Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Beautiful Fall

But it is Spring, you say. Yes, but I'm not talking about that kind of Fall. I am talking about the other kind - where a head hits a desk. They say that it is wrong to speak ill of the dead, and I generally agree. But in this case they are wrong, and today I speak ill.

When I hear the word 'bastard', I think of Jerry Falwell. He was the kind of knee-jerk, opportunistic, anti-intellectual egomaniac that embodies the worst in humanity. If you don't understand the depth of his poisonous effect on American culture (and you enjoyed your lunch but don't relish tasting it again) then don't bother trying to learn about this man.

He was a deceptive, racist sycophant and people like him catalyze the most vicious atrocities that humans are capable of visiting upon one another. He perverted the best tenements of his religion and contorted the words of its text into inhumane positions, taking great pleasure in using these perversions to advocate positions that would - how should I say this - make baby Jesus cry.

He tortured a beautiful philosophy until it cried "Do it to Julia". He was a pimp and a pusher. He was the Stalin to the Lenin. He spun lies from half-truths, knit them into a monstrous evil, and then sold it to the masses. He did as much to harm Christianity as any single man has ever done. He is the reason that atheists and agnostics cringe and scoff when they think of religion. He was the Christian equivalent of a lazy Bin Laden in a fat suit, only more charismatic, dumber, and with a less consistent morality.

If Jerry had been right that there was a hell, he would be in it now. Unfortunately he was probably not, and I will have to accept the fact that rather than suffering for all eternity, he is just gone. Sadly he leaves a legacy of judgementalism and ignorance, and has done a harm to the world that it will take generations of great leaders to undo. Jerry, if you are out there somewhere, burn baby.

17 comments:

Old-Things said...

Okay I know this one has to piss someone off. Bring the vitriol!

Dustinzgirl said...

Personally I think Fallwell was not a servant of God at all.

He was a servant of himself, politics, money and power, but not of God.

Any man with that much power and money will have a hard time living a humble, loving life. Jesus has stated that.

I do not see how Fallwell loved anyone but himself. He sold lies as the word of God for no other reason that sheer greed.

My nana loved him though.

Nikhil said...

Nah. No one would be pissed off by this one. No acid for this one at least. :)

Well he did start or at least "spearhead" a few new things. Fresh as morning breath.

Christian Zionism? Israel? Homosexuality? Clinton? Hustler? premillenniallism?*sigh*

A celebrity, and NOT a reformer or whatever he claimed he was just before he passed away. Prick.

Btw, drop the word verification?

sevenwarlocks said...

I agree.

Some words on Falwell's passing from Christopher Hitchens. No doubt, this was the obit that Hitchens was born to write.

http://www.slate.com/id/2166337/

And here, (cut and paste into browser window) is Hitch telling it like it is on TV. Warning, may cause spontaneous cheering and applause.

http://movies.crooksandliars.com/Anderson-Cooper-Hitchens-Failwell.mov

Gregory A. Becerra said...

What is worst the leader or the follower? There cannot be a leader without followers. We give too much credit to individuals. Society creates niches for people to fill. Sure he's dead, but the niche is still alive in society and will be filled soon enough.

I don't like the idea of anyone dieing or suffering. Don't get me wrong I fully support death, famine, war, and pestilence. But I understand that just a man died, not what he represented.

Ron Southern said...

tenets, not "tenements"

Good post, though. I hated the little monkey with all my heart.

Old-Things said...

Gregory,

I appreciate your point of view, but I think you give too little credit to individuals. Often there is power waiting to be seized and directed, and the first competent leader that steps up will have a huge effect on the future culture of the people he/she leads.

Many historical forces are largely inevitable. But strong leaders can often focus mass energy to a specific end and this can have long lasting effects. Mao, Stalin, and Hitler? How about Pol Pot? Lincoln? Cortez? Peter the Great?

Most people are sheep. You can hold them responsible for following a maniac, but they will do it again tomorrow.

sevenwarlocks said...

The world definitely needs better maniacs. The one thing in the post that I disagree with is the assertion that Christianity is a particularly beautiful philosophy to begin with.

The beatitudes are awesome, but much of what Jesus taught is of a very different character. One point he keeps going back to is that those who refuse to worship him will meet with terrible punishments, death, torture in the afterlife, etc...

I tend to agree with a point J.D. Salinger makes in Frannie and Zoey, that being that the conception many people have of Jesus has been thoroughly confused with Francis of Assisi.

Getting people to follow you by threatening them with torment is, IMO, the least moral way to do so.

Anyway, it’s all right there in the New Testament if anyone is concerned that I'm exaggerating.

Gregory A. Becerra said...

The only reason we remember people like Hitler and Lincoln and all the others is because society creates a position for them to step in to.

Think about Newton. Our society was at a point where we were ready for the theories of calculus. If say Newton got hit by a bus, then Leibnitz would have published the theories soon after. If both were killed then it would have been someone else.

The same would have happened with Hitler or Lincoln. Kill Hitler and history would have another horror to remember. Kill Lincoln and another would have filled the position.

I understand this seems like an odd concept. When we became organized beings we began contending with our own evolutionary process. My theory is that because change must occur we stopped evolving as individuals and evolved into something else: societies.

I'll do a proper post on this in the future to explain it better, but this is enough to explain that my theory is that we as a society create positions for individuals; the particular individual is not very important.

I'll take some more time to explain myself better in the post.

Michelle said...

Umm.. as a foreigner. Who was this guy exactly?

PS..

I've added a list of the blogs I read regularly to my blog and I've put yours on my list.

Old-Things said...

Hi Michelle, thanks for the comment. You can ready an objective description of Jerry Falwell here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_falwell

He was born and died in Lynchburg, Virginia. I live near there, and drive through the place often.

Thanks for linking me!!! It means a lot to me that you would do that.

Old-Things said...

Gregory, I am looking forward to reading your argument. I have to say, it seems fundamentally flawed to me. If you accept that people have free choice, then the way that they choose to lead is also significant. What often happens is that there are several possible leaders for people to choose from during a time of crisis, but the one that is most charismatic/effective for that time and place is also monstrous in some way. I can't see any way to make an argument that another "Lincoln" would have come from nowhere. WWII may have been inevitable but I doubt there would have been death camps without Hitler. And if Stalin wasn't such a brutal bastard there would have been no Mao and no Pol Pot - who were following and embellishing his established m.o. Of course there would have been something else instead, but these 3 together killed upwards of 50 million people.

Gregory A. Becerra said...

I think that you are over-simplifying each of the situations for each individual that you mention. We'd have to pick one and flesh it out, say Hitler.

Now I'm not saying that you kill Hitler before he rises to power and someone will step in at the same exact time. What I am saying is that it will be close, within a few years, maybe plus or minus a decade or two.

I think you and a lot of people have this idea in the back of their mind that evil babies are born and corrupt the world if allowed to prosper. I doubt Hitler was this total epitome of evil that we cast his out to be. Don't get me wrong, he sucked, but he doesn't deserve all the blame. Society deserves to share much of it.

Hitler didn't start out saying he was going to torture and kill Jews and minorities. He used the then current societal fears and envy of the Jewish society, foreigners, communists, etc, to serve his own purpose. The hatred was already in society, he just directed it.

Add to this a Western world coming out of depression that is heavily investing in rising industrial complexes, including Germany.

Evil doesn't just pop up one day. There is a growth process of small steps. Jews and minorities were first discriminated against, used as cheap sources of labor, then finally abused and killed.

While Hitler is the poster boy of the horrors of WWII, the entire Western world shares blame.

Society is like an ocean that ebbs and flows in various directions. A single person cannot hope to change the direction of the world, but a single person can take advantage of a current and guide it.

So I'm sticking to my position (and will post more about it, but it may be a while). Take away Hitler and another one like him would have popped up. Maybe not exactly at the same time and maybe not exactly in the same place, but it would have happened, society had a lot of negative energy in it at this time.

So my argument for the others, both negative and postive people, would be similar. Society was already thinking along a certain line that these individuals capitalized on and directed.

Michelle said...

Thanks for the link.

I nearly didn't make it past the first paragraph. I reached the "fundamentalist" word and was ready to quit there, but then I saw his birth date and got curious.

Sorry - I'm an astrologer so finding out more info on sign types always interests me. He was a Leo (bossy, arrogant, know-all, but sincere) born in a Rooster year (conservative, loud-mouthed, "cocky", but sincere). Fascinating how well he fitted that profile.

I pretty much disagree with every single thing he believed in, but it was interesting to read how some of his arch enemies still liked him as a person. I'm not sure I'd have bothered to get to know him.

I'm glad he apologised for picking on Archbishop Tutu. Old Desmond's one of the few religious figures I actually enjoy listening to because he has the ability to laugh at himself. :)

sevenwarlocks said...

Michelle,

I doubt that any of Falwell’s enemies actually liked him as a person – they were just afraid to speak ill of him. He was a powerful bully and a lot of people just didn’t think it was worth getting on his bad side. Banish any notion that he displayed “Leo” traits – Jerry Falwell wasn’t the least bit sincere. He trafficked in deeply mean-spirited anti-Semitism while encouraging the most extreme fundamentalist Jews in Israel – and this because his base believed that Jews needed to re-occupy all of what they considered to be holy land in order to bring about the Battle of Armageddon and the Apocalypse. (These things being deeply desired by that group.)

These Israeli extremists contributed overwhelmingly to the Palestinian refugee crisis that continues, to this day, to destabilize the region, and indeed the entire world. Falwell also argued, even into the 90’s, in favor of rounding up everyone with HIV and putting them in internment camps. He was the cause of incalculable human suffering, much of which will go on long after him, and he would have done worse if he could have gotten away with it. I make no pretense toward dispassion on this issue; I have known and cared about too many of those whom Falwell would have had destroyed. He was a monster.

He did have a few open critics, however, and I highly recommend the Christopher Hitchens links I post above.

You seem very nice and I don’t normally pick fights with nice people, but since we are discussing the death of this horrible man, I feel obliged to speak not only against Falwell himself, but against the superstition and magical thinking that allows the Falwells of the world to thrive. Science indicates nothing to support astrology. To my mind, at least, logic and reason indicate that there is nothing to it. Compared to fundamentalist Christianity, I think it is relatively harmless, but it ceases to be entirely harmless as soon as you begin using it to guide your actual opinions and decisions. I cringe when I hear people in America who believe that we can combat fundamentalist Islam by surrendering to fundamentalist Christianity. Likewise, astrology may oppose fundamentalist Christianity superficially, but at a deeper level, each system reinforces the belief that truth is to be found in ancient mysticisms that allow for neither verification nor falsification. At any given time, one such system may have more moral adherents than another, but in the long run, all such systems prepare the mind for manipulation and subjugation.

I am a skeptic, and I suppose, to some, a fink, not because I dislike believers, but because I believe that morality cannot, ultimately, be separated from truth. I hold with Voltaire: “If we believe absurdities, we will commit atrocities.”

CharonHatesHerons said...

I couldn't agree more, especially when consider the huge audience that he commanded and the damage he has done to the perception of Christianity in America. After having spent several weeks in Europe, I discovered that a great many well educated Europeans truly believe most Americans are religious fundamentalists hell-bent on bringing their "word of God" to the rest of the world - individual tele-evangelists and opportunists like Fallwell are largely responsible.

Anonymous said...

yo man!these word are great!but,who's Jerry?obwiously,some guy who is not realy by him self,what i want to say,he's,or,he was a very big no one and he had nothing in his head when he said or wrote these things!