Not manly enough?

Not manly enough?


I’m not sure what Eric criteria were since I’m not an NCR subscriber and don’t have the whole column, but a recent Caveman post on the LA Religious Education Congress had the following snippet:

At the L.A. Edjumacation Congress, is Liturgical Pole Dancing one of the subjects taught? Possibly this is just a flashback to my beer drenched younger days in The Corps, but I’m all of a sudden gettin’ a hankerin’ to whip out a handful of dollar bills. Is it just me, or does this chick look about ready to start sliding up and down those poles strategically placed around her? Spiked heels, a sexy shirt and tight pants… the only thing missing is a heavy bass guitar beat.

Look, I like the Cavemen and the other blogs he named, but if the definition of Catholic fatherly manliness is stripper jokes and calling people names and posting photos of nearly naked models who profess to be Catholic and seconding Ann Coulter’s insult of John Edwards as a “faggot” and other locker room behavior, then I think you can count me out. (Clarification:  “photo of the model” does not refer to the LA Religious Ed Congress photo on the Cavemen’s blog. It’s something else I saw on another blog some time ago.)

Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia links to the latest National Catholic Register weekly blog column by Eric Scheske (subscription required). Eric’s topic this week: “Real Men Don’t Write Blogs Do they?”

His thesis: There aren’t many Catholic men writing manly blogs. Huh? He even singles out the finalists for last year’s Catholic Award for Best Blog by a Man as not emphasizing “the sort of fatherly virility I’m talking about here”: Jimmy Akin, Mark Shea, Dale Price, Gerald Augustinus, and me. (Let’s set aside for the moment the fact that Jimmy is neither married nor a father and that Gerald was only just married in the past year and does not yet have kids.)

Does Eric actually read these blogs? Just in the past week, Mark has written about his oldest son and his pride at seeing him leaving the nest on a missionary journey and Dale was just writing about building a model tank with his son. Both men often write about their children and families. For anyone paying attention, Jimmy is clearly a real Texas cowboy and a Catholic gentleman. Eric does give Gerald a partial pass based on looks alone, I guess.

What is Catholic manliness?

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • “Look, I like the Cavemen and the other blogs he named, but if the definition of Catholic fatherly manliness is stripper jokes and calling people names and posting photos of nearly naked models who profess to be Catholic and seconding Ann Coulter’s insult of John Edwards as a “faggot” and other locker room behavior, then I think you can count me out.”

    Indeed, that would be the epitome of insecure manliness – aka adolescence.

  • Some people (by which I mean Mr. Scheske, not you) seem to just enjoy starting fights for no reason.

  • Yeah, I would definitely describe that as adolescent.  That’s not Josemaria Escriva manliness…that’s not Jesus manliness.  “Esto vir.”

  • Not manly enough?

    Geez…In the past couple of weeks, Dom had a post about hunting (or in the words of John Kerry, huntin’)

  • You’re far too modest—your own blog is certainly demonstrative of paterfamilias, vir, et Christianus authorship and intent.

    But hey!  Lent is a good time for getting humility, right?

  • Dom, am I in there (I refuse to register to read on-line columns)? If not, I’ll be so stressed that I’ll probably nurse my wounded inner self and skip into the kitchen to bake a quiche for my six kids—one of whom runs his own widely read Catholic blog. Sniff Sniff. The things people say.

  • I’m not able to get to the original article, so I don’t know if other blogs are mentioned, but I know of one (mine) that talks often about men’s issues and ministry with men, etc.

  • Dom,

    I think you raise some valid points. And while I was flattered to have been mentioned by Eric’s column, I have absolutely no idea why he singled out my blog over the MANY other fine masculine blogs in St. Blog’s. Again, I was flattered by the mention, but don’t necessarily feel worthy of it.

    And, for the sake of full disclosure, I suppose I should ‘fess up to being the one who posted the GQ story about the Catholic supermodel last year. However, while I stand by my decision to post the story and the related photo, that is definitely not my usual fare at Pro Ecclesia.

  • Some serious Catholics these days seem to overcompensate for the culture’s rejection of sex differences. I’ve seen some evidence of people going all the way back to rigid and exaggerated role assignment that probably in part led to the original excessive backlash against ideas of manliness and ladylike behavior.

  • If you understand blogging to be a modern form of the time-honored art of essay writing, let alone the daily or weekly columns published by Chesterton, Belloc, Lewis and the like, then this whole question seems a moot point to me. Granted, the average blog post isn’t an essay worthy of Addison and Steele, but it certainly counts as an intellectual attempt hoping to educate and open to criticism and response.

    Blogging is *so* for men.

  • Jay: I want to be clear that I don’t think that the post was necessarily inappropriate, but that the question of manliness and virility and masculine virtue should not hinge on such things. In other words, posting such things doesn’t make you manly, even if it’s not particularly wrong.

  • Dom: Rest assured: I meant no offense and I certainly wasn’t trying to start a fight. My column is a light-hearted look at different aspects of the blogosphere. It’s not meant to be a detailed examination and it never purports to be an exhaustive list of representative blogs.

    As for what qualifies as a manly blog, I was tying into a line of thinking from the intro (cut and pasted below), as well as postings about being a father. I simply don’t think the five blogs mentioned emphasize such things. My position can be disputed, of course, but the five blogs listed don’t seem to fit the description. Please also note that I refered to all five of you as “good men.” I based such an assessment merely on my readings of your blogs, but I hope it helps establish that I meant no ill will.

    Anyway, please accept my column in the spirit of good-natured light-heartedness it was intended. You have a good blog and you strike me as adecent guy. I’d hate for you to think I was making an unprovoked attack.


    From the intro:
    My teenage bible was a book of pictures and anecdotes called The Manly Handbook. Who made America? “Real men,” it said, “like Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, Teddy Roosevelt and Duke Wayne.”

    Do you want to read manly books? Buy Mickey Spillane novels. Manly movies? Watch Dirty Harry, Death Wish, Hercules and the Captive Women and anything with John Wayne. Looking for manly recreation? “Kick down all the doors in your house,” advised The Manly Handbook, and “take a midnight stroll through the Bronx unarmed.” Manly occupation? Rodeo rider, bounty hunter, bartender, drill sergeant, mercenary, truck driver.

  • Hold on one second there, sports fans… I don’t know what I’ve done to demean you (or Liam or Infanted) in the past, so possibly you can tell me why out of over a thousand posts on my blog, you find it fit and proper to dig for one or two posts to get your digs in one me. What was that all about?

    In fact, why have any digs aimed at me at all? If you’re upset with Eric Scheske, then take it up with him. I didn’t ask Eric to single me out… but he did. And I’ll be honest, I’m honored he did. I got a huge laugh out of it. I know the spirit in which it was meant. Sadly, you don’t.

    By the way, my “Liturgical Pole Dancer” post was satire. And Eric is right, his was a lighthearted article. You three just need to lighten up. Seriously, think about it Dominic… you weren’t selected by Eric on an obviously not-to-be-taken-seriously article, and you actually spent time complaining about it? And going after me? I’ve just got to ask again… what in the hell have I ever done against you?

    So while the likes of you, Liam and Infanted sneer down your noses at me, I consider your ad hominem (by all three of you) to be neither warranted nor appriciated. In fact, I think the best description would be “adolescent”. This is an example of your Catholicism?

    But for Liam in particular, I’ll say this—- for you to make the comments you did against me, in a public forum, no less, displays an incredible lack of class and maturity. If you don’t like my blog, or my particular brand of satire to your liking, fine. Then don’t go to it.

    But then again, I’ll wager you posted what you did as overcompensation on your part. Do you feel better about yourself now, tough guy?

    If you noticed a wee bit of anger in my tone… you’re right. I’m not in the habit of having fellow Catholics go after me no reason whatsoever. I wouldn’t do that to any of you… I expect the same in return.

  • After the day I had today, this is all stupid baloney not even worth getting in a twist about.

    I’ll just say this: What do I have to be upset about? How about being mentioned by name in a national Catholic newspaper as not exhibiting fatherly virility, said in jest or not. Eric, I like your blog and your column, but perhaps you might admit that perhaps it was not politic to name blogs actually lacking in the manly virility you wanted to talk about.

  • DM,
    I can’t help but notice that you’ve blown off answering any of my comments/questions. It may all be “baloney” to you, but I take your ad hominem seriously. I didn’t open this can of worms, you did.

    I don’t seem to recall ordaining myself as the epitome of the “definition of Catholic fatherly manliness” (as you’ve stated), but you and a couple of your posters went after me as if I did. And that was totally uncalled for.

    You stated to Eric “I like your blog and your column, but perhaps you might admit that perhaps it was not politic to name blogs actually lacking in the manly virility you wanted to talk about.”

    And the same applies to you making false insinuations about me.

  • First we’ve got no sense of humor, and then our menfolk aren’t manly enough. Sheesh, these “jokes” about St. Blog’s are getting tiresome—especially from a columnist you have to pay to see.

    What a wonderful inducement to subscribe.

    If all these insults are truly inadvertent, then Mr. Scheske had better start sprinkling his articles with the old protective smileys. Better, he could resolve to think before sending an article to his editor.

  • Dom –

    On my blog post linking to Eric’s article, I specifically omitted the mention of your blog and the others he mentioned (and which you mentioned), because I didn’t want to sign onto what seemed like criticism.  I’m not one of your regular readers, but I’ve never had criticism for you or your blog, and I am a bit mystified that your first notice of me should be criticism.

    I was shocked, delighted, and yes, a bit honored, to be mentioned in the pages of a mainstream print publication (if the Register can be called “mainstream”). 

    It’s my first mention anywhere.  Unlike you, I don’t get mentioned daily in the press and other major blogs.  Such notice is a novelty for me.  I don’t really know what I might have done to earn that, but it’s nice.

    I thought the point of blogging as that anyone could get their opinions out, and have them equally judged not based on who wrote them, but on what was written.  But it seems that, to paraphrase Orwell, some blogs are more equal than others.

    And, it seems, if Dom is mentioned unfavorably somewhere, he must pull down those mentioned favorably, even those who would generally be on his side in most debates.

    Until this, I’d always thought highly of you, Dom; that you where one of the big fish in the pond.  I’d have been honored if you’d ever taken any notice of my poor efforts.

    But I think this potshot of yours is petty, especially given that it’s in the context of complaining that Eric had taken a potshot at you.

    If you don’t like my Ann Coulter post, leave a comment and we can talk about it.  For a big fish like you to take a bite out of me seems a bit uncharitable.

  • Look, I like the Cavemen and the other blogs he named,

    That’s not a potshot. Like I said, such posts have their place and they certainly don’t represent everything you all have written, but is that what Eric was using as his criteria?

    Caveman: I didn’t answer you point-by-point because after I wrote this I found out my wife has cancer. I don’t really care about this kind of crap right now.

  • Caveman: I didn’t answer you point-by-point because after I wrote this I found out my wife has cancer. I don’t really care about this kind of crap right now.

    I’ll remember your wife in my Rosary today. It wasn’t that long ago that my wife was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. It was cought in time (Thank God). And just a couple of months ago, I had a brush with seeing God face to face when I went in for emergency surgery. Just last week I found out how bad things REALLY were (my wife decided to keep that knowledge from me so she could “protect me”… God lover her!).

    In all sincerity, I honestly do know what your going through. I’ve been there. I’ll also pray to God to give you strength.

    With all that said, let me give you one small bit of advice… you don’t lash out at people who have never wronged you. It demeans you.

  • if the definition of Catholic fatherly manliness is [dismissive references to one of each of our least representative posts] and other locker room behavior, then I think you can count me out.

    That’s a potshot.

    I’m very sorry to hear about your wife.  I’ll be sure to keep your family in my prayers.

  • wha wha wha? I’m late to the party ! I don’t subscribe to NCRegister. They’ve written positively about me a couple of times, as people who subscribe to it told me. Could someone quote to me what he said about me? smile Usually I get attacked for being TOO tough, harsh, whatever.

  • Gerald –

    If Dom will permit…

    I occasionally talk about fatherhood at my blog, and it’s a frequent topic at Pro Ecclesia ( and Thoughts of a Regular Guy (, but it seems the list thins out quickly after that.

    The Catholic Blog Awards used to vote for “Best Blog by a Man,” but they stopped this year for some reason. Last year’s finalists were Jimmy Akin (, Mark Shea (, Domenico Bettinelli (, Gerald Augustinus ( and Dale Price (

    Good men all, but none of them emphasizes the sort of fatherly virility I’m talking about here — with the possible exception of Augustinus, who looks like he could break a heretic over his knee.

    Perhaps the most traditionally manly Catholic blog is The Lair of the Catholic Cavemen ( This blog is run by former U.S. Marines who write like they’re still in the barracks and would welcome the chance to back up their words in the boxing ring. The blog is probably a bit too Tarzanish for some readers, but I find it refreshing.