Thanks to Fez for pointing out this
of Bill Donohue complaining about eucharist desecration, and YouTube
not pulling videos of people doing same:
Isn’t he adorable? Don’t you just want to pinch his chubby little
In Elbow Room: the Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting,
Daniel Dennett talks about why we want free will in the first place.
One reason is the feeling of being in control of our own lives. If
someone else can make us behave in a particular way, then that person
has power over us, and we don’t like that.
Such control can take the form of withholding food or water unless the
subject does what the person controlling the food says. Or it can be
more subtle, like figuring out what makes a person tick and using that
to one’s advantage. The game of poker is largely based on figuring out
what’ll make your opponent bet or fold, whichever is more advantageous
If you refuse to follow fashion or listen to top 40 music because you
don’t want to be a sheep, then you’re still still being manipulated by
fashion and the top 40 lists.
In the same vein, there’s pushing people’s buttons. This isn’t
terribly mature, but it is fun, and most people go through a
rebellious adolescent phase in which they try to freak their parents
out, whether by listening to the Beatles, Alice Cooper, or Marilyn
Manson, or by getting a tattoo or a piercing, or whatever. Depending
on the reaction, it can be fun to say or do something that’ll set
someone off on a tear, probably because, as Dennett points out, we’re
exercising control over that person.
Bill Donohue has buttons. Big, red, shiny buttons. With flashing LEDs
around them. He’s planted a garden east of Eden, with a big sign
saying “All these trees are yours, but the buttons on the Tree of Bill
Donohue ye shall not push”, with snake-guided tours every weekday.
As I said, making someone freak out just because you can isn’t
terribly mature, but dammit, Bill, if you don’t want people to do it,
at least don’t make it so easy, so entertaining, and oh-so-tempting.