I see that Dave Armstrong did a post on his all-time favorite topic of conversation–himself:
You have to wonder how many hours he devoted to this exercise. It’s meticulously formatted, with footnotes, bullet points, italicized words, no fewer than three photographic illustrations, and a soundtrack to boot. And all that time and effort on a post that’s to, for, and about himself.
It reminds me of those Catholic cathedrals in which the Lady chapel is the center of attention. There’s a huge altar to Mary, crowded with flickering votive candles. Then there’s a dark, dingy, lonely little side chapel with an altar dedicated to what’s-his-name. You know…some guy by the name of Jesus. Ever heard of him?
You have to wonder what Armstrong would do with himself in heaven. I don’t think heaven is big enough for God Almighty and David Armstrong. If Armstrong ever gets to heaven, he’ll have to evict the Lord to make room for himself.
Dave is his very own religion. Both subject and object. He carries around a mental icon of his adorable self-image. Lights imaginary candles to his self-image. Burns imaginary incense to his self-image.
This overweening self-importance isn’t limited to Armstrong. In my observation, it’s fairly characteristic of Catholic converts who become pop apologists.
And, from what I can tell, this is not characteristic of cradle Catholics. Some cradle Catholics are proud, but others are quite humble and self-effacing.
What is it about Catholic converts like Armstrong which selects for this particular mindset?
Armstrong maintains exhaustive records of what anyone, anywhere, at any time, ever said about him. His self-obsession reminds me of a woman I once read about:
If Price's memory of her own history is so precise, why is it so average for everything else? Or, more to the point, if her memory for everything else is so ordinary, why is her memory of her own history so extraordinary? The answer has nothing to do with memory and everything to do with personality.
Price remembers so much about herself because she thinks about herself—and her past—almost constantly. She still has every stuffed animal she's ever gotten, enough (as she showed me in a photograph) to completely cover the surface of her childhood bed. She has 2,000 videotapes and countless audiotapes, not to mention more than 50,000 pages of diary entries in idiosyncratic handwriting—so dense that it's almost unreadable. Until recently she owned a copy of every TV Guide since summer 1989. I'm not sure Price wants to catalog her life like this, but she can't help herself. When she tells me that one of her biggest regrets in life is that no one followed her around with a microphone during her childhood, I'm not the least bit surprised. In her own words, she lives as if there's a split screen running in her mind—one half on the present, the other on the past.