Blog Comments Policy, or Rules for That Knife Fight

One of the things I did not expect when we set up this blog was, I have to approve all comments. This presents a dilemma because it means a) reading said comments and b) approving them. This is normally the point at which a blogger encourages civility; reminds you that it is his, her or its own blog, after all; and expresses hope that a meaningful dialogue can occur.

But here’s the thing: I am not overly fond of Internet comments. There’s a place for them, sure, but they are often obnoxious, ill-informed, poorly written, and/or libelous. This was driven home to me by a bunch of tedious comments on the altar boys post. I haven’t approved them and probably won’t because I just don’t feel like it.

So feel free to try to comment here but here are the ground rules for approval:

1. The only time you have something approaching an absolute right to be heard here is when I criticize you by name.

2. Related to the first point, if I criticize a group then I will allow one or two or more of the aggrieved parties to be heard.

3. If you are going to insult me here, it had better be a good insult.

4. If you want to get the green light, say something smart and say it well. I really am a sucker for good writing.

5. If you become a regular commenter to Jeremy Lott’s Diary, over time I will give you more deference and I might even respond.

Those are the rules, folks. If they’re acceptable to you, great. Have at it. And if not, then go troll under somebody else’s bridge.

Dangerous Lives of Altar Boy Jokes

A bunch of people who don’t like the Catholic Church have been smugging themselves silly over one of those images modeled on demotivational posters. You’re probably familiar with the genre if you’re on Facebook. People like to use these things to score political points while keeping the “What, it was only a joke” card up their sleeves if they get in real trouble.

This demotivational message is more heavy-handed than most, as the Facebook page from which it originates makes clear. I know this because a friend who is a mocker of religion commended it to me. It came along with the message, “The people who run the Catholic Church are utterly and staggeringly full of shit. LIKE and SHARE to raise awareness!” Thought I’d do my part:

Altar boy

Ha ha ha ha. That’s so funny! Way to stick it to the hypocritical, uptight, sexist, patriarchal, heteronormative sex worker of Babylon guys! High fives all around! Any Catholic who doesn’t laugh along with you clearly has no sense of humor!

Except, there’s one little problem, for those of us who actually go to church regularly. They’re really not called “altar boys” anymore except in an informal sense. The preferred term is “altar server,” and they tend to look a lot like, well, this:

altar girl

So, clearly, the Catholic Church will be changing its position. I mean, any day now. Right?