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Somewhat Funny, Somewhat Confusing

August 18, 2010

H/T to Mark Shea, The Western Confucian, and Michael Denton

There seems to be a new blog on the blogosphere which is receiving critical attention called The Catholic Fascist. Some think it is a spin-off from Vox Nova, claiming this proves that Vox Nova is run by heterodox dissenters, because they see The Catholic Fascist as mocking Catholic doctrine.  The blog does not really seem to be doing that, but rather how such doctrine is presented on the blogosphere (which are two different things). I am thinking about how The Onion Dome was written by Orthodox, by people who loved orthodoxy, and yet understand how bad some Orthodox could be in presenting Orthodox teaching. Sadly, I do not think The Catholic Fascist is as good as The Onion Dome. Indeed, one of the things which made The Onion Dome so good is how immaculate it was written, while what we see on The Catholic Fascist appears to be poorly written and filled with all kinds of grammatical mistakes.

Now, I admit the blog has a sense of humor, but one can but wonder whether or not such a blog is actually needed. If it is supposed to be a parody of The American Catholic, there would be no need for such a blog, because The American Catholic brings out the laughs without such parody. If it is aimed beyond The American Catholic, it would be interesting to see who else it is mocking. Does anyone know?

One thing I think its critics are right about: The Catholic Fascist, unless it brings in new ideas, is a blog which will come and go and will soon be forgotten. Perhaps that will be for the best.

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42 Comments
  1. August 18, 2010 2:39 pm

    Let me get this straight, then…

    Joe Hargrave completely fabricates a comment supposedly written by “Michael J. Iafrate” in the name of “satire,” and when called out on it, he and his co-bloggers insist that I should get a sense of humor and “lighten up.”

    But when The Catholic Fascist crops up, a blog that appears to parody not only The American Catholic but the right-wing Catholic blogosphere in general, using no real names and not based on anyone in particular, THAT is called out for being “hateful,” “adolescent,” “garbage,” “humorless,” “bad satire,” etc.?

    Forgive me if I express agreement with The Catholic Fascist blog’s insinuation that the people it parodies are grade-A hypocrites.

  2. August 18, 2010 3:05 pm

    Since Michael has brought it up, he received a formal apology when his comment was edited, even if he did not regard it as sufficient:

    We, the editors of The American Catholic apologize for this lapse in our judgment, and commit to our readers that we will not, in future, modify comments. If comments contain objectionable statements which detract from civility and discourse, they will be wholly or partially deleted, but never replaced, even for humorous effect.

    –The Editors

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/04/09/blog-comment-policy-and-conflict/

    Btw, the edited comment was up without any explanation for six hours one night between 12:30AM and 6:30 AM.

    • August 18, 2010 3:13 pm

      John

      I’ve had fake comments and edits to my comments making me say things I did not say by people on TAC. Tito quite commonly mocks others, and will misrepresent what they said after he deleted their comment. There really is something insidious with what I see by at least by some on TAC.

      CF — tacky, and some things on it might be questionable. I don’t know where it is heading, and it could end up a blog of genius or, more likely as I suggested, yesterday’s news. But I do think it is interesting the kind of responses I saw against CF are often by people who have a history of outright misrepresenting what others have said, and have a rather cruel, hateful streak when they do it (trying to destroy them and their reputation). CF doesn’t seem hateful to me — childish, yes, unhelpful — probably — but hateful and cruel, no.

  3. Blackadder permalink
    August 18, 2010 3:19 pm

    Joe Hargrave completely fabricates a comment supposedly written by “Michael J. Iafrate” in the name of “satire,” and when called out on it, he and his co-bloggers insist that I should get a sense of humor and “lighten up.”

    Except that’s not what actually happened. Joe’s co-bloggers didn’t defend his editing and in fact the blog posted an apology.

  4. phosphorious permalink
    August 18, 2010 3:41 pm

    But certainly there is a difference between posting a comment as another person and satirizing a philosophical trend in a general way.

    Certainly one is mean-spirited and personal while the second has a long and noble history in public discourse.

    Apology or no, Michael is right: TAC’s actions were low, The Catholic Facist is merely satirical.

  5. Kapustin Yar permalink
    August 18, 2010 3:46 pm

    “heterodox dissenters”? No.

    While it is obvious that Vox Nova is heterodox, they are too cowardly to actually dissent and thus remain a thorn in our side!

  6. August 18, 2010 4:19 pm

    Blackadder – As you might recall from that “apology,” a number of Joe’s co-bloggers wanted to have it both ways. They issued an apology but still insisted it was “just a joke” and to “get over it.” Such comments are all over your website, including in the “apology” thread itself.

  7. Arturo Vasquez permalink
    August 18, 2010 4:36 pm

    Well, I sometimes have a bizarre sense of humor about lots of things, so maybe I found it funnier than most. I have hung around a lot of Catholic right wing crazies, so a lot of what is posted there resonates with me especially. In terms of TAC’s reaction to it, that old song comes into my head of “you’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you”. To just jump up and assume that Vox Nova was behind it was a bit puerile. As was Joe Hargrave’s pissing contest as to who gets the most hits (which reminded me of several Gomez Davila quotes about certain types of rhetoric attracting flies like excrement).

    I don’t necessarily support what Vox Nova does, I don’t buy the whole “Catholic social teaching” stuff, and I certainly don’t agree with a lot of things written on this blog. But I do have to say that there is a plurality of voices on this blog, and it is more homogeneous for some people’s comfort.

    Many people’s idea of a Catholic group blog is a clique of people who think exactly the same things about the same issues, and certain issues are off limits and if you even bring them up, you’re a heretic (such as is manifested in the puerile moniker of a “debate club at Auschwitz”). But fortunately those people are not the one’s who run the Church. It took the Church seven years to try and burn Giordano Bruno at the stake. I know we live in an age of speed and convenience, but one would think that the traditional Catholic lentitude in heresy-hunting could at least be preserved in our cyber-dealings with one another.

  8. August 18, 2010 5:24 pm

    Maybe I’m a quart low on humor, but I don’t think the Catholic Fascist is being satirical. I think they mean what they say, and lack any irony whatsoever.

  9. phosphorious permalink
    August 18, 2010 6:37 pm

    Poe’s Law strikes again!

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Poe%27s_Law

    Or better:

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Poe%27s_law

  10. August 18, 2010 6:44 pm

    I’ve had fake comments and edits to my comments making me say things I did not say by people on TAC. Tito quite commonly mocks others, and will misrepresent what they said after he deleted their comment. There really is something insidious with what I see by at least by some on TAC.

    If that happens again, Henry, shoot us an email and we’ll address it. My understanding is that after the discussion we had regarding the editing Michael I. refers to, such practices were to stop.

    CF doesn’t seem hateful to me — childish, yes, unhelpful — probably — but hateful and cruel, no.

    The only joke I found cruel was the “Parker Euton” section which begs people to pray for his wife to come along and that he has a thermometer ready. I tend to think that families and personal life stay out of the realm that bloggers critique.

  11. August 19, 2010 8:58 am

    Forgive me if I express agreement with The Catholic Fascist blog’s insinuation…

    Isn’t that rather like me saying, “forgive me if I express agreement with what I wrote in another venue…”?

    • August 19, 2010 10:45 am

      John Henry

      I would recommend you don’t accuse people of things like you just did.

  12. August 19, 2010 10:54 am

    Henry – I am not clear on the basis of your recommendation. Michael has never denied that he is an author at the blog in question, and I’ve had a rather lengthy conversation with him personally about it. As far as I’m concerned, my comment is an observation rather than an accusation.

    • August 19, 2010 10:57 am

      You are accusing him, and argument from silence is invalid. Maybe he didn’t think it was worth responding to? This is your last warning.

  13. August 19, 2010 12:15 pm

    Actually, I emailed John Henry regarding a number of claims he has made about me at his blog over time, claims that are not true. These claims are being made as “evidence” that I have a relationship with The Catholic Fascist, an opinion I could care less about. He is free to have whatever hypothesis he wants about this mystery blog, but he shouldn’t lie about me in the process.

    So while John Henry attempted unsuccessfully to turn our email conversation towards The Catholic Fascist, no, we did not have a “rather lengthy conversation” about it.

  14. August 19, 2010 12:21 pm

    I see Mark Shea is still maintaining that Catholic Fascist is a project of Vox Nova. His “proof” is that nobody from here has denied it, and that seems to be the dispute between JH and HK. So why not just deny it?

    • August 19, 2010 12:37 pm

      Does everyone have to deny every silly thing Mark Shea accuses them of?

  15. August 19, 2010 12:47 pm

    No, but it would help your friends if you did.

  16. M.Z. permalink
    August 19, 2010 12:55 pm

    I haven’t denied being a 69-year-old woman as I was accused of being at his blog. Life is too short.

  17. August 19, 2010 1:01 pm

    Yea, but not as short as posting several times to avoid posting an answer just once. If it is meant as a joke, it ends up as slander, and that is a serious matter. Can’t speak for you, but if somebody accused me of slandering others, I suspect I would either deny it or admit it and apologize.

    • August 19, 2010 1:15 pm

      I’m guessing Henry et al. are not interested in entertaining their theories or making denials when they probably won’t be believed anyway.

      I fail to see any “slander” going on at the mystery blog, from what I have read of it. The lying that goes on DAILY about various particular people at The American Catholic? Yep, that’s slander.

  18. August 19, 2010 1:37 pm

    Michael, “Well, they did to us!” is never an excuse.

    • August 19, 2010 2:05 pm

      Michael, “Well, they did to us!” is never an excuse.

      Actually, John, I didn’t reference The American Catholic’s behavior in order to make an “excuse,” but in order to teach you the meaning of the word “slander.”

  19. August 19, 2010 2:06 pm

    This is much ado about nothing.

    The whole point of an anonymous blog to not let people know who you are so that they’re left to speculate and guess. We shouldn’t be mad if the bloggers at CF aren’t revealing themselves b/c it’s obvious they don’t want us to know.

    Nor should people get angry that others are speculating at to who the bloggers are. If people think you’re with the blog, and you don’t want them to think that, simply state you’re not a writer of the blog. Until then, you have to live with the speculation. No one has to deny or confirm anything, but it’s rather pointless to be mad at people trading rumors when you have the powers to stop the rumors yourself.

    I have no idea who’s writing what, but I kinda don’t care at this point.

  20. grega permalink
    August 19, 2010 2:22 pm

    Interesting blog – I do not know who is behind the “Catholic Facist” but if it is Michael as some seem to suspect – good for you man for creating this creative outlet for yourself.
    I found Mark Sheas write up ( besides his wrong point about abortion) not all that bad either “…yeah, the Vox Novans don’t really give a crap about abortion, don’t much care about the Church’s teaching on homosexual practice, and would be quite happy to ordain women.”

    I fear this one will go down as the Catholic equivalent to the Andrew Sullivan – Sarah Palin spat regarding who really gave birth to Trig
    http://www.palinbabyquestion.com/

  21. August 19, 2010 2:26 pm

    Okay. Thank you. I think I understand what’s happening.

  22. August 19, 2010 2:47 pm

    No one has to deny or confirm anything, but it’s rather pointless to be mad at people trading rumors when you have the powers to stop the rumors yourself.

    Exactly. I’m not mad at Michael. I just think he contributes to the Catholic Fascist; so it’s weird for him to be ‘agreeing’ with the Catholic Fascist. This is not a big deal.

  23. phosphorious permalink
    August 19, 2010 2:54 pm

    It’s somewhat comical that the conservative response to The Catholic Facist is to assume that it is written by the usual suspects of catholic liberlaism.

    Because OF COURSE, the majority of catholics are on the side of conservatism, and if it looks like there are more than a few voices of dissent, that’s in illusion. There are really only two or three bad apples who are responsible for ALL THE CRITICISM FROM THE LEFT.

    How does one parody a mindset like that?

    Good luck to the Catholic Facist!

  24. M.Z. permalink
    August 19, 2010 3:29 pm

    Rumors is one thing. A jack like Shea is another. Since I have revealed it elsewhere, I guess I might as well reveal it here: I’m not writing at the Catholic Fascist. I also don’t support women’s ordination, don’t support abortion, and don’t support homosexual marriage. I’m also not a 67-year-old ex-nun. Let this not be a precedent that I’m going to be everyone’s bitch, answering every complaint and innuendo, and satisfying every teenage boy in his mother’s basement with nothing better to do than wonder about me. I don’t owe anyone here anything. I don’t do this for remunerative benefit.

  25. August 19, 2010 3:47 pm

    phosphorious:

    While I have no beliefs about who did, pretending that those at TAC who think Vox Nova or more specifically Michael I. has something to do with CF are just paranoid is absurd. VN & TAC have gotten in spats for a long time running now. The contributors’ names specifically target two of TAC’s contributors and the set-up is reminiscent of TAC. Furthermore, Michael I. has had a penchant for arguing with the contributors mocked on CF and accusing them of being catholic fascists for various positions. Michael I. moreso than many others has used this phrase.

    While I don’t think that this “proves” that some VN contributors are behind CF, I don’t think it’s terribly unreasonable for others to think that they are.

  26. phosphorious permalink
    August 19, 2010 4:16 pm

    But a flat unwillingness to believe otherwise, in the face of sincere denials by the various members of VN, complicates matters.

    At any rate, it must be comforting for those at TAC to believe that they have a complete list of “liberal catholics.”

  27. August 19, 2010 4:26 pm

    But a flat unwillingness to believe otherwise, in the face of sincere denials by the various members of VN, complicates matters.

    Um, what denials? Michael has never denied that he was a contributor. MZ has, but that’s about it.

    “At any rate, it must be comforting for those at TAC to believe that they have a complete list of “liberal catholics.”

    That’s just crazy talk; no one said anything like that.

  28. Frank permalink
    August 19, 2010 5:31 pm

    Clearly satire, not necessarily aimed at any one blog but more generally at all Uber-Patriot-Rightwing-Authoritarian-Macho-Man poseurs. Me Tarzan, You a Bad Catholic.

  29. August 19, 2010 6:56 pm

    Um, what denials? Michael has never denied that he was a contributor. MZ has, but that’s about it.

    Exactly. “VN” has denied nothing, yet see how people are repeating the claim that they did as FACT with no evidence? Similar things happen at TAC.

    The fact that only M.Z. has denied anything, and not VN as a whole, leads me to believe that the CF is at least in part a VN-driven project. But why dwell on it? The thing is pretty funny and pretty harmless.

  30. phosphorious permalink
    August 19, 2010 8:20 pm

    I’m sorry. . . I repeated the claim that VN denied the accusation without reading carefully.

    No such denials were made, except in the case of M.Z.
    And of course, the lack of denial is HIGHLY suspicious.

  31. brettsalkeld permalink*
    August 20, 2010 7:44 am

    For the record, I am not aware of contributing to CF.

    But I also think that VN is anti-abortion, so what the heck do I know?

  32. Pinky permalink
    August 20, 2010 9:21 am

    So, basically, someone made fun of Michael so he created an elaborate protest blog that consumes hours every day?

    • August 20, 2010 3:12 pm

      So, basically, someone made fun of Michael so he created an elaborate protest blog that consumes hours every day?

      A perfect example of the baseless parroting of “facts” that I referred to in this comment. Congrats, anonymous “Pinky”!

  33. August 20, 2010 3:52 pm

    Maybe my humor is off, but I read Pinky’s post to be mocking the idea that Michael I did create CF.

  34. Magella permalink
    August 21, 2010 10:22 pm

    Guys, turn off your computers and go help the needy!

  35. James permalink
    August 22, 2010 12:39 am

    Most persons post on blogs anonymously so if they want to stay anonymous, who should really care. But one should always ask about all of our acts, especially public acts if they are indeed giving glory to God. Not sure if this blog with Catholic in its title is giving glory to God.

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