Dancing On Falwell's Grave...
Posted By E
I've always wondered from whence comes this prohibition against speaking ill of the dead. I realize that there are extreme exceptions --Hitler, Jeffrey Dahmer, etc.-- but why do so many people suddenly equivocate and/or behave in a conciliatory manner when their adversaries assume room temperature?
It's a time-honored tradition too, this "de mortuis nil nisi bonum
" thing. I don't get it. If they were a blight upon humanity when they were alive, it's not like taking a dirtnap suddenly absolves them of the damage they inflicted.
As embarrassing as it is to admit, I briefly felt a twinge of something
when Falwell died. I certainly couldn't characterize it as sadness per se. Perhaps more a form of regret. As loathsome as I found Falwell --both as a person and a public figure-- I do
think that perhaps every person's death diminishes us a tiny bit. Perhaps I'm a Pollyanna because I always hold out just the tiniest bit of hope that even someone as preternaturally evil and dark-hearted as Falwell can see the error of their ways at some point and find redemption (or something like it.) I think George Wallace may have acheived that before his death --but he too was such a huckster and charlatan it's hard to know for sure.
It's also possible that the twinge I felt came from a different set of emotions... Few things in life would have made me happier than to see Falwell live long enough to watch his Machiavellian dreams and schemes fall to ruination, and for him to see his twisted vision for America die, for once and for all, never to be realized. Unfortunately, that goal will probably not be acheived even in my lifetime, so I shall have to be satisfied that we are simply rid of him.
Nonetheless, and tiny twinge of regret notwithstanding, I still did The Happy Dance in my cubicle at work when I heard that he had ceased to exist.
Hunter S. Thompson --who obviously wasn't reticent about much of anything in life-- certainly spoke his
mind after Nixon's death. I always loved this quote:
"If the right people had been in charge of Nixon's funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin."
I feel the same way about Falwell. The ignorance and prejudice he championed, and the damage he inflicted on the American psyche and on our public discourse will undoubtedly continue to reverberate for years to come.
He was, to put it bluntly, a bad man. I rejoice that he is dead.
Labels: death, obituary, religion
Apropos of nothing…
Posted by C
Note: This is a true story. But it happened more than twenty years ago, so the statute of limitations has long since expired.
An old friend of mine was leaving a bar one night. The bar sits on the edge of a deep, rocky ravine. (This will be important later.)
Now, let me tell you about Ric. Ric is a great guy: smart, funny, and generous to a fault. He’s also a scruffy looking biker, big, and unusually strong. He never worked out as far as I know. He’s just one of those guys who got big arms and shoulders the same way he got a masculine jaw: he grew up, and there they were. The point is that if you don’t know him, and have any reason to be on the defensive, you might find him a little intimidating.
Well, Ric comes swaggering out the back door of this bar, looking to climb on his Harley and mosey along home, when he finds he has inadvertently walked into a bust in progress-- two young cops are there, and one is busy putting cuffs on somebody.
Now, if you’ve ever interacted with cops in L.A. then you know they aren’t the brightest bunch of guys. In fact, the L.A. Police Academy actively weeds out the smarties. They want guys who’ll act first and ask questions later, for obvious reasons.
Well, as you might expect, the cop not busy putting cuffs on somebody takes one look at Ric, and decides that Ric must some how be involved in whatever it is the guy they were arresting had been doing. Remember: Ric’s a scruffy looking biker.
So the cop starts to pull out his billy club.
Now, this doesn’t sit well with Ric. Ric has a well developed sense of self-preservation, and people in L.A. have known for generations before the Rodney King incident what L.A. cops tend to do with their billy clubs at the drop of a hat. So by the time the billy club is raised, Ric has one hand on it. He wants an opportunity to talk, to diffuse the situation before it escalates into something unfortunate.
The cop, startled by this affront to his authority, and perhaps made a bit nervous by it, takes a step backward.
He tumbles into that deep, rocky ravine mentioned earlier.
Probably he was injured.
Of course he let go of the billy club.
The second cop looks over, and what does he see? His partner is gone, and there’s a big, scruffy looking biker standing there with his partner’s billy club in his hand.
So the cop reaches for his gun.
Ric thinks fast: If the cop is allowed to pull his gun, he may shoot. If he doesn’t shoot, he will certainly arrest Ric, charges will be pressed, and Ric will undoubtedly do jail time. Ric’s sense of justice, not to mention his sense of self-preservation, just can’t allow that to happen. There is only one thing he can do, and he does it. Before the cop can pull his gun, Ric uses the billy club to give him a little poke in the chest, which causes him to step backwards...
The second cop tumbles into that deep, rocky ravine, where his partner is waiting for him.
Probably he was injured.
Ric climbs on his motorcycle and leaves. He doesn’t stop until he’s in San Diego, two counties away. He doesn’t come home for weeks, until he is satisfied-- by the fact that no one has come to his home looking for him-- that he was not identified.
I'll always wonder what went into the report those cops filed on the incident.
Labels: Biker, Cops, True Story