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July 22, 2010 10:57 PM   Subscribe

Fred Phelps and his phreak show decided to picket Comic-Con today. The fans were ready for him.
posted by Chocolate Pickle (109 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sometimes nerds make me proud.
posted by HostBryan at 11:00 PM on July 22, 2010 [11 favorites]


Splendid.
posted by HotPants at 11:02 PM on July 22, 2010


Internet injokes vs scary clowns.
posted by amethysts at 11:02 PM on July 22, 2010


Fuckin' memes: how do they work?
posted by wobh at 11:03 PM on July 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I saw them on a recent trip to KS. Someone mind explaining "bitchburger"? Couldn't find it anywhere in either testament.
posted by brujita at 11:04 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


What, no
WESTBORO BAPTISTS ARE A SUPERSTITIOUS COWARDLY LOT
??

You've forgotten where you come from, nerds. Shame.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:07 PM on July 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


As good as the counter-protesters signs were, the "No Parking Any Time" picture is classic.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:08 PM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Good luck going up against Hypnotoad Fred.
posted by Relay at 11:12 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The ComicsAlliance pictures don't show my favorite sign, which read

JESUS WAS NAILED TO A CROSS; THOR HAS A HAMMER
posted by mightygodking at 11:16 PM on July 22, 2010 [50 favorites]


Bitchburger explained aka "in hamburger form?"
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:20 PM on July 22, 2010


I was going to get mad about the whole feeding of the trolls thing, but the pictures really are worth it.

Comic Con story time: the guy* in the Bender suit was there last year - I saw him randomly walking down the main street to the convention center while it was quiet. He saw me from across the street with my camera and (self link to Flickr, don't hit me with sticks) posed for a picture without prompt. That suit is made to make people happy.

*Well it could be a lady, who knows?
posted by saturnine at 11:22 PM on July 22, 2010 [12 favorites]


Fred Phelps and his phreak show decided to picket Comic-Con today.

You did not just associate phone phreaks with that hideously emotionally impoverished excuse for a human being. NEEEERD RAAAAAGE MOTHERFUCKER!
posted by loquacious at 11:27 PM on July 22, 2010 [13 favorites]


As Chocolate Pickle suggested, here's the identical post I made with some different links. (Makes more sense as an FPP than a comment, but damn it I spent time on it.)
posted by Telf at 11:30 PM on July 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


GOD
HATES
FRED
PHELPS
posted by darkstar at 11:31 PM on July 22, 2010


Is there any chance that Fred Phelps is some kind of Andy Kaufmanesque performance artist?
posted by the jam at 11:31 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is there any chance that Fred Phelps is some kind of Andy Kaufmanesque performance artist?

"That's a hell of an act. What do you call it?"
posted by tzikeh at 11:36 PM on July 22, 2010 [22 favorites]


Is there any chance that Fred Phelps is some kind of Andy Kaufmanesque performance artist?

Unfortunately, no. One of his gay kids has come out to tell what it was like living with him and they say he does exactly what is advertised on the box. Fred Phelps is pretty messed up.
posted by loquacious at 11:38 PM on July 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Westboro Baptist Church is basically a cult that thrives on provoking outraged opposition. WBC mostly consists of one large extended family which carry out these intense controversial demonstrations as an emotionally fraught way of alienating their kids (some of them are very young but are taken by the WBC to their demonstrations) and other members from the outside world. It's brainwashing.

WBC protests are easy targets and easy lazy stories for the liberal media as a "so-crazy-its-funny rightwing anti-gay Christians faction" (though they also demonstrate to denounce Killed In Action American soldiers at their funerals - which is not a stereotypical rightwing practice) and mainstream folks everywhere can feel good denouncing and making fun of them but that's exactly what the WBC leaders want - to be have the whole world against them in order to preserve the bond of the cult.

This should really be treated as a case for the social services who should consider raiding WBC to take away the kids from the incredibly damaging cult upbringing they're being forced through.
posted by Bwithh at 11:39 PM on July 22, 2010 [21 favorites]


Bitchburger explained aka "in hamburger form?"

Wow, I didn't know they ate children in the bible. Learn something new...
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:43 PM on July 22, 2010


Uh oh. I bet Fred Phelps is going to get Thor over thith.
posted by Twang at 11:43 PM on July 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


What, what, in the Fred?
posted by Twang at 11:44 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bwithh posted "what the WBC leaders want - to be have the whole world against them in order to preserve the bond of the cult."
When the WBC was in Portland, the people from Saint Micchel the Archangel church met them with coffee and doughnuts.
posted by Cranberry at 11:48 PM on July 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Ok its' Michael
posted by Cranberry at 11:48 PM on July 22, 2010


I give up good night
posted by Cranberry at 11:49 PM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


If there is a god, He loves Fred Phelps.

But Fred himself always stays home, doesn't he? Punk.
posted by longsleeves at 11:52 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


(though they also demonstrate to denounce Killed In Action American soldiers at their funerals - which is not a stereotypical rightwing practice)

The range and granularity of their hatred is really quite impressive - the British journalist Louis Theroux made a documentary called "The Most Hated Family in America", where the WBC's design guy took him through their huge range of banners, which drill down all the way to Lisa Minelli (God hates her, FYI). It's a tragedy that children are being raised in, as you say, Bwithh, this very deliberate and violent isolation and alienation from the entire population of the rest of the country they live in.

That said, there is something hard to resist, conceptually, about somebody claiming to be a Christian holding a banner saying GOD IS YOUR ENEMY and standing across the street from a guy holding a sign saying DARKSEID IS.
posted by DNye at 11:59 PM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


The WBC has nothing to do with religion or belief, it's simply an elaborate money-making scam. They show up with signs specifically designed to rile up the crowd with the intent to provoke someone into assaulting them, and then they sue. None of them believe any of the junk they are spouting.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:01 AM on July 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Growing up in the Phelps family.
posted by Catseye at 12:19 AM on July 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


I like the "Peace is a lie, only passion" sign. Fictional creeds and mantras just plain own.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:22 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The WBC has nothing to do with religion or belief, it's simply an elaborate money-making scam. They show up with signs specifically designed to rile up the crowd with the intent to provoke someone into assaulting them, and then they sue. None of them believe any of the junk they are spouting.

That's a pretty bold conclusion to take from that piece, which is speculation on top of speculation on top of argument from authority speculation.

I mean, this:

How do I know that Fred Phelps is suing people? I can tell you I just have too much experience around him.

this:

I will tell you where I got this truth about Phelps. I looked him in the eye. I saw that he was way too calm and collected for what he looked like in the media.

this:

They probably file a load of civil rights violation lawsuits. . . . I am assuming that this is where they get almost all of their money.

and this:

Here's the proof. Who in the world makes a poster that says, "Thank God for IEDs"

Just as examples. That piece is hardly conclusive, and my "newsman skepticism" is setting off all kinds of alarm bells that are ringing the word bullshit, over and over again in my head. Color me unconvinced of your dismissive assertion.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:25 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's the proof. Who in the world makes a poster that says, "Thank God for IEDs"

Crazy people.
posted by chillmost at 12:34 AM on July 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


Nice.
posted by homunculus at 12:35 AM on July 23, 2010


"Magnets how the ____ do they work" cracked me up. Is that a reference to something?
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:51 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


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posted by vapidave at 12:55 AM on July 23, 2010 [20 favorites]


Jesus was at ComicCon! I just knew he was a fanboy.
posted by TooFewShoes at 1:01 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


That piece is hardly conclusive

Right, and I didn't mean to imply that it was. But the scam explanation fits all the data: the fact that many of them are lawyers or former lawyers, that they have no coherent ideology (i.e. picketing dead soldiers) that they attend so many events of such a diverse nature, that they have such an elaborate library of signs ready for any occasion, that they seem to have no limit of how low they will sink. It all makes sense if you see them as professional trolls rather than ideologues.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:06 AM on July 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


Plus -- having their little kids out there with them holding up those horrific signs pisses people off in a way that nothing else can, the perfect way to provoke people over the edge.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:09 AM on July 23, 2010


Hahaha, Telf from your first link: "It would be worth the price of admission to see someone dressed up as Buddy Christ tell them all to go piss up a rope."

... he got his wish... :))
posted by dabitch at 1:11 AM on July 23, 2010


Civil_Disobedient: Wow, I didn't know they ate children in the bible.

Children tend not to do well as characters in the bible, for example there's quite a bit of infanticide, which Psalm 137 endorses heartily: "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones."
posted by Kattullus at 1:11 AM on July 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


man, I messed up my links, oh well, you all know who Buddy Christ is, right?
posted by dabitch at 1:12 AM on July 23, 2010


At this point counter protests probably just give them more attention.
posted by delmoi at 1:27 AM on July 23, 2010


"Magnets how the ____ do they work" cracked me up. Is that a reference to something?

Previously.
posted by Baldons at 1:35 AM on July 23, 2010


It all makes sense if you see them as professional trolls rather than ideologues.

Perhaps, but the fact remains they aren't exactly targeting the haves, especially the military funerals. I still don't buy it, I just think they are genuinely over-the-top. The lawsuit thing may be a nice corollary but I don't buy the argument that its their motivation, unless there is some hard evidence supporting that assertion.

At this point counter protests probably just give them more attention.

I don't know, it can bring piece of mind to the victims of these hate-mongers. I went to NIU, and there was a terrible shooting here just a couple years ago. The WBC vowed to show up, to show us that our embrace and tolerance of homosexuals at NIU meant that some invisible sky wizard hated us. We organized counter-protests, several hundred people showed up in the northern Illinois winter, mid-February, ten degrees. And the WBC didn't show at all, two straight nights. The police were there both nights, as they often are at these protests (another reason I don't buy the lawsuit motivation angle - because the law is usually on hand to prevent things from ever becoming violent - but I digress)

They eventually did show up at a victim's funeral, but in small numbers, and a few students showed up to counter that as well. In the face of someone else's immeasurable pain, I think counter protests can do a lot of good. They're going to get attention anyway.
posted by IvoShandor at 1:42 AM on July 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


At this point counter protests probably just give them more attention.

Ya think?

Rhomboid's link fits perfectly with their MO if you ask me. Yeah, yeah, anecdotal bs, but seriously think about it. Hand-waving them off as crazies or a cult is just as ridiculous. Cults by nature isolate themselves from outside influences and crazies are definitely not that well put together.
I'd be curious to see a real investigative report on them. Where does their funding come from? They show up everywhere and flying six to twelve people all over America ain't cheap.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:50 AM on July 23, 2010


If you really think about what and who they picket they don't have a clear line of thought. It's anywhere that will get them air time. Comic-Con? Come on, they're just attention whores dressed up as fanatics. They obviously care more about getting on TV than their message.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:09 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think most, or at least some of the family members are lawyers, and they're very good at it. At least, they use their knowledge of the law to sue folks for slander and libel, and effectively dodge injunctions set against them. They bite, those Phelpses.
posted by zardoz at 2:11 AM on July 23, 2010


I'm gonna swim against the tide here and admire the WBC. Wearing upside-down flags as skirts? With the anti-gay signs they manage to offend both ends of the political spectrum with one outfit. Shows a lot of creativity and willingness to experiment. They are the Michelangelo's of offensiveness.
posted by telstar at 2:12 AM on July 23, 2010


I'm gonna swim against the tide here and admire the WBC

You admire them foOOooohhhh I see what your doing.

Well played.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:26 AM on July 23, 2010


I wish people would just ignore them and let them flail in the dark.

Since that isn't happening, I was happy to donate to Phelps-a-thon since these weirdos are in my town pulling their BS.

Bu hooo boy. I know they just wont go away, but I can still hope that people will pretend they have and just look away.
posted by Stunt at 2:44 AM on July 23, 2010


The WBC has nothing to do with religion or belief, it's simply an elaborate money-making scam. They show up with signs specifically designed to rile up the crowd with the intent to provoke someone into assaulting them, and then they sue. None of them believe any of the junk they are spouting.

I don't believe that's true.
posted by jbickers at 3:22 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's entirely possible that they believe in their mission and have happily monetized it with litigiousness. They're riding the feedback loop that they've generated and are clearly enjoying it. Their punishment is being themselves.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:18 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


DARKSEID IS
posted by Greg Nog at 5:02 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Go nerds.
posted by Flood at 5:13 AM on July 23, 2010


It's a tribal thing -- the bizarro things they as a group create a camaraderie bond while also forming a rift between them and the hated "other" -- which only reinforces their internal dialogue. Basic primate behaviour. Only way to weaken the movement is to ignore them as a group (reducing the efficacy of the self-reinforcing behaviour), and deprogram weakly affiliated individuals (decreasing the population). Ultimately, "there's some [men] you just can't reach" and the leaders should simply be left to wander the streets as crazy men.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:21 AM on July 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


So did it work?
posted by Eideteker at 5:40 AM on July 23, 2010


The convergence of these two groups was probably the most excitement downtown San Diego's ever had.
posted by blucevalo at 5:50 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


there is a Fairie Fest that happens every summer where i live on a farm, it's a really well run thing, not just hippies camping in the dirt. kinda like a renfaire but with wings and sparkles.

one year, i'm pretty sure it was fred phelps since he's done other crazy crap in our area (such as the whole soldier funeral idiocy), he and his cronies came to the fairie fest with their TINY LITTLE GIRLS who all looked so so so sad that they didn't get to play dress up and be fairies and princesses.

the organizers had just asked that everyone ignore them. which we all did a pretty good job of doing, except for the occasional cheery "good morning!" or such.

still, i think the whole bringing 3yr old girls to a dress up party and not letting them dress up is just asking for trouble on the car ride back home. i hope they grow up and leave that crazy family. and come to Fairie Fest one day.
posted by sio42 at 5:55 AM on July 23, 2010 [18 favorites]


I'm just going to make up a DARKSEID IS sign and take it with me everywhere now, just in case.
posted by Artw at 6:22 AM on July 23, 2010


Rhomboid: But the scam explanation fits all the data:

Except for the fact that they don't seem to be actually making any money by suing cities, opponents and the owner of "any private property...he happens to be standing on." The last time this came up, there was a link to a story in the comments at Making Light from someone who claims to have been sued for yelling at a Westboro kid on what they thought was private property but was actually a public sidewalk; even that person says s/he was "ordered to pay a nominal sum and deliver a written apology to the girl."

I'm sure Phelps & Co. know the law to the letter and use lawsuits as weapons of harassment, but it's not clear to me they're getting rich that way.
posted by mediareport at 6:25 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm so proud of my comics-loving brethren.
posted by bashos_frog at 6:29 AM on July 23, 2010


This is so fun. How do I get Fred Phelps to picket me? I have some wonderful slogans at the ready.
posted by Mister_A at 6:35 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can MSNBC not do for WBC what Fox News has done for the New Black Panther Party?
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:44 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


WBC protests are easy targets and easy lazy stories for the liberal media as a "so-crazy-its-funny rightwing anti-gay Christians faction" (though they also demonstrate to denounce Killed In Action American soldiers at their funerals - which is not a stereotypical rightwing practice) and mainstream folks everywhere can feel good denouncing and making fun of them but that's exactly what the WBC leaders want - to be have the whole world against them in order to preserve the bond of the cult.

Well it's not like if everyone ignored them suddenly Fred Phelps would hang up his cult leader hat and go do something productive, he would just turn to another page in the cult leader playbook. I feel bad for the people who end up in any cult, especially children, but if at the end of the day what Phelps is doing is legal than there's not a whole lot people on the outside can do. In my opinion people and organizations who get protested by Phelps should do whatever they feel like doing in response, whether that's ignoring him, setting up counter-protests to distract the media's attention from Phelps, or donating money to causes Phelps doesn't like.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:13 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everything I've ever read/seen about the WBC, including Addicted to Hate (thanks Rhomboid) and Louis Theroux's excellent documentary The Most Hated Family in America, suggests that it's a mini cult of personality centered on the hateful but charismatic Fred Phelps. Theroux said that he found the second and third generation of the family to be "by and large quite nice people" but still under the influence of their Gramps. I would not be at all surprised if the "church" dissolves or at least fractures once Phelps passes away.

Although it says something about Phelps' charismatic power that so many of his kids/grandkids stick around even though many of the adults are educated lawyers. It's not like the older members at least haven't been exposed to the outside world.
posted by bettafish at 7:21 AM on July 23, 2010


Phelps sat as his desk considering his hate list. He noted his somewhat recent addition of "pirates", and, for a while, he went over the events of the day. Finally, with some sadness, he took out his pen and added, "Robots, Nerds".
posted by quin at 7:57 AM on July 23, 2010 [10 favorites]


Yeah, this is like when they picketed twitter. Every so often they do something that doesn't even attempt to fit in with their already all-over-the-place ideology of hate, just to make sure the internet gets the underwear in a bunch.
posted by piratebowling at 8:15 AM on July 23, 2010


I don't see what difference it makes if Phelps believes this crap or if it's a money-making scam or if the ghost of Jerry Falwell told him to. The result is the same, and yes, children in their custody are in need of social services. But until that happens, I'm happy that not even con-goers fear them.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:18 AM on July 23, 2010


These guys are banned from entering Canada, heh.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:19 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would have been so cool if Reverend Phelps had met this preacher. I wonder what sort of word Jesse would have shared with his colleague.
posted by Tashtego at 8:23 AM on July 23, 2010


"SHUT UP."
posted by Artw at 8:25 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Megan Phelps (daughter of Fred and active member of WBC) is on twitter. Bizarre.
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:58 AM on July 23, 2010


Shirley Phelps-pope is really the CEO of everything at this point, and is doing a yeoman's job of building on the crazy legacy of Fred.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:02 AM on July 23, 2010


I wish people would just ignore them and let them flail in the dark.

Unfortunately, when a crazy filthy lunatic crashes your family dinner and violently shits all over the dining table, 'just ignore him' doesn't qualify as a viable solution.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:12 AM on July 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


"one year, i'm pretty sure it was fred phelps since he's done other crazy crap in our area (such as the whole soldier funeral idiocy), he and his cronies came to the fairie fest with their TINY LITTLE GIRLS who all looked so so so sad that they didn't get to play dress up and be fairies and princesses. "

I didn't hate the WBC until just now; that kind of cruelty is unacceptable.
posted by Mitheral at 9:30 AM on July 23, 2010


Maybe it's because I've counterprotested myself, but I don't think that counter-demonstrating against the Westboro Baptist "Church" is a negative thing because of the attention it gets. The counter-demonstrations make it so that every queer kid who goes by their signs sees that there are a lot of people who support them, who think the WBC are insane and hateful and wrong. You get the motorcycle counter-protesters and Angel Action, and those are totally valuable, and you've got these demonstrations that combine some of the gravity of the more serious anti-protesters with another message: tolerant people have more fun. I mean, really: if these guys hate geekery, Lady Gaga, AND sodomy, it's obvious what side you want to be on: the side with a sense of humor and a sense of fun.
posted by NoraReed at 9:32 AM on July 23, 2010 [7 favorites]


In other cosplay news, Darth Vader just robbed a bank.
posted by Artw at 9:33 AM on July 23, 2010


Unfortunately, when a crazy filthy lunatic crashes your family dinner and violently shits all over the dining table, 'just ignore him' doesn't qualify as a viable solution.

I'm pretty sure I've met WASPs that could successfully have dinner with a shitting lunatic rolling around on the table. Just pass things around him and for God's sake don't mention it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:36 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Except for the fact that they don't seem to be actually making any money by suing cities, opponents and the owner of "any private property

Are you sure? You've actually looked into all their legal activities? A quick look over their wiki and the third paragraph in explains how they are constantly having legal battles. Also - All the principals of the Phelps Chartered law firm,[15] a firm founded by WBC founder Fred Phelps, are members of WBC. Phelps Chartered handles most of WBC's legal work.[16]

I've watched Theroux's documentary, and I though it was pretty good. But, I don't know, I'd still rather like to see a real investigative report into what the hell they're up to and not just some guy allowed to hang out with them for a bit.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:40 AM on July 23, 2010


The upside-down American flag skirts made me chuckle, though. I imagine they don't go to a lot of restaurants in Kansas wearing those.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:53 AM on July 23, 2010


They should adopt the Douchemerica flag from Jercho.
posted by Artw at 9:55 AM on July 23, 2010


DEA Seizes illegal shipment of THRILL POWER heading for ComicCon
posted by Artw at 10:02 AM on July 23, 2010


I used to buy into the "don't feed the trolls" argument, but lately I think the creative and lighthearted counterprotests are pretty much entirely a good thing in this case, except when people do asshole things like throw stuff at the poor little Phelps kids.

I'm not sure feeding this particular troll is a bad thing. Sure, you're giving him what he wants. But you're also helping keep the public eye on a cult that could do just as much harm to the kids involved if it were unnoticed. Maybe with enough attention, eventually someone will find a way to sue those poor kids out of the cult (which I realize not everyone thinks would be a good thing, but I do).

Unless it can be shown that the publicity is getting Phelps more members or inspiring similar groups to get more extreme, I think it's harmless fun at worst and possibly helpful at best.
posted by gurple at 10:08 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


And I can't think of a single hateful, bigoted cult that has just gone away because people stopped paying attention to them.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:10 AM on July 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Is there any chance that Fred Phelps is some kind of Andy Kaufmanesque performance artist?

Frankly, it doesn't matter if he is; it would be no less vile. "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." — Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:16 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seems like god hates absolutely everything according to Phelps and his confused cronies. Why do I get the feeling their cult will end with grampa Phelps receiving a message from God that God even hates them, and they all commit suicide or something? Ugh.
posted by pyrex at 10:35 AM on July 23, 2010


I think the counterprotests help make the WBC look even more like idiots than they already do, rather than giving the impression that the populace is cowed and scared by the crazies with the signs.
posted by Ouisch at 10:56 AM on July 23, 2010


It also validates them. I'm not saying ignoring is a good idea, but getting out there obviously puts a spotlight on them and that is what they want.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:10 AM on July 23, 2010


Actual quotes from Final Crisis:

ANTI-LIFE JUSTIFIES MY HATE!
ANTI-LIFE JUSTIFIES MY IGNORANCE!

Clearly Phelps and his ilk were, many years ago, turned into justifiers, and if we just get Batman to dig out a god-killing bullet and the Flashes run through time and then Superman... sings, I guess...?

Just kidding Morrison, luv yer work

It's strangely hard to find panels quoting those lines, but I did find this.

And I think it's not all that bad to give the WBC what they want - attention - if we also get what we want - making them look ridiculous. Validation only matters in as much as we go on to value that validation.

BRB, finding my thesaurus.
posted by Dandeson Coates, Sec'y at 2:31 PM on July 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Morrison lifted those lines straight out of Kirby.
posted by Artw at 2:36 PM on July 23, 2010


Isn't Tim and Eric's Awesomecon going on outside the convention center? How is there room for everyone?
posted by Lokisbane at 2:47 PM on July 23, 2010


The GOD HATES JEDIS Trekkie is my new hero. The perfect snarky encapsulation of their ridiculousness.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:01 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I meant the general plot of FC, not the anti-life lines. I'd love to get my hands on Kirby's New Gods work, as I've never read it, and the 'justifies my pain' stuff was where Darkseid got properly creepy for me.

Ashamed to say the first place I saw "My god has a hammer" was Secret Invasion. Makes a little more sense in this context.
posted by Dandeson Coates, Sec'y at 3:16 PM on July 23, 2010


Validation only matters in as much as we go on to value that validation.

So, you're saying they aren't getting validation by getting in the news every other week? Riiiggghhht. That's one of those arguments that make me all shruggy. We could argue about value or validation and talk about how it's an highly subjective thing but let me point out two things. Any publicity is good publicity, and the other is Richard Dawkins doesn't debate Creationist for a good reason
posted by P.o.B. at 3:46 PM on July 23, 2010


So, you're saying they aren't getting validation by getting in the news every other week?

They quite possibly are, but that validation doesn't mean anything except to them, if the rest of us are going 'huh, those weirdos again', or 'look at the funny clowns, papa' for that matter. When the attention isn't just on WBC, but on the constantly repeated repudiation of what they're about, the overall impression is that Phelps is both nutty and counter-productive.

When I said it's fine to give them what they want, if we get what we want, I was saying that they don't need to be utterly crushed into the ground if it'll make us feel better. Attention might be what they want, and they might be happy that they get it, but that's as far as it takes them. They can bask in the glow of their own self-righteousness* and we still win. It's not about subjectivity, it's about the end result.

(Maybe it's just down to where I am, which is (for the most part) a country where even if they were in the news every week, there still wouldn't be too many people taking them seriously. Their presence on television would pretty much function like their presence surrounded by counter-protesters, as the squirrel-water-skiing-to-safety item. They just flat-out couldn't be viewed the way they'd like to be viewed.)

You mention debating creationists, which I think is different because it has such a strong footing in the US. Just the act of Dawkins debating a creationist wouldn't matter so much, it's that there's this enormous backdrop of social/political/cultural antagonism around the topic. Phelps is small fry.

In any case, Dawkins has said that debating creationists would provide them with 'the oxygen of respectability'. Do you really think counter-protests and tv coverage make the WBC seem respectable?

* I realise my argument here's a bit iffy when it comes to the kids in this family. That's the thing that really worries me about the WBC.
posted by Dandeson Coates, Sec'y at 5:01 PM on July 23, 2010


Wow, that Twitter is surreal and creepy:

@phyllisstein Oh, hey -- did any1 tell you there's a new trip scheduled to the Chicago area on Monday? Soldier funeral in Chrystal Lake. FYI

Corrupt politicians & teachers of rebellion. What else? RT@Mattarooski: WBC in OKC, 1st the capitol then the Lady Gaga concert! What Gives??

She's so completely casual about hatemongering.
posted by bettafish at 5:05 PM on July 23, 2010


Don't forget: Don't you love it when pickets go viral? =D Super Heroes vs. the Westboro Baptist Church
posted by Burhanistan at 5:13 PM on July 23, 2010


In any case, Dawkins has said that debating creationists would provide them with 'the oxygen of respectability'. Do you really think counter-protests and tv coverage make the WBC seem respectable?

Dawkins refuses to debate creationists because to engage seriously with them is to treat them with a respect that they do not deserve. It gives them a credibility that they have no claim to.

The SDCC people treated the WBC as a joke. They didn't engage them. They mocked them, viciously. That is exactly what they deserve.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:14 PM on July 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Are you sure? You've actually looked into all their legal activities? A quick look over their wiki and the third paragraph in explains how they are constantly having legal battles.

Yeah, I have looked over their legal battles - as a gay guy, I've been following them for a long time (the Southern Poverty Law Center's Fred Phelps Timeline has been a very useful start, if you feel like digging deeper yourself).

Take another look at that Wikipedia paragraph you link: most of the "legal battles" have been losses for the Phelps family. The $200,000 award against the city of Topeka for overzealous First Amendment violations in the late 1990s is still the last one I know of where there's been a significant monetary award in Westboro's favor. There was a $43,000 award for legal fees in 1993 after a series of what can arguably be called harassment prosecutions from a local district attorney, but the timeline notes that "All of Phelps' suits against Hamilton [were] eventually resolved in the prosecutor's favor." I take that to mean the family never collected that 43 grand. Either way, I haven't heard of any similarly significant monetary award in their favor since then. Please let me know if you find one.

The big case now, of course, is the one involving the picket at a dead Marine's funeral. The father sued Westboro in 2007, at first successfully, getting $8 million in punitive damages (later reduced to $2M). In 2009 the award was overturned by a federal appeals court which ruled the protest protected speech. Even in that case, however, the court only required the father to pay the Phelps' $16,000 for their legal costs, which were surely much more than that over the course of 2 years. The case is up for review by the Supreme Court in October, so we'll see if Westboro actually makes a decent chunk of change in damages in the end. I seriously doubt that's going to happen.

The point: I've seen pretty much zero evidence that Westboro is making significant money on *any* of the legal battles it's been involved in since its 1997 lawsuit against the city of Topeka. Trust me, I'd *love* to be able to point to a pattern of Fred Phelps' greedy exploitation of the legal system for personal financial profit.

*shrug*

I just don't see a there there.
posted by mediareport at 5:23 PM on July 23, 2010


In any case, Dawkins has said that debating creationists would provide them with 'the oxygen of respectability'. Do you really think counter-protests and tv coverage make the WBC seem respectable?

No it allows them to assert a credibility, just as Dawkins jokes about. If you open a forum that means they are two supposedly (allegedly?) reputable sides to the story, and I'm not saying that they are being invited to an open forum to talk it out but they are being treated as the other side when people get out and raise a ruckus around the WBC. They keep getting the news to follow them around, right? Mission Accomplished *Fred Phelps, aviator suit, thumbs up, standing on the deck of the largest phallic symbol he can find* FFS, they're at Comic-Con. COMIC-CON! Why in the hell would they be at Comic-Con. Oh, that's right. So they can be on TV...again.

My point is I don't want to see these hateful fucking assholes and they're crazy bullshit that they love to spew, ever again. How do we do that?

mediareport, I stand corrected. I guess I just like to hold out for some kind of method to people's madness.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:06 PM on July 23, 2010


FFS, they're at Comic-Con. COMIC-CON! Why in the hell would they be at Comic-Con. Oh, that's right. So they can be on TV...again.

Fine, so are the counter-protestors.

Despite the old saw, there IS such a thing as bad publicity. Particularly when you initiate it yourself.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:29 PM on July 24, 2010


Fine, so are the counter-protestors.

If they're protesting to just get on the news, than they're part of the problem.

Despite the old saw, there IS such a thing as bad publicity. Particularly when you initiate it yourself.

You've seen the WBC's signs right? They don't care what kind of publicity they get, as long as they get it. Again, I'm going to ask: how can people effectively mitigate the WBC and their bullshit?
posted by P.o.B. at 11:51 PM on July 24, 2010


There's no one way. I think yes, outnumbering them at counterprotests and openly mocking them and ridiculing them is one part of it. Also helpful - real investigation, both journalistically (not a softball Q&A with Barbara Walters, but actual investigative journalism), and legally into their activities.

Will they get more attention? Why yes, they will. But so what? Every cult that has been taken down was exposed to the light of the day. They get attention, yes, but they also get examination and scrutiny. The legal battle going on now with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was brought about not because their neighbors turned their backs and said "Ignore those freaks and maybe they'll go away".

There are, in other words, plenty of examples of cults that have been brought down due to growing attention and then scrutiny. Can you think of an example of a dangerous, racist cult that went away because people stopped paying attention to them?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:54 AM on July 25, 2010


If you want to talk about dangerous racist cults, there are a lot out there that could do with a bit more attention. WBC has never proven to be dangerous. They could be but I think the news probably covers them because they are rather fringe in their ideas but obviously don't have any carry through. Which in turn would make all the more sense to me if people just didn't give them the time of day. Their message would wither on the vine. I guess I don't see a point in feeding a troll. I would think petitioning news sites to actually not cover them (that is if they would go for that) would be a hell of lot more productive than standing next to them with quirky signs.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:06 AM on July 25, 2010


Well, I think they deserve more investigation. There are members of this church who have children. I think just dismissing them as trolls are nutty little attention whores is maybe a bit too premature.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:08 AM on July 25, 2010


I sure hope they get investigated and I'm sure they are on Homeland's watch-list. They have been around a good twenty years at this point without making dangerous threats and I don't think constantly trying to get attention from news sites would be a good idea for a group who has some kind of covert plans of destruction.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:31 AM on July 25, 2010


Yeah, thinking more about how their kids live rather than some sinister plot to destroy.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:34 AM on July 25, 2010


man those nerds really showed them ooh sick burn thats so wrong
posted by Legomancer at 4:52 PM on July 25, 2010


Hijinks ensue
posted by Artw at 3:31 PM on July 26, 2010


"...how can people effectively mitigate the WBC and their bullshit?"

One way that I saw and particularly enjoyed - sorry, I can't find the link - turned a WBC demonstration into a fundraiser. Donations were solicited so that for every minute that the WBC protested people committed a certain sum of money, kind of like an *athon, and the end sum donated to a charity. In the instance I'm fuzzily recalling the WBC was demonstrating at a Women's Clinic so the donations were to go to Planned Parenthood. It would be easy to name a recipient depending on what or who they are protesting: in addition to Planned Parenthood say GLAAD or the National Veterans Foundation. I don't remember if they had one but a sign updating the tally of funds raised so far as the demonstration progressed would be easy to implement.

When I read about it it was one of those "Damn, why didn't I think of that?" moments. I don't know how effective, besides of course raising funds, it was but I took great pleasure in thinking that it was appropriately galling to the WBC.
posted by vapidave at 3:47 PM on July 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


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