Thursday, July 12, 2012

More: CrossFit makes fun of the mentally ill, the homeless, the desperate, and the destitute

Don't click on these links if you get angry easily about mistreatment of the less fortunate in society. CrossFit makes fun of the mentally ill, the homeless, the desperate, and the destitute.

As the headline says, "Downtown L.A. CrossFit Gym Debases Homeless Neighbors in Photos, Facebook Posts". It is exactly what it sounds like. However, no laws were broken, so, like, whatevs. Also puzzling is how the head of CrossFit, Inc's legal department, Dale Saran, apparently didn't care when informed about this CrossFit franchise's anti-human behavior.

CrossFit's legal counsel, Dale Saran, told the Weekly: "You framed this as if CrossFit is somehow responsible for what Ronnie Teasdale or anyone in those pictures is alleged to have done. If a United Airlines pilot goes off and does something wrong, it's on him -- not all of United Airlines ... unless what he did is the direct result of a UA policy or procedure. "I don't suppose that you're claiming that CrossFit has a policy or predilection against the homeless -- no responsible journalist or person could -- and so I don't expect an article that reflects that." Saran says CrossFit is not responsible for policing its affiliates... .
Keep it classy, Dale.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Memory eternal!

This happened a while ago, but I did not have an article to link to until today. I never played him, but, IIRC, he beat our top board when we last played his team in the CICL. Truly an American icon.

More amusing internet drama: CrossFit(TM).

This is not related to the OCA, it's related to something I don't care about, either, except as an example of corporate "douchenfreude". But, it is amusing. Don't bother looking at any of the links if you're not interested in reading web-logs about some company you don't care about and how that company cracked down on them.

Here's a TL: DR for those who don't want to read (really, I don't blame you, you shouldn't read this): CrossFit, Inc. sends anonymous threats to the employers of individuals who make fun of it in an attempt to intimidate them.

Some background: CrossFit (TM) is like the exercise equivalent of Scientology. It is an international corporation with franchises around the world, but mostly in yuppie parts of America where they charge on the order of $150/month for their fitness classes. They run an annual fitness competition called the Reebok CrossFit Games (TM) (guess who their corporate sponsor is). It's kind of like the "world series of exercise" or something. They're kind of like Zumba, except competitive. Not my cup of tea, I'm more a fan of picking up heavy things and putting them down, so I don't really know anything about them.

Some of their fans have sarcastic web pages about the company. Now, if CrossFit, Inc. does not like the sarcastic web page and the sarcastic web page uses the CrossFit name in its web address, especially if they sell crap on their page, they can and will threaten legal action to cripple it and maybe get it shut down. See, for instance, The Naked CrossFitter. I don't expect you to care about that. It's just context.

However, what can they do if a page makes merciless fun of the CrossFit brand (the brand is the only product CrossFit, Inc. sells), but did not make the rookie mistake of using the CrossFit name in its title or address? If they don't have the threat of legal action available to them, what can they do? Well, they can find out your real name, find out where you work, print off a bunch of crap from your web-log, and send it anonymously through the mail to some senior people in your company in the hopes that something will happen. That sounds crazy, but the internet is serious business. BeastModalDomains alleges that this is what happened to him - maybe it wasn't CrossFit, Inc., but it was somebody, and that is why he is killing his BeastModalDomains web-log. This isn't a grave tragedy, but it's the sort of amusing thing CrossFit does every once in a while that keeps me listening at the ground for their latest bit of zaniness.

So, just as an FYI: CrossFit, Inc. sends anonymous threats to the employers of individuals who make fun of it in an attempt to intimidate them. He doesn't even work for a fitness company, he's some corporate schmuck!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

More on Rod Dreher's poisonous behavior

Rod Dreher has displayed singularly poor judgment wherever Metropolitan Jonah has been concerned. First, he started an anonymous muck-raking web-log last year, OCA Truth, to manufacture controversy and dissent around Metropolitan Jonah's leave of absence. The anonymous web-log even went so far as to quote Rod Dreher "onymously" in its support. I could go on about how terrible the web-log was and about its ill effects, but they are well-known. If they are not, unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), the web-log was taken down a few months ago.

Now that Metropolitan Jonah has resigned, Dreher is again trying to engineer some controversy and clamor. He specifically states, "I wish he had gone out like Samson instead of yielding to this pack of wild dogs." First, there are many holy and prayerful men on the Synod, and I hardly think it kind to malign the entire lot as dogs. Second, Mr Dreher is a relatively recent convert with a personal connection to Metropolitan Jonah and relatively little experience in the OCA. As such, he might not realize that the OCA is bigger than Metropolitan Jonah and that the rest of us have to live here, too. Smashing everything behind Metropolitan Jonah would not be a very nice thing to do to the rest of us. When he says things like that, he comes across as a nihilist, a Jacobin, a bomb-throwing anarchist, not a "conservative". Since Metropolitan Jonah will not be throwing bombs (it seems), I sincerely hope Mr Dreher and his ilk do not take it upon themselves to start their own cultural web-log war again in the hopes of gaining... what, exactly? The kudos earned by following Apollos instead of Paul (or vice versa - I know I'd rather be on Paul's side, but that's missing the point)? Dreher says, "What they don’t understand is that they probably signed the OCA’s death warrant in so doing." Maybe, maybe not, but one way of pushing the OCA toward death is by pulling the pillars down through inflammatory web-logging, like OCA Truth, AOIUSA, and Monomakhos are notorious for (Will Monomakhos try to take out Bishop Melchizedek again?). OCANews is dead (and it served a good purpose at times, amazingly), so that leaves only one coterie of destructive internet muck-rakers.

Their personal devotion to Metropolitan Jonah and their misguided embrace of the Right's narrative of "culture war" are blinding them to reality in this case - whatever reality it is. There are very few facts and very many feelings at this point. Sources of information are biased, to put it gently, and you would do well to consider the "other side" charitably rather than call for destruction (or destructive mistrust). Or, I don't know, maybe we could just decide every single bishop on the Synod secretly wants to be an Eastern-Rite Episcopalian or something. I suppose one of those paths is easier. It's more fun to get worked up and shout about things. It's more fun to demand an explanation.

I suppose something needs to be said, but a lot of stuff has been said already and people didn't believe it. If a statement came out consistent with the narrative presented by the Synod over the last year, would it be believed? The narrative is complex; most of us have trouble following the ending of Fight Club. Perhaps it would. Would it be trusted? No. Do we demand more? Well, do we really want the full answer? I don't think it's ever wise to ask questions you don't want the answer to, and I think the answer to this likely falls in that category (largely because it is going to be boring). I concede that I am, perhaps, being a bit combative on this point. Not everybody spends as much time reading crummy web-logs as I do. A wise Russian once said, "Normal, well-balanced people do not post on web-logs." So some people out there might not have heard the conversations in the past by the Synod. Maybe they do need to say something.

This is turning into a rambling post, I do apologize, but I found a couple normal, well-balanced people commenting on this post:

Monday, July 09, 2012

A couple more words on Metropolitan Jonah's resignation

I am, ultimately, fine with what happened because I have an implicit trust in my own bishop. I don't know him well, but he seems like a decent, honest man and I can trust that he is looking out for the interests of the Church at large. I don't know much about the other bishops, but I know that my own wouldn't let himself be steamrolled into accepting something he couldn't accept. The request for his resignation was, as they said, unanimous. If my bishop is behind it, I can accept it.

Not everybody can have that much trust for their own bishop. I think mine has earned it from me: I don't think a bishop demands that trust by virtue of his office, unfortunately. One large and significantly pro-Jonah part of the country does not even have a bishop right now. I might as well name names: the Diocese of the South is disenfranchised right now. With their historic ties to Metropolitan Jonah, that is only going to multiply their frustration. If I still did not have a bishop (our diocese had a vacuum for a while and would have had one longer if we did not already have a committee in place because our bishop was planning on retiring), or if I could not trust my bishop, I know that I would have a hard time with this news. Even more so if I had a personal trust in Metropolitan Jonah.

My major worry is that this will "poison the well" for some. While I am sure that Metropolitan Jonah would not encourage partisanship, I would worry that some of his partisans will view this as a call for "Metropolitan Jonah contra mundum". We already have seen Rod Dreher, formerly one of the anonymous web-loggers behind the OCA Truth propaganda site, say, "I wish he had gone out like Samson instead of yielding to this pack of wild dogs." Like Samson! This is why I am worried about Metropolitan Jonah's backers: with friends like Dreher, who needs enemies? For some reason, Dreher does not think that his journalistic promotion of the "Metropolitan Jonah contra mundum" narrative is destroying the OCA and that this is a bad thing - he sees it as Bakunin-esque creative destruction. If Metropolitan Jonah is given a diocese, especially the Diocese of the South, perhaps it will become a center for this discontent and alienate, eg, the DOS further from the rest of the OCA. Who knows? This is merely speculation and worry.

All I know is that some people are going to try to use this as an opportunity to stir up a lot of ----, apparently not realizing that a lot of us will have to live with the ---- they stir up and don't want to sit around in a pile of ---- all day. If you want to pull things down like Samson, do it in somebody else's Church.

But what is it to me? Because of my personal circumstances, I'll be with the Greeks, soon, anyway (at least, for a few years). I'm sure the OCA will have figured it all out by the time I get back, if I ever get back.

And may God have mercy on us all.

Metropolitan Jonah Resigns.

Well, that is unfortunate. I can't pretend to know what's actually going on, nor will I speculate. Of course, the OCA Truth folks (Rod Dreher and Jesse Cone), who probably hurt more than helped Metropolitan Jonah when they wrote their slimy anonymous mud-slinging web-log, will bemoan this as a grave tragedy, evidence of the corruption of the OCA, and proof of the infiltration of a "lavender mafia" or something like that.

I would only suggest that it might be more fruitful to look at it from the point of view of the letter of resignation itself: I had come to the realization long ago that that I have neither the personality nor the temperament for the position of Primate, a position I never sought nor desired. If we talk about this purely from the point of view of executive leadership, which I hate to do in a churchly context, running a national organization requires a lot of specific skills and a certain personality and temperament in addition to the virtues of a holy archpastor. Metropolitan Jonah had experience running a monastery, not running a diocese, and therefore had little chance to develop some of those skills. Holy archpastor, sure, he's got that down. He will be a valuable asset to the OCA for the next few decades, I'm sure. I don't know much about anything, but, from what little I've heard and what we've seen from the OCA, it seems plausible that we could take Metropolitan Jonah's statement here at face value rather than looking for hints of lavender or whatever.