If everyone else is enjoying something, whether it’s Twilight or it’s Star Wars, then you’re obviously not forced to join that specific cult and enjoy it along with them. However, you also have no responsibility to any of us to take a dump on those people’s enjoyment. What satisfaction do you derive from belittling someone else’s hobby or fandom? Let met tell you a quick story: Last year, Vita and I spent a weekend in New Orleans
. As it just so happens we visited on the weekend of the Southern Decadence Festival
, the largest gay event in New Orleans
, so there was a lot of colorful characters and good people watching to do. About 70% of the people we ran into were clearly there for the Decadence festivities while the rest of us hapless tourists just overpaid for rum and cokes and laughed along with the revelers. We did find, however, a third group of occupants in the French Quarter that night.
A small collective of Baptist protesters had come with 10-foot-high signs, reading passages from the Bible and warning the overwhelmingly homosexual crowd that they would all be burning in Hell for eternity. Several members of the crowd, being drunk and having just a fabulous time, saw this as a photo opportunity; they decided to pair up and make out in front of these “missionaries” while their friends snapped dozens of photos. No matter how loudly the crowd cheered, the protesters shouted their condemnations of gays even louder until they could be heard. The crowd could have easily turned on the protesters, because there was no police presence at the time and there were fewer than 10 of these hateful men shouting at a throng of hundreds of very muscular men. But the crowd was simply having too good of a time to even be angered. They were too busy dancing, laughing, singing, and kissing. They were literally the happiest people on earth at that moment, celebrating their joy while others went out of their way to try and piss on the party.
It struck me at the time that if you’re the only person mad while a party like that stirs all around you, then you’re the one who’s doing something wrong with your life. It was a great time, for the right audience. The wrong audience just decided to show up too. It’s not like these men arrived with their Bibles and their signs eagerly anticipating the saving of a few lost souls. It’s not like they were trying to actually do anything that could be confused as “God’s work”. They were absolutely just trying to pick a fight. They planned their little protest for weeks, they constructed enormous signs, and they drove for miles just so that they could do battle with people who were in a party town trying to throw *gasp* a party. By the way, this is a party they’ve been throwing for over 40 years, so it’s not like this is some new form of behavior that is detrimental to the community. It’s the 5th largest festival in New Orleans
, and that’s saying something since it’s a city that is known primarily as a destination for such events.
If a crowd of gay men had dressed up, painted huge signs, and shown up at church on Sunday morning to protest some particular form of Christianity, it would be seen as discrimination and appalling behavior. Somehow, though, these particular Christians feel alright about themselves showing up at your party and throwing a hissy fit about your personal choices. Every time there’s a gathering of card players, cosplayers, twi-hards, or hipsters and you find yourself sitting in the corner with a scowl, criticizing every habit and personality trait, then you are being that judgmental Baptist with too much time on their hands. Don’t be the only one not enjoying yourself. Don’t be an asshole. Don’t be a pop culture Baptist.