All I want for Christmas
“Charity” is a word thrown around in the Catholic blogosphere. And it’s thrown around a LOT. Yet even during Advent, Catholic bloggers can’t seem to fathom the possibility of being authentically charitable.
I don’t typically refer to this particular blog in my posts, as it’s usually too easy a target what with its nationalistic and quasi-fascist tendencies. But a recent post over at The American Catholic is worth pointing to because of its demeaning recklessness. Such recklessness is nothing new, especially to this particular author who recently made the astonishing claim that Archbishop Oscar Romero hid weapons in his church “underneath the blessed sacrament” and participated in “terrorist” activity, even going so far as to imply that Romero and other Catholic clergy and religious deserved to be killed.
But the Christmas post in question seems to be good natured, does it not? The author posts a cute video of two charming hillbillies who sing about the celebration of Christmas in what the author calls “a much more simpler time” (sic). The video clearly and deliberately pokes fun at Appalachian poverty (“Christmas grape”) and invokes the old image of rural Appalachians treating farm animals “like part of the family,” allowing them to live in the house (and God knows what else, har har).
I’ve been through this before many times on this blog, describing the origins and cruelties of Appalachian stereotypes as well as who benefits materially from them. I’ve also pointed to the fabrication of the american rural stereotype and its use by the Christian Right in the united states, including Catholic blogging personalities. Agree with that analysis or don’t. But is it not painfully obvious by now that Appalachian humor such as this video demeans people? Is Mr. Edwards completely oblivious to his own recklessness and to the kind of cruelty in which he participates?
Unfortunately, he is not oblivious. His post has received comments pointing out how offensive it is and that he owes his readers an apology. His response? Delete said comments and simply laugh at those he has offended.
When does “charity” begin to really mean something for Catholics on the internet, especially for those Catholics who misguidedly pine for a (fabricated, constructed) “simpler time” before “Christ” had been violently removed from “Christmas”? Sadly, it does not seem to cross their minds that Advent might be a good time to start showing a little bit of charity and humility, especially when called to acknowledge a deeply offensive mistake.
We’re into the second week of Advent, folks. It’s a good time to ask: how is your “faith-filled” blogging different than it was two weeks ago? The sad truth is that this season has little effect on us and the various practices that constitute our lives. You know what? All I want for Christmas is a new Catholic blogosphere.