Friday, November 25, 2005

Stating the Obvious

Over at Mr Armstrong's outfit, there appears to be some titillation about my true identity, as if Deep Throat has been revealed to the world. While I often joke about the secret identity, semi-pseudonymity, etc, it is pretty obvious who I am if you put two and two together. I've certainly left behind enough "Easter Eggs" in the posts. I'll walk readers of this thread through them so that they can put everything together.

Back in the early days of PP, with its single-digit readership, I told several people about the blog. The usual blogging suspects have all known since the early days, and not a few comment-droppers here know as well. I even told the Crimson Catholic back in April or May sometime. Sometime in June, Eric Svendsen put up a little thread stating that if people couldn't figure me out, then, well, they have a problem. [That was rather funny.]

That I didn't take myself or the little mystery too seriously comes from a June 3 post, wherein I state the following:

As for my "secret identity," bah humbug. I truly am a nobody relative to the Christian Church, though I'd say I already have a large core of a conservative seminary curriculum thanks to about 6 years of being an automath. I hold no position, no title, in the Church, other than that of a reasonably well-read layman [who can discern or at least claims to be able to discern the structure of an argument]. Well, I was a Sunday School teacher once, and was a dismal failure at it. Actually, in a way, I have a sort-of position in the Roman Catholic Church. Pretty much anybody who wants to know can know whatever they'd like. The main thing about anonymity is not to abuse it and get personal with folks. In this case, it would rather be immoral. One could also say that by not putting my name with things, I don't have the courage of my convictions. Whatever. If my arguments or ideas resonate, they resonate regardless of whether I'm one of [say] Dr Svendsen's multiple personalities or a po-mo trying to imitate a Biblicist. If they fail, they fail on their own merits.

Note the invitation for anybody who is curious. As Fox Mulder would say: the truth is out there. The statement stating "Actually, in a way, I have a sort-of position in the Roman Catholic Church" was said somewhat tongue-in-cheek. If I remember, I was thinking of a few people who had told me that I didn't know what I was talking about regarding liberalism in the RCC and in some RC educational settings. Looking back on it, I should've said something like "I'm closer to the inside of the RCC than you might think." Oh well, what's written is written.

Not that many people asked, btw. That's a sign of a "mystery" for which there is no or little interest!

Let's review some of the Easter Eggs I left behind. If I wanted to stay completely dark and shadowy like some 1940's comic villain or man-of-mystery, I wouldn't have left these eggs behind. In no special order, let's proceed.

The silver-bullet piece of evidence is (1):

(1) In a thread called "Tim on Tim," I also mentioned something to the effect of a McGrew, McGrew, and Vestrup publication in the journal Mind dealing with fine-tuning arguments, and said that perhaps this high view of the paper is due to personal pride!

Now, given that I talk about Tim McGrew as a separate person, and given the clear fact that I'm male, I can't be the L. McGrew [Lydia --- an intellectual titan far beyond me and Tim's wife] of the paper either. So, if there is personal pride in the paper, it seems pretty strong evidence that the person making that statement must be, by simple elimination, one E. Vestrup.

(2) I've stated that I worked at a large Midwestern Catholic university a few times.
(3) I seem to read the Chicago Sun-Times.

This would allow people to possibly deduce that I worked at one of the Catholic universities in Chicago: Loyola, DePaul, and St Xavier [if I remember correctly].

If you put (1) together with (2)-(3), then one E. Vestrup seems to be the culprit or mastermind [depends on who you ask!] behind the PP blog. One could quickly peruse faculty pages at those universities to "pin me down," so to speak.

Here are some other Easter Eggs that might be more subtle:

(4) Those who read the NTRMin message boards probably saw a few posts about my entertaining the idea of a second doctorate in OT or NT studies. In a post called "Theologians Gone Wild!" I state at the end the following:

I've often entertained getting a doctorate in NT or OT, but, if I have to interact with the material as exhibited above as part of my studies and growth, I'd just as well be better off to keep the day job!

Given that I posted at Eric Svendsen's blog from time to time, one might peruse the NTRMin Areopagus board, wherein there is some intro thread somewhere where I introduce myself, stating that I worked at DePaul as an assistant professor and was interested in Christian apologetics [among other things]. The EV there sure sounds a whole lot like good ol' PP, doesn't he?

Some more clues that don't seem too subtle to me, but, then again, I may not be the best judge of these things:

(5) Both PP [here]and EV [at NTRMin] have the authorship of the fourth gospel as their "hobby horse."
(6) Both PP [here] and EV [at NTRMin] seem to make the same references to Wallace's Grammar.
(7) Both PP [here] and EV [at NTRMin] seems to have the same issues with Roman Catholicism.
(8) Both PP [here] and EV [at NTRMin] seem to have low views of pomo'ism.
(9) If memory serves me correctly, EV at the NTRMin board seem to have a libertarian streak. I too have a libertarian streak? What a coincidence....

Note too: [and this is good evidence, I'd say]

(10) They have the same sensibilities when it comes to humor. They're somewhat over-the-top at times.
(11) They both reference Trench and Lightfoot, two 19th-century guys who aren't commonly-dropped names today.
(12) I put up some really goofy phony poem making fun of pseudointellectual poetry early on in the blog [have you ever been to a poetry reading?!?!], and then EV put up some crack at NTRMin about how he hoped that other parts of PP were better than the poetry at PP. Not that many people read the blog back then, so wasn't it a bit, shall we say, suspicious that EV somehow knew what PP was doing? just might begin to put two and two together.

There are probably more "Easter Eggs" out there but these are the ones that come immediately to mind. If anybody thinks there is an "Easter Egg" worth mentioning, feel free to drop it in the combox.

I promised a picture a long time ago. The problem is that I don't have anything current. This photo from 2000-2001 [don't remember exactly when] will have to suffice. Unlike my buddy Dave, there is no awful wallpaper in the background! Note St Elizabeth on the far left of the picture trying to sneak in the picture. I think the photo was 2000 or so. The CV there at that page is from, if I remember correctly, 2000. I look much the same today as in that photo. I was in good shape back then and am in good shape now. Vanity says that my face looked a bit puffy in that photo, though. If you see a similar-looking 6' guy at your basketball court shooting comfortably from behind the arc while screening you and backdooring you to death, and if he happens to be rather just might be me.

[BTW --- Feel free to take the MAT 453 take-home exam. IIRC, people had a 90-minute time limit on it. Make sure to derive the hypothesis tests before actually carrying them out! I love mathematical statistics. That would be a topic for a second book in the future.]

Here's another major clue as to my "secret" identity: My favorite book ever written is as follows:

Either I'm the author of that book, or my taste in reading leaves a lot to be desired!

So, with all of this evidence put together, friend and foe alike can say in unison: Dr Vestrup, we presume?

So, can you guess who I am now? I'll give you three guesses and one final hint: my initials are EV. That should allow for a comfortable "educated guess." Those who guess correctly receive a noncorporeal PP Coffee Mug.

People can call me whatever they wish when they comment, btw. Eric, Mr V, Dr V, PP, "Hey You," etc. [My preference: Eric or PP. I never liked "Mr" or "Dr" too much, to be honest. Undergrads and grads just called me Eric or "EV."] "PP" started out as the name of this blog and I was a pedantic Protestant [note the indefinite article]. Soon, either I followed comment-makers' lead or they followed mine and I became the Pedantic Protestant. A similar situation is where people seem to refer to Dr Frankenstein's monster as Frankenstein, whereas Frankenstein was the scientist who created the monster. Same thing here. The blog's name is PP, but I'm Eric, but people [quite understandably] conflate the two --- not that I wasn't having any fun going along with it!!

Anyway, I need to recover 40 or so minutes of holiday time now...hope this reveals the mystery. In the next thread, I'll reveal the plot ending to Lost and tell you who really shot JFK.


Blogger steve said...

Don't be taking in by the latest post. This is just a decoy to throw you off the scent. I already outed the PP a long time ago as Lynden Larouche.

There is no Eric Vestrup. That's just another Larouchie alias. Don't be taken in by that simulated title. That's just another front.

Friday, November 25, 2005 1:52:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

Well, you can Photoshop just about anything these days!

Perhaps I took a copy of Musica Mundana and made a few alterations on the cover. Yeah, that's the ticket...

Friday, November 25, 2005 1:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You WERE, though, diligently keeping your image out of the picture, so to speak. You didn't count on the Internet Archive though.

The PP got that link to his picture from Dave Armstrong's site where it was linked in a comment thread.

The original page had been stripped of the pics of EV... But not his cats.

Perhaps to hide that waist line?

Friday, November 25, 2005 5:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course you're a handsome dude, PP, don't get me wrong... The waist line is not really discernable in that pic, truth be told. Good eyes... (You have to add these things with single males...)

Friday, November 25, 2005 5:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Probably the Chicago influence...

Even if you're not built or lean like a water-polo player one can still be- oh, I'll stop now.

Friday, November 25, 2005 5:57:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...


The reason I use a Luther image is just because I didn't have any decent pictures of myself to put in there. You need a good head shot, and I had none at the time. That's really the extent of how the Luther image came to be. There aren't many pics of me, since I'm not the sort of person who is always having his pic taken.

There's nothing to hide on the waistline, then or now. [Just did a 7.5 mile run and lifted for an hour. Does that make me sound like Dr White?] At that time, it was trim and taut; I was trucking out 14-mile runs and lifting diligently, so there couldn't be much of a waistline! Anyway, you pushed the vanity button and I reacted, so there.

What matters is the "now" time: I'm very close still to that pic. No waistline to hide. Some more grey on the sides, but seventh-hand rumor has it that I have been seen buying "Just For Men" medium brown hair dye. I won't ever lose the combovers....hooray!

BTW: There was no concentrated conspiracy to keep things "covered up" on my end. I was sort of a running game to see how long it would take (a) for anybody to care and (b) to see if the subset of people in (a) could put the Easter Eggs together. A few people from NTRMin deduced it quickly. I suppose a practical consideration is that if secular employers Google my name and find a semi-religious blog of a conservative nature, it might hurt me in the sense that religious conservatives don't seem welcome in various universities. That would be one practical reason to stay undercover. I suppose companies could search me and say "religious nut" or whatever people say about Evangelicals. But if I really wanted to stay undercover, I wouldn't leave such obvious clues behind. I wouldn't tell my ideological arch enemy, the Crimson Catholic, early on. I wouldn't invite people to ask if they're curious [as stated in the thread].

As to whether I'm handsome or not, that is a judgement call. I gained weight in '03-'05, and have lost it since moving out here in early summer. The trick is to have a good buddy and workout partner that you can yabber at and listen to while you run or do boring lifting routines. I'm not 20 years old any more --- I can't do two hour lifting sessions on my own without somebody to talk trash to [and get trashed in return] in order to pass the time. So, thank God for the Daveman.

As for the original page, I did no stripping down of it. Geez, there's nothing to hide. IIRC, I had problems uploading the image there, which I believe was the same as the image to which I linked. Diane's cats somehow made it through to the server.

If by "Chicago influence" you mean sitting around and eating bratzes, deep-dish pizzas, and starch-filled things to keep you warm, I'd agree. I wasn't a bratz guy in Chicago. I actually [and Diane could attest to this] had quite regular hankerings for the 8-piece Teriyaki Chicken pack w/ fries that a take-out joint named Jungle Chicken made.

As for "body type," well, what am I supposed to say? I can bench my weight pretty easily...

Friday, November 25, 2005 7:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I was thinking of the Saturday Nigh Live skit with the Chicago sports fans sitting around a table eating Chicago type food and having heart attacks and slamming their fist into their chest until the heart attack passed, then going back to the food...

Friday, November 25, 2005 9:01:00 PM  
Blogger Jason Cardona said...

This is what I loathe about apologetics. I love Dave, but I don't understand why he gets himself caught up in these personal battles with people.

I commented at Dave's site that my dealings with PP have been civil, and that I thought you were well-reasoned, even if I did vehemently disagree with you; (I guess you could call me the Committed Catholic :P). My comment is not there any longer; I don't know if Dave deleted it (which is fine, it's his blog), or if there was technical difficulty.

Anyways, can't we all just get along and stick to the issues?

Saturday, November 26, 2005 9:52:00 AM  
Blogger Steve Jackson said...

I'm still waiting for Dave Armstrong to debate whether the higher critical views of R. Brown and the like represent the current thinking of the Magisterium.

Saturday, November 26, 2005 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

Jason --- ask Mr Armstrong, not me.

As for your handle, it should be alliterative: Committed Catholic is a start, but there is probably something better if we put our heads together...

Steve --- when a DePaul University, an institution of which I happen to know a little about, happens to [for example] happily run the Vagina Monologues or be the former home of John Crossan, or subscribe fully to victim ideology with a religious curriculum that would make your internet Romanists cringe, and is still an official Catholic university [unless something in the meanwhile has changed], how can I take some self-appointed internet apologists seriously who say "Not Really Catholic!" when the powers-that-be in Chicago let this sort of material go on?

Saturday, November 26, 2005 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

Anon --- I don't look anything like a Mike Ditka Superfan.

I eat decently, no waistline, etc. Hard to have a waistline if you jog/run almost every day and lift almost every day while working in tennis and basketball!

I don't think my 15-20 minutes of blogging per day burns calories, though..

Saturday, November 26, 2005 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Steve Jackson said...

Ped Prot,

When the governor of Ill. commuted the death sentences of dozens of mudererers a few years ago, Cardinal George (a universaly recognized pillar of orthodoxy) instantly issued a statement saying that he supported it.

But when it comes to what's taught in his diocese, I guess he is still looking for the appropriate "pastoral solution." Or does he care more about murderous thugs than the Catholic students who are having their minds polluted by leftist pukes?

It's not surprising that Dave A. won't debate traditionalist catholic because he doesn't want to explain why this stuff happens (if he has an explanation, which I'm not sure).

Saturday, November 26, 2005 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

Steve --- apparently, then, you'd agree with me when I'd say that a large portion of the business end of the RCC is in fact the sort of liberal business that your conservative internet Romanists would in fact say is not real Catholicism.

The problem, as has been stated before, is that if it is not real Catholicism, then the higher-ups don't seem to care too much, either doing nothing or working at some sort of glacial pace that, as far as I can tell, defies explanation if Rome is this bulwark of epistemic certainty and capital-T truth.

Saturday, November 26, 2005 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Steve Jackson said...

This guy (Robert Mayhew) teaches at Seton Hall University and writes book praising the atheist Ayn Rand. He doesn't have a high opinion of Jesus --

I hope Catholic parents aren't seriously thinking of sending their kids to Seton Hall.

Sunday, November 27, 2005 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

If there were a few liberals on the St Alphonso's Pancake Breakfast Committte, that wouldn't be worth a raised eyebrow from my end.

However, Catholic education is worth examining, and when its academics make careers denying orthodoxy, one should cry foul. When important institutions themselves are fundamentally liberal, and, just as importantly, the higher-ups take no serious sanctions against them, then we're perfectly within our rights to ask just exactly what is up.

Sunday, November 27, 2005 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Steve Jackson said...

One of the standard arguments of the Internet Magisterium against protestantism is that the latter results in skepticism and secularism.

But the opposite seems just as true, if not more so.

Sunday, November 27, 2005 11:17:00 AM  

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