Ding Dong

I remember exactly where I was when I heard that Jerry Falwell had died. I had just landed from a cross-country flight and was in a taxi, trying to preserve the pleasure of a six hour newsless cocoon, when I heard on the radio, “delays still on the upper span of the George Washington, the Nets won one at home, and Reverend Jerry Falwell is dead.” My cabbie did not know the words of “Ding, dong the witch is dead,” and seemed mystified when I abruptly stopped my caterwauling rendition and apologized to him for the insult to those good women.
As more of our homophobic nemesi die, and not a moment too soon, I don my Miss Gay Manners pince-nez and humbly recommend one gay etiquette guideline about how best to respond. The old, gray-haired, white guys with the surnames “Reverend,” “Pope” and “Billy” are aging out, dying off, happily
disproving the theory, “He’s just too mean to die.” Like George Bush, they are all concerned about their legacy, and seem to have left sons and scions, mini-me’s
of meanness. Before the next gen of ex-gay proselytizers assume the position, let’s have a moment of silence.
Okay that’s enough.
Reactions to the news of Falwell’s death varied wildly. Some went scurrilous.
Faster than you can say Tinky-Winky, those reactions were quickly spotted in the deep blogosphere. One suspects they were pre-written. Apparently everyone had archived the video of Jerry rocketing down the water slide at the old PTL park. The “What would Jesus Douche?” comments were unnecessary.
Some went nice. Those columns were granted syndicated sanction, as Falwell’s
former foes tried mightily to say the good things they had learned from jousting with Jer. We can love the sinner and hate the sin better than you can any day, etc. They seemed in their own polite way to be trying to adhere to the caution of Moms Mabley, “You have to say good things about the dead. He’s dead. Good.”
Though they tried mightily, their comments were quickly countered by the army of Jerry’s kids claiming that their dear leader didn’t hate gay people. No, see, he was trying to save us from acting on our gayness and going straight to hell. Except for Anne Coulter. She hates everything.
Moderation, as always, is key in these situations. Before the whooping cries of relief and glee, the backslapping congratulations, the celebratory bonfires, I recommend a three day waiting period. This is a quiet time perhaps used for purchasing rainbow bunting. This valuable cooling-off period, seldom used when purchasing a gun in Virginia, for example, is essential to avoid embarrassment. What if you are in the midst of a dancing-on-his-grave performance piece and get word that miraculously Jerry has come again, rolled back the stone, seen his enormous bulbous shadow, and it’s 73 more years of gay-bashing? What then?
But by my calculation, three days have passed and I just finished blow-drying my papier-mâché Tinky-Winky with the big Jerry Falwell head! Good.