Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Turning off the Patheos channel for awhile.

Looking for new programming. 

Don't get me wrong - there are really nice people at Patheos - good writers, good Catholics, good promoters. 

It's headline news and repetitive views - all of the time.

It's all good, believe me - believe them - they will tell you.  Go back in the archives of each blogger and read the same old same old repetition - today.  Go to anybody on any blogomerate and read the same old same old repetition - many were picked for that reason.  Granted, some talent had a unique take on being Catholic in the modern world, until they went corporate and therefore commercial.  However, they soon get pasteurized, Stepfordized, industrialized.  EWTN is like that.  Sunday Visitor is like that.  I don't know what happens - but something changes.  I can't put my finger on it.  They go professional, which means they go commercial, which means they market themselves.  Nothing wrong with that BTW - everyone needs to earn a living - but it ends up being about as interesting as a diocesan newspaper or a parish Sunday bulletin.

It really hit me this week.  The factionista approach to Catholic blogdom dominance; networking, syndicating, just like Network TV.  It's a business.  It's politics.  It's ratings.

The Catholic channel at Patheos is one of the leading examples of what happens because they've been around just long enough for everyone to remember the honest, untampered writing style of the pre-draft talent.  Back then the same old same old wasn't old - it was fresh.  Until it became a marketed commodity.  Nothing against my friends there - but the Catholic channel isn't that interesting.  I read Kat because she somehow retains a certain candor - most everyone else strikes me as more or less 'canned' or, processed.  I check out other posts only when one of their buddies in another Catholic news portal links to a particular post, or when another blogger maybe jumps on one of their 'come to the defense of this beleaguered blogger' bandwagon.  It's simplified my life online, to be sure.

Two writers in particular helped me 'elucidate' my thoughts on the matter.

'Peace and Justice Catholics' - a tiresome replay ...
There seems to be an undefined group of Catholics who some call “Peace and Justice Catholics”. They are typified as aging hippies.
On the other side of the fence are what might be called Piety and Purity Catholics. They are the conservatives who are all for the authority of the Church, family values, high standards of sexual morality. 
I hope and pray that these sad divisions in Catholicism are fading away.

Really?  What would you write about then?

Please Ignore the Attention Whores, in particular sums it all up:
It’s simply attention whoring. In the internet age, it’s link-bait. It’s a ready-made thought virus, sure to be shared by supporters. There is no downside to this kind of low-class behavior for either side: supporters get the thrill of shock, and foes get the thrill of outrage.  
I don’t know why we do this. We don’t need to react, but we do react, just like dogs drooling for the dinner bell. In contrast to what leftists like to think, conservatives are not, in fact, “reactionary.”
No one needs to know what goes on at MSNBC or on Rush Limbaugh or react to the outrage-du-jour. It’s all irrelevant. It vanishes into the ether, leaving only the smell of sizzling ozone as it goes, while we move to the next outrage, becoming complicit in a self-sustaining media-outrage cycle. 
These aren’t skirmish in a culture-war with a victory in sight. This is World War I trench combat: a fixed line that wavers and consumes casualties and never moves.

Couldn't have said it better.

Disclaimer: No links here, I didn't want to be cited for 'attention whoring' or labeled 'link bait'.

I think it's time to take Terry down!


  1. I was deeply offended by that post and left a comment. It may have been a little snippy, but I was pretty hot. I'm so sick of people condemning "stereotyping" while they are in the process of stereotyping. And the stereotype is generally to the detriment of those who are more orthodox. We are generally portrayed as self-righteous and mean spirited. The fact is that truth is a rock (or a wooden cross) and those who bump up against find it hard. Sorry, but that's the way it is.

    1. I know - do they read their posts before posting? Do they hear what they themselves say?

    2. I didn't think your comment was "snippy" at all. I rarely visit anyone on Patheos and rarely read any "Catholic" blogs anymore. Good way to lose your faith.

      I followed a link off Pewsitter where you have no idea of where you're headed until you arrive. I thought the article was just dumb. That is all...

  2. I took an unplanned six week hiatus from Patheos (maybe I was too busy commenting here?), and when I returned I saw the site with "fresh eyes" and can only agree with your assessment. The writing has been too safe, too "professional", too self-conscious and has lacked the kind of raw insight that makes a blog a blog. Mark Shea's mea culpa and Leah Libresco's conversion story have been two rare exceptions.

    The site as a whole reads as just another carefully thought-out and well-argued worldview amidst a sea of other plausible worldviews (many are available on the patheos site on other channels). I liked your WWI reference that gets at a similar point. On the site there was nothing prophetic, imbued with the Holy Spirit, or otherwise suggestive that the Catholic faith really is the ENTIRE revelation of God to man. When you listen to a saint or read a saint, it seems as though God Himself is coloring their words--why don't any of the Patheos writers sound that way?

    On a related note, I was talking the other day with a well-traveled Catholic evangelist who has been on EWTN and Catholic radio countless times, and he stopped me cold when he said that he "despised professional catholicism". He then mentioned a couple radio hosts. That stayed with me and I thought about what he could mean. The core of the complaint was that some evangelists fall into the trap of advancing the cause of the Catholic religion (and their own place in it) while ignoring the things of the spirit. Their ministry is not focused on sanctification and the deep mysteries of God and so their writings or talks are not vivified by a knowledge of God. And so ultimately their work becomes uninteresting (and ineffective) because at the end of the day there is God and then there is crap (to quote St. Paul).

    There. Now that I've thrown my grenade after yours', I'm off to adoration.

    1. You expressed it very well - thanks Scott.

    2. Speaking of your comment, " ends up being about as interesting as the diocesan newspaper", Fr. Barron was just added to our diocesan newspaper...

    3. Now that is good syndication. Fr. Barron works for me.

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  4. "Her profession’s her religion
    Her sin is her lifelessness"

    Bob Dylan, "Desolation Row"

  5. I am with you on this one especially everytime they put forth the everyone on the traditionalist side is an anti-semite unless they explicity and daily decare themselves not to be

  6. I haven't been going to those sites recently for the same reasons as you.

    Can't say I really blame Patheos though, more the medium. It seems blogs require a few posts a day and the only thing to talk about with that much frequency is politics. And every blog is writing about politics. Even those sites that don't like politics engage in "a pox on both your houses" approach to blogging, and are therefore still talking about politics.

    There's also sex, but it's difficult to distinguish that from politics these days.

    Max Lindeman's site is still enjoyable (at least in my opinion). His is more personal, but he only posts once or twice a week.

    1. I think it is the medium as well. I'll keep blogging, but I think the blog is kind of dead. Interestingly, as some of these bloggers assume a sort of tenure, they seem to equate themselves with journalists - only more pure.

  7. I'm sure you haven't noticed my non noticing because I haven't been around much to notice. I've been AWOL for some time now. You're just lucky I still check in on you, Mr. Button {wink}.

    Interesting what Adrienne said about reading Catholic blogs being a good way to loose ones faith. I recall Gerald Naus saying exactly that about reading hard conservative Catholic blogs. What am I saying in this? Mmm, nothing other than what I said.


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