Thursday, May 17, 2007

Belated Opinions About a Passing

It's not that I didn't have an opinion of Jerry Falwell. I thought he was a blathering, self-righteous jackass. I think that qualifies as an opinion. I just don't think one person should ever be given too much credit for their influence. Falwell was powerful because millions of people are eager to be led by the bigoted, superstitious, and megalomaniacal, and he didn't make them that way. If people were more capable of recognizing a clown as a clown, he would have never been as powerful as he was.

I also find it's a good rule of thumb to not strongly denigrate people right after their death, as that seems a fairly pointless and crass time to do it. But then I saw Christopher Hitchens talking to Sean Hannity, and realized that in this case denigration just serves as a counterbalance to the ridiculously positive (and sometimes inaccurate) things that often get said about someone after they shake their mortal coil. Watching Hannity, a mindless rabble-rouser, try to play the "let's just be decent in the face of bad news" role is infuriating, and to watch Hitchens give him what for is incredibly satisfying.

Hitchens is also in fine form in this clip (Via Pharyngula):

Finally, there are some more entertaining thoughts about Falwell over at Martini Ministry:
I was watching some news channel yesterday when Falwell’s condition was downgraded to "dead" and the two people on there were talking about the public Falwell being very different from the private one. Like the blowhard we saw on t.v. was all an act. He was Marilyn in public and Norma Jean at home. A judgmental, false-authority-wielding joke to America, but at home, he was manning the barbecue pit at the PFLAG cookout and volunteering for Planned Parenthood.