Monday, May 21, 2007

Personal Asides: On Falwell, Falsani’s Ignorant Insult Proves His Point about the Culture…The Condoleezza Rice Biography.


Falwell & Falsani.

“When doctors pronounced the Rev. Jerry Laymon Falwell, Sr. dead at 12:40 p.m. EST Tuesday, I was sitting in the departures lounge of the Key West airport in Florida with a dozen other journalists who had just attended a three-day conference on religion and politics.

“As word spread—a producer for National Public Radio got the first call—my colleagues scrambled to their cell phones, BlackBerrys and laptops in preparation to write stories and, as was the case with a few, give radio interviews about the impact of the Rev. Falwell’s death.

“…In fact, my very first thought upon hearing of the Rev. Falwell’s passing was: Good.

“And I didn’t mean ‘good’ in a oh-good-he’s-gone-home-to-be-with-the-Lord kind of way. I meant `good’ as in ‘Ding-dong, the witch is dead.’”

--Cathleen Falsani

Religion Columnist

The Chicago Sun-Times.

I yield to no one in disparagement of the immature, early college-kid, bubble-gum snapping know-nothingness of delayed adolescent (age 37) Falsani. But she does prove what Jerry Falwell decried about the debased public taste. Nor is tastelessness hers alone. She was named “2005 Religion Writer of the Year” by the Religion Newswriters Association: which tells you something about the genre of the religious journalist craft. And you should know that her first book, “The God Factor” which explored the spiritual depth of basketball player Hakeem Olajuwon and Al Sharpton among others “won critical acclaim,” her Wikipedia biography says…cognizant of the fact that Wikipedia says often what its subjects hope to believe. But she has signed with publishing giant Zondervan for two new non-fiction books, has left the religion editorship of her newspaper to be its religion columnist and is up for the prestigious Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year award to be announced this September. Were she to win, it would say a great deal about a calling that not long ago featured writers like Kenneth Woodward and the “Tribune’s” Reverend John Evans.

Falsani’s successes lends validity to Falwell’s frequent criticism of a decadent culture…for which as an exhibit in “religious writing” she is indubitably a pinup. He affixed some of the blame for 9/11 on God’s outrage with homosexuality--which was needlessly selective with so many bad heterosexuals around and for which he apologized. Perhaps if he erred, it was not to have spread blame for decadence including to those who decided to fill a once-great newspaper’s Religious Editor niche with people with no absolutes as Falsani, who dignifies her vacuity with bad Camus imitations. You get Falani when you buy the paper for 50 cents which, when you compare the great reportage that comes from Fran Spielman, an astuteness from Lynn Sweet and an extraordinarily good business section edited by Dan Miller, a sports section equal to none, a QT column filled with superb one-liners, equates to about a penny for Falsani’s thoughts. She’s still overpaid but what the hell.

Falsani’s insult to Falwell (although the piece concludes with a wish his spirit finds peace) should be understood since she moved from street reporter to just the agnostic materialistic relativist “religious writer” type Cruickshank and Cooke wanted her to be…a kicky adolescent whose views are wafer-thin. Falsani might grow up one day—but, then, realistically, she very well might not. One article she did on her mother’s illness and Falsani’s trying to cope with it had promise. Since then, nothing. But hold on: she says she was led to God by watching Jimmy Swaggert whom she despised at the same time.

Talk about being screwed up.

Condoleezza Rice.

A late biography of Condoleezza Rice is “Twice as Good: Condoleezza Rice and Her Path to Power” by Marcus Mabry, chief of correspondents and, believe it, the supervisor of the magazine’s domestic and international bureaus. The fact that Mabry is an African-American is touted to give him some freedom in criticizing Rice in the same tones that the far-left newsmagazine does. It is worthless as a read except for her early years which Mabry delves into with some thoroughness.

The final call on Mabry is this, however, and I treasure it because it reflects the anti-Bush mindset prevalent in liberal Washington. After 9/11 Vice President Dick Cheney went to CIA headquarters and probed about himself in the intelligence files. To Mabry the idea of a political official disturbing the immaculate files of the unelected bureaucracy is appalling. But you have to consider the anomaly: that the one man besides the president who was elected to national office had the temerity to push aside career bureaucrats is regarded by Mabry as an offense against established governmental procedures and highly disturbing.

And the interesting thing is that Mabry doesn’t even perceive the ridiculous objection he makes. Imagine: a nationally elected official having the insolence to go over the heads of the bureaucracy. Incredible!


  1. In order to show your hip-ness, it's not enough to disagree with your fellow man. You have to hate him with the utmost virulence. "Ding dong the witch is dead"? That's religious journalism?

    The kicker is that she hoped that Jerry was in his third day of meetings with God about how it really works. Because, you see, Catherine and God know all.

  2. I cannot take Falsani seriously. I think she sits in a room on a comfortable couch with scented candles, wind chimes and "Oprah" the tube as she writes. A good Falsani column has as much substance as cotton candy. A bad column is like clothing lint collected from the dryer.