Sunday, August 05, 2007
"A whole lotta ugly from a whole lotta stupid."
This was the weekend of the Annual Sandcastle Contest at Rehoboth Beach. These are three among the many, many entries.
I don't know which one won, but this rendition in sand of the Pirates of the Caribbean would have won my vote for first place.
This turtle would have won second place.
Pretty awesome, right?
And this sandcastle would have won third.
Our daughter says she would have voted the sandcastle first place. Admittedly, it's not the best picture - not bad for a cell phone camera - but, oh, I don't know. It just didn't have the personality of the other two.
Okay. You wanna know what the title of this post has to do with the Sandcastle Contest, right? Let me explain.
This is a line from the movie HAIRSPRAY, a film by John Waters about racial intolerance in Baltimore in the 1950's. It became a Broadway play which is, once again a film. It was released just this week and it stars none other than John Travolta and Michele Phiffer.
It's a line spoken by Queen Latifah's character who is trying to explain to a white teenager and her black boyfriend what they were about to experience when seen in public together. She says to them, "You've got to get ready to face a whole lotta ugly from a whole lotta stupid."
I was thinking that it was this time last year when the second wave of ugly began to hit this blog. The first wave came just as General Convention 2006 was ending.
One of the very mean-spirited blogs had taken one of the more emotional entries I had made after B033 passed and hung it up for target practice - a habit that continues to be a modus operandi of the Right. I'm told there's even a term for it. It's called being an "Internet Troll".
Actually, it was worse than that. My essay was made into a Victorian-esq parody that could only be described as a cruel mockery of authentic distress and pain. Then, it was dragged around some of the Blogs on the Right where the ridicule and parody continued for days.
I thought it was just the fervor of General Convention that brought out the ugly in some people. I know I sound naive but, at the time, I had no idea about the power of the Internet - or the amount of hate generated by General Convention 2006 in general and the election and consecration of Gene Robinson as bishop of NH in particular. I didn't have a clue that many people from all across the religious political spectrum were continuing to read my blog in search of things they could discredit or ridicule.
Sometimes, I am amazed by my own incapacity to comprehend the workings of Cyberspace. The only thing more amazing to me is my continued naivete in believing in the inherent decency and natural inclination of the goodness of the human heart.
I thought a whole lot of the ugly of B033 brought out a whole lotta stupid in blogs and then it would be over, until . . . during the first week of August, 2006, while on vacation, I wrote a blog about the Sandcastle Contest and some of the bumper stickers and T-Shirts I was seeing around town.
WELL! You might have thought I was Satan incarnate. I got absolutely excoriated over at one of the most scurrilous of the conservative blogs. It was amazing. Truly. Even something as innocent as posting a picture of the cover of the rear tire on a jeep became a sign and symbol of my inherent evil and all that was wrong with The Episcopal Church.
I had suggested that, instead of putting signs in front of our church that said stuff like, "8 AM HE I, 10 AM, HE II, sung, solemn," that only 'insiders' and "members only" would understand, perhaps we could bear a message of evangelism more in line with that sign on the back of that jeep. You know - a message of hope that would invite people in from the darkness of the world into the light of Christ.
What was that sign?
It said, "Life is good."
I know, right? How could I? How much more evil could I possibly convey?
Well, I got my own kinda stupid, I suppose. I've since gone out an bought a baseball cap and a bag that say, "Life is good." And, I wear them everywhere.
There's more. I've been at it again. These past two weeks, I've carried a small notebook with me and I've been writing down sayings on bumper stickers and T-shirts I've seen in Rehoboth Beach which have made me laugh right out loud, in public, and in front of God and everybody.
So, having not yet lost my sense of humor, and refusing to have it taken from me or surrendering it to anyone, I'm presenting - TA DA!- the Second Annual "Silly Sayings at the Beach."
Before I do, I'm girding my loins for the reaction from the Right. I'm repeating the advice to myself from Queen Latifah, "You've got to get ready to face a whole lotta ugly from a whole lotta stupid."
Ready? Here we go -
In the FOOD Category:
"Drink coffee. Do stupid things faster and with more energy."
"Stressed is desserts spelled backwards."
"Having good health simply means you are dying at a slowest rate possible."
In the ALCOHOL Category:
"Finish your beer, there are sober kids in China, Africa and India."
"Tequila: Helping women lower their standards for years."
"Beer: Helping white guys dance since 1842."
In the POLITICAL HUMOR Category:
"01.20.09 Bush's Last Day."
"You're in America. Speak English."
"Which is worse? Screwing an intern or screwing the country?"
"The Patriot Act: Turning Citizens into spies since 2001."
"Bush is listening. Use big words."
Picture of Bush with these words: "Like a rock. Only dumber."
Special BUSH QUOTES Sub-Category:
"Rarely is the question asked, 'Is our children learning?'"
"I hope the ambitious realize that they are more likely to succeed with success as opposed to failure."
"More and more of our imports come from overseas."
"It's clearly a budget. It's got lots of numbers in it."
'Women Rule' Category
"When he left, she realized that the only thing she lost was the reason to shave her legs."
"BITCH: Babe in Total Control of Herself."
"If at first you don't succeed, redefine success."
"Of course women don't have to work as hard as men. They get it right the first time."
"Well behaved women rarely make history."
Baby T-Shirt Category
"What happens in play group, stays in play group."
"(with the logo for AC/DC) AB/CD"
"I only dress like this to piss off the Drag Queens."
"I wish I could quit you."
(The following is about the Senator from Louisiana, an ardent opponent of gay marriage and spokesperson for Christian 'family values', whose telephone number was on the call list of the DC Madam. Oops!)
"Senator David Vitters: Jambalaya, crawfish pie and a floozie in the gumbo."
"I don't have a lifestyle. I have a life. Run along now and get your one of your own."
"Jesus loves me, this I know (but he thinks you're a real jerk)."
"I love Jesus. It's his followers that drive me crazy."
"What part of 'Love One Another' don't you understand?"
General Excellence Category
"You're only young once, but you can be immature forever."
"National Sarcasm Society: Like we need your support."
"Hard work must have killed someone."
"Save the drama for your momma."
"Teenagers: Tired of being harassed by your parents? Move out, get a job, pay your own way while you still know everything."
"I am nobody. Nobody is perfect. Therefore, I am perfect."
Actually, I'm thinking of having my own bumper sticker made. It will read: "Life is good, but first, you're going to experience a whole lotta ugly from a whole lotta stupid."
Well, there it is folks. If the past is any indicator, some will be more convinced than ever that there's enough here to initiate a Title IV complaint.
Meanwhile, you'll excuse me while I continue to enjoy my vacation.