Monday, July 04, 2005

The unbearable lightness of being Dave

Is Dave Armstrong a burnt-out Catholic? Has he run out of material?

How else do you explain the fact that over the last few months, if not years (I haven’t gone back into the archive), he has padded his 9/10 of his blog with autobiographical filler?

Most-all of what he’s posting these days is all about Dave and Dave’s admirers and Dave’s detractors.

I don’t find, say, Eric Svendsen padding 9/10 of his blog with autobiographical filler. Dr. Svendsen’s will occasionally take time out to correct a scurrilous charge, but then he goes right back to posting substantive material.

At this rate it doesn’t look like Dave is still a communicant member of the Catholic church. Somewhere along the line he left the Church of Rome and started the Church of Dave.

I guess that Dave has gotten bored with Catholicism. That’s understandable. As a recent convert to the faith, everything was fresh and new. There was a lot to talk about, a lot to explore and discover.

But after 15 years or so, like a marriage gone stale, the bloom is off the rose. Still, he makes his living as an author and a blogger, so he has to say something even when he has nothing to say—which is why we end up with reams and reams of material like the diary of an adolescent in the throes of teenage angst—they love me, they love me not…they love me, they love me not.

Or perhaps a more contemporary comparison would be one of those reality shows in which a camcorder runs 24/7 in the dorm room.

Mind you, I don’t say this as a criticism. It’s fine with me if he spends so much time talking about himself and so little time talking about his church. Let’s call it the Dave Show. Instead of learning anything new or profound about Catholicism, much less defending the claims of that venerable institution, we learn about Dave; and how Dave is defending Dave against Dave’s detractors; and how Dave’s defenders are defending Dave against Dave’s detractors; and how Dave is praising Dave’s defenders for defending Dave against Dave’s detractors.

In the meantime, the Church of Rome fades ever further into the background.

Well, that’s one explanation. Another diagnosis is that Mr. Armstrong is suffering from an acute and apparently incurable case of the Snow White Syndrome—an obsessive-compulsive disorder whose chief symptom is an inordinate amount of time spent in front of the boudoir mirror.


  1. I like the "bloom is off the rose" comment -- but I can't believe that DA has determined that Catholicism is boring.

    Be may have found that he really can't stand interacting with detractors anymore, and I'll give Dave this: he's a devoted family man, married to one wife, and apparently he works hard to support them. You might find his reasoning and his tirades relating to his perceptions of Protestantism apologetically-actionable, but you really can't take Dave's personal life to task.

    I admit it: I'm a Dave fan in that respect. Let him blog on tbhings he actually does know something about and leave the Catholic apologetics to pros like ... um ... let me get back to you on that part.

  2. I didn't comment on his personal life, but on his professional output--which is fair game.

  3. Dave Armstrong is nothing more than a narcissistic goofball. I can't believe anyone takes him seriously. You're right, of course; 9/10 of his blog is about Dave: "Well, enough about me; let's talk about you; what do you think about me?"

    I just loved his silly recent blog title: "I Made It To Wikipedia!" Wow, What an accomplishment! To have made it to a free internet encyclopedia on which anyone is free to post any "encyclopedia article" they want!

    What a loser.

  4. I don't think you guys are being fair to Dave Armstrong. His major apologetic work is right there along the left hand corner of the blog. Just that stuff is enough to occupy a whole day's worth of reading.

    I don't think that you can make the presumption to say this or that about the state of a person in relation to their faith. In any case, this is a purely ad-hominem attack against a fairly respectable person, who (unfortunately) has a lot of detractors.

    In this space, instead of making an ad-hominem attack on a Catholic apologist, you could have tried to take an argument from his works and refute it. If you don't mind me asking, could you please document for me the last time you did that?

    Dave's blog is Dave's blog. Everything which he writes on there isn't "profesional output"- and I imagine that the income of a popular apologist doesn't come from his blog. He can put whatever he wants on it. From what I've seen, he doesn't spend a ridiculous amount of time posting about himself. You have made an extremely repugnant exaggeration. I can't wait to see the day when Protestant popular apologetics sobers up and starts dealing with issues rather than attacking people, and meaningful dialogue is actually accomplished.

  5. << In this space, instead of making an ad-hominem attack on a Catholic apologist, you could have tried to take an argument from his works and refute it. If you don't mind me asking, could you please document for me the last time you did that? >>


    This is a perfectly fair question. And you'll see, if you go over to my sidebar, under countercultism, that I have repeatedly addressed his arguments--as well as those of his readers. Problem is, he constantly evades a serious engagement of the issues. So it isn't for want of trying on my part.

  6. Xeno: You have discovered your sense of humor. I like it.

    Steve: I didn't mean to imply that you were making snarky remarks about Dave's personal life. Sorry about the confusion. :-)

  7. Xeno: I'll trade in my wonder twins secret decoder ring at the next SuperFriends meeting. Shame on me for giving you a compliment.

  8. Xeno:

    Snark snark snark (compliment) snark snark (invective) snark.

    I don't blame you for being prickly. Here's the white flag of truce if you promise not to take my wonder twins secret decoder ring away. It's got a built-in objective exegesis machine -- the blue one, so it's really rare -- and I'm kinda attached to it.

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