Thursday, June 10, 2010

Keyboards at twenty paces

Owen White, our favorite Ochlophobist, has thrown down the glove (electronically speaking) and called out she (he?) who must not be named. Names could be tricky here for a number of reasons which dignity (and Christian decency) forbids me from addressing in detail. Owen refers to her (we will go with that pronoun as it appears to be accurate in the present tense) as "The Voice." But lets be honest here. That's a bit like the euphemism "Old Scratch." I mean really. We all know who we are talking about.

Being a political and social reactionary who despises most of what the last century has produced in both of those fields, I really don't have a major problem with resolving serious differences in the manner once customary between gentlemen. Were the phrase "pistols for two and coffee for one" still in vogue I suspect we would live in a much more polite society. OK OK I am not altogether certain if that be can reconciled with my Orthodox faith. I'm still working on that one.

In any event though, we live in an age where for all of our incredible technological advancements we have devolved into a state of near social barbarism where the most breathtaking abuses of truth, honor and common decency are routinely flaunted. Case in point, the blog of she who must not be named.

This is a blog that may perhaps be charitably described as Orthoblogdom's equivalent to page six of the NY Post. Setting aside all of the magnificent imagery; it is a blog that seems to be grounded on three pillars, Russo-Slavic phyletism, a ferocious hostility to converts who are not prepared to embrace her brand of slavophilia, and malicious gossip (true in some cases and not in others) directed at all those who she has concluded are a threat to her version of Orthodoxy.

Long time readers of this blog will know that it is rare for me to post anything more than the most reserved criticisms or disagreements with other Orthodox bloggers. In no small measure this is due to the fact that in most cases they know a great deal more about whatever is being discussed than I do, and being a normal human being I don't enjoy making a fool out of myself. And of course common courtesy, good manners and all those things now lost in the modern world come into play as well.

Generally if I have serious disagreements with the content or editorial slant of a blog I simply ignore it and decline to link it or give any attention to it. With one rather notable exception, such has been the policy of Ad Orientem towards she who must not be named. And it is worth noting that, again with a few exceptions, most of what we call Orthoblogdom seems to have adopted a similar stance.

However, as I observed in the comment thread for the above cited "exception," there are circumstances where silence is not a moral option. There is a danger of scandal in permitting someone who, in one of those truly delicious ironies in life, has been suspended from the Holy Mysteries by the Russian Church to pass herself off on the web as a reputable source for anything relating to Orthodoxy. I can not imagine what any non-Orthodox inquirer would think if they stumbled on that site. Had I seen it in the early stages of my journey to Orthodoxy, I am fairly sure it would have stopped me cold in my tracks.

That a blogger, claiming to be Orthodox and an admirer of all things Russian nonetheless cannot make reference to the First Hierarch and many clergy of a canonical Orthodox jurisdiction, recognized (rightly or wrongly) by the Moscow Patriarchate as THE autocephalous Orthodox church in N. America, other than as laymen can only admit to one of three possible explanations. They being appalling ignorance, Donatism, or simple old fashioned malice. A blog which purports to be Orthodox but which in reality is nothing more than a malicious gossip column dedicated to the promotion of a twisted version of slavophile phyletism (with nice pictures) should not be permitted to go unchallenged.

With this in mind, I tip my hat to Owen for grabbing the bull (no pun intended) by the horns. It is time and indeed past time, that she who must not be named be called out for her ethno-centric heresy, slander and spiteful gossip. In a more civilized era were she a man and someone who could in any manner be accounted a gentleman, can there be any doubt but that her conduct would end with an early morning appointment in some remote field? Sadly however all of the above (mostly) do not apply. We do not live in a civilized age and the law courts take a dim view of the code of honor. And in any case she(?) would under no circumstances be accepted as a gentleman (a necessary prerequisite for a meeting). So our alternatives appear limited.

I suppose one might consider the lost art of the "social cut." But I simply can't think of an effective way to employ it on this medium. As unsatisfactory as it is, I fear our only recourse... is keyboards at twenty paces.

I wonder if Owen has a second?


Anonymous said...

I think you are giving too much attention to someone who disparagingly refers to the EP as "Bart."

Ochlophobist said...


Your instincts are the right ones here, we all acknowledge that.

We have been silently watching for over a year.

Vera/Stan has routinely and maliciously maligned the names of John here at Ad Orientem, and Christopher Orr, and my godfather, and Gabriel for many months now. She has written many falsehoods about them.

Orr, and John, and my godfather, and Gabriel are gentlemen each of whom I greatly respect and admire.

I am not a gentlemen. Enough is enough.

Ochlophobist said...

One more thing -

Even in our silence our names brought her attention. In the world run by the Great Mind behind Google, all she has to do is keep mentioning the names of Orthobloggers who get a fair amount of traffic in a lot of posts with a lot of links and she is going to increase her traffic, including traffic of inquirers who might think she represents a typical American Orthodox posture.

Reader Michael said...

Owen, John, et al.

Your options in dealing with the "Voices from Russia" are not as limited as you think.

In Australia, a group of dissident Serbs ran a website called Serbs in Sydney, which ran posts and articles denouncing our diocesan bishop (His Grace +Irinej). The posts on that website were very much like Drezhlo's - slanderous, defamatory and full of para-moralistic, suggestive abuse. The Internet Service Provider, which hosted that website, took it down for "violations of terms of usage." I do not know if it was our bishop who complained, or someone else. The point is, that Serbs in Sydney is no more!

I recommend that all of you who have been provably defamed by this blogger file a complaint with Wordpress, naming "Voices from Russia" as an abusive blog, and detailing the posts you find objectionable. I don't know what Wordpress' policy is, but you should at least ask Wordpress to issue a "cease and desist" type order concerning slanderous posts. I do think that Wordpress will ultimately delete blogs which they deem abusive.

Please explore this. As you said in your post, this kind of reckless disregard for the truth and pathological behavior cannot simply be ignored, for all the reasons you state.

Michael Martin
Reader (Chtets), Serbian Orthodox Church of King St. Milutin
Auckland, New Zealand

ceej said...

I think it is important not to let slander go unchallenged. Stan/Vara's website is crazy enough that most seasoned Orthodox can write it off, but what about new Orthodox and inquirers? He can't have made up all of his positive comments, and I've heard some of his unseemly remarks regurgitated by the undiscriminating.

Rdr Michael: You make an excellent point. Actually, SVS could sue him for slander if they wanted to.

ceej said...

Oh, and I find it hilarious that Stan/Vara is now criticizing anyone who comments upon his "personal life" - that meaning criticisms of his sex reassignment.

It might seem a little underhanded but I think it goes to Stan's credibility. Sex reassignment is a serious violation of God's law, mutilating one's own body to adhere to one's delusions. It also goes to personal identity: "Voices" is run by a man named Stan, not a woman named Vara, no matter how many times he harps on how he signs his (illegitimate) name to every posting.

There's a certain level of irony of being accused of personal attacks by someone who cast aspersions on the dean of SVS by bashing his deceased father.

Anonymous said...

She must hit where it hurts, sometimes, or no?

Anonymous said...

Vera/Stan is dismissible. Owen is not -he is mostly right but nonetheless demonic and a far greater threat to the Church : after all his posture is a complete and abject repudiation of Christ. Vera makes me sad. Owen makes me sick. Where are the Christians in all this? Is the enemy of my enemy Christian thinking?

I beg any reader for the sake of their souls to avoid either blog.

Anonymous said...

Why is the only alternative not love, blessing and foregiveness? I misunderstood from your blog that you were Orthodox?

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Forgiveness is indeed important. But scripture is also clear about correcting those who are causing scandal. I harbor no grudge against she who must not be named, for any of her slanders directed at me. But she is posting scurrilous attacks on the honor and character of persons whom I hold in high regard. And for the reasons already noted, her blog has become a source of scandal in that it could create serious misgivings regarding the Orthodox Faith among inquirers.

As for you rather venomous attack on Owen, do be specific in your complaints when calling someone demonic by name. You will note my complaints were fairly specific. Further, if you have disagreements with Owen's posts I would encourage you to address them on his blog, or start your own. It is generally regarded as bad form to attack someone in this rather backhanded manner using someone else's blog. Finally, please be so kind as to sign at least your first name when attacking someone's character. Failing to do so is likely only to cause others to question your own.


Anonymous said...

It is not just Stan's blog that is certain to provoke misgivings and misunderstandings about the Faith, but his many posts in the guise of an "Orthodox Christian" in various internet fora trumpeting his surgical mutilation and hormone treatment as some sort of transformation into womanhood. In 2005 he even claimed to be engaged to be married.

It is passing strange that Stan, the aspirational konvert to womanhood, should rant so against konvertsy.

I am an convert who by the grace of God was received into THE Russian Orthodox Church. I am Russian Orthodox, and God willing, will become more and more Orthodox as my life goes on.

Stan has mutilated himself and takes hormones, but as time goes on he will remain a self-mutilated man on female hormone pills.

I can convert. We who have been received into the Orthodox Church can aspire to more and more conversion into the Life in Christ.

Stan can aspire to be a woman, even an Orthodox Christian woman, but he will never be one.

I think this unbridgeable gap between aspiration and reality is what drives Stan crazy. He is only taking out his frustration in the only way he can, i.e. I can't convert therefore YOU can't convert. Alas, misery does love company.

Perhaps, if Stan is following this blog, he might take wisdom from an authoritative voice of his beloved Russian Orthodox Church:

"As for transsaxuality, it was noticed and assessed from of old. Russian philosopher Rozanov described it as ‘physical sodomy’ and saw in it a physiological foundation for religious exaltation found both in heathenism and such religious sects as Flagellants and Eunuchs.

"In ancient cultures it was transsexuality that to a considerable extent determined the emergence of such religious and mystical cults as worship of Moloch whose ‘priests’ cultivated the rite of castration. This rite can well be accounted for as a testimony to ‘insurmountable physiological and mental aversion’ of one’s own sex and castration as ‘triumph’ of deliverance from it."

-- Irina Siluyanova, PhD., head of the biomedical department of the Russian State Medical University and deputy chair of the Church-Public Council for Bioethics at the Moscow Patriarchate

Anonymous said...

"Sometimes perverted human sexuality is manifested in the form of the painful feeling of one's belonging to the opposite sex, resulting in an attempt to change one's sex (transsexuality). One's desire to refuse the sex that has been given him or her by the Creator can have pernicious consequences for one's further development. 'The change of sex' through hormonal impact and surgical operation has led in many cases not to the solution of psychological problems, but to their aggravation, causing a deep inner crisis. The Church cannot approve of such a 'rebellion against the Creator' and recognise as valid the artificially changed sexual affiliation. If 'a change of sex' happened in a person before his or her Baptism, he or she can be admitted to this Sacrament as any other sinner, but the Church will baptise him or her as belonging to his or her sex by birth. The ordination of such a person and his or her marriage in church are inadmissible.

"Transsexuality should be distinguished from the wrong identification of the sex in one's infancy as a result of doctors' mistake caused by a pathological development of sexual characteristics. The surgical correction in this case is not a change of sex."

-- Problems in Bioethics, Moscow Patriarchate