Afternoon InquisitionReligion

AI: Asshats and Embarrassing Moments

I was going to simply initiate a discussion about dipshit Pat Roberston’s remarks concerning the tragedy in Haiti, but as I was getting a soda out of the machine just now, I bent to retrieve a quarter I dropped and totally split my pants. The folks in the break room tried to stifle their laughter, but were unsuccessful, and my face was burning with embarrassment. And then I started laughing as well. What else could I do?

But since that happened, I figured I’d give you a two-fer AI today.

Do you have an embarrassing moment to share with millions of strangers on the Internet, like I just did? Do you ignore people like Robertson, or is there a level of stupidity that should not and will not be tolerated?

By the way, if you haven’t heard, here is a portion of what Robertson said about the tragedy in Haiti:

“Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about. [Haitians] were under the heel of the French…and they got together and swore a pact to the Devil. They said, ‘we will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French.’ True story. And the Devil said, ‘OK it’s a deal.’ Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another.”

Robertson ignores the fact that currently 80 percent of Haitians identify themselves as Roman Catholics, with Protestants representing a distant second place with 16 percent. But apparently voodoo is Old Testament wrath-worthy, even if only a handful of people in your country practice it, or practiced it a long time ago.

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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  1. I’m no expert on Robinson’s theology, but I tend to doubt that Roman Catholics rank high in his book, anyway.

    The thing is, he and his ilk are standing ready at all times to blame any natural disaster on the people it affects. He’s nothing but a bully.

  2. Well, by Daffy Pat’s standards, Catholics aren’t Christians. After all, Catholics don’t send him their $$$, do they?

    I’d love to see one of Terry Gilliam’s animated feet smash him flat in the middle of the 700 Club, a la Monty Python.

  3. The only thing that frightens me about Robertson and his Haiti quake foot-in-mouth friend Rush Limbaugh is that they have fans. In other words, they are representing the views of a certain percentage of the population. That scares the ever-loving hell out of me.

    The skeptical community has its issues, to be sure, and does not speak with a unified political voice, but it IS fairly insulated from the people who’ll go in for the sort of asshattery those guys displayed yesterday. It’s scary, sometimes, to be reminded that those people are still out there.

  4. I stopped a meeting once by pounding on the table and proclaiming “I am not a moron! This is a valid point!!” After a few moments of silence a friend pointed out that I misunderstood the purpose of the meaning, my point was completely off topic, and I was indeed a first class moron.

  5. I’d like to ignore people like Pat Robertson, but it’s hard when there’s a big chunk of the population that takes him seriously. This particular statement is ridiculous, but the type of people who listen to him don’t even think to ask a question like “can someone who lived 200 years ago sell the souls of all future generations?” Which I think, if you actually take this religion thing seriously, is a good question. Could somebody have sold my sould for me without me knowing it?

  6. @davew:

    Thanks for sharing that. Guess we’ve all been there before. I still feel pretty silly, but I’m laughing more and more about as the minutes tick by.

    Plus, I like my trouser’s new ventalation system.

  7. Robertson makes me angry, so I’ll ignore that side of things and share embarrassing moments:

    1) I also once split my pants, in the crotch, but without realising. I was in a meeting. In tight black trousers. And no underwear. Yep, I sat in a meeting without knowing my flaps were out. I will never get over it.

    2) I once told someone I wanted to get a nose job “so my future kids don’t inherit my nose”.

    I think those are the worst two. I have no shame.

  8. Although quite gorgeous (and modest) I am not a small girl.

    I once called a hang gliding business in the Outer Banks to inquire about trying it while I was on vacation.

    Salesman: How much do you weigh?

    Me: About 225 pounds.

    Salesman: Hmm, we’re gonna need a lot of wind.

    I probably should have been upset, but it was really funny.

  9. For years I pronounced paradigm as para-dig-em. I’m not sure which was worse, that I was pronouncing it wrong or the fact that I was using the word at all.

    “Could somebody have sold my soul for me without me knowing it?”

    Don’t know about your soul but someone seems to have sold or stolen Pat’s. Or perhaps he keeps it locked away and only takes it out for special occasions.

  10. I’ve been able to ignore Pat Roberson for some time now, but I am using this opportunity to drive home how ridiculous he and Limbaugh are when they make these kinds of statements. (Keith Olbermann has done the best job so far in putting their words in perspective.)

    I won’t forget this, and every time someone brings up anything remotely positive about Pat’s ministries or Limbaugh’s “common sense approach,” I’ll remind people.

  11. If you say “True Story” it makes it factually true. It is a scientifically proven fact. There was totally a study about it. True story.

    @ Gabrielbrawley I’ve never been able to laugh after smacking my head. I ended up in the hospital once and so it sort of took the funny out of it. It is really embarrassing though. I’ve been this tall for most of my life you’d think I’d be more aware.

  12. I have a story somewhat like yours, but a wee bit more embarrassing.

    My school required 2 credits of gym to graduate, with each class conferring 1/2 credit. After Swimming (which I took because I came from a landlocked state and didn’t know how) I took Bowling I and II. The secret to getting an A in bowling is to bowl crappy (think <50) in the beginning and “improve” (>100) for the final. Bowling II was a bit trickier as I had to go from 115 to my final exam round of 220. Having bowled my entire childhood made it a bit easier to accomplish. For my last class I enrolled in Fencing. I had fenced in high school so this beginner class was a breeze.

    So I’m driving around town one day when suddenly I realized it was the day of my fencing final and I was late. I sped off to school and got there just as they’re lining up. I quickly fall into place to perform the movements with my classmates, who just happened to be mostly girls.

    I didn’t have my gym clothes with me so I found myself doing parries and ripostes in jeans and a tee shirt. And then came the lunges. And I, for whatever foolish reason, had decided to go commando that morning.

    The insanely hot girl next to me looked at me, then looked down where the inside seam of my jeans was ripped from bow to stern, then looked at me, then looked down, then looked at me in that “am I seeing what I think I’m seeing because if it were me, I would be mortified” kind of way. I finished my final, albeit a bit more self-consciously than before.

    Needless to say, I haven’t gone commando since.

  13. Ooh, and as for embarrassing stories:

    Once, when I was in middle school, I joined the ski club despite having no coordination and no idea how to ski.

    There was a girl there who was friendly to me, and while I WAS learning, I really hadn’t ridden the chairlift before she asked me to go up the hill with her. But I wanted to impress her because, hey, I was a hormonal teenager, so why not?

    Well, something went wrong and my skis somehow got stuck on the ground under the seat of the lift, so that as it moved forward I got pulled off and under the chair. They had to shut down the lift for a few minutes while they got everything sorted.

    As you might imagine, nothing ever happened between myself and that girl :-P

  14. I do not think we should just ignore Robertson. He’s not just a harmless, doddering old fool. He uses his money and his “charity” in an abusive way. I have a friend who received some money from his charity several years ago. She fully admits that Robertson has said some terrible, hateful things, but she insists that we must tolerate it because he helped them. He uses his money to get away with terrible things. He dangles the threat of removing his money over people’s heads, to force them to accept and even praise his evilness.

  15. mikerattlesnake, the reason those people don’t think about “can someone who lived 200 years ago sell the souls of all future generations?” is because they are the same people that think they are sinners because Eve ate an apple and that they are still being punished for it. Throughout the OT god routinely killed people because of what someone else did.

  16. I don’t embarrass easily, so it’s easy for me to tell my coworkers that I play D&D on the weekends, or tell others about my yeast infection if they pry far enough.

    However, I remember once when I was a young teenager that my father and I went to Baltimore for a day trip. We had some extra bread from somewhere so we tried to feed it to the birds but I guess they weren’t used to it because they wouldn’t eat it. Nobody actually saw us, but it was a little embarrassing because I felt like we were just littering. I also sort of felt like a hick by coming from some low-brow place where birds will eat your bread.

    Oh also, once in elementary school I tucked my dress into my tights so everyone could see my undies.

  17. We finally had to take my grandmother’s checkbook after she was caught sending money to that monster (we’re Jewish and she was starting a long trip down Alzheimer’s road). Robertson’s supporters really believe him and all of his oogedy boogedy. If he told people the rapture was next week, we’d make a killing in the real estate market.

    As for embarrassing..I just can’t go there with the whole interwebs.

  18. Once in high school, I had to visit the nurse because of an incident with a bathroom door. I was attempting to casually enter said bathroom, but instead of pushing the door open with my arm tensed, I let my arm go limp to push the door with my shoulder.
    The door was locked…
    I ended up collapsing against the bathroom door with some force, smacking my head and splitting my eyebrow. Then I had to explain for the rest of the day why my eyebrow was bandaged.
    Pat Robertson fills me with rage. Of course if he ever gets cancer, he won’t assume that its gods wrath. He’ll pray to God for healing.

  19. Ok, I thought of a real one but it’s probably pretty typical:

    I lived alone for most of college, and whenever my dad drove through that city, he’d stop by for awhile and then we’d go eat somewhere. So my dad was in my bedroom, because you had to go through there to get to the bathroom, and then he stopped to pet my cat. Then I noticed that in all the cleaning I had done, I somehow managed to forget to put away my dildo, which was sitting proudly on top of my dresser. I couldn’t grab it and hide it without drawing attention to it, so I just said that I was really hungry and we needed to leave right away. I still have no idea if he saw it or not.

    I should have learned my lesson then, but I didn’t. I have since moved to a different apartment but I still live alone, so I don’t have a need to hide things. Some girl came around my apartment building, selling magazines door-to-door for some charity. I had actually been planning to subscribe to a few, so I invited her in. My apartment was a mess (as it always is) and I had all my ~10,000 Legos on my coffee table because I was in the middle of a big project. Then she asked to use the bathroom. I noticed that my dildo was sitting on the sink (hey-at least I washed it recently) and I said, “I should probably put that away”, so she clearly noticed it. It wasn’t as bad as my dad seeing it, but I felt a little bad because she was so young (although probably not very naive-kids these days).

  20. @Gabrielbrawley: Either you are very tall, or you need to give up on indoor pogo stick use.

    RE: Pat the Asshat – I think that it is important to talk to people about these kinds of vile statements. For better or worse – well, for worse – Robertson is a public figure that some people turn to for guidance. They need to have remarks like this pointed out so that they can put his other remarks into context.

    Just to be clear – this doesn’t only apply to religious zealots or arch-conservatives or other people I don’t like. I often have to look more closely at the opinions of people I agree with because they turn out to be idiots.

  21. @Expatria:

    Are we the same person? Because I’ve done exactly that. Except I don’t think I was trying to impress a girl that I can recall.

    Also, one time I was trying to register for a class in college via the touchtone system (waaaayyy back in early aughts, this was) and it kept saying the class wasn’t available. So naturally I got really frustrated, called support and got all hissy with the nice lady on the phone, only to discover I was looking at the wrong semester.

    Always be nice to support people. It’s never their fault something’s wrong, and most of the time it’s yours.

  22. @Tracy King: Winner winner, chicken dinner. That is the stuff of nightmares; and no one said, like anything or made discrete gestures, or raised their eyebrows and looked down, or tried to save you further embarrassment?

  23. Well, I’d like to tune Pat and his ilk out, the problem is, he keeps saying these crazy things, and noteworthy religious people see that its crazy, and try to distance themselves from him, but he stays on the air. If you’re selling crazy, and everyone swears they don’t shop at your store, but you stay in business…doesn’t that mean someone’s buying?

    As far as an embarrassing moment, how’s this:

    I used to live with my mom-a very conservative christian. she worked early in the morning, I worked late at night. There was one TV, and it was in her room. While she was gone, I would go into her room to take care of some…manly needs. I’d put in my tape, handle my binness, and take the tape out and hide it. One day, I forgot to take it out. She confronted me about my gay fetish pron. I was mortified.

  24. I think there is a level of stupidity that should not be tolerated. On the other hand, I appear to be in the minority because we elected Bush….. Twice.. Not our finest hour.

    I would LIKE to ignore people like Pat Robertson, but for all his stupidity, he has a LOT of power on the right. I have no tolerance at all for someone who is not only stupid, but expects everyone else to be just as stupid.

  25. @infinitemonkey: Sooo close. As I was reading your story I was thinking “caught in the act.” Bit of a let-down really. The gay fetish porn does score you a few extra points tho.

    So, here’s my story:
    I was 17 and had just gotten home from school. The house was empty, and I didn’t expect anyone to come home for about an hour. Sooooo, I put “the tape” in the family VCR (we had only one TV, too) and settle down to a nice “jam session”, if you will. Lubed and at full gallop, I suddenly hear the garage door open and a car pull in. Unfortunately, I am seconds away from release of copious amounts of fluid, so rational thought is not possible (I was 17 for Christ’s sake), and I decide to finish. Big mistake.

    Picture this: My mom holding a bag of groceries walking down the hall towards where I stood, one hand on my junk, the other on the eject button of the VCR. Everything is in slow motion. Bag drops to floor, mom’s mouth drops open, I freeze. Then I run, one hand now on the video (“Barely Legal 2”, if I recall correctly). Luckily, my bedroom was close to where I stood, so I didn’t have to pass her on the way.

    We never spoke of it again.

    Oh, and Pat Robertson’s an asshat of titanic proportions. Douchebag.

  26. Can’t think of any particularly embarrassing moments, I don’t embarass easily. However, as for the Robertson thing, I definitely don’t think it should be ignored. Stupidity like that should be denounced loudly and often. If we’re lucky, his ratings will take a hit because of it. What I find strange though, is that nobody has been mentioning the comment he made 2 minutes before the deal with the devil bullshit, when he said that the earthquake was “a blessing in disguise” because maybe now there will be a rebuilding effort in Haiti. Never mind that a great deal of people in Haiti lost friends and family. I find that far more offensive than an ignorant comment about something that happened 200 years ago.

  27. Robertson?? Didn’t he make a pact with the devil… no true story! Seriously could he be stupider?

    Anywho, my embarrassing moment is kind of… well I did it twice so it kind of sucked. So I have a white board in my room that has metal on it and apparently it is really good at catching things. So I am moving around my room quickly and I catch my jeans on it… big rip in the butt in front of my students but they don’t see it. Then two days later I catch another pair of pants and the rip is huge… like taking off a good half of the back of them… and they all noticed… I think I turned purple. I know not great but it was pretty funny later on.

  28. I think every comment made about Robertson is akin to money in his pocket. I think he’s probably creaming himself right now over seeing his name all over the news, and I don’t think he gives a rat’s ass that it’s mostly negative. The very least I can do is not mention his name on Twitter or blog about him or anything else that keeps his name in the public eye. In my perfect world, everyone would have simply rolled their eyes, kept their mouths shut, and moved on.

    As to embarrassing, when I was eight I had the lead in the school performance of “Really Rosie.” During my solo at the top of the show I managed to fall down three steps that led up to the stage. I will never forget the sound of an entire auditorium of parents, teachers, and students simultaneously gasping in dismay. However, I just jumped back up and kept singing. And that particular incident pretty much cured me of any future problems appearing or speaking in public, since I no longer worry about embarrassing myself. :-)

  29. I talked about Pat Robertson’s reasoning in my blog post ( Having been a fundamentalist Xtian at one point in my life I explained that, from his viewpoint, Vodou is devil worship and when the Vodou priest did his ritual, he was making a “pact with the Devil”. This of course automatically negates the lives and deaths of the Haitian people who fought and died for their freedom.

    That level of ignorance is not something that should be ignored. I’m just not sure what can be done about it. Robertson is a True Believer and all you can do with them is try to plant a seed.

    Embarrassing moment? I *could* tell you but then I would have to kill you. And that’s ALOT of yous fer th’ killin’.

  30. I once stood infront of about 60 co-workers to introduce myself. The really hot chick in the front of the crowd tried to warn me with the raised eyebrow glance at my package. It took a minute or two but I caught on, and discretely checked my zipper. Everything seemed ok, so I just kept on going for about 15 or 20 minutes. Later a trip to the mens room revealed a broken zipper.

  31. For those who are wondering whether Pat Robertson should be ignored or not, an emphatic ‘No!’ That man is an evil bastard, and he just thrives on others’ grief, misfortune and destitution. The NY Times today has an Op-Ed piece from someone with first hand experience of the aftermath of the tragedy in Haiti. Those poor Haitians are already blaming themselves for the natural calamity, and thinking that this was ‘God’s retribution’, for some ‘sin’ they have unwittingly committed. If this is not abuse in form of religion, what is? And people like Pat Robertson are enablers, aiders and abettors.

  32. In a sudden fit of surf lust, I once whipped off my pants on the beach in front of a restaurant full of people, only to remember that I hadn’t put on bikini bottoms and still had on my saggy baggy undies. Don’t know how many strangers saw, but my family never let me forget it.

  33. I don’t listen to Robertson or any other right wing-nut. I can get enough crap out of my own ass I don’t need any from an outside source.

  34. You fool! They merely claim to be roman catholics as a cover for their voodoo devil worshippin’ ways!
    They don’t even know enough about Jesus to claim to be southern baptists* like proper christians!

    (*Or whatever the hell constitutes a proper christian in the eyes of Pat Robertson)

  35. Hi there!

    Way back when I decided to try some alternate religions, I did a lot of research on Voodoo. (or I guess Voudun is the more correct spelling) I remember reading that the nation of Haiti is 80 percent Catholic, and 100% Voudun. The Haitians have no trouble reconciling this, and will just as easily pray to the many saints of Catholicism as Papa Legba or Baron Samedi. :)

    Embarrassing moment: I was working at the concession stand at a movie theatre back in the early 90s, and Jon Bon Jovi came in. I was a nervous wreck and meant to ask him: “Did anyone ever tell you that you look like Jon Bon Jovi?” But ACTUALLY asked him: “DidnyoneaskyouookliBnJovi?? Ahahahabutsurelyyou’renotanddidjawantbutteronthatanhaffanizeDAYthankyou!!”. He was very patient with me. :(

  36. I first heard of the Pat Robertson story last night. A bad enough story to even make my dad angry at the guy (he’s a devoted Catholic).
    Indeed, Robertson shows a level of stupidity and ignorance that shouldn’t be tolerated.

    As for embarassing stories…
    The best I can think of was falling for a hazing in which I spent the better part of an hour looking for a fictious key for the evaporator plants on my first ship. While I did feel foolish in falling for the trick, it was also rather funny.

  37. @ZenMonkey: Oh man, I pulled a similar stunt except I was in high school and wearing a flannel nightgown for the play. I popped right back up but I had whacked myself so hard on the floor that I had some really gnarly bruises the next day.

  38. The way I see it is that if ‘God’ is the kind of being that would order or condone the idea of punishing generations yet unborn for some transgression when even his ‘lowly created humans’ know that is barbaric, then he’s someone I have no interest in worshipping or hanging with.

    I often contrast that with the so-called ‘Christian Right-wing’ prattle about “personal responsibility” to embarrass them. How can God possibly punish someone for an act their great-great grandparent’s did when “personal responsibility” is allegedly so important to them? ;-)

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