Monday, February 20, 2012

Invisible friends

So you see this dude who, like, has an invisible friend. And maybe he's shuffling around under the freeway underpass, pushing a shopping cart, while babbling to thin air about strange rituals he has to do. Like this:

Now, here's the question: Are you offended by any of the nonsense that this crazy guy is babbling?

Which is why it is baffling to me why Jews are upset that the Mormons are "baptizing" Jewish victims of the Holocaust. I mean, look. Mormons "baptizing" dead people is just crazy in the first place, no different from that dude above having a fight with an invisible guy while babbling nonsense. It means the same when a Mormon says he "baptized" a dead person as it means when that crazy dude above goes "Blahahhahah blahahhh blahdbbeeeeblah buh baha!". It's just sounds, sounds that don't mean anything at all to anybody who isn't crazy. I mean, it's not as if the dead people care. They're dead. They can't get any worse off than dead!

But so it goes. You have crazy people who believe in invisible friends, and they get offended because the other guy's invisible friend wants to eat their dead people. Or something crazy like that. I don't pretend to understand, since I've never had an invisible friend. And no, the Great Penguin is not invisible, he's just very far away so you can't see him. Duh :).

-- Badtux the Baffled Penguin


  1. Geez, what will stop the Mormons from baptizing fictional characters next? Or fictional people they invent, themselves, just for the purposes of baptizing? My goodness, their numbers in heaven will outnumber everybody else's! They'll win the Heaven War!


  2. Not all Jews bother to be offended. upyernoz of rubber hose is quite explicit about it:
    ----- blockquote not allowed by Blogger -----
    this issue seems to bring out strong feelings in people, but i don't understand why it would. unless you buy the premise that a mormon proxy baptism ceremony does something, it does nothing. i'm no more opposed to being proxy baptized than the idea that someone i've never met might fall into a dunk tank at a carnival. to these heathen eyes, there is little practical difference.
    ----- /blockquote not allowed by Blogger -----

  3. Oh, and regarding crazy homeless dudes with imaginary friends, every city has them. I used to run into a woman apparently scavenging from garbage cans and dumpsters over on Shepherd Dr. who muttered constantly: to the extent one could hear her, her mumbles were an endless stream of curses. With some of these people, it's drugs; with others, it's lack of drugs... the prescription kind unavailable in America to the impecunious.

  4. Tux, that guy there is the target population I work with! Not all of my patients are like him, maybe 10%, lots more depressed/suicidal/more manageable schizophrenic types. But raving street schizos, we get 'em in often. Most of them aren't terribly dangerous. They might seem intimidating because of the obvious anger -- in a rational person, that always has the potential to be followed by purposeful violence. But people like the guy in the clip are so disorganized in their thinking that they can't string together a series of punches/kicks/etc. to carry on a damaging physical battle.

    And they're usually scared, frightened of the demons inside their head that are shrieking stimuli like a deafening, confusing set of speakers blaring gobbledygook. The anger and thrashing is a defence mechanism against that and any real humans who might attack them. When they're confronted with a rational person like a police officer or the psych nurses on the street team here who respond to out-of-control mentally ill people, they'll either run or ramp it down. Not 100% of the time, but the ones who actually DO attack with their bodies or knives are a small percentage. I find that a calm voice and projection of an understanding attitude can elicit a semi-normal response, as normal as such people can have.

    Of course, since I'm in a hospital ward environment, they've already been softened up by encounters with the law, ambulance and emergency room personnel, so I don't get them in the raw state. Still, I enjoy talking to guys like that. For me, it's like studying a species of bug that can talk. It's a bit creepy of me to regard them that way, because I'm dehumanizing them in my mind, but it's how I keep in control of MY mind and avoid being sucked into their mindset of madness.

  5. P.S. As others among your fan base have said, the new Oogle captcha scheme stinks. Are comment spambots THAT bad, that they have to go to a suckier system? Is it a ploy to make humble bloggers such as yourself buy into some for-pay service like Blogger+? I don't know that any such thing exists, but I'm always looking for an evil monetary motivation behind things. It takes some conscious effort to change a system of operations. When a change is made that makes things crappier, I assume there MUST be a motivation, rather than random Dilbert-style stupidity.

  6. Bukko: the important thing about dealing with crazy people is avoiding being sucked into their mindset of madness.

    Steve: Exactly. If you view Mormons "baptizing" people as the babbling of crazy people, it's meaningless. It's only if you make the mistake of allowing yourself to be sucked into their insane mindset and think that their babbling actually means something that you're offended, but in my opinion your problem at that point is yourself -- for paying attention to the babbling of crazy people -- rather than the Mormons, whose babbling should be listened to only when it's a threat to the actual freedom and liberty of living people, not dead people (who are kinda, well, dead, and ya can't get worse off than that). I'm more concerned about the Mormons driving things like Prop H8 that take freedom away from actual living people than about them wearing magic underwear or baptizing people's pet cats.

    - Badtux the MYOB Penguin

  7. They would get more mileage laughing at them but here media feeds up the drama this country is addicted to.

  8. One more thing, Steve. Note that Bukko is up there in Canuckistan where the drugs are free, so it's not that the drugs to treat mental illness aren't available, it's that crazy people won't take them because the drugs quiet down the voices, but because they're damping down various neurotransmitters in the brain that carry signals from your body to your brain they also make you feel like crap physically -- lethargic and bloated and out of sorts. The only way to get the die-hard street crazies to take their meds is to put them into an institutional environment where they must do so, and that would be an imposition upon their civil liberties. Which is why every major society that believes in civil liberties for all people, including the mentally handicapped, has these crazy street people babbling nonsense and acting out in strange and seemingly violent ways. Plus it saves taxpayer money to have them acting crazy on the street rather than taking up space in a mental institution...

  9. As I remember it most of the people with issues like this in West Africa roamed the streets. A friend was attacked by a man. As funds dry up here we will see more of this I'm sure. These people survived by scrounging what had already been scrounged and with food scraps from passerby's. Many went naked. There were very places where there was help but the reality was there really wasn't any.

  10. Well, One Fly, if they're slightly better integrated they instead create wild fantasies about angels and gold tablets dictating that people wear magic underwear and that they'll get their own planet after they die if they only babble some words called "baptizing". We call this "religion", and it's only a matter of degree different from what you see above, not of nature. Indeed, in some religions crazy people babbling nonsense on the streets are seen as holy men and are cared for and carefully listened to because it's assumed they have a direct connection to the invisible friend(s) that these people believe in...

    - Badtux the Irreverent Penguibn

  11. When I saw the title of the post, I thought you were going to talk about Rick Santorum and the voices he hears.

    Like you, I am baffled by Jews being upset by Mormon baptism of dead non-Mormons because doing so implies that the person whose nonsacred panties are in a knot actually believes the Mormon eschatology. By complaining about it, they're endorsing it. Very strange.

  12. Because you brought up Canuckistan, how to get crazy people to take their meds and civil liberties, I thought I'd add a few words about how that works here. It's interesting to see how other countries, while grounded in the Anglo-Saxon Magna Cartic tradition, have different ideas on what constitutes "free."

    When people have had some sort of psychiatric problem that has brought them to the attention of the medical system, they are assigned to a Community Mental Health Team. There's one of these in every neighbourhood of the city, and also outlying towns. It has doctors, counselors, nurses -- including those who will visit patients in their homes -- and other workers. The mental health teams are like psychiatric probation officers. Only nicer.

    But if people don't comply with the requirements set by the team, they can be "recalled from extended leave" -- i.e. arrested and hauled into the hospital where I work. Compliance is mandatory, so once you've been IDed by The System, you do not have total civil rightsy freedom any more.

    Depending on the severity of the mental illness, the team will require the patients to come in for weekly/monthly/whateverly talks with the shrinks/nurses, etc. They check to see if the patient has been showing up at the pharmacy to get their med refills. The team sends people to examine the places where the patients live, to see if they're shambolic, whether the patient has been bathing and eating, if they've been acting strange around the neighbours... Lots of them are in managed accomodations like government supported housing, so it's easy to check with desk clerks and landlords.

    The system here is a bit like a safety net, a bit like a smothering blanket. It's not perfect, because there are still raving lunatics on the corner of East Hastings and Main Streets, the heroin central market that's affectionally known as "the open-air asylum." It's not cheap, either. Lots of jobs filled by nurses like me. doG help us if the Austerians ever get their way with the Canuckrainian government.

    They don't have the "hyper-individualistic" view of human rights here that they do in the U.S., where the national motto seems to be "Nobody can tell me what the fuck to do" (until you're locked up in the Prison-Industrial Complex.) In a way it's good up here, because society is willing to shell out to provide some guidance in the lives of its citizens. After spending the bulk of my life in the U.S. it seemed strange at first, but I now believe that it's better the Canadian way than having the freedom to be so nutso that your existence is wrecked.

  13. Well, there is a long tradition of Christian churches (mainly the RCC) engaging in forced baptism, as in "convert and have a happy life, o refuse and we'll burn you at that there stake." It's one of the reason why Jews discourage converts, for both the Jewish version of the Golden Rule and a little bit of a feeling that if the Christians know that we're converting their faithful, then the pogroms will not be too far behind.

    Baptizing dead people plays into the resentment that Jews have for all of the forced conversions shit. But the funny underwear folks haven't been around long enough to do much to the Jews. The RCC is another story.

  14. BT,

    Surely you know that being dead is where it's at -- I mean, one is gonna spend a LONG time there. So if one has spent this life being faithful and keeping his covenant with God (as Jewish people do), and you're gonna suffer a lot of nasty anti-Semitism throughout life unless you live in a Lubavitcher shtetl in the Bronx, you kind of resent going to your god as a ... Mormon-convert.

    I mean, for the True Believers, this is absolutely horrendous! Any person of faith should be able to see this. It is a mockery of all things religious -- whatever your religion! Can you imagine how happy a Muslim person would be to go to Mitt Romney's extra-terrestrial heaven?

    Na ga da!


  15. I've never had a dead person complain to me about being converted by Mormons, and don't expect that to ever happen because dead is dead -- deceased, bereft of life, metabolic processes now history, pushin' daisies, kicked the bucket, shuffled off this mortal coil, dead. Just sayin'.

    - Badtux the Matter-of-fact Penguin

  16. Not arguing here over the metaphysics of heaven or hell. . .

    Despite what Pat Benatar says, Hell is for People! It scares the beejeebus out of some. So the need to go to the good place directs those people's lives (or, technically does.) So if you work your whole life putting money in the plate, putting flowers on the dais, or whatever you do in your set of beliefs, and then someone comes and snatches your identity (in this life) from you, that's -- if nothing else, that's not comme il faut.

    Frankly, it is a huge, insensitive offense, the reality of which resides in this life. Y'see?


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