A Poll from Fr. Matthew

Regular readers might have noticed that some of the posts on GMG have been getting a little… well… earthy, or edgy, bordering on NSFW according to some.  Joey is the founder and moderator of the blog, so he can post whatever he wants.  But it creates an interesting situation for me.

I love the GMG community – both the contributors and the readers – and I love the way the blog helps us to know each other and creates community spirit.  However, personally and as a Catholic priest, I can’t approve or agree with all the content.  Does my being a regular contributor imply that I think all the content is appropriate? Should I speak out when there is a post I disagree with, find morally reprehensible, or just plain gross?  Or is that not necessary, given that this is a very diverse blog, and it is not presumed that everyone agrees with everything that everyone else says?

I have gotten feedback of different kinds from different people. Some suggest I should withdraw from the blog so as not to be associated with the cruder content. Others disagree. I’ve been back and forth about it in my own head.  So, I have decided to pose it also to you, as Joey himself often does, in the form of a poll! I am not holding myself bound to act according to the results, but I’d really like to hear your opinion through the poll and/or comments.  (Please keep the comments civil and respectful even if you disagree with other people’s comments.  Sometimes people get hot under the collar when it comes to this type of discussion.)

Note: this poll is multiple choice, so you can pick more than one answer (hopefully you won’t pick ones whose contents are mutually exclusive).

- Fr. Matthew Green

About Matthew Green

I am an origami artist and photographer (and teacher of both), a blogger, a freelance translator, former philosophy professor, and I love to sing. You can see my photos on Flickr and buy prints of some of them on Fine Art America. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter (@mehjg), and in various and sundry other social media sites on the web.
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20 Responses to A Poll from Fr. Matthew

  1. E.J. says:

    In life I believe we should always follow our own hearts, and not what other people say or think which might be contrary to what our heart tells us. Our highest self should always direct us, not other humans who may not be coming from that higher place. As a priest, I would think you would pray about it and let God direct you, not the Church or parishioners or the self-righteous.

  2. Bruce says:

    You raise a tough and great question. GMG is a great service and asset to the community and a wonderful means of expression. I don’t think it is improved by the material you object to. I suspect many others agree. We have to respect the First Amendment and encourage free artisitic expression and it is not our blog, but contributors who add the offending material must know it is such when they do so. They should ask themselves what is their purpose and objective and could their own needs for expression be served in some other way than by defacing what has been an important community archive. What exactly is the point in making some who love the site uncomfortable with frat-boy misogeny and porn? Does anyone respect any person who posts that stuff for doing so, or is it an unfortunate bump which has to be tolerated? Is anyone hurt by the stuff and if so what is/was the point? If people avoid the site because of that content, what is gained?

  3. Mary Mahoney Howard says:

    Heck, Joey offends me plenty, and makes me laugh, and look at things with a different perspective. II love this blog! I think the fact that a Catholic Priest is such a great supporter and contributor of the blog says allot about the Priest and the Blog. Tolerance, acceptance, and the appreciation of the diverse people that make up this community, both on Cape Ann and on-line is what makes it the great blog it is! Rock on!

  4. Ann Kennedy says:

    First of all, Fr. Green, your contributions to GMG are valuable–always. I feel like GMG is a terrific group effort of both the community and Joey’s team, and the diversity of ideas and opinions is something that makes it work. The invitation to participate is open to all…and therefore I expect content to be highly varied, sometimes “colorful” and often opinionated. We all know that none of us can belong to a group that represents our own values all of the time–true in schools, churches, businesses and all aspects of our daily lives…and each entity has its issues and members who someone believes are speaking, writing and behaving badly. But we don’t quit participating in those organizations. I’m with E.J. on this one, and I’m with you Fr. and whatever your decision might be although I hope you continue to participate and do so with confidence that you are bringing something good to the community.

  5. Father Green: I voted for you to “Rock On!” I’m sure that most people realize it’s not your blog, and you are doing your own thing, as all GMG authors do. You fill an important role for the community at 10am every day. Your posts are a great counterbalance to all the other content. Fred

  6. Frank says:

    FR. Green.I think that this blog needs and respects you and it would be a real bummer if you left. But you gutta do what you gutta do. I am with you either way. I for one want you to stay.

  7. Bob says:

    Father, i really enjoy your posts and hope you will continue to grace this blog with your photos and origami. It never occurred to me that you might feel a kind of conflict of interest, but now that you mention it I see your point. You have to live with your conscience, so I will respect whatever decision you make. Just let us know where we will find your posts if you decide to stay online, but elsewhere.

  8. saint707 says:

    You can’t please all the people all the time. Each GMG contributor is responsible only for the content of their own posts. It would be a loss to the GMG community and to the “high road” your posts represent if you left. Personally I enjoy the variety of posts and the humor when I find it funny. Sometimes the intended humor isn’t funny and misses the mark but humor is subjective. Someone else probably thinks it rocks. Let us choose what to read or not read by our own choosing, not by exclusion. I hope you continue to post your beautiful photographs and origami.

  9. donnabarner says:

    My question is this. What would you accomplish by leaving. Is there a goal for you. I may not always agree with everything, but who does. Take the blog as a whole. I enjoy the blog. There are times when I see something that makes me want to reach into someones brain and reform it. Then what? Only the things I agree with will be there. Is it hurting you to stay with the blog? You should stay and “contribute” when you think you should. Should someone leave the church because they don’t like a sermon? Nope!!!

  10. Donna says:

    Dear Fr.Green, What I don’t understand is why it’s on you….Written trash is very different than the blurted expletive. Long before you came to the blog I complained about the incredibly disrespectful posts that routinely appear here…I was told the blog was life on the wharf and that’s the way it is. I worked on the wharf, both my brothers worked on the wharf, my grandfather worked on the wharf for 50 years..Nope, that’s not how it is.
    For awhile the various contributors seemed to be more respectful in their writing.
    I skip a lot of stuff – due no interest or not wanting to be dis-respected. Then you joined. I thought…surely now they will think before they write…not so…
    So now, I cruise through quickly in search of your posts and pictures. Your photos are not only good in their quality – but they really capture Gloucester as I knew/know it. You have a great eye for the community. So for my own selfish reasons I hope you continue.
    I also hope the other contributors would have a lot more self-respect – get rid of the crutch of the verbal cripple – and make their posts relevant in a far more respectful way…
    Perhaps the disclaimer should be part of the blog and not your responsibility…
    You know…’This blog posts items filled with disgusting language from time to time. We do it because we can – it is not a reflection of our parentage nor our education (or lack of same)..We don’t care if we publish trash on the same post as photos of our mother and young children..We are much too self-centered to care….Others on the blog are respectful and otherwise very cool – we’re glad to have them because they make this blog a better place’…something like that.
    Best Regards,
    D.Mac

  11. I’ve have gone through the same uncomfortable feeling a few times. I publicly post here and my day job is attached. My number one rule for posting (and emailing) anything on the internet is that I would not be bothered having the post pinned up on the bulletin board in front of my Chief Scientific Officer of the Institute’s office.

    While I do not post the lowbrow it does reside on the same blog. I never comment on those posts and so I think I steer clear of them. At least I hope my Institute CSO sees the difference. Your CEO should see the difference too. ;-)

  12. Anonymous says:

    This has not been Joey’s blog for a long time, not since he brought on The Team. “It’s my blog and I will write what I want.” “It’s not about me, it’s about The Team.” Can he have it both ways?

    Like it or not, whether they realize it or not, what Joey writes here reflects on The Team and vice versa. I’m embarrassed for The Team when I read profanity laced entries. That kind of talk may not bother me in personal conversations, but I flinch when I see it here. I was mortified for Fr. Green, especially, when I read the “dicks in the ass” entry.

    It’s also about Fr. Green’s followers (and those of other contributors), people who check in to see his contributions and are unexpectedly exposed to material that is embarrassing and offending to them. Of course that reflects on Fr. Green. How could it not? Would he submit photos to a print magazine that also published R-rated material?

    Can the same blog responsibly represent the City and its businesses and nonprofits and publish profane and obscene entries (under the guise of salty talk from the dock), too? Even media giants adhere to a standard of what’s fit to print in the mainstream media.

    Read it or not, contribute or not, everyone has a choice. I’m just one voice, but it is my opinion that everything written here reflects the standards of all the contributors.

    • S.D. Kelly says:

      The medium of a blog is inherently different than a “media giant” — blogs are personal. “Blog” is short for the phrase “web log” and the platform was originally designed as an online journal. This blog doesn’t represent the city, nonprofits, or any other entity besides, ultimately, Joey. If a nonprofit, business, or city official submits something to this blog, it is not Joey’s responsibility to make sure they approve of all the content before he posts, as a favor, an item.

  13. cassius k says:

    Follow your heart father Green. To the others, I say yes, this is a blog, it’s Joey’s blog. Not owned or run by anyone else. He’s cool enough to allow others to express themselves as he does. People even have the freedom to express how much they dislike some of his postings, on his/this very blog. How’s that for democracy? It’ kinda like having a head chef allow you to use his gourmet kitchen anytime you want. You can cook along side him, he will make some room, and he never really troubles you about what your cooking. Then after a while you decide you hate that head chef’s cooking from time to time, so you tell him. That can be a tough spot for the head chef.

  14. kathy says:

    One should not impose ones own morals, values, beliefs on others. What happened to tolerance?

  15. Bess Manning says:

    If I recall my Sunday school lessons, Jesus associated with whores, lepers and tax collectors, so I should think you’re in the clear despite the puerile potty-mouth and silly sex advice we sometimes see here…..

  16. Joey has explained his position about the issues that some people have with the content on the site numerous times, and I think it says a lot about his level of tolerance that he has not chimed in on this post. He may be at the point where he considers this beating a dead horse.

    GMG publishes all kinds of content, but even the most ‘offensive’ content is no worse than something you would find in Vogue, or the New Yorker for that matter. If you can’t handle either one of those, then GMG is not for you as a reader, or a writer. One might also consider that the occasional published piece that could be deemed offensive by the easily offended is awash in other content that does nothing but benefit the community. What is the ratio? 50:1 or more?

    Publishing this poll without consulting Joey first is far more offensive than anything I have ever read on this site. If that’s the way it went down Fr. Green, you owe Joey a huge apology.

    • I did not consult Joey ahead of time, because my post/poll is not about him or his posts. As I said in the post, he has the right to post what he wants. My question in the poll was how people felt about me being there in the context of the other posts, not how they felt about Joey or what Joey posted. As it happens, Joey did see the poll before it went up. He said the post was well written, and although he was not very enthusiastic about publishing it, he left it open for me to do as I felt right. I think that is because he understood that it was not intended as a criticism of him, but rather as a question of the appropriateness of my being here as a priest.

  17. beauportvodka says:

    You are walking among the flock. I appreciate that.

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