Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My dad could beat up your dad

People unfortunate enough to know me well know that my favorite humorist is Jack Handy of Deep Thoughts and SNL fame. Here is a Deep Thought which comes to my mind at the moment (source):

Grandpa used to describe the size of everything in terms of a calf. For instance, if he was describing a large dog, he would say it was 'about as big as a calf.' Or about a car, he would say it 'could seat four calves comfortably.' (Oh, that was another thing: how many calves could ride in something?) One time he was talking about a calf he had, and I asked him how big it was. He said it was 'about three-quarters as big as a calf.' Sometimes Grandpa would tell time by calves. If you asked him how long something would take, he'd say 'About as long as it takes a calf to drive over here.'

Yes, I know, completely absurd. And maybe you don't think it's very funny at all. I understand. Well, here's something else which is absurd and not very funny, and is a good illustration of obsessing, not about calves, but about Catholics. Witness a man who uses the occasion of a dear friend's death to attack his former coreligionists. Excerpt:

As Catholics, we figured an archbishop would be an exalted personage who carried himself with a sense of inner pomp. By that time, frankly, I had had quite enough of bishops and archbishops.

I was on the ropes spiritually, battered by several years of writing about the sex abuse scandal in my church, and disgusted beyond measure with our hierarchs. They carried themselves with such a pride and entitlement, but when it came to protecting the children of the faithful, they had disgraced themselves.

As usual, there's a lot here. "On the ropes" is a boxing metaphor. But what opponent is "battering" him in the ring? Dreher's answer: "several years of writing about the sex abuse scandal in my church". Ergo, he was beating himself up. Ding!

But this part made me laugh. Check out Dreher's own "santo subito"-induced blindness where his Gandalfian friend is concerned:

That said, Dmitri's leadership was not flawless. I never saw problems, because I came to know him only in the late winter of his life. But some parishioners with long memories told me that as personally holy and pastoral as he was, Dmitri hated conflict, and didn't exercise strong administrative oversight when he needed to have done so. (This is also true of Pope John Paul II, incidentally).

Oh, well, no staff-breaking scene from the Dallas Gandalf. Note the obligatory tu quoque tossed at John Paul II, a recent Catholic Pope, at the end of an otherwise boring paragraph.

Is it a coincidence that just about everything reminds the working boy of how much better Orthodoxy is than Catholicism? On March 17th, Rod Dreher attacked the Catholic Church in the midst of a piece supposedly about the glories of Eastern Orthodoxy. Back a few years ago, Rod Dreher used the occasion of the death of Father Richard Neuhaus to attack his differing views on priest scandals. If you were the proverbial man from Mars, you would have learned precious little about Eastern Orthodoxy or Father Neuhaus from those articles, but you might have probably noticed that the author disliked Catholicism a great deal and waited for a priest who was noted as a skilled rhetorician to pass away before attacking his views.

The Orthodox readers who comment on Dreher at this blog—on this post and others—reinforce the disgust that we Catholics have for his constant Catholic-bashing. They are embarrassed and appalled that someone seemingly ignorant of his new faith is so strident in condemning his former one. I invite them to add a first name or nick name to their comments so we have an easier time getting to know them.

How many times must the cannon balls fly at the Catholic Church? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.


  1. The common thread in Our Hero Rod's output is that it is all about him. To wit: his post on St. Dmitri is really not about Dmitri (however fine a man and priest he might or might not have been) but is really about Rod's perception of Dmitri.

    Ditto his posts on Fr. Neuhaus, Orthodoxy, etc. It of course goes without saying that Crunchy Conning is cut from this same cloth.

    Just as Jack Handy's Grandpa's comments became more about his perception of things relative to calves, than about the things themselves, as Pauli so aptly connects.

    At some point, hopefully SOON, it will dawn on Rod Dreher that the world has learned all that it wants to about the motivations behind his spiritual journey, as well as his tastes for the finer things in life. We try our best in the comments here to point that out, if he's listening. He's got something worthwhile to say, I'm sure -- if only he would change the subject.

  2. LOL, loved the calf thing. "About three-quarters the size of a calf." ROTFL!

    Re Dreher--same-old, same-old. Man, I wish he'd stayed muzzled at Templeton. As soon as he's back in blogdom, he's up to his old tricks. So sadly predictable.

    And yes, it is all about him. Narcissism cubed to the nth power. How can anyone find such drivel remotely worth reading? (Presumably nobody does.)

  3. He's got something worthwhile to say, I'm sure -- if only he would change the subject.

    Not bloody likely, I'm afraid. The two days at TAC so far have been pretty much the same old boilerplate of Rod-centric views, starting with the amazing assertion that he had to leave JTF and get back to blogging because "the nation is in danger" and needs his voice.

    Since then it's been the 21st century Horace Greeley monograph schtick, with "What I Know About Sperm Banks" and "What I Know About the GOP Presidential Field" and "What I Know About Neo-Marxism"...the common denominator being the personal pronoun. Next week it'll be the 10th anniversary of The Day Rod Was There, Standing On The Bridge.

    I've no love for his co-blogger at TAC Larison, but I'll give him this: at least he writes like a real 18th century Tory, managing to inject his prejudices and tastes into opinions seemingly without making any of it about his own personal angst. That seems like something Rod just doesn't do.

    But hey--he went from venting about the "crushing financial loss on my disastrous house sale" a year ago, to repeated boasts of current Duggar-like debt freedom, so maybe attention must be paid after all...

    -The Man From K Street

  4. starting with the amazing assertion that he had to leave JTF and get back to blogging because "the nation is in danger" and needs his voice.

    Oh my gosh. Grandiose, much? This really sounds like classic pathological narcissism, complete with delusions of grandeur. I-yi-yi.

  5. The Day Rod Was There 2011 came early this year. Excerpt:

    I stood on the Brooklyn Bridge and watched the south tower fall. I lived with the smell of burning human flesh haunting the streets of my Brooklyn neighborhood, across the harbor from Ground Zero. My family and I took donations of food and money, and our sorrow, to the neighborhood firehouse (Engine 205, Ladder 118), which lost eight men on September 11. I went to firefighters' funerals, and saw little children say goodbye to their daddies.

    I was part of a journalist contingent that accompanied President Bush to the restricted Ground Zero site. I looked out over the vast smoking crater, filled with twisted steel, acrid smoke, and anonymous souls crawling through the foulness looking for the dead, and I thought, This is what Hell is.

    Amazing. Kudos to Kathleen for calling him out on this kind of crap back in 2006. That post is still a must-read for anyone who doubts his extreme narcissism.

  6. The "and our sorrow" part practically made me throw up.

  7. Diane, pathological narcissism alone won't explain Rod Dreher. To get what we see you have to add pathological lying in pursuit of pathological narcissism. That gives us the guy who will create whatever narrative returns him the most attention of every possible type at the time.

    That attention can be adoration, admiration, interest because he's different, pity (lots of pity), hero worship, being the object of maternal nurturing, and all the bad attention like contempt too. But, like Chance the Gardener clicking his remote to change his reality channel, Rod can just delete the bad attention, in fact he's already banned someone called German Reader from the new blog just for disagreeing with him.

    The truth is never important, only the gravitational potential of the Rod-narrative to draw in others. So that's how we get the day Rod was there. That's how we get a narrative different from PeeWee Rodman creating a playhouse disaster at Templetonin in front of jaw dropping horrified old guys who probably had no idea and found out far too late what a crazed fey elf they had unleashed in what up to then had been their nice, stolid foundation.

    So that's what we see in the religion sampling, suburban bound, technogeek crunchy Benedict mess of contradictions he keeps trying to pretend to be. Playing different riffs on the Rod-pipes to see which lures the most children. Tuning the Rodian gravity well to collect the most asteroids. In the end, the only truth is the Rodness of it all.


  8. his post on St. Dmitri is really not about Dmitri

    And that's one of my main points. I mean... how could you do this to someone you claim to respect so much? Use their passing as an instrument to peddle your ideas? The only way I know is that if you thought what you had to say was so damned important that it couldn't wait.

  9. In the end, the only truth is the Rodness of it all.

    LOL, OrthoDex. Or may we coin the term Rodgead?

    I went over to the dude's Amconmag page and, lo and behold, the same old same old. The only post I read was one which could be described as a late-night college BS session about semantics. "Gee, whiz, conservatives aren't even conservative by some eggheads' definition of conservative." To which one commenter responds something like "Well, liberals aren't liberal either...." Well I'm glad we've cleared that up....

  10. I got caught up in that contra crunch link, whew! good times! fun stuff like Mark Shea intoning he hopes God has mercy on my soul...(hey, me too, Mark baby)

  11. Hey everyone, Dreher is planning to move to the suburbs but with a huuuuge qualification: "we are planning to move to the suburbs as renters for non-class-related reasons." FOR NON-CLASS RELATED REASONS. YA HEAR?

    It's only his second day and already it's too easy....

  12. Rod can just delete the bad attention, in fact he's already banned someone called German Reader from the new blog just for disagreeing with him.

    Yeah, that's classic Rod for ya. But isn't that an integral part of pathological narcissism? Hey, I'm no shrink; I just know what I read on the Internets, lol. But from what I'm told, the narcissist seeks constant sources of Narcissistic Supply (e.g., praise, adulation, fawning obsequious worship). But if someone crosses or criticizes him even slightly (or simply disagrees with him), the narcissist turns vicious and retaliates.

    I have a classic narcissistic boss (the one right above my immediate boss), and I have seen this behavior again and again. Sometimes it's downright terrifying (like, if you disagree with something, however innocently, and he instantly lashes out).

    You really don't want to cross a narcissist!

    One good thing about narcissists: They tend to be charming (which is how they get away with their narcissism). Have no idea whether Rod is charming in Real Life. He sure in heck does not come across that way in print or pixels.

  13. Y'know, narcissists (like control freaks, my other betes noirs) are very insecure. I tend to feel sorry for them because of this. But then, the way they channel their insecurity -- e.g., into nastiness and vicoiusness -- kind of takes the edge off of my sympathy, lol.

  14. Speaking of banning comments, did y'all know that Mark Shea doesn't have commenting on his blog anymore? lol

  15. Pauli: "Speaking of banning comments, did y'all know that Mark Shea doesn't have commenting on his blog anymore"

    Actually, comments are still allowed on Shea's. They are just not readily apparent on first glance. You have to click on the article's title, which takes you to that article in toto, and at the bottom you'll see there are comment boxes and comments

  16. Ahhh... thank you for correcting my, Oengus. Maybe I'll comment over there someday....

  17. What is a community, really, Pauli?

    That's what one of Rod Dreher's fictitious emailers/alter egos asks us in a recent post. And the answer for Crunchy couldn't be simpler. Why, it's whatever he wants it to be to suit his needs at the time. Those real life neighbors right next door who don't quite give up enough Rod-love, the sort that other people would have to count as part of our real community regardless how we felt about them? Unfriended. No mas communitas. Outa here. Why not replace them instead with that lonesome seminarian in far Saskatoon peering into his laptop screen, the one who worships Rod over the internet in the comboxes. Isn't that what the crunchy community is really about, the far-flung community of rightthinking Rod-love?

    The fictitious emailer/alter ego helping by parable to gently re-educate the Rod community concludes "In my dreams, we would all live closer to each other, but that’s not possible." Of course not. That space is already taken up by your real community, Rod, the real people who would break down the door to get you out if your house were on fire, but also the real people you can't remanufacture to fit your passing hobbyhorses of the moment. What if, God forbid, one of them continues to really love kale, or Catholicism, and your tastes for both suddenly change, Rod? awkward. Better instead to make your real community that transient pool of the internet undead you can always delete and change out as needed, like a tank of cheap tropical fish.

    But this is also soooo seductive, you see, because now I too could become part of the community of the Rod-love. I couldn't live near him, that’s not possible of course, him being the important guy he is and all, but by reading his blog and commenting I could...finally belong! Belong to something greater than myself, something finally even greater than my faith and Church.

    What is a community, really, Pauli? If a home is where the heart is, a community, that magical incantation that drives away the miserable anomie and alienation of the lonesome, faith-challenged wannabe Rod-faithful, a community is whatever and wherever our Rod says it is, wherever two or more of us are gathered in Rod's name.

    Ptui! What a greasy, slithering phony. I spit on him and his "community", God forgive me.


  18. OrthoDex, you are a hoot! :D

    Pauli--these days Mark Shea puts up with a whole lot more guff than Rod would bear for a nano-second. You should see the cr*p he got for calling out Father Corapi and thereby incensing the kool-aid drinkers.

    Mark and I have reconciled. I think we've both mellowed. :)

  19. "Why, it's whatever he wants it to be to suit his needs at the time."

    This was also the inescapable conclusion to the question, "What is Crunchy Conservativism?" (Though I might quibble over "needs" instead of "emotions.")

    But Crunchy Conservativism was Rod's own invention. Community is of divine origin, and he is by no means the first or only to try to replace his God-given community with one he prefers. This should be challenged, for reasons that go beyond the reality-TV fascination, and even the cause for indignation, Rod's antics offer.

    ["We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next-door neighbour.... That is why the old religions and the old scriptural language showed so sharp a wisdom when they spoke, not of one's duty towards humanity, but one's duty towards one's neighbour.... We may be so made as to be particularly fond of lunatics or specially interested in leprosy. We may love negroes because they are black or German Socialists because they are pedantic. But we have to love our neighbour because he is there—a much more alarming reason for a much more serious operation. He is the sample of humanity which is actually given to us." -- GK Chesterton, Heretics]

  20. "He's got something worthwhile to say, I'm sure." The only worthwhile thing that Dreher could say is that he's finally come out of the closet and will henceforth be the hum-drum gay left-liberal that he's always really been. But he'll never say that, since then he would have nothing more to say. Rod's whole schtick all along has been in being a contrarian -- someone divided against himself who then sows division in every community, political party, and church that he's affiliated with. His hometown in south Louisiana had to change to suit Rod. The Republican Party had to change to suit Rod. The Roman Catholic Church had to change to suit Rod. Soon Philadelphia will have to change to suit Rod, The American Conservative will have to change to suit Rod, and The Orthodox Church will have to change to suit Rod. Better that -- at least in Rod's mind -- than that Rod change to suit the world in which he finds himself, a world which offers plenty of places for someone like Rod to feel at home -- the gay community, the Democratic Party, and all manner of "emerging" and "emergent" churches in which supposed "orthodoxy" can somehow be squared with contemporary left-liberal whims. Someone somewhere nailed it and nailed Rod in pointing out that he himself is a textbook case of Moral Therapeutic Deism run amok. Rod's strange psychosexual whims -- consisting mostly of a need to be as gay and as left-liberal as anyone can be without really *being* either gay or left-liberal in an honest and straightforward way -- are projected as a One True God, whom no one but the only "true" conservative, the only "true" orthodox, our working boy Rod Dreher, has genuine faith in and access to. It's all a train-wreck and a freak-show -- a train-load of freakishness headed for a wreck, which provides us with a show.

  21. The Orthodox Church will have to change to suit Rod.

    Isn't he already demanding that? First in his Muzhik persona and now with his potshots at Bishop Mark Maymon et al.?

  22. @ Diane: Yes, Rod is already up to his usual tricks within The Orthodox Church. I'm expecting his departure from The OCA before too long -- first to some other Orthodox body and then to some sort of "emerging" or "emergent" church. Or maybe he will finally exercise "The Benedict Option," instead of just talking (and talking and talking) about it all the time. I picture Dreher five years from now as both the Ecumenical Patriarch / Pope and the one and only member of an Orthodox-Catholic "emerging" or "emergent" church of The One True God (i.e. Rod Dreher's psychosexual whims). He will be living by himself on a small island in Puget Sound, raising free-range gerbils and organic kale. And, of course, he will be blogging about it incessantly, to ever-diminishing traffic and hits. His platform for that blogging will be Andrew Sullivan's site.

  23. What I want to know is why his kids keep breaking their arms outside his apartment building ...speaking of a train wreck freak show. sorry, but that's very disturbing.

  24. CradleOrthodox and proud of itSeptember 8, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    I also think that Roddy thought he'd mince into Orthodoxy and we would all stop in our tracks and be so blown away by his drivel...we are Orthodox with a big O and we really do not change that quickly..and we do not worship men...we all know our clergy and Bishops are flawed...hell..we all are...Roddy just wants the world to be like he needs it to be and when that doesnt happen fast enough..he tantrums..he also burns bridges..his old parish in Dallas..really dreads him even thinking of moving back there...whats next Roddy..the Bahai's?? I'm sorry we Orthodox havnt kiss your ass...we are too busy trying to live the Gospel..

  25. Hmmm ... a narcissist seeking Orthodoxy, indeed seeking to change Orthodoxy (oxymoron?) to fit him (and then have that become "orthodox").

    Sounds like a tremendously dangerous combination to me -- the stuff that megalomaniacs are made of (to go way out on an amateur psycho-limb). Good thing he marginalizes himself into ever-smaller circles.

  26. I'm expecting his departure from The OCA before too long -- first to some other Orthodox body

    At that Monommakhos (sp?) site, he said he has "already moved on." I think that means he's Antiochian now, or sumpin'.

  27. CradleOrthodox and proud of itSeptember 8, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    Oh my...if he is Antiochian just wait until he meets Metropolitan Phillip!! That will be good.

  28. Yipes, it was getting a bit overheated in here, lol.

    All I ask of Rod is that he stop publicly bashing my Church. 'Course, I know what won't happen. But I guess it's OK. He has pretty much faded into irrelevance, so I guess he can't do too much damage anymore.

  29. @ Diane: Yes, overheated and over-the-top -- a lot like Rod himself a good deal of the time. Dreher's an exasperating guy, but I bear him no ill-will -- all excessive ribbing aside.

  30. Speaking of over-the-top, lol. She's a wee bit crazy but very entertaining, and she sure does post some awesome pix: