The death of Jerry Falwell has occurred, and I'm reminded of Donald Kaul's unflinching denunciation of Richard M. Nixon in the Des Moines Register in the wake of the news of Nixon's death.
But: what are the visual signals of inward insidiousness? I assume, of course, that a man who stands in judgment such as Jerry Falwell did during his public life...
"AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals."...has a certain degree of ancient wrath, such that Jerry Falwell would stand closer to Old Testament Wrathful God than New Testament God.
In reference to 9/11: "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"
Can we see the visual signals? Nathaniel Hawthorne suggests that such an interpretion is both necessary and impossible (in "The Minister's Black Veil").
First, Falwell's face exudes Paleness. His hair is Pale. His suit, like Dick Cheney's, covers an (I imagine) unsightly bodice. The face is jowly, his neck's girth constricted by a tight dress shirt and silk tie.
It's obvious: this man is no Jesus. His thoughts are jumbled. He reacts smarmily, with cheap vengeance, political cleverness. More a Herod than a Jesus. A man with courtiers, not disciples.
Not that there's anything wrong with that per se. But there is when one professes to be Jesus's heir.
Karl Rove sports a similar look, hearkening Emperor Palpatine:
Tom DeLay also, however, the guy's got a winning smile:
One picture scares me regarding the Justice Department scandal, because I believe it illustrates what the next generation of mercenary Rightist political hacks will look like. The picture is of J. Timothy Griffin, who once served as Karl Rove's "opposition researcher" attacking Al Gore:
Mild-mannered, dull, vague, evasive, bad hair, bad suit, bad tie, pale/ruddy skin. An eater of too many carbs and fatty meats; an inveterate drinker of alcohol. He is an Unknown save for his political connections, his "loyalty." Well, he apparently served as a JAG, but why shouldn't we believe his closeness to Karl Rove resulted in even that?
I really don't have much to say at this point, but to point to my boy Alexander Pope, whose The Rape of the Lock satirizes a frivolous court society:
These swell their Prospects and exalt their Pride,
When Offers are disdain'd, and Love deny'd.
Then gay Ideas crowd the vacant Brain;
While Peers and Dukes, and all their sweeping Train,
And Garters, Stars, and Coronets appear,
And in soft Sounds, Your Grace salutes their Ear.