Friday, May 18, 2007

Jerry Falwell and the Hitchenizing lefty blogs

I really enjoy the snarky blogs on the left, even while I vacillate between being snarky myself over climate change versus trying to persuade the other side. Sadly No is a great example of one of the best blogs using attack humor to ridicule the powerful people who very much deserve it.

But ridiculing someone who's just died and expressing joy at his death seems a little different. These blogs are following the Christopher Hitchens path of taking the occasion of a famous person's death to launch the most vitriolic attacks possible. Hitchens did it with Mother Theresa and many other people, and of course he's got something out on Falwell right now.

I can't condemn the lefty blogs as being completely wrong. Falwell admittedly did a lot of damage, and it's easy for me to react like this when I'm not part of the demographic he often attacked. My friend Junichi acknowledges the problem, and bloggers who simply quote Falwell to respond to one-sided accolades also have a point.

Still. There are some people out there who mourn Falwell as a grandfather or friend, not just a political ally, and while ridiculing the powerful is fine, a dead man isn't powerful and can't even respond. I'd let it go, at least right now.

Also missing from both the Falwell hero-worship and the attack post responses is that Falwell sometimes apologized for the worst things he said. And then, sometimes, repeated them.

There's an interesting science fiction book called Speaker for the Dead, featuring a type of eulogy where the "speech is not an apology, but rather a way to understand the person as a whole, including any flaws or misdeeds." Seems to me like a better way to go about it.

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