Editor’s Note: This will be our last post for this year. As we did last year, we will be “taking a break,” now that Pistrina Liturgica is returning from theirs. We will be back on or about the first of the year.
A former SGG parishioner who worked in its office reports that, as part of her job, she picked up Dannie Dolan’s and Tony Cekada’s mail for them every day, and that when she brought it in, Tony would hand her a letter opener -- and she would then have to open it for him. Apparently, this task was too “menial” for Tony. This same woman said that, one day, Tony also put his shoes under her desk, apparently expecting her to shine them for him. Needless to say, she ignored the shoes. (By this time, she realized that she was being treated like a base lackey -- and decided that “enough was enough.”) After a month on the job, she quit. (And, oh, by the way, she never got paid for that month’s work.) And as for Dannie, in addition to such servitude, he expects even more: Dannie, as is widely known, is so jaded that he doesn’t even drive: His Self-Importancy must be chauffeur-driven everywhere he goes.1
Another incident that gives an insight into Checkie’s “character” happened one Sunday when a phone call for him came in from Europe. And because Tony was in his “office” (conversing with a couple of parishioners), the person taking the call knocked on the office door to let him know. Tony, pretending not to hear him knocking, kept on conversing. Finally, after knocking again, the person stuck his head in the door, and – speaking for no more than five or ten seconds -- informed Tony of “a call from Europe”; whereupon Tony, disdainfully looking up, rebuked him for “interrupting,” saying, “Don’t you see that I’m busy? Tell them to call back later.”
Tony’s “conversation,” by the way, was of no great importance, while the call from Europe was – but Tinhorn Tony had to make a point of “not being disturbed,” and therefore used this occasion to make his “importance” felt. There are, we’re sure, many other examples of Tony’s pretentious arrogance; but we think this one gets the point across. We’re also sure that Dannie has done much the same thing (but perhaps a little more “subtly” than Tony). But, typically, the only instances where the terrible twosome ever “have any time for anyone” are those where one can do them some material good, either actually or potentially. Otherwise, one gets “short shrift” from them (or is completely ignored by them).
Their arrogance plays out in so many other ways too – in the opulence of their life-style, for instance. In their 2000+ sq. ft., three-climate-zone rectory, Dannie and Tony live in air-conditioned (or heated) comfort, while Gertie mothers must put up with a “zero-climate-zone” vestibule for them and their crying infants (where they sweat in summer and shiver in winter). Dannie and Tony’s rectory, by the way, includes an over-sized private bedroom for each – with each bedroom having its own huge walk-in closet and private bath.
In the “church” building, it’s much the same. Space originally intended for staff offices was “reassigned,” and remade into a “social hall.” For Dannie and Tony, however, there was no such “cost-cutting.” For them, each was given his own over-sized office (Dannie’s has a fireplace), with both offices sharing a wet-bar kitchenette and a private full bath (with shower). Meanwhile, the dozen or so “staff” got shoe-horned into an area about the size of Dannie’s office, and they must share the “social hall” bathroom facilities with the other parishioners. (It is interesting to note, too, that the complex includes a windowless “sleeping” room that can be used for other activities that lend themselves to “windowless rooms.”)
But Dannie’s and Tony’s arrogance perhaps plays out most in their shameless self-promotion. Dannie touts himself as Traddieland’s master of all things “liturgical” -- and Tony, of course, of all things “theological.” Together, though, they try to pass themselves off as Traddieland’s “authorities on everything.” In recent years, they have branched out into all sorts of things. Not content with just performing for the “studio audience” (his in-house Gerties), Dannie has, as we’ve already noted, put his “show” online (along with his bulletins, newsletters, and his never-ending pleas for donations). And, as we’ve also noted, Tony has -- in addition to his printed publications -- gone “cyber” with his YouTube videos. But that is not enough for these glory-hungry gourmands. In their eagerness to promote themselves as a “full-service” cult center, they have, in the past year or two, launched two new initiatives: a liturgical “calendar” and an “Ordo.”
And how have all of these initiatives fared? Miserably. Without exception, these new endeavors have been exposed for the shoddily plagiarized mistake-a-thons that they are; and, outside the cult center walls, NO ONE pays attention to them. But in their arrogance, Dannie and Tony don’t seem to notice that the world-at-large is ignoring them. Their arrogance insulates them from such harsh realities, because, like other forms of self-delusion, it does not recognize itself. It knows no shame. So, week after week, unembarrassed and unabashed, they plod on, impervious to the fact that they are huge failures in the world-at-large. And, like the carnival hucksters that they are, they continue to sell their snake oil to whomever is gullible enough to buy it.
And so far, they still have found enough suckers who will donate to keep their ecclesiastical medicine show limping along on “bruise control” – but just barely. That critical mass is shrinking as people inevitably wake up; and as they do, the financial burden of the Lotarski millstone weighs more and more heavily around their necks. That, coupled with the fact that none of their “extracurricular” ventures has ever panned out, means that it’s becoming harder and harder for them to make ends meet. (Proceeds from Tony’s opus, WHH, for instance, haven’t been enough to crowd-fund a lemonade stand.) By and large, it’s their old standby – donations from their gullible Gerties – that keeps them afloat.
How long will these carnival con men hold out? We don’t know. But what is certain is that their demise is inevitable, because – although Dannie and Tony will never recognize their own arrogance – their Gerties inevitably will. (No one stays gullible forever, and even they will eventually wake up one day.) But Dannie and Tony will not “wake up,” because they’ve been faking it for so long, it has become “real” for them; and they are hopelessly ensconced in their self-delusion.
Dannie will continue in the delusion that he is TradWorld’s “reigning expert” on rites and rubrics (in spite of the fact that he’s been caught over and over again “making it up as he goes along” in his unrelenting efforts to make his “show” more spectacular); and Tony will continue to fashion himself as a “scholar” and a “theologian” (even though he’s neither – and has made himself the laughing stock of TradWorld). Dannie and Tony will continue to try to exploit and victimize their followers. But, as we said, no one stays gullible forever. They’ll get wise to Dannie and Tony -- and when they do, these archdukes of arrogance who have been exalting themselves all these years will, at long last, be deservedly humbled.
1 We’re not quite sure why Dannie never learned to drive; but we’re sure that, if asked, he will come up with some “explanation” as to why he didn’t (and, of course, his gullible Gerties will probably “buy it.”) But the fact is, even old ladies learn how to drive these days; and it is inconceivable that, in today’s world, a grown man doesn’t drive. Actually, it’s our guess that Dannie does know how to drive, but won’t, because he figures that “driving a motorcar” would be beneath the dignity of someone of his “personage.” But if Dannie thinks that being chauffeur-driven “enhances his image,” he’s sadly mistaken. In this day and age, an able-bodied man not being able to drive is simply unheard of – except, of course, if he is physically (or mentally) disabled – or (as we suspect) has a prima donna complex.