Bill Totten's Weblog

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Memorial Day Message

The Cheers at Jerry Falwell's Funeral

by Reverend Billy

All our lives - Jerry Falwell has threatened us all with Hell and Damnation, and more 9/11's if we persist in touching each other THERE ... and then he up and dies. There's something unusually smug about using death all your life as a cudgel, and then dying yourself just as your threats begin to lose their sting.

Reverend Falwell's heart attack at his desk has gladdened the hearts of leftish spectators, who have filled the bleachers of an arena around his cross-covered desk and applaud wildly. Falwell falling to the floor of his office has its timing: it happens at the same time as the leak that Wolfowitz will clean out his desk at the World Bank. Our standing ovation is a self- congratulation, that this thirty-year long Hard Right nightmare is lifting.

The real danger from Jerry's death is that observers won't notice that Ronald Reagan never died. Reverend Ronny was the first President who was an out-of-the-closet Ad Man, a shill for the biggest weapons-maker in the world, General Electric. Reverend Ron introduced the 82nd Airborne Division to Adobe Illustrator. Madison Avenue dismissed Pentecostals as rednecks before Ron saved their liberal souls. When Ron came down from the mountain - he didn't have to tell us that anal sex was Saddam's co-pilot in those two jets. After 9/11, Reverend Ronny spoke through Bush and Giuliani: "Either you are a terrorist or you will go shopping ... "

Jerry Falwell whipped up a smorgasbord of eternities, a varietal of apocalypses and his Golgotha was the voting booth. But Reagan gave you heaven right now, at 25% interest per annum. The Shopping God is a more fundamentalist deity than the Jealous Desert God that the Jerrys and Jimmys and Pats brought into the western and southern suburbs. It is a totalizing system. The current war is one product that we purchased, for a trillion bucks, but the commodification comes down into the smallest parts of lives - the nano-marketers are trying to tattoo logos on our chromosomes. Reverend Ronny's superior being is now so ubiquitous that the old right-left political map is sundered, as are dimensions such as up and down, and here and there.

This God is called "Convenience", and "Prosperity", and "America". Let's call Him the God of the Monoculture. The God of "America As The Ultimate One Stop Shopping" Experience. On His shopping list: The daily shipfuls of cars and trucks shoved into the concrete-scape. The two-mile wide tornados that hit us like laser-guided predator drones. And of course, the Polar Bears drowning on the front page. And we're supposed to shop our way out of this? Shop our way out of shopping? Shopping itself is the problem, or, shall we say, The Devil.

What's happening in your neighborhood? We've watched another of our neighbors get back up on the on-ramp, looking for the fifth job in five years. The private tragedies multiply as the storefronts simplify - the same couple dozen logos are everywhere, tortured sleek shapes, swooshes and arches and thunderous puns. It is dawning on the part of our conscience that wants to be a good citizen - this retail economy is brutally primitive, and very religious, in the worst sense. In the Church of Eternal Consumption, our own neighborhood disappears as surely as a village in Iraq.

Consumerism is a way of life that we Americans have chosen. With President Reverend Ronny it was the biggest scariest weapon system in the cold war. We bought it. We buy it. Red Square is now a super mall. But children, it is also our right to refuse to make that purchase in the future. And I believe that there are signs that consumption is slowing down. Local economies are springing up that Wall Street can't find. That's a birth worth cheering about! Change-a-lujah!

Why don't you reward yourself for braving such startling visions of the Shopocalypse with a video starring Sister Laura and The Stop Shopping Gospel Choir singing the First Amendment Song? You can learn this song and others on June 6th at St Mark's Church in the Bowery! More info at

Also see

Bill Totten


Post a Comment

<< Home