For God’s Sake, Get To The Point!

I remember noticing the issue first with Rush Limbaugh. I read the transcripts of his radio shows and the first thing I noticed was the endless, endless waffle. It was like Seinfeld, “the show about nothing”, with something thrown in after needing twenty minutes to get to the darn point.

Like many others, I have a fairly busy life. Not being retired, I – and many others with me – do not have one hour to devote to one simple issue. If the issue were very complex (say: Predestination) I would understand it if a video were long, but packed with content. But if the issue if a simple one (e.g. is this right, should Caius do that, was Sempronius wrong) then I’d say that less is most certainly more.

It often happens to me that I want to watch a video about a simple issue (e.g. a letter written to Francis) and, upon seeing that the video goes on literally forever (e.g. 59 minutes) I give up before starting.

Why are videos so long? The tendency to waffle a bit is natural, but again he who makes a video should know it, prepare a sort of bullet points list, and go on in proper order through them.

Perhaps it is because of the ads? Maybe so. But even in that case, wouldn’t it be better, for Mr Professional Videomaker, to produce more videos of ten or eleven minutes, but packed with content and which more people actually watch, then inflicting 59 minutes of waffle, alone or with Mr Waffling Guest, when most certainly ten would have sufficed to make the damn point?

I suspect in one hour I could read one and a half, perhaps two of those pre-V II encyclical letters actually full of content, and this would nourish me more than 20 hours of video waffling about one event happened yesterday.

You might say that I can simply not watch, and that’s that. Very true, and I actually don’t. But it seems to me that this is becoming endemic. It seems to me that it’s getting far too fashionable, and I am missing stuff which, if reasonably presented, would actually have been interesting.

I wish people would keep it short. I wrote this in a matter of minutes, and you will read it far faster than I wrote it. It makes the point in a, or so I think, fairly exhaustive way.

Or perhaps those interested in Catholic things are all retired people with a lot of time in their hands, and I am the exception.

Posted on September 9, 2021, in Traditional Catholicism. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I am retired, have time on my hands and am bored beyond belief with the bloated waffle on videos from Catholic blowhards. Dr Taylor Marshall and his friend Timothy were classic examples. Put them in the same video and they started talking about their family news. As if anyone else on the planet gave a ****. Even when they got as far as the serious theology, you could not help feeling there were quicker ways to do business. There is loads of good stuff out there. It is just like the old advice to girls – you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince.

  2. It is about time someone said this. The other aggravating aspect is the hosts almost always promise more than they deliver, citing three items on the agenda, barely covering two because they wasted so much time on the wandering intro. I miss a lot of edifying Catholicism as I have to stop listening before they actually get started.

  3. I was just thinking the same thing after I watched Dr. Taylor Marshall’# hour-long YouTube video last night 🤦‍♀️

    Sent from my iPad


  4. Too true. I can often read stuff much faster than having to listen to loads of waffle.
    That’s why your blog is so good and I suspect has a large following. Also there is something new almost every day.
    I am retired and have plenty of time but don’t waste it on long drawn out talks . . I often fall asleep before the end anyway.

  5. Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice. His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff: you shall seek all day ere you find them, and when you have them, they are not worth the search. Merchant of Venice, Act I, Scene I.

    Maybe what we’re seeing here is a product, not only of intellects darkened by vice and the failure to read Shakespeare, but also of the failure of anyone to see the point of learning Latin. Alas, my (Catholic) high school stopped teaching Latin the year I started (1984), and my efforts to study it on my own were largely a flop; but I did pick up enough to see what an incredibly concise language Latin is, and how it forms the mind in orderly thought.

    All the old, short, content-rich pre-conciliar encyclicals were written in Latin by Latinists. Now they’re not, and they’re just page after page of twaddle. I have no patience for it either. Quantity is no substitute for quality.

  6. Couldn’t agree more. FWIW, some slower speakers are completely intelligible at 2X speed (Taylor Marshall, e.g.) others are okay at 1.75X or 1.5X. (Speed can be adjusted using the settings menu, right hand below the video). In any case, 15 minutes is too long for current events topics.

  7. LOL, good point. We moved out of the city to a small farm and now, for the first time in my life, am an American commuter driving hours and hours so that is my explanation. But it is addictive and one forgets how much more efficient reading is.

  8. Here here. Same w/ articles or blog posts. If I’m piqued by the headline I might take a peak.
    Too often they begin w/ a flourish of banality. It’s full-stop before I get to the meat of it, if any. Just tell the thing right away – if I want more, I’ll continue. Bore me & I’m gone.

  9. Joseph D'Hippolito

    Few people know how to communicate, whether in oral or written form. Studying grammar and syntax went out the window for creativity and self-expression. That, in turn, reflects the lack of emphasis on discipline as a virtue, especially personal discipline. We see that more blatantly in other areas of life.

    But trying to be creative and trying to express yourself without a basic knowledge of grammar and syntax is like trying to perform calculus without understanding basic mathematics.

  10. Great article, and I find myself in agreement with all the comments thus far, as well. Like Mr. Murphy, I am retired, but I also have no patience for video blowhards, especially Catholic ones, laity or clergy, who can’t get over hearing themselves talk. The encyclicals and homilies of the great popes and Doctors of old are never verbose. They didn’t need to be, because they weren’t trying to hide heresy in a word salad like some folks we know, or trying to …well, I’m not really sure what Mr. Marshall is trying to do most of the time. That’s the problem, isn’t it? 😂

  11. This is a hard one for me. I don’t have much attention span for long programs. I’d rather skim through the transcript, or wait for the news to surface elsewhere. I do understand the above commuter’s point. When I was driving 50-60 minutes each way at my most recent job, I was glad to have something interesting to listen to other than the twaddle on the radio; I downloaded that on my phone. I also studied languages. These things helped me be a less cranky commuter.
    But we have people addicted to regular ‘entertainment’ from TV or radio, and they need to fill those half-hour or hour slots with something on a usual weeknight evening. I see the comments that scroll alongside the youtube videos, and I don’t think they’re even paying much attention but trying to substitute for a regular social life, which is not so regular anymore in our century. I am hoping those long Catholic shows are a replacement for trashy TV for a lot of those people, and that they benefit from it.
    My preference is short and to the point.

  12. I AM retired and I have exactly the same complaint! Retired or not, I don’t like to waste time watching/listening to drivel!

  13. Oh, my. My pet peeve. Videos. Videos that yammer on and on, taking forever to get to the point and taking at least twice as long as it would take to read the information, even a transcript. I won’t watch them, except on a rare occasion. An educational gardening youtube of about 15 minutes is my limit. Especially wearying are hand-wringing videos over “What is going ON with Pope Francis?!”. Duh. If you haven’t figured it out by now, something is wrong.

  14. rockvillecatholic

    A priest whom I know is fond of a bad pun. He says that preaching is like drilling a well. After ten minutes, it becomes boring. That applies to video productions as much as to homilies.

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