I finally got around to reading the widely-celebrated New Yorker article about Megan Phelps-Roper and her departure from the Westboro Baptist Church, a hate group based in Topeka, Kansas.
The article is a fascinating profile of a young woman who transitioned from a committed, utterly brainwashed member of the “church,” to an empathetic, thoughtful member of society at large. It’s a valuable reminder that such transformations are possible even among people you would assume are the least capable of changing.
I was amused by a passage that describes Phelps-Roper’s tentative online relationship with an anonymous “C.G.”, who sparked her interest in a variety of finer things:
He introduced her […] to the novels of David Foster Wallace and Marilynne Robinson. “Hipster shit,” Phelps-Roper said. He turned her on to the Field Notes brand of notebooks. He poked fun at the inelegant fonts that Westboro used for its press releases. After C.G. complimented her on her grammar, she took pains to make sure that her tweets were free of clunky text-message abbreviations.
C.G.? The David Foster Wallace and Field Notes references were enough to draw my thoughts to John Gruber of Daring Fireball. But the additional emphasis on typefaces and correct use of grammar? Come on! It’s J.G., not C.G. Right?
She and C.G. connected as strongly in person as they had online, and they now live together.
OK, maybe C.G. is not J.G. But I bet C.G. also reads Daring Fireball.