Wednesday, October 04, 2006

That Much?

"Good grief, this is just a blog where I give my opinions. They're worth what you pay for them." -- Rod Dreher

Update, October 12th: It's worth noting that Rod's stated the obvious again, this time announcing that he's joined the Eastern Orthodox church, in a 5700-word essay that immediately attracted a lot of comments from all sides. I can understand counter-crunchies' wanting to comment in a less (hyper)active setting, so I think we should follow the lead of SiliconValleySteve and use this post's comment thread for commentary of our own...


Blogger Bubba said...

In case it's removed, here are the relevant posts in the complete exchange in the comments on this entry titled "Hubris", starting with Basil:


The $20 million thing is irresponsible, but it was put in there as some kind of a preliminary item. That is, we might have a celebration, so let's budget for it. The money wasn't spent in '06, and almost certainly won't be spent in '07.

The bigger issue with the article is the continued attack on the administration's conduct of the war. Rod has posted a couple of times recently about the problem with public schools is the public. Well, in many ways, the problem with our involvement in Iraq is the public. Military decisions are being co-opted by political considerations, which includes the daily carping against the administration by the press, this blog included. As a nation, we have no stomach for casualties, or to hear that this kind of effort might be sustained and expensive. It might involve personal sacrifice. Every misstep results in a public flogging in the press. Every decision has the worst possible motive attached to it.

I'm saddened that the Crunchy Con blog is taking Andrew Sullivan's cue in pillorying the Administration on a single point, over and over and over, to no good end. It's only going to get us more politicians and fewer leaders.

Basil | 10.04.06 - 12:10 pm | #

11:25 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...


Accusing others of being non-conservative?

You're vision as best I can tell includes income redistribution and high tariffs. You're favorite economist is the eccentric, incoherent E.F. Schumacher. These aren't usually the hallmarks of the conservative creed that I signed up for. But hey, if you want to call yourself a conservative, I'll debate you on the issues and leave the name calling to others.

Many of us have ideosyncratic takes on various issues and a little humility goes a long way when considering reading in or writing out people from any movement. As someone who has taken a whacking from many folks on the theocon right, you might show a little more discretion. Oh, and shock of shocks, Tom Friedman wants the republicans to lose. Just which election was it that he wanted republicans to win? Hmmm.

IOW. Who made you pope?

SiliconValleySteve | 10.04.06 - 12:56 pm | #

11:26 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

"Who made you pope?" Good one, Steve. Might I suggest, "Nanny-nanny boo-boo" as a slight improvement.

Good grief, this is just a blog where I give my opinions. They're worth what you pay for them. Quit taking all this so dang seriously.

Basil, if I bitch and moan about this administration's conduct of the war, it's because I find it to be irresponsible and indeed harmful to the national interest. Believe it or not, I'd actually like us to win this thing, or at least to lose with the least possible negative impact. I think Bush et al. are taking us off a cliff.

Rod Dreher | 10.04.06 - 1:42 pm | #

11:27 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

"Good grief, this is just a blog where I give my opinions. They're worth what you pay for them. Quit taking all this so dang seriously."

Yep, that's a keeper.

11:27 AM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

I mean, it's not like Rod takes himself too seriously.

12:04 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

when rod says "good grief" and "dang", that's when you know you got to him.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Scott Lahti said...

I'm hoping myself to prod him into the occasional "dadburn" and "tarnation", as they have the requisite retro tang denoting the authentic.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

I guess what he's admitting is that beliefnet is an advertiser-supported site. That's where his paycheck (probably just beer money?) comes from. Haven't seen the chakra beads in awhile though, just mega-corps like AOL, book clubs and "dating" sites.

6:02 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Just beer money? Doncha know just how expensive it is to buy beer that's good enough for a crunchy?

If Beliefnet is paying Rod, they might want to ask for a refund. Heck, I want to demand a refund and I read his crap for free.

It's telling that he's never told those who agree with him that he's just a writer and it's "just a blog." I think it's a way for him to duck out of the responsibility that comes with the credibility he so clearly desires.

Having seen that nothing's changed with him, and having grown tired of his counter-productive attacks on Bush's foreign policy and his "more conservative than thou" schtick, and even having become weary (very quickly) of Mark Shea's vapid emotionalism on the subject of torture, I think I'm going to find better things to do online, at least for a while.

As I head out, I'd like to recommend an artical from the 9/11/06 print edition of NR: "The Long Goodbye," by Jonah Goldberg and Ramesh Ponnuru, who ought to collaborate more often.

It's a great historical account of the repetition of what we're seeing Rod and Andrew Sullivan do: criticisms from the right and left that conservative leaders have strayed from their idealogical roots.

(Is Dreher criticizing from the right or from the left? I'll leave the work as an excercise, but the answer is, yes. Yes, he is.)

Before Bush was pilloried, Newt was criticized. As was Reagan, and Goldwater, and even Bill Buckley at the founding of NR.

Let me quote the concluding paragraph:

"None of this means that conservatism never changes in response to changing circumstances, or that those changes are always for the better. But the next time you read a magazine article about the corruption and degeneracy of conservatism, you can take comfort in knowing that our decline has been going on for a long time. We are, indeed, upholding a tradition."

6:49 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

And if anyone else wants some good crime fiction to read, I have a recommendation...

12:35 PM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

Gee Bubba,

I know you have a sympathy for brother Rod's latest revelation but I think this is one of my best lines ever

"...He built his career on his conservative and Catholic connections and now he spends most of his time ripping them apart. Given his appetite for this, I guess the hand that feeds him must have been organically grown..."

2:50 PM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

I hope I'm not right but I fear that this is a career move by Dreher. Disillusioned Catholic uncovers sex scandal in the church and is driven into the arms of orthodoxy. Beautiful marketing angle. He can sell to the prejudices of other Christians against Catholics. What Neuhaus put together, Dreher renders apart. Best seller material.

Crunchy cons didn't make the kind of waves he was hoping for but it did get him into the authors sphere. Do now he needs a bigger jolt to propel himself. The guy does just smell like a narcissistic, careerist to me but even I didn't think he was this slimy. Now, it just rings too true for me to disregard. I really hope I'm wrong.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Steve, that was a helluva line: I can't remember another line that was simultaneously so cutting in its meaning and so sharp in its wit.

For a few moments, I could only stare slack-jawed at it.

I was considering starting a new entry about Rod's announcement; unsure whether to be sarcastic or serious, and prompted by your comment, I've decided to encourage comments here.

As I wrote in my brief comment, I'm rather an outsider looking in. I do not believe that any human being or human institution on Earth today possesses the authority of the Apostles who were chosen by Christ and who personally bore witness to the resurrected Christ -- or authority equal to or greater than the books of Scripture that they and their immediate associates wrote.

We could discuss the reasons behind my position, but it suffices to say that, as a Protestant who upholds sola Scriptura, I do not have to face the possibility of a church whose leader and decrees commands my loyalty while the environment it creates is inimical to my spiritual growth.

Because I could not face the same situation, I feel that I am hardly in a position to judge Rod's decision harshly.

Truth is, I do think he ought to be applauded for his humilty: it's far more than I believe he's ever shown in public on an issue such as this.

Is it enough? I don't think it is. As I wrote in the comment, "I do wish he would apply that humility in taking another look at some of his earlier claims about mainstream conservatives."

I could go and perhaps should have gone further: beyond the fairly vicious attacks on mainstream conservatives in his book, there's the accusation in his blog that rank-and-file Republicans are homophobes for holding the same position he holds on redefining marriage, and then there's the way he's responded to criticism in general -- ignoring critics at best, insulting them at worst.

Even in the essay, there's this:

A short time back, an intellectual friend who is a Protestant told me that he almost became a Catholic, and would have except for the place where he was working at the time was filled with conservative intellectual Catholics who wouldn't shut up about the superiority of Catholicism. Their arrogance finally put him off the Church, and now he says he couldn't imagine converting. I swallowed hard when he told me that, because I can only imagine how I must have come off to people like him in my prideful heyday.

" my prideful heyday," as if those days are obviously in the past.

Continuing another line I wrote, there is a temptation, not only to be proud about how humble one's church is, but to be proud of how humble one has become. The truly humble are aware of how many weeds of pride remain in their hearts.

Am I any better off? Not really, between anger issues and the lack of anything resembling consistency in my relationship with God -- in my prayer life, in my reading His word, and in quickly translating prudent doctrine to actions.

No one's paid me to write about my faith, either, but that's beside the point: I've got a long way to go before I even begin to approach true maturity as God's adopted son.

So does Rod, but the imperfect humility in that essay today demonstrated a sizable step in the right direction.

Will Rod keep going? I don't know. I hope so, but I doubt it because doing so may require him to reevaluate his book and conclude that -- insofar as it moved from being descriptive and became prescriptive, polemical, and I would argue contemptuous of others while being rooted in very little substance -- it was a huge mistake.

Such an admission would, at least in certain circles, set him back professionally, not quite to the level of Stephen Glass or Jayson Blair, but possibly to where he has to start all over in convincing people his writing's worth being paid to produce.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Regarding your second comment, Steve, I think you're right: one alternative to honestly facing the validity of the first book would be the cynical career move you suggest.

Following the template of Crunchy Cons, I see that the talking points for such a book already exist -- talking points that could be arranged simply as "External Stimulus," "Act by Dreher," and "Confirmation".

Crunchy Cons: Kathryn Lopez goes "ew" about organic foods, Dreher writes an NR cover story, and the subsequent emails tell Rod that he's not alone as a crunchy.

The "Scandal" book: corruption touches even the Dallas parish he thought was "home", Dreher visits an Orthodox parish, and a meal at Archbishop Dmitri's shows him "the fellowship, the prayerfulness, the feeling of family."

Unlike his first book, this one would probably avoid the deep issues of ideaology: surely even Rod knows that the theological battles between Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are too deep for him. But like the first book it would probably appeal to urbane cosmopolitans, in subject matter if not in actual sales.

Would Rod be in the unique position he found himself in with the first book? Possibly, depending on the extensiveness of his prior research, the quality of the notes he kept, and how much he's willing to spill.

I can imagine it's a heck of a temptation. It's a temptation I hope Dreher avoids.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

As I was writing that last comment, I had an epiphany: perhaps an extraordinarily mean-spirited epiphany, but one that is at least plausibly true.

I'm surprised it hasn't come up yet in the comments.

Well, it has now.

In case they are deleted, here they are in full:


God forgive me if I'm wrong about this. I might even need His forgiveness if this thought arose from a mind that is plagued with malice, even if the hunch was right.

Rod wrote this early in his essay:

I did not intend to make this public until the end of this month, to honor a personal and professional obligation that, the violation of which stood to hurt some innocent people. This is why I've taken care since the day I entered Orthodoxy not to claim I am Catholic in writings here, and not to rise to the bait of certain people in the comboxes who have demanded that I declare myself. Though I've wanted to get this out there, and not to deceive readers, I had an obligation to keep this to myself until month's end, for an important reason I can't really discuss.

A few hours ago, CMA wrote, "I'm still curious as to why Rod thought it was necessary to keep the appearance of still being RC until November."

Rod wrote that it was a "personal and professional obligation" to keep this private until "the end of this month" of October -- "an important reason" he'd rather not discuss.

God help me, but one reason has occurred to me:

According to, and consistent with the publishers at Crown Forum, the paperback edition of Crunchy Cons: The New Conservative Counterculture and Its Return to Roots is scheduled to be released on October 24, 2006.


I hope and pray that I'm wrong that that's the reason for the delay, and I will sincerely ask both Rod's forgiveness and God's forgiveness if any controversy this causes proves to be the result of a bad hunch on my part.

Nevertheless, the date fits.

Rod has already humbly and admirably bared his soul. Thus, it might be too much to ask for the "important reason [he] can't really discuss," but the coincidence raises some obvious questions.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

You know, I kinda like you guys. And I just hope you never decide to _dis_like me :-)

Seriously, yours is the most thoughtful combox I've encountered in a long time.

In my extremely limited acquaintance(ship?) with Rod (he commissioned a DMN op-ed from me a few years back) we got along well. We're both Gen-Xers with the same cultural references and snark; for me, that covers a multitude of sins.

But the cruncy thing is definitely NOT for me and was a turn off. Oh well. Just wanted to say I appreciate your posts.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Thanks, Kathy. And lemme say right now that -- as much as I disagree with Rod, as much as our personalities clash, and as much I as do think he's betrayed moments of unprofessionalism -- I do sincerely hope that the above theory is wrong.

6:06 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Bubba, the paperback release date is obviously it. he yammers on and on about his catholicism and NFP in that book. a host of crunchy apostles in there are catholic. and if this book is seen to be coherently catholic, it sets him up for the next take-down book handily.

As for me, I am left wondering how Rod's description of his conversion to the Hare Krishnas or scientology could be substantially different than the explanation he offers today. and I am utterly charmed by the 2 cents, i mean 2 drachmas, offered by various orthodox commenters.

6:21 PM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

Me too.

The hero's journey beginning with a young, naive idealistic but too proud Rod Dreher venturing into the corrupt swamps of a heterodox Catholic church and emerging to right the wrongs from the redemptive shores of orthodoxy is just too much to bare. He would do untold harm to many people. I hope he's better than that but it just makes too much sense.

By the way, I really do think he's a big enough egomaniac to believe his own BS.

6:26 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

maybe i meant 2 rubles, not 2 drachmas. i'm unclear on that. speaking of which -- sorry this just makes me laugh: "Vladika Dmitri's" bio:

"Robert Royster was born in a small Texas town to Protestant parents. In 1941, at the age of 18, after intense study culminated by an interview with Patriarch Athenagoras, he was converted to the Orthodox faith at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Dallas."

i'm just wondering what's so "catholic (small c)" and "universal" about having to translate everything, including one's name and title, into Greek or russian. but clearly Brother Royster of Rural Texas just wasn't what he (or rod, for that matter) was after.

6:27 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"He would do untold harm to many people."

Steve, do you think? I think he has become a laughingstock. but then again, i've been observing him for a few months now, and i know what a dolt he is. his arguments are utterly unsupported.

but i have my issues with catholic hierarchy. if it makes them uncomfortable, maybe it will be for the best. God works in mysterious ways.

6:32 PM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

Great find Kathleen,

I was buying the exotic name thing and thought that Rod was following some expatriate Russian. This is too rich. It stinks of the sixties phony Indian guru scene which I am old enough to have witnessed. There were lots of white guys who put on turbans and took Indian names.

I've always thought there was an "I want to play cowboys and indians" quality to Rod's search. Now we have evidence.

6:35 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

For those interested, I believe this is the site with the biography of "Dmitri".

I may not be in much of a position to laugh at others' pseudonyms and neo-nyms(?), but I've been called "Bubba" since birth.

Literally. My mom's OB/GYN said I was going to be a "big Bubba," and I have grown to just over six feet tall.

I do think that any book removed from context this contentious runs the risk of being taken too seriously by its readers.

And Steve's comment reminds me of something Jonah Goldberg recently said about his older G-Files: "Taking ideas seriously, but not taking myself too seriously was a good mix."

One could argue that Rod took the exact opposite approach, and that that's been one of the biggest problems I've had with his writing.

6:46 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"I've always thought there was an "I want to play cowboys and indians" quality to Rod's search."

unfortunately i think there is that quality not only to rod's "search", but to rod's "life". he's playacting, even if he doesnt' know it. the inconsistencies, the hypocrisy, the utter lack of self-awareness while he simultaneously natters on about how self-aware he is .... it's actually fascinating to watch.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Rod has commented on the thread long enough to reject the idea that his planned timing for acknowledging his conversion had anything at all to do with his book.

I for one believe him, and I apologized there (and reiterate my apology here) for offering that idea as a theory.

I still think he probably takes himself too seriously, he'll need to be careful to avoid certain temptations that come with his conversion, and that he may have a long way to go in terms of humility.

But so do I.

8:02 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

bubba, all i can say is it is amazingly coincidental that the release date of the paperback coincides precisely with this all-important-mystery-obligation that required Rod to keep under wraps the earth-shattering news of his conversion. is there anyone in the world who really has something important riding on the fact that Rod should "officially be catholic" 3 mos. longer than he actually was? seems to me the fact we are expected to buy this hook line and sinker is equally absurd.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

" my prideful heyday," as if those days are obviously in the past.

LOL. I picked up on that one, too, and nearly swallowed my back teeth.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

is there anyone in the world who really has something important riding on the fact that Rod should "officially be catholic" 3 mos. longer than he actually was?

Is that really so hard to believe?

I can think of a couple of possibilities. Perhaps they'll be seeing some friends or relatives following the birth of their baby whom they feel they need to tell face-to-face. Perhaps he wanted to time it somehow relative to his daughter's initiation. Perhaps their Orthodox pastor asked them to wait, lest they get a case of buyer's remorse and bring scandal to his church.

It's probably none of these things, but they and similar ideas strike me as far more likely than an underhanded scheme to fool the thousands of people planning to buy the paperback edition in the first week who would change their minds if they found out he had broken communion with the Catholic Church.

Speaking of underhandedness, I don't see his act of schism as needing a financial motive. What he did several months ago is perfectly in keeping with what he was writing in Catholic blog comment boxes several years ago.

6:37 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Tom, for months Dreher was already blogging that he was going to services at the orthodox cathedral. he yammered on about how great the place was for weeks on end, that he socialized there, etc. he was all but converted then he shut up about it for a short time. (silly me, i thought it was because those telling him it was immature and self-serving to broadcast his conversion dance were getting through to him.) the official announcement was just a matter of time, *by his own design*. if he wanted his conversion to be a secret, he did an exceptionally sorry job of keeping it so.

I don't care what Rod's stated motives are. I don't even care what he believes his motives are. Rod's motives are a mystery even to himself. He is filled with so much hostility and bitterness and grandiosity that of course he will arrange things like a paperback release to facilitate more attention to himself. and if it's one more twist of the knife in the back of catholics, so much the better. it's called being passive aggressive, and those who enjoy doing this sort of thing aren't always aware of their own propensity for it.

7:04 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Tom, the thing that makes those other possibilities less plausible -- and what first got my gears turning -- is that Rod mentioned a "a personal and professional obligation" (emphasis mine).

But he denied the idea. I for one believe him, not because I think Rod's character is beyond reproach (I don't), but because he genuinely seems to believe what he writes. His beliefs sometimes conflict -- for a man who is so acutely aware of the threat of jihad, he seems remarkably quick to accept defeatist positions and defeatist spin -- but those beliefs seem sincere. Inconsistent and sometimes ludicrous, but sincere nevertheless.

On this subject of Rod's secrecy, I can understand the desire for privacy when one is wrestling with his demons: I believe Christ Himself took only three disciples with him to Gethsemane.

But that desire for privacy might not be justified once the decision is made. We should let our light shine, n'est pas? And it's not as if, up to this point, Rod's been private about his problems with Catholicism and his attraction to the Eastern Orthodox church.

I was pointed to Mark Shea's post about all this, where Mark wrote the following:

I don't know who the hell Carpenter thinks he is, but now that I know the means by which this info was published, I can only say that I'm disgusted by this kind of grand inquisitor tactic. A religious conversion is between a man and his God and it is not Carpenter's business to run around outing people. He should have left well enough alone and let Dreher speak of it in his time.

Since we don't live in a time and place of religious persecution, the "grand inquisitor" remark seems out of place and it just seems weird to say that Carpenter "outed" Dreher.

Was it wrong for Carpenter to reveal something Dreher wanted to keep a secret? I honestly don't know, but I'm hesitant to say with certainty that Rod was within the bounds of morality in wanting to keep secret his conversion for at least a few more weeks. And it seems that Carpenter did something that qualifies as the sort of investigative journalism on which Rod and other newspaper editors rely: research and asking questions to verify the public statements of a public figure.

7:29 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Mark Shea and dreher should be complaining about the orthodox priest who spilled the beans, not Carpenter. and if it was so very important to Rod to keep things a secret then he shoulda made that known to the "gandalfian" orthodox clerics.

8:33 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

FYI, Rod's posted an entry clarifying his essay.

It's not going to make everyone happy, as he claims that he's not an embittered ex-Catholic, despite some evidence to the contrary and all while he attempts to have his cake and eat it, too, writing less than wholly persuasively, "I will continue to be critical where warranted, in my role as an opinion journalist; it's just not personal anymore."

And he admitted that doctrine did not have a significant role in his conversion but writes of an Evangelical convert from the Eastern Orthodox church, "I still couldn't take the path he chose."

Why the hell not? If doctrine's not a big thing, why would he never consider, for instance, returning to his original roots in the Methodist church?

8:57 AM  
Blogger Julio said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:02 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Dreher may as well write, "I am a person who never writes about myself. i never use the pronoun "i". I'm just not interested in writing about myself and that's why I don't write about myself." it's kind of like the opposite of res ipsa loquitur: the thing contradicts itself.

9:03 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

oh brother, get a life stefan. i don't give a hoot.

9:03 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

btw, since when is it uncharitable to point out that someone if from texas and is named robert royster? sounds like your prejudices speaking, not mine.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Julio said...

I'm shocked at Kathleen Reilly's uncharitable comments about His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas.

His Eminence received his Christian name upon his entrance in the Orthodox Church 65 years ago. He was received along with his sister, and they were given the names "Dmitri" and "Demetra," following a custom often attested in the lives of the Saints (for instance, we have recently celebrated the feast of the martyred siblings Eulampius and Eulampia). These are names common among the Orthodox, as is the norm: that is to say, names of saints with whom a Christian may form a real spiritual relationship through the normal channels of piety (attendance at the Divine Services on the feast, the possession of an icon of the saint, etc.). None of this particularly remarkable, and much less risible.

Also, His Eminence is a bishop of a Local Church of the Russian tradition, and as is customary, he is addressed as all bishops are in Slavic ecclesiastical traditions: "Vladika." If one sees problems with this, the next logical step is to question why Roman Catholic prelates insist on taking their title from French/Italian ("monsignor").

God grant us to measure our words, because we will give an account even for the least of them (cfr. St Matthew 12:36-37).

9:06 AM  
Blogger Julio said...

It is not uncharitable, of course, to point out that His Eminences's given name is Robert; this is done in many places. What is uncharitable is to gratuitously charge that his (or anybody's) taking a Christian name is a kind of psychological subterfuge attendant to delusions of grandeur.

And it is evident that you don't care, but this still doesn't make such disrespect (of His Eminence or of this Christian tradition) acceptable.

9:21 AM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

When I brought up the idea that Boris Dreher was writing a new book, I didn't tie it to any specific release. While Boris has made a definitive statement regarding the upcoming paperback release of Crunchies, he has not addressed the idea that a new book is or isn't in the offing. So, I withhold any apology until that is clear.

To answer Kathleen; Boris could get lots of attention if he plays his cards right. Remember "sex sells." If you look at his conversion essay, there is lots of sex. Couple that with a portrait of the little Dreher family trying to stay faithful while Boris frets over the fate of his children in this barren world of child molesters and you have an appearance on Oprah and maybe even 60 minutes. John Cornwall did it with less.

Like you Kathleen, I have no trouble with the hierarchy getting a kick in the behind. I just think that Boris in his self-serving way will both hurt the church and crap on many of the decent Catholic who have helped promote his career. (I'm thinking of Amy Welborn here.

One thing about his conversion and unhappiness with the Catholic church that stands out as particularly phony is that he couldn't find a church that was anything but heretical.

I live in a more liberal diocese than Boris and while we have a few nut-case churches, most are at least OK. I attend regularly at two and the priests are all good orthodox men. The quality of preaching varies but I have no doubt of the faithfulness of these men. In one case, the man approaches saintliness in his personal devotion to those who come to him.

There are two other parishes where I have an affiliation because of different activities an in both of these, the priests are good orthodox men. In only one does the music not suck but while that is important to me in some ways, I would not condemn the faith of those who worship there.

In Boris's usual self-glorifying way, he slimes all (or almost all) Catholics as less faithful and interested in faith than he. I don't see any of the humility that Bubba sees, just more arrogance.

9:25 AM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

Hey Stefan,

Archbishop Bob can call himself anything he wants. It still smells like a medicine show to me.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Steve, while I think "Boris Dreher" has a ring to it, in the comments one Stefan Vasquez referred addressed Rod with "Dear in Christ Benedict."

An homage to the current pope it may be, but taking on the name "Benedict" would probably only serve to remind people of Rod's old(er) faith, and it leaves Dreher open to a rather obvious line of attack.

And let me be clear, I believe Rod showed a good deal of humility for him. The reason I urged further growth is that the need for it is still apparent.

9:44 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

I don't see a lot of respect for Roman catholicism coming from your "tradition", Stefan. Until I see more of that, I'm less inclined to stifle my reflexive laughter at gandalfian types with exotic names.

9:47 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

after converting, Rod named himself after the pope. that's ... rich.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

By the way, Mark Steyn has a darn good article on the Foley brouhaha, in which he writes something germane to our discussion here:

"It is a remarkable achievement [for the Democratic Party] to have transformed, in little more than a week, the GOP into the Catholic Diocese of Boston with Speaker Hastert as Cardinal Law and the page program as the massed ranks of 7-year-old altar boys. What an awesome force the Dems would be if only the ruthless skill and cunning that went into this operation could be applied to, say, national security."

It's rather obvious that Dreher's been making the same analogy between the page scandal and the "Scandal." I would have thought that this was just his buying the left's line on this attack on the GOP -- again -- but it might be that he just usually has the topic on his mind, or it would lend more creedence to the idea that a book about the "Scandal" is at least not completely outside the realm of possibility.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Julio said...

Dear Bubba, my last name is "Vazquez;" not "Vasquez." The former is a patronymic of the ancient Castillian name "Bela," while the latter is the patronymic of "Vasco." :-)

I referred to him as Benedict because this is who he said his patron saint was, after St Benedict of Nursia. I like to use, inasmuch as possible, a person's Christian name.

It was nice visiting with you people!

10:01 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

I apologize for misspelling your last name, and I do hope that all of us can remain amicable in our disagreements.

I believe that, technically, Dreher's "Christian name" is Ray, not Rod or Benedict.

(Heck, Bubba's my middle name: a nickname since birth but my legal middle name for about six years now.)

I'm ambivalent about renaming's. On the one hand, we have Christ's example in renaming both Simon and Saul, and in some ways U2's guitarist is not Dave Evans. On the other hand, it often comes off as a bit of an affectation.

It's definitely fine if you're an Apostle, a pope, a spectacular defensive lineman, or the guitarist for the world's greatest rock band.

But a newspaper editor? An author who didn't write Tom Sawyer?


10:11 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Ladies and gentlemen, a manifesto applied.

From A Crunchy Con Manifesto:

"1. We are conservatives who stand outside the conservative mainstream; therefore, we can see things that matter more clearly." --

From Rod Dreher, in clarifying his essay explaining his departure from the Catholic church:

I am not now nor do I have any intention of being an embittered ex-Catholic. Quite to the contrary, after I got out from under the burden of feeling responsible in some way for the Scandal -- that is, for fighting it -- I was able to reacquaint myself with the great things about Catholicism. I literally pray for the Pope daily, and for the Church, and can now better see the Catholic Church in her totality. [emphasis mine]


10:17 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Bubba, I immediately thought of manifesto item 1 upon reading that. I guess he doesn't mind if we provide critiques of the Greeks? Or do you have to have been something once upon a time to properly ridicule it?

10:35 AM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

You know, after tossing this around in my mind, I think I know why Benedict Arnold Dreher converted.

It was the hats.

Cause I really doubt he needed to be cured of the kavorka.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

"In our 'Focus on Faith' feature this week, an interview with Benedict Dreher, author of Scandalous: A Loving Reproach of the Roman Catholic Church From an Orthodox Brother Who Loves the Holy Father, Who Considers John Paul II a Personal Hero..."


"...and Would Never, Ever Do Anything to Harm the Church or Come Off as an Embittered Ex-Catholic. Mr. Dreher, thanks for being here."

"You're welcome."

[laughter] "That's a long book title."

"It's a thing I do: the paperback version will have a shorter title, unless the good people at HP make greater advances in applying nanotechnology to printing -- a practice I oppose as being inimical to all things crunchy, an idea I explored in my first book, Crunchy Cons, now reduced at, available for the low, low price of $1.49."

"We'll have our interns look that book up, but let's get to your new book. You left the Catholic church because it's overrun by scheming, corrupt pedophiles, right?"

"Well, yes, but it's a bit more compli--"

"And your book has all the salacious details? Names, positions, and, um, positions?"

"Yes, but I did so to help heal the Catholic church which I dearly lov--"

"So, in a nutshell: Catholic church, evil. Benedict Dreher, scandalized. That's all the time we have for today. Thank you, Benedict, and next time make sure the title's shorter than the book itself. Next up, the courage of the Ivy League professor who dared to compare Republicans to Nazis."

10:38 AM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...


you got me laughing out loud.

10:57 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

bubba! i only write lol when i'm actually lol-ing..


11:02 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Bubba--that was delicious!

11:05 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

POSITIVELY 4TH STREET just came on in the coffeehouse i'm at. bob dylan strikes again -- his words speak for catholics to rod dreher:

"You've got alot of nerve to say you are my friend
When I was down you just stood there grinning
You've got alot of nerve to say you got a helping hand to lend
You just want to be on the side that's winning

You see me on the street, you always act surprised
You say 'how are you, good luck' but you don't mean it
When you know as well as me you'd rather see me paralysed
Why don't you just come out once and scream it.

I know the reason why you talk behind my back
I used to be among the crowd you're in with
Do you take me for such a fool to think I'd make contact
With the one who tries to hide what he don't know to begin with?

No I do not feel that good when I see the heartbreaks you embrace
If I was a master thief, perhaps I'd rob them
You say you're not impressed with your position and your place
Don't you understand, that's not my problem

I wish that for just one time, you could walk inside my shoes
And just for that one moment, I could be you
Yeah, I wish that for just one time, you could walk inside my shoes
You'd know what a drag it is to see you...."

11:46 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

What a haven this place is. Thank you, fellow Contras! :)

11:57 AM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

If anyone is interested, I posted a comment on my site. It is on a little different topic.

12:38 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

holy cow, I seriously forgot this stanza to positively fourth street:

"You say I let you down
You know it's not like that
If you're so hurt
Why then don't you show it

You say you lost your faith
But that's not where it's at
You had no faith to lose
And you know it"

12:39 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

It might be a temporary thing -- a purely technical glitch -- but the last few posts are missing from Rod's blog: all the posts dated after 2:11 pm this past Tuesday, including (obviously) the two posts announcing his conversion.

Links from this comment thread to the post-announcement "comboxes" still work, but the link to the essay itself produces a "page not found" error.

2:05 PM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

It probably is just a glitch but I'd like to think we had something to do with it.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Y'know, I can make traffic lights change from red to green with my mind.

Sometimes it takes longer than others...

2:32 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

bubba, kinda like Gandalf? are you, like Vladika Dmitri, "gandalfian"?

2:45 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

How does he know it isn't actually Saruman? Remember how much they resembled each other, even Gandalf's close friends were confused.

Well, I'd rather be Gandalized than scandalized, I guess. And I'd rather have a bottle in front o' me than a frontal lobotomy....

Oooooooo-K, Archibald, time for beddy-bye.

6:39 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

FYI, I have been having trouble with B-net all day. Kind of strange.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi, y'all. How are things?

I'm being cyber-stalked by Jennifer the Obsessed. Other than that, everything's hunky-dory. Glorious weather here in the NC woods.

Cubeland, if anyone could convert me to crunchyism, you could. You have charity and humility. That makes a heap of difference. (I still can't do organic veggies, though; sorry. :))

My biggest beef with Crunchyism--and man, is it ever illustrated by Rod's crap about how he now sees the RCC more clearly (!!!) and his slimy slander about Catholics holding on with white knuckles (yep, 200,000 people join the RCC in the U.S. every year, many times the number that join the scrawny little OCA---they must all be white-knuckling it, eh?)--anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. My biggest beef boils down to just this: ROD IS A SNOT. A class-A, arrogant, pompous-assy, self-important snot. And nobody likes a snot. Except maybe his fellow snots. That's about it in a nutshell.

Thanks for letting me vent. See y'all in e-mail-dom. :)

9:49 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

Diane and everyone,

Thanks again for the kind words.

“I still can't do organic veggies, though; sorry.”

I never saw Rod’s work as pretentious, because I am very familiar with all the arguments. Plus I have done this stuff for a long time.

Here is what I think is wrong with the organic movement. Like good business people they leveraged the sexy aspects of it. For example, food quality is supposed to be better. In the case of the tomato O-farmers grow the flavorful kinds which do not ride well to market. So they coddle them hence the expense. The other is no chemical pesticides which is a good thing. But there are organic pesticides, so I am not sure what all this means in the context of the organic branding, but I can’t say that they don’t use certain chemicals. But they might be orthodox chemicals. To me a conventional tomato grown in non-organic soil tastes and looks pretty much the same. A matter of fact I see really no difference other than the means of production. Flavor comes from variety. For shipping purposes the Organic fruits and veggies are picked before maximum ripeness to get to market. The vegetables sit for long periods of time too. That’s why Hole Foods is kind of a rip off.

What I like about organics is the process. Organic farmers treat the soil and environment well. An organic soil is full of life. It’s a self sustaining system, but I doubt it maximizes production yield.

Long story short, my point is there are ups and downs for both, and I believe that organic methods are more efficient and sustainable for the environment over time, while commercial means are more efficient and sustainable for the short term life of the business. (I put my conservative hat on at this point an make no further requirements of industry or society.)

So knowing my position, help me to understand what is wrong with organics in your view?

11:59 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

LOL, Cubeland, will hafta defer answering your question to another time, as I now must write about 50 copy blocs for various permutations of the Hanes Comfortblend Sweatshirt for youth sizes. :p

I apologize for my ad hominem, snarky venting about Rod's snottiness. Not that I don't think snottiness is the root of the problem...but, well, I shouldn't have said so. Leastwise not quite so forcefully. ;)


5:04 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

Hey D.don't worry about. I'm just trying to understand. I have a snobbiness post on my site. You can jump in there if you like.

6:24 PM  
Blogger pikkumatti said...

Awesome. So this is where ya'll hang out. Glad I found it, and I hope you can tolerate another meanie commenter on Rod's conversion essay.

1:43 PM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...


As someone who is not white knuckling it in my parish, I am happy to read your comments both here and elsewhere.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

pikkumattti, this is not my blog, but I for one welcome you with a hearty hail-fellow-well-met.

BTW--I hope you don't mind if I mention that your pic really seems to go with your "handle." You look as if you could have been one of those empire-building Brits serving Her Majesty in India's sunny clime. LOL!

3:22 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

diane, that's the USA's UN rep John Bolton. great that you compare him to a rank colonialist! lol!

4:34 PM  
Blogger pikkumatti said...

Thanks for the nice welcome. I think I hit the Crunchy-Fatigue wall over at that other blog. This one is nicer.

I'm afraid Franklin tipped me over for good at about comment #317 on the conversion post.

5:23 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home