Monday, October 19, 2015

The Benedict Option: update on Benny

The Benedict Post: still dead as a doornail, two full months now to the day.

Like General Francisco Franco, Benny is still dead (mostly)
Let's review.

At the peak of Rod Dreher's initial Benedict Option mania this past summer, Benny (a Lenny for Benedict Option-susceptible Catholics) launched as a fully-fledged anonymously published newsletter, supposedly to serve the Catholic community online, but curiously containing within each weekly edition a promotion for Dreher's Benedict Option as a solution for dissatisfied traditional Catholics, written in Dreher's same chatty New York Post-imprinted style in his signature real-payload-within-a-deceptively palatable-outer-wrapper technique of presentation.

Despite its anonymity - abnormally odd, to me at least, for an ostensibly devoutly believing Catholic promoting his singularly beloved religion - and creation out of nowhere and nothing, Benny was immediately picked up and celebrated by Rod Dreher's friends at The Federalist including Ben Domenech among others.

But maybe Ben just normally features whatever anonymously published newsletters happen to splash into the Web and Twittersphere on any given day.

After only a few issues, Benny decided he was working too hard and took a full week's "vacation", just after Rod himself went on vacation. When Rod Dreher's father went into terminal decline and died, requiring his undivided attention, Benny immediately ceased publication and died as well (so far).

I am of the opinion that my calling The Benedict Post out as a sock puppet effort designed and written by Rod Dreher himself to push his Benedict Option among dissatisfied traditional Catholics looking for an escape also contributed to Benny's sudden silence. Readers familiar with the short life of Dreher's Bonnie Blue Review blog launched when he first moved back to St. Francisville will recall a similarly ambitious, similarly styled attempt which Dreher was also quick to pull the plug on when criticized about it.

I will be more than happy to update this reporting as soon as the still anonymous celebrator of his Catholicism decides to breach his shame at being known for this work and attach his name to his efforts.

Meanwhile, on a far, far easier row to hoe with a hectic Benedict Option tour still ongoing, Benny's Twitter feed is active once again - if Tweeting can even be counted as activity - eerily paralleling Dreher's current posting on the Synod and echoing his same sentiments from his TAC blog, while throwing a dependable big wet kiss to frequently-Dreher-quoted Ross Douthat of the New York Times, who surely, someday, will return the favor by recommending Dreher for a column there.

While viewing this feed, Twitter recommends I might also like some related feeds from - who would have guessed? - @BenedictOption, @PatrickDeneen, and other @s orbiting tightly within Dreher's regular commentary.

What a remarkable coincidence.

Again, as I mentioned above, in the same manner established as fully legitimate by Rod Dreher himself, I will be more than happy to update my reporting on the anonymous manipulator of the Catholic blogosphere, Benny, the moment they decide to attach their name to their peculiar efforts.

I'm not holding my breath.


  1. In his morning bathroom run Dreher utters some inescapable truths before returning to his foggy logic.

    "If I understand his point, he’s saying that the Benedict Option is nothing more than a fussy, entirely unnecessary repackaging of what Christians have always thought about: ecclesiology and missiology. He’s right, to a certain extent; I have tried to be clear that most of this is just basic church-being-church stuff."


    "I say this with hesitation, because a guy who lives with his family in the West Baltimore ghetto, where he ministers, and who is preparing to move to Africa to serve as a medical missionary, hardly needs a lesson in Christianity from a flabby-butt bourgeois like me."

    I am surprised that in his "editing" process he did not strain out these two gnats of truth from the rest of his bathroom run prior to flushing it onto the blog. Encapsulated in these two brief remarks is pretty much all that needs to be said about the Benedict Option. Yes, it is pretty much basic-church-going-stuff, and no most Christians who are serious about their faith do not need a lecture from a foodie couch-potato who enjoys expense-paid trips to Italy with hirsute traveling companions.

    1. "Hate" like racism, has become a synonym for anything other than peanut butter. One either thoughtfully agrees with the BO or "hates" it.

    2. Having already seen the Loftus (one of Jake Meador's confreres) piece, I should have made my point more clearly that, to me, Loftus seemed to be more concern trolling or serving up the sort of weak, killed bacteria vaccinating critique of the BO that wouldn't get him not-uplinked by Dreher but instead would serve as just the sort of slow, underhand softball Dreher predictably responded to and, of course, rewarded Loftus for his service for by linking him.

  2. It is as dead as Monty Pynthon's Parrot!