It’s never a happy day when somebody dies, no matter how much pain they caused in this world. Even so, it’s hard to resist the urge to celebrate knowing that TV evangelist Jerry Falwell has died at the age of 73. Much like us, Falwell began his career as a media personality broadcasting from his living room.
He built it into a religious empire that included the 24,000-member Thomas Road Baptist Church, the “Old Time Gospel Hour” TV show, and his now bankrupt 9,600 student Liberty University.
Falwell left behind a legacy of hatred, fear and manipulation. Appealing to the darkest psyches of the American Public, he invigorated millions of people to actively vote against their own interests while igniting the fight against gay liberation, universal health care, and civil rights. He exacerbated the sluggish response to the AIDS epidemic and used religion to divide rather than to unite the nation.
After the events of September 11, 2001 he incorrectly blamed the terrorist attacks on American citizens instead of our foreign policy:
“The pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians — who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle — the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’”
When Village Voice columnist Michael Musto said toungue-in-cheek that children’s television character Tinky Winky from the Teletubbies must be gay, Falwell displayed his typical paranoid demeanor by implying that gays were trying to brainwash children by creating overtly gay characters. Why he never accused Sesame Street’s Bert & Ernie as homosexual lovers, Carmen Sandiego as a flasher, or Shaggy from Scooby Doo as a major pothead is beyond me.
In 1997 he stated:
“I do not believe the Republicans or the Democrats have the solution to America’s moral and spiritual dilemma. Only a pervasive and national spiritual awakening can prevent us entering the post-Christian era as we go simultaneously into the 21st century. I believe America is in imminent peril. We are rotting from within.
NEVER trust anyone who tells you you are “rotting from within.” It usually means that they want you to believe you are the cause of your own illness and that they have the cure, which of course they will provide for you at your cost.
Although religious hatred and intolerance are alive and well in America, Falwell’s death may mark an end of an era where religious bigots exert tremendous influence over the American public. It now seems that the Republican party dangles the threat of terrorism to appeal to people’s primal emotions and fears in order to manipulate them.
Sometimes, bigger is definitively not better. Remember the little people KISS tribute band Mini KISS? Now singer Terra Jolé, a four foot two former member of the band has launched her own successful career as Mini Britney Spears. Check out her video on YouTube. We see this as a trend that will catch on, with Mini-Madonna, Mini-RuPaul and Mini-Cher making the rounds at the gay pride events next year. We wish all mini-performers everywhere the best of luck in launching their careers. We’re sure they’ll be a big success.
Gregg Shapiro, Marc Felion and me, Fausto Fernós talk with playwright and actress Pat Kane about her musical play “Pulp” which is inspired by the lesbian pulp-fiction novels of the 1950s. Authors such as Ann Bannon created a whole genre of homoerotic work that thrived under the radar of straight laced 1950s America.
In the 1960s the genre was largely forgotten as lesbian ideals began to change and readers began to focus more on women’s writings and women’s rights rather than on steamy novels. Click here to see some wonderful lesbian Pulp Fiction Cover Art. Thank you Maia for the link!
If you live in Chicago, be sure to check out “Pulp” at the Victory Gardens Theater running through June 3.