Monday, January 9, 2023

A New Year and a new blog

Well, not really.  It's a new year, that much is true.  But pretty much the same blog, with a slight modification.   Fact is, I've grown rather tired out from keeping up with the 'issue' blogging.  I've said many times that I originally started the blog due to prompting from a local priest.  In the day, I did a lecture series in the area on Church history.  It was generally well received and well attended.  When he saw one of the lectures he suggested I write a book.  Because there aren't enough history books in the world.

Problem is, I am no writer.  I can edit others to a degree, but not my own writing.  It's just not something I ever invested in.  I prefer to read, since creativity has never been my strong point.  He suggested I start a blog and practice.  So I did.

In a bit of irony, my new venture was posted on the old Catholic and Enjoying It blog.  Mark felt it was good to promote a new Catholic blog.  Therefore, almost immediately, I ended up with more readers than a new blog like that should have.  It went up from there.  As other sites picked up and would share this or that post, I have to admit, I was happy to see and hear from others regarding my opining.  

Nonetheless, over time I concluded that blogging is a bit like hitting one's head against a brick wall.  Especially if you're on the wrong side of the wall.  I announced I was either quitting, or at least stepping away from, blogging a couple times over the years.  Almost as soon as I did, however, some crazy thing happened that drew me back in.  I believe the last time was the Brett Kavanaugh circus.  When journalists and politicians were saying it's time to get over these old tools of oppression like presumption of innocence, burden of proof and due process, it was hard to stay away. 

Still, as things move on in our family and the direction our society is going becomes clear, I'm pretty sure continuing to rant and rave on a blog is time taken away from things that might be more important. Not that staying in tune with current events and world developments is a bad thing.  But it's not something I get paid to do (with the exception of my stint at Patheos, I've never received money for my blog). 

My sons and I were talking about the state of things a few days ago.  They frequently bring up the futility of discourse in the modern era.  You either agree or you're Hitler.  And since so many of their peers spend so much time 24/7 obsessing over a million triggering topics on social media, that's a lot of chances to be Hitler.   I told them such radicalism isn't new, it's just that today it's universal.  I said that comes from politics becoming the all encompassing everything since love of God, Country and Family have all but been eliminated from society. 

Their response was what set me thinking.  They retorted that certainly we discussed political issues when I was growing up.  To which I responded that yes, we did.  We just didn't do it every stinking day.  In fact, they might be shocked to learn that we went days - sometimes weeks - without debating politics or current events or the latest social issue.  Heck, we even went days without being sexists and racists!  Yes, we did bring such topics up at different times.  And at times those were some pretty heated arguments.  Whether with friends, family, fellow students, coworkers, or whatever, it did happen.  But it didn't happen every day. 

And that was a good thing.  Because in hindsight, if we spent everyday arguing about politics or the latest activist driven issue, I think we'd have gone mad.  We certainly wouldn't have had many friendships.  I'm all for politics, and there was a time that was my college major.  But politics is a bit like a demolition derby.  It's fun to watch, but I wouldn't want to drive in one. 

Problem with today is that politics has become the Alpha and Omega in our nation today.  The beginning and end of everything becomes whether it is politically expedient or not.  I therefore fear that constantly keeping up with it does little more than keep the problem going.  Plus it burns you out.  As I told my sons, it wasn't a daily discussion in my younger years for a reason.  

For instance, my parents were Reagan Democrats (and not because of the rascally Southern Strategy), though my mom's family were staunch Democrats who would never vote for Reagan.  They didn't dislike him - in fact they liked him.  They just wouldn't vote for him (a different age to be sure). As a result, when politics came up it was quite an event.  But here's the thing.  Like my friends, peers, classmates and such, it usually only came up occasionally, perhaps once a visit.  One night they would delve into the political and social debates, but that was it.  The rest of the visit would be reminiscing, discussing Browns football, memory lane and ancient rhymes and such.  The same with my friends.  We might delve into politics (or religion) around a game of cards or at a High Street bar.  But not every day. The rest of the time it was this movie, that rock band, those girls, or whatever.  Even the most opinionated acquaintances I knew didn't spend every day spouting, unless spouting was a career choice. 

Therefore, that's what I'm going to be doing, in tribute to a saner time.  After all, to post every day on some issue means every day I have to delve where my younger, saner self knew not to delve on a daily basis.  Even cutting down blogging to a post a day as I've done  is still a daily delve into the cesspool of political discourse and rhetoric.   

I think it was seeing the collapse of Dave Armstrong that convinced me something has to change.  I like Dave.  We usually agreed more often than not.  Often we would banter about common interests like The Beatles (we're both fans, and we debated the exact degree of influence that their manager Brian Epstein had on their creative output).  We could do so because Dave, like me, was forever against the growing 'I have spoken, now obey or be damned' approach to the social media/punditry age.

Yet look what happened. Rather than end up going there, I decided I would cut back.  I won't 'leave', since I like having the outlet.  Plus it's nice hearing from others on an issue, even when they disagree. And let's face it, with the crazy in the world you can't just walk away.  Also, in the end, the world of social media is the way of modern discourse.  Just like telephones became back in the day.  I just won't do it all the time.  At least do it in terms of focusing on hot button issues and political topics. 

In fact, barring global catastrophe, I will keep 'topic/issue' blogging at once a week. On top of everything else, things are a-changiin' in the family, and time isn't what it used to be.  If I'm going to move mountains to blog, to be honest I'd rather keep it on fun, frivolity, faith or family.  There are certainly enough big family moments coming up this year to keep me busy. 

I figure delving into some big political, social or other ideological issue once a week is about where it was when I wore a younger man's clothes.  Given the relative sanity of that period in history compared to today, I'd say following what worked is a good way to go. 

It won't be one particular day, or even every week.  It wont' be 'Friday Fights!' or such.  I'll just try to keep it to no more than once a week. The rest of the time?  That will be what blogging was meant for: reposting a good article or meme, musing on our latest family fun, big family events, keeping an ongoing record of this or that game (my sons say that's a thing, though often in video form, and it seems fun), or just rambling on about the latest point of interest - as long as it's not hot button.  That will be a random time a week, if that.  


  1. I appreciate this post so much! Years ago when I was a young mom, it seemed everyone I knew was starting blogs and interacting between them. It was super enticing to do something that would draw validation or affirmation in a season of life with no so much of that on a daily basis. But when I prayed about it I always came up with the same thing: it would ruin me as a person, and I would have to exploit my family to do it. It was kind of hard to choose not to jump on the bandwagon at the time but over the years I am SO grateful I didn’t.
    I have seen it end up being a bad thing for many people, good people, their families, and their faith. I’ve said it before here that I’ve often thought it would be best for some people to give up their platforms for the sake of the greater good of their families and their faith. So kudos to you for choosing the better path!
    On a smaller level I have the same issues with social media. The tension is difficult at times but I keep a presence there for several reasons, though it has diminished over the years.
    The state of the world, and even our nation, is so bad it’s almost comical. Culture needs to be entirely rebuilt. But that only comes through attention to faith and family. Less talking about it and more living it. And, thanks be to God, it seems a growing number of people on the local levels seem to be choosing just that.

    1. Yep. Again, seeing Dave Armstrong take the plunge was an eye opener. I've seen others go that way, too. Most I could believe, even if I was disappointed when it happened. But I get the feeling, when I listen to my sons talk about their generation, that the kids are teaching the parents how to behave instead of the other way around. And the way we engage with these issues on the Internet is a key reason. Plus, it isn't what it used to be. It used to be that blogs were a place for robust (if at times over the top) debate. Not so much anymore. There are still some who allow for robust debate (Donald McClarey, Rod Dreher, I try), but increasingly it's same thinking people high-fiving each other on being brilliant unlike those types, while banning and blocking everyone else. It's just a question of cost and reward. Is it worth doing what my younger, saner self knew not to do for a situation that is yielding the fruits that we're seeing.


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