Jerry Falwell: Still Dead
The only thing lower than kicking a man when he’s down is kicking a man when he’s dead. So we should note up front that we’re about to tread pretty damn low here.
But so what? Come to think of it, with the imbecilicities embodied by Falwell still infecting the American consciousness (and threatening to crush John McCain’s frail little mole shoulders), I can’t think of a good reason why we shouldn’t unearth Falwell’s decomposing corpse, kick it around a bit, and shake the maggots out. (Maybe feed ‘em to robo-pastor Joel Osteen’s ravenous, outsized ego.)
So to mark the one year anniversary of Jerry Falwell’s expiration, we share this heartfelt tribute to the only man who’s ever made Pat Robertson look sane by comparison. Nevermind Wright and Hagee. On to bigger Jesus fish to fry . . .
The general consensus among the journalists responsible for the mawkish obituaries that littered newsstands one year ago was that Falwell, for all his unrepentant depravity, was redeemed to a certain extent because he was utterly sincere in the mind-bending, honky-baiting twaddle he propagated.
Who knows? Maybe he was. Maybe his insanity was so complete that he actually believed that the ACLU and the pagans and the feminists were responsible for 9/11. Maybe he was speaking from whatever black, pus-filled organ that passed for his heart when he warned, “AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.” Maybe. But issues regarding the man’s sincerity are irrelevant.
What is relevant is that Jerry Laymon Falwell has slid off this mortal plane and that the world is a better, saner place because of it. His bizarre sermons—no matter how varied in topic, scope, or tone—always had one thing in common: the unstated goal of these jabberings was to transmogrify the worst in human nature (stupidity, bigotry, mindless fanaticism) into unassailable virtues and to take the best traits demonstrated by mankind (love of truth, reason, sense of liberty, instinct for progress) and transform them into sinful proclivities and sources of shame.
From his bully pulpit, he compelled his sheep to cast aside their logic and critical thinking, to disregard notions of sensible tolerance, to embrace mind-poisoning fairy tales, to regard as evil all manifestations of happiness/pleasure, and to submit their wills to his marauding herd of yokels. In short, to renounce their virtues and to sully life itself.
It is impossible to conjure any means or ends more evil than the above mentioned. Falwell was not merely a symptom of evil, he was an embodiment of evil— a leering, lurching mascot of every deficiency plaguing our species ad infinitum. Power lust? Check. Willful deceit? Check. Propagation of hate? Check. Of ignorance? Check. War-mongering? Check. Aversion to reason and science? Double-check.
His power-lust—and the mystic swill he spat to that end—was borne from a striking lack of integrity, independence, and intellect. Unable to raise himself to even the remotest level of self-respectability, he sought instead to reduce other men to superstitious animals. In lieu of generating his own ideas, he digested archaic religious dogmas and shat their distilled poisons unto his victims. Simply smear some tripe on your resume about being a “spokesman for God” and you, too, can attain reasonable wealth without having to endure the toils of honest work. And while it would be merciful to paint his victims as mere innocents swindled by forces beyond their ken, it wouldn’t be just.
Let’s not mince words or fear accusations of elitism: Jerry Falwell’s followers were a discomforting assortment of excitable and dim-witted rustic rabble. With their fetish for victimhood and flare for melodramatics, they constantly mewled and complained that a nefarious element (be it the “liberal” media, academia, the Jews, Hollywood, homosexuals, immigrants, etc.) sought to “destroy their way of life,” a phrase they defined and redefined at their convenience, depending on the “aggressor” at hand. A sinister legion of baffled white males was thence able to play the victim card, despite having been granted, by birth, every conceivable societal advantage in the history of human folly. There are few things on this planet sorrier than a 35-year-old Georgia cracker pointing to his Confederate flag-emblazoned T-shirt, bitching about his stake in life, and rambling vaguely about “rebel pride.”
These are the kin Falwell and his ilk have wrought, the half-wits John Hagee continues to pander to, and the votes McCain will need to shore up in order to win the presidency. It’s difficult to watch Larry the Cable Guy today and not envision him as the love-child of a decadent love tryst between Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson circa 1966.
The image of Pat Robertson perched nude on a pulpit in such a position to better receive Jerry Falwell’s seed is not a pleasant image for a sane person to ponder. Both men are objectively ghoulish. And their mutual ghoulishness, it could be argued, is no coincidence.
It’s been said that a man’s face is a window into his soul. Jerry Falwell provided favorable evidence for this aphorism. More over, his entire body had a languid plumpness to it and was aptly shaped like a rotting pear. His skin was a sickly, pasty hue that hung from his frame like a flaccid, water-logged tarp. The poor bastard no doubt suffered from malaise, of both mind and spirit. His condescending smirk and smug eyes betrayed a degree of self-loathing rivaled only by Dick Cheney’s.
His incurable self-loathing should come as no surprise. The Reverend was such a grotesque caricature of self-righteous chicanery that—even as his heart pumped its last fatally sporadic beat and the final images of a squandered existence evaporated in the synapses of his withering brain—there is no doubt that even Jerry Falwell hated Jerry Falwell.