Earlier today, after leaving Emmett Watson’s Oyster Bar, I heard a commotion at the north end of Pike Place, so I walked up to investigate.
When I got there, I noticed that the “Going To Hell Preacher”, who had his young daughter in tow, had drawn a crowd, and the crowd was not happy. The Preacher had told these people that they were going to hell (hence the nickname, see how that works?), and they were none too happy about it.
Now, I encounter Going to Hell Preacher all the time, and even though I find him a bit annoying, I’ve never said anything to him.
Because maturity tells me that I cannot change his mind, while reason tells me that he’s not 100% sane to begin with.
Common sense tells me that anyone who believes that an invisible man, who lives in the sky and simultaneously watches 6 Billion people, while influencing their daily lives … is not of sound mind. As such, it would be pointless to argue with him. It would be gratuitous, and of absolutely no social or intellectual value. Given that his tiny daughter is sometimes present, it would also make me, at least on some level, a bully.
Unfortunately, my views were not shared by the angry mob. At least not on this day.
As the Preacher was talking, the crowd was laughing and yelling at him. A man to the Preacher’s right was whining at him, while a man standing to the Preacher’s left made silly gestures … to the guffaws of the crowd.
I, on the other hand, was saddened by the crowd’s reaction.
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You see, ridiculing a crazy/misguided man is easy. Humiliating the unpopular guy as the angry mob cheers you on is the cheapest laugh one can get. It’s a shortcut to self-esteem that we expect everyone to outgrow by Middle School.
You want my respect? Want my admiration? Want me to laugh my ass off?
Next time, Gesture Guy, stand next to the Mayor and ridicule him while he’s talking. Ridicule someone when the numbers aren’t so staunchly in your favor. Risk the crowd turning on you by openly ridiculing a popular person, and then, I promise, I’ll laugh right along with you.
Mocking a guy as he’s single-handedly taking on 20 detractors, though?
That, my friend, is pure pussy. A coward’s antic. A dick move.
It takes no courage to be a rotten-tomato-throwing member of the crowd. None. In fact, nothing could be easier. If you really want to test the tensile strength of your nad follicles, try being the lone outcast. That shit is hard.
The spectacle continued …
A few men took the preacher to task with some, what I assume were genuine points, but I could not hear them because a gaggle of high school girls kept laughing like hyenas at Gesture Guy as they no doubt do when the jock picks on the kid with Down Syndrome.
Finally, one of the future Women’s Studies majors spoke up and said something to the effect of “You go to heaven by believing in God!”, before a guy in a porkpie hat (who looks like my friend Ben) went all effeminate gansta on The Preacher by waving his hand in the air and shouting “You don’t know what the bible says!”
Crowd dynamics really is frightening. When you look around in a hostile crowd, you can actually see IQ levels dropping as people revert back to their primitive instincts by turning on the weaker pack members.
What really saddened me during the entire episode, however, was the little girl sitting beside the Preacher. My heart just broke for her.
Here she was, a small girl no older than 6 or 7, spending her weekend watching people yell and scream at her father — a man she was completely dependent upon for food, shelter, and companionship.
What was she to do? What could she do? Why was she caught in the middle? What did she do to deserve this life?
Sure, the Preacher was wrong for putting her into this position, but what about us? The angry mob. Did we have to make her bad situation worse? Did we have to stop and scream at him while she was sitting there? Couldn’t we just shrug and walk on?
When all was said and done, I walked away from Pike Place ashamed. Ashamed of the Preacher, but far more so, ashamed of the mob.
You know, I love Seattle, I really do, but sometimes I take a look around and I can’t help but think “Wow, what shitty little people have infested this town. What flaky little passive-aggresive, immature posers this beautiful city has attracted.”
I hate to say it, but it’s true. Especially the immature part.
Two months ago, Seattle experienced a snow storm, and all over Capitol and Queen Anne Hills, children took to the streets to go sledding, build snowmen, and engage in all kinds of Winter mischief.
Average age of the children?
Now don’t get me wrong, I like to have fun as much as the next person, probably moreso. Sometimes, however, the prolonged adolescence thing is taken too far. It’s okay to be an androgynous Peter Pan every now and then, but there are too many people in our fair town who, even when the situation calls for it, are completely unable to stand up, put some bass in their voice, and act like a grown, responsible adult.
To some extent, this is what happened today.
Instead of walking by a confused man who was clearly trying to antagonize them, the whiny little drama-queen bitches of New Seattle couldn’t just suck it up and walk on. No, instead, they had to let it be known that they were oh-so-offended.
For the sake of a young girl, a girl who was simply biding her time until the age of emancipation, they couldn’t just mumble a rebuttal under their breath before getting on with their day. No. Oh no. Had they done so, the rest of us would have been deprived of the knowledge that one of them had felt slighted. Perish the thought.
And what about tolerance?
Is not the very cornerstone of tolerance the acceptance of unpopular beliefs, speech, and cultures? Is tolerance not the acceptance of those who hold views different from ourselves?
No, in Seattle, “tolerance” means that I will tolerate you as long as you agree with me. If you disagree with me, even slightly, you can go straight to hell you redneck racist misogynist homophobic prick.
Had the preacher been black, female, gay, transgendered, or part of some other en-vogue sub-group, he might have fared better. Rather, I know he would have. After all, nobody came to my rescue when the honky-haters shooed me along last year.
Yes, the Preacher was trying to upset the people of Seattle, but they didn’t have to bite. Seattleites could have treated this lonely, unpopular man with tolerance. They could have treated his daughter with compassion.
They didn’t though.
Instead, with righteous faux-indignation, they went down the line, and one-by-one, they laughed at him as his innocent child looked on. A child who, by all accounts, was their intellectual and emotional superior.
Way to go, Seattle. You put on your big boy britches and publicly shouted down a man in front of his daughter. A man who clearly had mental issues.
Way to go, you shitty little people, way to go.