Charlie's Blog: SOC 31


SOC 31

The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.

Recently, I tried to start a new blog that I called "Internet Apostolate." It was the latest incarnation of an idea that I have had and tried a few times of creating a sort of Catholic Drudge Report. Of course, these sorts of sites already exist. Here are four of them:
New Advent 
Big Pulpit 
Canon 212 
I like the sites, but they are all different in their special ways. Pewsitter and Canon 212 totally rip off Drudge which I think is great. But IA was a bit different. It was more like the internet equivalent of an automat where you could check out the main content or serve yourself from the buffet of links in the sidebars. The problem with this idea is that it is too ambitious. Basically, the blog is prone to crashing. It became so annoying to me that I ended the project. In short, it was a failure. But I learned a few things from the failure.

The first thing I learned is that Matt Drudge puts in a lot of work on his site. Yes, he doesn't write the content, but he certainly has to spend many hours reading that content and finding what is worth your time to read. As a working man, I could not pull off the same feat which is why I went with an automat idea. But I appreciate what these sites require. I just don't have the resources to give to a project like this.

The second thing I learned is that the fear of robots and self-driving cars and self-serve shops and restaurants is overblown. People's capacities can be expanded, but they can't be replaced. Tractors replaced field hands. Now, they want to replace the guy on the tractor with some AI tractor drone. This might happen, but a human being will still have to keep that thing running back in the office the way they do with drone aircraft. And people still want a human face. Companies want to dehumanize everything, but it is the customer and not the corporation that has the last word on things.

The third thing I learned is the value of brutalist website design. To make IA work, I went with text and no pictures. My wife described the look of the site as "word vomit." But I liked the word vomit because it was all about the information and nothing else. Drudge and Craigslist are brutalist sites, and I think they are awesome. I hate websites that are too fancy and have all sorts of things moving around and popping up.

There is beauty here if you know how to find it.

The brutalist webpage aesthetic informs what I do here at the C-blog. I try and keep it simple. But starkness has its place. I think brutalist architecture is awful for a building, but it is perfectly fine for a factory. I would definitely like to create another brutalist webpage in the future for some other project. I just have no idea what other project I would like to do.

I am not happy about the failure of IA, but I have to admit that my Twitter account does the best job of spreading information that I discover while reading the internets. It is convenient, and my readers can check out my feed on my blog which is the easiest way around any shadowbans. I post all day long on Twitter, and it takes no time at all. The IA site was labor intensive involving a lot of cutting and pasting.

I think I am at my max when it comes to my online presence. The C-Blog is my all purpose blog allowing me to write on anything and everything. It is my landing page on the internet. It allows me the greatest avenue for expression. And the only thing I don't post here is fiction which I reserve for my fiction blog which I need to get back to. That project is a casualty of my time poverty.

The issue of time poverty brings me to the basket of frustrations. This is my name for the collection of nagging issues that frustrate me and have frustrated me for the last couple of years. I never actually listed them until now which is why I use the term "basket" instead of lists. I will pull them at random out of the basket and make a list now.

1. Social media is evil and/or a waste of time.

This frustration has been touched on more times than I count here at the C-Blog. Most of the frustration is generated after reading some news story about the latest crap with social media. Right now, Facebook is the big story as it is revealed how evil that Zuckerberg really is as he mines and sells personal info including eavesdropping on people and collecting data on people that don't even have Facebook accounts. I permanently deleted my Facebook account a long time ago, and I am totally happy about that decision. Because of this, I am half out and half in when it comes to social media. I have a Twitter account and a GAB account. They have their own drawbacks but not like Facebook. Twitter is like weed while Facebook is heroin. Just like heroin, there is virtually no benefit from being on Facebook.

As someone who has gone back and forth, I can say without qualification that your personal life will improve dramatically if you get off social media. You will have more time for important things. Your mood will improve. It is total win. So, why am I drawn back to social media? That is simple--politics.

Social media especially Twitter and GAB are political battlegrounds. You can hunker down at home, but you can hear the gunfire and cannons from afar. There is a fight going down, and you are doing nothing. Part of me wishes that I would get a permanent ban from Twitter, so I could rest easy knowing I had fought and become a casualty. But I am able to fight. Is it worth the fight?

The resolution to this frustration can probably be found in answering the real question behind it. Is it worth it to be engaged in politics? Plato has the answer to that question:

You have to take an interest in politics. If you don't, politics will inevitably take an interest in you, and you will find yourself waking up in North Korea. This is why I do social media and write this blog. My impact is small, but I am doing my part. It is also why I got off my butt and joined the NRA recently. I realized I was doing very little to defend the Second Amendment. Now, I am doing all I can.

I do not believe in withdrawal from the political realm into quietism. Such a path offers the promise of a peaceful existence, but this promise is false. Sure, there are people who follow this path, but this luxury was fought and won for them by others. They can disengage because others engaged. There is a place for this sort of thing, but I think it belongs to priests and religious called to a certain state of life.

Is social media a good way to fight? I think so. Trump was elected largely because of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. This is why those outlets now try to censor conservative voters, Trump supporters, and devout Christians. If speaking up made no difference, they wouldn't expend so much effort to try and silence you. As such, I am going to use social media until they kick me off which might be today. Until then, I fight.

2. The Roman Catholic Church is a battleground, too.

Like it or not, the same political divide that exists in the world also exists inside the Roman Catholic Church. The difference is that the Church is not a democracy. Despite this, you have liberals and conservatives inside the Church. The liberals or modernists are evil. The conservatives or traditionalists are good. What should I do about this fight?

This is a more frustrating thing because it is the Church. Right now, a modernist pope sits on the Chair of Peter. Catholics are faithful to the pope. But what do they do when the pope is not faithful to Catholicism? This is quite a calamity.

At the most basic level, I pray about the situation, and I share information about the crisis on social media and on my blog. I do the same thing that I do with politics. I fight in that regard, and I think it is worth it. But the Church is now governed by the inferiors. I can pray and preach. That's it. I suppose this frustration resolves itself because it is in God's hands and not mine. I just have to remain faithful.

3. Buying a house.

I've saved up quite a bit of dough with the wife, but we still haven't found a house we want to call home. The goal has been to get a place in the country where we can homestead. There are plenty of houses if you're willing to finance and live in the burbs. We want to live in the sticks and pay cash. Those two requirements are the source of the frustration. We are getting to the point that if interest rates rose a bit then the earnings on our savings would cover our rent. I have this weird theory that when people earn more from interest than rent on property then a great deal of property will become ridiculously cheap. It is all up to the Federal Reserve.

4. Parish life.

I struggle with wanting to do something in terms of my parish, the Knights of Columbus, and all that. I don't do much of anything because the bulk of what my parish does is geared to the schedules of retirees. Naturally, the parish is like rotten fruit now. I am never going to retire, and I despise able bodied retirees for their end-of-life vacations. Yet, they have time while I don't. And they use their time to kvetch about the lack of participation from people who work for a living. I am not making this up.

That is the list of my frustrations. They aren't that big of a deal. The frustration is in deciding what my course of action should be in these endeavors. I think 1 and 2 are fairly settled for me. 3 is a wait-and-see thing as I believe the Federal Reserve is to blame for my housing woes. As for 4, that is simply a neverending hot mess for me.