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Snyde Remarks: A Sincere and Heartfelt Farewell to Falwell

In 1983, Hustler magazine printed a satirical liquor ad that suggested a young Jerry Falwell had lost his virginity via carnal acts with his own mother in a grimy outhouse in the backwoods of Virginia. It was a cheap blow, to be sure, and it would have surely been lost in some obscure wing of the annals of history were it not for Falwell’s subsequent actions.

Outraged, and rightfully so, the Good Reverend sued Hustler for libel and infliction of emotional distress. The whole ordeal became a free speech issue and the case went all the way up to the Supreme Court. Actually, nevermind. The ensuing tale would take pages to write and most people know enough about it already. No need to speculate on whether or not Falwell was indeed a certifiable outhouse-squatting motherfucker. The man died yesterday. So with that in mind—and with every major newspaper in the country ditching Cold Hard Truth in favor of timid sentimentality with regard to this topic—let us turn now to bigger Jesus fish to fry . . .

The general consensus among the journalists responsible for the mawkish, bullshit-stained obituaries presently mocking all notions of historical justice in this morning’s papers is that Falwell, for all his unrepentant depravity, is redeemed to a certain extent because he was utterly sincere in the mind-bending, honky-baiting twaddle he so feverishly propagated. Sure, he may have been a whore, but he was an honest whore.

Well, maybe. Maybe his insanity was so complete and crystallized that his piss-drenched brain 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 he called 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 and lectures—no matter how varied in topic, scope, or tone—always had one thing in common: the underlying and unstated goal of these incessant jabberings was to transmogrify the very 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, virility, 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 unblinkingly believe in absurd ghosts/gods, to disregard notions of sensible tolerance, to embrace mind-poisoning fairy tales, to vehemently loath their own sexuality, 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. Jerry Falwell was not merely a symptom of Evil; he was a certified symbol of it. He was a leering, lurching mascot of every deficiency plaguing our species ad infintum. 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 philosophies, theologies, or ideas, he digested archaic religious dogmas and then shat their distilled poisons unto his victims through the aforementioned sermons, no creativity required. Just smear some mind-bogglingly ridiculous bullshit 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 would hardly be just.

Let us not mince words or fear reprisals of “elitist” accusations: 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 brayed and complained that a nefarious element (be it the “liberal” media, academia, the Jews, Hollywood, homosexuals, or immigrants) 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 thereby given the sanction of victim despite having been granted, by birth, every conceivable societal advantage in the history of human folly. There are few things on this planet sorrier or more disconcerting 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. It is 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 has 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 shone in a sickly, pasty hue and hung from his flaccid frame like a limp, 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.

That he was incurably 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 little doubt that even Jerry Falwell hated Jerry Falwell.


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