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Friday, April 25, 2008

Happy, happy! Joy, joy!

It is finished.

I passed.

Woo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, there are some minor revisions to my thesis (Of course. No one ever gets out of a room with three white straight male egos that have been super-sized by The Academy, without one of them wanting to put his mark on it.), but it's DONE.

I'll have more to say about the process later (of course), but now that I have come up for air, I must say that I am just so struck by the inherent narcissism of The Academy. It's really quite amazing.

I know. I know. The word on the street is that clergy - especially Episcopal/Anglican clergy, have the biggest egos in the world. Well, that may have some truth to it, but, in my experience, while most of us have pretty solid ego development, we tend to be more 'characters' than narcissists - if you catch my drift.

For example, the tedious process of 'minor revisions' to the drafts - even at the llth hour - have nothing to do with improvement of the final paper or the search for higher learning or deeper truth. Rather, it's all in service of feeding the egos of the professors. I mean, their names go on the title page, after all.

I know that may sound harsh, and I may well be over-reacting to the stress of the last six months, but I saw it in action on the committee: the posturing, the orchestration, the particular formation of the questions, "I'm toying with your notion of 'counter cultural' and I have this thought . . . ."

Next thing I knew, I was being asked to 'expand' this so that the paper would have . . . What was it they called it? Oh yeah . . . 'more flow.'


It was, at times, breathtaking in its transparency.

Okay, thus endth the minor rant.

So, now I'm going to go sit on the deck and enjoy this beautiful spring afternoon. I think I hear Stevie Nicks calling for me to sing with her: "I was born with an age old desire to be on the edge of seventeen."

Yup. My feet are already starting to move. I feel a 'happy, happy, joy, joy dance' comin' on all over ma bodeeee.

Woo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Grandmère Mimi said...

Elizabth, I rejoice with you! Thanks be to God! and to your hard work! Congratulations! Must I call you doctor now? May I call you in the middle of the night when I feel bad? Well, of course I can. But that's when you're wearing your clergy hat.

It struck me that you could have titled this post "Got Gas?" rather than the one below. Just sayin'

Jim said...

Of course you passed. No one here could have had a doubt. WE KNOW you are amazingly brilliant. Now everyone will nave another indication.

Really, Congratulations. It takes not only brains but patience in abundance.


David |däˈvēd| said...

To the Reverend Doctor Elizabeth Kaeton -

¡Muchas Felicidades!

PseudoPiskie said...

A former conductor came directly to our choir rehearsal from his defense. He chose a biology prof who loved choral music along with the others. Guess who asked the only intelligent, relevant question. The subject was Dan Pinkham. The scientist asked how his music might be recognized on the radio.

Congratulations! We weren't concerned that you would pass, only that you would survive the experience. Go ahead and dance.

emmy said...

Woohoo! I owe you a drink :)

gerry said...


I never did a dissertation, but my wife asked me to be present for her defense.

The white male members of her Committee were absolute swine. The most obnoxious was the outside reader from the Philosophy Dept.

"You really should consider a chapter on your views on Post Modern Literature and the influence of Derrida, (and BTW how about a kiss)".

When she gets back home; I'll show her your comments about the boyz.

Again way to go....

susankay said...

Oh frabjous day, calloo, callay!!!

klady said...


Oh, how relieved you must be to have it over. As everyone said, of course we knew you'd pass, but, the ordeal, what a royal pain in the (now what was your comment policy?).

Oh gosh, the egos of the Academy. I know a few lawyers who are bursting with them as well (couldn't possibly be me, of course). But having spent several hours literally cooped up with some academy types the other day (for the Dalai Lama lecture), I can imagine at least some of your pain.

But for now, IT'S OVER!!!!!!!!!

(Any chance you could republish it someday as a book without all the, ur, improvements?)

FranIAm said...


How great is this! This is great news dear Reverend Doctor.

All the best - I know you will enjoy your weekend!

Barbi Click said...

Absolutely Fabulous, dahling!!!!!
I can hardly wait for the sequel. :-)

Paul said...

Hooray, hallelujah, congratulations! Though we prayed at a distance and you did all the work, I suspect a host of folks are very proud of you tonight. I know I am.

Twice I began doctoral programs, did course work, then went no further. You have my admiration and respect.

And I rejoice with you. Way to go!

JimMollo said...

Congratulations Elizabeth. We're thrilled for, but more importantly with, you!

Lindy said...

Mazl Tov!
You rock Doctor Kaeton!

doug said...


Of course, we all knew you would triumph over the oral examination as thinking under pressure and speaking comes esay to you.

Frair John said...

Now, when will the rest of the world get to see i?

Allie said...

To The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton:

We knew you could do it! Congratufreakinglations!!


RFSJ said...


I had no doubt, and I'd love to read the abstract and really the entire paper itself!


the Reverend boy said...

Dear Revd Dr ELP ....

OMFG That's AMAZING!!!!!!!!!

Grace said...

Praise God, Mother Kaeton. What great news for you. A celebration is called for.

Caminante said...

Feliciations! Bien fait! (Well done.) Welcome to the club of Rev Docs.

I knew my oral Ph.D. defense (on medieval French language and literature) was over and I had passed when the professor who specialised in 20th-century Haitian literature turned to the Renaissance comp lit prof and asked (en français): Isn't there a song called, 'Onward Christian soldiers'? No kidding.

Out of the 1h30 defense, after my 20-minute presentation and questions that indicated that at least one (17th and 18th-century French lit) had only read about five pages of the dissertation, the profs engaged in pedantic peacocking amongst themselves for about half an hour.

The sole tenured woman prof sat at the table and opened her mail as I presented my summary.

Yeah, the academy can be pretty brutal and petty.

So all the more congrats (though sad to see that the process hasn't improved in 17 1/2 years).

Voyceok said...

Just simply wonderful news and congratulations!



Yoo Hoo! (And I'm remembering -- I think it was Bev Harrison -- talking about feminist theologians being challenged in their defense of their thesis regarding the post-sytematic nature of feminist theology because -- you guessed it -- THE THESIS WASN'T SYSTEMATIC ENOUGH!)

Anyway, onward and upward! You Rock!!

Kirkepiscatoid said...

You already saw my congrats over at OCICBW, but I wanted to put them here, too!

Surely a bourbon has passed your lips in praise and thanksgiving by now, for this momentous occasion, hasn't it?

Muthah+ said...


Kirstin said...


Wormwood's Doxy said...

Congratulations, Elizabeth!! I know what an accomplishment this is, because I spent 8 years in the academy---and I finally had enough of the bs you describe. I miss teaching, but I have a low level of tolerance for nonsense, so academia was the exact wrong place for me.

I believe it was my fellow political scientist, Wallace Sayre, who said: "Academic politics is the most vicious and bitter form of politics, because the stakes are so low." Good on you for sticking it out and making it through.


Lapinbizarre said...

Belated, but heartfelt congratulations. It may not be over, tho' - I still, 40 years after my last examination, have the occasional nightmare where I find that I am to sit an examination that morning in Economic Geography - a topic I loathe and all of the lectures and seminars for which I have, of course, skipped.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thank you all for your wonderful words of encouragement and excitement. I still can't quite believe it.