If you were to pour poison into a well, you'd no doubt be left with a "foul well."
If you were to let a self-absorbed Evangelist open his mouth and give him an audience, you'd have Jerry Falwell!
In death as in life, the Reverend Falwell has his admirers as well as dissenters.
"When I have children one day," Samantha Krieger of Dallas, Texas, wrote to CNN.Com, "they will know of the legacy that Dr. Jerry Falwell left. He was a great leader and a hero."
....However it should be noted that Krieger had personal connections to the irrelevant Evangelist. She attended the college he founded, he officiated at her wedding, and her husband was his nurse. (I suspect she's probably named in his will.)
On the other hand, Victoria Kidd of Winchester, Va., wrote to CNN.Com, "The damage he has done to the Christian faith is immeasurable."
Myself, I'm with those people who prefer to think that he has no viable legacy worth mentioning. I concur with Brian Pippinger of St. Petersburg, Fla., who said," He should be erased from every history book and media story."
....With any luck his Moral Majority, the Christian right political movement he founded in 1980, will be interred with him.
I'll remember him not as an influential figure, but as an embarrassment to all God-fearing peoples. If he is to be credited with any semblance of a legacy, let it be that his speeches produced much fodder for comedians world-wide.
Without Falwell's insight, how would we have known that Tinky Winky, the purple Teletubby was gay and as such morally dangerous to our children? Who knew who was really responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks, without Falwell pointing them out? According to him those responsible were none other than: the "pagans," the abortionists, the feminists, the gays and lesbians, the ACLU, People For the American Way, and others who have tried to secularize America.
Let it be remembered that his focus was on issues like gay marriage, which he considered a bigger problem in the USA than child poverty and health care.
It is both funny and ironic that to many, he will be best remembered and forever linked to the Teletubbies!
As for me, there is another thing that I'll remember regarding the late Jerry Falwell. As readers to this blog are well aware, I am an avid fan and practitioner of the literary form, the parody.
I have to admit that I have "read" at least one issue of "Hustler" Magazine. (Such material did happen to become available to U.S. servicemen, especially sailors at sea.)
In a much publicized "libel" case, Falwell sued Larry Flynt, the publisher of Hustler Magazine, for running a parody advertisement featuring the Evangelist as an incestuous drunk. Eventually the Supreme Court ruled in Flynt's favor in a landmark case that strengthened free speech rights in relation to parodies of public figures.
For those not familiar with the case, a reproduction of the advertisement appears below. You can click on the image for a larger view or you can read the transcript of the "interview" with Falwell.
R.I.P. Jerry and thanks for the laughs and an idea for today's post.
Falwell: My first time was in an outhouse outside Lynchburg, Virginia
Interviewer: Wasn’t it a little cramped?
Falwell: Not after I kicked the goat out.
Interviewer: I see. You must tell me all about it.
Falwell: I never really expected to make it with Mom, but then after she showed all the other guys in town such a good time, I figured, "What the hell!"
Interviewer: But your Mom? Isn’t that a little odd?
Falwell: I don’t think so. Looks don’t mean that much to me in a woman.
Interviewer: Go on.
Falwell: Well, we were drunk off our God-fearing asses on Campari, ginger ale and soda—that’s called a Fire and Brimstone—at the time. And Mom looked better than a Baptist whore with a $100 donation
Interviewer: Campari in the crapper with Mom. how interesting.. .Well how was it?
Falwell: The Campari was great but mom passed out before I could come.
Interviewer: Did you ever try it again?
Falwell: Sure. Lots of times. But not in the outhouse. Between Mom and the shit, the flies were too much to bear.
Interviewer: We meant the Campari.
Falwell: Oh, yeah, I always get sloshed before I go to the pulpit. You don’t think I could lay down all that bullshit sober do you?