Paragon of hate
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Fred Phelps, a colossal jerk, lived a long life in which even his few admirable achievements (a series of civil rights cases that he filed as an attorney) stemmed from a deeply disagreeable personality (he loved to pick fights with his neighbors). He was the kind of person no one wanted to be around: a lawyer disbarred by his colleagues, a preacher disowned by every denomination he ever espoused, a father rejected by his children–even, in the end, the children who emulate his worst characteristics.
Ordinarily, such a despicable man would not make much of a stir by dying. But Phelps was different from the garden-variety grinch in one important way: he had a thirst for notoriety and a genius for getting it.