Mark Frauenfelder at 12:19 pm Tue, Nov 20, 2012
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder.
Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.
Teacher suspended for touching girl inappropriately with banana during class
NASA solar flare video with Lars Leonhard music
Stop. Feeding. The. Trolls.
((And yeah, that includes BB. Every bit of publicity these wackos get, good or bad, encourages them.))
These don’t need to be fed, they’re self-fertilizing.
I rather applaud his politeness, it was him not feeding them what they seem to subsist on.
edit: notice how they only lean forward and point at the people who are engaging them with negativity.
notice also: similar attitudes and actions (re:negativity and presumption) here, which many folks don’t mind so long as the asshole is on their team. Play nice, all of us.
While I espouse the belief that shining a light on prejudicial organizations is better than letting them fester in the dark I’ve always realized that doing so risks legitimizing them and also adding to their membership rolls.
And it also seems pretty obvious that, when it comes to the Westboro Baptist Church members, mocking them, as amusing as it can be, doesn’t do any good because they’re not serious. I don’t think they believe what they’re saying, and they’re just engaged in a publicity stunt. So, yeah, I agree, let’s stop feeding the trolls.
But here’s what I think is the problem: when it comes to the issue of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights in general the high profile people are all trolls. The arguments put forth by the likes of NOM have been so thoroughly refuted and it’s so clear that they’re fighting a losing battle that I have to wonder how many of them believe what they’re saying at this point. David Blankenhorn threw in the towel because he didn’t have anything to lose, but there are people who’ve built their whole careers on promoting prejudice. If they change their tune now they’ll be out of a job. And at this point they’re nothing more than professional trolls.
But even if these professional trolls don’t believe what they’re saying they still speak for a large number of people with serious, if unwarranted, fears. Is there a way to address those fears, to engage in serious, thoughtful debate, without feeding the trolls?
Well, there’s church, but I think these trolls beat us there. There’s the court of law, but many many of the WBC are legally trained, and more than a few are lawyers, so the trolls beat us there.
I’d say our last best refuge is theirs too, the Constitution.
How does The Constitution help people that would oppose The WBC? If anything it’s the opposite. Free speech absolutism allows them to essentially *harass* people under the guise of speech.
Agreed. If only we could have given Bush/Cheney a third term, that pesky Constitution would probably be gone by now.
Actually, most churches are troll-free. You might be surprised.
it depends on if there is a troll behind the pulpit
Agreed, and I read somewhere that these off-shoot sects start from the mind of us against them. The more isolated and hated the more, I imagine, they will be feverishly obliged to continue. I think the right way is this way, where RB let them speak and acknowledged them as people. The case was stated and countered, and I think this light chips away at the fever.
I disagree. Except for protesting soldier’s funerals, they can and will go to any venue and claim 1st Amendment Rights. Ignoring them does not cause them to go away. They need to be opposed at every turn, and roundly mocked.
Oppose? Sure. Mock? To their faces, sure. Give them additional publicity? In the name of all the gods and daemons, how is that supposed to serve any interests but theirs?
Mocking them to their faces doesn’t change a damn thing, it brings you down to their level.
Public ridicule is probably the only effective method of actively combating trolls.
Though… while you think they are ridicule, their wives, on the other hand, are patting them in the back (in the dark, fully clothed. of course). We see what we want to see. These people don’t know what an argument is, so we’d better just ridicule them (but don’t think it is an effective method — it is just fun)
sometimes, the trolls are funny. don’t dehumanize them. they are just idiot humans. they done don don’t know no better.
Louis Theroux’s specials on them were very well done, and didn’t give them much encouragement.
On one hand, I have to agree with technogeekagain. Don’t give such people any opportunity to promote their ideology. There is far too much ignorance, hatred, bigotry and violence in the world already.
However, there’s also the truism “Know your enemy”. Knowing what they are promoting better arms the rest of us to fight their bigotry and hatred.
i don’t know about that as one thing i have noticed is that when one person, to express a point, responds to rude/offensive ideas or behavior with something of equal force, or even just visceral disgust for that matter, it just looks like two people being rude/offensive/disgusted. if it were a roomful, i would really be really depressed. russell’s approach has the best sense of tact. i love what he does with this. as far as “legitimizing” their opinion by appearing on this show, i doubt that, it was pure jerry springer (or maybe jerry springer legitimizes wife beaters and love brawls?). i don’t know. regardless, i like russell’s approach. he is very sexy too.
by the way, it is apparent that these two westboro guys are not about love as, to me, they recoiled when the three other men were brought on stage, even appearing a bit nervous. in addition, it was apparent that they were trying to cause confrontation, and with that in mind, if anyone responded in kind, well, that is what they were seeking in the first place; disarming with kindness is much better.
They were deeply concerned about the possibility of catching the gay. Their refusal to hug Brand really demonstrated that. (And I neither know nor care what his orientation is.)
this is why i obsessively wash my hands–to clean off the disgust i frequently catch from others
i feel their “pain”
Knowing your enemy: Absolutely. Which is why I send a considerable chunk of change every year to SPLC, and study their Intelligence Report when I get an issue.
But there’s a difference between knowing about them and giving them exposure. Any time you let them have ANY control over the message, you’re over that line.
this is why i obsessively wash my hands–to clean off the disgust i frequently catch from others
i feel their “pain” **
**(actually, i clicked and clocked on the wrong link, sorry tecnogeekagain, this was meant for boundegar and his evil minions of gar)
Brand is being unutterably cruel to these people by being so nice to them. Good show!
Something along the lines of Romans 12:20-21 perhaps?
… “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I have to agree that maybe at this point, we can just start marginalizing these types of nuts.
I mean, we don’t give time on the tele, as it were, to dopes that think the earth is flat. Why should we allow bigots to have a stage? Not everything is worthy of a laugh, particularly when at its core, it’s not funny at all.
The idea that “everyone is entitled to their opinion” is kind of stupid. I mean, I guess YOU are entitled to it, but by the same token, you should also have to be shunned for your idiocy.
But we do have Vice Presidential candidates who can see Russia from Wasilla.
Shunning is what they want. It’s -their- thing. it’s -them- winning the right to abuse you, because look what you did.
they are all ready marginalized.
“Why should we allow bigots to have a stage?”
You mean like MITT ROMNEY, the man who almost became president, who once said, AND I QUOTE:
’Some Gays Are Actually Having Children. It’s Not Right on Paper. It’s Not Right in Fact.’
I think it’s perfectly fine to laugh at these idiots, if only because it helps us feel a little better when we consider that we have serious presidential nominees who are just as bigoted.
These guys are good talkers, good salesmen, and can flip a switch and believe whatever crap is put in front of them. If it wasn’t for the WBC these guys would be CEOs of some company somewhere. Ergo, the WBC is doing the rest of us a service by putting them in a position that most people can, and will, just ignore.
Many of them are legal professionals, and sueing those who assault them is what pays for most of their nonsense.
I used to think Russell Brand was a stupid wanker, until I read this interview on BB; now I think he’s got a good head on his shoulders. http://boingboing.net/2011/04/23/interview-in-which-r.html
Yeah, but I had a great time following them around. You don’t have to feed the trolls, but you can mock the shit out of them.
That’s a very literal interpretation of a unicorn chaser.
Thank you for doing it right.
All I saw in this video were several faiths disagreeing with each other on the definition of Love. Nothing new there.
I respect that’s all you saw, but the oldest thing here is that attitude ‘nothing new here’.
You’re right. This is getting old.
You should actually look into the WBC. They are not simply a religious denomination.
The nutshell version: USA and mankind in general are evil and ultimately doomed because God hates us. The reason that God hates us is because we’re too forgiving of homosexuality. They protest soldier funerals because they think the US military is too accommodating to gays. (Anything short of murder is too accommodating to gays for WBC.)
I wonder if they ever protest greed? Or wars of discretion? Or the death penalty?
Again, they think that God hates us and is justified in hating us (because he’s freakin’ God, OK?). So they probably support pretty much anything that’s bad for human beings as our rightful punishment for disobeying God.
You’re more likely to see them protest Habitats for Humanity or the Red Cross than the death penalty or greed.
I think Brand did a damn good job. It’s tough because it would be so easy for him hold them up as objects of ridicule and nothing else. The problem with doing that is that 5% of the audience sees him do that and takes their side simply because they thought he was being mean to the idiots. I liked the approach of offering an olive branch and then letting them expose their ridiculousness on their own.
Here’s how I would deal with these people, if I were the media:
- Never invite them onto TV shows
- When they are protesting somewhere, always interview witnesses and get their reactions (most of which are likely to be negative) but never interview them directly.
- If, during a report, it’s impossible not to show their signs, blur or pixellate them so they are unreadable. Their hate speech has no place in the media.
- Generally ignore them until they go away, but when you must report about them, always do so indirectly, always aim to show the consequences of their presence, but not their presence itself.
The one thing I started seeing, recently, is people making their own nonsensical, funny, or contrary signs, and then joining them and adding those signs to the protest. Imagine if there were more of those odd/funny signs than there were of the WBC signs! It would drown out their message. And the bonus is they can’t do anything about it, except leave. If you’re being pacific, and you’re not directly preventing them from moving freely, they can’t retalliate (the leader is an ex-lawyer, he knows how to tread the fine line without crossing it.) If they ever do cross a line they shouldn’t, then BAM! You’ve got something you can legally nail them with. Basically trolling them in the same way they’re trolling.
Maroon Wall *nod*
I liked the approach NYC’s gay synagogue used a few years ago. They heard WBC was coming, so they asked members and friends to make pledges to donate an amount per minute of WBC’s demonstration. The longer WBC’s demonstration lasted, the more money the synagogue raised. Quite brilliant.
If you were a media executive, you would be fired immediately (possibly even retroactively) for doing something that might cause ratings to drop.
Russell handled that well. He could have easily have made those two turds really uncomfy and unloaded. But he kept it civil and allowed them to show the world what hateful POS they really are.
It’s funny how they were talking about every line in the bible being important and needing to be followed yet I suspect these guys do not follow every tiny thing in there. This is what that looks like http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/10/10/what-happens-when-an-agnostic-follows-the-bible-literally-for-one-year/
Either you go the whole old testament way and see if you can join orthodox jewry; or you go new testament. “Love your neighbour as yourself.”
It’s not really a pick and choose menu. But maybe the WBC crowd just really hate themselves?
On an unrelated note, is there some sort of Taliban/WBC alliance? They do seem to have very similar aims
Oooh, that’s an interesting thought. They ARE loving us as they love themselves, because they hate themselves and all their sinful thoughts, and really they want someone to picket THEIR funeral with disgusting signs and then sue their relatives for fighting back. How Freudian!
As he said in the interview, warning you that you’re going to hell is how they love you like they love themselves.
As an expat Brit, I will admit to suffering from a nasty classist dislike of Brand based solely on his accent (which is very similar to mine before I emigrated a quarter century ago, though a tad higher in pitch). And yet, every time I get to hear/watch/read him when he’s not just doing the red carpet BS, I am deeply impressed. These days I just work on imagining a different accent in my mind, and he turns into someone on the same level as Hitchens (well, nearly), only more obviously funny.
It’s kind of deceptive to even refer to that group as a “church.” More like “extended family of hatemongers who all live in a compound together and dream up fantastic new ways of offending people so they can sue when their First Amendment rights are infringed.”
Well, it’s certainly more accurate…but a little long, hard to remember, and doesn’t really flow off the tongue.
I think “cult” covers it pretty well, though.
Westboro Baptist Cult. more accuracy, same initials
Works for me. Now we just need to get the media on board.
If you remove the specificity of the First Amendment part, that might be a reasonable definition of quite a few churches throughout history.
But most of the time an organization has to expand beyond a single familial group who all live together in a compound before the rest of the world acknowledges them as a “church,” even if that’s a term they use to describe themselves. How many mainstream media outlets referred to the Branch Davidians as a “church?”
Slacktivist has a thread on this too. Fred does a good job of explaining how Brand’s demeanor is actually very savvy on a number of levels: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/11/20/westboro-baptist-teaches-that-jesus-failed/
Claiming a book is the word of God is worshiping a book and not God!!!! IDOLATERS they worship a book they will burn in the fires of hell wailing and nashing of teeth. Book worshiping idoloters YES they are trolls as well. This is the word of The Lord
Well, *a* Lord, at least. If that really is your surname.
This isn’t about their negativity. This is about Brand’s positivity.
The King James version of bible was completed in 1611 by 8 members of the Church of England.
They were (and still are) no original texts to translate. The oldest manuscripts we have were written down hundreds of years after the last alleged ‘apostle’ would have died. There are over 8000 of these old manuscripts, with no two alike.
The King James translators used none of these, anyway. Instead, they edited previous translations to create a version their king and parliament would approve.
So, 21st century Christians believe the ‘word of god’ is a book edited in the 17th century from 16th century translations of 8000 contradictory copies of 4th century scrolls that claim to be copies of lost letters written in the 1st century.
That is not faith. That is insanity.
Hear hear! Plus, even if one were to take these texts at their word and devote their entire life to them, you’d think they’d have the curiosity to do, say, ten minutes of research into the original languages they were supposed to have been translated from.
At this point they’d discover there are no words in Aramaic or ancient Hebrew for consensual same-sex relationships. Oh, there are lots for rape, incest, prostitution, and so on, but as the saying goes, “The Bible has as much to say about gay marriage as it does about international air-travel.”
Sure, I have a gay horse in this race, but these folk seem to be driven entirely by unexamined fears, whereas the opposition makes better, if debatable, arguments to Westboro’s hang-ups, like:
- actually, lots of animals in the wild have been seen engaging in same-sex fun. Not just a few; more like 450.
- same-sex marriages used to be a Christian rite
- the “traditional” family these folks like to sanctify is a recent invention (hell, even Jesus’s parents weren’t married), and life for straight people is not falling apart because of gay marriages
Ah (empirical, archeological) history. Shame none of the Christian folks I know care to know anything about it.. I suppose they’ll learn one day. There’s a saying which goes: “some people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.” I feel rather sorry for them, actually.
Why didn’t god invent on OFF switch for Russell Brand?
Russell Brand is pure AWESOME. He is the living embodiment of Blake’s “The road of excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom”
:-D Russel Brand is good. + I love the english accent !
edit: he’s very good and funny !
edit2: bloody shit, the video is bipped. This was not aired in Uk? They also bip in Uk?
Half way through this video I realized that everything the WBers were quoting IS from the OT/NT KJV of the Bible. This is the text used by most Southern Baptists and the basis for the modern Bible translations used by the majority of Protestants in the US. What occurred to me was that these people, the WBers, are actually closer to following the Bible than others. We non-followers joke about the verses that say do not eat shell fish and do not mix fabrics, but it’s really all in there. The raping of virgins, the disemboweling of the enemy, and the stoning of homosexuals, and more-alongside the feel good love thy neighbor stuff. The problem today is that most Christians don’t realize that ALL this is in the Bible and the majority of those see the Bible as the word of god, therefore the guiding force in their beliefs. If Christians really understood how repugnant this text is and that by accepting the text as infallable, they are embracing ideas which modern society sees as repugnant- slavery, homphobia, woman as submissive… Christians need to look at what they have signed up for. They should study their religious text and see what’s really in there, all of it. What most namby pamby “spiritual, not religious” types which can’t let go of the holy book and still call themselves Christian are in the words of their own text “lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I (god) will spue thee out of my mouth.” The Westboro folks hold closer to the Bible than most and if you find their expressions repulsive, then you should find the Bible repulsive. Consider this from a former Southern Baptist born again, Christian school survivor, now atheist.
Russel did a great job here. He didn’t sink to their level, and he also let them be who they are (whatever that is…).
These two WB men serve as examples of what happens to us all when we cling too steadfastly to our own beliefs and opinions; our tunnel vision. These men are lessons for us all.
I saw it right before it was plugged by fox… is there a mirror anywhere? I want to spread it around.
Having missed it before it was pulled I am guessing, but believe this is the same. From Russel’s channel… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fvrPfe-Gzs
Ha! Im fascinated how the body language of the maniac in the right seat changes when the gay men enter the scene. Is anybody educated enough in that pseudoscience to tell me what’s going on through his head?
Not sure if you’re being sarcastic about people who think body language is somehow pseudoscience. Or you think it’s pseudoscience but still want to know what his body language is saying, but you need to provide a disclaimer just incase someone down-thread calls it pseudoscience. If you ever work with pack animals like dogs, you’ll find non-verbal communication is quite real. That’s if you doubt that it’s real, which I can’t tell from the confusing comment above.