Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Free Range Chicken Out

I don't suppose it's completely inappropriate for a given person to be a little afraid of a given chap who, whether by chance or choice, possesses and uses the nickname Bubba, but one would think that if said person was used to gun shots in the neighborhood and finding the occasional syringe in the driveway then said chap who comments on a blog wouldn't be seen as a threat proximate enough as to be called a stalker by said person.

I think Rod and Bubba have a lot in common, They're both smart. They're both conservatives. And as evidenced by the prolificacy of each in the blogging arena, they both have an enormous capacity for typing. I mean, I'm not even halfway done with this post and I'm getting tired and bored already. Plus I'm clean out of Ritalin.

So when Rod recently called Bubba a "stalker" on his blog, it might have been in good fun among friends. I call my best mates by all kind of invectives and it's all part of the rich and customary ribbing among kindred spirits. For example, when my friend laughs and says "nice hairdo, baldy" I say something like "Hey, get a life, get a date or something." Yes, Rod said something like that to Bubba. He also said something like "I must have arrived..."; I don't exactly remember. The problem is that Rod deleted his own comment to Bubba, Bubba's original comment and a number of subsequent comments by Bubba, Kathleen and I.

What happened was Bubba jabbed Rod for attacking the Da Vinci Code without having read the book and related that to someone not reading Rod's book, then I chimed in with something snarky and inane as usual then Kathleen said....... are you all yawning yet? You really had to be there, I suppose.

Why did Rod delete all those comments on his own blog? My guess is that the main target was his original "get a life, you stalker" comment to Bubba and the rest were all just necessary collateral damage. You see, I think brother Bubba (that's redundant, right?) kind of gets on Rod Dreher's nerves, to say it mildly. Unlike the slovenly snarks of Pauli, and the clever parodic verse of Kathleen, Bubba actually makes some really dangerously valid points, many (most?) of which go unanswered. Epithets like "Stalker", even if meant in a generic sense rather than the criminal, and phrases like "get a life" seem to be over-reactions to a gentle jibe which was clearly tongue in cheek. (I very much doubt that Bubba has the slightest moral problem with condemning a book one hasn't read -- people do that all the time.) Dreher is disgusted with good arguments and critiques being posed contra crunchiness by people like Bubba, Meilaender, Jonah "Does CC exist?" Goldberg, Kevin Holtsberry, Maxwell Goss and some of the newcomers over at Beliefnet like Mike S.

Rod, some advice: hear the criticism, discern what it's worth, revise your thinking if you need to, laugh at the detractors if you decide you're right -- then move on. You don't have to respond to bloggers (but then I don't know why you have a blog), but think before you react OR own what you say; learn from the fact that you tried to take back a snappy, revealing remark you made on your own post. Honestly -- besides that action being "almost the Platonic ideal of chickenness" it also merely encourages us blog-thugs in the (s)talking business. If you think your ideas are better than those of others, then be bigger than the others.

But I'm not saying whether or not you're bigger than Bubba.

(original post from which comments were deleted.)


Blogger kathleen said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:37 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Dreher reminds me of Naomi Wolf. Both are quite good "writers", as in the "craft of writing", but they have nothing original to say. Some readers are fooled by their writing skills, however. And I think dreher and wolf themselves suffer under the delusion that because they know how to write, it must follow that their thinking is profoundly original.

Of course this is a vicious cycle, because the more convinced you are that your thinking is original and profound, the less effort you make to come up with thinking that actually IS original and profound. So you're thinking becomes more and more vapid. That's when you start fooling yourself into thinking you make an intellectual point when you write a chapter about your chicken dinner, or your lunch on sunday with "ice cold tecate and tortilla chips on the patio". (for some reason, that last line reminds me of Nancy Drew book -- "as they were sitting enjoying their lunch of ice cold tecate and tortilla chips on the patio, suddenly a man in black clothes jumped over the fence and into the backyard of hte haunted house next door. Nancy and her friends were startled!")

6:40 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Kathleen, that's almost the Platonic ideal of Nancy Drew-ness.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

The best conclusion one can draw from Rod's deleting all those comments is that he wanted to bury some obviously embarassing things that he wrote.

(Burying every embarassing thing he's written might require, at minimum, a massive recall on the part of his publisher, but I digress.)

I don't think Rod was trying to squelch dissent, even though it's clear he's being trying his best to ignore dissent. Nevertheless, I probably won't be posting much more on his blog since subsequent comments may also be deleted.

I'll reiterate something I wrote that ended up disappearing: as a Christian, I believe that the truth is irresistable, and if Dreher is a hack (as I increasingly suspect), then he won't be able to ignore the consequences indefinitely.

As skilled a writer as Rod obviously is, he probably should have limited his book just to documenting the lives of a handful of people who perceive mainstream conservativism to be overly materialistic and have altered their personal lives as a result. Instead, Rod apparently asserted that mainstream conservatives truly are greedy materialists and that the crunchy life isn't merely a reaction but the only moral reaction.

Had he done the former, I still would have thought that the crunchies' focus on "sacramental living" is itself too concerned with material things, but he would be in a much better position in terms of his credibility.

Instead, he did the latter, and -- worse -- he's obviously unwilling (and perhaps incapable) to do the intellectual heavy-lifting required to defend those controversial assertions.

I suspect his book coupled with his unwillingness to defend it will drive him either to liberalism or to the luddite traditionalism of Larison and Stegall. He wants to avoid these particular fights, so he'll avoid those who want to have them (and, I suspect, we won't be rushing to socialize with him, either). But because loony leftists and guys like Stegall won't challenge his slander and in fact agrees with it, he'll find himself among them more and more.

3:08 PM  

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