Lisa Graas, who is apparently a Catholic blogger, takes notice of the little back and forth between Jake and I. Now I have said before that I find Jake's blog amusing--albeit not terribly reliable, since he is, by his own admission, something of a muckraking rumor monger. Still, I find myself laughing out loud at times. And since I find laughing out loud enjoyable, I find myself being grateful to him.
Since he makes me laugh, I basically look the other way when he directs salacious and fundamentally rude remarks my way, as he has several times over the last several days--and multiple times over the last several years. In what seems to me a charitable spirit, I just pass it off as the result of his fundamental inability to intellectually engage the issues he discusses on his blog. I think there is more to it than that, but, since I'm trying to be nice, I won't go into that.
But, again--despite his serious lack of manners--I enjoy him. I can even say I like him. I'm sure that, were we to actually meet, I could sit down and have a beer and a cigar with him--although, I admit, I would enjoy it all the more knowing that he probably hates smoke and detests beer. But I would try to suppress this latter kind of enjoyment in favor of the sheer enjoyment of his company and his sense of humor.
So anyway, after viewing Jake's comments, in which he calls me names, accuses me of bad motives, and threatens to reveal scandalous things about me that he has somehow gleaned from people I have never met, Lisa Graas turns her criticism on ...
Jake's comments she passes off as just something you would expect from someone who describes himself as a "dirty political commentator." He lowers the standards that apply to him and Grass can then accept whatever he says as par for the rhetorical course. I, on the other hand, have been identified by Grass as a "professional Christian," and am to be held to some kind of standard.
Graas apparently didn't notice that Jake and other prominent gays are the ones who are always accusing their critics of hate. You would think, then, that when they employ it themselves, they should be held to the same standard that they demand others abide by.
But let's pass that by for now and talk about Graas's criticism of me.
"Professional Christian"? I'd love to know how she derived this from what she has read (likely written by someone else). I'm a lot of things professionally--a writer, editor, teacher, media relations person, legislative relations person, and author, but I can't imagine where anyone would get the idea that I'm a "professional Christian." I comment on religious issues on my blog; I teach at a Christian school; I even go to church.
Is that all it takes? Is Graas a "professional Catholic" because she runs a Catholic blog, giving lectures to people she thinks are professional Christians the purpose of whose writing she clearly doesn't even understand?
I remember a couple of years ago when I was sitting in front of the House Health and Welfare Committee arguing against a bill that would have resulted in the forced vaccinations of middle school girls for sexually transmitted diseases. I sat down and presented the case against it, using arguments that mostly focused on the preservation of something called "freedom."
When I got finished, State Rep. Kathy Stein (D-Lexington) grabbed the microphone and began preaching a sermon about how I shouldn't bring my religious arguments before a state legislative committee. Then began waving an imaginary Bible in her hands and quoting scripture passages that militated against my case.
I had not made a single religious argument. Not one. The case I made was entirely based on reason and evidence, unlike hers, which was entirely religious in nature.
After reading Graas's criticism, I feel a little like I did at that committee table: bemused that someone looking at my arguments would give me a lecture on the religious arguments that I did not make, all the while employing religious arguments herself.
I suppose this kind of thing is the just an occupational hazard for a blogger: there are just going to be some people who simply don't understand what you're doing. In Grass's case, the problem seems to be a simple lack of understanding of the nature of my remarks. She says:
Mr. Cothran, professional Christian, responded by calling Jake and his readers lower life forms and went on to suggest that they be treated as such.Ooookay.
Graas apparently did not notice that what I was doing in the post she references is taking Jake's own professed view about human origins and applying it to his own behavior. It's not my view that I was purporting to take in the post, it was Jake's. I was criticizing Darwnism, Lisa, remember?
It's the Darwinists who view human beings as simply more complex (but not "higher" in the ontological sense) than the creatures "lower" than they are. In the Darwinist view there is no qualitative difference between humans and other animals: the only difference is their biological complexity. If you doubt it, try to use the word "higher" in relation to humans in some ethical sense and you'll get a little lecture from some Darwinist about how "higher" only has to do with complexity, not with ontological hierarchy.
If Grass has problems with people who think that humans are like animals, then her argument isn't with me, it's with people who actually believe that.
Now I'm going to explain to Lisa what I was doing, and in doing so (we need to be careful here to fully explain the poetic devices used just so there is no further misunderstanding), I am going to use a device known as "facetiousness," so be forewarned.
I was using something called "Satire." You are using satire (and another device called "irony") when you take someone else's view and employ it yourself to show how preposterous the view is. Your aren't purporting to believe the view you are taking, but actually to undermine it.
I wrote a satirical piece here a couple of years ago in which I championed the forced circumcision of all middle school boys, which was written as a satire of the attempt to force middle school girls to receive HPV vaccinations. I just took all the arguments they used for the administration of Gardasil, and applied it to circumcision, since research had shown the same kinds of health benefits.
Well, wouldn't you know it, some people took me literally, and railed against such an idea. How could I support such an obviously preposterous thing?
I suggest Graas put together a summer reading list strong on authors like the following: Mark Twain, Voltaire, Jonathan Swift, George Orwell, and Ambrose Bierce. Then, since she is a Catholic, she might want to throw in Catholic satirical writers like Walker Percy, G. K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, and Flannery O'Connor.
Then she could at least have an understanding of what she is criticizing.