Tomorrow morning Westboro Baptist will bring their silly hate carnival show to my little town. It’s been disappointing to me how effectively they can play the local media, which has been running news stories about them pretty regularly. They also are playing the people who counter-protest. Their goal is to get people to take them seriously, and the minute you try to refute them, you lose. To argue with them as if their position was one worthy of argument is to play into their hands. To paraphrase Dr. Pauli, “They aren’t right. They aren’t even wrong.” They just are plain acting out for attention, like the troubled kindergartener that pisses his pants to get attention.
It occurs to me that their primary influence is not any other protest groups but Andy Kaufman. I ain’t linking to it, but it’s not hard to find their page with the picket schedule. The entries all contain screeds full of weird typos and the assertion that “God hates you” if you are in one of the groups they hate. As you know, Hate Jesus told his followers “Hate your neighbor as you hate yourself.” Well played Westboro Baptist.
I have years of experience with an attention craving joke religion, namely The Church of the Subgenius. This suggests to me how you might try to counter them. Debating them is the wrong move, you have to fight them on the street theater level. I’d suggest making your own signs and joining their picket line. Some ideas:
- God Hates Tolerance/God Loves Stupidity and Outrage
- Gramer and Speling Are Tools Of Teh Devil
- You Fags Can Suck It (smaller letters) Tonight at the Travelodge, Room 117
- Repent And Spend Eternity with Assholes Like Us
Over at Laughing Squid, here is an example of a dada absurdist counter-protest. In this case, by making the signs funny the newspeople passed by WBC and took photos of the counter-protest. Attention is their oxygen supply, so cut that off and they lose their breath. I like the idea of trying to infiltrate but that might not be physically possible. There are only a few of them in the road troupe so surely they all know each other. I think swamping them is a fine tactic.
I’m planning on swinging by their protest tomorrow. It’s close to my house, and I’m going to try to get some footage of them. I will possibly use it in the documentary or maybe just to try to make fun of them.