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BY ERIC SCHESKE
If it’s a topic of conversation, you’ll find a blog
dedicated to it. Weather, food, religion, psychology, literature, baseball,
basketball, colleges, movies, travel. Whatever it is, someone is blogging about
But what topic gets the most blog play? What sphere of
activity attracts the most bloggers, the most readers, the most incoming links?
Nobody knows. And even if somebody did know, the information
would be out-of-date by tomorrow. Such is the lightning speed with which the
Most everyone, though, would agree that the blogosphere has
three subjects that command attention: gadgets and technology, celebrity gossip
and politics. If you search for the most popular blogs on the Internet, the
ones in these categories will dominate the Top 20.
Of those three, which is Numero Uno?
I’d pick politics. It’s a matter of respect. I’m no fan
myself, but it was political bloggers who put blogging on America’s radar
screen. They played crucial roles in pointing out Dan Rather’s questionable
journalism, Jayson Blair’s plagiarism at The New York Times, Trent Lott’s
statements at Strom Thurmond’s birthday party and John Kerry’s Vietnam War
record. All these stories may have fallen through the cracks of the mainstream
media if not for the cyber-caulking provided by political bloggers.
Pick Your Flavor
Where to go for political blogs?
That’s largely a matter of preference: left, right,
moderate, libertarian, green, socialist. You have your choice. The blogosphere
spans the political spectrum. On the left, Daily Kos (dailykos.com) and
Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com) are favorites. On the right, Michelle
Malkin (michellemalkin.com) and Instapundit (instapundit.com). For a blogger
who leans to the right but keeps his readers guessing, go to The Drudge Report
What about Catholic political bloggers? Unfortunately, none
of them rank among the cybersphere’s heavy hitters, but they’re numerous. The
annual Catholic Blog Awards (catholicblogawards.com) dedicate an entire
category to Catholic political and social commentary.
The Anchoress (theanchoressonline.com) won the category in
2006 and 2007. I suspect she’ll win again in 2008, and deservingly so. This
anonymous blogger touches on many topics, but hard-hitting political commentary
is the blog’s core.
There are lots of good Catholic political bloggers, but if I
had to pick my favorites, I’d choose:
• Catholics in the Public Square
(thepublicsquare.blogspot.com). All politics all the time, from a Catholic
• The Dawn Patrol (dawneden.com/blogger). Convert Dawn
Eden’s blog. Not dedicated to politics, but it emphasizes pro-life politics and
frequently exposes the dishonest political tactics and harmful policies of
• Vox Nova: Catholic Perspectives on Culture, Society, and
Politics (vox-nova.com). The subtitle says it all. Numerous contributors make
for an active blog.
• Taki’s Top Drawer (takimag.com). Taki Theodoracopulos’
blog. Not explicitly Catholic, but heavily slanted with a Catholic perspective.
• Catholic Analysis (catholicanalysis.blogspot.com). A smart
one-man show dedicated almost entirely to politics.
• The Distributist Review (distributism.blogspot.com). A
list of Catholic political blogs that didn’t mention ChesterBelloc-inspired
thinking would hardly be Catholic. The blog isn’t updated as often as I’d like,
but it keeps alive the economic and political thought of a heady bygone
• RomanCatholicBlog (romancatholicblog.typepad.com). Far
more political than its name implies.
The blogosphere gives everyone the chance to offer an
The scandalous Republican staffer Jessica Cutler once told
the Washington Post in an interview, “Everyone should have a blog. It’s the most
democratic thing ever.”
I agree that blogging is a democratic thing, but I’m not so
sure everyone should blog. There are many reasons: family commitments, limited
skill, technological inability, disability. I could list a hundred more.
But one deserves specific mention: spiritual danger.
If you want to make it in the blogosphere, you need to make
a splash. In the political blogosphere, the splash probably needs to be
Nearly 200 years ago, Alexis de Tocqueville observed a
troubling characteristic of American writing: inflammatory prose. He said
readers in America’s democracy “require strong and rapid emotions, startling
passages, truths or errors brilliant enough to rouse them up and to plunge them
at once, as if by violence, into the midst of the subject.”
The prose in democracies, de Tocqueville said, “will
frequently be fantastic, incorrect, overburdened, and loose, almost always
vehement and bold. Authors will aim at rapidity of execution more than at
perfection of detail.”
Thanks to the blogosphere, de Tocqueville’s observation is
truer today than it was in the early 19th century.
Newspapers then and now have employed inflammatory prose,
but it’s nothing compared to what you can find on the partisan blogs. The prose
on those sites would make a thundering Tom Paine blush.
Although I’m no spiritual authority, I don’t think it’s
far-fetched to think bloggers that use profane and mean-spirited posts to tap
into the American love of violent prose are running a spiritual risk. A similar
thing goes for their fans.
Fortunately, none of the Catholic political bloggers listed
above use such prose. If you want to keep abreast online this political season
but don’t want to feel like you need a shower or a confession when you’re done,
check them out.
Eric Scheske blogs
at The Daily Eudemon