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this made me want to cry

May 25, 2005

Watch out, it’ll probably upset you for one reason or another.
In honor of that, I think I’ll delay today’s fun stuff post for tomorrow, when perhaps I’ll be in a better mood. Maybe after this Sara can understand why I end up really not liking religion sometimes…

21 Comments leave one →
  1. May 25, 2005 1:16 pm

    I’m glad to see it’s invoking something in someone even if it is extreme

  2. May 25, 2005 2:19 pm

    From a cynic.
    Hmmmm, I don’t know if I’m just insensitive, jaded, or have seen worse things, but to me, this really doesn’t strike at all hard.
    It’s full-blown bigotry, to be sure, and it abuses the most often-abused piece of literature in history: the Bible. But…
    they’re T-shirts. It’s a fringe group. Sure, they have their following. Every group has its following. I don’t agree with them. But, to put it very coldly, homosexuality is currently very much in the limelight. This behavior (the T-shirts) can’t be helped. In fact, it’s expected. That’s why I don’t feel angry about it deep down. Sure, I don’t agree at all, and wished that such things wouldn’t happen, but it’s inevitable. Bigotry is a fact of life. If it affects me personally, if they’re capable of directly harming my friends or family, then I’m capable of rather strong feelings.
    But, such events are commonplace. And actually, if you really take a few giant steps back, and think about it, what strikes you about this, is its localized intensity: its anecdotal quality. Be glad that that’s all that strikes you so strongly: the anecdotes. You hear of isolated events. You hear of relatively passive legal barriers (i.e. barriers to change, but very few successful harmful changes) It can be worlds worse. Bigotry is all around us. My take on it: defend yourself and those you care about, but otherwise you’re just wasting energy.
    P.S. – the graphic design of the T-shirts, even though they most probably aimed for a starkly, strikingly bold and simple statement, is horrible for their cause. To analyze the pitfalls of their advertising coldly:
    1. The font is serif-based. Not only is it serif-based, it’s faux-stencil, invoking military styling. The disparity between such a style and the identity of its wearers is immediate enough to: a. call for a second look, but also b. call for a natural reaction of alienation and hostility towards the cause.
    2. Though the colors fit the wearers, and may be intentionally warm as a way to “smooth over” the literal visual impact of the words, its ill fit with the font once again invokes a natural, aesthetic alienation against the cause.
    3. The font is much too big. The edges of the words partially wraps around the wearer, especially if the shirts are oversized, as they are in the promo photos, the viewer feels naturally awkward and uncomfortable, because of the strain involved in processing the full text.
    A smaller, sans-serif, slightly spaced-apart font would be much more effective.
    It’s good that such groups are so insular and closed-minded that they don’t hire any kind of serious designer, else it could be a lot worse.
    It’s not an effective promotional scheme at all, just saying.

  3. May 25, 2005 3:46 pm

    Re: From a cynic.
    Your comment is so elaborative as opposed to the perceived lack of thought put into those tee-shirts that I have to laugh. Then again there had to be thought put into the philosophy behind those shirts and someone promoting that agenda. It’s too bad that children have no idea all of the shirt’s implications even if they could read the website’s statement behind them. This is the same for those Abercrombie and Fitch nude beach shirts too. Designers everywhere spreading their mission through thoughtlessness in sporting a tee shirt. There is a stereotype that gays are more aesthetically inclined. Maybe if they hired one of us on they would have a better fucking design.
    I like what you have to say about bigotry and you being jaded by the fact it is so pervasive. I don’t know what it is you study or what your interests are. I will say that there are a lot of academically minded individuals who are biased in the sense that they dismiss valid things like love and tears, though I agree it’s not very efficient being sensitive in this vicious world.

  4. Anonymous permalink
    May 25, 2005 6:47 pm

    that marcupial guy
    Yeah. I have many quams with religion as well.
    I’m a humanist at heart. I’m not opposed to religion…in fact…people NEED to find a kind of spiritual outlet. Mine lies in nature. It’s just…i find my own meaning….and I am apposed to being spoon-feed meaning and spirituality. It’s for the individual to seek…to be given. It’s fake other wise.
    That and most religions today (i’m not naming names here)…are about one thing:
    and they inforce their control via brainwashing through two very powerful mediums
    1.) FEAR
    2.) GUILT
    And…i’m sorry. No. Any religion that enforces it’s views by placing the seeds of fear and guilt in a person….isn’t true. It’s what i would conisder corrupted by the very things i stand against.
    Like i said…i’m a humanist. People need to explore for themselves….unhindered…and in the true artistic spirit and thirst for knowledge.
    I used to be ruled by these things…until i snapped out of it and saw what things really were….and how it was a giant control game. Took some time getting rid of. Of course…luckily…i never had to deal with the “sexual feelings are bad” crap that many have to deal with.
    But yeah.
    I’m making a whole lot of stickers….transparent…and they will say “The ignorance”
    And i’ll place them below STOP signs.

  5. May 25, 2005 7:32 pm

    Re: that marcupial guy
    you know, it’s funny. ’cause often times I really like religion. Catch me after I see Handel’s Messiah, or when I’ve been listening to a lot of Bach. Many of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard have been motivated by God.
    Which just makes this all the worse….
    If you make those stickers, give me some. I’ll put em up here in Adrian.

  6. May 25, 2005 7:41 pm

    Re: From a cynic.
    I think a lot of it was seeing such hateful trash being worn by children. We shouldn’t be teaching hate so young. There’s plenty of time to learn that later in life. It’s really hard to see a three year old in a shirt like that.
    Also, go to and check it out. They had a picture of a bunch of military coffins with flags draped over them, and the caption said some horrible things. Said American’s were dying because we had gays in the military, and called the American flag a “fag flag”. They had a 9/11 link that I couldn’t bring myself to click on.
    See, as much as I mock Bush and American materialism, I love my country. I’m proud of my country. The men and women who serve to defend America deserve our highest regards, not to be ridiculed like that.
    So yeah, I haven’t had that strong an emotional reaction to something in a long time, but I can see why I reacted the way that I did. See, they’re messing with friends of mine, which you ought to know is a bad bad thing, AND they’re screwing with my country and my family. Adam is, after all, in the Air Force, and will be buried under that same flag that these people degraded in such a way.
    Anyway okay I need to stop writing now, or I’ll never sleep… so yeah I can understand why you wouldn’t be so strongly affected, but yeah, I definitly am.

  7. May 25, 2005 8:50 pm

    Hmmm…kind of makes me wonder what this group would think about me, considering I’m both Christian AND in a same-sex relationship. They’d probably rave at me about how I’m a sinner and not a Christian, and that my sins are defaming Christianity and God will send me to hell for them. Personally, if I were God, I’d be more upset with these groups of people who go around hiding their hatred behind my name so they can get away with it.
    What bothers me the most about groups like this is that they’re so incredibly vocal in their anger and hatred and judgemental bull that they drown out the rest of us. There are so many Christians out there that don’t share these incredibly bigoted and hateful views, but we’re being outshouted. I don’t understand it. I don’t understand how anyone can claim to be Christian — inherently implying that they follow the teachings of CHRIST, who taught love and acceptance — and can twist the Bible so much as to use it to condemn anyone different from them in some weird struggle for power and control. When I look at the passages in which they claim Sodom and Gommorah were destroyed because of homosexuality, I see it saying that rape is horrible and wrong, not homosexuality. This group is about as good representation of Christianity as the Klan or the Hitler’s Nazi party, and their hatred makes me sick.
    Even if I’m “wrong” for being a homosexual, I’d consider it by far the greater wrong to use what I believe to hate someone else.

  8. May 25, 2005 8:54 pm

    When I look at the passages in which they claim Sodom and Gommorah were destroyed because of homosexuality, I see it saying…
    Correct that “it” to a “them.”

  9. May 25, 2005 9:37 pm

    Re: From a cynic.
    It affects me. I’m more…well, I am pissed, but in a sad way. I’m kind of, well, disappointed in life and the people who would deny me rights for what…falling in love with the “wrong” person? They don’t even know. That’s what pisses me off. They just…assume everything. They don’t know. They have no idea. And they aren’t willing to listen, that’s what pisses me off. Blind hatred. It’s blind hatred.

  10. May 25, 2005 10:38 pm

    Re: From a cynic.
    Hehehe, I try.
    On a more serious note, you have surmised rather accurately: I don’t look highly upon love and tears when it cannot move people to action, or if such people are unable to affect the issue which emotionally affects them so deeply. To me, it’s a waste of energy; energy which can be devoted to more constructive purposes, purposes which show more results. I freely admit that I myself have had moments where I think about the great issues of life, the sweeping hatreds of the day, the all-encompassing flaws in our society, and feel an emotional reaction, but I try not to lead myself down that road. What good does it do?
    In high school, I’ve taken part in so many “deep” and “philosophical” discussions I’m not going to even try to count them all. But, what good did it do? Sure, you find out what others think, but were they really that different from what you thought they’d be? For me, the answer was always no. There were no shocks. There were no surprises. There were no gripping insights. Such discussions did not prove to be insightful streams of newfound wisdom and understanding. They were just affirmations, of things I frankly wasn’t iffy about.
    To elaborate mre on bigotry: You see it every day. What is bigotry? Bigotry, most fundamentally, is unfounded judgment. It’s part of human nature, I now believe. For example, to use a very mild example: you see it every time you enter a restaurant. The maitre’d gives you a three-second evaluation, deciding whether you’re to get a window seat or a corner seat. There. You were judged.
    You’re walking along the street, and passersby glance at you briefly, most of them do so unconsciously. You’ve just been judged. The brain has already mad ea snap decision whether to go on alert, stay relaxed, let your gaze linger, or even possibly to approach the person.
    At its core, that’s what bigotry is. But, in the political context we’re currently concerned with, it’s bigotry with organization. It’s the active promotion of bigotry. It’s more extreme, but more importantly, it’s not our kind of bigotry. As opposed to a primal perception of danger, an instinctual fear, this one is indoctrinated, it’s learned (just like all of our own opinions). We all have it in us, else we wouldn’t be so successful as a society, or even as a species.
    We encourage the survival of those who are like us. We fear the unknown, the different, the alien. We shy away from taking responsiblity for our shortcomings, for our mistakes, for the mistakes of our ancestors, our parents, our grandparents. After all, they raised you. How could they be wrong? Then along came breakthroughs in communication, in transportation, etc. Our world expanded. Our opinions became more independent, or rather, are now drawn from a larger pool of choices. Really, if you think about it, how many of our opinions are truly our own? Can you think of any? Truly original, truly unique, in any way. I dare you.
    We see them as bigoted. Bigotry is relative. Their existence is most probably one much more insular than ours. A closed society breeds closed minds. Sure, once in a while, someone decides to break the mold and venture out of the safety net of such a group’s core set of beliefs, but hey, those are few and far between. It’s pitiful, really. They’ve limited themselves so much.
    As to recruitment, vehemence is a powerful weapon in indoctrination. If you breathe fire and brimstone, if you project such intense anger, if you exude such confidence of thought, no matter the thought, people will listen to you. It’s a show of strength. I believe that those who buy into the indoctrination think of such ideas in this way. Using the Bible as a false anchor only serves to strnegthen such perceptions. After all, the Bible is the Word of G-d. If you demonstrate such overwhelming vehemence in your beliefs, AND you draw from the Bible, heck, you’ve got your yourself quite a little perpetual propaganda machine. It works… for some. That’s all they need.

  11. May 25, 2005 10:38 pm

    Re: From a cynic.
    It’s marketing, really. Sure, it’s the marketing of, to put it mildly, a rather unsavory idea, but at least they’re not smart enough to tone down their message. In that we can seek solace. Leave them to their devices. Leave them to their sandbox. After all, it’ll get washed out eventually. Of course, by that time, another just like it will be built. That’s life.
    Through my above statements, I do not condone their actions, nor am I trying to convince you that they are perfectly rational people. Far from it. But, to counter their vehemence with your own… only fuels their fervor in the need. They can’t be changed, so let them die out on their own. *smiles*
    P.S. – I’m Yin. *shakes Adam’s hand* I’m a third-year physics-economics double major at UM. I am an agnostic. Welcome to one of my circles of friends.

  12. May 25, 2005 10:45 pm

    Re: From a cynic.
    I can definitely see where you’re coming from, and understand I’m in no way trying to belittle your reaction. I just visited the site (taking a break from studying) and clicked all of the splash page links. It’s not very pleasant.
    But, take comfort in the fact that their single-mindedness is their downfall. Their focused intensity is their mortal error. Their sweeping claims are the explosives strapped to the support columns of their ideological tower.
    Such people will always be there, but know that in our society, they will always be that one half-naked guy in the back screaming obscenities that everyone looks at sidelong.

  13. May 25, 2005 10:49 pm

    Re: From a cynic.
    Hatred is always blind.
    If you put yourself in someone else’s shoes, it’s that much harder to hate them, expoenntially harder to hate a group. Such hatred is born of ignorance, pure and simple. But, the unwillingness to listen works both ways to a degree, thank goodness.
    Sure, they’re vocal SOBs, but the peanut gallery isn’t listening. They’re blatantly and explosively irrational, and are thus fringe groups.

  14. May 25, 2005 11:06 pm

    Re: From a cynic.
    On a totally different note: SOCK MONKEYS!
    Okay, I’m done now.

  15. May 25, 2005 11:12 pm

    Re: From a cynic.
    I don’t hate them. I think they’re wrong, yes, and it’s hard for me to try to put myself in their shoes, because I can’t fathom that much virulent hatred against someone, for any reason. I know that I judge people, too, to some extent, but I like to believe that I’m not as intolerant as groups such as this one are. I accept their views as valid to them, which doesn’t mean I believe it myself. It just means that I acknowledge that they have opinions. Their problem is their inability to do this, to even the most miniscule of extents.
    And I know that they aren’t listening. That doesn’t change the fact that people are listening to them, and that I would desire to give those people a counter-argument to this group’s ideas.
    On a side note: they basically equated “tolerance and loving” to mortal sins. I think that most logical people looking at the Bible would be hard-pressed to draw a similar view from its passages, even the ones they quoted. The Bible, however, is still a text open to interpretation, and though I may think I know that someone’s interpretation is wrong, I have to accept that they believe it to be right. That doesn’t mean that letting them dominate the arena is the right thing to do, however.
    Putting oneself in someone else’s shoes leads to understanding, but it doesn’t have to lead to acceptance. Indeed, it can sometimes serve to solidify someone’s previously held views on a subject. It’s a good thing to do, but it doesn’t have to lead to unconditional acceptance. Actually, unconditional acceptance is wrong in every situation I can think of, but that’s a horse of a different color.

  16. May 25, 2005 11:14 pm

    Re: From a cynic.
    This brings up an interesting philosophical dilemma: is hatred of hatred wrong?

  17. May 25, 2005 11:20 pm

    The people who believe in the most extreme ideas usually believe in them much more strongly than those with more moderate views. This even goes for some extreme liberals. The problem is that people who are, in my view, reasonable enough to listen to different views and allow room for their own error (though not necessarily to the extreme extent that I take self-doubt to…) are also going to be less vocal, and less fundamentalist. They’re less likely to be pounding the message into people’s heads that “we are right, and everyone else is wrong.” That just isn’t a moderate or liberal thing to do.
    Those on the very outside edges will always stick the strongest to their opinions, and will never waver. This makes it easier to be extremely vocal, because in the mind of the speaker there is no room for doubt.
    It certainly doesn’t help in this case (and many other cases) that the group in question believes they are doing God’s will. Belief in acting in the name of a god is often very dangerous.

  18. May 26, 2005 5:21 am

    Re: From a cynic.
    okay I’m assuming that was supposed to be something funny but…you fail. The link doesn’t work.
    and seriously, studying? HOW many comments have you left on my lj today?

  19. May 26, 2005 5:30 am

    Re: From a cynic.
    I find little comfort in anything to do with that trash. I do, however, find comfort in the reaction of people to it. How many times did you comment? Or Meg and Callie? Check out the comments on Adam’s – there was 22 when I left work yesterday. You might feel that we don’t need to bother feeling upset when we can’t actually stop it, but the thing is just by pointing it out and spreading the word we are doing something. Like Meg said, (somewhere…in the maze of comments…) it’s not a very moderate thing to do to scream your message to the hills. But to allow people to be aware of it in their own time, and to keep awareness up among those who support you, that’s a more effective way to change things.

    But yeah, see, when Mike came out to me, on one level I was glad, because I finally had a justification for the way I feel. If you’re very pro-gay rights, everyone assumes you are gay or have a gay friend, so it was kinda hard to be like “I support them. I just don’t know them.” This has always been an issue I’ve felt strongly about, since I realized it existed. (it followed the route of sexism – I didn’t notice it for a long time, and then suddenly was a vehemant supporter) So taking comfort in the fact that people are stupid in their stupidity, that’s not really happening. It hurts enough just to see that stuff. I can’t be glad that it hurts that much.

  20. May 26, 2005 6:10 am

    Re: From a cynic.
    I believe we met once already.
    Even if our disciplines are opposing (psychology v. physics) both have ambitions of ruining the wonder of life’s mysteries for some. Respect for those who don’t want to hear that there is no Santa Claus has always been valued in this society and sometimes I wish I could go back into believing in some of the magic again. However when I am not feeling alone my appreciation for the unknown overrides this desire for magic because not knowing provides a better filler than some saint or another white man. Though if you read my journal you will see how I entertain myself (and others) with this magic.

  21. May 26, 2005 12:49 pm

    Re: From a cynic.
    The link so totally works. Your computer fails.
    Yeah, studying. Those comments were all in like a half-hour spurt of deepness.
    Totally vegging out for the rest of today. Maybe I’ll touch my Xbox once again. Mmmmmm… great green-and-black monolithic goodness.

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