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Sunday 23 March 2014

Phelps & Westboro may have actually been a good thing

Here's a thought that will make a number of people howl with outrage: Fred Phelps, the unlamented preacher of fury and bile, made the world a better place.

It was probably not his intention. This was a man who thrived on negativity; who blossomed on hatred and prejudice like a noxious weed. He fed on pain and misery, and I can't imagine the horror of growing up under his roof. It is hard to have much sorrow for the dying of a man who clawed and scratched and pecked at the world like a rabid chicken, but you have to pity someone so enamoured with hatred. You had the feeling the man would cut his own throat on a street corner if he thought it would (a) get attention and (b) hurt somebody he disagreed with.

He produced banners and had his cult picket funerals to enrage and provoke, and the end result was a number of people looked at the theories and believes, the twisting of a religion to something utterly obscene, and changed their minds. You see, the saddest thing about Phelps and Westboro group is that their views were once common place. Still are, if you are unlucky enough to stumble over certain comment trails on the internet. Some people cling to hate and outrage like limpets to rocks, and it's impossible to argue with such depths of fear. Because you don't hate something unless you fear it; unless it threatens you on some level.

Phelps and the Westboro group exposed that fear for what it is: mindless, groundless, and an excuse to hurt. It's an unpleasant feeling to look at actions you find repulsive and see your own beliefs reflected in them.

 So a number of people looked at what Westboro did, and responded. They formed honour guards at funerals, raised awareness of the hate crimes committed against members of the LGBT community, and surrounded those that Phelps would have victimised in their most vulnerable times with community, spirit and caring. Their actions were their own, but Fred Phelps and his hate group were the catalyst.

The website of the group appears to be its usual incoherent mess (i.e; business as usual). Let them continue. Let them continue to make the case of bile and vicious judgement, and let the rest of us respond the way we have so far, by pointing and saying: I will not follow your descent into darkness, into scrabbling and biting against the skin of decency and human goodness like a common flea.

As long as we can look at the example set by Phelps and his ilk of what not to do, they will continue to make the world a better place to be in. Long may they continue.

Sunday 2 March 2014

A week of Aaaarggh, or WTF, Universe? (Still not dead, though)

I missed last week's Sunday post because I *sigh* fell down several stairs and was too damn sore to type anything.

Considering I landed like the world's largest bullfrog, and missed breaking my own silly neck by a matter of centimetres, I'm not really surprised I spent Monday with bruises on my bruises, lurching around the office like a zombie cowgirl. (One of the bruises was from my groin to my inner knee. No clue.)

On Tuesday and Wednesday I gave IT a nervous breakdown by logging on and discovering my desktop had reverted back to Windows 2008, which shouldn't be possible on our system. Then I gave three separate colleagues static shocks, and had the automatic doors downstairs try to ambush me. By Thursday every time I went near them they nearly fell apart trying to close on me.

Friday, I headed out to see a gig (The Twice - these boys are going to be huge if they get the support they deserve),  and ended up wearing my cool-drink before I even got to the train. Then I got lost. On the bright side; I actually got to see the gig, which was the highlight of my week.

Today I got around to trying to change the lightbulb on my main bedroom light. The problem here is that I'm pretty short - 5ft3 - and I can't reach the light standing on my bed. I got one of those extender light-changing thingies off amazon, but it came without a pole, and the slot is too small too just stick a broom handle in. And I wanted to change this without bugging Stace, so I lugged the ladder up, piled my duvet etc in a big heap on the bed just in case (because this is me) and climbed the ladder. I could just reach the lightbulb with the extender thing.  At this point, I was hopeful. I twisted. I reached over a little more. The extender thing got a prong caught in the spiral of the green efficiency lightbulb, and spun out of reach. I grabbed for it, missed completely (this is actually a good thing, because if I hadn't missed the next ten seconds would have seen me making new and intimate friends with bits of the ceiling and the light fitting) and face-planted from the top of the ladder into my pile of duvet. Above me, the extender thing dangled and swayed from the energy efficiency bulb.

My bedroom is small. Planting the ladder at the base of the bed meant I had no way out of the room. I contemplated sitting on the end of the bed and trying to collapse the ladder, but decided I look my computer, window, head and fingers in one piece. I texted Stacey, who came down, changed the lightbulb (after she found the right one, since the one I'd bought was wrong), then trotted back upstairs, still giggling at me.

I think I need a holiday, or 48 hours where the universe and everything electrical is not trying to kill me.