Fuck you post: two minutes’ silence edition

Today at 12.51pm many New Zealanders observed a two minutes’ silence for Canterbury.

I was at the park on Lambton Quay outside Astoria.  It was lovely and solemn and quiet and some people were holding an NZ flag and it was really eerily quiet, besides the sound of the buses going up and down Lambton Quay (because even being able to leave work at a particular time to stand in a park being silent involves having some privilege).

Then.

You.

You decided to fire up your fucking amp with your fucking Twin Peaks-esque backing track and crank out a shitty, “mournful” 4 iterations of Amazing Fucking Grace on your fucking trumpet.

Fuck you.

Fuck you for making our observance an opportunity for you to perform.

Fuck you for turning a wonderfully secular moment into Christian-focused schmaltz and fuck you for probably just assuming it would be “respectful” because why the fuck should you, old white man, even fucking consider that non-Christians may have suffered and died in the earthquake, or that non-Christians might be showing their fucking respects to?

Fuck you for not even being a good fucking player and using the social pressure of a silent observance of respect to force people to stand and listen to your utterly shitty near-missing of notes and mangling of timing and melody.

Fuck you for leaving me not moved, and not reverential of the tragedy that has occurred, and not feeling a common bond with other Kiwis, but fucking pissed off because you fucking chose to insert yourself into a community’s poignant ritual.

Fuck you for deciding your loud, intrusive way of “showing respect” – as I’m sure you fucking thought you were doing – trumped everyone else’s fucking right to just have a moment’s fucking silence.

This wasn’t fucking about you. Fuck you.

35 comments

  1. Trouble

    There was a guy playing his guitar outside parliament in a sort of in your face way a few minutes before the silence. Not sure what the deal was but a couple of cops looked like they were making sure he stayed outside the gates. People are strange, and when you get them in large enough groups, there’s always one.

  2. Ella

    What has gotten into you? This post is awful, it seems to be just a guy that was just trying to show some respect. What’s with “fuck you, old white man”? What’s the fact that he was white got to do with it? So what if he was playing “Amazing grace.” It might have just been the only way he knew to communicate grief.

    You think just ’cause he’s an old white man with a trumpet that he doesn’t hurt too? We all hurt.

    • QoT

      Show some respect? When, um, dozens of people have gathered for a moment of silence? I’m not seeing your logic.

      I’m sure that as an old white guy who’s used to the world being run for his whims (google “privilege”) he too saw no fucking problem in making a community gathering for silence all about his grief.

      And the post already fucking explained what’s wrong with Amazing Grace. Why do I get the feeling you’d be more sympathetic to my anger if it were a young Polynesian playing a lament to Pele on a ukelele?

      As to “what’s gotten into me”, it’s called “anger” and women are actually allowed to express it in the 21st century.

      • Ella

        Ok, on futher reflection playing a trumpet may have been inappropriate but I still think that the man probably didn’t intend offence. He probably thought he was showing respect like he probably does every ANZAC day. At most he is guilty of stupidity and/or naivety.

        I can sort of relate. I was at a church servise shortly after Prof. Dennis Dutton passed away and someone got up and lead a prayer for Dennis’ family which I thought was completely inappropriate and disrespectful considering how many hours Dennis and I had spent together unpicking the fundamentals of Christianity. He wouldn’t have wanted that and for a start it made me really angry but now I realise that although it was naieve and/or stupid, those people had the best intentions.

        • QoT

          And as we all know, intent is fucking magic especially when we’re talking about old white men being fucking obnoxious and self-centred.

          Also, it IS fucking horrible for people to force religion on others especially the dead. Which is probably why I’m so angry! Who’d’a thunk it?

  3. Boganette

    Ughh what an asshole.

    And Armchair Critic’s comment cracked me up.

    All the prayers on the radio were quite annoying. Unless they’re covering all the Gods I don’t see the point. If you are going to a church service you should expect God bothering but do we really need it at public services? They’d never turn down a chance for a conversion so they’ll always be there.

    • Armchair Critic

      I was invited to a gathering of several hundred people by two colleagues who are devout Sunni Muslims. We were joined by a couple of agnostic colleagues and respected the people affected by the earthquake in total silence. No words from anyone, no hint of religion – it was really good.

      • QoT

        It sounds really good. And of course [obvious disclaimer is really obvious] there’s no problem with other people choosing to mark respect in other ways. You just don’t coming to a packed-out park and decide unilaterally that everyone there is totally down with your individual Christocentric failtrumpeting.

        • Armchair Critic

          Yeah, I avoid trumpets (except the chocolate ice cream variety) for very good reasons.
          Sorry to hear your two minutes were fucked up, for no good reason. There are some real ignorant people out there.
          It was kind of weird where I was. I don’t really do silence or respect, much. There was no intro, the quiet murmur died out and after what was more like three minutes (no one appeared to be keeping time) there was a sort of shuffling and people headed off in various directions. Very informal.

  4. Gravey

    Holy fucking shit. That is just so unbelievably …rude. Old man – Fuck you exponentially from me too!

    I dunno if it started after the two minutes, but even so, it isn’t as if we have noise, noise, noise, two minutes, noise, noise, noise.

    There is a period of quiet (if not silence) after the two minutes as people take in the enormity of it all. Merely the act of observing the silence is extraordinarily emotional, and it takes a few minutes to get over it.

    Just so fucking rude. I am so glad I stayed at work. But even then phones ringing during the two minutes …..

  5. Gravey

    Sorry for the second post, but I just thought of what some people might respond with.

    Some people might respond with “It is not about you either (or me or any other individual), meaning just because we may be offended by it, doesn’t make it any less right for him”.

    The problem with this is: there is decorum and respect. If you really insist on playing something, at a moment like that, do it well, and choose your tune very carefully. Taps or Auld Lang Syne might have been more appropriate. AG really doesn’t fit the situation, regardless of religious beliefs.

      • Gravey

        The sad thing is – it doesn’t take much to predict the responses.

        I am often tempted to draw up a list of the typical responses given to certain arguments and their rebuttals.

        Hopefully, I can get to the point where they can be published, and I can just say “In response to #34, I say #81.” And leave it at that.

        So much easier.

  6. Paul

    How dare you be so selfish as to spend our 2 minutes of mourning building up your anger. How dare you fucking ruin this for everyone else by taking the issue away from the victims and their families in Christchurch and focusing it on your petty complaints. Show some respect.

    • QoT

      Yeah, Paul, me trying to focus on the victims and the respectful moment was totally what “ruined” it, not the fucking obnoxious behaviour which very clearly made many other people there uncomfortable.

      Tell you what, you try taking a quiet moment sometime to think about an important event and I’ll come blow a trumpet in your ear and tell you it’s your fault the moment is ruined. Logic!

  7. James

    [QoT: James’ comment was really insightful and shit about the magic nature of intent.

    He was tragically let down by being an obvious sockpuppet of commenter Paul, above.

    Fucking IP addresses, how do they work?]

      • QoT

        “Paul” and “James” also have remarkably similar email addresses. Could’ve helped to be upfront and honest about these things in the first place, maybe a little “I’m Ella’s flatmate and here I come to conveniently support her argument and also not actually read your post or engage with your points” … but that would involve commenting in good faith, I guess.

        • James

          Frankly, I don’t want to announce my personal relationships to the world (however relevant to the conversation).

          In any case, who we’re friends and/or living with is entirely irrelevant to the opinions we (indivudally) hold.

        • QoT

          You do whatever you like, James. Just don’t expect people to see three either identical or abusive comments pop up from the same IP in the same evening and assume there are just three people sharing an IP who’ve all decided to attack them on irrelevant or borderline trollish grounds.

          It’s not really pertinent anyway as your comment would have been deleted in any case; I’ve met my personal quota of “comments which just ignore the entire post while telling me my post is Completely Wrong, You Evil Bitch” for the evening.

        • Ella

          I think that’s a bit harsh. I commented to clarify that we are different people with different minds. Sometimes we agree and sometimes we don’t.

          “I’m Ella’s flatmate and here I come to conveniently support her argument and also not actually read your post or engage with your points”” is also really harsh since we all read your post AND engaged with your points (even if you think that engagement unsuccessful). Also, James and I have subscribed to you blog for ages. I only commented ’cause I was shocked, not to troll.

        • QoT

          Ella, I’d love to give you an opportunity to explain how “fuck you too for expressing your opinions on your blog” and “you shouldn’t be angry because that guy was probably meaning well!” constitute “engaging” with my post, but … actually, I wouldn’t.

        • Ella

          [QoT: Who would’ve thought, after all those protestations of innocence Ella fell back on the classic “I will make an apology with a whiny “you can’t handle disagreement!” sting in the tail! Surely QoT will never notice, hahahahaha!” flounce.]

        • James

          Trollish, definitely; irrelevant, no.

          You really did not address the concern that your assessment of his intentions could have been wrong. You proposed a hypothesis about his behaviour in preparation for criticism, and I’ve challenged your hypothesis and thus the legitimacy of your criticism. I fail to see how that is not engaging with you. (Fair point on the trolling, though. It’s easy not to get excited when the swears are let loose).

        • QoT

          Okay, James. Because I’m an eternal fucking optimist.

          Intent is fucking irrelevant. Intent is not magic. If I smack you in the face with a halibut, it’s still fucking obnoxious and you’ve still been assaulted regardless of whether I thought you were a halibut aficionado or whether I didn’t realise I was holding the halibut.

          Further, his actions were clearly in breach of basic fucking good manners, and it is frankly only being excused because it fits nicely into bullshit Western pseudo-Christian norms of mourning.

          Look at the link your “flatmate” was referred to above and come back when you’re able to understand why telling a strident feminist that she should just consider an old white man’s feeeeeelings and stop being so aaaaaaaangry is not a winning tactic on this blog.

        • James

          [QoT: Oh shit, I deleted James’ very thoughtful no-you-are-wrong-intent-is-magic comment. Fear not, James, I actually intended to write a sonnet in your honour, so, um, that’s all okay then. You’ve been a great audience, good night, folks!]

    • Gravey

      Sorry to come back to this so late after the event. What I struggle to understand about this wee interplay is this: Someone who subscribes to your blog would by now have an insight into you. Primarily that you don’t take any shit from anybody.

      So, if I was to challenge someone like that, how would I go about it? Pretty fucking carefully is how.

      And to be fair to the triumvirate, I don’t think most people consider the visibility of their IP address when making comments in places like this.

      Can you handle disagreement? I dunno. Frankly, I don’t really care all that much. I do care about what you have to say, and that, realising what I have from reading your material, if I am going to challenge you, I’d better do so incredibly well, or be prepared to be blasted.

      • QoT

        Disagreement is fine. But suddenly getting three responses from identical IP addresses which all back each other up on exactly the same issues / just go straight to abusiveness? Yeah, sorry for anyone not up with the play on basic troll-symptoms, but come on.

  8. Pingback: links for 2011-03-14 « Embololalia
  9. graveyblog

    Circular link – tweeted to Amanda about her uneasiness with tomorrow’s memorial service with Hayley singing AG referring back to this.

    Hmmmmm…..

    • QoT

      Yep, I thought about this post while reading Vicki Anderson’s Stuff article today. Some people have no sense of respect, and sometimes they’re the people planning the official events …

  10. David Grice aka Gravey

    Sorry – forgot I was still logged in as GraveyBlog. Trying to set up my own blog.

  11. Octavia

    Oh I never saw the troll takedown here! HILARIOUS. Aren’t they precious, with their lack of understanding about derailing and privilege, and yet conviction that no, it is you who are wrong and YOU who are being disrespectful! (respect how does it work it goes one way only yes the way of privilege?)

    If only, *if only*, the world would think more about the loud religious white men. I mean, it’s hard for them isn’t it? In this world?