Thanks to an immediate national outpouring of common sense, Falwell is now trying to distance himself from the article. Still, earlier this week, his spokesperson insisted that Falwell, who admittedly has never even seen the Teletubbies, was in full agreement with what his organization published.
Of course, you can take three or four isolated facts out of almost anything and use them to convince yourself of any point you'd like to make. As we'll soon see.
But first, let's back up. There are indeed good reasons to fear the Teletubbies. Homosexuality is not one of them.
In the Pre-fab Four's weird little biome, no clear line exists between the natural and synthetic worlds. Both real and man-made light are present; both real and man-made plants abound. Even technology and living flesh are merged, with technology clearly the dominant force. When the pinwheel spins and a TV signal is broadcast, the Teletubbies are helpless to resist. All they can do is stop everything, lamely protest with a futile "uh-oh," and watch passively as their own bodies respond to remote control.
Think about it. If George Orwell's 1984 had included children's TV, this is what it would have looked like.
Looking ahead, it's hard to imagine the Teletubbies generation holding any intuitive qualms about things like human cloning and other genetic tinkering. And intentionally or not, an entire generation of children is being taught by example -- before they've learned to speak, before they can even hold a single critical thought of their own -- that domination from a monolithic media, controlled elsewhere by an insuperable power, is the natural order of things.
That's hardly a democratic lesson.
Not that Jerry Falwell thinks critically about such things.
No, Jerry Falwell says he's a man of God. Which means, of course, that he thinks mostly about sex.
Not all the time, granted.
When not obsessing about Monica Lewinsky and Paula Jones and Tinky Winky, Jerry Falwell occasionally finds time to point out that the anti-Christ is a Jew, rock music is full of backward Satanic messages, and, according to the "Clinton Chronicles" videotape this holy man has enthusiastically hawked, President Clinton may very well command a sinister death squad.
But mostly Jerry Falwell thinks about sex.
Tinky-Winky has a triangle on his head. That's the secret symbol, see.
Right. The producers of the Teletubbies put a secret symbol on top of the character's head. That's how they're keeping it secret.
Don't anybody look at the character's head, shhh, it's a secret. That's our secret hiding place: the top of the character's head.
See, that's how gays communicate secretly. Giant triangles.
Delta Airlines? Gay.
The Kansas City Chiefs? Gay.
The Play button on your CD? Gay.
Fast Forward? Double gay.
But it's a secret. Don't anybody tell.
That way, only the really hip infants are gonna notice an eight-inch triangle on top of one character's head.
Excuse me, but if Jerry Falwell and his evil minions are looking for sex in the Teletubbies, let me help out here:
Dipsy's the one with a 12-inch shaft sprouting out the top of his skull.
What in the hell are these people looking at? See for yourself. Dipsy is the John Holmes of children's television.
It's enough to give a guy a serious case of Antenna Envy.
And that's not all. Check out little Po. Po's head is adorned with... yes, a perfect circle.
Hmm. What could this mean? Twelve-inch shaft... perfect circle... OK, you tell me what's happening on the other side of Teletubbie Hill.
Uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-ohhhhhhhh...
In case you think I exaggerate: next time you're in a video store, pick up a Teletubbies tape and look at the cover. On the very first one I picked up, Po has her legs spread open as wide as possible, like a Hustler centerfold, but smarter-looking.
Still, the character I really feel sorry for is the other one, La-La, who's stuck with that weird yellow spiral coming out of his head. What the hell kind of painful apparatus is that to go carrying around? No wonder Po never goes near him.
La-La has either suffered a frightening impact to his spongy tissue, or that's a giant spirochete on the top of his head. Either way, no Po-jobs for La-La.
So, taking Rev. Falwell at his word, the Teletubbies secret code seems to be:
La-La: diseased, possibly injured, asexual mutant
At least now when you catch your two-year-old reading a copy of Blueboy, you won't have to wonder how it happened.
Finally, just to demonstrate you can pull things out of context to make any case you want to:
It's a fact that people who are unsure of their own sexuality often obsess about the sexuality of others, projecting outward their own innermost feelings. J. Edgar Hoover, for example, was certain everybody else in Washington had sexual habits worthy of blackmail precisely because of his own.
Clinical studies confirm that homophobes are often reacting to unresolved homoerotic feelings of their own (see, for example, "Ellen Is Out: What Took Us So Long," The Scoop for March 20, 1997, currently archived at http://www.goodthink.com/harris/bh.ellen.html).
So. Is Jerry Falwell's interest in Tinky-Winky's sexuality really just his way of trying to tell us something? Is Jerry Falwell secretly gay? Consider the following...
Jerry Falwell's books include
- Church Aflame
- Stepping Out On Faith
- When It Hurts Too Much To Cry
Jerry Falwell personally
- has been voted three times as one of the 10 Most Admired Men in America -- by Good Housekeeping magazine
- tried to put Larry Flynt, one of the world's leading heterosexual pornographers, out of business
- has never had sex with Jessica Hahn
And anagramming the names of Falwell's organizations, we find
LIBERTY CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
Libertine days at rich YMCA
LYNCHBURG BAPTIST COLLEGE
Pat... clench... bugger... Still, boy!
TRINITY UNIVERSITY MAIN CAMPUS
I'm a sly pervert in a muni city bus
And according to his own Web site, Falwell is "regularly seen driving around the [Liberty University] campus in his Suburban truck ... he is affectionately called 'Jerry' by most of the students, many of whom he knows by name."
Clearly (and taken just as misguidedly out of context), Jerry Falwell is at least as great a danger to children as Tinky-Winky.
Parents Alert! indeed.
GOP Senator Arlen Specter made headlines this week by announcing in advance that he intended to cross party lines and vote Not Guilty in the Clinton impeachment proceedings.
Arlen Specter said he didn't think the prosecution theory concerning the Obstruction of Justice charge was proven.
Arlen Specter says the GOP theory is too implausible to believe?
Dudes, 35 years ago Arlen Specter was an attorney for the Warren Commission. Arlen Specter is the guy who invented the Magic Bullet Theory.
To this day, Arlen Specter still says with a straight face that on November 22, 1963, one bullet, Commission Exhibit number 399,
a) swooped down on JFK's motorcade from the Texas School Book Depository, launched by one of the worst shooters to ever serve in the U.S. military from a notoriously inaccurate rifle -- which some of the finest marksmen in the world could operate only poorly, even in rigged tests with practice and major repairs -- on a mission from God...
b) attacked John Kennedy in the back -- punching perfectly-aligned holes in the back of his coat and shirt, both of which are visible in photos of the clothing, and matching the location of the entrance wound on the original autopsy notes -- even though the official entrance wound is a full six inches higher, in the back of JFK's neck -- so either there's two gunmen or JFK was watching Beavis and Butthead and decided to play Cornholio for an instant that wasn't recorded by the Zapruder film...
c) exited the front of Kennedy's throat, leaving a wound every single doctor in Dallas characterized as an entrance wound, which would mean another gunman firing from the front (although gee, it's not like doctors in Dallas know anything about bullet wounds -- Texas is just the only state in the country where you can win a semi-automatic rifle for 25 cents in the crane game at Shoney's, just beneath the fuzzy dice and the big silk heart that says I Wuv You)...
d) proceeded to smash into John Connally's back, although if we accept Connally's own account, not until about 1.6 seconds later, during which time the bullet apparently just... hung out, maybe hovering in midair, waiting for some sort of all-clear signal (during which time, come to think of it, Jackie could have reached over and simply grabbed the bullet out of the air and saved Governor Connally a lot of bother)...
e) suddenly remembered why it was there, slamming into Connally, shattering his fifth rib...
f) proceeded out past the Governor's right nipple and attacked the right wrist, blasting apart the radius bone, one of the hardest bones in the human body...
g) wounded Governor Connally in the left thigh...
h) and remained in the thigh until finally wriggling out of its own volition on arrival at the hospital, to be found not on a stretcher but between layers of a stretcher -- and very possibly not even Connally's stretcher -- managing to clean itself of any trace of blood, bone, tissue, or fabric, and disguise itself sufficiently that the first three men to handle the bullet declined under oath to confirm it was the same one placed into evidence.
Y'know, it's a miracle this bullet isn't still in Dealey Plaza killing people to this very day.
That, in short, is Arlen Specter's Single Bullshit -- er, sorry -- Bullet Theory.
Arlen Specter even says that's it's more than just a theory. Arlen Specter says it's a proven fact.
And even Arlen freaking Specter couldn't vote for the House Managers' case.
I wonder what he thinks about Jerry Falwell's "Clinton Chronicles" tapes...
Bob Harris is a radio commentator, political writer, and humorist who has spoken at almost 300 colleges nationwide.
To receive a free e-mail subscription to The Scoop, just a blank e-mail to BobHarrisemail@example.com.