Archive for the ‘Falwell’ Category

May 15, 2007

Jerry and Me

My contempt for Jerry Falwell pales compared to that I feel for his ideological contemporary Ronald Reagan, but I do have a couple of personal recollections–one professional, the other personal.

My very first major controversy over a cartoon took place in 1980, when the Vandalia (Ohio) Chronicle published my send-up of the then-nascent Moral Majority. (You only have to consider the group’s name to understand the level of arrogance and hatred–we’re the majority, so the rest of y’all sit down and shut up–that motivated its leader and followers.)

When the paper’s publisher, who belonged to the Moral Majority himself, saw the cartoon, he hit the roof and demanded that the editor publish an apology. Rather than capitulate, she quit. I was shocked, but she shrugged. “No editor would give into censorship,” she explained. How editors have changed!

Then, last year, I appeared in a split-screen broadcast with the Reverend (who was in Lynchburg, Virginia) during a political debate on Fox or MSNBC, I forget which. Anyway, I was unfailingly polite (I always am, until and unless the other party insults me), sticking only to the issues at hand. Falwell, on the other hand, launched straight into a personal, ad hominem, attack worthy of Mr. Attack Dog, Sean Hannity, himself.

I have to admit it: This oh-so-jaded pundit was surprised. The dude’s a preacher, for God’s sake. Doesn’t he at least have to pretend to act like a civilized human being? Evidently not.

As far as his political legacy goes, Falwell’s was obviously a poisonous one, channeling and giving voice to people who, frankly, aren’t kind or intelligent enough to deserve one. (The uniformed and/or stupid shouldn’t be taken seriously, or vote. You don’t see me talking about sports because, well, I don’t know enough about sports to have anything worth saying in public.)

Falwell was a mean, bitter, very small man, and the world is better off without him.