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