Comedian Bill Maher ends each broadcast of his HBO series Real Time With Bill Maher with a segment called “New Rules” when he selects items from the news or current events and opines that there should be a “new rule” that prohibits such behavior. I have a suggestion for him.
New Rule: People need to keep it in their pants when the camera is rolling! Unless you are appearing in an adult film or participating in some type of legitimate medical research, the list of circumstances when it is appropriate to show your penis to a camera is pretty short…so to speak. Three recent reports have created “etch-a-sketch” pictures in my head that would never have been there had this simple rule been observed. I’ve had to shake my head so hard to make these pictures disappear I may have whiplash.
Huff Post Weird News reported the story of a California pizza restaurant’s security camera catching a man amusing himself in his private parts in the restaurant’s kitchen. The restaurant’s owner denies he is the man in the picture. He further denies that it is his kitchen shown. He blames the recording on disgruntled former employees. If this story is true it is disgusting. If not true, I hope there are severe consequences to whomever posted it for the damage they have done to this restaurant, its owner and employees.
In another report from Huff Post’s Weird News, an employee of a Subway restaurant admitted posting a photograph of himself online. In the photo he was rubbing his member on a 12 inch loaf of the restaurant’s bread. He acknowledges taking and posting the photo but denies the event took place inside the restaurant. He says he took the photo at home. The photograph appears to dispute that claim. Even if true; does that make it OK?
It is difficult to know how to rank the ways this is ‘scary-stupid’. It is disgusting. Again, this is an image that will exist in the minds of the consumer and will damage this business and its employees. Near Casa de Harper, Subway and Quiznos are only a mile apart. Where will I next stop for a sandwich?
A more random thought, but definitely toward the top of the list of why this is stupid; who, in their right mind, would invite that comparison in a photograph, much less post it on the web?!
I am unable to find even a shred of humor in the third story. On Sunday, July 14, the Satanic Temple, a New York-based organization that seeks to foster “benevolence and empathy among all people” through Satan, performed a ritual called a “pink mass” at the Mississippi gravesite of Catherine Johnston, mother of Westboro Baptist Church (that’s the “God Hates Fags” folks) founder Fred Phelps Jr. The purpose of the “pink mass” ritual was to make Ms. Johnston a lesbian in the afterlife.
The Pink Mass was performed twice; once with two gay men, and once with two lesbians — in an affirmation of the Satanist Temple’s belief in “freedom and the pursuit of happiness for all people.” The temple is now encouraging same-sex couples to visit the grave and perform their own pink masses. According to the Satanist Temple website, temple spokesman Lucien Greaves officiated the ceremonies while wearing horned headgear, and then proceeded to put his penis on Johnston’s grave.
I have no sympathy for Mr. Phelps and I feel nothing but contempt for the folks of Westboro Baptist Church. To my mind, they represent the worst of what even the broadest definitions of ‘religion’ can include. But in the end, they are a church. They have to right to believe what they believe and hate whomever they hate.
I had no feelings at all about The Satanic Temple. I never heard of them before this. I guess it is a religion or belief system, of a kind. As with God in his/her various forms, I know people who believe in Satan and people who don’t. Intellectually, I find it hard to reconstruct the thought process of someone who believes in Satan AND chooses to be a follower. Most people who believe in Satan view him/her negatively. Maybe it’s like the Malfoys following Voldemort; The Dark Lord, in the Harry Potter books? What I know about Satan came from the Bible so maybe there is more to the story. I don’t know and, truthfully, this is one of those things I choose not to care about. Like the WBC, they have the right to believe what they believe and hate whomever they hate.
I am a gay man. From that perspective, all I can think of is; with allies like The Satanic Temple, who needs enemies? At a time when it begins to feel like there may be some momentum toward marriage equality, I am not sending a thank-you note to anyone who presents the image of same-sex marriage as two men kneeling on a grave while someone with horns officiates by resting his exposed genitals on the tombstone.
I am appalled at the suggestion that a Satanic ritual can make anyone gay; living or dead. Once again, I won’t be sending a note of thanks to the folks who thought the right message to send at this moment is history is that homosexuality is club one is recruited into, without ones consent, by followers of Satan.
To heap insult upon injury, the Satanist’s ‘protest’ is to make Fred Phelps’ mother a lesbian? I’ll ignore the implication that it is some kind of punishment to Mr Phelps, or anyone else, to have a lesbian mother. Yes, I understand that it is a polemic action aimed at the Mormons who, famously, convert dead people, without their consent, into the LDS church. I am not going to defend the LDS practice of after-life conversion. I think the idea is offensive. The Satanists, however, are missing a huge difference. Being accepted into a community of faith is an act of choice. Usually it is a choice on the part of the community (through rites such as baptism, confirmation, bar/bat mitzvah, etc) as well as the individual. The Mormons skip that last part if you are dead. LGBT activists have been trying to make the point for generations that being gay is not a choice at all. Perhaps they should have added; “and certainly not a choice made for us by followers of Satan”. At least, that’s not how I got my card.
How many conservative and evangelical groups will drop that photo and article into their next fund-raising flyer? Again, no thank-you note from me, Satanists, but you might expect one from Karl Rove and Pat Robertson. National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown might send flowers and a candy-gram.