Monday, February 12, 2007

Let's make a deal

In his latest fumbling attempt to obsess-o-stalk us, Shea approvingly quotes Greg Mockeridge's claim that "Quite frankly, all this responding to Mark is not only getting old. It's looking more like a blog whine-in."

Let me first note two ironies:
  • Greg speaks from a position that is far more "get Shea" than I and Torq do. We've said more than once we're just calling Shea on intellectual matters of honesty, seriousness and probity and have no desire to have him black-listed or otherwise jeopardize his family weal. Greg's point, whatever its merits, is that this site is not enough.
  • He (1) bitches about "obsess-o-stalker blogs." While also (2) declaring that the topics of certain "obsess-o-stalkers" are beyond disagreement (not "discussion"; he discusses them constantly) at his site and banning people who disagree. While (3) at the same time setting those person up as named foils (and often, to put the politest possible spin on it, not describing their stances accurately) and continuously linking back to their "obsess-o-stalking," just to make certain he can obsess and stalk back. Any one of these is one thing. The three together are simply chemically-pure and comically-pure self-righteousness.
But let me offer Mark a deal. We will go at our current approximate posting rate without mentioning you, directly or allusively, or repeating points that refer specifically to you and the specific disagreements already hashed out. In exchange, you keep up your current approximate posting rate without either mentioning us or repeating the intellectual errors and slanders on foreign-policy that cause the said specific disagreements.

You couldn't last two days.


Greg Mockeridge said...

As is his wont, Mark ignores the main point of my comment. And that is he has become a "bombastic, buttheadish blowhard" and continually responding to his garbage is not only ineffective, but counterproductive.

It is also my view that our efforts would be put to much better use in bringing public pressure to bear on the apologetics establishment, especailly Jimmy Akin and Karl Keating, to fraternally correct Mark. This is badly needed and their refusal to do so is tantamount to an approval and endorsement of his behavior.

I would like for both Victor and Torq to address that point.

Greg. Mockeridge said...

My wish is not to hurt Mark's livelihood in and of itself. It is more of a statement that he does not, in any way shape or form have the right to use his means of livelihood to abuse others. And this is exactly what he is doing. And something along the lines of what I propose is the only action that seems consistent with that fact.

Anonymous said...

I know I'll probably get slammed, banned, or at least panned (okay, that was silly), but I couldn't help but notice that every post on your front page was about Mark Shea (as of 3:30pm central time, 02/12/07).

Isn't there anything else to talk about?

Christopher said...

Victor: In exchange, you keep up your current approximate posting rate without either mentioning us. . .

Given Mark's latest latest attempt at slandering Victor, Torque (and now Phillip), I don't think it's possible. Case in point:

. . . The third is the grim humor that derives from the fact that the "confessions" which sent the Jews of Trento to their deaths were, of course, extracted under torture. I look forward to Phillip or some other member of We Really Really Despise Mark explaining how this is a) part of the Church's glorious legacy of infallible teaching that must be protected from the contradictions of Veritatis Splendor and Dignitatis Humanae, b) how really, anyway, we don't know that what was done to them was precisely technically exactly *torture* and c) besides it *worked* and got valuable actionable intelligence on the Jews who hated the Italians for their freedom.

The real topic of the aformentioned post.

(Talk about an obsession).

Christopher Fotos said...

Defames me by name, misrepresents my views, doesn't allow me to respond in an equal venue, slanders other folks with impunity...

(I say defames. It's a strong word. I'm thinking of things like apologist for Satan. Okay maybe I'm being too sensitive. Maybe it isn't defamation if it's insane).

But it's all in a day's work. He's Catholic and Enjoying It, dammit!

And yet... there is a cloud on the horizon. Whining. By other people. Too much of it apparently. And therefore, although he is Catholic, he can't enjoy it.

I wrote to Jimmy a long time ago about this when it ventured onto his own blog. Jimmy is concerned mainly about Jimmy--all is forgiven!

There are some pretty deeply entrenched attitudes here. Mark can write about what he describes as a nice old-fashioned bribe without inquiring any further into the motives, practices and integrity of The people he has slandered, in this case, the folks at the American Enterprise Institute:

[Guardian reporter] Sample spoke to one of us for five minutes to gather a perfunctory quotation to round out his copy, but he clearly was not interested in learning the full story. He found time, however, to canvass critics for colorful denunciations of the American Enterprise Institute as "the Bush administration's intellectual Cosa Nostra," with nothing but "a suitcase full of cash."

Every claim in the story was false or grossly distorted... For the record, AEI extended an invitation to participate in this project to only one so-called skeptic (who declined, on grounds that reviewing the next IPCC report isn't worth the effort). The other scientists and economists we contacted are from the "mainstream," and we were happy to share with them the names of other prospective participants if they asked. Over the last four years, AEI has repeatedly invited senior IPCC figures, including Susan Solomon, Robert Watson, Richard Moss, and Nebojsa Nakicenovic, to speak at AEI panels and seminars, always with an offer to pay honoraria. Full schedules prevented these four from accepting our invitation; a few more junior IPCC members have spoken at AEI..

In a separate document, AEI notes:

AEI has published a large volume of books and papers on climate change issues over the past decade and has held numerous conferences on the subject. A wide range of views on the scientific and policy issues have been presented in these publications and conferences. All of them are posted on our website. It would be easy to find policy arguments in our publications and conferences that people at ExxonMobil (or other corporations that support AEI) disagree with--as well as those they agree with and, I hope, some they hadn’t thought of until we presented them. Our latest book on the subject, Lee Lane’s Strategic Options for Bush Administration Climate Policy, advocates a carbon tax, which I’m pretty sure ExxonMobil opposes (the book also dares to criticize some of the Bush administration’s climate-change policies!).

Mark doesn't know anything about the IPCC. He probably doesn't know much about climate change, and judging from his post he certainly doesn't know anything about the American Enterprise Institute. In that post he scarcely seemed to know AEI is not part of "The Administration." It was a chance to bash Bush--kind of--in a way that conforms to his pox-on-both-your-houses triangulation motif.

These kinds of posts are repeated on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. At CAEI, it's not a bug, it's a feature.

But what a relief it is to know his heart is in the right place.

I'm not going to waste energy on quixotic ventures; life is too short and I have a lot more productive and engaging ways to spend my time. If there is anyone in a position of authority or friendship who simultaneously wants to do something about it and can, everything they need is right here. If Catholic Answers in general or Jimmy in particular or any parish wants to use him as a standard-bearer, that is at least educational.

And a coda for "anonymous" above: This blog has been used as a platform after Mark had banned a number of people from his blog, including me, and also banned certain lines of argument from even being advanced in his comboxes. So either some of us write here occasionally or pen brief notes in longhand and stuff them in shoeboxes under the bed. (If any of you are already doing this, please, I don't want to know).

So I'd hope you'd see at least an arguable justification for posting here when, as happened twice in recent weeks, Mark attacked someone (say for example me) and misrepresented what I'd been saying. This extends to his comment boxes, where old, er, friends like Al Gunn ("al") launch a verbal RPG or two secure in the knowledge they can't be confronted directly. That's the environment Mr. Catholic and Enjoying It is content to create. But no whining please.

AnonymousIV said...

Victor... some of us are waiting for movie review #7 on your other website, you know...

Anonymous said...


Greg, I suggest the following:

1. A class-action slander suit against Shea. The vast majority of the people whom he attacks are not public figures. Besides, all of his targets can claim "actual malice" and disregard for the truth, which are the critical elements to winning such a suit.

Victor and Torq, know any lawyers?

2. Formal complaints to both Akin and Keating, with promises (not threats) to discourage publicly any patronizing of their products and services. How about an ad in Crisis Magazine?

3. An article that you could write for, let's say, Crisis. First, you have credibility as an orthodox Catholic (let alone a professional apologist). Second, given your interest in the issue (and in truth in general), you can provide evidence that cannot be refuted. Third, you can say that such indulgence by Akin and Keating (who have some influence) does not speak well of the faith nor influence people to join it.

I know this is tantamount to nuclear warfare. So be it. Shea has earned such a response.

As far as his "livelihood" is concerned, I frankly don't give a damn about his livelihood. It's his responsibility to act in a civilized manner that protects his livelihood.

As you know, Greg, I work as a free-lance journalist who writes for newspapers, magazines and Web site. How long do you think I would be employed if I demonstrated the cavalier disregard for the truth (let alone civilized behavior) that Shea embodies?

You're right about one thing, Greg: Let's stop bitching, let's start organizing and let's start fighting.

Phillip said...

"So either some of us write here occasionally or pen brief notes in longhand and stuff them in shoeboxes under the bed. (If any of you are already doing this, please, I don't want to know)."


Darn! I guess I won't be mailing my shoeboxes to you now.

Seriously, thanks for your post. I just read Mark's slander (a sin against justice) that he posted and gave a brief reply. I didn't read the post originally because I was busy and didn't think it could possibly refer to me.

Obviously Mark, when he cannot refute an argument (probably because it is true,) resorts to gross distortions of arguments. At least Patrick had the decency to debate and revise his positions.

Oh well, I have many other things to do also so will likely not respond to the snide comments that he will now spout in response to my comment.

Oh, just as a preview, Mark will now distort this post to say that I am calling him a liar. I am not. That would imply that he understood what I wrote which I now don't think he did.

Phillip said...

"I know I'll probably get slammed, banned, or at least panned (okay, that was silly), but I couldn't help but notice that every post on your front page was about Mark Shea."


Please see Mark's referenced comments for a real example of slamming.

Annalucia said...

I gave up on Mark Shea some months ago: the man stinks of rage and malice, and I found that reading his blog constituted an occasion of sin. So I avoid him, just like I avoid crazy people on the street who are yelling obscenities at individual oxygen molecules.

You gentlemen might want to consider doing this as well. Seriously. Reading him can't be good for your blood pressure and arguing with him is useless, so why bother?

Anonymous said...


Annalucia, Christians have two choices when it comes to people like Shea: ignore them or fight them.

Ignoring them doesn't necessarily get them to cease and desist. Besides, people like Shea are too dense to let being ignored effect them. They'll just focus on different targets.

No, Annalucia, people have to fight the evil in their midst. And, make no mistake, Shea is evil.

Anonymous said...

Josiah says:

You know, Joe, Mark is very fortunate to have you as an enemy.

Pauli said...

This post details what I've been saying about this obsession with obsession. Write a blog with one main topic and you're obsessing, even if you only post once or twice a week on average. Write a blog of your thoughts on EVERYTHING that bugs you, no matter how inconsequential, throw out 7 posts per day plus your favorite stuff on youtube and voila! it's automatically deemed not obsessive.

I'm sorry, but add all the stuffing, cranberries and mashed potatoes you want -- it's still a turkey dinner, dude.

The word "stalker" is meaningless and simply thrown in for extra weight.

Joe -- could you be my enemy, too? Ha, ha,...just pulling your chain, man. But come over and argue on my new blog if you got time. It's low in cholesterol.

Pauli said...

Greg -- you could create an online petition to, as you say, "bring public pressure to bear on the apologetics establishment, especailly Jimmy Akin and Karl Keating, to fraternally correct Mark."

I would sign something if it were worded respectfully; if Victor and/or Torq wrote and/or approved it, I'd probably sign it. And help circulate it.

Greg Mockeridge said...

No, Annalucia, people have to fight the evil in their midst. And, make no mistake, Shea is evil.

Now Joe, I believe that Mark's conduct is wretched and unChristian, calling him evil is taking it a bit too far.

Like I said before, let's keep our focus on his conduct and forego judgin him personally.

Anonymous said...


Why do I say that Mark is evil? Because he cares nothing about truth. Because he will use all sorts of personal attacks against anybody he wishes, regardsless of their effects. Because he will obsessively go after anybody who has the audacity to stand up to him. Because he ultimately believes that "the ends justify the means," despite his protestations against that behavior, for he personifies that very tactic.

Anybody who had has the displeasure of dealing with Mark knows that Mark really isn't about the Church, about God or even about apologetics. Mark is about hunting down people who commit ThoughtCrime, according to his standards. And ThoughtCrime is anything that contradicts The World According To Shea.

Why else does he go after the people on this blog? Why else does he show a total disregard for the Fr. Harrisons and the Cdl. Dulleses of the world -- people who are far better versed in the faith? Because they disagree with His Noble Sheaness and anybody who does so is guilty of ThoughtCrime in his warped universe.

We are all Emmanuel Goldsteins -- and if Mark is the ultimate exemplar of the New Catholic Man, then I'd much rather be Emmanuel Goldstein, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...


BTW, Josiah, what do you mean when you say that Mark is very fortunate to have me as an enemy?

I promise I won't snap your head off if you tell me the truth.

Anonymous said...

Josiah says:

Mark is lucky to have to as an enemy, Joe, because you have a habit of making over the top statements that make you come across as an unhinged fanatic. Just as anti-war celebrities do more to increase support for the war than most pro-war pundits, so your comments do more to arouse sympathy for Mark than anything he could say or do.

Anonymous said...


Josiah, I admit that my emotions get the best of me when it comes to Shea, far too much of the time. But calling Shea "evil" is not an "over-the-top" statement, nor is it an emotional one. If a man who engages in the kind of willful, shotgun-like, unrepentant character assassination as a matter of course that Shea does is not evil, then what is he?

Anonymous said...

Josiah says:

Whether you personally view your statements as being over the top or not is irrelevant. What matters is how others view them, and I can tell you that even people inclined to agree with the substance of your remarks tend to draw back from the way you express yourself.

None of us is perfect in this regard. Learning to govern the tongue is difficult, as difficult, often, as governing the sexual appetites, but also just as vital.