Monday, January 08, 2007

Fake baptism

Shea has a multiple-choice test:
Are you:
a) Majoring in minors?
b) Spectacularly obtuse?
c) So bent on defending the indefensible that you just don't care anymore how silly your defenses sound?
d) all of the above?
Actually (e) none of the above. Torq can speak for myself (and has, somewhat). But I have said nothing, by choice, on the matter of the fake-priest "allegations" (which the article, by the way, does not say were condoned or approved even if they happened). An important distinction one would think.

To explain why I said nothing: here is Shea's initial post (I knew nothing of the "allegation" previously, and neither did anyone else, hence the Washington Post calling it "previously unreported.")
The military brass, bless 'em, tightened the regs to make this stuff much harder to get away with (even as Vice Glorious Leader Cheney labored to loosen the regs and make it easier). In all the torture discussions here, stuff like this was blown off as unworthy of mention. No bones broken. No tissue damaged permanently. Hell, it's just a little frat hazing according to Limbaugh. And Catholics on my blog have labored to excuse it as well. So I think it a kind of poetic justice to see something like this. If you are going to commit grave evil, particularly in an age when Catholics are swift to excuse it in obedience to our National Greatness Narrative then I think it is only fitting that the one doing the evil should make it crystal clear to Catholics who condone prisoner abuse just what it is they are condoning.
(VJM: I put a break here because at this point I really stopped paying attention, though the term "fog" clinches the intended identification.)
If prisoner abuse continues to vanish from view in a fog of euphemism about "aggressive interrogation tactics" and "national security", perhaps the vision of a false Catholic priest in vestments playing satanic black metal and mocking the sacraments will finally get a Catholic's attention and make him suspect that all is not well.
Of course, given that at the point Shea is expelling this dribble, neither Torq nor myself had said Word One about fake baptisms, one would wonder how he knows "just what it is they are condoning." Never mind his hyperbolic (though not by his standards) mind-reading about narratives and glorious-leader blah, blah, blah. And at the same time I first read it, there was this in the combox from one of Shea's new friends, Morning's Minion.
I felt nauseous when I read this. But I am sure the Fog Coalition will find a way to defend it.
When people have decided they can attribute ideas to you before you've said Word One on the subject (so, Shea doesn't even his "skim" excuse) ... well, what's the use? My honest reaction, excuse my french, was "fuck it. They can think what they like. They have no interest in what I actually think in reality, and what I actually think in reality is all I could rebut it with. They can have their lies and their straw men. Nobody whom I care about believes them."

There are things in this life not worth responding to and Shavian straw-men (except to the extent they may have entertainment value) are among them.

Free advice, Shea. You want me to say X about some topic? (1) Don't say it yourself; (2) Don't lie about me or put words in my mouth about the topic while doing it; and (3) Don't demand that I prove my religious bona-fides by jumping through a hoop on the topic. The first makes it less likely. The second and third will ensure I won't.

12 comments:

Donald R. McClarey said...

Mark should take a leaf from Saint Thomas Aquinas. When stating the position of an opponent, the Divine Doctor would usually strengthen the argument, to present it in the best possible light. Continually presenting the arguments of people who hold positions contrary to his own in the weakest possible terms, not infrequently mistating the opposing position completely, may be emotionally satisfying to Mark, but is a useless way to argue, if the purpose of an argument is to attempt to convince, rather than than simply to vent.

Donald R. McClarey said...

"rather than simply to vent".

Christopher Fotos said...

"Morning's Minion" formerly known as Tony A. He's a generic left-wing Bush basher etc., thus much at home at CAEI where the evidentiary bar for such activity is set pretty low. He is currently adding to the serious literature on the death penalty by quoting Gandalf.

It's been a while since I read Aquinas, but I want to tell Donald how bracing it was the first time I did. I forget what the proposition was, but for the first few pages I had to keep checking back to make sure I understood correctly his intention was to refute it.

As for Mark, oh geez. This stuff is so juvenile, and at some level he still seems startled and offended that people he defames might be interested in responding. I continue to marvel that this character is someone promoted by Catholic Answers. There's something very sad and destructive about someone who generates all this Glorious Leader Cheney garbgage and far worse before running off to address parishes on Mary and the Gospels and This is My Body.

Anonymous said...

JOSEPH D'HIPPOLITO SAYS...

Gentlemen, our long national nightmare might well be ending. Consider the following from one Mark Adams in Shea's comment threads:

Like many people, I had in the past appreciated your theological insights and had compartmentalized the "Mark-Shea-on-Faith" from the "Mark-Shea-on-Politics". But the dishonesty, bad faith, lazy analysis and refusal to engage arguments that you have displayed in your interactions with the Coalition for Fog have made me determine that your entire body of work is not to be trusted. There is now no chance that I would every buy one of your books, not because I want to engage in some sort of sophomoric boycott, but because I would have absolutely no faith that your arguments are either a) well researched or b) accurately restate the views of your opponents.

Or this from Josiah on the same thread:

Let's be clear about this. I never said that the LGF comments weren't objectionable, or that they represented "mankind at its finest." Your comments suggesting that I have here and at the original thread are simply evasions, so far as I can tell. What I object to is your equating them with Hitler.

You seem to be under the impression that you can say any nasty vicious thing about a person you wish, and as long as they don't have clean hand no one can object. The folks at LGF made some nasty comments about a mass murderer. Hitler was a mass murderer. If you're unwilling or unable to draw serious distinctions between the two, then so far as I'm concerned, you've forfeited any right to be taken seriously on moral matters. And I don't think I'm the only one.


Obtuse self-destruction, thy name is Shea....

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