Yeah well here in Sydney we were overjoyed recently to play host to a wonderful sounding event by the name of World Youth Day.
Sounds lovely, we have hundreds of thousands of young people marauding around the streets of Sydney. Sounds fucking great.
By which I mean, "Jesus christ, I wish I could afford a plane ticket out of this god forsaken overrun hole, no way I am flying Qantas".
But it gets worse. Who would have thought, in this day and age, something getting worse?
They were all fucking Christians.
Yes here is an event organised by and for the ultra-conservative right wing of the Catholic Church, headed by former Nazi, former head of the modern day inquisition, former collaborator with Central American death squads — the infallible Pope Benedict XVI.
The clergyman formerly known as Ratzinger, which sounds like a "truth in advertising" KFC burger.
World Youth Day was a giant tax-payer funded propaganda and recruitment fiesta for the far-right wing of the Holy Church. Headed, as it is in Sydney by a bloke called George Pell who has declared himself, and you can't make this stuff up, a climate change sceptic.
This guy, Sydney's cardinal, believes that this invisible bloke called God created the world in six days. And there was this woman about 2000 years ago called Mary, who was a virgin, but after being impregnated by God, gave birth to God's son, Jesus.
Jesus could walk on water and turn water into wine. He died, but rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven, which is a magical paradise where those who believe this tale get to spend eternity.
What is more, in order to show your devotion to the immortal miracle worker, followers eat his flesh and drink his blood via magically transformed wafers and wine.
Now, Pell is fine with all of that. No problem whatsover.
But, he informs us, he is sceptical of climate change.
About which there is a growing mountain of hard concrete evidence, dating back two decades.
For climate change doubters, I suggest you try going ice skating at the North Pole this Northern summer. Hint: take floaties.
So, basically hundreds of thousands of young people were going to descend on my god damn city for World Youth Day.
Well, okay I can't say I was altogether pleased. But, I mean, you know, at least it is just one day, right?
The fucking no good lying scum bastards!
World Youth "Day", it seems *actually* goes for six whole days, July 15-20. God is supposed to have created the entire planet in that time. Don't these people have anything better to do? Like praying to God to get working on creating us a new planet pronto?
It is really hard for those not in Sydney for this period to actually grasp what it meant to have the city literally taken over by the pilgrims. Because this was arranged by the state government and paid for too, hundreds of millions of taxpayers dollars handed over for the visit.
Some misguided sinners wanted to protest the pope's stance that condom use, which could save millions in Africa from contracting HIV, was immoral, that homosexuality was a sin and abortion even more so.
Now, I would have thought the eternal damnation that no doubt awaits those who participated in this event would have been punishment enough.
The Church was apparently not willing to wait for divine retribution and got the state to introduce laws that made it a crime punishable by a $5500 fine to annoy a pilgrim.
For fuck's sake, what doesn't annoy these people? Some protesters wanted to go up to pilgrims and hand them condoms. That, apparently, was going to annoy them.
Their repsonse wasn't a rational one of, "Are you serious? For free? You mean I don't have to go the fucking chemist and find other things to buy to make it less embarrassing? Do you have any more?"
No, they found it annoying. Seriously, you just can't please some people.
This situation, unsurprisingly, caused something of a rebellion among Sydney people. The "annoyance" law, which could have conceivably extended to t-shirts people wear that might be offensive to a pilgrim, was widely condemned. The fact that it was introduced by a decrepit, despised, utterly corrupt state government hated for turning Sydney into a police state to host a major war criminal at APEC last year did not help.
It was even struck out by the federal court after activists, from the NoToPope coalition, contested it, as a violation of freedom of speech.
And the irony! It only truly hit home once the pilgrims started arriving.
Annoying? Jesus christ, there were pilgrims absolutely everywhere — they took over whole suburbs and packed out trains.
They constantly sung Christian hymns and songs extremely loudly, while clapping.
They also drove around in gangs hanging out of cars shouting "Jesus loves you!" at people.
Resistance took different forms. Most notable was the 1500-strong protest against the reactionary anti-gay, anti-women, anti-safe-sex policies of the pope.
However, there were plenty of other, less publicised acts. In one suburb, the local community had a brawl to prevent pilgrims destroying their local park by turning it into a campsite.
A friend tells of coming across a tale of a couple of women who, once they heard the annoyance laws had been defeated, spent the day following pilgrims around singing Christian hymns but with obscene lyrics.
Same friend swears he saw a woman get on a train packed full of pilgrims wearing a t-shirt saying "Suck cock for Satan".
I saw two guys at Redfern Station having an intelligent conversation until a train came up with pilgrims. When the doors open they went up and yelled "Piglrims! Where are you from"
"Wow! I've seen the OC!!!"
"Yeah... The OC!!!!! Marissa Cooper!!!!"
Then the train doors closed and they went back to their intelligent conversation without the US pilgrims realising that a game had been played with them.
Some of these people bring their fucked up politics with them too.
Another friend came across some of their propaganda lying in the street.
It was from a right-wing Catholic US group about need of support for young people who suffer from Same Sex Attraction (SSA).
SSA is a big problem, and those who suffer from it need love and moral support. Above all, they need our prayers. Oh, and as sign of love, they should be tortured, via "aversion therapy", to cure them of their affliction.
Some of the signs that your child might be at risk of SSA include not fitting into to well established gender stereotypes. A girl who doesn't like dolls, a boy who does, for example. For such messed up youngsters, love, prayers, and in some cases, torture are most certainly called for.
One sign, the pamphlet informs us, that your son is at risk of suffering from the curse of SSA, is not enjoying sports and/or having poor hand-eye coordination.
Boys, the pamphlet adds, who don't like "rough and tumble" play with other boys are also high risk SSA cases.
Which seems ironic, because common sense suggests the exact opposite.
Going by this logic, if I was to say, "I would really love to have a couple of rounds of some good 'ol rough and tumble with Johnny Depp" that is presumably good healthy sign of good, old fashioned hot blooded heterosexuality.
However, if I add the clarifier "...if only I didn't suffer from such poor hand-eye coordination. I mean, I wouldn't want anyone to suffer an unfortunate and unpleasant injury", only then would I be considered a little suspect and a potential sufferer of SSA.
It is to the particular pilgrims who came to spread this line that I dedicate the title of this post.
Now, it should be pointed out, in the interests of balance, that not all Sydney-siders considered WYD to be such a bad thing.
Brothel owners, for one, seem extremely pleased, reporting a 20% increase in traffic over WYD's duration. They hadn't experienced anything like it since the 2000 Olympics.
“Look inside, look inside your tiny mind, no look a bit harder. Coz we're uninspired, so sick of tired of all the hatred you habour.”