Saturday, January 26, 2008

One nation under insanity


I don't blame people for being up in arms about Fred Phelps and his crazy family deciding to picket Heath Ledger's funeral because of his portrayal of a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain. But for me it becomes increasingly difficult to remain incensed about something that no longer surprises me.

The world has always been chock full of all sorts of crazy. I should know, I grew up surrounded by about ten different varieties of it in my own house as a kid. At some point I started to draw a distinction between arguing with someone who might actually be convinced by what you say versus attempting to reason with a crazy person.

But at what point will my lack of surprise at craziness cross over into complacency and resignation? I've already been suspecting for the last few years that we are becoming more and more like the German citizens who lived in the 1930s and 1940s. People who grew resigned to the crazy around them to the point that sixty years later they are still eating the world's shit because they didn't take extreme enough measures to put a stop to it.

I'm not sure I know what to do anymore.

23 comments:

Eebie said...

I think everyone wants attention. Some people jump on couches, others imagine schemes of their own assasination.

Bubs said...

"But at what point will my lack of surprise at craziness cross over into complacency and resignation?"

CP, I ask myself this question probably 5 or 6 times a day. I think that you have the key in your second paragraph where you talk about drawing a distinction between talking to someone you can have an impact on, and dealing with a crazy person. Learn to recognize the whackjobs, isolate them when you can, and save your energy for for the people you can make a difference with. Choose your fights. That's what I try and do.

Coaster Punchman said...

You're right, Bubs. I suppose what I worry about is that what happens when we get so used to crazy that we fail to recognize the crazy that must be stopped as compared to the crazy we just continue to shrug our shoulders at? Is it just funny until someone loses an eye?

Mnmom said...

I have those same feelings too. Instead of railing against the nuts, I use my energy working FOR my values: human rights, equality, etc. Remember, what we resist, persists. Work for what's right instead.

Jake's Mom said...

You can never match wits with an unarmed person. They not even worth a space in my mind. But how to stop them, I don't know. Lock them all in one communal closet?

Jake's Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan said...

Nothing Fred Phelps did at that funeral caused anyone anywhere at any time to look over at their partner and say, "Hey! Homosexuality is wrong!"

Rather, I do believe most people looked at this man and thought, "You doddering, hateful hypocritical old relic of a nasty, bygone age." Or some variation of the same.

CP, some battles are not necessary to fight. This is definitely one you can let go. This kind of craziness comes with a bow and a musical announcement that goes to the tune of "Mind-boggingly Insane. TV comedians and satirists please commence to lampooning this neanderthal pronto."

Hot Lemon said...

"the zealot who stands on his head sees everything that the man who stands upright sees. So it’s never a good idea to argue with him in terms of the world he takes in. You just have to note that he’s standing on his head.”

---Roger Rosenblatt
“Anything Can Happen: Notes on My Inadequate Life and Yours”
nm786n

Chris said...

I just keep waiting for Phelps to get outed for being a homosexual himself. He's just stretching this so far out of proportion, like he's trying to compensate for his own 'feelings of guilt'.

He reminds me a lot of an old boss of mine, in his early 60's, very Republican, anti-everything. In 1995, he got busted trying to solicit a male undercover officer.

Alan said...

I would SO not be surprised.

Bluez said...

Dear Fred:

Death becomes you.

Johnny Yen said...

When I first learned of Fred Phelps, I had this thought: "If god hates 'fags' so much, why did he he make Fred Phelps a grotesque buffoon and he made so many gay people intelligent, creative, good-looking and lovely people?"

GETkristiLOVE said...

Where have I been? I hadn't heard about this. I guess I'm not surprised but it's still sad.

Old Lady said...

I remain confused at the anger of someone who would do such a thing. Everytime I think I am tired of being angry and too complacent, something gets me riled up. My thought is this. He makes such an ass out of himself, that only asses would support him. If he were Italian he could wear red dresses to the funerals of 'fags'. Prick!

Keith Kennedy said...

Some things are better left alone.

The best counteraction I have seen to combat Fred is the motorcycle group that travels around to military funerals and puts their bikes between Fred and the funeral and revs up 100 Harley Davidsons with the tail pipes in the direction of the protesters.

The cops love it too.

There is no redemption in arguing with idiots. I think it just drags us down.

BeckEye said...

I wonder if the guy who wrote "Deck The Halls" had people picketing his funeral (assuming he's dead). Y'know, for tainting Christmas with ideas of donning GAY apparel.

ccarsten said...

Hi,

I didn't hear about this either. But I agree with the people who say that there's no point to arguing with those who are obviously crazy.

I see that one of the signs appears to read "Methodist Fag Church". Having grown up going to the Methodist Church, this is news to me! Did I tell you about the time my mother's "significant other", an overweight used-car salesman who was in his 70s at the time, got arrested at the Methodist General Conference in Cleveland? He stood up with the gay people and joined the demonstrations in favor of allowing openly gay clergy. Mom didn't know what precinct they had taken him to, and had to call all over Cleveland to find him and bail him out, LOL!

Anyway, it seems as though you could just let these Fred Phelps nuts make themselves look ridiculous on their own. I could never imagine you becoming complacent, and you will know when there's a battle worth fighting!

Love,
Your Cousin Cathy

PG said...

Sssshhhhh! They don't know about our secret weapon, for the MG can level ANY playing field...

Beth said...

You've written out many of my fears here, CP. I spent the weekend with my mother and siblings — a lovely bunch of people, really — but my brother is a neocon, and my sister isn't all that far behind. I found myself withdrawing from political discussions (we were in Charleston, and the Dem primaries were held while we were there) because they wouldn't listen to me, only tease me. I should have fought harder. Maybe this post will fire my liberal ass up.

Grant Miller said...

Phelps doesn't worry me, because even those I disagree with politically write him off. His ground support is razor thin.

He's too baffoonish to have an impact.

At least that's what I hope.

Dale said...

Why someone hasn't accidentally run this guy over yet is beyond me. Doesn't sound that crazy does it?

gifted typist said...

Here is a poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller. It speaks to your question:

In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

Madam Z said...

I think god LOVES fags, because, as Johnny Yen said, they are such
"intelligent, creative, good-looking and lovely people!"