Has “The Donegal Express” left the station?
I was going to mention this later, in my review of this year's Catholic Blog Awards (coming soon, probably), but for yours truly, this bears mention on its own.
In observing what is considered humorous in the Catholic blogosphere, it would appear (much but not all of the time) to fall into one of two categories. One would be the sort of clever, momentary jocularity, like a Photoshop treatment of the Pope riding a skateboard. (Darn, and I took a course in Photoshop, I coulda thought of that first!) The other is the sort of "ha-ha-isn't-that-cute" funny, the kind of innocent thing you could share with little old ladies -- undoubtedly a large percentage of the blog-reading public. Uh-huh.
There is a third variety which, to this observer, requires more thought and takes more risk. That is the truly ROTFLMAO kind of funny, the art of the well-timed snide remark, a bona-fide smart-@$$. Very few bloggers identified as "Catholic," even the award junkies, are able to pull this off. Mark Shea does it quite well, but it is not his trademark. He's an evangelist first, a humorist later. Caroline Cannonball definitely has her moments, no doubt an outlet for the harried single mother who forgets her meds occasionally. The rest might well be served by coding in a laugh track.
But one of the funniest guys in "Saint Blog's Parish" doesn't need a laugh track. He is a guy who never posted often enough. In recent weeks, he is offline completely, and is nowhere to be found. I'm talking about the young (or so he says) man identified only as "Der Tommissar," author of The Donegal Express.
I first heard from him in response to my November 2005 piece entitled "Nice work if you can get it." In the comments box was only one word: "MASTER!" Linking to his site, it was described as "Greatest. Post. Ever." Obviously I was dealing with a man of distinction, of impeccable taste. I had to know more.
One year, he threatened that if he didn't get the Awards from the CBA that he richly deserved, he would convert his site to "cat blogging." Alas, his bluff was called, and for months afterwards, every post ended with an adorable kitty-cat photo. "I am a man of my word." And so he was.
His most recent entries were a series of "non-endorsements" of presidential candidates. Here is what he wrote about Rudy Giuliani:
You know how in high school he “considered the priesthood”? Let me clue the non-Catholics in here, that’s code for, “I’m a huge dork and don’t want to spend four years getting stuffed into lockers. I know, I’ll pretend I have a vocation. That’ll make the guys hesitate about beating the living hell out of me during my high school career. ‘Dude, what if he does become a priest? He could like, send us to hell or somethin’.” It is the ploy of only the most pathetic loser.
I will also forever treasure other nuggets of wisdom, which he shared in comboxes when he had the time from the many pressing demands of being a husband, father, valiant defender of the One True Faith, and technological wunderkind:
I'd like to thank Mr Alexander for his kind comments about the League [of Evil Traditionalists]. When we come to power, I'm sure I can convince the others to just have him exiled for life instead of being subjected to what we like to call, "The Shea Treatment". I'll even make sure the exile is someplace nice, like Costa Rica.
Now, I don't care what anyone else says. None of you would-be clowns can write stuff like that. Imagine a guy who writes like that most of the time.
Alas, like a thief in the night, our Tommy Boy is gone. We know he moved from Santa Fe recently, to parts unknown, in search of employment, or a Tridentine Mass that doesn't start later than two in the afternoon on a Sunday. If he's reading this, he will most likely respond with a phrase that provokes a misty eye just thinking about it:
"Who do you think you are, my mother?"
That's my boy!