Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Just yesterday I was told I wouldn't like a book because it was “religious.”

Read: It takes a lot to get me riled up when it comes to religion.

On Tuesday in Charleston, the Westboro Baptist Church had a protest tour. They succeeded. They riled me up.

Walking towards College of Charleston's Jewish Studies building, the eerie chanting of one of the church's most recognizable faces set a tone of discomfort and disgust. The group's bold-faced signs--”The Jews Killed Jesus” and “America is Doomed”--only deepened it.

On the walk over, a friend said, “I would be curious to know their goal. If they want to convert me. But if God hates me, why should I?”

It's an interesting question. Totally logical to question their motives. This is the group with the website The ones who picket the funerals of fallen American soldiers. And what exactly do those two things—among their hundred other offensive tactics—accomplish? That's all the Westboro Baptist Church spawns. Not converts, but questions. The main one being: Really?

College of Charleston organized an anti-protest. The plan was to remain silent, down the street. Basically to make the hate-speech unheard. It, understandably, didn't go off as planned. Genius signs were made in retaliation. “Even Voldemort Hates the WBC.” “God Loves Lady Gaga.” “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

Those just couldn't go unseen.

And in the face of a group who makes their money from lawsuits, pulling at heartstrings so even the even-keel lose it, who could stay completely silent? Hey, if college kids are up at 8 a.m., they want a show.

Adding to that show was C of C student Arsenio McCormick. McCormick says his first reaction to the protest was, “This is gonna be fun!” From the crowd he chanted “Jesus had two dads!” and “We got healthcare!” He started out light-hearted, but his attitude changed to “really being proud of the people.” The over 200 people who showed up to take a stand for love. McCormick added, “The core of it is that hate is not in religion.”

Monday, March 22, 2010

Talk Derby to Me

I finally know how girls who don't understand football feel when their boyfriends make them watch a game.

I went to my first roller derby bout Saturday night. The Lowcountry Highrollers skated innumerable times around a makeshift rink in the Citadel's McAlister Field House, and of those laps, not once did I figure out more than: it's really good when the girls in the back pass the girls in the front.

After speaking to the crowd, I was assured I wasn't the only slow-learner. I walked away knowing these couple things, though:
1. Green-eyed Sniper is a "jammer", and she scores points by passing people.
2. Black and pink is a pretty intimidating color combination. Especially on Vulva Display of Power.

"When we laced up, I was ready to battle," said Sexual Chocolate. The girls of the Lowcountry Highrollers worked well together as a team, creating three-woman walls to block opponents and grabbing onto each other to propel themselves forward. According to Lucille Balls to the Wall, "A lot of derby is about strategy and being aware of what is happening with each jam. You can't just muscle your way through the pack. As a jammer, you are a target, and you need some really stable and smart blockers doing their thing to get you past the opposing team."

I can't really tell you anything about tactics--unless you count the intimidation factor, of course, which was present in full-force--but I can tell you a little something about this:

No girl ever wants to have to say she can't hang out on a Saturday night because she has to go watch her boyfriend "breakskate."

The score was close at the beginning of the second half, but shortly thereafter the NRV Bruisin' Burgs pulled ahead. According to Sexual Chocolate, "We were shell-shocked when one of their jammers scored a 30 point lead on us. But we worked together to try and close the gap. Our awesome jammers Sniper, Tropikally Punch, Red Dread, and Tranquiliza gave it their all. We were very close to catching up, but the NRV ladies held their lead."

The final score was 106, Highrollers to 166, Burgs.

After the bout, the crowd headed to the Music Farm for the official after party and bluegrass-y Dangermuffin's CD release show.

The derby girls gave out awards in between the opening band--who sounded a lot like the Punch Brothers--and Dangermuffin. Catty Colamean won the Highrollers award for having the "most class while kicking ass."

The connecting power of music was tangible in the old warehouse--who'd have ever thought fishnets and flannel have the same taste in music?