"Bryan lived too long, and descended too deeply into the mud, to be taken seriously hereafter by fully literate men, even of the kind who write school-books. There was a scattering of sweet words in his funeral notices, but it was not more than a response to conventional sentimentality. The best verdict the most romantic editorial writer could dredge up, save in the eloquent South, wasn't the general effect that his imbecilities were excused by his earnestness--that under his clowning, as under that of the juggler of Notre Dame, there was the zeal of a steadfast soul. But this was apology, not praise.
This talk of sincerity, I confess, fatigues me. If the fellow was sincere, then so was P.T. Barnum. The word is disgraced and degraded by such uses. He was, in fact, a charlatan, a mountebank, a zany without any shame or dignity. What animated him from end to end of his grotesque career was simply ambition--the ambition of a common man to get his hand upon the collar of his superiors, or, failing that, to get his thumb into their eyes. He was born with a roaring voice, and it had the trick of inflaming half-wits against their betters, that he himself might shine. His last battle will be grossly misunderstood if it is thought of as a mere exercise in fanaticism--that is, if Bryan the Fundamentalist Pope is mistaken for one of the bucolic Fundamentalists. There was much more in it than that, as everyone knows who saw him on the field. What moved him, at bottom, was simply hatred of city men who had laughed at him so long, and brought him at last to so tatterdemalion an estate. He lusted for revenge upon them. He yearned to lead the anthropoid rabble against them, to set Homo neandertalensis upon them, to punish them for the execution they had done upon him by attacking the very vitals of their civilization. He went far beyond the bounds of any merely religious frenzy, however inordinate. When he began denouncing the notion that man is a mammal even some of the hinds at Dayton were agape. And when, brought upon Darrow’s cruel hook, he writhed and tossed in a very fury of malignancy, bawling against the baldest elements of sense and decency like a man frantic--when he came to the tragic climax there were snickers among the hinds as well as hosannas. "
Well, Jerry Falwell passed last week and he engendered a similar lack of good will. I didn't burst into applause or anything on this news, but I was not the least bit bothered and didn't feel any skinner box, society inflicted, knee jerk remorse at the passing of this divisive blowhard. The most extensive denunciation of Falwell was by the Butcher of Broadway himself, Frank Rich, who penned a piece called The Reverend Falwell's Heavenly Timing in the Sunday Times. Bill Maher offered a funnier homage on his show Friday night in a New Rule called "Death isn't always sad."
“Millions of Americans (upon hearing the news) asked, why, why God, why
couldn't you take Pat Robertson with him? Now I know you’re not supposed to
speak ill of the dead, but I think we can make an exception, because speaking
ill of the dead was kind of Jerry Falwell’s hobby. He was the guy who said aids
was God's punishment for homosexuality and 9/11 was brought on by gays,
feminists, pagans and the ACLU, or as I like to call them, my studio