Friday, September 08, 2006

9/11: The Day That Rod Was There

Hey everyone, let's not forget: the fifth anniversary of The Day That Rod Was There is coming up on 9/11. Of course, whether The Day That Rod Was There was also The Day That Rod Saw The Towers Fall Before His Own Eyes depends if you are reading Rod from March 2006 ("I stood on the far side of the bridge watching the tower collapse) and April 2006 ("having been a New Yorker on 9/11, and seen the south WTC tower collapse in front of my own eyes") or the Rod from 2002 ("Though I didn't see it with my own eyes, others did.") Good thing he had that handy reporter's notebook he kept writing in so he could record what he was seeing before his own eyes [cough] .... or maybe just hearing? .... But hey, details, details. What's important is that 9/11 is The Day That Rod Was There. Not that he would give you the chance to forget:

9/8/06, Beliefnet Crunchy Con blog: "I'm sitting here at my desk in downtown Dallas, almost five years and half a country away from 9/11, but I can still remember exactly how it sounded when the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. I was standing on the Brooklyn Bridge, just about to run off and into Manhattan, and had just told a colleague that the towers wouldn't fall. Suddenly, the south tower fell. It fell with a faraway roar that sounded exactly like what it was: a Niagara of dust and glass."

8/06, Beliefnet: " All 9/11 did was show who they really were when put to the test.
It happened to me, in my own small way. I was a columnist for the New York Post that morning, and hustled from my waterfront apartment across the Brooklyn Bridge, notebook in hand, to cover the catastrophe. I made it as far as the Manhattan side of the bridge before I ran into a Post colleague. “Don’t go down there,” she said. “Those things are going to fall.”“Oh come on, they’re not going to fall,” I said, genuinely disbelieving her. “That’s the World Trade Center.”
Moments later, down came the south tower. I staggered backward, and held on to her to keep my knees from buckling. I scrawled these words on my reporter’s notebook, which I still have: “the building isn’t there it’s gone.”

5/1/06 Beliefnet: "I remember that morning, rushing from my apartment on the Brooklyn waterfront across the Brooklyn Bridge toward the fires in lower Manhattan. Every step of the way I was in denial about what was happening in front of me. Halfway across the bridge, a man with a portable radio shouted to the crowd, "They've hit the Pentagon!" And I thought, "You jerk, quit scaring us with false rumors." On the other side of the bridge, a colleague of mine from the New York Post told me not to go down there, that those buildings were going to fall. I told her don't be silly. Within a minute or so, down came the south tower.

4/17/06, Beliefnet: "I realize in bitter retrospect that, having been a New Yorker on 9/11, and seen the south WTC tower collapse in front of my own eyes, I wanted vengeance."

3/29/06 NRO Crunchy Con blog: I’ve told the story before, so I won’t go into it in detail again, but I will never forget as long as I live the experience of that morning. When I walked out my front door on the Brooklyn waterfront and saw the towers burning, I ran for the Brooklyn Bridge, to get over to the site to cover the story. Within the hour, I stood on the far side of the bridge watching the south tower collapse. Seconds before it came down, a NYPost colleague told me not to go down there, that those things were going to fall. I looked at her with total sincerity and conviction, and said, “Come on, that’s the World Trade Center, they’re not going to fall." Nothing that ever happened to me was as traumatic as what followed”

7/05 Dallas Morning News: Over and over that morning, even as I ran with my reporter's notebook across the Brooklyn Bridge toward the burning towers, I effectively denied what was happening, literally disbelieving my own eyes. When I made it to the Manhattan side of the bridge and was about to go down into the city, I ran into a journalist colleague.
"Don't go down there," she said. "Those things are going to fall."
"They're not going to fall," I told her with utter confidence. "C'mon, that's the World Trade Center."
Seconds later, there was a terrible roar, and down came the South Tower,..."

9/04, National Review Online, the Corner: "POSTCARD FROM THE PAST [Rod Dreher]
A friend forwarded to me today the e-mail I'd sent to some friends that morning three years ago. It's startling to me to read this now. Notice the date and time stamp. I'd just walked in out of the conflagration:
Subject: Unbelievable
Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:09 AM
I'm not going to tie up the phone lines long, but I wanted to tell you that we're okay. My dad phoned this morning to say, "The World Trade Center is on fire. Go look out your front door." You can see them clearly across the harbor from our front door. "Oh my God! Julie come see!" I said. I ran down to grab my reporter's bag, knowing I'd have to go over to the fire. At that point, we didn't know what caused the fire. Then, while downstairs, I heard a tremendous explosion and screams.
I ran out to the street. "A plane just hit the second tower!" a man screamed.
I knew the subways would be out, so I decided to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to get to the scene....I made it to the last pillar of the Brooklyn Bridge before going into downtown. I ran into a colleague of mine. She said, "We better not go over there. Those towers are going to blow up.
One minute later, the south tower fell in on itself. I nearly fainted. It ... well, I can't describe it now. I'm too shaken. Everybody on the bridge screamed. Some collapsed in tears. A woman started to vomit. My knees went weak, and a huge plume of soot and smoke barrelled toward us. I decided to turn around and go home."

National Review 3/03: "And there was one of the towers, billowing smoke and paper, which was being carried by the wind right over our house in Brooklyn. While I was downstairs gathering my notepad so I could run across the bridge to cover the fire, I heard the explosion of the second plane hitting. It shook our building. I opened the door, saw the second tower burning, kissed Julie goodbye, and told her, "I'm going to get as close as I can. ...There was an exodus of workers crossing the bridge out of Manhattan. I stopped to talk to some of them. They were gasping and sobbing, talking about having seen people jumping to their deaths from the upper floors. I have never seen that kind of trauma in anyone. They were very nearly in shock. I am fortunate that I stopped to talk to them, because I had plenty of time to have made it to the south tower. As it was, I was standing on the bridge watching the fire, about to begin my descent into Manhattan, when the south tower collapsed. My knees nearly buckled. I was sure I had just seen tens of thousands of people die. I turned back toward home, because there was no getting into Manhattan now."

National Review 9/02: " Nor shall I forget the sound of my voice telling a New York Post colleague I was trying to coax to follow me off the Brooklyn Bridge and into lower Manhattan, "Oh, come on, they're not going to fall." I believed it. Thirty seconds later, the south tower fell. Though I didn't see it with my own eyes, others did..."

Crisis Magazine, 11/01: "I live on the Brooklyn waterfront, just across the harbor from lower Manhattan. On that horrible morning on September 11, my father phoned me from Louisiana to tell me to look out my front door, the World Trade Center was on fire. It was, and I ran down to the basement to grab my reporter’s pad. Then I heard the explosion from the second crash and scrambled upstairs and out my front door. A stunned and cursing plumber from the hospital next door screamed, "It was a passenger plane!" He must have that wrong, I thought. But he wasn’t wrong. None of us was conditioned to understand what was happening. Twenty minutes later, I was hustling across the Brooklyn Bridge toward the calamity—wending my way through the exodus out of the city—when a man with a radio screamed, "They’ve hit the Pentagon!" That can’t be true, I thought; it’s too cinematic. I am a professional movie critic, and I tend to think of movies as simile and metaphor. Don’t most of us? The movies are our common language, the only interpretative framework any of us have for a disaster this spectacular. And as we all know—or knew until recently—real life isn’t like the movies. Eight minutes later, I watched the first tower come tumbling down in a cataclysm of flame, concrete, and glass"
=========
Everyone, please note: do not assume that Rod writing in great detail, month after month, year after year, about The Day That Rod Was There means that he is exploiting it to further his own career. As Rod wrote in August about The Day That Rod Was There, in a blog post poignantly entitled THE MOMENT ON THE BRIDGE, "I chose my family over my career, knowing that I might regret that choice for the rest of my life." Hear that? Rod is not the type of mainsream capitalist who would exploit 9/11 in furtherance of his own career. Glad we got that cleared up!

39 Comments:

Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

Kathleen

Just curious, how do you keep track of all this stuff?

Are you using google or do you just note it and refer to it later?

2:38 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

is this not why they invented google?

2:40 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

I am a big server guy. I don't mess the front end stuff much. That was a plain old google search then.

I thought that there might be like precise blogging specific tools that crawls the blog for key words. Or something.

The 2002 reference is troubling.

BTW, I am not addicted to blogging. I just work all the time. I am sitting here checking out my systems waiting for a 4PM con call. I am usually by a computer.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Uhlafant said...

Kathleen, you forgot these:

"My mobile phone wasn't working, so I had no way of letting Julie know I hadn't been killed. All she knew was that my last words were, "I'm going to get as close as I can." It took me almost an hour to get home that morning. When she saw me coming, she ran down the street holding Matthew, sobbing. She had to live for nearly an hour anticipating that the Islamic terrorists had killed me too."
3/2003 NRO


"The cloud of soot reached us, and it was like being in a volcanic eruption. Everybody had to breathe through their shirts. Cell phones didn't work. I rushed home to see Julie. When I opened the door, she was sobbing and shaking."
9/2004 via 2001 DMN

Kat, I had noticed, for a very long time, what you had the courage to put into print.

5:08 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Googling "rod dreher" +croissant returns first one of the articles posted by Kathleen.

Rod makes sense in that post, but says nothing I hadn't heard other analysts say. Does Rod think having been there adds credibility to his analyses? It's hard to see that. There are plenty of PC folks in NYC who got it wrong by calling the 9/11 attack merely a "tragedy" starting as early as the evening of that day itself. This was not a you-had-to-be-there-to-get-it moment.

If he had just mentioned his personal experiences once or twice it would make sense to see it as his way to add some interest or engage his readers. But all those times mentioned in this entry with himself comically in the spotlight? And with the eye-witness angle getting better with age like a fine wine or an old pair of slippers?

I don't expect the man who flips over free-range chickens to display the stoicism of Forrest Gump when confronted with intimate involvement in world affairs, but saving one definitive recollection for his personal memoirs might make him appear less ridiculous. It's hard to dismiss the internal discrepancies and, uh, growth within his stories as one might a "tossed-off jibe."

Uhlafont: "Kat, I had noticed, for a very long time, what you had the courage to put into print."

Yes, thanks, Kathleen; this speaks directly to why some people have trouble taking the working boy seriously.

2:08 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"If he had just mentioned his personal experiences once or twice it would make sense to see it as his way to add some interest or engage his readers. "

yeah. and by the way, to be fair to the rodray i omitted a couple more accounts of rod's MOMENT ON THE BRIDGE that were published soon after 9/11, since they were at least topical when published. but if included my blogpost would have been that much longer...it's the continued personalization of the event, especially in 2006, that is so offensive. and the inaccuracies are ... interesting. i'll bet we haven't scratched the surface on those.

"courage"?! wow, i'm flattered. i don't feel courageous, just compelled to puncture this particular balloon of pomposity. seemed like the universe demanded it.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Uhlafant said...

You crack me up, girl.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

ROTFL!

Oh, this is sad, sad, sad.

In a funny kind of way. :)

9:46 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Judging from Rod's latest 9/11 posts on beliefnet, he has foregone the narcissism (to the degree it's possible for him to do so). he's got a post about a "big frankie" and a firehouse. whereas last night he had a post detailing what he did the night of september 10 (he went out to dinner with a friend, they had a great conversation about x, they gazed at the towers on the way home, his father called him the next AM to say the towers were on fire, brooklyn bridge, etc), which he wisely deleted after i trashed it in the comments.

Rod has a habit of deriding the very same critics whose advice he ends up taking. turns out he recognizes himself in the criticism after all. strangely, though, that doesn't seem to make him a better man.

in any case, i think i have succeeded in saving us all from a minute by minute account of rod's movements, thoughts, premonitions, feelings, rages, on 9/11/01. which is the reason for this post and my renewed interest in rod (the psychosis).

looks like national review also opted not to ask rod for a rehash of his 9/11 story. could it be I'm not the only one who is sick to death of him...?

1:07 PM  
Blogger Domenico said...

Wow, you people are scary.

Don't you have anything better to do than stalk a single journalist and attack him?

That you take the effort to document this stuff speaks more about you than it does about Rod.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Carpenter said...

"Don't you have anything better to do than stalk a single journalist and attack him?

That you take the effort to document this stuff speaks more about you than it does about Rod."

As opposed to you kissing his a** at every turn Dom?"

1:44 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

hey domenico, the word "stalk" (like "obsessed") doesn't scare me into submission like it's meant to. i realize you want people to think i'm crazy , but if you could come up with some cogent criticism beyond "wow" it would further your cause in that respect.

i wish you crunchy cons were a little less lame, it would make me look less of the bully.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Carpenter said...

Kathleen:
Don't worry about Dom, he is too much of a posuer.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Ooooh, Kathleen, you "stalker," you.

LOL!! Love that dime-store cyber-psychoanalysis.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Domenico, nice assertions, but no, we're not scary. And it has already been pointed out that the effort was relatively small due to the use of a search engine and cut/paste.

The line "...speaks more about you than it does about Rod" is one I've heard more than once. But Rod wrote a book in which he criticized so-called mainstream conservatives in general based on what kind of food we eat, neighborhoods in which we live and what we supposedly obsess about. Does this say more about Rod than it does about his imagined mainstream conservative strawman? Or is he provided and exemption.

We and others pointed out that crunchy conservatism elevates his particular tastes and personal experiences to the level of dogma.

To prove our point, we often provide examples of his writing. We welcome others to criticize us on the substance of what we say about it. Rarely, rarely, does anyone take us up on it. They merely swing back with something like "you guys are a bunch of __________", fill in the insult.

I would invite anyone, like Mark Shea for instance, who appears to be hot and bothered by this weblog, to actually engage us on the substance. Mark wrote an excellent book "By what authority?" where he took apart the arguments that modernists use against the Gospels like he was pulling wings off flies. (I told Mark I enjoyed his book when I met him in Pittsburgh circa 1995.) Compared to these heavy-hitting heretics he's taken on, wouldn't our arguments be somewhat of a pushover?

He, or anyone so moved, could start by explaining what's wrong with the original post here. Or you can answer Cube's contention that "The 2002 reference is troubling." Or my point that within the numerous 9/11 recollections there seems to be a grasping for the "I-was-there" street-cred of the type which many conservatives always chuckle about privately, sometimes publicly.

Not holding my breath....

2:59 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

I don't think you help your cause by these types of posts. It's even hard for me not to interpret these as personal attacks.

Why not write posts that promote your views? For example, why not argue for party unity, and show through argument that a strong Rep party is the best hope for the future?

Why not demonstrate that crunchys would implicitly advocate for a timid foreign policy which would weaken the United States?

Why not argue that the consideration to adopt widespread agrarianism is an absurd notion?

Why not argue that technology can solve a lot of the city planning and logistic problems that crunchys think are so problematic?

Why is massive globalization is a good thing for the United States?

I can think of a lot more criticisms of our crunchy positions that are weak and can be exploited by you contras. Why not do that instead of hurling Rocks at this man? It makes little sense to me when you can engage in ideas. If Rod or other crunchies don't answer you, you win.
Instead you chose to lose credibility.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

I don't think you help your cause by these types of posts. It's even hard for me not to interpret these as personal attacks.

Why not write posts that promote your views? For example, why not argue for party unity, and show through argument that a strong Rep party is the best hope for the future?

Why not demonstrate that crunchys would implicitly advocate for a timid foreign policy which would weaken the United States?

Why not argue that the consideration to adopt widespread agrarianism is an absurd notion?

Why not argue that technology can solve a lot of the city planning and logistic problems that crunchys think are so problematic?

Why is massive globalization is a good thing for the United States?

I can think of a lot more criticisms of our crunchy positions that are weak and can be exploited by you contras. Why not do that instead of hurling Rocks at this man? It makes little sense to me when you can engage in ideas. If Rod or other crunchies don't answer you, you win.
Instead you chose to lose credibility.

3:10 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"I don't think you help your cause by these types of posts. It's even hard for me not to interpret these as personal attacks. "

Cube, all i can say if one reads Dreher's book as I do -- as a multi-chapter diatribe against "mainstream conservatives" which, simultaneously, egregiously aggrandizes the author himself -- an obnoxious blog post simply pales in comparison. But I don't feel even *that* justification is necessary. My point -- that Dreher's take on 9/11, and many other things, is entirely too self-focused -- stands on its own.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

Okay Pauli I understand your point. Here is my criticism of the post.

At best Kathleen’s post demonstrates that Dreher is perhaps bombastic. I read the post as a bunch of out of context quotes strung together to make Dreher look opertunistic. Kathleen pointed out one contradiction.

National Review 9/02: " Nor shall I forget the sound of my voice telling a New York Post colleague I was trying to coax to follow me off the Brooklyn Bridge and into lower Manhattan, "Oh, come on, they're not going to fall." I believed it. Thirty seconds later, the south tower fell. Though I didn't see it with my own eyes, others did…"

Compared to all the others here is quick example:

4/17/06, Beliefnet: "I realize in bitter retrospect that, having been a New Yorker on 9/11, and seen the south WTC tower collapse in front of my own eyes, I wanted vengeance."


This 9/02 quote is troubling because one can interpret this as a contradiction, because he says he did not see it fall, but in the later he implies that he did. A lot of these are blog posts which are more conversational and written quickly from an emotional perspective. What is he getting at in each context? Was the collapse obscured by a building, but he was right there trying to get to it and saw all the smoke and dust and heard the roar etc. Is that really what he meant by “in front of my own eyes”? If it was not in his specific line of site does that mean he is guilty of hyperbole? On TV I saw them both fall in front of my own eyes too. Is it okay for me to say that since I was not in Manhattan? I don’t see how this is opportunistic on his part, other than he is qualifying himself as someone who was there the day it happened. It is also troubling that you would take a bunch of quotes out of their original context, and string them together to make Dreher look like he is using 9-11 to promote his career. He’s a writer, was before 9-11, how can you expect him not to write about one of the most significant events in world history? My opinion is this is a needless attack on Dreher‘s style and character. You guys are formidable debaters, I see no reason for this, when there other topics to discuss. You could have gone to his site and simply put both quotes before him in front of his readers, and asked him which is it--there or not there?

This blog has an interest in stamping out crunchy conservatism. Focus on the message, and pick that apart. Like any new set of ideas, crunchy conservatism is a target rich environment, why not focus on the ideas rather than the players? If it is all about Dreher and his style it is hard to take you seriously.

4:23 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"This blog has an interest in stamping out crunchy conservatism. Focus on the message, and pick that apart. Like any new set of ideas, crunchy conservatism is a target rich environment"

Cube, we have argued ad nauseam that crunchy conservatism doesn't really exist -- that it's really all about dreher's own tastes and pecadilloes, and that he is attempting to elevate them to an intellectual and political movement. I'm not interested in spending any more time on this. I've had enough. If i haven't persuaded you already, i never will.

This week I wished to make dead certain that Dreher didn't turn 9/11 into his own personal soap opera. mission (pretty much) accomplished (though not without accusations of literally being in league with the devil! fun stuff.)

5:08 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"...though not without accusations of literally being in league with the devil!"

PS: Hello Mark Shea.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

As political movement at this time, I am not sure that Crunchy Conservatism has any kind of traction. I’ve not seen any crunchy politicians offering a platform. Nor am I looking for those people. But the book came out this year so let’s give it some time. So I don’t really disagree with you.

However, I do disagree that this is about Dreher. We do a lot of crunchy things around here. Crunchy conservatism it is an intellectual movement, and I believe it will continue to grow. A lot of it is rooted deeply in our Catholic intellectual tradition. I believe it will continue to grow and flourish. Then it will become a political movement. Mark my words.

5:40 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"Crunchy conservatism it is an intellectual movement, ...."

yeah, but what you call "crunchy conservatism" has been around for decades, and has got virtually zero to do with dreher's book. or if it does, it does only insofar as one might say dreher is a (deeply troubled) fan of it.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Mystic, check the Borat thread as I (finally) posted a comment.

Frankly, I think this blog would be more about the substance of "crunchy conservatism" -- whatever substance there is that isn't already present or at least latent in the social conservatism that has been largely driven by theologically conservative Christians -- if Rod Dreher's behavior was a bit more professional and a bit less like Andrew Sullivan's recent, largely undefended (and largely indefensible) narcissistic preening.

I think I personally have shown more than a willingness to discuss the substance of crunchy conservatism, but I think it's being somewhat drowned out by Dreher's personality.

And some of what isn't being drowned out -- like Caleb Stegall's suggestion that people who live in the suburbs can't find Christ -- is so genuinely insane that to take it seriously is to give it more respect than it deserves.

I close (and head back to real life, perhaps for a few days) by wondering aloud about one thing you wrote:

"This blog has an interest in stamping out crunchy conservatism. Focus on the message, and pick that apart. Like any new set of ideas, crunchy conservatism is a target rich environment, why not focus on the ideas rather than the players? If it is all about Dreher and his style it is hard to take you seriously." [emphasis mine]

Crunchy conservatism is a new set of ideas? I thought it was merely a new defense (and perhaps a new packaging) of very old ideas, and a rejection of new ideas -- including, it seems, those centuries-old innovations of the Reformation and the Enlightenment, to say nothing of the political and technological innovations that followed.

If crunchy conservatism is crunchy and conservative, I cannot fathom how it can be new.

5:24 AM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

Bubba
I did not see your comments on the Borat Forever post. Perhaps you did not publish it or different name?

All of you have tried to address issues most of the time. I recommend always stay on the substance of your debate, and don't get side tracked with these types of posts. This post is more about Rod, than CCism. Forget Rod focus on the ideas, and you will stay on the high ground. Do you think that you are reading Stegal out of context? I read some of his work and his criticism of suburbia. It is a bit of a stretch to conclude that he believes that "the suburbs can't find Christ". You would have to be a major delusional fool to believe that people cannot find Christ in the burbs.

New set of ideas is a bad characterization on my part. Yes this is a new packaging of old ideas. It is a re-focusing of old ideas into the times we live. There are no truly new ideas only a re-application of existing ideas within the times people live. What is new about the times we live is the level of affluence and prosperity. I would hope that crunchy conservatism is more than just about eating good food and living in hip childless inner city neighborhoods. If that is what it is then to quote a great Catholic author--"to hell with it!"

I think that there is more there. There is a prosperity and richness described in the works of Tolkien and Lewis that should be manifested in our culture. It should not be a strict agrarianism or a mass exodus to farms. You could be an urban agrarian. There should be a refocusing of our intentions to simple things, a quiet Sunday dinner, a nicely tended garden, a game of catch, a good book. Crunchy Conservatism promotes the richness of life described by these authors.

Yes we can have those things today without crunchy conservatism, but we don't and people do not talk about them in every day life. At least CCism address these things. So no these are not new ideas, but neither are the ideas of the reformation and the enlightenment.

7:15 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Cube said: "A lot of these are blog posts which are more conversational and written quickly from an emotional perspective."

That's a good description of many of Rod's posts and of the book as well. I think writing about 9/11 and what it means for our nation deserves more than a quick emotional reaction in the way of personal anecdotes, although one could be included. I agree with this: Rod went through an ordeal. But luckily it had a happy ending, i.e., getting home safely to be with his family, all safe. This was not true for many that day. So it's good to see that Rod included many memories of great, even heroic, behavior on 9/11 like the priest he mentioned praying in the street and the guy who found a cross standing in the wreckage. This has been the more standard thing that conservatives do; Hugh Hewitt talked about Rick Rescorla, Peggy Noonan talked about Captain Walter Hynes and doomed passengers who accepted death and left final I-love-yous for family members via short phone calls.

Cube said: "My opinion is this is a needless attack on Dreher's style and character."

"Needless" is a dangerous word for any blogger to use. Is Rod's, or anyone's, blog absolutely necessary? No. In general, does his blog contribute something to constructive conversation? I say yes. Was Rod's mentioning Rush Limbaugh's use of ED medication necessary? I'll leave that to the reader to answer. Did Rod need to make a remark about Steve Irwin's death which can be construed as an attack? I say no. Rod says yes.

So we'll throw out that word. Attack on his style, agreed, that's the point. With a writer like Rod, style makes up a great deal of the substance. I'm not sure how out-of-context the long passages Kathleen quoted can be. Generally only a single sentence or phrase is said to be taken out of context. I also grant that this was Rod's way of dealing with the trauma. I think this says something about his ideas in general, that writing he does publicly is very self-focused as well as hastily blurted out. This is a dangerous combination and leads to "conversational" flubs like "I chose my family over my career, knowing that I might regret that choice for the rest of my life."

This touches the bigger problem with so much of the blogosphere, and I contend especially the so-called Catholic blogosphere (which I admit is another whole discussion involving what the faith teaches versus bees in bonnets.) Folks spill their every thought onto a blog and allow anyone to comment. Then they get upset if the comments are chuckles, ribbings or vehement disagreements. But since some of what they write is controversial, paranoiac over-reaction lived out loud on a blog, what do they expect?

But back to the nature of the attack, an example of a clear cut attack on character would be attacking Bill Bennett for his gambling issues, but not the attack on his clumsy verbal construction during his radio show reagrding the "Freakonomics" argument about abortions and blacks. That was a gaffe, and those who pounced on him for it were mostly hostile and did want to attack his character, but they had a point. Likewise most of the latest attacks on Ann Coulter were not attacks on her character, but on something she wrote in her book. Kathleen is being a bit sarcastic suggesting that Rod is a "mainstream capitalist" who places career over family. But things a journalist or pundit writes are commonly considered to be fair game for criticism. And the question of whether it was scribbled down hastily or deeply considered should not be primarily a burden on the reader.

Cube said: "This blog has an interest in stamping out crunchy conservatism."

Whatever CCism is, and if it does indeed exist, that statement is untrue. I have stated before that I don't believe the issues near and dear to Rod's heart, most of which I have some affection for as well like home-schooling and beautiful churches, have anything to do with mainstream conservatism. And insofar as some of the ideas about taxation and the "some people make too much money" meme are just crypto-liberalism, I just want CCism to be shown for what it is.

Just saw your latest response to Bubba. I don't think the CC book stands alone as a promoter of simple lifestyles in the modern bookshelf. (Check out George Weigel and Joseph Pearce -- great writers.) Rod's book has been merely promoted through mainstream conservative channels rather than the Catholic intellectual circuit. Maybe (hopefully) other authors will take note.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Paging Mark Shea...paging Mark Shea: Bubba and Pauli invite you to debate the substance rather than resorting to calling Kathleen "Satan" and "Gollum." As one of your fervent admirers who is occasionally troubled by your Dreheresque penchant for name-calling, i second that invitation.

But I too am not holding my breath. :)

Diane

8:22 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Mystic, let me clarify: I posted a response in this blog's entry on Dreher and Borat, here, answering that I have gotten married, etc.

To tackle your response briefly, I too doubt that Dreher's really promoting the simple life. There's too much of a focus on details for that -- the "right" kind of food eaten in the "right" kind of house.

What you believe and what Rod promotes are, I think, only tangentially related. I think you and I would probably agree on a whole lot more than Rod and I, and I think you may be needlessly complicating your advocacy for your lifestyle by appropriating Rod's phrase and defending him.


Diane, pardon my ignorance and laziness, but where is it that Shea's being so unpleasant? Just curious.

8:53 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"Attack on his style, agreed, that's the point. With a writer like Rod, style makes up a great deal of the substance."

I meant this post as more than an attack on Rod's style. As a native New Yorker, I just have to emphasize: literally millions of people experienced what Rod did on 9/11. I know no one who has bellyached over it like he has, even though it is clear he had no classmates, no neighbors, no friends, no family members, in the towers. There is an overwhelming note of "isn't it neat about me, just a 'lil southern boy, being right in NYC that day?! fancy that!" in his fondness for repetition of the story. it's like a little kid who gets excited that he witnessed a car accident -- totally unseemly.

and then, there is the other offensive note of "I'm so much more deeply affected than everyone else about 9/11." I have not heard 1/10th the attention-seeking sob stories from people who REALLY WERE affected by 9/11 as I have from Ray Dreher, for whom Aunt Pittypat is an exceptionally good moniker.

8:55 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"Diane, pardon my ignorance and laziness, but where is it that Shea's being so unpleasant? Just curious."

apparently shea called me satan at some point before beliefnet deleted his comments, i didn't see it (sadly -- i would have forwarded it to all my friends!). i think that was after rod's comment: "kathleen reilly = Gollum", a real knee slapper that one.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Bubba, a whole pile of stuff was deleted and altered in that combox. I was kicking myself for not getting a snap-shot of it around 1pm EST when it happened. In Mark Shea's post at 12:43pm he compared Kathleen to Satan, Gollum and the 9/11 hijackers and ended with "May God have mercy on you, Kathleen."

Then Joseph D. Hippolito showed up and started dueling with Mark. Rod gently chided him today re: his personal dispute with Mark. Comical.

9:12 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Shea compared me to the hijackers? naturally. what a twerp.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

Pauli

“Needless is a dangerous word for any blogger to use.”

Dangerous is a dangerous word to use when describing my use of the word “needless”. You used “dangerous” like I used “needless”. :-) Let me restate.

My opinion is K’s post is an “unproductive characterization” of Rod’s style and character. If Rod wants to unnecessarily discuss Rush’s E.D. then he is using an equally “unproductive characterization”. I would say that was hitting Rush below the belt. He did not need to mention Irwin’s death. However, I think he was taking a swipe at the voyeuristic tendencies of people rather than Irwin. My point to Kathleen is why stoop to that level when you have all kind of other topics which to criticize CCism. Now there is no ability to dialog. Rod has not gone over to shadow yet. So why needlessly rile him or the other cons who are interested in the intellectual side of CCism?

You can take whole books out of context (e.g. The Potter series is evil because the books focus on magic). Context is context. All I meant by that is I wanted to know if those were quotes from bigger posts or articles.

CCism may or may not be crypto liberalism, because there are no crunchy politicians. My concern is why give them an excuse to now cut your posts out of their blogs. If you stay on point, regardless if Rod debates you other crunchies will debate and then you can make your points.

1:18 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"My concern is why give them an excuse to now cut your posts out of their blogs."

Cube, with respect, if you are so concerned with us posting on Rod's blog then you should have spoken up a little more in our defense. (I realize you did some). I'm kind of in a crabby mood right now, and i don't mean to say it's your fault. but i don't see why i or others should subject myself to further abuse. Plus i'm bored with the whole thing.

2:20 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

PS: Hey cube, i just looked at your blog.

YOU are the *real* "crunchy con", you know. You are selling yourself short by relying on dreher to define you. i have no argument with anything you post. I'm not blowing sunshine. I'm dead serious.

that garden post is great. but i think i'm too far north in VA.

4:20 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

"Plus i'm bored with the whole thing."

Zzzzzzzzzz.... what? did you say something? Zzzzzzzzzz....

You hit it square on the head Kathleen; CM's blog is the bomb. Much more uplifting and practical than a lot of the blogs out there.

5:32 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

The reason I am concerned is you guys are conservatives, and have good criticisms. I am a conservative. You changed my mind about a lot of things. We engage each other in discourse here and at the other blog. Some times I agree with you sometimes I do not. However it’s hard to engage when you say things about his personality. I don’t know how to replay. The reason I think this exercise is important is because there are a lot of pro-choice people on his blog and we might be able to save lives through our discourse. We might change minds and give people hope.

To me Rod’s been pretty clear that the food and housing stuff is optional. I might be deluded by own thinking here. You know projecting my own views on to his book. If he wants to emote just point out the flaws in his logic, and leave his personality alone. Let him emote so that men shall know he’s mad. That’s what they do to you. When you bring the pain, they say that you are an “idiot” and a “stalker“. You’re intelligent and have a great sense of humor why not bring that instead. No one will admit that you whipped them in a debate, but they will know and you will look good doing it. You should promote your own ideas instead. If one of us say globalization is bad you say it is good. When you (a conservative) win debates, I win too. There are probably a couple issues were I disagree with any of you. I think really big corporations are bad for our country and are populated by a considerable amount of pinkos. I think some practices in agriculture are bad, but the system is so monolithic that they cannot change them easily. I think that urban planning is designed around the car and the 19th C notion of factory and workstation. You must go to the factory to work. I am sure there are a few more. Other than that we are probably tracking 100%.

Thank you for the compliment Kathleen about my blog. You are probably right about being too far north. I would think NC and below would be perfect for over wintering. There is always the spring. Here is a VA extension site
http://www.ext.vt.edu/

7:30 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Cube Rocks! Plus, he has nailed that Humility Thing, which IMHO is kind of the key to that Christianity Thing...pace Mr. Dreher and his Echo Chamber. (Did y'all see e-curious's post re Rod and the Echo Chamber, BTW?)

9:51 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

This is still one of my favorite posts and mainly because it contains mostly quotes "from the horse's mouth", so to speak, and very little external commentary.

Here are a few links to add to the list:

Why I can't take joy in Osama's Death

Where were you on 9/11?

10:59 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home