Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, June 14, 2021

A Wedding Toast to Mr. Dan-Man

My baby brother got married this weekend. 

It's been our family tradition to adapt some song with lots of harmony into a personalized toast at weddings, so my brother Will tossed out a short parody of "Mister Sandman", and I cleaned it up and wrote the finished lyrics. We all worked on our parts individually, which didn't go so well the first time we got together to sing. But after a few intense pre-wedding rehearsal sessions, we found our groove.

I present to you the sweet stylings of the Egan siblings in our last wedding toast.


Mr. Dan-man, that is our phrase
It's been his nickname since his toddler days.
But let us offer one clarification:
Grown up, he likes to go by Nate or Nathan.
Mr. Dan-man, or should we say Than?
Meri, John, Will, Liz, and Anna command:
Hear the last toast that we'll sing
Now that Dan-man's wearing a ring.

Mr. Dude-man, Jack of all trades,
He goes to Europe for his escapades.
Working with wood, giving drumming instructions,
Directing youth group musical productions.
Mr. Dan-man, don't think it's weird
That we're singing an ode to your beard.
Smooth or whiskered, you look swell,
Now that Cupid's ringing those bells.

Mr. Dan-man, God heard your prayer:
(He sent a) brainy beauty with charm and red hair
(He sent a) fellow chastity educator
Now she's your lifelong collaborator.
(Bum bum) Miss Savannah, you're good as gold. 
You handle Dan now 'cause we're getting old.
You two make a perfect team
Mrs. Dan-man, take him
Wedding cake him,
Mrs. Egan, manage his schemes.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Data Journalism on Bishops' Annual Appeals

I've got a new data analysis piece up at The Pillar, looking to see if there is a "McCarrick Effect" on the annual appeals which dioceses conduct.

After the the 2018 scandals of Theodore McCarrick and the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clerical sexual abuse, some Catholics began to say publicly they would no longer support diocesan appeals. Those voices grew louder amid discontent over the Church’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. But are frustrated Catholics actually scaling back their financial support for their dioceses? We went to the numbers to find out.

The Pillar examined records of annual appeal collections in 25 geographically and demographically diverse dioceses from 2016 to 2020. We found that on average, the collections of diocesan annual appeals have gone down 4% during the last 4-5 years....

 In related news, The Pillar has made me a "contributing editor".  I certainly won't be quitting my day job, but as Pillar editor-in-chief JD Flynn says, while "it comes with no material benefits, no great prestige, and not even a cool watch. It does mean [Brendan] will continue to develop data-driven journalism for The Pillar, and offer a unique perspective on the life of the Church."

I'm honored by their faith in my work, and if you haven't already subscribed, I'd definitely encourage giving them a look.  They have by far the best coverage of the Church that I've seen in recent years.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Less Strident and Less Tolerant

 Every so often I ask myself why (aside from chronic lack of time to do much of anything other than work, parenting, and mindlessly wasting time) I don't write more.  Then I look back at the numerous posts I wrote in the past and realize that these days I would not write many of them.

Some of this is due to the "I used to have a seven theories and no children, now I have seven children and no theories" phenomenon. Some is due to the cynicism and exhaustion that gradually teaches one that trying to correct everyone who is wrong on the internet is like trying to hold back the tide.  But a lot of it is also that over the years I've come to know and like more people who find various subjects or views upsetting, and so rather than write something which I know will upset people I like, I keep a lot of thoughts that I nonetheless hold to myself.  

In this sense, I probably sound a somewhat less strident than I used to.

However, there's a downside to this constant voluntary self censorship.  It's an unspoken, one-sided bargain, and as such it's one of which others are unaware.  While I may have undertaken these strictures for reasons that seem like they would apply equally to people on the other side of various issues, it is hardly surprising if other people do not feel the same need to keep their opinions under wraps in order to get along.  I know this.  And yet, when one is going to the effort to bottle up a lot of opinion, and others are quite obviously not doing so, it's easy to get angry that others are not following one's own silent code.

The result is that as a direct result of becoming less strident, I think I've become a good deal less tolerant as well. 

I don't know if this is an inevitable result of our current tense cultural conditions, combined with the disorientation and feeling of betrayal that naturally come from the recent scrambling of sides as the right has become more populist and the left has become more illiberal, or if it's an inevitable result of age and weariness, but it definitely one of the key ways that I have changed in the way I think about online opinion over the years.