Greg Laden just can’t help himself ..In Broadbrush artistry

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Somebody is wrong on the Internet, and apparently, it’s Greg Laden.

“…Greg. Don’t get us wrong, we want to see the Pope (and priests) answer for what they’ve done,…”

We just want it done OUR way, and not your way. So please sit down and shut up.


We’ll, we’re not going to say who we are, are we!

Check it out!

How do we know this web site is not sponsored by The Vatican?

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In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
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23 thoughts on “Greg Laden just can’t help himself ..In Broadbrush artistry

  1. I think it’s fairly safe to assume they’re not Christians. That said I don’t buy their stated reasons for anonymity, or accept that their motives are as pure as they claim.

  2. I do think that if they are not active Catholics, they are at least culturally Catholic. They are also on about “tone,” which I find more offensive than actual “tone.”

  3. They don’t want to be famous or to get a book deal from their blog, or some such nonsense, and they don’t want to distract from the substance of their posts (although I think they’re kidding themselves if they think thr question of their anonymity isn’t going to be a distraction in and of itself).

  4. The contradictions in their posts make my head spin. They now have a rebuttal on their homepage.
    In post one, they tell you that they basically agree with you yet argue over semantics and nuances of statements and they call you an ambulance chaser????
    In post two, they have no idea why you are upset.
    *shakes head and sighs*

  5. I think they mean well. I agree with them in the cases where they attack the excess of fruitless name-calling and embarrassingly violent hyperbole in some quarters. I find I usually agree with the substance of PZ’s thoughts, even and especially those which insist on offering nonsense not a single quarter of intellectual respect. But his name calling is straight Rush Limbaugh nonsense and the blunt hyperbole and substitution of calling people stupid for offering actual arguments among many of the commentators on freethinking blogs (including my own sometimes) does make one wince.

    As awful as I think religion and indefensible as I think religion is intellectually, institutionally, and in a myriad of ways morally, the line between “all faith-based arguments are inherently baseless” to “all faith-based people are stupid and/or corrupt” is not kept nearly clear enough. In much of our community’s rhetoric. I think primarily this is what they mean to attack when talking about “tone”. I don’t think (or at least I don’t hope) that they mean to say that we need to placate irrationalism and not call spades spades. I don’t think they mean (or, again, at least I don’t hope) to say we shouldn’t be adamant and unequivocal in calling poisonous nonsense “poisonous nonsense”. But I do think they have a point in attacking the unnecessary accretions of ad hominems, broad villainization of enemies, and juvenile hyperbole onto otherwise rational and vitally necessary arguments.

    Anyway, that’s my charitable interpretation of their discussions of “tone” thus far.

    On the merits of this case, if you’ll forgive me for repeating myself, here’s what I wrote on their blog about the pope’s words and your response and theirs:

    “Not to be a weasel but I took the pope to intend to give the impression that the Youâ??reNotHelping contingent took away from itâ??that by â??the church has been woundedâ? the pope meant the church as in the entire group of people who have been hurt by the â??sinsâ? to which he alluded. But there are two things in combination which justify Greg Ladenâ??s ire: (1) the on-going attempts to blame others rather than take responsibility, including but not limited to attempts to demonize the media as anti-Catholic, attempts to compare themselves to persecuted Jews, attempts to blame gays, attempts to blame secularism, and attempts of the Vatican and bishops to deny any direct accountability for their roles in perpetuating the crimes and protecting the criminals. (2) The passive construction of the phrase â??church has been woundedâ? is weasel words that very deliberately defer responsibility. The church has been wounded by who? By â??attacksâ? from the â??worldâ? somehow or another related to the Churchâ??s â??sinsâ?. You canâ??t repent with â??mistakes were made and now the collective church is wounded by criticisms from merciless outsidersâ?. Thatâ??s not saying, â??look, WE FAILED YOU, WE KNOWINGLY PERMITTED THE PERPETUAL ABUSE OF YOUR CHILDREN, AND IT IS OUR FAULT THAT YOU HAVE BEEN VIOLATED, BETRAYED, AND EMBARRASSEDâ?. And anything less than THAT is not serious repentance, not serious concern for the wounded faithful, not serious taking of responsibility. And the Church does not deserve credit for its carefully parsed, passive, politically and legally deeply calculated language that attempts to simultaneously acknowledge the unavoidable accusations against it while avoiding committing itself to any genuinely damning confession of faults.

    So, in the end, while I also had the Youâ??reNotHelping reading of the intended impression the pope wanted his remarks to make, I share Gregâ??s view of what such tortuous language portends between the lines and think, on balance, he was indeed helping in this case.”

    Where they attack the substance of people’s arguments I find them sometimes helpful and sometimes quibbling or flat out inaccurate.

    Anyway, in this case, I think you’re essentially right becaus

  6. Oh, by the way, in case anyone needs to be told this (and apparently they do) my short, quick, dirty post about the pope getting the victim and the abuser mixed up had two layers.

    One: A barb, a hyperbolic bit of name calling, a piece of rotten cabbage hurled form the audience at the performer by someone in the audience (me) who came to hate him, not to give him a chance. So, no, it was not meant to be a reasoned argument. It was a blog post meant to be insulting. I take this new blog’s comment as a “shut up” to that, and I take it as evidence that they feel that the internet, or blogs, should BE a certain way, and they feel responsible to tell people (bloggers) when they step aside from that requirement. A little like going into a book store and saying “I wasn’t expecting science fiction! Why do you have a science fiction section!!!!!” or something else equally stupid.

    Two. At a higher level, this whole thing (over the last two decades) and many other things the catholic church has been involved in, has involved this carefully engineered guiltdisplacement gig. It is how it was done.

    I have seen this. I was raised a catholic. For fuck’s sake, I was an altar boy for about five years in a Catholic Church. A good chunk of the family inheritance (which was not much) was stolen by an evil arch bishop. The nuns taught me how to hate Jews, explicity. The only adult who ever physically beat me as a child was a priest. It goes on and on.

    I do not need to be schooled in how to speak of, or to, the Vatican. Thank you very much.

    OK, I feel better now. Going back to whatever I was doing… oh yes, electrocuting my thigh. The pain brings me closer to god.

    (Which reminds me, whoever is running that blog has the sense of humor of an earthworm.)

  7. Sense of humor and sense of strategy of an earthworm. If nobody else knows what this blog is really meant to do, it’s a sure thing that the author(s) don’t either.

  8. Greg, I admire your blog over the last 10 months in which I have periodically read it and I agree with you nearly completely philosophically as far as I’ve read. I think the legitimate criticism of the YHN crowd is that blog posts meant to be insulting are counter-productive. The litany of abuses personally suffered at the hands of the Catholic church which you list are sufficient to cause anger. The international crimes it’s perpetuating are sufficient to cause anger.

    You don’t have to pull punches with any of the legitimate, specific attacks you can level against the church. True accusations are enough without the off-putting turn to hyperbole which burns the bridge to the people in the middle who will respond to highly calibrated, devastating argumentative attacks that mince no words, but who will find untethered insulting hyperbole an indicator that you’re emoting rather than reasoning. There are plenty of ways to mercilessly attack without indulging the blog form’s editor-less openings for juvenile name calling. (I don’t see where you’ve actually done any juvenile name calling here, but I’m responding to your comment above that admits to “rotten cabbage throwing” and implies that that’s just what goes with blog writing and that everyone should just accept it).

    Put simply, tone can be very aggressive and, even, angry and mocking, argumentatively without veering into merely emotive hyperbole or stretches of writing that vent one’s frustration without offering arguments.

    For example, personally, as a highly educated person who is nonetheless not a scientist, I get tired of numerous instances where people spend time on blogs venting about how obviously stupid something is and how obviously stupid anyone who wouldn’t get that something is when I am just looking for a clear explanation of what the problem is. I don’t like seeing people who make mistakes that I would make because I’m not a specialist berated as mentally defective when simply providing strong arguments and explanations will help me avoid their error and leave me with no hard feelings.

    And similarly, you have every right to attack the Church vehemently, but if you are to make any Catholics listen, you need to stick to the substance of your case. Especially in the blog format where you actually have a chance of reaching out to people outside your academic niche. Why in the public sphere of all places, give the impression that you think rotten cabbage throwing is a great form of public discourse? How is that being an ambassador for the cause you completely rightly are completely passionate about?

  9. By the way, I DO think that irreverent language about figures taken to be holy IS valuable in and of itself wherever it stands as an important psychological and political tool for breaking the spell of “holiness” and “untouchability” that such figures try to cast for themselves and which even non-believers too deferently acquiesce in acknowledging and, thereby, perpetuate. It’s fine and even necessary to use harsh language about the pope, he surely deserves it and it’s crucial that he be taken down many many pegs and that others have role models of irreverence. But, the irreverence needs to be carefully interwoven with substantive justification for it lest the average person miss the point and just write you off as some sort of blind extremist.

  10. Cammels, I totally get what you are saying.

    I have no intention or desire, though, to convince any catholics of anything on this blog. For one thing, although a good chunk of my readers are from outside the US, most are in the US and American Catholics don’t need any help from me. Very few American Catholics that I know (and I know quite a few) would complain if the pope was held accountable for what he should be held accountable for.

    As for tone and voice, there simply is a diversity out there of tone and voice, including some one may not like. And, that can be complex. One can like one thing a person does, and not so much so in a different area.

    And, nothing but good can come from having a few tens of millions of sputtering-angry ex catholics. It can … dare I say it …. I can only help!!!

    I don’t expect to personally get invited to the negotiating table. For this issue, I’m happy to be one of the angry mob outside, across the moat, with the pitchforks and the torches.

    It’s an important role.

  11. Oh, and by the way … and this is clearly a clue for anyone who wants to figure out who these “new” bloggers are … I have written very little about the pope/child abuse/catholic church thing. In the first dozen posts, there are two criticizing what I’ve said (or how I’ve said it) and at least one other prominent link in a third post. Why me?

    I’m not giving out some hint here to something I know and am not saying. I’m just sayin’ …. those guys are quirky if nothing else. Look for someone who’d dog I ran over or something. (Never mind their “Oh, we’re all rational and stuff, let us tell YOU how to do it!” …. that’s the biggest load of shit I’ve seen in years and I live in farm country.)

  12. I think that the disproportionate frequency of attacks on you on this issue stems from their apparent game plan for their blog. They’ve designated themselves freethinker watchdogs of all prominent freethinker media and apparently that means daily posts combing through all the prominent freethinker media sites and scrutinizing it. You’re probably a victim of your popularity here. They made a mountain of a relative molehill of a post probably because they were on the lookout for the first thing you did on their newly formed “watch” that they could pounce on.

    They’re trying to build cred as big game hunters, feel flattered they want you on their mantle 😉

  13. I find their idea about how this may not be what the pope meant absolutely laughable. In front of the stage the RCC has set for itself, he must either have meant that or his speech writing sucks bunches. Considering recent events, he should have (and I think would have) stated it much more explicitely if he *wasn’t* refering to child abuse.

  14. I was raised a catholic. For fuck’s sake, I was an altar boy for about five years in a Catholic Church. A good chunk of the family inheritance (which was not much) was stolen by an evil arch bishop. The nuns taught me how to hate Jews, explicity. The only adult who ever physically beat me as a child was a priest. It goes on and on.

    Greg, that is just awful. When it comes down to causing mental and physical anguish in people, you cannot beat the Catholics! They actually make the Mormons and Scientologists look sane sometimes, particularly in how the Catholics treat children.

    About the yourenothelping kids, it isn’t at all clear to me who or what they think needs help or what the cause is that they think is not being helped by other bloggers. At least the way you, PZ, and Richard Dawkins write is interesting, which is something I can’t say for the yourenothelping group-blog.

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