Saturday, 25 June 2011

On snarkiness in diverse places

One of these days I'm going to learn not to respond to a comment on an apologetics blog.

For some reason unknown to me Thom Stark is on a charm offensive over at Matt and Madeleine Flannagan's blog. It's all apologies, hugs and sweet reconciliation (well, sort of.)  An aside by Matt, however, left me puzzled.
Thom, Gavin is just showing how nasty the NZ theological scene can be. I did my PhD at Otago and some people still there have a snark reflex reaction towards conservatives. I suspect its more about me than it is about you.
Yup, that's his take on this post.  Proof, if any more was required, that hardline Reformed folk have a severely limited appreciation of humor.

Not that I deny the occasional descent into snarkiness. Apologetics tends to do that to me...  As Matt writes of himself, "I just call it as I see it."

But Matt has a long memory.  To my protestation that I've never been part of an Otago cabal, he rejoins that I was a contributor on the now defunct Dunedin School blog which published some "lovely stuff" about him.

Well, to that I plead guilty. I was invited by Deane to post there, though as with Matt, our only contact has ever been virtual.  Whether Matt wants to call me a liar or not, as he now infers, his name didn't come up once, to the best of my recollection, during that time.  My total contribution there was perhaps five posts, none of which, I believe, mentioned Matt at all.  Later Deane and others based in Dunedin decided to crop the posts and refocus on "reception history,"  and I was left with but one post flapping in the cool Dunedin breeze (on the meaning of the term 'evangelical'.)  Shortly thereafter, sadly, the plug was pulled completely.  At no stage, as far as I'm concerned, was that blog intended to be a "snark reflex reaction to conservatives" any more that Matt's blog is intended as a "snark reflex reaction" to mainstream biblical studies.

Now consider the tone of Matt's further response.
But I am sure you really don’t have any issue with me at all this is all just coincidence and it’s a mistake to see any of this as evidence of some kind of hostility towards me at all... try reading what people actually write it’s a lot more sensible than attacking straw men)... But I am sure this [is] all a coincidence as well. When the same authors try and draw attention to Stark[']s illtempered comments about me, that’s a coincidence as well. There is not a group of theologians at Dunedin in Otago who write snarky stuff about Conservative theologians like me, nor do people associated with this group right [sic] nasty stuff about me designed [to] ridicule me and denigrate my scholarly credentials, it’s all just a coincidence.
Clearly Matt is himself a master of the genre.