Warning: Some foul language and references regarding an item of clothing that may offend some readers.
Last weekend, I met Cradle of Filth for a second time before seeing them play the entirety of their Elizabeth Bathory inspired concept album, “Cruelty and the Beast”.
If you’re not familiar with the extreme metal band, you may be familiar with the notorious “Masturbating Vestal” shirt they have sold since 1997 depicting…well…a masturbating vestal/nun on the front and the slogan “Jesus is a cunt” on the back.
Being a casual Cradle of Filth fan with a husband whose musical tastes were forever shaped by Dani Filth’s high pitched screams scaring the shit out of him the first time he heard it, there was no doubt we would be purchasing this shirt at some point. It was a question of, “Am I brave enough to wear this shirt out in public or will it become highly offensive pajamas?”
As I’m waiting in line for our meet and greet with the band, I checked my phone. Once every couple months or so, I make the mistake of looking up what “The Dicktator” has been up to and I found that lately he’s been advising people who catch Covid to take Ivermectin. I get that he’s a sheep in Jesus’ flock, but that doesn’t mean he should be telling other Christians to take livestock medication. So I’ve been reporting his horrible medical advice to Facebook repeatedly whenever I can.
In that moment, a mental lightbulb flickered on and I realized where I could wear that masturbating vestal shirt. Every week, Brian makes a post about how “We’ll be at the Blair Death Mill on Tues”. Maybe I wasn’t brave enough to wear the shirt to the mall or a restaurant, but I could definitely imagine myself wearing it while walking past Christian zealots outside of the Planned Parenthood clinic. These sorts of people nearly shat a brick over my Picket Rick sign telling them to “shut the fuck up” about their antiabortion agenda. Who knows how they would react to a shirt that calls their Savior a cunt and depicts a Bride of Christ ringing Satan’s doorbell and I relished at the thought of their potential horrified reaction.
We bought that shirt after the meet and greet with great excitement.
The following Tuesday, my anxiety and insomnia had utterly worn me out so I took the day off. I still couldn’t sleep, though. I finally gave up and said, “Fuck it. Today’s the day!” I put the Cradle of Filth shirt on like I was putting on battle armor, threw on my husband’s less offensive Cruelty and the Beast hoodie so I could get some glazer donuts from Kwik Trip for the employees, and drove to Blair.
I had never been to the Blair Planned Parenthood before and I had trouble finding it. Google Maps was telling me it was a small, brick, non-descript, office building that looked absolutely nothing like what was shown in the street view. There weren’t any protesters outside like Brian said there would be so I thought I was at the wrong place. After circling around the block several times, I ended up in the back lot of the building ready to give up and go home when I saw a paper sign on a glass door with a blue Planned Parenthood logo. I follow the signs while winding through the empty hallways before I finally reach a desk with a secretary I sort of recognized, but didn’t know by name.
And boy, did the secretary spill some antiabortion protester tea.
In the English language, the word “we” is used by the speaker to refer to himself or herself and at least one other person. Therefore, when Brian says “we’ll be at the death mill” it gives the impression he will be there, too. However, Brian either fails to grasp the English language or is lying about his presence at the clinic as he neglects to mention that “we” doesn’t include him because he still has about three years left on a four year a restraining order against him by the head nurse practitioner for making threatening comments towards her. The “we” is actually his wife, two daughters, and anyone they can get to come with them (who he refers to as “warriors-in-training”).
Yet despite not actually being there, he talks about things that happened at the clinic as if he had been there the whole time. The secretary checks his public Facebook page regularly to see if they’ll be at the clinic. She explained that his clinic stories are what other protesters told him since he’s not actually there and he tends to exaggerate or outright lie about what happens during their picketing. For example, he commented about reaching out to a lot of people going to the clinic on a day when nobody came as the only two appointments they had were through telehealth.
Another instance was regarding the clinic’s upcoming closure. Yes, unfortunately, the two satellite locations are closing due to most of their patients traveling to the main location in La Crosse anyways and Planned Parenthood putting more focus into telehealth. The comment Brian made under one of his “death mill” announcements claims that “On a positive note, an employee told us that they are closing in the next week or two—hallelujah! Praise God!” That comment was made back in August and the clinic is not closing until November. According to the secretary, he wasn’t even at the clinic because of the restraining order and none of the employees had spoken to the other protesters about the clinic’s closure. That same comment he made also claims a woman came out of the clinic boasting that she had “just murdered her baby” and that the nurse practitioner was laughing “treating it as a joke”—which sounds like BS since (besides not being there due to a restraining order) the only NP that I know of that works regularly at the satellite clinics is the one that has a restraining order against him and that location doesn’t perform abortions.
This explained why Brian wasn’t there (and that he was being less than truthful about it), but where were the other protesters? Apparently, they typically don’t show up until about 3-3:30 in the afternoon. Though Brian’s posts never stated a time his group would be at the clinic, I assumed they would be there for at least a good chunk of the day due to his zealous devotion to “protecting the unborn” so I had shown up just a little bit before 1pm. If their goal was to intercept as many women as possible to harass them about abortion—a service not offered at that location—and preach the word of their God, it would make more sense to be there for the whole day and not the last hour and a half the clinic is open when there’s considerably less patients. I find it interesting that Brian ranted about the local antiabortion group putting in so little time towards antiabortion efforts when the group he coordinates is only at the clinic for about 19-25% of the time it’s open on the one day a week they operate.
I really should have called to see if the protesters were actually there before wasting the freshness of my offensive band shirt.