Essay

A Rant Aimed at our Readers

By June 9, 2014 15 Comments
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I posted the first-ever entry on The 12, and, as such, have come today to send our readers a message on behalf of the sixteen or seventeen of us that make up The 12. We’re angry, outraged, mad, wild-eyed, fanatical and sick and tired of your tepid responses. 

It’s time to go viral.  It’s all up to you.

A guest posted a veiled critique of Rachel Held Evans on Saturday. Her blog is followed by a trillion people. I’m not saying we’re jealous, but when only thirteen of you liked our critique, it made me seethe. Google Analytics says at least fourteen people read our post.  Someone isn’t pulling his or her weight. 

Or let me put it this way: I got an email from Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell last weekend, containing a first draft of his Obamacare related post that ran June 3rd.  The draft was angry, visceral and heated. I wrote back to Steve, “Take a deep breath and step away from the ledge.” He moderated the tone of his piece and what was published was as gentle as a turtledove. As a result, no one noticed. Steve took the high road — the wrong road in the blogosphere. Blogs run on outrage.  The magic word is “rant.”

Here’s some wisdom on ranting I found on the Huffington Post:

“When rant blog posts are well-written and received, they can make the author or brand appear to be a bold thought leader by questioning groupthink and common belief systems . . . If executed properly, they can make a brand stand out from the crowd.” 

Let’s rant, so we can appear to be bold thought leaders and have our brand stand out from the crowd.  

We’re sick of posting and having little response. Steve’s most recent blog got two “attaboys” from the usual suspects and one long thoughtful response from someone who didn’t have the decency to call Steve stupid, wishy-washy, liberal and stupid. Long thoughtful responses are never going to get this blog where we need to go. No one reads long responses.  We need short responses filled with obscenities. “You’re a stupid jackass,” is what we need. Please post that comment today.

We need jerks. We need thin-skinned people to get involved.  We need rage and anger and madness ranting away.

We’re Reformed, a brand that strikes fear into the hearts and minds of the world. (If you are an Anabaptist with a long memory, you know what I’m talking about.) We’re three and half point Calvinists. That’s our brand — we’re putting it out there. We’re straddling the middle in a world of extremes, and man, are we ticked. (And don’t get me started about the picture of a football on this page!)

But not so mad we don’t like everything. I have a suspicion that you do not understand the whole concept of the like button.  You should like everything. A year ago my dog and I were attacked by another dog.  I put a note on Facebook saying that we’d been attacked.  97 of my friends liked this. That’s the way it is supposed to work.  

No matter what happens, you should like it.  I have indigestion. Like. My car broke down. Like. My pants don’t fit. Like. The key called promise in the web world is the like button. From kidnapping to cancer to cramping, you should like it all. Just remember Sally “You like me, you really, really like me” Field. Like everything, please.

But how many of you liked Steve’s article last week?  The count is in the twenties.  Come on.  We give and give and give and this is the thanks we get?  We need more likes, people. Please post “You’re a stupid jackass” today and then like this post. It’s not antithetical.  It’s what you are supposed to do.

Finally, we need reposts. What happens on this internet thing is like a web.  It’s like a world wide web.  It’s like a network.  It’s like a social network.  I write something stupid.  Although you dislike it, you hit the like button. You then repost it (or tweet it), along with a comment saying, well, you know what you’re supposed to say. Your friends read, post their own angry responses, and then they repost saying “My friend reads this stupid jackass.”  On and on it goes, around the world, spreading our brand as we appear to be thought leaders.

Please help us stand out from the crowd.

 

Jeff Munroe

Jeff Munroe is the Executive Vice President of Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan.

15 Comments

  • Jim Daniels says:

    YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS!!!???!!! This is the stupidest thing I've read in a long time, Munroe. How can you possibly spend your time coming up with this crap? This is plain an simple: you are just trying to get your name out there. Brand? You have no brand! What's the 12? Are you like Jesus' disciples or something? You must have pretty high regard for yourself to think I'm going to "like" anything from this blog. I can't believe I even read this regurgitated, thoughtless tripe. You're a stupid jackass! My friends will love reading this kind of stuff just to get a laugh out of it for the day – that's why I'm on it. Sheesh!

  • Marla says:

    Y'all are nothing but stupid jackasses.

  • Christine says:

    Don't you know you should hyperlink the article you're talking about, Mr. Giving-Internet-Lessons? Geez Jeff get it together!

  • Tim says:

    @Marla… Your use of "Y'all" is both grammatically incorrect and culturally insensitive. No wonder this blog is going nowhere… It's followers are all stupid Jackasses.

    Sincerely, your loving husband.

    p.s. Honey, could you please pick up some milk on your way home?

  • Jim Daniels says:

    @Tim, your misogynistic treatment of women is clearly seen here. I can only assume the readership of this "blog" are all the same. Sickening!

  • Laura says:

    All you commenters show an astonishing lack of creativity in posting exactly what you've just been told to post. I would qualify everyone involved with this blog as dimwitted lemmings. Anger!

  • Leanne Van Dyk says:

    You think Munroe is a jackass on The 12?!? You should see what he's like at work!!

  • Scott Hoezee says:

    Oh sure, and now I have to blog tomorrow and will get all the leftover bilge water pumped at me!!! (Am I ranting yet? Sometimes my rants get raves!)

  • John Bolt says:

    I do read The 12 blog and I as often disagree at various levels of passion as I agree. What I have always appreciated about The 12 is precisely what Jeff Munroe seems to deplore namely its thoughtfulness, a virtue usually missing in most blogs. That is frankly the reason I am not a blogger; I know myself well enough to realize that my sanctification is a big enough challenge without my jumping into the rhetorical equivalent of a drunk going to a bar. I'm sorry if this is an all-too-serious a response to an apparently frivolous post but since my wife and I are reading the Epistle of James right now all this stuff about the tongue (and pen) is important to me. I am quite capable of "lightening up" and then "letting it rip" but I would rather enter into some serious debate that is restrained and respectful. And, Steve Mathonnet-Vanderwell's post on Obamacare with which I do disagree really required an at-length treatment which doesn't fit the blog framework very well. So I didn't respond. I will be on the look out and pick my battle very carefully.

  • Jim says:

    Yeah, lose the football!

  • Cathy Holbrook says:

    Like.

  • Helen Phillips says:

    I am picking myself up off the floor from laughter, not just from this blog…but also from most of the responses.

    You know me Jeff – I seldom mince words and I do rant and I am snarky (your word from our writer's group)…

    So my response is: If you wanted rage, madness and over-the-top anger you should have said so in the first place you dork (translate: "stupid jackass")! If you don't ask you don't get. Isn't that what the Bible says? Don't you know that? AREN'T YOU ORDAINED???

  • Tim says:

    @Jim. I am not familiar with this "M" word you accuse me of being… Apparently "miso" is some sort of foreign food, (I only eat 'murican food!")

    Also, I am certainly NOT a gymnast!

    Forgive me if I've misunderstood something here… #hopecollegegrad

  • We need jerks.

    If you're inviting me back to The Twelve, Jeff, you could have just emailed me directly.

    😉

  • Jeff Munroe says:

    I have hesitated to comment on the comments until Jamie Smith's comment made me laugh out loud. Thanks, Jamie. And thanks Leanne Van Dyk for your comment which also made me laugh out loud and for your overall good humor, and to Tim and Marla Rotman, for playing out their daily domestic life on our humble site, and those others of you that liked or commented.

    A joke's no good if you have to explain it, and almost all of you got the joke. For those that didn't — well, I'm not going to explain myself.

    Finally, not everyone who comments uses this tool. I received an email from someone who says she skims more than reads our blog, and used these words to describe it: provincial, lacking nuance, guild complex and close minded, along with loyal, dedicated and curious. She also referred me to another blog for examples of how middle-aged, middle class white people can find more readership on the web. I will leave it to another of our writers to respond – I think there are some valid points being made here – both in the humorous responses and those more serious. There is room for us to talk more about our place in the world and how to engage it and each other.

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