Taking cues from my husband the former COVID screener, who says that I should actually be okay to go to Mass tomorrow.

I’m generally feeling better — well enough to go out masked if I need to be out. I get a little fatigued here and there, but I’ve largely been fine.

Honestly, I’m more worried about pro-abortion crackpots who are making noise about protesting at Sunday Masses.

My husband the self-declared atheist just told me that God will prevail. Annoyance aside with the horrific Twitter yammering, I’m inclined to believe him.

Whether you like baseball or not, here's the kind of viral stuff we all need

I really needed a good kind of viral moment lately, and two baseball fans in Toronto gave me that.

And it led to this moment earlier today.

The Toronto Star spoke with the guy who caught the ball, who seems to be as cool as you hope he’d be. Also a great back story about the kid, who emigrated to Canada from Venezuela with his family and was named after Derek Jeter.

I just really hate that a Yankee made me cry in a good way.

(Also, the Blue Jays' George Springer gave the ball guy two signed jerseys for his kindness. Lots to love about this whole thing.)

Recent Internet rabbit holes I have come to regret following (especially on Twitter):

  • MetGala
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene
  • Ashley Judd’s face
  • Bill Murray
  • Elon Musk
  • Donald Trump (or any of his minions; see “Marjorie Taylor Greene” above)
  • Prince William’s nanny

"It's time to talk about our billionaire problem"

Kevin Clarke writes in America magazine:

It is perhaps not a shock to discover U.S. oligarchs are generally interested in promoting policies that protect their wealth or allow them to accumulate more of it while countering legislation or social campaigns that promote income-building or wealth-equity efforts, or that protect the environment but add to industrial production costs. Is it time this collective power were restrained by sensible tax policies aimed at reducing the billionaire class’s accumulating economic and political might?

In a word, yeah.

Pope Francis has in recent years regularly dressed down the world’s wealthiest for not only declining to do their part to mitigate ecological and human suffering but for elevating the care and feeding of their personal fortunes as the primary good. In these pandemic times, Francis has talked a lot about building back a better world, one that includes a thorough examination of conscience of the role of finance and wealth in human economic and spiritual development and the protection of creation.

In doing so, he turns not to Marxist or Peronist economic doctrine for inspiration, as his many critics like to allege. His source material is simultaneously deeper and more simple. Despite what America’s prosperity gospelites prefer to believe, Jesus was not shy about his distaste for wealth accumulation and the personal and social imbalances, long before Marx, it seemed to produce.

Reconsidering the lesser (for now) of several toxic hellholes

Greg Bensinger in The New York Times ($) describes a Twitter nightmare scenario under Elon Musk:

Certainly, Twitter could benefit from some improvements to its service. Its rules are enforced unevenly; it is filled with racist trolling, harassment and misinformation. Politicians and celebrities also seem to enjoy a lighter touch from Twitter’s enforcement of its policies against misinformation, despite the evidence that they are more likely to be believed than regular users. Twitter’s usual approach to moderating content has been to slap warning labels on tweets, which are easy to ignore and don’t mitigate the damage done by misinformation.

Before and after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Donald Trump used Twitter to whip his followers into a frenzy. The company rightfully barred Mr. Trump from Twitter for his role in that shameful episode, but it had turned a blind eye to similar behavior for years.

Into that toxic stew comes Mr. Musk. He has called someone he disagrees with “pedo guy,” made jokes about women’s anatomy and was forced to delete a union-busting message aimed at his factory workers — all on the platform he’ll soon own.

Bensinger predicts toxicity if Musk makes good on his promise to loosen content moderation, and expresses the fear of many of us that he’ll reinstate Donald Trump. I don’t credit Joe Biden with the sweet, sweet civilized silence of the past year and a half so much as I credit Trump’s banishment from corporate social media.

Charlie Warzel, who “used to chronicle the way that Twitter’s product inaction created a ‘honeypot for assholes,'” is less downbeat about the platform’s Musky future in The Atlantic ($) – but not by much:

This timeline—the most plausible of the three—is a blend of the dark and the weird ones: In it, he reinstates some accounts like, say, Trump’s, the platform is fundamentally worse for it, and after a few early wins, he loses interest in the day-to-day operations. His early efforts will be exciting for him and maybe even consequential for us but, if 10 years of following Twitter’s content-moderation and management decisions have taught me anything, I am not sure the things he implements are going to yield the kind of results that can compete to keep his attention alongside everything his other companies are doing. And so some small things change but it’s not nearly as dramatic as we envision now.

I have chosen to be ignorant of Elon Musk, largely because my gut tells me his news coverage would make my stomach churn in the same way Trump’s coverage almost killed me for years. But I know enough to sense that it’s probably time for me to start backing away from Twitter in this new “free speech” era, broadcasting there periodically from my Micro.blog platform and doing little else.

Most of my direct activity on Twitter has involved carefully curated circles revolving around faith and baseball. I like interacting with people I choose to face there, mainly other Catholics who aren’t insane. They comprise a de facto community that I’ve needed, and I hope not to chuck it entirely. Because of that community, Twitter – for me, anyway – has become much less of a toxic hellhole in recent months compared with other corporate social media platforms.

It strikes me as a healthy thing, though, to reassess how much I really want to support what could devolve into an even worse toxic hellhole.

Between this and the whole Elon-Musk-buying-Twitter thing, I’m so weary of corporate social media.

I really hated this one. And based on what I saw from folks on Twitter and from C’s experience with it, this was tough all around.

Wordle 304 6/6

🟨⬜🟨⬜⬜
⬜🟨⬜⬜🟨
🟨🟨⬜⬜⬜
🟨⬜⬜🟩🟩
⬜🟩⬜🟩🟩
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

Truth.

We cut the cord late last year, so we’re seeing how long we can go without NBC Sports Chicago (which carries White Sox games locally) before we cave and subscribe to a service like YouTube TV that carries it. Right now I’m having serious withdrawal.

Theologian Greg Hillis tells MLB: “Quit Trying to ‘Fix’ Baseball” (Commonweal).

Don’t run from baseball’s leisurely pace. Embrace it. Teach about it. Market it. … No matter how distracted we are, we know intuitively that there are deep patterns within us and without us, and that happiness is in some way connected to our discovery and contemplation of them.

Hillis’s essay is prompting me to give Josef Pieper’s Leisure: The Basis of Culture another spin.

#baseball

Moya Lothian-McLean in the Guardian:

On social media, to be silent is to be found wanting. Despite the different registers of specific platforms (Instagram, for example, is all earnest “awareness”, whereas TikTok is laced with a frenetic, theatre-kid energy), all of them depend on compelling users to actively produce and engage with content. In times of crisis, this demand – baked into code in order to ensure profit for tech bosses – has found itself expressed as a moral obligation. In the case of Ukraine, to visibly engage and express solidarity is viewed as akin to enacting it through practical, tangible action. We are not looking away. We are analysing, boosting and amplifying. We are posting through it.

That "agitated, aimless buzzing" on social media has a name

Perhaps it’s just as well that I’m stepping away from social media for a spell. From Kaitlyn Tiffany in The Atlantic ($), the war in Ukraine has unleashed a phenomenon that predates the Internet, but has found a new venue there:

…the behavior on display is, if nothing else, a product of a lack of sense. It’s the agitated, aimless buzzing of the type of crowd that gathers in the aftermath of some bewildering catastrophe. Social scientists have a name for this mode of chaos: They call it ‘milling.’…

The word comes from the mid-20th-century American sociologist Herbert Blumer, who was interested in the process by which crowds converge, during moments of uncertainty and restlessness, on common attitudes and actions. As people mill about the public square, those nearby will be drawn into their behavior, Blumer wrote in 1939. ‘The primary effect of milling is to make the individuals more sensitive and responsive to one another, so that they become increasingly preoccupied with one another and decreasingly responsive to ordinary objects of stimulation.’ …

We’re emoting, lecturing, correcting, praising, and debunking. We’re offering up dumb stuff that immediately gets swatted down. (We’re getting ‘ratioed,’ as it’s called on Twitter.) We’re being aimless and embarrassing and loud and responding to each other’s weird behavior. ‘People are kind of struggling to figure out appropriate ways of responding to this really uncertain situation,’ Timothy Recuber, an assistant sociology professor at Smith College, told me. …

After a crowd gets done with milling, Blumer theorized, it moves on to doing things—things that can be ‘strange, forbidding, and sometimes atrocious.’ Later scholars pointed out that milling crowds can also end up engaging in not-so-terrifying behaviors, and that individuals do not usually lose all control of their faculties in the face of a disaster. But the idea that milling is a first response to horrifying or confusing situations has indeed held up.

Say what you will about Twitter; it can be invaluable for breaking news, if it’s curated well.

My Ukraine list on Twitter is now open to public followers after keeping it (like I keep all my curated Twitter lists) private.

And as C keeps reminding me, I used to have a page listing news sources and other publications many blogs ago, as a reference point during my Holy Weblog days. He still misses it. I’ll be creating a new one and posting it here sometime this week.

(Update: Here’s a new iteration of my old page of go-to news sites and blogs, which you’ll also find in the site navigation above.)

“The priest said she spent more time in the adoration chapel than Jesus.”

This tweet made me smile. And yes, let’s all pray for Danda.

I shouldn’t care. And the number is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. But damn, 150+ likes on one of my tweets is startling. (Strategic callouts to the Twitter feeds of the show and the host helped. And both accounts responded, which delights me no end.)

My weekend is complete.

My broadcasting life

C and I have talked often about blogging, tweeting, and generally how we use the Internet. He likes to comment a lot, usually on Reddit or Facebook these days. I like to post about stuff I’m thinking or reading or listening to; I like to think I’m ambivalent about if or how people react, though I probably care more than I want to admit. Either way, I’m less inclined to engage a whole lot online – partly out of laziness, mainly because my sense of introversion often extends beyond real life to virtual platforms.

“So you’re a broadcaster,” C tells me.

I never though of myself that way, but yeah, I guess I am. I prefer to produce stuff, package it a little, and throw it out there – and if people want to read it, great. If not, whatever. That was kind of my career for almost 30 years. That has generally been how I prefer to play on the Internet.

So, I’ve created a “Broadcast” category for this site, which is what I choose to share on the Micro.blog timeline and on Twitter. Much of it will overlap with what I linkblog; some of it will incorporate random short takes (which almost function as an online variant of the one-sentence journal concept).

(Facebook cross-posting isn’t an option on Micro.blog, but maybe that’s just as well. I don’t post a ton these days on FB.)

Hoping this can finally realize the one-stop-shop “indieweb” idea of posting to one place where I own the content and syndicating it to other platforms – without having to roll out everything I write here to the social media masses.

Update: I’ve turned off the crossposting until a glitch resurfaced this afternoon (Friday 2/11) that posts EVERYTHING I write here to the Micro.blog timeline. I do not want everything here posted to the Micro.blog timeline. Waiting to see if it can be fixed.

This remarkable exchange between Stephen Colbert and singer Dua Lipa about faith is making the social media rounds.

Of course, I’ve seen unpleasant comments on the old Twitter like “I cannot believe that anyone would think he is a Christian. Plus he says he is a Catholic and a Christian. You can’t be both.” 😐

And then there’s this, retweeted by no less than noted evangelical apologist and Presbyterian pastor Timothy Keller.

Having identified with all four groups in my lifetime (Catholic, Anglican, Protestant, and evangelical), I’d concur with Dr. Bradley on this.

(To clarify: I think non-Anglican Protestants and evangelicals are capable of articulating their faith. But, as Keller himself notes, “Catholicism is both a popular religion for the masses and yet has nurtured a robust intellectual class. Fundamentalism’s largely anti-intellectual stance has only grown among conservative Christians who are alarmed by the progressive excesses of today’s universities. However, this leaves conservative Protestantism in general with little ability to reach the college-educated and little ability to reflect theologically on our U.S. culture. The cultural ‘captivity’ of evangelicals—the inability to see the difference between biblical beliefs and American culture—is largely due to a lack of evangelical scholarship.")

And I disagree with Colbert on some things, but I love how open, winsome, and intelligent he is about his faith. Very grateful for his witness.

Best thing I’ve seen shared on Twitter in a while. H/T to @jr_briggs for posting it.

Here’s how to guarantee that I will absolutely block you on Twitter (thus avoiding your horrific content in retweets on my lists): Have “MAGA” in your handle or bio. Or both.

Charlie Warzel: “Wordle’s public reception fascinates and unnerves me because it’s an example of how the internet flattens things—in this case, the stakes of this particular, Twitter-bound discourse.”

In other words, this is why we can’t have nice things on the internet.

Today’s Wordle …

… and yesterday’s.

Going forward, I’ll stick to posting here first. Apparently there’s some killjoy Twitter bot afoot trying to spoil the party.