“The internet is like the worst party you’ve ever been thrown out of” – quarterly blegging time
Always nice to get kind notes along with donations:
Dear Hilary, Thank you for your writings, they are helpful to me and I am sure helpful to many others as well. I like to think of myself as someone who tries to be careful with his words, not blindly emoting a position on matters that raise my emotional state. Yet, I am not someone who is able to assimilate facts into a meaningful position very easily. You have skills that I lack, a mind that is able to construct a thought, express it, and then teach it through your writings. So, your writings are very important to me. They cause me to pause and think. I hope you can take some consolation in that fact. I also enjoy reading about your gardening and art activities. I understand you live a very simple life, one that is not necessarily easy. I trust God will bless you and reward you more with each passing day. Thank you again. Best Regards, ____
Well, well, well…! What a couple of weeks it’s been!
I’m offline at home for a few days. I have limited monthly internet. I can use it up fast by recklessly binge-watching the new Lost in Space from Netflix, but it means when it’s done I have to wait ’til the ricarica date to get more. It’s a good system, actually. Like a failsafe. Use it too much and it forces you to take a break. I’ll be coming in to the village once a day or so to post things, and check messages at the wifi cafe, and to see how the horror show is going, but the innernet’s off at home, and thank God.
After even a short time away the difference is striking. Sticking your head into the internet all the time is – as Kathy Shaidle memorably put it – like shaking up a bag of feral cats then sticking your head in to see how they’re doing.
Last week I had one of those days when you just want to run away from the innernet screaming. I had an encounter on Twitter with a woman who I’m sure thought of herself as a good and devout Catholic – clearly superior to me! – who thought it was just wonderful that Pope Francis had told a young boy that he, the pope, was “certain” the boy’s deceased atheist father was in heaven. I was scolded because I insisted that a child, like all human beings, has a right to the truth, and that only the Real counts. The pope had deprived this child of an opportunity to do the good and holy work of praying for the repose of his father’s soul.
After that we all got to spend a weekend watching as a young father in Liverpool, desperate to save the life of his two year old son, was overruled by a court and a hospital who want the child to die. And of course, again we were bombarded with commentators on TwittFace telling us what wicked, wicked, unfeeling, uncaring, religious extremists we are for opposing the hospital’s deeply compassionate and caring orders to see this child off to the next life, against the wishes of his parents.
The week before that – that is, a prehistoric time now lost in the murky depths of the internet-past – I vaguely recall being frightened that the US decision to bomb Syria was going to trigger World War III…
After staying up til two am on Monday night, following Alfie Evans’ extubation, witnessing his steadfast refusal to die, I finally went to bed and spent the night thrashing around revisiting my old Cold War nightmares about nuclear attacks.
So the reader will perhaps not be surprised to hear that yesterday, when the device that feeds the magical internet juice into my computer told me I was all out for the month, I was hardly weeping into my tea. A blessed and glowing vision came to me of a few days off, maybe me taking some walks, or me reading my long-neglected books, me finally planting out squash seedlings, perhaps me biking into the village to go check messages once a day with the café wifi…
And the sense of interior quiet – that comes when one ceases clicking back and forth between Facebook and Twitter, having pointless arguments, restively searching back and forth for The Answer – has reasserted itself and I am again left wondering, “What was all that about, anyway?”
Read more here for my hilarious “The internet is like the worst party you’ve ever been thrown out of” analogy.
Here we go again, the part of the year – thank God it’s only (sort of) quarterly – where I ask readers to consider making a donation to help me continue writing here. I always agonise over this, because I do have paying work elsewhere. (Check out The Remnant’s print edition preview here.) The trouble is that writing takes time, mental energy and effort, and I have to be constantly balancing carefully how to spend those resources. Also, some topics – and some tones – are appropriate for this venue more than others. So, the Remnant and other places get some stuff and WUWTS gets other stuff. It’s a bit of a struggle to keep all the plates spinning.
I think having the internet off for a few days will actually be pretty good for productivity. Frankly, the Distraction Empire is just a little too loud to really get things done very easily. Silencing its constant blare will be helpful.
Also, books! One of the cool things about reading old books – I’ve got a small stack on the table next to the armchair that include Christopher Dawson – “The Movement of World Revolution,” Hannah Arendt – “On Revolution,” – so I can work out what to say about how the Anti-Rational Principle has taken over the world – and a new, quite thick copy of the mystical visions, letters and poetry of Hadewijch that I picked up in Rome last time I was down. Hadewijch was one of those mystical Beguines, and one of the ones we have the most surviving writing for.
So, stay tuned… more to come.
If you’d consider making a donation to keep things going here, I’d be very grateful. (Also, Paypal allows you to leave a little note. Drop me a line. It’s always nice to hear from people.)
And of course, I’d like to again thank everyone who already does so, most especially those who have signed up to make monthly donations (you know who you are.) You have no idea how encouraging it is to remember that there are people out there who think this stuff is worth paying for.
I hope we can all continue to pray for each other. I’m starting to get more regular (finally!) with the Rosary, and always try to keep the “intentions of my readers” in mind, particularly those who write to me to ask for prayers or information or advice (!!!). Do keep the notes coming. I hope we can carry on supporting each other in these difficult and sometimes frightening times.
Chin up everyone. Don’t let the innernet bastards grind you down.