Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Aux Benedict Option Barricades!

Benedict Option
Put down the beer, Bo, there's barricades to be a-stormin'!
Sigh. Another day, another iteration of the ever-mutating chimera that is Rod Dreher's Benedict Option.

Forget exile.

Forget the stillborn The Benedict Post.

Born from the tumescence of recent Mizzou outrage, this one is straight outa Compton Les Misérables:

We can lament the auto-destruction of the church and the academy, or we can do something about it. We can prepare for the disintegration, and form communities of people who do love the faith, and who do love the Great Tradition, and who have ceased to trust institutions and elites within them to transmit that love to the young. We must strengthen those that stand, and start new institutions where there are no others.

I believe it. It’s time to quit thinking about these things, folks, and to start doing something about them. Organize! Don’t wait to be saved! The displeasure of a football team just took down the president and chancellor of a major state university. And whining students who just wanted to talk about their pain compelled a distinguished scholar to apologize and beg forgiveness for defending free speech and open inquiry. If those aren’t signs of the times, what is?

Put down the beer, Bo, there's barricades to be a-stormin'.

It's not entirely clear to me how much of the doing Rod will be doing himself that Wick Allison is not already paying him to do, but then we live now in the days of leading from behind, right? If not in fact leading while remaining comfortably seated on our behinds. Otherwise, injury might ensue.

But wait!

What's this?

Our chimera has just sprouted a new and very different...turducken...let's call it, for want of a better immediate name:

Merci! Your comment about the Benedict Option reminds me that all people of good faith who are devoted to the Western tradition — Christians, certainly, but also Jewish, Muslim (I’m thinking about our frequent commenter here “Jones,” a believing Muslim, but also someone I count as an ally), and non-believers in the Allan Bloom mold — need to organize, and when possible or desirable, form institutions.

Well, that's certainly diverse, is it not? Rod Dreher's Benedict Option will now include in its communion Christians, Jews, Muslims and "non-believers in the Allan Bloom mold" but, presumably, not non-believers not in the Allan Bloom mold, unless, well, they're people of good faith.

It sounds all quite academic, or at least primarily pitched now to academicians and their academic camp followers like Rod.

The good news is, there won't be any hard thinking involved like actual philosophers and stuff (Have you ever tried to read a real philosopher? C'mon...what a tedious time suck.), just whoever's currently popular in sociology, like Jonathan Haidt. Sociology's best for this sort of thing anyway, because you don't have to prove anything, just quote it.

But what about blue collar folks? Unfortunately, at least according to the caption here, they're going to drink themselves to death in twenty years anyway. Poor choices in wine, no doubt, but really, what is one supposed to do?

That unpleasantness aside, though, (they probably wouldn't like Rieff or Haidt anyway), isn't this newly proclaimed inclusiveness wonderful? Almost like this:

And if you tell your potential publisher your target audience has now been enlarged to include "living literate human beings (of good faith)", surely it can only help.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What is the Benedict Option like?

Contrary to many accounts, it appears to be indistinguishable from a frenetic yappy dog with a spark plug wired into its butt.

Rod Dreher
The Benedict Option contemplates a strategic withdrawal from the external culture.




For those canines on the marches whose hydrocodone prescription has run dry, it's like the Reign of Terror, without the reign and without the terror.

I don't think Jesus done it this way.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Like a Lannister, Ross Douthat always pays his debts

As a non-Catholic, I can't say whether the liberal New York Times' young 30-something Catholic house conservative Ross Douthat was in the right or wrong in taking on the Papacy, its Synod, and all else contained in l'affaire "Douthat Letter" from Villanova girl theologian Katie Grimes and her evil cohorts Boris, Natasha, Moose, Squirrel and whoever else they were.

Ross Douthat Rod Dreher
Scratch Ross Douthat's mane and he'll tickle your tummy

But I was pleased to see that, after the exquisite tongue bath Catholic rejectnik Rod Dreher gave him here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here - oooh, so many different places! - as the night follows the day the following week Ross dutifully tossed his cabana boy a shiny new quarter, even if it did ultimately turn out to be a rather superficial and perfunctory mention in passing:

But in an era of stagnating wages, family breakdown, and social dislocation, this logic no longer seems to make as much sense. The result is a mounting feeling of what the American Conservative’s Rod Dreher calls white “dispossession” — a sense of promises broken, a feeling that what you were supposed to have has been denied to you. (The Donald Trump phenomenon, Dreher notes, feeds off precisely this anxiety.

When it comes to the food chain of the online punditocracy, no doubt one takes the alms thrown to one by a Lannister gratefully, regardless.

Readers of a recent post of mine will find the Dreher post Douthat (understandably, for those familiar with Douthat's own often incomprehensible constructions) cites as the one my colleague Pikkumatti and I were also just discussing as an example of non-sequitur Scrabble Thinking, or perhaps Lego Thinking: stuff is pasted or snapped together to other stuff that may have only the most tenuous connection with the previous stuff but who cares and may also have other stuff embedded in it to form longer and longer molecular chains of stuff and, before you know it - Voila! - one now has a handsomely larger wad of stuff to fill a weekly contractual online stuff-filling obligation.

Certainly not the predictably big league click bait of implicitly roaring at Pope Francis himself, "Own your heresy!", but, still, for its intended purposes, it'll do, pig, it'll do.

As we all know, it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for Rod Dreher to get a Benedict Option book deal without the essential aid of some solid upstream New York Times "authority linking" of the sort he previously got from David Brooks for his Ruthie Leming deal (now, from $1.98, new).

Hopefully, Ross may get around to even mentioning the BO by name any day now.

After all, in an age where Christianity desperately needs a thickening more than at any other time in its 2,000 year history, online Christian blogrolling and authority juice link building are really more crucial than ever before, aren't they.