DAR'S Obit. for Jerry F.
Ding, dong, the witch is dead. Which old witch? Why, Jerry Falwell, of course.
Falwell's sudden death came as a surprise to many, but, honestly, at least 1 in 10 of us should have seen it coming and been singing the score. The signs were all there. I mean, just 2 weeks ago, Kansas was largely flattened by … twisters! And now Falwell. What else do you need to see, Munchkins emerging from the shrubbery to poke him with a stick?
And events are still unfolding according to script. Two weeks from today, a month-long celebration of Gay Pride in this country kicks off with the May 29 opening of Gay Days at Disneyland. The Magic Kingdom should have a little extra glitter this year without Falwell around to get all icky about cartoon characters he found a little too light in the brushstroke, like Tinky Winky, Spongebob, Bert and Ernie, and even those tap-dancing penguins.
The Gay Pride season culminates on the last Sunday in June, when we commemorate the Stonewall Riots of June 29, 1969. In the wee hours of that morning, police raided the small Greenwich Village bar for a little run-of-the-mill gay harassment -- your typical round 'em up, rough 'em up, feel 'em up, and ship 'em off to jail reminder that the police are here to serve and protect … but not if you're queer. They were surprised to find a small but determined core of resisters. Many of them were drag queens, and many of them of color, and they had come together that night to discuss and grieve the tragic death just days before of troubled diva and gay icon Judy Garland.
It turned out to be a really bad time for the NYPD to pick a fight with the Friends of Dorothy. The resultant riot, the documented police brutality, and the subsequent worldwide publicity paved the way, yellow brick by yellow brick, to the rights that gay
Americans enjoy today and are fighting to gain in the future.
What a story! What timing! Yeah, it would have been a nice touch if a house had dropped from the sky on top of Falwell's head, but even the Lord doesn't work in ways that mysterious.
Much as we might wish otherwise, this ain't Oz, and that's not really a flying monkey living in the White House.
And Jerry Falwell was just a mean old man with a dysfunctional heart that defined him in life and led to his death. He was a shameless huckster who made himself rich by founding a group called the Moral Majority, which was neither, and by robbing from the faithful and the poor to feed his own lust for power.
Still, now that he's dead, there's less hate in the world, and maybe that will translate into fewer hate crimes. And I'd bet good money that the next rainbow you see will be rendered in eye-popping Technicolor.--DAR
The Nation On Falwell:
Tinky Winky to Falwell: 'Bye-Bye'
"Televangelists no live forever?"
So, Goodbye Jerry F.
You were like a fart in the wind...