Sunday, February 17, 2008

2008 Don Rickles Chronic Insulter of the Year Award Goes to Bishop White

[ source for Bishop White photos ]

Bishop James White has received the prestigious Don Rickles Award for chronic insulting, based in large part upon his compelling performance on his Insulting Line webcast of 2-19-08 (see my commentary on that and the ensuing group discussion).

In honor of this extraordinary occasion, legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was commissioned to write a new song specifically intended for the good bishop (see the first draft). Here it is:

Positively Sophist Streak Revisited

You got a lotta nerve
To say you got a Ph.D.
When challenged to live chat
You just stand there spinning.

You got a lotta nerve
To say you got a thinker's brain to lend
You just want to be on
The side that's winning.

You say I turned you down
You know it's not like that
If you're so smart
Why then don't you prove it?

You say we lost our faith
But that's not where it's at
"Romanists" have no faith to lose
And you know it.

I know the reason
That you write behind my back
I've long observed the crowd
That you're in with.

Do you take me for such a fool
To think I'd do an "oral debate"
With the one who tries to hide
What he don't know to begin with?

You see me on the Net
You act like an arrogant idiot
You say, "I crush every DA argument"
But you won't do it.

When you know (like with your sis')
You'd rather see me paralyzed
Why don't you just come out once
And scream it?

No, I do not restrain my pity
When I see the cowardice you embrace
If I was your sycophant
Perhaps I'd mimic.

I know how much you're satisfied
With your position and your place
Don't you understand
I ain't in your fan club?

I wish that for just one time
You'd allow comments on your blog
And just for that one moment
You could dialogue.

Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside our shoes
You'd know what a drag it is
To read you.

Farewell, good bishop. You've had your fun with your warmed-over, not particularly funny (by any standard of humor), half-baked "Rush wannabe" winking, chuckling "radio commentary" -- including satirical song titles. I've had my fun with song lyrics too. Two can play at the game of satire. I've been writing satire for over 25 years.

Now (to be more serious [true satire always has a significant serious element] ), how about you finally follow and apply, once and for all, your own resolution of seven years ago (12 January 2001)? I'd be more than happy -- in fact, utterly delighted --to comply along with you!:
1) You first wrote to me years ago. I did not go after YOU.

2) YOU started the complaining and ad-hominem right off the bat.

3) I showed I was not interested in such behavior by refusing to play your game. You have had to call the exchange of a couple of letters a "debate" ever since then.

4) I have done all I could since then in light of certain aspects of your behavior to avoid interaction like the plague.

5) My website contains nothing about you for that very reason. You are a writer who seemingly has endless vistas of time in which to write endlessly irrelevant diatribes that, if they are not dissected point by point, you claim are, in fact, "tightly reasoned" classics of Socratic logic and insightful patristic and biblical scholarship. And if someone does point out obvious errors, well, poof! Mean-spirited angry Protestants!

It's a no-win situation, and I am still kicking myself for even thinking about hitting the "reply" button on the first e-mail from you regarding that dialogue. I should have told TGE [Tim Enloe] to let you know you all could dialogue in lots and lots and lots of places other than #prosapologian. But we all have moments of weakness, I guess. So I apologize for even considering the idea of having any contact. As they seem to say amongst the young people today, "My bad."

. . . I have to often remind myself that it is not my duty to rebut every false argument. I used to think it was, when I was a younger man. I no longer think that way, though at times I succumb to the temptation to try, in some measure, to do what I should not.

I have to trust God's Spirit to lead His people as He sees fit. I have had a number of folks contact me about your posting of my letters and actually warn me against "casting pearls before swine" in doing what I am doing even now. I had three people say to me this morning, "You are wasting your time." I will have to accept their counsel after this response.

Mr. Armstrong, I have no interest, whatsoever, in continuing this with you. I don't like you, and I don't believe you like me. Until a few weeks ago I had followed the path of wisdom and avoided every entanglement with you. I erred in moving from that path. You will undoubtedly claim "victory" and shout loud and long about my supposed inability to respond to your "tightly reasoned" arguments. So be it. I know different, and what's more, I think, somewhere down inside, you do too.

[I guess that's why I offered to let Bishop White question me all night long if he should so choose, if I could question him for 60 or 90 minutes, because I know he can beat me in a debate; and he turned down the offer / challenge. Yeah, right. Makes a lot of sense . . . Insecure people do stuff like that all the time, right?]

Continuing to attempt to reason with you is likewise foolish: if you write an angry e-mail, like yesterday, and I reply to it, the next day you'll use the calm, rational response, and upbraid me for being nasty. No matter what I do, the end is the same. I knew this years ago. My memory must be failing or something for even making the attempt.

I'm going to ask you to join me in promising to stay as far away from each other as possible. I'm not asking you to not respond on your own website to what I write or doing whatever you want to do when speaking, etc. I am talking about personal interaction. Stay out of #prosapologian. Don't write to me. Don't ask to do dialogues, debates, or anything else. You just do your thing, and I'll do mine. OK? Let's leave the issues to those who have a true interest in such things, and given that our personalities are such that we cannot possibly co-exist in the same space (physical or cyber....we'd kill each other on Survivor!), let's not obscure the issues with our personal clashes. I think that is a fair request, one that would advance the cause of truth no matter how one views the debate. No one needs to waste their time thinking about our inability to get along. That's just the way it is.

Dave, I pray God's best for you, and health and blessing upon your family.
Likewise. Now why don't you really get lost this time? I'll be ignoring you and other anti-Catholics (barring exceptional circumstances; particularly if it involves defending someone else from anti-Catholic smear campaigns). You have the choice of following your own resolve (GASP! was this a VOW???!!!!!) of seven years ago or not. If you insist, however, on continuing your juvenile mudslinging, ridicule, and condescension, or start "answering" my arguments for a change, knowing that I have said I won't respond (which you -- we have seen from past experience -- absolutely love, because then you are freed from the usual understood intellectual burdens of defense of one's positions), go ahead.

Your folly, intellectual cowardice, incessant double standards, and hypocrisies are manifest to all who aren't already "mind-numbed robot" sycophants in your adoring fan club. Your pathetic "record" of evasion, spin, and sophism has been laid bare for all to see; copiously documented on my Anti-Catholicism page. If you can live with that embarrassment, be my guest. No skin off my back.

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