Friday, November 05, 2010

Happy Halloween: God hates you.

As way of preface I want to mention something that happened to me three years ago. I was pulling into a parking space at a restaurant. In the space next to me was another SUV with a mother and her young son: perhaps 8. They were getting out of the car and going into the restaurant about the same time I was.

As the boy and mother walked past the mother made some sarcastic sounding remark that she seemed to think was funny about her son. "Doesn't he have a cute purse?" I saw the boy was carrying a purse. My impression was that it was his mother's purse and he was carrying into the restaurant for her. Perhaps not, I couldn't tell and wasn't very concerned.

The mother seemed determined to drag me into her game and turned to me and said: "So what do you think about him carrying a purse?" Now, I operate on the assumption that if you don't want a truthful answer don't ask me a question. I will say precisely what I believe if asked.

In this case I was a bit peeved with the mother who I thought was being cruel. So I responded, with a firm look: "I think it's no one's business but his own and if that is what he wants to do then he has the right to do it." That was not the response she expected and she seemed surprised and then said: "Well, I guess you're right." She was then smart enough to shut up and move on before I had a chance to tell her that mothers shouldn't bully kids either—not even their own.

That brings me to the case of a blogging mother who goes by the nom de blog of Nerdy Apple Bottom. She is 35 years old and has three kids and is married to a police detective. And this Halloween her 5 year old son, nicknamed Boo, said that for Halloween he wanted to dress up as Daphne from the cartoon Scooby Doo. She was alright with that, after all, it is Halloween.

But Boo attended a preschool run by a local church and that seems to be where the problem was. She noted that Boo was getting nervous that some people might make fun of him. She asked: "Seriously, who would make fund of a child in a costume?" I've seem some awful costumes on kids and have never stooped to ridiculing them. Kids are off limits for that sort of treatment, in my books, completely off limits.

The kids showed up at school in costume and had a small party and then reverted to their street clothes for the rest of the day. When "Nerdy" and Boo went into the school some of the good Christian mothers descended like hungry vultures spotting a carcass. In my experience I can only say: "How Christian of them." And mean it.

The kids were fine, only their mothers lacked the maturity required to deal with it. Nerdy describes the situation:
Two mothers went wide-eyed and made faces as if they smelled decomp. And I realize that my son is seeing the same thing I am. So I say, “Doesn’t he look great?” And Mom A says in disgust, “Did he ask to be that?!” I say that he sure did as Halloween is the time of year that you can be whatever it is that you want to be. They continue with their nosy, probing questions as to how that was an option and didn’t I try to talk him out of it. Mom B mostly just stood there in shock and dismay.

And then Mom C approaches. She had been in the main room, saw us walk in, and followed us down the hall to let me know her thoughts. And they were that I should never have ‘allowed’ this and thank God it wasn’t next year when he was in Kindergarten since I would have had to put my foot down and ‘forbidden’ it. To which I calmly replied that I would do no such thing and couldn’t imagine what she was talking about. She continued on and on about how mean children could be and how he would be ridiculed.

My response to that: The only people that seem to have a problem with it is their mothers.
Nerdy had an appropriate response—well verbal response, perhaps the most appropriate would have been decking the stupid woman but the kids were watching.
But here’s the point, it is none of your damn business.

If you think that me allowing my son to be a female character for Halloween is somehow going to ‘make’ him gay then you are an idiot. Firstly, what a ridiculous concept. Secondly, if my son is gay, OK. I will love him no less. Thirdly, I am not worried that your son will grow up to be an actual ninja so back off.
Now remember these Christian mothers were doing this in front of the boy. They were basically bullying a 5-year-old over his choice of Halloween costumes, and trying to do the same to this mother. Nerdy wrote: "IT IS NOT OK TO BULLY. Even if you wrap it up in a bow and call it 'concern.' Those women were trying to bully me. And my son. MY son."

To argue that children could be mean, in this case, was absurd. It was the Christian mothers who were being mean, but they worship someone who promises to torture the vast majority of humanity for eternity. Can children be mean? Yes, but where do these mothers think the kids learn to act that way? Perhaps from the cruel example set by their own mothers.

Nerdy said that she has no idea if her son will be gay or not but made it clear that she will love him just the same either way. Her job, she says, is not to stifle the man he will become but make sure he is a good person. Of course, if dressing in drag at Halloween would make people gay then apparently there are more gay men around than the world will ever realize.

Most the comments left at the blog were supportive of Nerdy and praising her for her mothering skills. But a few self-described Christians just "had" to preach their gospel of intolerance. Kelly wanted Nerdy to know: "The Bible condemns homosexuality and cross-dressing VERY clearly and I can expect that from the world, but not from Christians. The reasons why Christians are against homosexuality is NOT because we 'hate' homosexuals, but quite the opposite." Sure, dear, I believe that, sort of the way the Nazis loved the Jews to death. Of course Kelly doesn't have to torment people, she has an imaginary friend who will do it for her: "I believe in hell and know it is a place of eternal torment. The Bible is clear on that and what takes you there." Apparently dressing up as Daphne for Halloween is a good enough reason for Jehovah to torture someone for eternity. Wow!

Others accused Nerdy of "whoring out" her son. One said: "This is such an attention whore move." Another offered the detailed argument of: "You're an idiot." I had more that I wanted to mention, especially a particularly silly comment from one "babybooty." But the blog doesn't seem to show all the comments in any particular order. The comment was there and I was starting to take notes when the power went out. When it came back I returned to the site and have spent 30 minutes looking for that silly comment to finish this piece and can't find it.

UPDATE: After writing this I was shocked to see exactly how people have responded. People have accused this mother of child abuse, of all things, because she stood up for her son when some stupid adults were upset with his Halloween costume. CNN brought on some clinical psychologist, Jeff Gardere, who went as far as to say that "the worst nightmare" of any parent is to "fathom that their child may be gay." The worst nightmare! Shit. Is he kidding? I suspect his mother was worried her son might turn out to be an asswipe. If she was, it was with good reason.

He may be trying to be supportive but his comment that this is the worst nightmare of a parent is absurd.

Some busybody "child" advocacy group in the UK voiced an opinion saying that the blog post was a "troubling and disturbing precedent." They claim the mother has an adult agenda and is imposing it on her kid.

Get some perspective. The mother posted on her blog which was read by very few people, mostly friends. She shares her life with those friends via the blog. This one posting went viral but we have no evidence she intended for that to happen. In fact she was quite surprised by it.

People have argued that boy will be humiliated in years to come by it. Well, I have a photo of me as a child in an ROTC uniform because the school I attended had an ROTC program--they even taught us how to shoot at the school's firing range. I hate that photo.

Many, like this psychologist, seem to think the mother "outed" her young son. Absurd. She said: "My son is gay. Or he's not." She was responding to the hysteria that dressing this way will turn him gay—something people actually said to her in the comments section of her blog.

And while I like Steve Forbes as a person, and he was always pleasant with me, a commentator at his magazine's website is just off the wall. The Forbes blogger, Caroline Howard, calls this "Bad Mommy Blogging." She distorts what Nerdy wrote and claims "she convinced her son to don a costume he wasn't comfortable wearing."

Actually the boy became worried that some kids might ridicule him and she told him that she didn't think they would do that over a Halloween costume. She was actually right. The kids were fine with it but the mothers were the vultures. Howard seems to be of the opinion that blogging about one's children invades their privacy and is off limits and that there was a political agenda at work here. Odd they never say that when the Republican "family" candidate drags his kids out to the podium to display them before the public. Nerdy didn't drag her kid into the spotlight, she didn't expect the spotlight to be turned on at all.

As for those political candidates using their kids, one such politician that I knew dragged her whole family in for a photo for a campaign brochure that was mailed around the country. She gave me a copy of it and I had to chuckle. Apparently no one noticed that her teenage son was sitting with the family with his middle finger displaying his own view about the whole thing.

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