as my last post teased, it was quite the day friday at the office. wow…i honestly don’t even know where to begin. to avoid making this a ridiculously long post, i think i’m going to revert back to the 3-post experiment that i tried last week. most likely, i’ll write them all today, but it will at least break them up into digestible chunks. this first post will basically set the scene. the second and third posts will be a closer look at the two groups represented with a little personal insight.
upon my arrival friday morning at work, a coworker—who is a faithful blog reader—immediately came to my desk to alert me that something was going on behind our office that would be a ryan byrd blog dream event in the making. i hopped up and headed out the back of the office. this is what i found:
one side of the street:
on the other side of the street:
yes. this is real life.
again, yes. this is real life. and i was there.
after going out and introducing myself to my newfound sea-faring friends, i learned that the westboro baptist people were there protesting the national conference of editorial writers (who were having their conference at the neighboring statehouse convention center). (not ones to waste a trip to arkansas, they also spent the day protesting the clinton library and the air force base.) i didn’t really understand this until i learned that editorial writers are a part of the media. you know, the gay-loving, anti-god liberal media (except fox news, i’m sure). yeah. so, they brought their crew consisting of 3 men, a woman…and three children, each bearing two hate-filled signs at their hip. the oldest kid couldn’t have been any more than 11 or 12 years old and they were hovered over by their father who kept instructing them, “pick ’em up. hold ’em up where the workers of iniquities can see them.”
you might be thinking, “what the heck do pirates have to do with anything?” good question. the most obvious answer is that friday, coincidentally, happened to be talk like a pirate day. how convenient for these dudes. beyond this coincidence, though, these guys did have something else more important in common (and just as awesomely hilarious, for the sake of my blog). these guys are all from the local church of the flying spaghetti monster (where pirates are viewed as diving beings). seriously. known as pastafarians, these guys—draped in the finest of pirate costumes—came to “deflect attention” from the “christians” that the flying spaghetti monster followers so adamantly oppose.
as the day went on, the pirates/pastafarians were joined by a handful of lesbians (who loudly played katy perry’s i kissed a girl on repeat in their car), a couple of just crazy people and at least one gay guy who just seemed to be having a good time. it was a beautifully bizarre conglomeration of people.
fortunately, the day never got out of hand. there were a few people that just didn’t understand that yelling at them only fueled them and that getting upset only made them the winner, but all in all, it wasn’t too bad. as i anticipated, there was one guy who decided to confront the crazies. this guy seemed like a very intelligent, successful guy who professed to be a christian (you know, the actual christlike kind), but his attempt was all for naught. you just can’t out-argue these people. they are trained to rebut any argument that is thrown at them. they can quote scripture out of context with the best of them and it’s extremely difficult to “one-up” them. it’s just not worth. these people aren’t going to change their minds—especially in the midst of holding up hateful signs denouncing “fags” and proclaiming that recently-murdered bill gwatney is in hell. it’s just not going to happen. you can see from this picture that this guy approached the most militant one and it didn’t go to well:
as you can tell, it was quite the day in the neighborhood on friday. i spent about 30 minutes over there and it was plenty of time to see the good, the bad and the ugly (mostly ugly). on the one side, it was painfully sad to watch these people and children who have clearly been brainwashed by fred phelps and the westboro baptist church. on the other side, though, it was absolutely hilarious and, by and large, people were friendly and happy. you know, if you would have stood in the middle of the street, you would have been on some kind of bipolar emotional roller coaster. 🙂
alright, there’s the overview. hopefully the other two will be up very soon (tonight???). they will give some more in-depth thoughts about the two primary groups represented. i think it could be some helpful and thought-provoking insights. (or i may just ramble on for awhile while you are sitting wondering how many sporadic thoughts my brain can process at one time…). you be the judge.
by the way, i’ve posted a flickr setof some of the stuff i shot. be sure to go check them out.