The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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8:10am on Monday, 6th February, 2006:
When AOL introduced its millions of users onto the Internet, I received several dozen emails from people who objected to the comical depiction on my web site of their "religion". I had written a short piece for children about vampires, which used the word "vampires" many times (OK, 17 times, and "vampire" once). In those pre-Google days, this meant it appeared near the top in search engines. AOL's Internet neophytes stumbled across what I'd written out of context, believed that I was lampooning their (unspecified) religion, and wrote to me to say that they would come and sup my blood if I didn't remove it.
No, really, sup my blood.
Fortunately, I was able to persuade them individually that I thought their religion was just as valid as any other (which, as I'm an atheist, is formally true). However, suppose I had failed, and one or more of them had made good on their threat and actually come round and supped my blood. Would vampirism as an overall belief system have gained respect? Or would it have been regarded as a dangerous creed populated by bullying, crazed zealots eager to inflict their idiosyncratic, baseless views on the rest of us?
In other news, let's BE PREPARED FOR THE REAL HOLOCAUST! — a modern take on the classic "Beware! The end is nigh!".
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Copyright © 2006 Richard Bartle (firstname.lastname@example.org).