Fred Phelps’ daughter, Shirley Phelps Roper, was interviewed recently on Hannity and Colmes (watch it here ) to “discuss” her family’s picketing of an Iowa serviceman’s funeral. Hannity and even colmes* jump all over her and call her an abomination and they’re both right of course, but damn… I never thought I’d feel sorry for a Phelps.
Look at her eyes and her body language and… I almost want to hug the bitch. She is so obviously deranged and so obviously brainwashed that when her father/cultleader dies I wonder what will happen to her. (Her husband prides himself on the fact that he beats her and the kids, incidentally- Fred Phelps and some of Phelps’s sons have also admitted and boasted of beating their wives, but because the family’s capable of tying up the system in legal knots for thousands of years they get away with it, and Shirley clearly just thinks it’s her due.)
When Fred dies I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if some of these people turn murderous. Looking at her all I can think of is “she was a human being once!” Of course it was long ago and not for long (Fred beat the everloving shit out of his kids, is said by one of his apostate sons to have sexually abused at least one of the daughters, forced his children to sell candy bars of the sort schools sell to support him [then fucked the candy company for thousands of dollars] and she simply never had a chance.)
I wonder if she could be salvaged. Or any of them for that matter. She is so clearly MRS. STOCKHOLM-SYNDROME 21ST CENTURY- just awful and sick.
Meh. It would’ve been more interesting if they let her talk then just have Hannity and Colmbs get to feel superior by calling her a scumbbag for 5 minutes. She is a crazy scumb bag, of course, but we already know that. If they’re going to invite her on the show, they should let her say her piece and trust that their audience realizes that she’s a nutjob and that the hosts (and evey other person in the US who isn’t already a member of the Westboro Baptists) disagree with her.
See, this is why I don’t like refering to Fred Phelps as a homophobe. Because it’s demeaning to homophobes. Fred is oh-so-very much worse than that. He may very well be the most evil man alive. Or at least, he’s competing at an Olympic level, where the difference between first and second is a very teeny tiny fraction. I would not be the tiniest bit surprised to learn that Fred’s a serial killer. I’m pretty sure the only reason he isn’t one is the he figured out that if you kill your victims, you can’t torture them any more. I don’t think a single person born into this ruined family has ever know a single day without fear, and what we’re looking at on that screen is the sad result of that. I feel no shame at all in saying I hate Fred Phelps, and I hope he dies. But his kids? Nothing but pity for them. No one should have to live with what’s been done to them. No one should have to live with Fred Phelps.
And what’s really pathetic is that Hannity & Colmes were barely able to come out of that looking better than that woman. Jesus Christ, what a pair of economy-sized douchbags.
The good ol’ US of A has a fine old tradition of loony-assed cults. The Phelps family cult will go down in history as one of the legendary ones. I’ve said it before: Fred Phelps is the living incarnation of Julian Beck’s Reverend Henry Kane, the crazy death cult preacher from Poltergeist 2. Except, of course, that even dying of cancer, Beck looked less corpselike than Phelps.
And I’m with Miller. Someday, it’s going to come out that their basement is stuffed full of dismembered corpses, and when that happens, I will be unsurprised.
What irks me is that there is absolutely no valid reason to interview a Westboro Baptist Church member on a television interview program. You know exactly what they are going to say- it’s all on their web site, it’s not like there’s any person on Earth or in Heaven who could make them have a Dickensian “Oooh… my God, you’re right… I’ve been such an asshole… I’m gonna go out now and change! Spirit I’ve changed! Boy, go buy that huge turkey in the butcher’s window and have it sent to George Takei’s house!” moment. It’s going to be more of the same psychotic bile, or in this woman’s case, the same disturbing pathos (almost as disturbing as the little children holding up the hate signs- that I do hate her for, because no matter how battered and brainwashed she is she must on some inner annakin level know that bringing kids into it is evil).
Anyway, bringing these people into a studio and pointing and yelling “LOOK AT THE MONKEYS! LOOK AT THE MONKEYS! OOOK OOK OOK!” is like buying a 2 year old an ice cream cone for pissing on the floor. It’s rewarding them for their psychosis and making sure they keep it up. And as far as reasoning with them- notice the almost orgasmic look she gets when Hannity & Colmes both start the namecalling.
I wish that a gay zillionaire like David Geffen or somebody would take a couple of million dollars or so, establish a Defense Against Fred Phelps Fund and say "if you’ve been wanting to prosecute Phelps for an unpaid debt or sue him for libel but you can’t do it because you know the psycho would flop 300 frivolous lawsuits against you (at any given time he has dozens of lawsuits against the city of Topeka alone- when Fred was disbarred he literally had almost a thousand lawsuits filed against people ranging from Ronald Reagan down to people he’d read about in an obituary) this fund is for you. We’ll hire full time lawyers to fight nobody but his dumbass suits- I honestly think that in a year or two his whole church would be history, just a bankrupt ugly asterix in American pop-culture (for unlike Robertson and Falwell, that’s all Phelps is strictly a sideshow geek biting the heads off of chickens and getting off ont he disgust of the attendees- very much like Anton Lavey or various non-murdering post-Tate Manson family followers.
BTW, the one exception to giving Phelps’s airtime is Howard Stern. As seldom as I watched his show I saw this woman and two of her daughters on there and without doing the whole “hatin’ fags and servicemen is wrong, mmkay!” stuff he was just fucking with them, had a lobsterclawed guy (one of the Grady Stiles family IIRC) try to give one of them a lap dance while retarded twins sang off-key and other “you wanna see a pit full of freaks and geeks, here you go!” stuff. (Only the use of the retarded guys did I find objectionable- the rest were there of their own free and informed will.)
Every time I think those words*, I tell myself “Bin Laden and Kim Jong Il kind of have to come in ahead of him because they’re responsible for so many deaths.” The fact that I need to think of Bin Laden and Kim Jong Il to make Phelps look good - and that I tell myself those things without an ounce of hyperbole - proves he is a spectacularly horrible motherfucker.
And you know what’s even worse? When I compare him to the Osamas and Kims of the world, I still wonder if he belongs in a different category. Because those guys have goals. They’re horrible, fucked-up goals, but they do the things they do for a reason. Phelps often seems to have no goal but hurting people and spreading hate. Even if he’s doing it for money, it seems sicker. He’s almost hate incarnate.
*Whenever I see his name on this board or in the news, or whenever I think of him because I’m planning a religious rant or just unlucky enough to think of him for some other reason.
What Malodorous said. Those two guys are jerks and poor journalists to boot.
A good interviewer would have best shown that Phelps is a total nutcase simply by showing neutrality and by drawing her out into a bald statement of her views. That would have demonstrated that she is a nasty nutcase. All they did was state that she is a nasty nutcase, which comes across as merely pissweak, immature name calling and does nothing but garner sympathy for her.
A demonstration is always much clearer and more convincing than a statement.
Furthermore, the Phelps viewpoint has it’s own bizarro internal logic. To the Phelps, there is a vengeful God who is into collective punishment of nations and who hates fags. The US does not utterly disdain fags, therefore God will do bad things to the US. The Phelps are only trying to prevent bad things from happening to the US by getting the message across as to what God wants and what needs to happen to appease him.
Total crap of course, but it’s pointless to attempt to debate that in the tight and shallow confines of a quick TV interview:[ul]
[li] in a nation in which most people believe there is a God, [/li]
[li] in a nation in which doing what God wants you to do is respected[/li]
[li] in circumstances in which no one can unarguably purport to be God’s spokesperson and therefore say what he does and doesn’t want.[/ul][/li]
The attackable weakness in the Phelps position is not their end but their means.
The Phelps no doubt say that picketing funerals is a worthy thing because it gets out the message that (they believe) needs to be got out. But the very reason this is an effective tactic is a tacit admission of the vileness of their behaviour, because as they well know it is only the vileness of their behaviour that causes the cameras to point at them.
Questions about this might have tripped Phelps up. These clowns succeeded only in making Phelps seem measured in comparison.
Yeah, it was pretty annoying to listen to those two guys get into a shouting match with that woman. I’m not that familiar with the Doctrine of Phelps (or whatever they call it - he’s not a big thing here in Korea) although I know enough to conclude all of his followers are insane, and I was curious to see what Roper had to say for herself. It would have been easy to let her dig her own grave. Half the time I couldn’t understand what anyone was saying, they were so intent on talking each other down.
To be fair, they aren’t journalists. They’re commentators and they’re on Rupert Murdoch’s network, after all. Their job - or rather Hannity’s job; Colmes is there to be a punching bag - is to yell at people who disagree with them and give their opinions on the news. As a real journalist, I don’t know why these people exist, but there you go. Even for ‘real’ TV journalists, the goal these days is not to learn anything or have a real conversation with your interview subject. It’s to get them to emote for the camera. If you make your subject break down and cry, you’ve done your job.
I don’t think they could have done that without stabbing her in the throat. What they did prove is that you can oppose idiots and still be an idiot.
I’m watching this now and feeling like a poorer person for it. Did she really just say “There are no innocents?” That explains the murderer and terrorist mindset more simply than any statement I’ve heard from Stalin or Bin Laden. Ugh.
Let’s be honest about one thing here, if we can - if we were interviewing her, most of us would probably have unloaded on her more strongly than Hannity and Colmes did. They looked like idiots because they immediately sank to her level and didn’t even try to make a logical point. I’m sure Doper X would have probably tried that, but it’s not like that would have accomplished anything. And Hannity and Colmes certainly never would say anything like “if your God really believes that, he deserves to be ignored.” I probably would have.
As I’ve said before, I live in Topeka and have had the chance to observe them close up for years. I was in junior high with Fred’s oldest daughter. I’ve counter picketed against them lots of times, and a group I was part of organized the first local rally against him, back in 1992.
I used to think the group would fall apart when Fred died, as none of his sons seem to be charismatic enough, or strong enough, to take the whole thing over. Jonathon, the third son, seemed the most likely candidate, but he’s hardly been seen on the pickets in quite a while., or representing the family.
I discounted the daughters because I figured it would take a “minister” to lead them, and Fred doesn’t believe that women can, or should be, ordained.
But lately I have decided that his second daughter, and fourth child, Margie, may be the one to hold them together. She’s often the family spokesperson, she’s intelligent, forceful, and mean as hell. People I know who work with her say she’s like two different people. On the job(she works for the city she professes is so evil) Margie is thoroughly professional, off of it Margie is a raving bigot.
She’s allowed a title even. In a report on the WBC website she referred to herself, in the byline, as “Privileged Prophetess of the Lord High God in these last of the last days”. Delusions of granduer anyone?
I’ve read a quote elsewhere, either from him or one of his main family members that God isn’t ever a loving god at all - even if we weren’t trying to let gay people be equal - but a hate-filled one. Thus I’m sure that to someone this brainwashed, a hateful, angry response doesn’t do anything to change minds - they believe in hate from their almighty diety, they preach hate against others, they get hate right back, it’s all the same to them. In fact, I’m not sure how she would have even reacted to being allowed to babble on for a while, then being told gently something to the effect of, “you poor deluded dear, your life must’ve been hell for you to be so warped, there is so much love mentioned in the Bible too - and when is the last time you were told you were loved, unconditionally?”
I’d pity her more, except I’m wondering how many lawsuits that evil clan is filing as we speak, even against the network (and commentators, and producers, and camera men, and lunch table caterers, and…), and then I stop feeling so awful.
Note: The first time, it was a nice and calm interview. Heck, so was the Hollywood Squares game. The third or fourth they added the freaks. But it still wasn’t outshouting them about how wrong they are.
This is a perfect example of god being created in the image of man. The WBC clan and their leader are filled with fear and hatred and loathing and they have created in their minds a god who fits in with their own image.
From a purely psychiatric standpoint, I’d love to know how Mr. Phelps ended up the way he is today. Is he suffering from some form of psychsis, chemical imbalance or brain malfunction? We’ll probably never know.
I feel sorry for his family and most of all his grandchildren, the ones who are still young and upon whom his misery is being perpetuated.
I could only watch about 15 seconds of that vile woman spewing her bigoted hate, before I turned it off. So I probably have no right to respond to this thread, but I will say that I felt no sympathy for her. Hugging her sounds like one of the most appalling acts imaginable, something on the order of abusing puppies.
Brainwashed? Sure, maybe. But I detest that some people think (or seem to think) that she isn’t fully culpable for the views she expresses. She is. Being a woman in a horrifically misogynist family does not absolve her of anything, in my opinion.