another possibly pertinent post. I touched it up by changing the original link. Dallas Morning News doesn't see fit to keep such great commentary around evidently.

    And here is a letter to the editor which I just located about Dreher's soft treatment of Kennedy by googling "priapic lion".

    Letters, Sept. 6, 2009
    Morality doesn't mean mediocrity

    Rod Dreher's Sept. 1 column, "Ted Kennedy as Don Draper, the product of another age," reinforces politics as usual - a productive politician needs immoral behavior to get business done. Dreher says Ted Kennedy's behavior as a "priapic lion of the Senate ... after whiskey soaked lunches" enabled him to be a successful politician. He was "the man," because he was a man.

    Can politics succeed with virtuous rather than vice-like bedfellows? That would be a negative, according to Dreher's closing thoughts: "Moralism may make for more sane politics ... but it also makes the world safer for mediocrity." Cherish the thought that a modicum of morality would not create mediocrity.

    Wouldn't it be great if political bedfellows were sharing love instead of power, virtues instead of vices? I wonder if Teddy would be smiling in his grave. Think how beautiful our world would be.


    It's always instructive to note the sort of treatment a conservative gets for irreverent language versus the treatment he gives to a serial adulterer of the far-left for his persistent disgusting behavior.

    1. Oh yuck. Waitress-sandwiching is necessary for political greatness? (Like Teddy was ever great, right?)

      Dreherrhea indeed.

    2. This deserves an entire post, but I find this ironic. Ted Kennedy, a Catholic who flipped on support for abortion, is somewhat responsible for the loosening of moral rigor among American Catholics. Rod Dreher was always going on about that topic, something on which I generally agreed with him, but at a fevered pitch which always put me in mind of a protestant minister more than a Catholic convert. Then he left the Church over this lack of morality, yet continued to go on about specifically Catholic immorality even after he left. Then after all that he turns around and pronounces Ted Kennedy a "great man".

      Now I know we all fail at being perfectly consistent in our words and actions, but I think this is what my kids would call an "epic fail" at consistency.