Brandon is the author of the very well-received and widely read The Church and New Media, and a journalist who, like our Pat Gohn and Tony Rossi, has a knack for conducting great interviews (I do believe he knows every Catholic currently online!). He blogs at The Thin Veil and — along with partners Matthew Warner and Josh Simmons — he has founded the Digital Diocese Conference, a very exciting one-day presentation meant to help dioceses navigate the ‘net and boldly reach out to their flock in this new and most necessary medium.
And now he’s found time to interview Patheos’ own brilliant infant terrible, Marc Barnes of the Bad Catholic Blog, and as you might imagine, it’s a fun and fascinating read:
Q: Many people, me included, have likened your style to everyone from Chesterton to Tolkien, Flannery O’Conner to Walker Percy. Can you talk about how these and others have influenced your writing?
Such comparisons are well-intentioned insults to great writers. I do not know whether their influence comes across in my work—after all, it takes an onlooker to tell you that you have your mother’s eyes—but I do know they’ve moved my writing away from pretentious disaster. A more fitting way to say “Mr. Barnes sounds like Mr. Chesterton” would be “Mr. Chesterton prevents Mr. Barnes from sounding like crap.” But I’ll tell you what I’ve learned from each you’ve mentioned.
Walker Percy taught me that you just as easily prove God’s existence by showing those who fail to live up to his commands as showing those who don’t. He demands that I be comfortable living in the ruins (the world’s gone all to hell, but I will not be saddened) and he introduced me to the existentialism of Kierkegaard, for which I simultaneously hate and love him.
Ms. O’Connor taught me that sometimes putting it grotesquely is putting it best.
Chesterton taught me that if you’re not having a fantastic time arguing, debating, thinking and writing, you should be doing something else. And not to fear paradox. And he made me Catholic.
Tolkien taught me that being Catholic is a battle and a romance.
Aside from the fact that the conversation between these two young men made me feel slow, old and stupid, I enjoyed reading it very much; I think you will too.
But I can’t guarantee you won’t be humbled and thinking to yourselves, “young scrappers, get off my lawn! And pray for me!”
UPDATE I: Seems Marc Barnes, like Frank Weathers, is going to take some time off from blogging, for Lent. Stupid Christians and their stupid disciplines! Don’t they know we need constant input and updating?
UPDATE II: Lisa Mladinich has an interview with another young, very focused young Catholic!