Thursday, October 24, 2019

Mr. Henry Karlson is what I mean about blogging

So who is Mr. Karlson?  His name is Henry Karlson.  He has a blog at Patheos.  I believe he's an Orthodox convert, and that's how I found him. 

I only visited his site a couple times, but thought I'd try to see if there was something there.  Then he posted on something - immigration IIRC, though I could be wrong.  It was a partisan politic post wrapped in religion.  Several pointed out the problems with what he wrote, or took other viewpoints.  One or two, I'll admit, got mean.  I didn't, and most didn't.   Then I went away.

Because I have the little 'notify me of updates', I got an update a day or so later.  Apparently he declared he would not tolerate hate and racism on his blog, and had deleted and banned multiple comments.  OK.  Since I didn't say anything hateful and racist, I didn't care.

Well, a week or so ago, a blog post of his came by my desk.  It was, again, another Trump/GOP/conservative/Satan vs. progressive politics/liberal narrative/heaven template.  So I went to point out that some of that which he posted could be seen as other than the obvious Gospel truth.  It might be that he's actually reading things on the Right in the worst way possible, and giving an easy pass to those on the Left.

Well, as soon as I went type, what did I see?  Voila!:

What?  Banned?  I only commented once, and was not a racist or any such thing.  I merely disagreed with him. I guess mine was one of the many [disagreeing with Henry] comments he banned.

Not to be thwarted, I saw at the bottom of his post a link to his Facebook page (that's something contributors at Patheos were encouraged to do).  So I went and found this post on his FB thread.  I posted that he says he's eager for visitors to comment and engage in the discussion.  But if he's going to ban every comment that doesn't agree with him, that's not much of a conversation.

Well, guess what.  I went back later in the day, and my comment had been deleted on his Facebook page, the one in which he's asking for comments and discussions.  So by discussions, apparently the gist is that all who agree with him and his views are welcome.   I understand that sometimes you have to ban people.  In hindsight, I should have banned more than I did when I was at Patheos.  But there's banning abusive language or evil pronouncements, and then there is considering anything that doesn't celebrate and conform to your way of thinking abusive and evil - a staple for the move to ban freedom in our nation today.

That is the problem with blogs and the Internet in general. Sure, Mr. Henry's approach is a bit more extreme than you'll usually see. Most won't just ban anyone for daring to disagree once.  They'll usually size you up and, after so many wranglings, then ban you.   If Mr. Karlson is an extreme example, he nonetheless reflects where many  - not all, but many - social media sites have gone.  Basically, surround one's self with same-think, and develop increasingly hostile, contemptuous, and even hateful attitudes toward those outside of that same-think group.  With the all important ban button - used nowadays far more frequently than it was two decades ago - it's easy to isolate yourself in a world where the line between you and God becomes ever more blurred.  And that is a very dangerous thing indeed.


  1. His "Exorcism of the Amazon Synod" post is a real hoot.
    Well after the idea that the idol was some image of Our Lady was dispelled, and you have multiple quotes from people in the Vatican and affiliated with that Synod saying things like "we never said it was an image of Mary... it represents fertility" or "it represents life" you get Henry's clueless post going back and saying "it is an indigenous image of Mary".

    Hilarious. This after many who initially were saying that started to back off that claim.... now Henry comes to the party chirping the same thing that others were trying to distance themselves from.

    He's Orthodox? Like an Orthodox Mark Shea? I see all of the same barks of "racist" "sexist".

    -Tim Lambert

    1. I’ll admit the statue thing seems pretty crazy. I’m hearing from a variety of sources all sorts of accounts, from it being a S. American Virgin Mary to it being straight pagan to being something in between. And it’s not just one group or another saying it. So I’ll spot him a little confusion on this confusing issue.

      What bothered me was how he so nakedly demonstrated one of the ugly sides of the Internet, where one can literally box oneself from anything but same think. His repeated calls for discourse and comments, while not only banning just about anyone who apparently disagrees, but hurtling accusations and name calling, is simply an extreme example of what I fear is all too common in internet discourse – at least in how it has developed.

  2. Karlson used to be a Catholic and blogged at Vox Nova. He has always been a hard core Leftist who is not very good at debate.

    1. He certainly writes as one to the Left of center, and doesn't appear to put much space between his progressive views and the Gospel. Which is fine. That's up to him. What stunned me was the speed and vitriol with which he deleted anyone who apparently disagrees with him. Labeling them and accusing them and banning them. He didn't just delete comments. He outright banned. All this while having on his sites a call for people to come and comment and discuss and all that happy clap. That's one of the big issues with the internet, falling into little boxes of same-think. His was just a very flagrant and extreme example.


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