Amy Welborn at her blog Charlotte Was Both has one of the best takes I have seen on the Covington students and their attempted “lynching” by social media and the mainstream media:
Anyway, let’s move to Catholic apologist Mark Shea, who began his Facebook post on the matter with:
The MAGA goons were threatening confrontation with a small clutch of black protestors. (sic) As is done in his tradition, Phillips intervened with a drum and a chant to draw fire to himself. It was an act of peacemaking. The goons then mobbed and mocked him and he did not respond in kind. This was classic non-violence. The attempt to paint this as “elderly man with drum terrorizes 70 innocent athletic douchebags” is a narrative only the Right Wing Lie Machine would have the gall to promote
So, to repeat, Catholic apologist Mark Shea characterized the students from Covington Catholic High School as “MAGA goons” and “athletic douchebags.”
Sunday evening, Mark has published a piece at Patheos apologizing a bit – although his Facebook and Twitter posts calling these teenagers “MAGA goons” are still up. He has now embraced the narrative that Phillips was a peacemaker, so there’s that. (I repeat – look at this video and see if it would strike you, if you were there as “Oh, this fellow is trying to bring peace into this situation as he drums in my face and his grandson yells at my classmate.” He also says,
I disliked the “Crucify Them!” response because I think punishment should be ordered toward redemption, not destruction.
But….MAGA goons…athletic douchebags.
New Evangelization, I guess. *Shrugs.*
Shea also talks alot about the incident without being terribly specific about his takeaway from what he saw on the matter on which he’s opining, using another writer’s sequence of events.
Which, of course, is a defining characteristic of contemporary online rhetoric: to vaguely describe a situation, group people into categories, declare their motivations – but without many specific citations because 1) you don’t have time because you know something else is going to come down the pike for commentary in the next hour or so and 2) you know that your readers are going to be satisfied with the non-specific narrative you offer because they don’t have time to source it either, and are also busy waiting for the next thing.
Bottom line takeaways:
- If you are going to comment on this moment, comment on the moment. Watch the evidence that’s out there closely, then link the words and ideas in your commentary to pieces of evidence.
- Don’t bother with commenters who can’t be bothered to do that and who prefer to build narratives out of ideology, straw men and caricature.
- Maybe think about the impact instant communication and social media has on our perception of events and their importance. Consider this:
What happened in your neighborhood over the weekend? Do you even know your neighbors? Your community?
It’s like that joke you see during election year:
Me yesterday: Has no idea who my city council representative is
Me today: Tweets three times on the shifts from red to blue in California’s 33rd electoral district.
Or, in church terms – being an expert on the scandals in the Archdiocese of Whatever, while never engaging with one’s own local church.
Social Media and the internet puts us in touch with the world and tempts us to believe that we can impact the world with just a click – and that if we can know about it and if we can influence it, we must.
And yes, yes, good comes out of it.
But is it really that much good? Is it worth it? Is it really better?
Remember that the foundation of all sin is pride. Right there. Pride. So, maybe before I post a Hot Take, I should think – why am I doing this? If the reasons come down to nothing more than virtue signalling or a sense that *I* have “followers” who are super interested in my life or my opinion and I owe them a hot take – or I have to keep my profile nice and high by entering into this fray – pride.
Go here to read the rest.