One never ceases to be amazed at what is found in one’s comment box (and I do not divulge my email; because then things would become funny indeed) when one opens a blog. Every reader who has a blog can probably relate.
I wonder at times what motivates people. I do not go around visiting atheist blogs and trying to post there, nor yet trying to get some publicity for my blog; nor do I search for sodomite blogs and invite them to repent; least of all I try to, hear this, promote my blog among them. Believe it or not, some people truly do this. Astonishing.
Then there are the interminable ranters dreaming of global judeo-masonic persecutions, and you can smell the vodka from the other side of the ocean (they tend to be Americans, I have noticed; vodka is cheaper there than in Blighty).
Then there are the ranters tout court, basically complaining against the entire planet and that the sun goes up in the East, and taking everything human or divine down in their stride. I pity them, and think they must be tragically lonely. I understand why, though.
Then there are the nutcases, from the chap who has created a religious order only existing in …… his own blog to those speaking for more or less cretinous two-heads interest groups (something like “Occupy” but vastly more insignificant; which is, in itself, an achievement). “You are insignificant too”, you might say, and you would be right. But exactly because I am I do not try to alert the world to the absolute necessity of becoming aware of my existence. I am interested in those Catholic who might be interested in reading what I write, not in making of this blog an ego exercise.
I receive messages with “read my blog” lines, and relative links. Yeah, right…
Perhaps the nature of this blog – notwithstanding its minuscule readership – attracts the nutcases through the shameless showing of conservative Catholic symbols and people (the photos of the Popes; Pius XII everywhere, etc). Perhaps when one is drunk and in the mood for a rant the easiest thing to do is to google a raft of conservative Catholic terms and if I am unlucky, google will do the rest (Google is inexplicably good to me; just digit “Mundabor” and you’ll get my main page and six under-pages to give you more choice; again, fully unjustified in comparison to my minuscule readership).
But the simple fact is: this blog is not here for reasoned debate, nor is it an exercise in religious pluralism (ha!) or in democracy. Least of all is it a platform for unrepentant sodomites and wannabe alternative prophets. This blog is, purely and simply, an instrument of shameless Catholic propaganda at the best of what yours truly can do, and for you to read if you find it instructive or ignore if you don’t.
If you want “nuanced”, go to Vincent “Quisling” Nichols. If you want “debate”, go to some Catholic forum. If you want atheism, go to hell (or repent). If you want political correctness, you couldn’t be more wrong than here. Think Mussolini, and you’ll have a good idea of how I manage my blog. Alas, I wasn’t born “pluralist”, and if I had had an interest in wasting my day moderating what other people write I’d have created a forum, and ceased having a life as a result.
I sometimes think – and I don’t think it often – I am too gentle if every cretin can litter my message box and think I will waste your time and mine posting his supposedly brilliant lucubrations (whiff of vodka, again); which, in turn, would force me to reply to the madness, as the posting of anti-Catholic or even questionable material without adequate rebuttal is inconceivable; which, in turn, means my blog would be driven – time being what it is – from what they write rather than from what I want to write.
I am embarrassed at times, because not all of the mad night-philosophers are evil; some are, in my eyes, purely deluded time wasters thinking the world must pay attention to them.
Not here, please. Be warned that I do not even read your rants to the end, and who cares if you have been writing 25 minutes before finally detaching yourself from the keyboard and going to bed. At the first signs of stupidity, or anti-Catholic propaganda, or sodomite whining, or delusion of grandeur – have I told you of the one to whom God had appeared? Didn’t read what He had allegedly told him… – and such like you are thrashed.
You had spent 35 minutes writing?
I don’t like talking about my blog, which is the reason why I never write blog posts like “this is my 300th post” and the like.
Still, I have been blogging for almost one year now and have, I think, learned one thing or two about what – at least in my case – goes and what not.
As I have written a couple of times in the recent past about Catholic blogging, I thought that I may write here a couple of suggestions that might be obvious to the already experienced blogger, but not so obvious to the person thinking of starting a Catholic blog for the first time.
If you were to ask me for advice about how to start a conservative Catholic blog, I would – based exclusively on my personal experience; your mileage may vary – suggest the following steps. Others will, no doubt, have different opinions. Still, here we are:
1) anonymity. It is pure illusion to think that future employers – or people relevant to one’s business – will not trace all your activity whether you want it or not; and this without you having any control about the matter and without you ever knowing what damage this has done to you. If you are like me you’ll seek wisdom, not martyrdom.
2) No public stat counter. To have a public stat counter means to make an emotional investment in how many page views you get, in front of all your readers. This can easily lead – human nature being what it is – to a perversion of the scope of the blog and you might end up writing what you think might bring more page views, rather than what you think is more deserving of a blog post. Do your own thing. It’s not an exercise in popularity.
3) Activate comments. People like to comment and yes, you will like to answer to them. It doesn’t take much time. Only a very tiny minority of readers comments, but many more enjoy to read the comments. Comments also help to clarify and expand the blog post material. In time, you’ll receive many useful hints about further posts, too.
4) Moderate comments before they are posted. It is astonishing how every blog is visited by people whose only apparent scope in life is to annoy others. Don’t be a Pollyanna, it’s full of rubbish-spitting trolls out there. You will have a “trash” button. Use it.
5) Variety. Blog about a mixture of news and general issues. A blog is very useful for themes of general Catholicism because, contrarily to what you may think, your blog posts do not get buried. See below about this, point 7). Use your blog to propagate Catholic devotions. Particularly the Rosary. And Fatima. Ah, and Padre Pio. Oh, and Pius XII. You get the drift……. 😉
6) Post just a few blog links. Too many links is the same as no links. Have just a limited number of links that work as a real endorsement and whose profile well complements your own blog. Escape the temptation of the “I link to you if you link to me”-mentality. It doesn’t even work, because being buried among 200 links against your burying others among your 200 links is, I think, not going to help much. I would also opine that Google is, very probably, smarter than that. Ah, and don’t be an ass: link to the right blogs even if they don’t link to you. You are trying to give a service to your readers, not to wage a link war….
7) Be patient. A blog must grow like a tree, with the slow accumulation of concentric circles of blog posts. The accumulation of good, serious content is at least as important as the issue of the day. A blog slowly builds on the foundation of a growing number of posts your readers will love to browse around. I see this on my own (hidden to you 😉 ) statistics, with a surprising percentage of page views daily devoted to old posts. This I hadn’t expected. A blog doesn’t work – as I thought initially – like a pile of magazines, with the older ones being buried under a ton of newer material; rather, it works more like an electronic archive always accessible – and continuously accessed – through individual clicking and search engines. You’ll do well to link to older posts within new ones anyway, as it shows to your new readers that there is a lot to read around.
8 ) Method. A blog can’t eat your life, because if you do you’ll soon abandon the effort after the first enthusiasms. Rather, the decision to devote so and so much time to the blog every week – something reasonable, but “visible” and half way constant – will help you to make of this a long-term project. Those who start a blog for the stat counter – and those who think that the world has been waiting for what they have to say – will be disappointed and will soon stop blogging.
9) Honesty. Make every blog post something uniquely yours. If you link to external material, write your own thoughts about it. If you take the habit of merely posting external documents that hey can easily google you don’t give anything unique to the reader. Readers don’t visit your blog for the text of, say, “Universae Ecclesiae”, but for your take on it. The first can be had everywhere, the second from you only.
10) Images. Post images whenever you have time. Make the image relevant and striking; or use it to bring some irony, or a joke, or even to administer some cod liver oil when appropriate. Pay attention that you do not infringe about other people’s copyrights. Still, don’t be a slave to the pleasant layout: if there’s no time, it’s better to post good content with a simple layout than no content at all.
11) Tags. Post all tags you think relevant to the post. Don’t neglect this part because tags are an important part of your ability to be reached through internet searches. Whenever I saw a sudden decrease of pageviews the reason was, without a single exception, my forgetting to write the tags.
12) Technology. Make your readers as comfortable as your technical savvy allows. Post on twitter and facebook, allow internal post search, etc. Similarly, use the technology available to you. The “timer” function – allowing you to write when you have time, and to publish when you think it’s right – is a very useful tool.
13) Bite. Make your blog unique, not just another “let us get along” product. Give it assertiveness, substance, chuzpah. Write an opinion, not merely a fact. Tell clearly what you want to say. Don’t be afraid of being harsh with people who deserve to be treated harshly. You are blogging, not having afternoon tea, so stop being so English 😉 and take inspiration from the chap in the photo above 😉
13b) Bite part II, or political incorrectness. Don’t be afraid of exercising your rights. Tell it as it is. For example, don’t say “gay” unless you mean “happy”. Use “homosexual” or “sodomite” instead. You may want to sprinkle with “faggot” and “poof” whenever a harsher reproach sounds appropriate, but that’s up to you. Don’t be pussyfooting around. You have an agenda that must be said loud and clear, not whispered. Show your readers that you eat meat, not tofu. Ridicule the enemy, as this has always been an extremely effective weapon. Una risata li seppellira’ (“a laugh will bury them”).
14) Blog profile. Do your own thing. Don’t ask your readers how they’d like your blog to be, and don’t try to fathom how they would best like it. This is nonsensical; tot capita, tot sententiae. Write your blog as you like it, and other people will like it too. There’s no blog which, when properly cared for and written from the heart, doesn’t attract the readership congenial to it. Even sedevacantist sites, when properly made, attract readers! It is better to have a product with a real, individualised character, that one which tries to be all things to all people. The first gives a very good service to a limited few, but the second no added value to anyone.
15) Keep your ego outside as much as practicable. Blog anonymously and if you can (no spouse around, say) don’t tell anyone you’re blogging. Train yourself to think that you write to fight the good fight, not for human recognition. Your service is twofold: a) to God, who sees you even if no one else knows, and b) to your readers, to whom you give a service if you give a unique and instructive product instead of a copycat, or a collection of common places. This is also useful for point 1) above.
16) Accuracy. Write your blog posts in correct, proper English. If you don’t know the difference between “their”, “there” and “they’re”, “its” and “it’s”, “Popes” and “Pope’s” and the like, do not expect to be taken seriously. If you are, like me, a foreigner, do make an extra effort. “He who [writes] badly, thinks badly” (Nanni Moretti).
17) Seek remuneration. The thing with the free meal, and all that. You put a lot of work in your blog and give your readers a service which some of them will find valuable. Don’t be a wimp, and ask for your readers’ prayers (I suggest the “about the author” page for that; we don’t want to be a nuisance; or perhaps we should be a nuisance?). With the years, think of how many they might become. One day, this will be a very useful currency, and certainly worth every minute of your time, and the best compensation for your effort you may desire. Most people are honest folks: when they see added value, they are glad to give back for it; and don’t think you don’t need prayers because, if you are any similar to me, you most certainly do.
I cannot say that I always agree with Michael Voris. I remember an extremely questionable “vortex” about homosexuality, another about the best form of government for a Catholic country, a third (very recent) holding a rather extreme (though by no means isolated) view about how many people are saved; and if I must say it all, I also confess to a strong dislike of his post-68 style of dressing; things like jacket without tie, or jacket over casual trousers…but I digress.
Very often, though, I agree with what he says. Take the video above for example, a passionate defence of Truth over convenience, and proper instruction over “niceness”.
False charity doesn’t work and whilst most priests still don’t get the message, most bloggers do. Blogging is – in most cases – not their profession and the reason they blog is that – be they clergy or laity – they want a message to be spread, that they see not sufficiently talked about. Their blogging is the reaction to the utter failure of the professional clergy – collectively seen, and with the usual exceptions – to do a proper job.
This mentality has, in the last half century, sent countless faithful to their grave with a gospel of “niceness” at all costs and “celebration” as absolute centre of their spiritual life whose usefulness in the economy of their salvation can only be described as tragically inadequate.
No, blogs don’t have to “be nice” and come to that, priests don’t have to be it either. What they must be is truthful, crystal clear, assertive, uncompromising. It is not a surprise that the call to more “niceness” would apparently come from the same “establishment” (to use Voris’ words) that has, through its lack of truthfulness and love for harmony at all costs, caused the explosion of Catholic blogging in the first place. By calling for a non-divisive approach, they show that they still haven’t got the message that the Church is divisive, because the Church is in opposition to the world.
There is, I am afraid, no escape from this. The very moment you open your mouth and say that you’re a Catholic, you must know that you have no other choice but fight or appeasement. It must be so, because human nature is so. Being a Catholic – and saying it – means being unpopular among many, being vilified at times, being considered “uncharitable” by those who have made of niceness a religion, being considered “divisive” by those for whom inclusiveness comes before Truth. But it also means doing your duty, being a small but willing soldier of Christ, helping others to know the Truth, and avoiding becoming accessory to other people’s sins. Whoever has told you that to “fight the good fight” meant to “celebrate the inclusive celebration” was wrong.
Most bloggers will continue not to be very “nice” I am afraid. At least until the clergy will continue to be it.