Robin Williams will be missed, the WBC, and why I proudly identify as evil

This afternoon, in Tiburon, California, a great and very funny man, Robin Williams, was found dead in his home. It is believed he committed suicide, which, in a very small way, is better than him having relapsed and died of an overdose.

The internet is full of people tonight sharing their memories of chance encounters with the man, talking about their favourite movies he starred in, and remembering his stand up–Spotify is providing me with the audio of A Night at the Met, and I am currently hearing some bits I remember having on my ipod in the days of Kazaa and Limewire. The nostalgia is nice.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, the Westboro Baptist Church is posting shopped images of the poor man with their typical hateful slogans. Saying he is in Hell.

Robin Williams left behind a loving wife and daughter, and, less known, two sons and two ex-wives (I don’t know what the relationship between Mr. Williams and his exes or sons were like) and I hope, though don’t for a moment believe, that they are not aware of the WBC’s hateful… grave-dancing. I certainly hope they can at least ignore it.

 

A man died. There are at least two people who loved him very much and were very close to him that must deal with the aftermath, and another five people who may have been close to him as well, I simply don’t know. Robin Williams undoubtedly had a very hard life. He was quite open about his own troubles with addiction and drug abuse. Yet he spread so much joy and laughter to the world, and took time out of his day to offer a handshake to a starstruck man who forgot they happened to be in a men’s room, or be a beam of light in a week blighted by a horrible violent end to two loved ones for a sad family who happened to stop in a donut shop before they left LA. The man was so prolific in his work as an actor and comedian that I’ve seen multiple people online refer to him as like a favourite funny uncle. I think that perfectly sums up how I felt about him.

 

And … then there’s a “church” that says the man was evil. That he’s in Hell. That he’s “not doubting fire now.” A “church” celebrating the tragic death of a wonderful man. A “church” which wants to picket his funeral (they haven’t announced they will, just used the hashtag #wemustpicket).

The Westboro Baptist Church has a history of picketing people because they think god hates the person. They said they would picket the funeral of Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman. They picket the funerals of soldiers killed in duty. They picket Kevin Smith movies because Kevin Smith had the audacity to make a psychological thriller movie about a similar, but fictional, fundamentalist christian group. They also have a history of really pathetic protests that have less than ten people in them. So there’s that.

 

But what is this “church” protesting?

Well, when they protest gay marriage, they’re protesting love.

When they protest a soldier’s funeral, they protest duty and self sacrifice.

When they protest Kevin Smith, they protest critical thought and the ability to examine a topic with a sense of humour, and a love of harmless indulgence.

When they protest a metal musician, they protest the little bit of mental self care a lot of youth get to indulge in.

When they say that a beloved comedian who struggled with depression is in Hell as if he somehow got what he supposedly deserved, they protest love and joy and are saying that depressed people should die.

 

You have these people that say these things are evil, meanwhile they portray themselves as “good,” because they hate people who don’t believe their way. You have similar people who say they’re good because they are trying to force women to carry unwanted babies, including babies that were the result of rape.

 

And I’m here, a genderqueer pansexual LaVeyan Satanist. I’m what they, and many other christians call evil, whether because I don’t identify as the sex I was born, or want to fuck people regardless of their sex, or because they don’t know that LaVeyan Satanism is a non-theistic philosophy that basically just says the natural urges of humans are nothing to be ashamed of or deny. Of course I’m also vaguely animistic, so not only am I an atheist who uses the trappings of Hell symbolically, I’m also a dirty polytheist because these people don’t know what any religion is.

 

If I’m evil, and loving couples and dutiful people willing to sacrifice themselves and people who encourage critical thinking and dirty humour and people who give depressed kids in the mid-west a bit of release and a man who gave the world joy and laughter despite their personal pain are supposedly evil… then I wear that damned label proudly, because they aren’t making good look very desirable.

We are the media

When Amanda Palmer started her Kickstarter campaign to distribute her new album, Theatre is Evil, her first piece of promotion for it was a video of her in a kimono, with a key-tar across her back, holding up signs written in sharpie, likely intentionally referencing Bob Dylan in Subterranean Homesick Blues. Towards the end of this message to her fans, she held up a sign saying “We are the media.”

This is more true than people may realize. We are the media, all of us. All of us.

People think the media is just those people they see on the news. That’s not true. The media is also called “The Fourth Estate,” referring to the medieval concept of The Estates of the Realm and the structure of Parliament. The Estates of the Realm described the division of social classes in Medieval France. The First Estate was the clergy, men of the cloth of course holding the greatest power, for they could excommunicate anyone, and grant or deny Divine Right. The Second Estate was nobility, and the Third the commoners. Parliament had a similar division, with the Lords Spiritual, the Lords Temporal, and the Commons. The Fourth Estate has generally referred to an informal segment of society which was either quasi-independent, or answered directly to the king. This has variously been lawyers and journalists, depending on time period, the person using the term, etc.

Whatever the fourth estate’s composition, it’s job is the same. It is the unwritten fourth check on the government.

Its job is to watch the people in power, and make sure they don’t abuse that power.

We’ve done a horrible, terrible job of it in the last fifty years or so. But maybe we can do better. We can if we decide to. Hell, we have to. The spirits of America’s Founding Fathers must be disgusted with the country they created, and are now roaming abroad, being there for those who want to be free. Americans don’t want to be free. We want our world views supported by the laws of the land, but that’s not freedom. We want to be secure, which is even less free. Benjamin Franklin said “Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.” This has often been paraphrased to “People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.” Those who do want to be free are now in other countries. It started with Tunisia, then Egypt, Libya and Yemen. Other Middle East countries, such as Bahrain, Syria, Iraq and Morocco have revolted with civil uprisings and “major protests.” Most recently, the subjects of Turkey have fought their government with civil disobedience, to which their government responded with violence.

Our Founding Fathers have seen that we do not want freedom, merely happiness. To quote George Carlin, “Everyone’s too fat and happy. Everyone’s got a cellphone that will make pancakes and rub their balls for them.” Our biggest struggle for freedom right now is the fight for guns or marriage equality. I say or, because it’s split by party line, and thus it is extremely unlikely that the country will get both. And sadly, America loves its guns far more than it cares about giving people equal rites. Guns are a cult in America, like they’re the fourth estate of the holy trinity. If you go down south, you will see phrases with “guns” and “god” as almost equal partners everywhere. You would think that the biggest proponents for gun freedom coming from the region that gave us the Civil War, Slavery and the Ku Klux Klan would be something of a red flag for the rest of the country, but it’s apparently not. You would also think that people would be all for allowing adults to marry other consenting adults and not care about the specific genders, but, again, apparently not so much.

The politicians have used these issues to secure their own power and divide us. I’d honestly be somewhat ok with no increased restrictions on gun control if we achieved marriage equality. The vast majority of gun owners are just playing with an adult, male-focused version of Barbie, and there are admittedly other ways to prevent shootings.

We, the people, the media, the Fourth Estate, must tell the politicians that their days of being masters are over, and that they will once again be the servants of the people they should be.

The Day’s Count: 734
(168 words were pre-written from a tangent in yesterday’s post that I decided should be it’s own piece, bringing today’s actual writing count to 566)