Friday, November 10, 2006

Irony is dead

Papa Mark writes:
I mentioned *my* views, which were grossly falsified by McKenna.
In a combox off this post, which includes the following choice tidbits:
[McKenna says] I demonstrate an insufficiently insatiable hunger and thirst for death, death, death, and more death
[McKenna's] blog is more or less devoted to obsessing over how to execute as many people as humanly possible
[McKenna] is naturally orgasmic [where ARE the semen stains? VJM] at the idea of hanging Saddam. Failure to be thrilled at the death of a human being and a general agreement with Pope John Paul that it's better to forego executing people unless you really need to is, for McKenna the ultimate crime and the source of numberless [can't count that high? VJM] entries on his vengeful blog.
Comment superfluous.

ANOTHER THOUGHT: Later in the same Combox note, we get yet another classic moment of Shea's "intellectual" style. To that well-known John-Paul-hater Christopher Blosser:
What puzzles me even more is why you think it's no big deal to heap contempt on Evangelium Vitae.
This is so precisely in the form of a "have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife-yet" question that it's beyond parody. It's a pitch-perfect example of it. In fact, I will now recategorize that "assuming your own conclusion"-style of self-righteous posturing. It's now a "why do you think it's no big deal to heap contempt on Evangelium Vitae"-type question.


THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING: Noting Shea's intellectual crimes is like playing whack-a-mole. There's just too many to keep up. I mean -- does one laugh or cry at this note with that classically Shavian cocktail of clueless self-righteousness. Is he even capable any more of framing a disagreement in terms that don't always already presuppose that he is in the right (which is a very different thing from thinking one is in the right, which everybody does of course) or that don't do the intellectual equivalent of steal all four bases? Here is a Shavian Combox in 10-second form:
Shea: McKenna is spitting on the Church, and I am upholding Church teaching
Others: Don't be a jerk; McKenna is not spitting on the Church, and the teaching is more open than you say it is
Shea: Why is everyone concerned more about me being a jerk for upholding church teaching than about McKenna spitting on the Church
You can play this game for hours (or years) on end. I'm hereby trade-marking it as Shavian Combox™ -- Fun for the whole family. Recommended for those 12 or under (mentally).

As for the other point -- Shea not appreciating Jimmy Akin being cited at him. I'll say the rationale bluntly because, well ... I'm not that much of a diplomat. The reason others are citing Mr. Akin is not because he's some blogospheric magisterium. Nor is it to goad a war or pit the two -- "let's you and him fight" and all that. And it doesn't speak to the rights and wrongs of the issue at all.

No, Mr. Akin is being cited to demonstrate a very particular hypothesis, one that Torquemada and I developed months ago -- that Shea's behaves very differently toward different people, proving that he is a posturing bully without a shred of intellectual integrity. He will hurl every manner of rhetorical ugliness and personal nastiness against people who disagree with him vigorously but *who hold no power over him.* (No citations necessary on this point, I assume.) But when someone who does hold power over him, or at the very least has influence where it matters to Shea (like Mr. Akin does, citations adequately provided by Mr. Blosser -- and I have saved the Combox to guard against The Osheania Ministry of Truth's Delete-O-Meter™) -- well ... now ... that's a completely different matter. He can hold ideas. To be fair, the post by Mr. Akin that Mr. Blosser cites is more measured and less rhetorical than that of Mr. McKenna. But that slight gap in style in expressing essentially the same ideas does not spell the difference between a "good guy" and someone "orgasmic at the thought of death, death, death and more death."

Or as someone wrote to me earlier this evening:
At this point I'm going to dispense with charity and say that Mark is only willing to target people with opinions he doesn't like ... so long as they don't have clout within his little social circle. That isn't non-contradiction, it's both tribalism and hypocrisy, neither of which are particularly admiring traits for someone who is supposed to help evangelize and defend the Church to the general population. The fact that he demonizes McKenna while ignoring Akin despite the identical nature of their actual positions is nothing short of contemptible and further highlights Mark's sad decline.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

JOSEPH D'HIPPOLITO SAYS...

Gentlemen, Rod Dreher excerpted sections of a column written by a fellow named Bramwell who equated the GOP to the ruling party of Oceania in Orwell's 1984. The excerpts that Dreher quoted (in italics in this post) could also fit Mark Shea:

First, like Ingsoc, conservatism has a hierarchical structure. Like Orwell's "Inner Party," those at the top of the movement have almost perfect freedom to decide what opinions count as official conservatism.

So has Shea appropriated to himself the sole ability to discern the right and proper Catholic opinion, regardless of whether substantial evidence supports that opinion

Dissent, even from conservative principles, and you face "ostracism and harsh rebuke," writes Bramwell.

Anybody who had dared to disagree passionately with Shea about anything risked not only vituperative abuse but also banning.

Second, conservatism is concerned less with truth than with distinguishing insiders from outsiders.

You notice that Shea never criticizes people like Avery Dulles or Richard Neuhaus, who have registered doubts about his interpretation of Veritas splendor as it concerns torture. Yet when less venerable people such as Victor Morton, Christopher Fotos register such doubts, the junkyard bulldog in Shea manifests itself.

Conservatives identify themselves iin part by repeating slogans ("we are at war!") that, like "ignorance is strength," are less important for what (if anything) thtey say than for what saying them says about the speaker," Bramwell writes.

Such as "alleged Catholic" and "apologist for Satan," which reinforce Shea's self-assumed role as Ultimate Arbiter of All Things Catholic.

Third, and closely related to doublethinking, the conservative movement engages in selective editing of history. When events have a tendency to disconfirm ideology, down the memory hole they go.

Shea (and his pseudo-intellectual alter ego, Kevin Miller) practice this in discussing capital punishment without any reference to Scripture, Tradition or previous papal statments. Shea discusses torture in the same way. Shea even deletes incriminating posts from his own blog!

Fourth, conservatism is entertaining. Understanding the world, though rewarding, provides nothing like the pleasures of a 'Two Minute Hate,' a focused, ritualized denunciation of enemies.

You've got to admit that when Shea rakes somebody over the coals, it *is* entertaining in a sadistic sort of way. He just has that way with words, as such expressions as "gay brownshirts on the march" demonstrate.

Victor said...

I agree with everything else you say, Joe (and thanks for sticking 1984 in my head ... you'll see the joke in my latest addendum).

But to give one devil his due on a related topic, I don't think Kevin Miller can be reduced to Shea's "alter ego." Goodness knows, he and I don't see eye-to-eye on much, but he's basically been pointing out the flaws in Shea's political "analysis" regarding the effect the Democrat victory will have on the pro-life cause. The posts are here and here and here and here and here.

Victor said...

And I forgot Mr. Miller's initial post at HMS Blog.

Anonymous said...

JOSEPH D'HIPPOLITO SAYS...

Victor, my reference to Kevin Miller as Shea's "alter ego" has far more to do with theological opinions (charter member of the Wojtyla Personality Cult) and behavior (charter member of the Anyone-Who-Disagrees-With-Us-Is-Emmanuel-Goldstein Marching And Chowder Society) than his political opinions.

Besides, I have problems giving credibility to anybody who calls Mark Shea a "good person."

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