Thursday, October 12, 2006

Also, on name-calling and the like ...

Dave Armstrong, who I respect immensely, noted that this often tends to detract from the otherwise civil tone of discussion on issues such as torture. I agree with this wholeheartedly and I've tried to make clear from the beginning that this is how these kinds of issues should be discussed.

Unfortunately, the type of hyperbole and invective that Mark is wont to hurl when discussing these types of issues combined with his love of triangulation often makes it extremely difficult to conduct them. I particularly refer to the accusations that we are on par with those who advocate abortion, euthanasia, etc.

Still, two wrongs do not make a right and I will try to do better in the future.


Jeff said...

Good grief! Dave Armstrong calls names and pokes fun and obsesses endlessly about the folks who criticize him, writing long, long posts "refuting" some half-baked sounder-off in the best point-by-point style, with historical references (to the history and pre-history of the discussion) and detailed notes.

Frequently, when he thinks their criticisms are unfair, he calls them "liars" or says they are "lying" about him.

Sheesh. A good guy and brilliant and I love him to death. But no paragon of blog behavior.

Now, so far as I can tell, Christopher Blosser never acts like this, but he's one of the few. Catholic bloggers, to their shame, tend to be either invective-slingers or hyper-sensitive, thin-skinned crybabies or both.

Here's my idea. Don't use a lot of invective against people. But if you do for some reason, try rational discussion with them if they present themselves with rational discussion. Try repeatedly to forgive and start over afresh without bearing grudges.

Overlook insults and pettinesses. When you don't manage to do this, pick yourself up and try again. If someone calls you something ridiculous like "gay" or "statue worshipping anti-Christ", don't, like Armstrong, blow your top and then explain why it's fine to engage in constant slanging with the insulter. Just smile and take it like a big boy. Change the conversation, ask them what they had for dinner, or ask after their ideas instead of yours.

Remember that many people (not all) who hang around cyberspace have loneliness or other problems. Be a friend, be kind, show them Christ. Okay, no one's perfect, but when you slip up, don't justify it. Look for failures in yourself, rather than in others. No, ignore and explain away what seem like MANIFEST failures in others. When someone slangs you, make a friend of them if you can.

Why this should be controversial--at least as something we should be trying damned hard to do--I don't know. It seems like Christian Spirituality 101 to me.

But let me tell you, this is controversial in a lot of places. Here too? Or not?

Dave Armstrong said...

LOL. I'll take Jeff's advice: "Overlook insults and pettinesses."


Dave Armstrong