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Musings [Jan. 28th, 2008|09:52 pm]
[Tags|, ]
[Current Location |Invercargill]
[mood |cheerfulso there!]
[music |Robot Monkey Orchestra - "Before I Knocked"]

This all stems from something I've been thinking about in connection with the late Heath Ledger. As for the man himself: I don't think I've actually seen anything he's been in. I certainly wouldn't recognise his face. But I've heard a lot that is good about his work; and this in the context of him being an actor, not being A Hollywood Face. So, basically, as far as I can tell, his loss is a sad loss to the movie industry and all sympathy goes to his daughter.

But this post isn't really about Heath Ledger. It's more about the ghouls that have appeared upon his demise, the most notorious being one "Reverend" Fred Phelps.
* * *

Professional ghoul "Reverend" Fred Phelps has got himself involved in protests at Heath Ledger's funeral, just as he's got himself involved in other funerals over the years (most infamously at the funerals of American servicemen who have died in action. Whatever anyone may think of Bush's militarism, you can't blame the rank and file soldiers for signing up to defend their country). His message: that his god hates... well, just about everyone except himself and his deranged little band of followers. They've even sung a song about it (although they've had to steal the music from somebody else): there's an old blog link to it here, (although the content it once linked to is now showing a "This content has been removed!" label.)

Now, I'm not particularly well versed in matters Biblical, but, living as I do in a country which has a de jure state religion, it's hard not to get at least some exposure to the basic tenets of said state religion. One of these is a quick quote about how much the country's state religion's god did everything but hate the world. Or, directly from a version of the Bible which was for some centuries that same state religion's official translation: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Call me an ignorant agnostic if you like, but that doesn't sound all that much like hate to me.

So, if the Phelpsites' god isn't the god that the various Christian denominations pray to, then which god is it? Now, this whole business of god hating the world actually sounded quite familiar, but not from what I'd really put up as an incontrovertible source. Not that I'd have anything to quibble about in the scholarship that went into the writing of the source, but simply that it was... a comic book. (Particularly seeing as most of my old comics are in no particular order in boxes (if they're lucky) in a spare bedroom I really need to organise one of these days. That makes actually finding them a bit difficult).

A few years back, a well known comic writer started up a creator-owned story which I tried the first couple of issues of and thought well worth pursuing. It started off as an intriguing looking meta-story about the nature of story, storytelling and myth. However, half a dozen issues in it got bogged down in digressions about various forms of magic and spirituality and spent at least a dozen more issues explaining the basic concepts behind a number of mystical or magical systems and fringe religions. One of the fringe religions mentioned, I vaguely recalled, had very much the same idea about its god hating the world.

The next problem is that any official site for said fringe religion would be little less creepy than the "Westboro Baptist Church" itself. (How creepy? Let's just say that the fringe religion's most famous practicioner was that good little Exclusive Brethren boy, Aleister Crowley.

Yes, Fred Phelps is a Satanist.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, you filthy little bigot.

(And if anything I've written here offends a genuine Satanist... then perhaps you guys ought to look a little more closely at the people who believe the same things you do).

* * *

A distant second in the creepiness stakes must go to whoever it was who started the rumour that Heath Ledger had been suffering from sleep problems due to the stress of playing the Joker. Oh, please. Sure, the Joker could be incredibly creepy when played well, but it's acting, and Heath Ledger was a professional actor. In any case there are characters in film much creepier than the Joker. Look at Hannibal Lecter. And the same actor who played Hannibal also made an excellent job of playing an eccentric old duffer from my home town. Actors != the characters they play.

From: cajetan65
2008-01-28 09:53 am (UTC)

Fred? A satanist?

No, Phelps ain't a satanist... He just sees the work of the satan in that which he neither comprehends, likes, ore understands. IOW, the world since at least the Middle Ages... That doesn't make him a satanist - but it does make his idea of a god very narrow and spiteful.

Wasn't he the bastard who condoned the murder of Matt Shepard (young gay American, murdered by homophobic thugs) some years back?

You're right about that biblical verse (says he who's been a professional God-botherer and exegete for too many years)

And no - not offended :)
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[User Picture]From: southerndave
2008-01-28 10:11 am (UTC)

Re: Fred? A satanist?

Re: Shepard. I wouldn't be surprised. Phelps is the sort of professional ghoul who'd be involved in that sort of shit.

Re: Phelps. He might not think he's a Satanist. He may not even be a full-blooded Crowleyian (or however you spell that). He doesn't seem to have gone quite as far as the "and-if-Lucifer-opposed-him-then-he-must-have-been-on-the-right-track" idea. But he's certainly got the idea of an actively malevolent deity down pat.

Re: offence. I wasn't expecting to offend you. You're a Catholic, not a Satanist, and not even my great-great-great-grandfather would have gone so far as to confuse the two.
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[User Picture]From: siraj
2008-01-28 01:14 pm (UTC)

Re: Fred? A satanist?

RE: Sheppard: He was the one, yes. That got him all over national newspapers here in the states. And began the head-hunting for his pathetic ass.
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[User Picture]From: paradisacorbasi
2008-01-28 02:40 pm (UTC)

Re: Fred? A satanist?

He didn't just condone the murder. He tried to get a statue erected with a plaque reading "Matthew Shepard is in Hell where he belongs" in Shepard's hometown.

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[User Picture]From: paradisacorbasi
2008-01-28 12:23 pm (UTC)
I'm not offended.

But it is not a rumor. That bit about the role disturbing Heath Ledger so much that he had trouble sleeping was printed in reputable newspapers, rather than the gossip rag tabloids.

And no, actors may not automatically equal the characters they play, but a lot of actors immerse themselves in the mindset of the character.

The first time I saw Tim Burton's Batman, I was rather disturbed by how Nicholson played the Joker, so I have no trouble believing the sociopathic madman role would be a little tougher to shake than normal.

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[User Picture]From: micheinnz
2008-01-28 07:40 pm (UTC)
I sincerely doubt that Fred Phelps will be anywhere near Heath Ledger's funeral. His "church" is now being run (with an iron fist) by his daughter Shirley Phelps Roper (who is a scary scary woman if ever there was one -- her 21 year old daughter has to ask permission (which is never given) to go and have coffee with a college classmate), and "Grandpa" Phelps is trotted out to preach and then put back in his box.

More detail here, including an hour-long video of Louis Theroux's visit to the "church". (I do not recommend clicking through to Google Video as the resolution is so low you can't see the faces -- it's better to view it through the LJ entry linked.)

Edited at 2008-01-28 07:41 pm (UTC)
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