Category Archives: blog

Drawing Yolandi

Earlier this year (Feb 2012) I drew a picture of Yolandi Visser of Die Antwoord. I’m a big fan of the band and drawing her with that signature snarl came pretty easy. However, while researching images of her, I noticed a trend – Every artist who’d attempted, few drew her without the snarl. And the ones who tried with any sort of a normal facial expression failed (in my opinion) at capturing her unique likeness. They succeeded in drawing some girl who was perhaps trying to look like her, but none would leave you to confidently proclaim, “That is Yolandi Visser.”

In the months following that first illustration I’d randomly stumble across other caricatures of her where different artists couldn’t seem to agree on whether or not her eyes were too close together, or far apart. Is her nose big or tiny? Is her mouth little or huge? And for some reason these questions seemed to be plaguing the renderings throughout my searches at Google Images.

After realizing all of this, I assigned myself the personal challenge of capturing a recognizable likeness WITHOUT the snarl, or growl, or sneering. A normal facial expression that is clearly, unquestionably, a portrait of Yolandi.

After my first few stumblings I found myself running into these same corner-cutting solutions other artists before me had fallen into. Make her eyes farther apart, that’ll separate her from any other girl with that haircut. How about her eyes closer together? No, that’s not it either. Clearly a tiny little button nose is what makes her so adorable. Nope. Well, she doesn’t have a big nose either. How about no nose at all? Then the viewer’s eye can sort it out. Right?

Five illustrations later and I was getting nowhere. Simply putting sharp, shortened bangs on a strange looking little girl wouldn’t cut it. And I swear to you, with each sketch I put to paper she got uglier and uglier. It was terribly, terribly frustrating.

I put the project away for about a week before I could return to it again. I had to try something new. A new angle. That was the key.

It wasn’t until I stopped trying to draw her straight on and instead tilted her head to a 3/4 view that it started to come together. Her mouth protrudes, and that’s something difficult to convey head on. Her nose is neither big nor tiny. It’s flaired, and the nostrils are well defined, coming forward as part of her Gelfling-like mouth. Her eyes are certainly big, but not googly. They’re neither too far apart or too close together. That in itself is a curveball for a caricature artist. And as a girl who was walking behind me at the coffee shop pointed out, “She has Nordic eyes. Not Anime eyes. Think Bjork. Not Sailor Moon.”

It was the three-quarter view that gave me the base to sculpt the shape of her face around. It’s the first right thing that happened in this project. After I had a completed sketch, I scanned it into my computer and traced it in Adobe Illustrator. This is where I can cheat some more and do all the gradual tweaks that you miss on the first (my case, 7th) attempt. Tilting the eyes, adjusting the mouth position and the curve of the upper lip, then adding color, and the white lashes & eyebrows to drive it all the way home.

The whole idea behind this project was that the final piece could be used as a display model for a Yolandi Dressup game. And if you want to get a feel for the confidence level I had going into this, I wasn’t going to spend the $12 on the yolandidressup.com URL until it was successfully rendered in Illustrator.

The whole process took place over the course of a month (that doesn’t include any building of the dress up game, art for the clothes, etc.). I’m proud to say that I feel vindicated. I drew a perfectly recognizable illustration of Yolandi with a variety of facial expressions to choose from, allowing me to be the creator of the greatest ever Yolandi Dressup game on Planet Earth (at least at this particular moment).

I urge you to check out the fruits of my labors at YolandiDressup.com, and try out my latest invention – a Clothes Toolbar on the far right side of the page. It’s my solution to getting all the clothes you’d want in a dressup game without all the art having to be tiny. The game is loads of fun, and I hope one day to hear she agrees.

Explaining my Fascination with the Peepers

Subject: Peepers and your thoughts on them
“Hi Bob,

This isn’t fan mail or hate mail, just a legitimate inquiry I had after reading the page on peepers on your site.

I’m curious to know what your reaction is to finding and documenting peepers. Was the purpose just “for fun” and curiosity about these people, or did you ultimately want the press and the public to be alerted to what was happening? How did you feel (like morally) when you first found out about their existence? I know you’ve gotten some hate mail telling you that you are just as bad for peeping on the peepers, and that the women they’re peeping on “like it”, or that if they didn’t want to be peeped on they shouldn’t wear skirts/dresses. It’s all complete horse shit to me, and I’m glad you exposed them. I’m sure they’re not just limited to peeping at Union Square so thanks for basically telling the world to be on the lookout for them, whether you intended it or not.

I guess this kinda turned into fan mail, sorry for lying.

Keep up the good work,

T.”

Very good question Mr. T!
I’m actually surprised it took this long for someone to ask. I’m happy to give you a full explanation to clear up any confusion anyone might have.

My documenting of the Peepers was a gradual process. It started with this guy I actually named “Peepers” at Union Square, NYC. He was a short pudgy man with greasy slicked back hair who came to the park regularly to peep. And he peeped heavy. He would sit on the step in front of a girl in a skirt, sometimes as near to her as sitting between her feet so she’d have to move them up closer to herself, and he’d stare at her panties while she read a book, or talked on the phone. He would also “Front Row Peep,” standing just a few feet in front of a girl sitting on the steps and loom over her until the moment became too uncomfortable to bear and she’d get up and leave. I even witnessed the man we called Peepers follow these girls out of the park. This was back in about 2004/05. And I only had a picture taking camera at that time, but I documented him as best I could.

Then, at around 2006/07 me and my friends started to notice a change in the park. More and more Peepers began to appear at Union Square, to the point where they were almost impossible to avoid if you hung out on the steps there. I would be sitting with a friend or two talking away, and there’d be a line of these men standing in front of us. We’d look to our right, where their line was pointing, and there’d be a girl in a skirt. This is what’s now known as a Peeper Train. Other times one of these men would sit down, his back pressed against my leg. I’d look to see that he wasn’t paying any attention to where he put himself because all of his concentration was focused on trying to peer up the girl’s skirt sitting down from me. They quite simply became such a ridiculous spectacle there was no avoiding making fun of them amongst friends. That then of course led to the internet - [Jeepers Creepers, Even More Peepers].

We’ve all seen girls who sit and accidentally (or not) expose themselves. It’s human nature and normal human sexuality to look. There’s nothing wrong with looking. It’s when it becomes looming, an invasion of space & privacy, and stalking, that it becomes a nuisance and joke worthy. This is exactly what happened.

The population of Peepers at Union got so out of hand that they were actually chasing girls away. Their peeping was so obvious and invasive girls were getting up and leaving, creeped out by them all. Peepers would sit in front of a girl, or stand a few feet in front of her, and hover. If the girl moved, the peeper would move too. They’d loom until the girl couldn’t take it any longer and she’d split. This is around the time when I began taping the Methods of a Peeper series. The video was specifically to illustrate the length of time spent and the aggressiveness of their peeping. Something I couldn’t depict clearly with just photos.

It’s surprised me to see people on blogs and comments under videos [VoyeurForum] accusing me of being a peeper myself, “wanking it” or being no less of a perv than the peepers. Yes, I go home to do those things. I do it in private without including the people at the park, subway train or public staircases. My precious masturbatory sessions are kept in private. That’s how I personally think it should be done if you’re a grown, sane adult. I’ve also heard people declare that filming peepers is no different, or just as creepy as peeping itself. I think this is easily judged by whether or not the peeper in question wants to hide from cameras or not. FIlm me. Post it on YouTube. I don’t mind. I’m a Peeper Peeper. I make no secret of it. It’s the category I’ve put myself under on the Union Square Matchgame Postcard which I hand out at the park. #5EE. That’s me!

And to those people who call me a prude, or compare me to preachers who condemn homosexuality and are then caught giving blowjobs in a back alley. I’m a perv. I relate to peepers. I understand the feeling of wanting to stare unrestrained at beautiful women. My feeling however is that unrestrained staring is creepy, so I choose to contain that urge for dignity’s sake. I make a conscious decision to present myself to the world differently than the way a Peeper would. And it is because I can relate to Peepers on this level, and their opposing views on dignity & self presentation that I find it so worth documenting at such great length.

Thank you for your questions.

Bob

Union Cafeteria Street Justice

If you’re at Union Square and you hear someone say “I’m going to the cafeteria!” or “Meet me at the Union Square cafeteria!” they’re talking about the 14th Street Taco Bell. Union Square’s the playground and Bell’s the cafeteria. That’s just common park knowledge, and when you get there you’ll see why.

So I’m walking into the cafeteria and the place is packed. Noisy and packed, like a fucking high school lunchroom. Now, if you’re a regular like I am you know the line to order your food is in a winding S shape on the right, and after you order you take your receipt and wait for your food in the chaotic mob on the left. However, on this particular day they’ve got two separate aisles formed to order your food. Straight lines in front of two different registers, except right now there’s just one line formed and the other one is left empty. There’s about eight people standing there, to which I get at the end.

Not long after, in comes four loud meatheads. They’re in some kind of blue collar uniform, like they’re movers, or repairmen or something. They walk right up past us in line into the empty lane to our right where no one’s waiting. A register opens and there they are skipping ahead of us all, laughing at their cleverness. “I told you guys you wouldn’t have to wait if you’re with me!” one of them shouts. And they’ve got no problem whatsoever looking back at the rest of us waiting there like chumps.

Of course no one in line has balls enough to say anything because not only is it a fucking 3rd world country inside this place with no policing, but these guys are big and obnoxious. A few people in front of me are grumbling, but not enough to make any kind of real statement. All the while they’re laughing and taking their sweet time making their order. Of course the people who work there don’t give two shits about any injustice that happens in the lines, or anywhere on earth for that matter. “Just order your fucking food, hand over your money and get out of my face” is the policy at the Bell.

The real line, our line, chugs along slowly while these assholes ask what’s the ingredients in a Chalupa, how much is a burrito supreme, and changing their minds several times because they’re fucking idiots. Of course now there’s only one register to help our line, and to make matters even worse a line forms behind these douchebags making it obvious to everyone it’s going to be forever.

Anyhow, these guys take so much time that the eight people in front of me all get taken care of and they’re still there. They finally finish and the girl behind the counter has to point them where to go to wait. “Fucking idiots” I think to myself, and I walk up to finally place my order.

Now, any park rat knows the drill at the cafeteria. You order your food, take your receipt, and wait impatiently for your number to be called so you can take your food and get the fuck out of there. It’s Taco Bell 101. But when I get to the register to order my Double Decker Supreme, sitting there like a golden fucking ticket is their receipt. The girl had put it in the guy’s hand, and like a fucking amateur he left it behind because “what the fuck do I want that shit for?” I can hear the voice in his head declare.

Without a second thought I palm that innocent looking slip of paper, order my food, TAKE MY RECEIPT, and join the pile of people bunched up on the left.

There’ve got to be 20 people here on their tip-toes listening for their number to be shouted. The four assholes are standing in front of the Pepsi machine banging their cups under the ice dispenser but getting no ice. And instead of going to the other dispenser two feet to the right they each have a go at it. Still no ice for any of them. These guys are in way over their heads.

I’m staying perfectly calm, because if there’s one thing I’m going to get right in this world it’s going to be making life as much of a nuisance for them as I possibly can.

“404!” I hear the girl yell. These guys aren’t paying any attention to what’s going on as they laugh at how funny they are, talking about pussy and how they’re starving to death. It’s music to my ears. I work my way up to the front as “406!” is called. That’s my taco/burrito and I hand over my receipt. I see over to where they’re bagging food and theirs is enough to feed twenty bums. I look over my shoulder. They’ve got not a clue they’re about to get fucked. And when that shopping bag is brought to the counter they don’t even have to say the number. I’m already looking into her eyes with the receipt in hand. She takes it, sees “405,” knows I am clearly the proper recipient, and hands me everything without any doubt whatsoever. As I walk by them their words echo in my head, “I told you guys you wouldn’t have to wait.”

At the exit is your typical bum holding the door open, his other hand out for a donation. I give him the feast-bag and say, “Merry Christmas” then head on over to the outdoor tables on the west side of Union to feed my hunger.

I regret not staying there to watch what happened and savor my revenge even further. No one would have probably even remembered who took what wherever. But afterwards, when I was sharing my adventure with Shaggy, I was able to decipher what probably happened after I was out the building, and I’m sure it went something like this:

They stood there for a long-ass time without a clue what the next step in their complicated trip to Taco Bell was supposed to be. They waited and waited until one of them got brains enough to go up and say “Where’s our food?” To which they would have responded “Do you have your receipt?” To which they would have responded “WHAT RECEIPT?!?” And instead of not having to wait like their friend had promised, they all were forced to stand there in that stink longer than anyone else while everything they ordered was made all over again as the pains of hunger ate their guts.

Bulletpoint once-through of important information

This is a quick bulletpoint once-through of some important informational updates, changes and necessaries you should all be told:

#1. My email address has sorta changed. For a long time now I’ve been with Earthlink because they used to not suck. But now it’s common knowledge that they now suck and are Scientologists so I’ve switched to Gmail. My email address is now at normalbob@gmail.com.
Of course bob@normalbobsmith.com is still the same, but I’ve discovered if you’re replying to an old message from me, it gets routed through Earthlink and never gets to me. So yeah. That’s that.

#2. I’m considering discontinuing the quarterly Newsletter because Gmail really really discourages spamming of any sort (as well they should), and even though everyone on the list asked to be there, it’s still 1000′s of addresses and a Gmail account can’t tell the difference. My account was shut down for 24hrs after I sent one newsletter out. Then after some research I started getting convinced that because of spamming on the net bulk emailed newsletters are fast becoming outdated. And I DO NOT want to be a spammer or mistaken for one. I’m open to opinions and options on this matter because I’d love to keep it circulating.

#3. I am available for hire, and my freelance page has been updated with more of the exciting jobs I’ve been tooling over the last month or so. I’m reasonably priced, especially the more creative freedom I’m allowed. But I’m a completely docile worker bee if you insist on a dictatorship business relationship. I need money to live, and I work accordingly.

#4. I can’t stress enough how excited I am about the new Limited Collector’s Edition JDU, and I’m just bustin’ at the seams with the urge to spill my guts about the glorious beauty this set is beholding! Their delivery is still on schedule (the end of April) and all orders will be shipped out immediately upon their arrival to me. This set will also be accompanying me to the booth I’ve got at the 2010 Comic Con in NYC.  And if you’re not already I strongly suggest becoming a fan of Jesus Dress Up on Facebook.

#5. It might also be of interest that I am almost sold out of the Final Justice Jesus magnets. I will not be reprinting this same artwork ever again, instead I’ll be using art from the latest version for future printings. I’ve got 2 boxes left of the old, which is about 80 total sets, then after that they’ll never be seen again. You’ve hearby been notified.

I’m back from a headcold

So I just got over a stupid intrusive cold that laid me out for a long weekend and pretty much ruined my whole attitude on life. But today I’m back and feeling like a superman!

One of the things I do when I’m out of commission and avoiding major updates to the site is I instead do minor little updates. Like for instance a couple extra letters got tagged onto the end of Claire Grace’s collection on page 415. I realize that correspondence was a while back, but maybe it took being away from Union and Claire for this many months to find inspiration and reply to her last.

Also,  it had been brought to my attention a controversy that happened with Jesus Dressup that I didn’t know anything about! Focus magazine apparently published something about Jesus Dressup then got in trouble with The Media Ethic Council back in November ’08. You can read more about that here. If you know anything else about it I’d love to be told.

Oh, and also while I was sick I kept adding new costumes to the latest Final Justice JDU, so I invite you to go take a look and see who you can name! Christ, I adore that version. It’s so much fun!!

Anyhow, I’m back to work today with more hate mail, stranger people, comics and surprises on the way so do not stray.

A visit to an Austin Texas “Hell House” …of sorts.

A few weeks ago, just before Halloween, I went to Texas to visit Super Chic Christy, her friends, family and the city of Austin. On the last evening of my trip we were invited to go to an authentic Hell House, Texas style! So a whole bunch of us piled into vehicles and headed for the event. It was all very last minute.

It ended up not being quite what we expected as it was laid out on a stage which we sat in the audience of and watched, like a play. It was a HUGE church. A “Megachurch” as they say, and the place was packed. We were shown our seats off to the right of the stage. Everyone was very polite and helpful. And there before us was heaven! A giant castle shaped mound of draping white sparkling fabric everywhere, with a doorway in the middle, and angels perched randomly around it, wings, dresses, blond wigs and all. It was the gaudiest heaven depiction you could ever imagine. Actually, it’s just how I’d always imagined it. From one end of the stage to the other. It was a sight to behold.

So the show was what you’d expect. It was a series of skits about people doing things that were going to get them damned to hell. There was a suicidal girl who was being taunted and degraded by Satan until she shot herself in the head. Oh! And their Satan was a complete rip-off of Skeletor. Undoubtedly the best performer of the night however. Anyhow, there were gangbanger kids who did a drive-by shooting then crashed their car and went to hell. I believe there was a drug skit too. They didn’t however touch on abortion or homosexuality which I thought were standard churchie lecturedom. It surprised me.

But it was the last story of the evening that was most amazing. It was the moral of the event’s plot. It was about a Christian family being held prisoner in Iraq …possibly communist Russia. Or it could have even been Nazi Germany. It was hard to tell exactly. The accents of the soldiers were all over the place, and quite frankly their uniforms looked American, except for the berets, which was the “foreign” element of the costume I assume.

So here’s this family- father, mother, teenage emo son, and 9 year old little girl, all being held at gunpoint by these enemy soldiers. The commander is screaming at them, “So! You’re all Christians, huh? Believe in Jesus and think you’re going to heaven for believing in Jesus, huh?!”
“Yes, me and my family are Christians and we believe in Jesus!” The father replied.
The guards responded to this by pointing their guns in their faces while the commander continued, “We’ll just see about that! If you do not denounce Jesus Christ we’re going to execute you! Each and everyone of you! You will die here tonight if you do not reject Jesus!!!”
The mother and daughter fake cried into the shoulders of dad, while the insecure kid playing the emo son did his best to look like he was part of the acted drama.
“Each of you will be shot dead if you do not reject Christianity and Jesus Christ right here, right now! I will give you 5 minutes alone together to make your decision!”
And the soldiers walked away.

So the family was there fake crying and such. “Acting.” The wife cried “Oh Peter, what are we going to do? They’re going to kill us if we don’t denounce Jesus!”
“Elizabeth,” the father consoled, “Jesus has always been there to get us through the hard times. He promised us in the Bible he would watch over us and guarantee us eternal paradise if we believed in him. We will not denounce him, because we all have unwavering faith he is our savior!”
“Oh Peter, I completely agree! I love Jesus! He’s always watched over us, and I believe he’s watching over us all here, right now!”
“Kids? Do you agree? Do you believe in Jesus and trust him?”
“Daddy, I love Jesus and would never deny him! I believe in him, mommy and daddy! I believe!” the daughter cried. They all cried.

Then the soldiers returned, pointed their guns in the family’s faces, and the commander yelled, “So, have you made your decision, Anderson family?! Do you denounce Jesus Christ, or are you going to DIE?!?!”
To which the father stood and said, “My family and I have discussed it, and we WILL NOT denounce Jesus!”
The audience cheers.
“THEN YOU WILL EACH DIE!” And the solders shot the father, the mother, and the son, who all dramatically fell to the ground, dead. Then, the commander with his handgun pointed at the 9 year old little girl and shouted angrily, “Little girl, are you sure you do not denounce Jesus Christ!? Are you prepared to die like your family!? You have one more chance to change your mind!!”
The daughter stood and she stated, “I will……….. NEVER denounce Jesus! He is my savior and I love him!”
“THEN DIE!” And everything goes black. There’s a gunshot with a flash of light, and quiet.

When the lights come on we’re all back at that gaudy heaven display I described earlier, with the angels, and Gabriel at the doorway in front of a giant book. Then up comes the Anderson family, casually strolling into the scene.

“Look daddy! Is this Heaven!?! It’s more beautiful than I imagined!” the little girl joyfully cried.
“See?” Daddy said, “I told you Jesus’ promise was true! This is heaven! We made it to heaven!”
Then the angel Gabriel, with his book open in front of him said, “Is this the Anderson family?”
“Yes, that’s us!” the father responded.
“Peter Anderson!” Gabriel boomed. To which the father stepped up from his family and did a dance. No kiddin’. He did a little dance like a middle aged man who’s making a joke about how he can’t dance. The audience laughs, cheers and whistles.
“Peter anderson! You did NOT denounce Jesus and you were a good Christian! You are here in the Book Of Life and get to come into Heaven!”
The father does a fist pump “YES!” and returns to his family.
“Elizabeth Anderson!” The wife steps in front of the angel and she does the middle-aged woman dance. The audience whistles, cheers and laughs some more.
“You too were a good Christian and believed in Jesus until the very end! You are in the Book Of Life and get to come into heaven!”
She then returns to her family.
“Jonathan Anderson!”
The emo teen comes into the spotlight and does a typical insecure looking dance, raising the roof and such. The audience laughs and cheers.
“You too are in the Book Of Life and get to enter heaven!”
Then finally the daughter is called forward, she dances cutely, gets into heaven, the audience cheers and laughs, and so fourth.

Then, quite abruptly, Gabriel says, “Anderson family! We have one last surprise for you! Do you remember many years ago little Suzy, your other child who died so young?”
And the mother, with her hands covering her face, nods and says “Yes! Oh yes I do!”
Then Gabriel motioned towards heaven’s doorway with his hand. “Little Suzy, come out here and be with your family!”
And out of that doorway appears a cute little three year old in a white dress and angel wings, bashfully stepping out into the spotlight. The crowd goes bananas with “awws” and cheers and clapping. The works.
And they all run up, group hug and stampede into heaven. The End.

All of us left at that point to go have delicious mexican food. We kind of had to hurry out of there before the restaurant closed. Everything in Austin closes at 9, but we made it in time, and the cheese enchiladas there were truly amazing.
It’s hard to find good Mexican food in New York City.

The show was put on by GLORY AND FIRE INC.

My new GOD IS FAKE money stamp!

I realize I’m not the originator of this, I do not know who made the one I first saw, but when I did I knew it was good. So the other day I couldn’t help myself, stopped off at my local rubber stamp store and had one made just for me! My very own GOD IS FAKE stamp! And Christ, it’s FUN!

So after stamping all the bills in my wallet and my secret stash under my mattress, all my friends’ bills, and asking everyone I came into contact with for a dollar, which I’d stamp & return, I withdrew all my savings, stamped it, every last one, and redeposited it to guarantee my money was branded MY MONEY!

But my peace of mind was short lived.

After a long day of stamping every bill I encountered, I remembered what I always remember: The Bible. THE BIBLE!! And immediately I got to work stamping out God verse by verse, page by page, all night long until the sun came up.

I can’t say enough how satisfying blotting out the word God can be. I’ve even started accepting tracts from proselytizers again just to show off my new stamp to them!

I’m still not entirely happy with the legibility of the “IS FAKE” portion so I’m stopping back at the stamp maker’s with a thinner, simpler font. I’ll be sure to let you know how that all goes. Also, to be quite honest, I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to be doing this, so please, let’s keep this between you and me. I suppose that also explains why it’s so much fun. And best of all this takes care of my stocking-stuffers for everyone on my shopping list this Xmas (emphisizing the “X”). [Available as of Nov. 19th, 2009]

Arizona blog

So, I am at ASU and really having a good time. It’s been super freaking hot, especially considering they had snow yesterday morning back at home. And even more so if you’re the one dressed up in full red devil make-up and a tuxedo.

When I think about it there’s really been a lot accomplished this week. I’ve been getting tons of footage of the campus preachers and the craziness that abounds when they get to the square. They set up right in front of the atheist booth… or is it the atheists who set up across from them? I got the most amazing footage of a preacher fight! No kicking or punching, but about 8 minutes of verbal bitch slapping between two fundie preachers that’s just priceless. And I have to admit the students here do a fine job on their own handling the never ending onslaught of wacky preachiness, and don’t need my help at all in putting them all back in their place. Yeah, there’s lots of footage I need to go through, and I;ll be posting it in the days and weeks to come. You’ll love it.

We also had a couple showings of Bob Smith, USA. One at the Anarchist’s Library and the other on campus. The one night before last on campus with most of the club members was the most enjoyable for me. Everyone was excited to see it, there was lots of friendly story telling before and after the film, and the accommodations were exquisite! It was an extremely nostalgic viewing of it for me. I’m sure that had everything to do with the fact that the first time I ever saw the movie it was in a theater almost identical to the one we were in. It was a luxurious viewing room with sofa seats, mood lighting, and at that time,  the director, a bunch of fancy industry big wigs, and an extremely hot/crazy girlfriend. Oh, the memories.

On Wednesday not only did I have a wonderful photoshoot with Broken Image Photography in downtown Phoenix, but I also finally got to meet Super Chic Rix who drove up for the shoot and drinks afterwards! She’s so unbelievably hot and sweet, and I’ll soon be reposting her in Super Chics in all her glory. RIx, me and Melenie (the girl who’s letting me sleep on her sofabed) all went out and had some of the best burgers ever and, later, some beers at Monkey Pants. I have the most unbelievable picture of me looking like the biggest fuckin’ pimp in Arizona… no offense to the lovely ladies!

Last night the Freethought Group has a kind of “town meeting” that included not only everyone from the group but also the preacher Brother Jed (brojed.com) and his family, and several others from their side of the fence. Brother Jed gave a speech explaining why he thought believing in his god fit squarely with reason. Then I gave a speech (which is not my specialty) and there was Q&A afterwards. I was told later that I said something that made some of the group cringe. During my Q&A I was asked by someone from the religious half of the room how believing the universe came from nothing is any more reasonable than believing it was created by a Supreme Being. In my response I stated that it seemed obvious that a magical wizard coming from nothing was far more unreasonable than a pebble coming from nothing (or something to that extent). I realize now looking back why that would make the group cringe, and it didn’t come out like I meant. Part of me knows not to ever make any claim or statement in answer to “how did we come from nothing?” question. Needless to say, I was a bit embarrassed that I’d made them wince, and I don’t want to make that mistake again.

Anyhow, tonight they’re having an “Unholy Army” party that I’m looking forward to. I wonder if there’s anything I can do or bring that’d show them all how much I appreciate this whole experience? I’ll have to think.

The Useful Tool of Mockery

Yesterday was the first good weather day to really hang at Union Square, and everyone knew it. They were all out. The crazies & college students waving “FREE HUGS” signs, skateboarders, musicians, junkies, drunks, and I even saw Richard Edson there. And of course the first beautiful day of the year wouldn’t be complete without a street preacher yelling about the damnation & insignificance of us all.

I’d seen him before, about 2 years ago appearing from the crowd, then absorbed by another group of loud mouth fundies. But this time it seems he worked up the courage to take on the crowd all by himself on this lovely afternoon.

As I’m sitting there watching him carry on, the crowd is slowly but surely turning against him. One group sitting on the steps starts heckling, then another group is dancing around him with “FREE HUGS” signs, teasing him with unlimited hug offers, while even another group who were sitting listening to hippies on guitars turn it into a “Praise Satan” circle. And the preacher just kept on preaching.

Bible in hand he preached about how because you have to teach children NOT to sin, that’s evidence we’re born evil, and how God wishes everyone could go to heaven but “would you invite someone to your home who didn’t love you?” and on and on and on and on while I videotaped.

Then this girl who’d been sitting next to me the whole time says to me, “I think it’s funny how all these people who are talking about ‘free hugs’ and ‘loving everyone’ are being so hateful to this guy.”

“Well, first of all,” I replied, “No one’s being hateful here. No one’s trying to take swings at him, or screaming ‘Get outta here you f***ing f***!!’ They’re all just making fun and bustin his balls.”

“Yeah true, but you know what I mean. All these kids are all back there hugging everyone and saying how much we all need to love each other, and this is how they’re treating him. It’s just funny to see them say one thing and do another.”

“I don’t think I heard anyone back there saying ‘love everyone.’ They’re just giving away free hugs.” I couldn’t believe I was defending the “free hugs’ kids. “And what they’re doing isn’t hate. They’re just bustin’ his balls New York style. This is Union Square. It has a history for exactly what’s going on here.”

“I know. I’ve lived here all my life.” She retorted. “But aren’t all these people supposed to be about free speech? They’re not even letting him talk.”

“They’re doing exaclty what people should be doing to someone who’s standing on the streetcorner yelling crazily. It’s no different than if he were standing there yelling how martians beamed him up into their ship and he’s warning us of their iminant attack. I’d even say that he’s the one who’s ideas are… I wouldn’t say ‘hateful’… but inhumane.”

I could tell she wasn’t into any of what I was saying. She didn’t respond to me, then a few minutes later she got up and left.

I understand where she was coming from, but I couldn’t help but imagine that after several more minutes of watching all that was going on she saw the “craziness” of his beliefs reflected in her own. Hell, that was one of the first dominos in my conversion to reason.

The Useful Tool of Mockery.
Here’s the video I shot of everything….