interview with “bad catholic”
no, not him. this one:
remember way back when, when i was trying to interview/profile Mark Shea for Brandon Vogt’s “support a [fake] catholic speaker” month, and he wouldn’t let me, and i went on strike, and no one knew because i didn’t actually tell anyone i was going on strike until after the fact?
well then, it turns out that Brandon decided to give the assignment to none other than Mark’s fellow Patheos blogger Marc Barnes, a.k.a. “Bad Catholic,” formerly known as “Baby G.K.,” and before that, “Fetus et Ratio.”
i was curious to learn more about this “Bad Catholic,” so i contacted him. and despite his insanely busy schedule, Marc graciously accepted my request for me to interview him (provided that it was ok with his parents, which it was). our exchange follows after the jump.
troll 2: Marc, in just a few short years, you’ve taken the novus ordo blog world by a storm, combining a quick wit, humorous graphics, and a sharp apologetic. obviously, your youth has been a real asset, giving you a fresh approach, but most people are shocked when they learn how young you actually are–just three years old, if i’m not mistaken. how do you explain so much success at such an early age? and how do you handle it?
Bad Catholic: (laughs) Technically, I’m almost three-and-a-half, but you’re right, my age really takes people by surprise. I think it helped that I got an early start–I was tweeting by the end of my first trimester, and at the time I was born, my first blog, “Fetus et Ratio,” had already attracted something like 1,000 followers. The transition to life ex utero, and to a new server, was tougher than I had expected, but my parents encouraged me to follow my dreams. Really, it’s been their support that’s gotten me to where I am today. I mean, I can’t even make dooty on the big boy potty without their help.
t2: blogging from within the womb, truly an amazing feat! how exactly did you accomplish that?
BC: I had a smartphone, a Blackberry I think, one of those with a QWERTY keyboard and internet access, and that’s what I used to establish my online presence. There’s actually an ultrasound picture of me using it to live tweet a particularly heavy contraction, which I then used for a pro-life blog post later on. Just don’t ask how I got the phone in there! (laughs)
t2: as a REALcatholic™ who’s often critical of others who call themselves catholic, i’m especially taken with your honesty in admitting that you’re a bad catholic. though i’d prefer that you not call yourself a catholic at all, i do find your candor both refreshing and encouraging. what exactly is it about your fake catholicism that you recognize as bad?
BC: I suppose part of it is my relative lack of formation. I mean, most of what I know about Catholicism I’ve gleaned from guys like Chesterton, Percy, O’Connor, Dostoyevsky, and Bernanos. It’s often just basic aesthetic theism, really. Recently, I’ve been rocking the “read the Catechism in a year” Flocknote thing for the year of faith, and I’m continually amazed at how rich the Church’s actual doctrine really is. (I’m thinking I should probably beef up on my theology before too much longer.) Originally, though, the name “Bad Catholic” was simply intended to indicate humility on my part, that even though I was blessed to be part of the true Church, and to have the truth of the faith available to me, that this didn’t make me somehow better than anyone else, or somehow less in need of grace. Do you know what I mean?
t2: no, i don’t. in any case, humility hasn’t really been a hallmark of your blog, has it? in general, you tend to embrace an in-your-face approach, especially with respect to atheists and pro-aborts. how would you respond to critics who might say that you’re just trolling for trolls in the hopes of growing your audience?
BC: Well, first, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with growing one’s audience. Really, you should try it sometime. Second, I would say that you’ve got to distinguish between being inflammatory and thinking out loud. The latter may well look like the former, but they’re actually quite different. I definitely see my own blogging as being of the “thinking out loud” sort, since most of the time I just have an idea for an argument and run with it, without thinking through how well it works. My weaker arguments and reflections do tend to attract the trolls, I admit, but most of my Catholic readers like them just as much as anything else. I don’t think they can tell the difference.
t2: i believe that’s called “confirmation bias,” Marc. it’s what leads people like me and E. Michael Jones to see conspiracies everywhere, and leads people like your readers to share your articles on the facebook incessantly.
BC: Was that a question?
BC: Ok, um, do you have a question?
t2: yes. on your blog you often seem a bit fixated on feminine beauty and sex, much like a naive teenage boy might. do you worry that this makes you seem pathetic, or do you actually find that this approach has helped in attracting women to you?
BC: I’d prefer not to comment on my personal life, but in terms of my fixation on feminine beauty and sex, I would remind you of the famous quote of Doestoyevsky, “Beauty will save the world.”
t2: i hope you know that you’re taking that line from “The Idiot” completely out of context.
BC: I do now. Well, I’m running late for my afternoon naptime, so if there isn’t anything else…
t2: well, not that i care, but pretending i did care, is this the sort of post that will alienate all the a-list bloggers at Patheos, and their many readers?
BC: Now who’s seeming pathetic?