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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Emperor's New Clothes

"I have rewritten my critique and will publish the revised version soon."
~ Dr. Janet Smith, October 4, 2010
Dr. Janet Smith has made known her august intention to re-write her response to Dawn Eden, as Smith's first response was apparently so fatally flawed and absolutely lacking in content that Dr. Smith looked to many like a raving Westian loon. It certainly generated a lot of negative press in the blogosphere.

So, as the imposing doctor of classical languages re-writes her theology undergrad paper, we would pose a dubium or two...

Perhaps she could incorporate her thoughts on these matters into her most serene response?

A) Why is a woman with a Ph.D. and an international reputation so deeply concerned about commentary from a freshly-minted MA about somebody ELSE, a third party who ALSO has both an international reputation AND the backing of a Cardinal? What's up with that?

Why does a nobody with an MA frighten the living beelzebub out of two internationally acclaimed "theologians"? What kind of soft targets ARE you two that one person with a less than buttery word on her lips for your antics makes you bring out enormous canons to shoot down the obstreperous fly?

It's kind of like Barack Obama getting all het up about what a local radio show has to say about the operations of the Presidency... could you explain your weirdly disproportionate response/concern...????

But, passing on from this extremely interesting first question, we have a technically unimportant second question:

B) Why does a woman with a Ph.D. who has written literally dozens of articles, hundreds of speeches, etc., get the opportunity to re-write HER first public response, and the person she's defending, who has written several multi-million selling books gets to re-write HIS public responses... and these re-writes are considered laudable.

But, why is it that the poor little nobody they are both attacking is taken to task because HER initial response allegedly wasn't spot on? At least, her initial work wasn't spot on according to the judgement of the people with international reputations and the backing of a cardinal. Who are both apparently scared spitless of the little nobody.

Everyone else seems to have thought the little nobody did a rather good job.

It puts me in mind of something, although I can't quite remember the whole story, but there was this little kid - a nobody - who yelled something at the emperor about his wardrobe.... nope, can't remember the story. All I remember is that the tailors made out like bandits through the back door with their pay before the king got back to the palace.

I always wanted to be the tailors in that story.
They were the only ones who came out ahead.

Apparently, Janet, you and Chris remember the story.
So do your publishers, Pauline Books and Ascension Press and Catholic Exchange.

Now, I mean, I know we are supposed to judge you and Chris by a different standard - you are both pure, the rest of us are scum, you are holy, we are not, you deserve a pass, none of us do, etc.

I know the people who criticize West, that we're jest second-class trailer trash n' all, but I jest thought that this bein' America n' sech, n' maybe we could try them same rules out for everybody jest this once, h'it bein' the way Americans generally act, y'know?


Now, I'm sorry for having been so mean, divisive, ill-spirited, cantankerous and rude as to point any of this out, and I realize my sorrow counts for dirt, that I should simply silence myself and bow, weeping before you both, to kiss your feet in order to show true contrition while I humbly write an article for the silent journals, which is where this debate should really take place, but I thought I'd ask the questions before I did any of that.

Not that I expect an answer, Janet.
Someone so august and pure as yourself shouldn't be expected to have to answer questions from the likes of me, a wastrel laying at the gates, full of scabs and filth.

I have no right to enter into your august banquet to request even this crust from you.
And I dare not even lift my eyes to the all-hallowed, all -silent purity of THE CHRIS! But.....

I can't help it!
My concupiscence gets the best of me!

So, whatcha' got, Janet?
Or am I talking to a great, big empty here?

In the spirit of Westianism, Janet re-wrote her old essay so that it's now a new essay but she managed to say nothing new in it.

That takes rare skill.

Unless you're a Westian, in which case it appears to be an in-born genetic trait.

And, to show she didn't just fall off the turnip truck yesterday, she had it put up where none of those pesky blog commentators can comment on it directly.

It's so annoying to have to listen to critics tear your thesis apart, isn't it, Janet?
So un-scholarly of them.

That was the problem with Catholic Exchange - you write this BRILLIANT piece, then picayune logicians wade in via the comments section and demonstrate line-by-line failures that make a Ph.D. look like a Post-Hole Digger.


CERC is much safer.

For one, Janet is on the advisory board, so she can force CERC to carry her stuff.
For two, CERC has no comments section, so nobody can critique her on the same page as her embarrassing work appears.

I don't think Janet gets this whole "Internet" thing...


Larry said...

I've always had this desire to see a really good movie made about the Battle of Jutland. I think, with some truly quality FX, the scene where the German High Seas Fleet (HSF) stumbles upon the Grand Fleet through the mist and smoke of battle, where Jellicoe has his ships crossing the T of Scheer's HSF and the guns are slowing swinging to bear, raising in elevation, and then, BAM, the ripple fire of dozens of 12", 13.5", and 15" guns from the British ships. I've always hoped someone would make a movie about that. Just an unabashed display of artillery in action.

Reading your post was just like how I expect that to be.

Kevin said...

No need to pile on Steve. :p

Let's wait and see what the "revised" edition says.

Personally, unless there's an apology as well, there isn't much to it.

Personally, i'm still confident her "revised" work will fall short, and we can pick it apart a thousand ways just like the last one was, without piling on Mark Antony style.

Steve Kellmeyer said...


Where's your sense of fun? :)

I *LOVE* Popping Balloons!
Especially the big, gassy ones...

Mamie Farish said...

My take on this.... Janet Smith is "mothering" Christopher West. That's the only thing that makes sense. Her work is solid; why is she helping West to explain himself? I like Dawn's idea; she will not comment unless it's West. Where is that man? Why is he so silent? Why can't he speak up for himself?

Kevin said...

While a bit tough, Steve is right.

Not shocking at all Dr. Smith would write something in a forum where people are unable to directly comment on it.

Chances are if people don't make that firestorm of how bad her research was (and give us the option to link to the proper sources), that stuff stays up, and she never revises the work as is.

Haven't read the revision yet though, but that indicator in and of itself I think shows how confident she is her position is the superior one.

I know DCS and myself can be annoying, but we're two neophytes. In the end, shouldn't be much trouble. :)

I don't know if it is "mothering" or not. I do think it's a case of recognizing they've got nothing.

Hence their pleading that this "go to the Bishops" despite:

1.) Nobody is stating West is a heretic
2.) The question is not about doctrine, but about how best to present doctrine

Bishops get involved in incredibly precise manners. It hasn't risen to this level yet. So I repeat in public what I told Miss Eden in private: don't let them off the hook that easy!

Kevin said...


Having finally read the revision, something crossed my mind, in her statement about Latin and repression. Her argument is even less scholarly than before!

In the original, she at least made an argument and attempted to present evidence. The inclusion of Latin suggested repression.

Now in her revision, she concedes there are good reasons to use the Latin. nonetheless, it smacks of repression to her. Why?



Dr. Smith says so, that's why.

Further such revisions, and she will have revised herself out of any credibility.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

She hasn't had any credibility since she backed West's play on anal sex during the Schindler flare-up and then failed to produce any of the requisite evidence.

The doubling down on the phallic Easter candle hasn't helped her, nor have these two most recent essays.

From a theological perspective, Westian TOB has destroyed her. She's washed up. It will take a few more months for the back-room reality to be reflected in the public perception (she still has a little time to leave the sinking ship, although she won't), but her very public unraveling has been quietly discussed for months in numerous circles.

This is the end of Janet Smith's theological reputation.

That's the "fruit" of Chris West's TOB. It's a damned shame.