Saturday, January 15, 2011

This is how I feel when I enter an internet forum

I've been out of the forum world for even longer than I've been out of the blogging world. Forums frustrate me...they make me want to end something, generally the world.

I get into arguments that cause my blood pressure to rise and my brain to hurt. Because I can't just go on a forum and say "hey, did you see that show last night. The one with the guy that has the hair. Pretty awesome right?" Oh no, I don't go on forums to discuss some trivial thing. If I want to do that I have Twitter (where tons of my followers like the same shows as me) and Facebook (Where half my friends are as nerdy, or nerdier, than I am).

I go on forums to discuss religion and politics, the world of forums that is filled with more morons than should be possible. I shouldn't care that they are idiots, but for some reason I continue poking them with the stick of logic and HOPING that one they will become enlightened...or at the vary least have IQs in the triple digits.

That's why I feel like this.

What is it with Churches that protect rapists?

I planned to write this post last night, but something important came up.

Okay, I can't lie to you guys. "Something important" means my mother called me at work and said "Hey, we are going to your brother's apartment to eat steak and watch funny movies. Want to come?" What can I say *shrug* Killers and Airplane trump blog writing.

Now I'm back though, slept for 8 hours and I'm ready to tackle this post.

This isn't an extremely new article, but it was brought to my attention on a forum that I frequent. There was an argument brewing about whether or not a woman should take some responsibility when she is raped. I never think that a woman is responsible for rape, she can, however, be responsible for putting herself in a bad situation by being reckless.

That's beside the point though and not the true topic of this post and is certainly not what happened to this girl.

The topic is this news article from May 25th of last year. The woman involved finally came forward to tell what happened to her in 1997, at the age of 15, when she was a member of the Trinity Baptist Church in Concord, New Hampshire. Keep that town in mind, it's not exactly a backwater like you would expect from the story that follows.
Tina Anderson, 1997, before her rape.

In 1997 Ernest Willis was an upstanding member of the church, 39 and married and 15 year old Tina Anderson from the church was babysitting his children regularly. He offered to teach her to drive and she accepted the offer.

 While in the parking lot of a Concord business, Willis asked her to pull over to switch seats, she told the police.
But instead he pulled her into the backseat and raped her, according to a statement to the police.

That wasn't the end though.

In the summer of 1997, Willis raped her again, this time while at her home while her mother was out, according to police records.
"I was completely in shock, but too scared to go and tell anyone because I thought I would get blamed for what happened," she said. 

One might ask why she was so afraid? Why did she not tell her mother, her pastor, anyone who could have done anything to help her? That was because this was not the first time she had been molested and she had been silenced previously by the members of her family and church.

Anderson, now 28 and living in Arizona, said Trinity Baptist Church members had told her not to report an earlier case in which she had been molested by a convicted sex offender who was also a member of the congregation, so she expected them to do the same if she told them she had been raped. 

As if that was not despicable enough, she only told them about it after the man who molested her was arrested on another charge when she was 13. That was when they said not to report it.

"They told me that to be a good Christian, I need to forgive, forget and move on in my life," she said. "And they told me that a good Christian doesn't press charges on another good Christian."

My question is, in what fucked up world that they live in does a child molester rate a "good Christian" title?

And the pastor, Chuck Phelps, took her to visit the man in prison and made her FORGIVE him for molesting her.

Oh yes, and this does get worse, let me assure you.

In 1997 when she came forward about her rape at the hands of Ernest Willis she was removed from the church's school because she was a "bad influence" and they were both made to apologize to the church congregation. She had only finally told her mother, because she had realized she was pregnant.

 Phelps read a single-page letter written for Anderson apologizing for allowing herself to get in a compromising situation and getting pregnant. Church members were then asked to come forward to offer their forgiveness, Anderson said. Willis also had to apologize for cheating on his wife. "They said, 'We forgive you for getting pregnant,' " she said. "It felt stupid, it just felt wrong."

Yeah, you read that right. Willis didn't apologize for raping a 15 year old girl, he apologized for not being faithful to his wife. Isn't that just precious? She had to apologize, in true Sharia law fashion, for causing her own rape. "Compromising situation" in church speak, in my experience, means "She seduced me! I couldn't help it! She was asking for it!". I guess she should just be glad she wasn't a Muslim, an apology would be the least of her worries then, at least her church didn't whip or stone her.

Now, in Phelps' defense. There are documented calls to the Concord police department, he did report the rape and an investigation was started. The only problem was, when the police wanted to question the victim...she was no where to be found.
As soon as was humanly possible, Anderson's pastor and family shipped her off to Colorado to live with another family. This was where she stayed until she was a senior in high school. Now who wants to guess who didn't get arrested for rape since there was no victim to testify? That's right, Willis got off and went home to his family. Why did they send her to Colorado? Because the church couldn't let a good, upstanding member of their congregation be convicted of rape! I mean, what would the neighbors say!?

Tina Anderson and her child, 1998
Anderson said that after she moved to Colorado, a minister there asked her to write a letter to Willis's wife, apologizing for abusing her trust by having sex with her husband. Church members there monitored her phone calls and didn't allow her to be with people her own age, she said.
Anderson said two church members were with her when she gave birth in March 1998. At Phelps's urging, Anderson said, she gave her baby girl up for adoption.

She continued to be home-schooled until what would have been her senior year, when she returned to Concord for about six months. She lived with her mother again and attended Trinity, sitting in the same pews as Willis. Anderson's mother remains a member of Trinity today.

The only saving grace here is that Willis is now being charged, 13 years later, with 2 counts of rape and 2 counts of sex with a minor. Who knows if it will hold up in court now, but at least everyone now knows what he did.

Willis isn't the only one who needs to be punished though and Anderson certainly isn't who I'm talking about.

Her pastor is almost as guilty as Willis, he protected the man. Of course he covered his own ass first by reporting it, but then he made it impossible for the charges to stick.

The congregation, who should have reported the man for sleeping with an under-aged girl, whether they were led to believe it was consensual or not.

Her mother, who is STILL goes to that church (how could she?!). She allowed her daughter's rapist to go free, allowed her daughter to be shipped off instead of taking care of her, allowed her daughter to be molested and raped and never, ever stood up for her afterward.

Where was CPS or social services during all of this? Clearly not doing their jobs!

I can almost forgive social services in Colorado for not looking into the adoption of Anderson's baby girl more closely. After all, Colorado is awfully far from New Hampshire and they didn't have any records of a rape investigation. Another reason, I'm sure, as to why Anderson was sent to live so far away. Of course, any person with a brain might have though "The father is 39 and the mother was 15 at time of conception...maybe I should look into this a bit more closely." That would, of course, be assuming that social services has people with brains working for my experience that's not the case.

Who needs to apologize for this situation? Certainly not Tina Anderson, not now and certainly not when she was a 15 year old girl.

Some might call this a cult and say "Well, normal churches are like this."

I say, all churches are cults and if 'normal' churches are not like this then we have an awful lot of abnormal churches out there. Consider how many accusations of rape are coming out of churches, both Protestant and Catholic, these days. This isn't new though and it's not going to go away on it's own. How many other children have to be raped before people start realizing that just being religious doesn't make you a good person? How many more churches are covering up stories like this to save their congregation from shame?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Is it possible to hate humanity anymore than I do at this moment?

This is certainly shower lecture bad I am at work, sitting in an 8x10 metal box with an unnecessarily ancient and loud heater rattling in the background.

I'll write it anyway.

My job makes me doubt the intelligence of human beings everywhere. Let me give you an example.

*Car pulls up about halfway to where my window is and stops...and sits there...not moving. I open the window and stick my head out of the, relatively, warm confines of my workspace so that I can see what the problem is. The car finally pulls up level with the window.*

Vehicle Occupant: Oh, I'm sorry. I couldn't see anyone in there, so I wasn't sure where I should go.

My thoughts: No duh, I had the window closed so I wouldn't catch pneumonia and I have a time clock, 5 clip boards, and a 3 pieces of paper with instructions for the employees who haven't been working here for over 9 months taped up. Of course you couldn't see me. If you had pulled forward like an intelligent person you would have seen me through the side window.

My actual words: Well *nervous laugh* It's pretty cold out. Gotta keep the window shut to keep warm air in.

*They respond by looking at me like my need to not get hypothermia is a great inconvenience to them. I take their parking validation.*

My words: Well have a nice day! *cheery smile*

My thoughts: ....dickhead...hope your car crashes. *My job makes me a mean person.*

Of course a specific person made me write this post.

*Woman pulls up and begins searching high and low for her parking stub while babbling in spanish to her child in the back seat and completely pretending I don't exist*

My thoughts: Why do people who can, apparently, pass a driver's test find it so hard to keep up with a piece of paper?

My words: .....*because I'm still apparently invisible.*

*She hunts for about 6 minutes for this paper. Looks at me sheepishly.*

My words: A lost ticket is $10. I can't let you out without paying.

Driver: $10?

My words: Yes, sorry. Company policy *I point to a sign*

Driver: Oh...*looks around in the car and hands me the ticket*

My words: Oh, look. That was lucky! That's $2.

My thoughts: Right, you couldn't find it while searching for it for over 5 minutes, but one glance finds it when you find out I'm going to charge you either way and you won't get out free if you "lost your ticket". Bitch...

My words: Have a nice day! *only a vaguely murderous cheerful grin*

You see what my job does? It makes me believe that people are all either, completely stupid and self-absorbed or self-absorbed and complete liars and scammers.

I'm going to go postal one of these days...

The hunt for a new job continues.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ignoring things, another skill my mother is a master of

On New Year's Eve I finally decided that enough was enough, I was going to start this year with a clean slate and as a part of that, I came out to my parents.

There were several reactions I could have gotten...most of them were not so good when I imagined them. I psyched myself out for the absolute worst reaction possible; among the things involved where yelling, thrown objects and being disowned. By psyching myself up this way I did two things...A.) Took a year or so off my life through stress and high blood pressure and B.) Made any other reaction seem like a cake walk as long as my imagined reaction didn't occur.

I use this same strategy when getting a piercing. I imaging gushing blood, ear lobes being yanked off, etc. The actually piercing is a walk in the park after that.

Regardless of how unlikely my scenario was, I still expected SOME reaction from my parents.

I basically got none...

My dad just said "alright" very quietly. I'm fairly certain he had already guessed and he has never really been one to judge me. It was my mother's reaction that I was really fixated on and it was one that was just...a lot less than expected.

She looked at me and said "Okay" or "alright" I can't remember which and then she made a face like she had just smelled something disgusting.

That was it.

For someone who had been agonizing over this particular moment in time for YEARS...well, it was just downright anti-climactic. I'm not sure what I would have preferred...but something a little less like "Oh...great, the milk has gone sour. Can we still use it for baking?" would have been nice. Screaming, throwing things, hugging, crying...all show a bit of comprehension.

However, I figured 'they need time to process, give them a week or two and then they will react.'

I was wrong.

It's been nearly two weeks since my statement and my mom (and dad, though if I had the guts to bring it up he would probably discuss it) has fallen back on her old standby of "if we don't talk about it, we can pretend it never happened." It's what she did when my brother said he was an Atheist. She is very very very good at ignoring things that make her unhappy.

In an effort to test the waters today I brought up the girl I'm dating. It was all in very general terms, I just mentioned something about a conversation we had had when she was over at my place. I said "I had a date the other night and she said..."

No response...thus proving my mother's strategy for this situation.

I predict that 10 years in the future when I am, hopefully, married (civil unionized, whatever). I'll come home for Christmas with my wife in tow and my mother will introduce us to people as "This is my daughter, Meredith, and her friend..."

Yes, mother, my friend...who I live together with...have married and (possibly) have children with. Yes, we are just friends.

The sad thing is...I'll let her get away with it. It's better than rocking the boat.

One last thing.

It's worth mentioning that both my mom and dad have gone out of their way to tell me they love me, call me and hug me a lot more often in the last couple of weeks. Not sure if they are reassuring me or themselves at this point...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Westboro Baptist Church - The "Christians" who make Christians ashamed of that designation

A flyer from the website
Wow, three posts in two days. I think this may be a record. I don't actually have much to say in this post...I think there just aren't enough words to describe how despicable this group of human beings is.

I live quite near the city where these 6 people were murdered. The Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, who was presumably the target of the attack is in the hospital, recovering from a gunshot wound to the head.

Nevertheless, many others were wounded and killed in that shooting in Tucson, Arizona.

Among these was a federal judge and a 9 year old girl, Christina Greene. She was attending the event because she wanted to see how real government worked because she had been elected to Student Council at school. Her funeral is January 13th, 2010. Her funeral will be picketed by Westboro Baptist Church because they believe that God had her gunned down to teach us a lesson.

A god that would do something like that is no god I want to be affiliated with. I would rather burn in hell for all eternity than spend one moment bowing down to a god that approves of vile, hateful, bigoted people like the Phelps family and anyone else belonging to that church.

That being said, I think that if there is a god he's as disgusted with them as every other person is, Christian, Hindu, Atheist, Buddhist or otherwise.

And hey, when even Bill O'Reilly is calling Westboro Baptist Church "Vile" you know that pretty much everyone hates them. (In the first 7 seconds of the piece no less.)

And just to let you know, this is the face of the little girl whose funeral these hatemongers will be picketing on Thursday.

Any god who would intentionally cause the death of someone so sweet and innocent is no god that should be worshiped.

Hey, WBC, you've failed. You're message has done the exact opposite of what you wanted.  If your god did this, then let him hate me for being a "fag" or a "dyke" or whatever you want to call me. I'd rather that, then worship a monster who sends messages by killing children.

Why is there more red ink on this page than black?

Yeah, that's my novel
There is a funny thing that happens when you finish a novel. You are so relieved and exhilarated at first, because you have this book sitting in front of you. You wrote it, you thought up that plot and built those characters.

Then reality kind of butts it's little obnoxious troll doll head into your dream and you realize that this task has not been completed yet.

Drawing the sword out of the stone isn't the you have to run a country and fight wars. If Merlin had bothered to tell Arthur about that part of the story, he might very well have never touched the damned sword in the first place, but Merlin didn't and so Arthur did pull the sword out...just as you went ahead and wrote the cursed novel you now have to edit.

Now you have this novel in front of you and you print out the manuscript and start to read over it. Parts of it are good, parts are just okay, some parts might even be amazing! Then you stumble across that scene your wrote at 3am when the only thing keeping you from passing out was chocolate and coffee and you read it...and read it look at with your head cocked to one side like a confused dog. Then, if you are like me, you throw the manuscript onto the table and wonder, aloud, 'What was I ON when I wrote that!' which of course freaks out everyone else in Starbucks, where you've been editing, because editing at home involves to many distractions like TV, internet, sleeping and washing dishes.

Okay, so maybe that's just a bit to specific to apply to anyone except for me, but you get the picture.

Editing is hard work. It's a lot more difficult to edit your own work than it is to work on someone else's writing. Sometimes it can feel like nothing you write will ever be good enough, because, clearly, if you have to use that much red ink on the first draft then there is never any way that any of the drafts could be good.

Editing someone else's work is substantially more least for me. It appeals to that little inner sadist I have, tearing into the writing of another person with a red pen can be wonderful. A lot of time that's because you can see that you aren't the only one who's first, second or even third draft kind of sucks.

When it comes right down to it, the thing you have to remember is that every author, no matter how famous, had a first draft of every one of their novels and the chances are good that there was a whole lot of red ink on every single one of them too. Writing isn't something that can be perfect the first time, it takes a lot of work to get it right. You may have had the perfect outline, but I'm willing to bed that your character's didn't stick to it. Stories have a way of taking on a life of their own as you write them, sometimes it seems as though the story is writing itself. Reigning it in during editing and making sense of the story is the really hard part.

So keep on going, every draft will have a little less red ink and a little more black.

Just know that you are never going to see your book as perfect, even if someone else does.

The question is, does writing make you crazy or were writer's crazy to start out with?

We'll probably never know.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

"Managed" anorexia...might as well promote "managed" meth addiction....'ll lose weight and get sick at about the same speed either way.
(update at end of post)

For the last few days Twitter (and, apparently, most of the rest of the internet) has been in an uproar about @MrKennethTong, a former 'star' on the reality show "Big Brother". I didn't even know who this man (and I use the term 'man' while realizing that it insults every other male in existence to lump him in with them) was until he began promoted his so called "size zero pill" and attempting to convince girls all around the world that "not being thin is a modern day sin".

I'm going to attempt to not get too emotional in this post, but it may be hard. This dipshit has really gotten under my skin for several reasons, some of which have to do with me and some to do with people I knew in high school.

First of all, I'm not going to say that "inner beauty is the only thing that counts" like many people are saying on twitter. I'm only human and, like most other humans, I am marginally shallow. I'm not attracted to people who are grossly overweight, I'm just not. That being said, I'm also really, really, really not attracted to anorexic and sick looking models. Being able to see a woman's ribs is just about the most un-sexy thing since venereal diseases. Personally, I like curves. I want to have sex without worrying about breaking her, I'm not interesting in playing her ribs like a xylophone.

So I fully think that people who are overweight should get in shape, for there own health and well-being, but not because "thin is in". Anorexia is not going to help their health or well-being even one iota and it isn't even going to help their self-image for more than a blink of an eye.

Now, on a personal level, I go to the gym as often as I can, but not to lose weight.

'Huh-wha?' you say.

I'm sorry, did that confuse you? I don't care about my weight, except for how it makes me feel. If I don't exercise for a few days I feel sick and sluggish. From what I've read from people who have defeated the disease (yes, it is a disease) of anorexia, that is exactly how they would feel after days of starving themselves.

Why do I go to the gym then?

It makes me feel good. I can do more if I'm in shape. I am turning fat into muscle (which takes up less room in your jeans, but actually causes you to gain weight girls.). In truth, I've gained about 10 pounds since joining my gym. However, I think I've gone down a waist size and I can hike the difficult section of Piestawa peak with only minor difficulty. Trust me, if you aren't in shape that isn't going to happen.

On top of going to the gym and the aforementioned hiking, I also try to eat healthy (and normally portioned) meals and occasionally indulge in chips, ice cream or a candy bar. Even with those treats I still managed to go down a size in jeans, so I don't feel guilty.

For years I looked at magazine models and wondered "why can't I look like that". I hated my body, I was depressed and my self-image was absolutely terrible. I already had trouble with depression and that only added to it. It was not until senior year of high school that I began to embrace the fact that I'm a curvy girl and there isn't anything wrong with that. I love my curves and I even like showing them off.

It is possible to have curves and be sexy.

Besides, I have to face facts. I will never be a size zero. I could starve myself until I was dead and it wouldn't happen. I just don't have that body type, many women don't. I was once told I had "child-bearing hips" by a family member. (Don't judge, I'm a southern members don't know what 'boundaries' are there.)

I knew anorexic girls (and boys) in high school and I'll tell you one thing. I never knew any people who were any more ashamed and depressed than they were. It's a disease and if you suffer from it you need to get medical help, don't be ashamed, just get help. Don't wait until you pass out and end up hospitalized with an IV in your arm.

Your health is not worth fitting into a prom dress that is a size smaller.

If you want to lose weight there are healthy ways to do it, so please, please, please go eat if you are reading this and starving yourself. Hell, if you live near me I'll cook you dinner and bake you cookies, just as long as it will get you to eat.

And for those of you that I'm preaching to who are already in the choir, raise a fork in support of those that need help with this issue.

And Mr. Kenneth Tong, a quick question for you, did you eat dinner tonight? Practice what you preach, scumbag.

Update: 1-13-2011

So, apparently this was all one big hoax
quoted from TwitLonger
On Tuesday 11th January 2011, said:
I think it is time for to come clean. The whole size zero thing is a hoax. It came about after an interesting discussion I had with a friend of mine. The discussion centered round whether it was possible, to go from nowhere to be a globally recognized figure within a week harnessing the power of the internet and specifically Twitter, which I have always maintained is a better medium than national TV. My friend said it wasn’t possible. I said it was. To prove him wrong, I decided as a hoax to promote via Twitter something that was universally appalling, I chose managed anorexia. I would like to make it clear, I chose the subject as a hoax as I knew it’d be appalling to men and women. The campaign has worked; I have been a Trending topic on Twitter for over a week. I am scheduled to appear on TV, the Press and Radio shows, over the course of the next week: Grazia, Telegraph, The Sun, The Sunday Times etc. Now it’s time to come clean and stop the bandwagon. My honest personal opinion on managed anorexia is it is an disgusting and illogical idea. It is a mental illness. It cannot be managed. To all the people I have offended as part of this scientific experiment, I would like to apologize to you and to show my sincerity I will making a sizeable donation to beat: the leading UK charity for people with eating disorders and their families. Furthermore, I have decided to auction my custom Apple iPod Nano watch on Ebay, the proceeds from this will be going to the charity, beat.

Mr. Kenneth Tong, for using a mentally and physically debilitating disease to to get famous fast (social experiment or not) you are still an asshole. Anorexia is not a joke, nor should it be promoted to allow you to win a bet with a friend.

In fact... I think the fact that this was all about a bet and a social experiment may possibly make you more of a bastard than I originally believed.