Wednesday, July 23, 2008

FGtNAE: How to Spot and Deal with One, Part 2

The Humathologist's Guide to Dealing with a North American Evangelist in the Wild 6. Answers for Everything Distinct Markings: usually some sort of Bible, probably a portable Bridge Diagram. Distinct Calls: "Do you know Jesus as your personal lord and savior?" Usual Habitat: any public space, newspaper letters to the editor columns, anywhere somebody's wrong on the internet. Habits: Answers for Everything is similar to Conversation Guy, except that Answers isn't here to even pretend to have a conversation. He or she is simply here to tell you what's what. Answers is someone who is either well schooled or thinks they are well schooled in the esoteric arts known as apologetics, a once respected theological and philosophical practice that, like everything, was ruined once it went from a theoretical to a practical exercise and was given over to idiots who don't know how to apply thinking and believe parroting someone else is the best way to do things. (See also anyone who quotes Nietzsche on the internet or applies Godwin's Law any time Nazis are mentioned.) Answers for Everything is usually someone who has been a North American Evangelist (or Evangelist in Training) for so long or was so easily influenced by one that they have completely and totally bought in to the party line. Any issue that you may have with one of their beliefs has a simple and logical explanation and they will be shocked, SHOCKED when you do not see things their way. Anthropologists working around the clock since 1987 have come to the conclusion that Answers for Everything simply lives in a different world than the rest of us. So if you encounter one, it's your own damn fault because it's probably through sheer force of will that you managed to manifest one. You might have some deep-seated issues to work through. It's also entirely possible that Answers for Everything arrives in the same way that Beetlejuice, Candlejack, and Bloody Mary arrive, so try not to say the word Jesus three times while staring in to a mirror in a dark room. What to do when Encountering: Close your eyes and count to ten. If they don't disappear in to the ether, try to see how much fun you can have. Step 1. Try to see if you can get Answers to drop the name of the church he or she attends. Step 2. Try to work Answers back to the default, end-all, be-all answers for everything answer, which usually something to the effect of, "Some Christians just don't get it." Step 3. Say, "Yeah, I used to go to a church, but left when I realized that they totally didn't get the real Christianity." Answers will probably then ask you where you went to church. Give them the name of the church from Step 1. Step 4. Enjoy the awkward backpedaling. [Editor's Note: Answers for Everything is especially fun when it's someone who attended the same church you did and they pull the, "Well, some Christians just get it wrong," card. The possibilities for dealing with that are endless. I hope one day to have a conversation that involves the other person saying, "So does that mean you got it wrong?"] 7. The Asshole for Jesus Distinct Markings: A general air of undeserved superiority. Distinct Calls: "Well, you'll know how it works at Judgment Day." Usual Habitat: public spaces, newspaper letters to the editor, anywhere somebody's wrong on the internet. Habits: If Answers for Everything is a cute little kid pointing a toy six-shooter at you and saying, "Bang, I got you!" then the Asshole for Jesus is some guy sticking a Glock in your face and demanding your wallet. If Answers for Everything is a birth mark like that mole that upgraded Cindy Crawford from "model" to "supermodel," then the Asshole for Jesus is malignant melanoma. If Answers for Everything is that hot girl you brought home from the bar last night after a few too many shots of Maker's Mark, then Asshole for Jesus is the horse-faced VD incubator in your bed the next morning who now knows exactly where you live. If Answers for Everything is a basic arithmetic worksheet then Asshole for Jesus is waking up the morning of a calculus final and realizing you don't remember a thing because you were too busy drinking Maker's Mark and bringing ugly girls home from the bar the night before. If...well, I think you get the point. Eh, one more. If Answers for Everything is winning a free car, Asshole for Jesus is discovering that you're getting a Yugo and you have to pay to get it shipped from Serbia or someone's going to break your kneecaps. Anyway, lest anyone feels they've missed my point, Asshole for Jesus is basically Answers for Everything, but rather than being wrapped up in a kind of cuddly, amusingly naive package, it's the much less attractive package of, say, the internet troll or, like, a regular troll of the "lives under bridges and eats people" variety. Logic will not apply in any "conversation" and neither will the rules of interaction in a polite society. The only saving grace of the Asshole for Jesus is that there's an extremely good chance that all of the self-assured, aggressive language is simply a thin veneer to cover the Asshole for Jesus's own massive doubts about what's going on. Barring that, the Asshole for Jesus is also usually impatient and more focused on "winning" the discussion than actually doing a damn thing to help your poor heathen soul get in to Heaven. It's probably best if you don't get in to Heaven, anyway. If they keep letting just anybody in it will hurt property values... What to do when Encountering: Your best bet is to get to endgame as quickly as possible. Endgame, for those who don't know, is the point when the Asshole for Jesus officially washes his or her hands of you with a stock phrase about how crappy an eternity in Hell is going to be, something relating to Judgment Day, or a poorly conceived comparison between your existence and the story of Sodom and Gomorrah [Fun Fact: Jewish interpretation of that story is that Yahweh was pissed at ol' S&G not because of all the hot man-on-man action, but because they were exceptionally poor hosts, what with all that gang rape they were planning on engaging in. One presumes that if god simply went off willy-nilly and sent fire from Heaven to fry everyone who engaged in the love that dare not speak its name Western civilization would be impoverished from the complete lack of Greece, Rome, and the heterosexual pair bonding made possible by Queer Eye for the Straight Guy]. Basically, you're going to have to out-asshole the Asshole for Jesus. This shouldn't actually be too difficult, since your sparring partner is, at least in theory, acting as a public representative for a guy who got beaten to a bloody pulp and nailed to a dead tree for his crazy ideas about loving each other and being self-sacrificing while you are simply representing you and you're already at the bottom of the Asshole for Jesus's shitlist, what with being a heathen/Muslim/Catholic/wrong variety of fundamentalist evangelical. So go ahead, break out all that stuff you've always wanted to say to your boss, your ex, your friend who just doesn't get the hint that you don't like him but is really too pathetic to deserve a good telling off, Ben Affleck, or whoever. If there is a god, he or she will probably understand, since the Asshole for Jesus was probably put on this earth specifically to act as a pressure release valve for the rest of us. [Editor's Note: We're hoping that by this time tomorrow we're going to be the top of the Google hit list for anyone who happens to do a search for the phrase "Asshole for Jesus." It appears fifteen times in this entry. Why anyone would bother to do that search is currently awaiting explanation. Update: It worked!] 8. Mr. Megaphone Distinct Markings: a megaphone, probably some placards decrying abortion, homosexuality, alcohol, interracial dating, unmarried couples holding hands, etc. Also, some varieties will drag their poor families along and have them stand off to the side without speaking for reasons we still can't understand. Distinct Calls: "You're all going to Hell!" "[Insert bugaboo hear] is hated by the lord!" "Judgment is upon you!" "Repent, sinners!" Usual Habitat: busy intersections, college quads. Habits: Mr. Megaphone (and it's almost invariably a mister. Mrs. Megaphone probably isn't allowed to speak in public and is probably told that the megaphone is too complicated for her tiny, feminine brain to handle and she's doing much better with that spatula. Also, Mrs. Megaphone might have been dumb enough to marry Mr. Megaphone, but she's probably way too smart to stand on a corner telling people they're going to Hell, anyway) doesn't like all that sinning he imagines the people around him are doing. He's utterly convinced that YOU are on your way to participate in a gay orgy after getting a quicky abortion down at the Planned Parenthood clinic (which, for the record, exists only to perform abortions, just in case you were wondering. In fact, if you walk in the door, even to ask for directions down to the corner of Oak Street and Hampton Boulevard they make you have a "just in case" abortion. They probably also eat babies. That's why it's called Planned Parenthood, after all. Because everyone knows that the last thing a parent wants is children). Mr. Megaphone is basically an Asshole for Jesus, but with a megaphone. Also, he's almost entirely impervious to any counter argument, since he's got a megaphone and we all know that the louder party wins automatically. What to do when Encountering: Ignore him. Seriously, we can't stress this enough. The latest research indicates Mr. Megaphone is some sort of being of pure energy that is only capable of taking corporeal form when powered by waves of hatred emanating from a crowd of angry sinners. He compensates for this physical impairment by traveling around and attempting to find crowds to feed his insatiable lust for hate energy (which our researchers call "hatergy"). When Mr. Megaphone is ignored he usually simply disappears. Should you find a place where Mr. Megaphone is surrounded by a crowd that seems unwilling to disperse, though, try to combat the hatergy with love. We suggest putting on the smallest skirt and tightest top you can find and making out with another member of your gender while standing directly beside Mr. Megaphone. If you and your same-sex partner are attractive girls, everyone will love you and they'll probably stop paying attention to Mr. Megaphone. If you and your same-sex partner are guys, well, you'll get major style points and probably end up on the cover of your college's newspaper. Plus, you just might chase everyone away. Hey, a win's a win, right?


Big A said...

"Your best bet is to get to endgame as quickly as possible. Endgame, for those who don't know, is the point when the Asshole for Jesus officially washes his or her hands of you with a stock phrase about how crappy an eternity in Hell is going to be, something relating to Judgment Day, or a poorly conceived comparison between your existence and the story of Sodom and Gomorrah"

I've gotten to the point where I use this on every former pastor I've worked with to measure their inherent stupidity. Unfortunately, my success-rate has been disappointingly high. It amazes me how much these types are unwilling to face real questions of faith, and will quickly throw former colleagues to the ground to escape.

It's funny how you can be anointed by God one day and hell-bound the next.

suzy-q said...

Thanks for changing the page/font color. My eyes don't hurt, but my face does from laughing so hard.

Fiat Lex said...

:D More great stuff.

I've never personally encountered Mr. Megaphone, but his sidekicks the Pro Life Shock Therapists and the Public Transit Preachers are a common sight in my neighborhoods. Or whatever their proper official designations are. The downtown area gets positively infested with them at times.

Geds said...

the Pro Life Shock Therapists

Oh, yeah. Those guys. They might just have to get added to the list...

Although one of my main stories for those guys was pretty sad (I've got a minimum of three that came to me immediately, so I've had some contact. They set up shop at WIU one day with their pictures of aborted fetuses and whatnot. I was walking along, attempting to conspicuously ignore them when this tow-headed little five-year-old ran up to me with one of their fliers.

I felt real bad for that poor kid.

Anonymous said...

My favorite Mr. Megaphone encounter was in Stanley Park in Vancouver BC one lovely summer's day. While the mister harangued the grade-schoolers playing on the swings and slides (with full beard, bible in hand, the whole bit), his missus was laying out on a lounge chair in shorts and tank top, getting a tan. It was... a sight.

the woeful budgie said...

This series is great. *applause*

My brother reports on a Mr. Megaphone encounter in Vegas this past 4th of July weekend...

At the first corner the guy with the bullhorn started yelling something and the only thing I really remember was "What's next, bestiality?" Then a bunch of us with fists raised high in the air returned to him in a proud shout, "BESTIALITY!"

Sadly, Answers For Everything sounds all too familiar. That's who I was, or at least felt like I had to be. It's a very high-stress way of life. You're constantly living on the defensive, terrified of not being able to give an answer. Plus, it's hell anyway if you're an introvert.

fiat lex: re Public Transit Preachers--- I hear show tunes are an effective deterrent. :)