Hi, folks. I know you’re still digesting the news of Joe Pa’s death and trying to contextualize it as part of the Jerry Sandusky scandal’s narrative. That isn’t easy. Obviously, you loved Paterno and your grief is completely legitimate. The man had failings. OK. So do you and I. And he absolutely needed to do more to help the young people Sandusky was raping. That, as I’ve heard repeatedly today, will be the first paragraph of his legacy no matter what. And so, I don’t envy you your emotions right now.
I’m not writing this to talk about Paterno, but about this:
Here we see the Phelps agenda—publicity for their madness. Now it’s come to the Penn State campus, or it shortly will. And you have to figure out how to deal with it.
Here are some suggestions. It’s possible to see the day of Joe Pa’s funeral as a way to celebrate his life (while not forgetting what happened re: Sandusky and those children, because we are not entitled to forget, any of us), partly because Westboro is part of the mix. Do your best to marginalize these lunatics. Rather than vent your spleens and inasmuch as these idiots deserve that issue, a counter-demonstration designed to mock and ridicule Westboro’s agenda works far better than any show of anger. These people live on your anger; that’s one aspect of their particular breed of insanity. Therefore, starve them. Mock them. Use them to your advantage. Ridicule makes it more likely they’ll remember their experience for next time. Unfortunately, we all know there will be a next time, somewhere. So don’t imagine you can put an end to Westboro, because you can’t. You can make them feel like homemade shit while they’re in Happy Valley, though.
I was angry when I first read about Westboro’s plans, sure. Still, you don’t need to give in to your justifiable rage when/if they show up. Honestly, the best option is mockery, laughter, satire, out-and-out ridicule. Show them to be the fuck-clowns they truly are.
Laugh them into silence. Ridicule them back to their lair. Mock them so completely they might never want to emerge again. You’ll be doing yourselves and others a real favor.
Again, my condolences. All Good Wishes. John.