Told Them So

Cardinal Urges Religious to Get Blogging” (thanks to Jeneane for the heads-up). In my “technology and religion” article, I addressed enither the ignorance that leads Cardinal Ruini to say, “I don’t understand the Internet, but especially young religious ought to enter blogs and correct the opinions of the youth” nor the “cult of professionals” rhetoric that Andrew Keen and (now, thx David) Donnacha Delong spout. I’m not inclined to revise the article so extensively as to engage those angles, but I’m kicking myself (gently) for leaving them out.

Dave catches me!


I’m having a minor attack of cognitive dissonance here! :^)

In “Commitment, Ambiguity, and Reading Scripture,” you seem to be arguing for the “cult of professionals,” and correctly so, in my opinion; yet you seem to dismiss the same with with disdain here (Told Them So). Am I missing something? (I know none of the “cool kids” like Andrew Keen, because he harshes everyone’s buzz, but really, he has a valid point though he is perhaps not its best advocate.)

You do write beautifully, though. I really, really liked the Commitment… post. And I’ve read, briefly, your technology and religion post. I thought it was well done, but I was disappointed that you didn’t seem to want to tackle “technology as religion,” which is something that troubles me these days.

Anyway, just wanted to pass that along.

Have a great day! Hope you’ve recovered from your canine care-giver’s fatigue!


[Hi, Dave! Yes, we rested up yesterday and are feeling fresh as daisies today. The dogs really were charming, in their way — we just weren’t fully prepared for “their way,” and Margaret’s a very light sleeper, and even I have a hard time going back to sleep after a lovable pug launches himself at my head in the wee hours of the morning.

I could defend my apparent inconsistency as an instance of normative dissonance, and it’s been a while since someone used “harsh [their] buzz” so Dave has captatio‘ed my benevolentiae. But if there is any consistency there, it rests in my advocacy of an environment where demonstrable excellence has the opportunity to make itself known — apart from constraints imposed unilaterally by experts (“do it my way or we won’t publish”), and apart from the empty noise that drowns out edifying signals. I associate Keen with the “Shut up, amateur” school (when did he become an expert on expertise, anyway? What qualifies him?); I know from experience many of the “I have a theory” advocates who skip the annoying intermediary steps of “getting acquainted with the relevant literature.” Under the best circumstances, the Web provides a venue for sound thinking to make itself visible apart from expert editorial approval, but often enough the circumstances are non-optimal. A number (not “all”) of the biblical-studies pages of the Wikipedia illustrate the power of a vigorous, determined autodidact to suppress well-grounded countervailing scholarly perspective.

Enh — away with the experts and hobby-horse riders! I’m still an advocate of the best of the Web. But thanks very much, Dave, for your compliment to my writing and for keeping me accountable for propounding a coherent version of my spiel, which accountability I hope I’ve begun to make good on.]

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