Let’s Make Fred Phelps Invisible
January 12, 2011 2 Comments
I was going to write a follow-up today about the last of the Florida kayaking adventure, replete with hilarious details about Japanese people canoeing in chiffon dresses and Kayaking with Eurotrash. However, unless you’ve been a castaway on an island without cable, you know what happened in Tuscon this past weekend. The events are horrifying enough and don’t need elaboration here. What has caught my attention is the news that the infamous Fred Phelps is planning to picket Christina Green’s funeral to protest the “idolatrous blasphemers”. This is a WTF moment in our shared history as Americans. Seriously, who protests the funeral of a nine-year old shot to death by a madman to promote an anti-gay agenda?
I grew up in Kansas near where Fred Phelps got his start. Fred was just a local menace then and he liked to hang out on Gage Boulevard with his small band of ragtag followers (mainly his own kids) to protest homosexual activity in the park. I have to say I was surprised that he picked this location because I never thought of the park as a hotbed of homosexual activity. Topeka is not a glory hole in every public bathroom kind of place. Everyone pretty much ignored Fred and he stuck to his tiny little corner. As was inevitable, one day Fred finally got national press. Game on for Fred. Since then, Fred is everywhere. I blame the press.
Fred picketed the wedding of a friend of mine in college who got married at the University of Kansas chapel. We asked him to not ruin her day and he said we should be grateful he was there to remind her of her place. Nice. Fred should be grateful she didn’t take a swing at him with a tire iron because Kristi packed a punch and no jury in the land would have convicted her of the crime. (Seriously, in the early 1990s, a nice middle-aged woman lost her mind one day and tried to run over him and his protesters on Gage Boulevard. The trial was removed to my hometown and she was acquitted).
Fred is a parasite that feeds on press ink. The only way to stop the monster is to ignore the monster. To borrow a line of reasoning from Douglas Adams, if you can’t see him, he can’t see you and he will implode under the weight of his own obscurity. Knowing as I do that the press can’t help itself and will report on Fred until he finally drops dead, the only thing we can do to stop Fred is to refuse to read, speak or think about Fred. That’s why I’m announcing my campaign to ignore Fred. No counter-protests, no lawsuits, just a complete and total lack of acknowledgment of his very existence. Without us, Fred can’t exist. Please join me in a pledge not to speak about, read about or acknowledge that Fred exists. If we stop reading it or watching it or talking about it, the press will stop covering it and Fred will wither away into insignificant dust. Please politely and rationally refuse to engage in dialogue about him or God forbid you should find yourself near him, with him. The sooner we all stop giving him a forum to spread his twisted message, the sooner he’ll go away. If you need help making your mind go blank, the next time someone says “Fred Phelps”, instead of seeing a rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth freak in your mind, think of Elvis. Elvis is easy to conjure, he was kind, and were he still alive, I like to think the King would throw down some serious kung-fu moves on Fred and send him on to his everlasting reward. I look forward to the day when Fred is a distant bad dream. I’ve created a petition here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/lets-make-fred-phelps-invisible—the-pledge-to-ignore-fred/ You can sign it, pass it on to your friends and then forget you ever signed it and passed it on. Join me, please.
UPDATE: He who shall not be named through his mouthpiece has announced he will not picket the girl’s funeral in exchange for a radio interview with a Canadian radio station and a TV interview with a local televsion station in Tucson. While I appreciate their efforts, that’s blackmail and they have just caved in. Now Phelps will picket at the site of the attack and at the Judge’s funeral. Game on Fred. We can’t see you.