Monday, May 14, 2007


Pope Gregory the Great, respectfully commenting on the Holy Spirit's blog.

I got back from the International Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo, Michigan, last night and I found that someone had left a comment on a blog post I wrote about a year and a half ago. Imagine my dismay to find an insulting attack on my post by an anonymous visitor. Briefly, he or she said that the post was full of "unsubstantied [sic] assertions, and irrational conclusions about the mediaeval priesthood" and called me a "so-called scholar" who should "go back to kindergarten." Strange that he or she should criticize what I said about the Middle Ages, basic information that can be found in any textbook on the tenth-century reform, and not the more subjective speculations I made concerning the present state of the Church, but then again the commentator was not very specific in his or her criticism.

Not the most thick-skinned of bloggers, at first I was agitated. I wasn't quite sure what to do. I've only received a couple of negative comments before, both when I had the nerve to suggest that Muslims might be human beings. In the end I decided to delete the comment and leave one of my own as an invitation to whoever it was to come back and engage in real dialog. What I wrote might serve as a comment policy for this blog:
Dear anonymous:

I deleted your comment. I welcome anyone who disagrees with me to comment on my blog. If you are capable of explaining coherently what is wrong with my post and can do so without being insulting, I would be happy to hear your thoughts.

By the way, I consider leaving anonymous insults in someone's comment box a cowardly act.
And that is the policy.


Anonymous said...

International Medieval Congress?! Is that some kind of Star Trek convention or something? You probably have action figures of people from the middle ages, don't you? Maybe if you spent less time in so-kalled skolarly persoots, and more time rockin' out to Led Zeppelin, you could almost be kool.

Anonymous said...

Uh, btw, what's the URL for the Holy Spirit's blog? I bet her blog rocks!

Garpu the Fork said...

Cool, I had a friend who went to that conference last year. Here's hoping they put you on a decent panel. Last conference I was at, they had me on a panel that had nothing to do with my paper.

Sandalstraps said...

Good policy.

Liam said...

Your reference to Zep has outed you, so you are not really anonymous but rather "pseudo-anonymous," so I guess you can insult me all you want. Besides, you already know I have a Pope Innocent III action figure.

Yes, I was on a panel with other people who do Spanish charters and we all went out to dinner afterwards. It was all great fun.

Thanks. How are you doing?

Anonymous said...

Nice policy working. Do you mind if I copy it? -Eppu-

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Pseudo-Anonymous a mystic or something? Pseudo-Anonymous the Aeroplanite or something?

I bet he listened to Zep.

crystal said...

I have an Edward the Black Prince mug but no action figures.

I haven't had many negative comments on my blog but I usually get bushwhacked on other blogs, where I've been called a heretic and a lesbian :-)

Garpu the Fork said...

I don't allow anonymous comments on mine, so they actually have to own up to what they say.

Sandalstraps said...


I'm doing pretty well. This is Finals week, so i'm going as little bit crazy. But, as of noonish Thursday, I'm free for a couple of months.

How 'bout yourself?

If anyone's interested, here's my pseudo-policy. Alas, the links to Brian Cubbage's posts on the subject don't work, as he tore down his blog in a fit of apathy.

Liam said...

"Anonymous" --
Much like the Pseudo-Liam.

Crystal --
Yes, I do have a Pope Innocent III Action Figure. It rocks and my students love it.

That's a good idea, but then Anonymous wouldn't be able to leave his cryptic comments.

Have a good break. I'm doing well, though I will have to get a lot of work done this summer, since I'm teaching next term.

crystal said...

Liam, do you know yet what courses will you be teaching?

crystal said...

Heh - I meant "what courses you will be teaching"

I don't remember having any teachers like you in college - sadly, none of them had action figures. I went to a small state college and we only had two medieval history classes - imaginitively titled "medieval history I and II". Anything beyond that had to be independent srudy. I did one on medieval battles :-)

cowboyangel said...

Pseudo-Liam, I had forgotten about the "Pseudo Liam" writings. Very good.

"... put the damn eggplant down. Put it down."

And who knew they had popcorn in the 5th century?


Anonymous said...

Wait, that wasn't really Cowboy Angel, that was me, Pseudo-Anonymous.

Damn Blogger thing.

Anonymous said...

Crystal, which medieval battle did you write about?

Did you check out the link to the Pope Innocent III Action Figure? They also have figures of some of the saints - but not under action figures, under Jesus. Not to mention a Jesus bobblehead! Woah.

A lesbian heretic, huh? I've been called a Republican troll! I'd rather be a lesbian heretic. :-(

lullaby said...

In the past I've had some anonymous attacks on my blog. Also, one time I published a completely benign article in a tiny little travel mag and somehow this guy got a hold of my email and gave me hell...

Liam said...

Crystal --
I'll be teaching freshman literature humanities. Basically Homer to Virginia Woolf. It should be fun, though a lot of work.

I usually describe you to people as a lesbian heretic.

You must have done something to deserve it.

crystal said...

Anonymous - my favorite battle was that of Stamford bridge, but it was hard to choose ... so many battles, so little time.

Liam - that class sounds like it will be fun.

Garpu the Fork said...

I think your Pope Innocent III action figure would go well with my glow-in-the-dark statue of St. Isidore.

Anonymous said...


I didn't know about the Battle of Stamford Bridge. So, King Harold defeats a bunch of invading Norwegians on September 25, 1066, then turns arounds and runs down to Hastings for the October 14 scrum with the Normans, only to get an arrow in his eye. Rough couple of weeks! And I've been complaining recently because I have too much work at the Library! What a wuss.

Gabriele C. said...

I haven't gotten really nasty comments so far, but for some time I had a cyberstalker.

I always just deleted his comments and kicked his email in the spam folder. He gave up after some time.

crystal said...

Not only that, but his own brother was among the "bad guys" at the bridge .... talk about disfunctional families ;-)

Has it been busy at the library? Is school over yet?

Winnipeg Catholic said...

I'm namin' my next kid Anonymous

Cura Animarum said...

Good policy Liam. I don't think I've had any negative comments on mine but I'm also pretty sure you can't leave anonymous comments either. I can sometimes make people pretty mad on other people's blogs though.

I never get to be called creatively insulting names though which is kind of sad.

I'm also lacking in any religious action figures though I do have a Pope Benedict XVI key chain. Like a lot of things in my office, our parish Priest gave it to me because he didn't want it.

No King-fu grip or anything. What a rip.