Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
The comment box in the blogosphere, or combox, is the wild wild west of the internet. In the combox you can and will meet all kinds of strange and wondrous characters.
The combox in the Catholic interwebs has its own cast of characters. I suspect that your average Catholic blog reader probably has never, or very rarely, left a comment on a post. They read what you have to say and if you are really, really lucky, they might think about it for a moment. Those are the readers. Commenters are a different ball of wax. Commenters, and you know who you are, have opinions and they…well they have opinions.
Having been around the Catholic blogging game for a few years now, certain easily identifiable personality types emerge in the combox. I hear tale that there are those who have actually read your entire post and write to make a cogent and civil point to add to the discussion. I hear tales of these commenters—and unicorns. Unicorns mostly. Although I am quite sure that this description will apply to everyone who comments on this post. Quite sure. ;-)
Beyond the mythical commenter mentioned above, I think we have all become familiar with the rest of the characters. So let’s meet them.
Encyclical Man. Encyclical Man has a quote from a papal document for every occasion. Doesn’t matter if you are talking social justice or the Latin mass, Encyclical Man has a quote at the ready that will clearly establish that anyone who does not share his opinion on the matter is a heretic. Even if you were just writing about what you watched on television last night, Encyclical Man has a quote, usually from the Council of Trent. Ah, television. This brings me to the next cast member.
Throw Out Your Television Man!! Any mention whatsoever of television, even if tangential or passing, will have “Throw Out Your Television Man!!” excoriating you as a bad, bad Catholic. You see, “Throw Out Your Television Man!!” has not watched television since the Father Dowling Mysteries went off the air in 1988. “Throw Out Your Television Man!!” will tell you in no uncertain terms that the Devil invented television to swallow up the souls of the unsuspecting. Encyclical Man will sometimes respond to “Throw Out Your Television Man!!” by quoting papal documents citing the positive aspects of media, but to no avail. The thing I don’t get about “Throw Out Your Television Man!!” is that he lives on the Internet. The Internet has the potential to be ten times worse than TV, but let’s not confuse things with logic.
Devout Catholic. One of my faves. Devout Catholic almost always starts off his comment by saying “I am a devout Catholic, but…” and then Devout Catholic will proceed to say why we need to ordain women and allow gays to marry. (See also Pelosi Syndrome.) What Devout Catholic fails to recognize is that actual devout Catholics typically don’t describe themselves that way. There are also variants of Devout Catholic to look out for. They begin comments by saying things like “I was an altar boy, but…” or “I studied Latin in school, but….” Don’t be fooled, they are just like Devout Catholic, only with fewer IQ points.
Spaghetti Monster Man. Ah, a staple of the Catholic combox, A condescending atheist (is there any other kind?), Spaghetti Monster Man read a Richard Dawkins book once while sitting at Barnes and Noble sipping on a Frappacino. By virtue of reading this book, Spaghetti Monster Man has decided that he is now smarter than everyone else, especially believers, and frequently congratulates himself on this unprovable fact. Spaghetti Monster Man, while buzzing on two glasses on white Zinfandel, loves to pop into Catholic comboxes and liken God to a Flying Spaghetti Monster, amusingly convinced of his own originality. Once engaged by believers in the combox Spaghetti Monster Man will drop a few f-bombs, put the remaining bottle of white Zin back in the fridge, and then pass out on his Mom’s couch.
The Modesty Mob. The modesty mob loves to chastise Catholic bloggers for what they deem grossly immodest behavior. The Modesty Mob comes in gender-based variants. For male bloggers, the accusations usually center on pictures posted of scantily clad women. By scantily clad, of course, they mean any picture of a woman in which the neck line or knees are visible. The other, and I dare say more frightening kind, is the Modesty Mob attacks on Mommy bloggers who post pictures of themselves playing with their children in the heat of August while wearing shorts. Shorts!! Have they no shame?!? Hussies deserve what they get, I say.
And of course, the most pathetic of the bunch is the Catholic blogger himself who, completely bereft of suitable Catholic topics to write about, decides to poke fun at his commenters. Boy, I can’t stand those guys.
Who did I miss?