Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Congratulations Are In Order .

We here at The Contra-Crunchy Conservative may not have always agreed with Rod Dreher, but a lack of full esteem for a man's professional talents and irritation at his sometimes less-than-professional habits is a far cry from outright hate (got that, Mr. Shea?), and we would like to extend our warmest congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Dreher in the birth of their third child, Nora.

We would also like to convey our respect for Mr. Dreher in his living out his principles during this most momentous time. We believe that the free market, industrialization, globalization, big business, and modernity have their advantages as well as their drawbacks -- and one of their greatest achievements is the advancement of medicine. It's becoming almost routine for an expectant mother to go to a hospital and have a C-section, but the Dreher's eschewed all that. We hear that mother and daughter are doing fine, thanks to the professionalism of the midwife and the charming voodoo priest from Louisiana.

As the Missus recovers, there's a temptation to let her relax by watching shows like Gray's Anatomy -- to buy the show's DVDs and play them on a laptop computer, to embrace Big Media and what he believes is that damnable idea of choice in terms of what you watch, when, and where. Rod resisted the temptation, and it's a shame that we can't all be entertained by watching him whittle figurines of Wendell Berry and sing Negro spirituals.

Rod's living by his beliefs and proving that he is in a position to criticize others for their compromises, as he did in his book:
You don't have to be a religious believer in the formal sense to be a crunchy conservative, but you do have to believe that accumulating wealth and power is not the point of life. Now, if you took a poll, ninety-nine out of a hundred conservatives would deny that they subscribed to that vulgar credo. But that's not how they live —- even if they profess to be religious.

Did Rod compromise his love of all things small and local by allowing his book to be produced by a giant publishing company like Random House? Has he given up on homeschooling for even one of his children? Has he ever even contemplated that detestable expression of consumerism that is church hopping?

Heavens, no. He may indulge the occasional bit of fast food, but on the big stuff, he's rock solid and -- even though we disagree with his criticisms -- his consistency gives him the authority to criticize others when they stray from the crunchy ideals. For that, we salute him.


Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...


The best post here yet.

8:46 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

see for me, listening to "diana krall live in paris" (gag) on your ipod while holding your new baby daughter, would be highly uncrunchy, since I would be tuning out the newborn when listening to the very white, very blond, record-company android woodenly singing cole porter tunes. (by the way, there is nothing inauthentic about a record company paying a blond white woman millions to wear short skirts and sing songs written 50 years ago by a genius african-american, right? and anything done in paris is automatically authentic). BUT Benedict listening to diana krall on his ipod while holding his baby is automatically non-mainstream, authentic, and crunchy. Because it's Benedict doing it, and all he touches turns to crunch. but when we do these things, we are slobs. get it?

8:57 AM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

Kathleen, Kathleen, Kathleen,

You're missing the point. Diana Krall is cool. And the ipod is from Apple and we know that's cool. And, well if you haven't noticed already, Benny isn't too comfortable with anything too shall we say "ethnic."

Now on the contrary if you were to have a cassette player purchased from Walmart and you were listening to Hank Williams Jr, you would be one of those crude disgusting republicans who live in the suburbs and worthy of scorn.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Brilliant! They've got a special on hangman's noose rope going on down at Walmart, but why not take the free stuff?

9:20 AM  
Blogger pikkumatti said...

Ya'll just don't get it.

Only the cool people know what's cool.
And only the Crunchy people know what's Crunchy. If you're not Crunchy, you don't know what is Crunchy and what isn't.

So give up. We'll never figure it out.

3:50 PM  
Blogger dpmacmanus said...

Hey Bubba-- I'm Tom Tomberg, responding here on your blog rather than David Kuo's blog. It seemed appropriate to keep your vituperation to a minimum in Kuo's thread asking for advice on how to walk with Jesus. Not that it will be of much use in trying to contain your boundless spite and malice, but hey, I can try.

You wrote, "I'd like to inform Tom Tomberg that the link he pointed to appears to be broken, and to ask Tom, when did the left suddenly decide that it was an insult to be compared with Pravad?"

Ha ha! Good one! All us Dems want to create a Moscow of the West, just like Harry Truman tried to do.

Here's the link. The idea is, Roger Ailes circulates a memo every day giving orders to the on-air employees on how to spin the day's main events. It's perfectly within his rights to do so, it's just worth remembering that Fox News doesn't aim for impartiality.

Hey, all the Assholes for Christ seem to hang out around here. 'Sup, guys!?! Keep on living in His example!

9:18 AM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

" Assholes for Christ "

Gee Tom, that's sure a witty remark. Or maybe, I'm only half-right about that. Anyway, I'll just have to write that one down and save it to impress my friends.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Diane said...


Well, I'm surprised Rod's not listening to Byzantine chant while he cradles Nora. I've got a recording of Byzantine chant from those Greek Orthodox monks in Florence, Arizona--the ones headed up by that guy from Mount Athos whom pokrov.org has identified as a major-league control freak and spiritual abuser. Anyhoo, this recording sounds like a bunch of sick cows moaning for their meds, and if there's anything that soothes a newborn baby, it's that.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

BTW--I should mention that my post was inspired by the revelation that Rod and Julie went to an Orthodox monastery for their first date.

Call me an unspiritual clod, but I hafta say dinner and a movie is a little bit more my speed.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Tom, thanks for the link. As I say, I don't question that Fox News tilts right, just as CNN and CNNi and BBC tilt left. I do wish all of them were more honest in their positions; nevertheless, there's a big difference between saying FNC tilts right and FNC is controlled by the Bush Administration.

About Pravda, note that I said "the left" and not Democrats in general.

(And would that Dems were still like Truman, instead of riding men like Lieberman out on a rail.)

It's just funny that, after objecting so strongly to Reagan's calling the Soviet Union the "evil empire," many leftists have since decided that comparisons to Pravda are derrogatory.

But on the matter of David Kuo's blog, let's not paint a false picture. Yes, he asked about advice in walking with Christ, but he simultaneously accused FNC of being controlled by Bush, after accusing others of being "put out" by the Administration and accusing all who criticize him of being literal idolators of politics.

My criticism didn't exactly come out of nowhere, but I suppose only an asshole wouldn't accept Kuo's smears as gospel truth.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

May I ask an off-topic question that's been nagging at me?

In the combox comments for Rod's Orthodoxy and Me post, someone mentioned that Abp. Dimitri is among those OCA hierarchs who has imposed a gag order on his diocese re Discussing the OCA Financial Scandal.

Well, someone else responded that this was untrue--that the Archbishop (in his winsome Gandalfian way) had merely demanded that people Stop Gossiping.

Well, color me cynical, but ISTM "Don't Gossip" is Orwellian Newspeak for "Gag Order."

It also seems to me that, if Abp. Dimitri had been a Roman Catholic prelate, Rod would have homed in on the obvious phoney-baloney-ness of that "no gossip" euphemism in a New York minute.

Any thoughts?

Gopd bless,


10:53 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

that should be "who have imposed," not "who has"

so solly

11:00 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"it's just worth remembering that Fox News doesn't aim for impartiality."

YAWN. that would be worth noting, if i could think of a single news outlet in the nation, or world for that matter, that *did* aim for impartiality.

11:59 AM  
Blogger pikkumatti said...

I'm glad I posted a comment right before Tom Tomberg's. That way I can think that he maybe included me as a member of Assholes for Christ too, even tho I'm just a newbie here.

Can somebody send me a membership card? Once I've paid enough dues, anyway.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

I'm actually a member from lesser-known "splinter-group" of AFC called "Jerks for Jesus". We broke off from "Geeks for God" after the famous copyright infringement scandal and before GFG's leader changed his religion and left to form "Buttheads for Buddha".

12:55 PM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

I really need to share a dream I had with you guys. Cause I'm such a sharing kind of guy.

I was walking down a lifeless suburban street and was feeling malnourished. I cried "where Lord am I going to find sustainance." Suddenly a McDonalds appeared out of nowhere and when I walked in, a mysterious figure in a clown suit handed me a happy meal. I woke in a cold sweat.

The next day I drove out of my highly soulful urban neighborhood and out to barren suburbia. It was scary. Suddenly I looked up and it was the same McDonalds I had seen in my dream. As I pulled up to the drive-up I saw a statue of the clown I had seen in my dream. I stared at it mesmerized.

Well of course I ordered the Happy Meal (chicken tenders w/BBQ sauce). When I opened it the Chotchkie fell out into my lap. They had mistakenly given me the girl box (was this another attempt to drain the masculinity from our faith workship I wondered). It was however, highly fortuitous. The Chotchkie was a small statue of Little Bo Peep with a rather large flock of sheep.

As you can imagine, I fell to my knees in front of the clown icon. Here it was the lamb of God for all to see. The clouds lifted and I was delivered into an ecstatic state not unlike the day when I tasted my first organic peach on a hilltop in Northern California.

2:32 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

do you think the clown was Vladika Dmitri?

2:36 PM  
Blogger pikkumatti said...

Thanks, SVS. Now I can have a more pleasant dream tonight. I was scared I was going to dream about "rats eating my Rosary".

2:45 PM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

Pardon me for being so crude but does anyone else remember the whole bit with the Jesus prayer in Franny and Zooey by Salinger?

3:14 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

SVS, I am laughing so hard I have tears in my eyes.

Man, you are **good**!

3:16 PM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

I left out a really important point. When I was handed the "Happy Meal" (Happy meal hmmm...) I enquired and was assured that the chickens had sacrificed themselves willingly for my feast.

3:25 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

SVS, don't tell me -- your first date with your wife was to get a happy meal at mcdonald's! I KNEW IT!

3:52 PM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

Oh Kathleen it is far worse than that. I met my wife at an 80's disco. Could it get any worse than that.

3:58 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

yeah, well, i spent part of my wedding night at mcdonald's (long story). that's worse!

4:19 PM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

Our first date was pretty crunchy though:

The Conspiracy of Hope Tour in behalf of Amnesty International during June 1986

I'm not joking when I tell you that I used to be a lefty.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Carpenter said...

Yes, congratulations are in order for Mr. Dreher and his family. May God richly bless his new daughter.

6:03 PM  
Blogger dpmacmanus said...

Hats off to you guys for dealing with a highly obnoxious interloper (me) with humor.

As another commenter pointed out on Kuo's thread, political operatives are always trying to push and prevent stories. It just so happens that Fox will do what the Bush administration wants 90% or more of the time.

The "liberal media" is, at best, highly overblown. Remember how there was some media coverage, at some point, of scandals involving Bill Clinton? It would be unimaginable for any reputable news source to have been run by a lifelong Democratic operative who gave his staff notes every day on how to spin stories. But that's SOP at Fox.

Here's an example of how the so-called "liberal media" actually tries for impartiality, as opposed to the intentional pro-party line spin of Fox, from a WaPo story in the past couple days. The article is about how every economist in the world, including former Bush administration economists, don't agree with President Bush's assertion that tax cuts magically reduced the deficit. The headline? "Lower Deficit Sparks Debate Over Tax Cuts' Role". Yes, a debate between advocates of fact and peddlers of fiction. It's like the joke, if President Bush said the Earth was flat, the headline would read "Views Differ on Shape of Earth."

And even agreeing, just for the sake of argument, than CNN "tilts left," it is in no way comparable to the conscious efforts of Fox to advance the administration's party line. Here's a recent CNN story that would never, ever appear in reverse on Fox. Asserting that "hey, Fox tilts right, CNN tilts left, it's all the same" is like asserting moral equivalence between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Yes, both sides have made mistakes, but one side is a functioning democracy and the other has like 90% support for intentional targeting of civilians.

I've heard liberals (fringe liberals, not anyone with any impact on the Democratic party) say obnoxious stuff about religion, and Israel, and capitalism, but I've never, ever heard a fond word for the Soviet Union. Questioning the wisdom of calling a nuclear-armed adversary "evil" != love for that adversary.

Lieberman is a Clintonesque triangulator. He has no principles. I supported the war, so I want to see him voted out. All he'll ever do is split the difference between what Democrats and Republicans are saying, and it's unclear to me how that will lead to victory in Iraq. Here's an example of Lieberman's determined, unprincipled triangulation, from a conservative writer.

SvS-- Franny and Zooey-- how do you pronounce the "o" in "Zooey?" Like "ooh" or "oh"?

6:09 PM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

I've always pronounced it "oh" but I'm just a wanna-be auto-didact and I've gotten such things wrong before. Still, I read it in Jr High and still remember it as one of the funniest things I ever read. Liked it much more than the overly self-important "Catcher in the Rye." In retrospect, it seems almost like a mirror image.

6:33 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"It would be unimaginable for any reputable news source to have been run by a lifelong Democratic operative who gave his staff notes every day on how to spin stories."

you must be joking.

6:39 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"Remember how there was some media coverage, at some point, of scandals involving Bill Clinton?"

dpmacmanus, the ONLY reason there was any credulous news coverage was because the INDEPENDENT COUNSEL HAD PHYSICAL EVIDENCE. before that the story was poohpoohed endlessly. (it kinda sucked for bill clinton, cuz his party was the one that insisted on the independent counsel statute in the first place). if it weren't for that, monica lewinsky would have gone the way of juanita, gennifer, kathleen willey (or don't you remember them).

even AFTER the physical evidence was made known, the spin machine attempting to say it meant nothing was such an illuminating experience of Democrat cynicism that it is something i will never, ever forget.

brings back memories .... rush limbaugh playing "devil with the blue dress" foremost among them.

6:48 PM  
Blogger dpmacmanus said...

Yes, Kathleen, I remember Gennifer Flowers, as does every other person in America who owned a TV in 1992.

Thanks, SvS, for the pronunciation advice. It's super important because my girlfriend just got a puppy named "Zooey," pronounced "Zoe". I think that your view is the majority view, from Googling around.

I'll have to read F&Z, thanks for the recomendation. I've never read anything beyond Catcher, which I enjoyed immensely. Still so many great lines in there. "Sleep tight, ya morons!"

7:22 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

I think I understand Tom/DP: he is so utterly convinced that lowering the marginal tax rates never increases tax revenue that he lies about there being a universal consensus rejecting the Laffer curve, talking about how "every economist in the world" disagrees with Bush and how it's "a debate between advocates of fact and peddlers of fiction."

But because, in the article he cites, the Washington Post is not as deranged as DP here, it's proof that it's also less partial than Fox News.

From the insane-left's point of view, the middle-left is centrist or positively conservative.

9:42 AM  
Blogger pikkumatti said...

The beauty of the "objective" WaPo is that they can find experts to support their position (and thereby trot out a headline like "Lower Deficit Sparks Debate Over Tax Cuts' Role"), even though it files in the face of the facts and the data.

There is only one way in which said "experts" can still dispute that lower marginal tax rates can increse tax revenue. That way is to ignore the inconvenient truth of history.

(P.S. Until Bubba's post, I didn't realize that Tom/DP was serious about the WaPo story -- I actually thought he was referring to the economists as the "peddlers of fiction". My bad.)

11:29 AM  
Blogger pikkumatti said...

And another thing . . .

My kids learned more from Sim City than they did from their high school economics teachers/textbooks. From Sim City, they learned that raising taxes on the Sims was a sure-fire way to kill a Sim City.

No such wisdom came out of economics class. They got Keynesian theory instead.

11:55 AM  
Blogger dpmacmanus said...

Lower marginal tax rates can, of course, increse tax revenue.

But it's not happening in this case, as the article I linked explained. So, the "debate" the Post refers to is between Bush and Hastert on one side, and facts, studies, and all economists on the other. From the WaPo article:

President Bush last week claimed credit for a striking reversal of fortune: New figures show the federal budget deficit shrinking by 40 percent over the past two years, a turnaround the president hopes will strengthen his push for further tax cuts.

Bush hailed the dwindling deficit as a direct result of "pro-growth economic policies," particularly huge tax cuts enacted during his first term. "Tax relief fuels economic growth. And growth -- when the economy grows, more tax revenues come to Washington. And that's what's happened," Bush said.

Economists said Bush was claiming credit where little is due. The economy has grown and tax receipts have risen at historic rates over the past two years, but the Bush tax cuts played a small role in that process, they said, and cost the Treasury more in lost taxes than it gained from the resulting economic stimulus.

"Federal revenue is lower today than it would have been without the tax cuts. There's really no dispute among economists about that," said Alan D. Viard, a former Bush White House economist now at the nonpartisan American Enterprise Institute. "It's logically possible" that a tax cut could spur sufficient economic growth to pay for itself, Viard said. "But there's no evidence that these tax cuts would come anywhere close to that."

Economists at the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and in the Treasury Department have reached the same conclusion. An analysis of Treasury data prepared last month by the Congressional Research Service estimates that economic growth fueled by the cuts is likely to generate revenue worth about 7 percent of the total cost of the cuts, a broad package of rate reductions and tax credits that has returned an estimated $1.1 trillion to taxpayers since 2001.

Robert Carroll, deputy assistant Treasury secretary for tax analysis, said neither the president nor anyone else in the administration is claiming that tax cuts alone produced the unexpected surge in revenue. "As a matter of principle, we do not think tax cuts pay for themselves," Carroll said.
If growth induced by Bush's cuts doesn't explain the surge, where did all those extra tax dollars come from?

The short answer is spectacularly high corporate profits and the advancing fortunes of wealthy Americans, economists said.

Skyrocketing profits caused corporate tax receipts to jump 27 percent, to $354 billion, in 2006, the largest increase in any tax category. "After three years of strong profits, corporate tax receipts as a share of [the economy] are at levels not seen since the late 1970s," the CBO said in its August budget report.

12:11 PM  
Blogger pikkumatti said...

One doesn't have to look far to find an economist that doesn't belong to the class of "all economists".

From Tuesday's WSJ, Brian J. Wesbury, Chief Economist of First Trust Advisors L.P. writes:

The driving force behind the [economic] good news is productivity growth fueled by innovation. If the 1980s and 1990s saw the invention and proliferation of new technology, the early 21st century is witnessing its implementation. The impact is immense, and it changes everything. The 2003 tax cuts have also played a major role. Before those tax cuts, the economy, job growth and the stock market were sluggish and stagnant. After them -- because they increased the incentives for risk-taking -- the economy and markets improved dramatically. . . But like job growth, recent revisions found $160 billion of personal income that was previously uncounted. This helps to explain the awesome tidal wave of tax revenues flowing into federal government coffers. Tax revenues grew 12% in 2005 and are up by 11.8% this year. Despite lower tax rates, total federal revenues are $410 billion higher this year than they were at their previous high water mark in 2000. . . The lesson of all this is that when tax cuts and technology work together to encourage productivity growth, the economy and markets perform well. Massive positive revisions to employment and incomes, rising stock prices and a flood of new tax revenues paint a much different picture than conventional wisdom had expected. But history is clear. As long as government policies do not hinder entrepreneurship, the U.S. economy can overcome even the most daunting of challenges.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Now I know why they call it the dismal science. Youse guys lost me about four posts ago! :) :)

Diane the Dumb, born without a left brain

12:53 PM  
Blogger dpmacmanus said...

Pikku, let's back up for a second, here, and remember what we're talking about.

I refered to the WaPo article as an example of the fact that the so-called "liberal media" strives for balance, at the expense of fact.

You and Bubba assumed, without reading the article, that it was an academic discusion about the impact of tax cuts.

It was not. The article notes that President Bush attributed the decrease in the deficit to his tax cuts, then goes on to note that the Treasury Department, CBO, GAO, and former Bush administration economists all say that's not true. But the headline in the article refers to a "debate." There's no debate, there's just the president lying.

The article you linked does not claim otherwise about tax cuts and the deficit. It merely advocates tax cuts to get "the economy and markets" to perform well.

Nothing I said, or that the WaPo article said, ever argued that the tax cuts had zero impact on growth; the point is that they did not reduce the deficit. The president said that his tax cuts fueled growth, which reduced the deficit. That is not true.

1:39 PM  
Blogger pikkumatti said...

Diane, economics is the dismal science because it lets people cherry-pick facts so that one's own theories are always valid, even if the data indicates otherwise, and so that one's opponents' theories are always false and their conclusions are always lies, even if the data indicates otherwise. Ain't it great?

1:59 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

dcp, i'm sure this is all very fascinating for you, but i, for one, will never be convinced that the mainstream media is anything but liberally biased. In fact, I'm so thoroughly and utterly convinced of this that i would be far more engaged and enthralled by a discussion of whether Oxyclean or Shout is better for stain removal (I vote Oxyclean)

not to mention the fact that your extremely belabored point is fairly irrelevant to this blog.

2:29 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

PS: you are under the mistaken impression that washington post reporters and their sources are the ne plus ultra of engaged intellectual thought. i tend to conclude otherwise, especially considering the salaries post reporters are paid compared to the cost of living in washington. journalism no longer attracts the best and the brightest (if it ever did)

2:31 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

DP, I'm not sure that this article is solid proof of whatever you're trying to prove. (That the WaPo is balanced? It's tilted toward Bush?)

Your argument is, I take it, that the headline is more balanced than the text suggests. Could it not be that the text is more biased than the headline suggests? That there actually is a debate about the effect of the Bush tax cuts but that the writer chose to feature only economists from one side of the debate?

It doesn't appear to me that the GAO is mentioned at all, though you claimed it did (y'know, right before you accused Bush of lying).

And I think that this focusing on one WaPo article as if it alone can prove or disprove liberal bias in the media is silly beyond words and a digression.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

The analysis of a WaPo article is missing the forest for the trees -- or, rather, the forest for a single leaf.

I wonder if our guest would think it a sign of bias if it appeared that Fox News reporters voted disproportionately for Republicans.

He should be careful about answering that too quickly.

3:02 PM  
Blogger dpmacmanus said...

This back-and-forth without any boundaries as to topic is probably getting old for all of us... so I'll just respond real quickly, with hardly any links, this time.

The whole point of political discussion, it seems to me, is to talk to people with whom you disagree. So, thanks for engaging in debate-- especially seeing as how I was a total jerk in my first comment here. You gotta subject your views to scrutiny, or they'll be obsolete, or unfounded.

Bubba-- you got me. The other organization was the CRS, not the GAO. Good catch.

The WaPo article refers to studies from CBO, CRS, former Bush administration economists, and the Treasury Dept. I submit that Occam's Razor compels the conclusion that the headline strove for "neutrality" that is unwarranted by facts, rather than that the headline writer drew from knowledge that the article should have included but didn't.

As to the fact-- which I don't think is disputed-- that more people who work in journalism identify as liberals than conservatives, the question is, how does that impact their work? I remember talking to someone a ways back about who the next chair of the Joint Chiefs might be. Some Army folks were hoping he'd come from another branch, because a guy from the Army would bend over backwards to avoid the appearance of bias.

How people vote is an imperfect measure of how they report.

Kathleen, here's another example of conservative MSM bias. Now, I agree with you that you can find liberal biases in the media. We disagree as to the pervasiveness and consistency of that bias.

"Why has CNN devoted 50 times as much coverage to Harry Reid's land deal as Dennis Hastert's?"

Anyway, it's always a challenge to find fora where you disagree with the ideology, but can discuss facts with people nonetheless, so thanks for the discussion.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

You're very welcome, DP.

Returning to more relevant topics, Rod's posted yet more about his leaving Catholicism, and I think it still amazes him that not everyone takes at face value his love for his old church.

6:30 AM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

Not that I need to remind anyone here but Rodney or Ray or Benedict or whatever is full of crap. I attend Mass in one of the most liberal diocese in the country. I mostly attend at a parish which is close to my home and where my kids go to school. I didn't pick it because it had a particular reputation, it was just close.

I have experienced my share of dull homilies and I have listened to my share of banal praise music but in 12 years of attending there, I have never heard anything that contradicts the teachings of the church from the pulpit. Even the visiting Jesuit who says Mass on an occasional basis has never done this.

I do attend some at the know seat of Orthodoxy in the diocese and at a parish that has a sung (Novus Ordo) Latin Mass with a Gregorian Schola. In neither of these cases have I heard a controversial homily. I even attend a parish on occasion in San Francisco that is supposedly Nancy Pelosi's home parish (although I've never seen her there) and I have never heard a homily at odds with the vatican.

And Rod/Ray/Benedict couldn't find a single parish in conservative Dallas like that. The guy is mentally unstable and subject to grandiosity. In the psychology world, he would probably be diagnosed as bi-polar, with delusions of grandeur when he is the manic state and delusions of persecution when he is in the depressed part of the cycle.

9:04 AM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...


I just read your post on Rod/Ray/Benedict's blog and I want to thank you for very clearly telling him what the problem is that Catholics are having with his conversion.

Of course, he will respond with a post about how he doesn't understand the vicious posts against him and that it is just a personal thing for him that he could't stand the heretical, banal, lying, child raping Catholic church and that he has the utmost respect for the losers who would choose to remain.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

SVS, Kathleen, Diane, Pauli, and dear spiritual God seeking Contra

I said my good-byes to Rod today. He continues to blog on his conversion after saying that he has nothing more to say. That is kind of a lie.

Rod is simply a product of the culture he hates so much. In his hatred and rage he has become a caricature of what he hates. He is the perpetual bored child lusting for more entertainment. He lusts for bobbles and trinkets while missing the point of the journey.

From his own writings God offered him the "dark night", and at its end if faithful, he would obtain the "unitive way". Instead he fled from the "dark night" and its brilliant reward, into dim flickering barely reflective light of earthly customs.

We have to acknowledge that there are problems in the culture. The counter-cultural lifestyle that I want to write about comes from my readings of Jesus Christ, the teachings of the Holy Father, and the Church. Not the political left.

Our motives at my site were to address some of the materialism, big M and small m, that is used to justify a lot of the evil in our times. I am going to continue down that path. I am my own man, and do my own thing. It's much more fun if a bunch of us are going in the same immaculate direction. Hence my interest in bnet.

Let the Rod thing go, it does get personal here, and kind of mean. Use your talents to promote a Christian culture, not to badger a foolish man on his childish errand.

Instead of a parity, this blog could become a means to promote conservative values as they manifest within the culture. You could use it to promote a culture of life. You are all so talented.

10:05 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"Let the Rod thing go, it does get personal here, and kind of mean. Use your talents to promote a Christian culture, not to badger a foolish man on his childish errand. "

JohnT, I agree, we should have let this ago a long time ago, but i keep coming back to this: isn't it incredibly harmful that beliefnet has someone like that blogging for them? Dreher *sounds like* someone i would admire, he articulates the right principles and the right sensibilities, he even articulates them with a Gen X style i find pretty agreeable, but in substance he represents exactly the opposite of what is spiritually healthy. that makes him a menace. at this point he is a wolf in sheep's clothing, taking himself, his family and those who take him seriously (if there are any, which is debatable) on a chaotic and ultimately damaging ride.

the sad thing about Dreher is that he is at the precipice of a major breakthrough, but he *keeps turning away*. he keeps saying no -- petulantly. it's utterly maddening, how someone can seem to be so close to understanding and so lost at the same time.

in any case, political conservatives don't take dreher seriously, and i'm hoping catholics won't either. But in case there are any who are on the fence, maybe - maybe? -- it's kind of necessary to have an outlet which takes the guy down. maybe i'm wrong.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

maybe i'm wrong.

No, I think you are exactly right, Kathleen. If *anyone* still takes Rod seriously, then he poses a danger to souls. I think there should be a forum in which people can criticize Rod's crazy, confused, and dangerous ideas without getting bullied by Friends of Rod or called vicious names by the Rodmeister himself.

BTW, Siliconvelleysteve: As I have been on the receiving end of dime-store psychoanalysis from Friends of Rod like the persistent Jennifer, I hesitate to speculate on the nature of Rod's pathology. But I agree with you that there is something deeply disturbing about his online behavior in general--which sometimes does seem to border on unhinged. (There, I'm critiquing his behavior, not his person...for all you Friends of Rod out there. :D)

10:57 AM  
Blogger demoslider said...

Why did Dreher leave National Review? They weren't crunchy enough or did he get fired? I would say Dallas Morning News is a few rungs down the ladder from National Review.

12:04 PM  
Blogger demoslider said...

By the way, I notice in Rod's lastest post (The response to Mark Shea), that he mentions the filioque as one of the new reasons he converted. I laugh whenever I read an Orthodox convert hear an Orthodox convert mention that the Catholic doctrine of the filioque caused them to convert. I laugh because to me the filioque or lack thereof has no impact in my life as a Christian. To argue that the filioque is a reason to leave Catholicism is straining at gnats in my opinion. Of course I don't believe Dreher cares one way or the other about the filioque. He seems to be trying to justify his mainly emotional conversion by adding some token theological elements that weren't there in his earlier conversion story.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Art Deco said...

Why did Dreher leave National Review? They weren't crunchy enough or did he get fired? I would say Dallas Morning News is a few rungs down the ladder from National Review.

I believe Mr. Dreher was hired by National Review subsequent to his (forced? I cannot remember) departure from the New York Post. There was quite a controversy at the Post over a column he wrote criticizing what he thought was the excess in the funeral of the singer Aaliyah. I have had the impression that his one-year stint at National Review was a stopgap between newspaper jobs. Although a critic, columnist, and editorial writer rather than a reporter, he has worked for metropolitan newspapers throughout his career, not opinion magazine.

Newspapers remain commercial enterprises. With the exception of the New York Review of Books, opinion magazines generally have a patron or receive grants from foundations in order to remain solvent. It is likely that his salary at the Dallas Morning News well exceeds what National Review was willing and able to pay him. I am not sure that professional journalists would regard a transfer from National Review to a large metropolitan daily as step down, quite apart from considerations of salary.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Guys, if I may ask, why are y'all under the impression that Rod's left NR? He doesn't seem like an NR-type anymore, sure, but I couldn't find any sort of announcement on NRO or Rod's blog.

More importantly, the latest NRODT (on PDF, just released) shows that Rod's still in the masthead as a contributing editor.

I don't think he's been doing much for NR lately -- and, my Lord, it doesn't seem like he reads or at least trusts NR as much as either lefties like the NY Times and Woodward or near unknowns like Larison -- but I don't think their official ties have been severed.

All this reminds me what I believe what would do Rod a world of good as an op-ed writer: actual solely attributed op-ed's, ideally written and published regularly. (Not just one in who knows how long.)

It's not like I agree with everything Jonah Goldberg writes (such as his recent announcement that he believes Iraq was a mistake), and I miss the casual tone and deep thought that came with the G-files, but his syndicated column has probably helped him A) crystalize and broadcast his core political beliefs and B) hone his skills in writing essays that are clear, concise, and substantive.

I think Rod would benefit greatly from having to say precisely what he means in few words, and we would benefit to learn precisely what he believes.

Or, if his writing too closely resembled a Southern, socially conservative version of Maureen Dowd, well, that would tell us something about him, too.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi. y'all. I'll be away for a week without Internet access. I'll miss y'all--carry on! :)

God bless,


5:26 AM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

Kathleen & Diane

"isn't it incredibly harmful that beliefnet has someone like that blogging for them?"

"it's kind of necessary to have an outlet which takes the guy down. maybe i'm wrong."

Another question is how do you respond?

Offer criticism
Offer justificatory evidence
Suggest alternative solution

It's the alternative solution that I am interested in, past the first two.

If someone says X, you disagree, I want to know why and then your solution. Only if you agree that it is a problem. That is why you should consider promoting your ideas here.

8:22 AM  
Blogger pikkumatti said...

Cubeland, good post here and on Crunchy Con proper.

I for the life of me can't figure out why Rod/Benny keeps posting on his conversion. Did he not get enough validation on the first post? Will he keep posting on this topic until the comments are unanimous in his favor?

He should have learned from his Catholic days that if his conscience is bothering him, all he needs to do is ask forgiveness. We'll forgive him, and he (and we) can go on to other topics. Like a good ol' fashioned Bush-bash or finding evil in whatever Wal-Mart does.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Mystic, you ask for alternative solutions, and I've given the question some thought.

There are actually two different problems that keep me here:

1) Rod's often brazen lack of professionalism.

2) The likelihood that, even if crunchy conservatism is a response to genuine problems, it's a foolish response.

The solution to #1 is simple but obviously intractable: Rod needs to act like a professional, take responsibility for his words and respond with substance to substantive criticism.

To #2? I'm not sure I need to do more than criticize the weakness of the crunchy solution to cultural decay, but my belief is that nothing makes men virtuous short of a restored and maturing relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

That said, vice can be minimized through traditions that promote virtue and discourage vice, but technology has changed the landscape incredibly. While hoarding food may be necessary to survive in a desert, it might actually be harmful in a forest if it attracts grizzly bears; in other words, old traditions might not cut it anymore, not in the landscape of instant long-distance communication, of iPods and MySpace.

We should still give extant traditions the benefit of the doubt, but a return to extinct traditions may be impossible. What we might ought to do is simply promote the virtues that those traditions are supposed to encourage and hope that our culture organically creates traditions that foster those virtues and that are appropriate for the modern world.

It's hard to sell a polemical book on such an idea, so I can see why some would eschew it.

An important announcement coming up...

4:45 PM  
Blogger Adam Barnette said...

Wow. You people have got problems. Why did you create a blog dedicated to one man's choice to become Orthodox? That appears like stalking and betrays that you all have an unhealthy interest in this man. Shame on you.

Instead of condemning him(as if you knew his heart), pray for him.

God bless you . . .


9:14 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Adam, if our blog was about nothing more than Dreher's conversion, how can it be that its existence predates his announcement by a full seven months and that the vast majority of the blog entries have nothing to do with the Eastern Orthodox church?

10:10 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

"stalking...unhealthy interest."

Oh my gosh, Rod is giving his acolytes TALKING POINTS!

The mind boggles. ;)


12:22 PM  

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