Here is another curious example of a related phenomenon: the habit of vice-signaling to confederates (in more senses than one) while pretending to deny one is saying exactly what everybody knows you are saying.
John Zmirak is a noted hater of Pope Francis who clearly despises him. Recently, my friend Tony Annett asked him a straightforward question and was promptly blocked by Zmirak on Twitter:
Zmirak, in contrast, cranks out Reactionary weirdness over at The Stream and longs to claim the One Ring for his own so he can rev up the firing squads and gulags for his many, many enemies:
Anyway, what was striking was that after blocking Annett, he then wrote this characteristically MAGA winking “denial” which suggested that Annett was somehow a persecuting inquisitor for asking the question, even as Zmirak made extremely clear that he does reject Francis as pope and that he rejects the Church as well:
The tweet was followed by a long string of high fives, amens, “The pope is a heretic and can go to hell”, etc. affirmations from a string of fellow Reactionaries.
What is fascinating to me about the psychological dynamics at work is the curious betwixt and betweenness of it. They want to claim the mantle of Real and Only True Catholic and exclude the rest of the Church, including the Pope himself. But at some level they know this is a fundamentally absurd position. So they talk as though it Annett is somehow a persecutor or accuser for asking a straightforward question which they, in fact, answer in the affirmative, thereby rejecting the Church’s abundantly clear teaching about union with the Holy Father as essential to being, you know, Catholic.
Unsurprisingly, such ambiguous mealy-mouthism is a MAGA trait seen again and again. Donald Trump calls Nazis “very fine people” and then the Cult denies he said it while also calling people marching under the banner of the swastika “patriots”. Goons invade the Capitol in open revolt against the US and the Cult tries to blame “Antifa” while lionizing the invaders as heroes. Over and over, the winking, nodding vice-signaling of the Cult tries to both deny and affirm what it is too cowardly to just come right out and say. Such crouching in shadow and tergiversation inspires no trust.
I love that, there’s such a desire for a strong authoritative Pope to finally excommunicate and give the “ban hammer” to all the folks on the opposite side of the aisle, but could you imagine the howls if protest if he actually did receive such a “certificate”?
Stuff like this by Zmirak and others sort of reminds me of “dark helmet” in the movie Spaceballs, playing with the action figures. For instance, the pining for integralism, hoping that an all powerful state/church would be applicable in post modern society.
It appears they don’t really understand the era in which we live.
In the Before Times of the Catholic blogosphere, Zmirgol was fond of telling Noncatholics we were all going to hell for rejecting the Pope’s authority. Now he is the one withstanding him to the face, for he is plainly to be condemned.
A decade ago, a Latin Mass Catholic acquaintance showed me a directory someone had typed up listing those Catholic parishes in our urban region that he and other traditionalists considered to teach the true Faith Of The Fathers, ie to avoid being deceived by crypto-Protestant modernists in priests’ clothing. I suggested it be subtitled “How To Find A Parish Within 90 Minutes’ Drive Or Less Where You Will Not Be Misled Into the Protestant Heresy Of Private Judgment”. This suggestion was not appreciated.