In case you missed the show (and who can blame you, when it’s on at 2 pm, every third Tuesday), I have uploaded past interviews online. Click on the names below to download the interview.
- Author Kristen Den Hartog
- Author Catherine Gildiner
- Author Mary K. Armstrong
- Author Sarah Hampson
- Author Rona Maynard
- Singer/Songwriter Colleen Brown
Many people like to visit Las Vegas for the casinos, exclusive shows and entertainment.
Me, I go for the food.
Las Vegas Hotels have some of the best restaurants in the world.
The Bellagio, for instance for a number of places to indulge your culinary needs. Chef Jean-Philippe Maury’s creations look almost too pretty to eat at Las Vegas’ first truly European-style pastry shop. If you are looking for something to sustain you a little longer, you can choose from their 5 contemporary restaurants – Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge, Sensi, Olives, Fix and Noodles. And if you want the dining experience of a lifetime, The Bellagio has 6 Fine Dining Restaurants, so you can visit one every night of your stay! You’ve probably heard of Le Cirque, but have you heard of Circo, Jasmine, Michael Mina, Picasso and Prime Steakhouse?
What is extraordinary about eating in Vegas is that I have just named 12 places to eat, and that’s not even all of them – all in one single hotel. I’ve barely started telling you all about the amazing food to be had in this bright city!
There’s no way that you can visit all the restaurants you want to in one trip.
So you’re just going to have to make Las Vegas a regular destination from now on.
I am tomorrow’s guest speaker in Alexandra Leggat’s Introduction to the Freelance Business at University of Toronto.
It’s so nice to be able to talk to people about what I do, because I am living the dream and how wonderful to encourage those who want to write to follow their dreams.
Also, it’s nice to have the opportunity to talk to someone, anyone. I mean, it’s just me sitting silently at my computer here all day…
I am so pleased that my book is available in more than book form, as many of you don’t have much time for reading the old-fashioned way anymore.
You can get an e-book version and PDF version, and audiobook – one for your Kindle, one for your mp3 player and now it is available on iTunes. Listen while you’re driving, ironing or cleaning up your inbox.
Listen on your iPad or iPod. iDon’t mind what you use, as long as you listen to it.
There are also a lot more features to come, so stay tuned!
Boogaloo with Ivana Santilli
Copyright © Stephanie Dickison 2010
The room is dim. You can just make out figures standing close. The music starts and all of a sudden, the crowd is one. The movement is contagious. Shake it. Move it. Boogie. That’s right. That’s what I said. Boogie.
It’s been awhile since ‘boogie’ has been the word of the day, but Ivana Santilli is about to change all of that. The sexy lady that can play trumpet, keys and can sing like no other is changing the face of soul. She spoke about her past (Bass is Base) and her present (Corduroy Boogie which has a host of talented contributors such as Kaidi Tatham of Bugz in the Attic, King Britt, Dego of 4Hero, Dwele, James Poyser (the Roots), and Stuart Matthewman (Sade, Sweetback). This album is going to move you and it might just change your life.
Q: Was this album a more positive experience than Brown?
A: Brown was a great experience. It was all the legal and financial complications that happened after the record. It has nothing to do with the artistic side of it..
Q: What happened?
A: Well, my distributor didn’t pay me for my record. And we had to get into some legal dealings with them and when you don’t get paid for some work that you put all your time, money and effort into to, you pretty much end up in a very difficult position. When you invest the money yourself, whatnot, and at the end of it nothing comes back, you’re in a worse situation than you were when you started. You know, financially.
Q: Did you get compensated?
A: No, that’s still pending. It caused for some really, really difficult times. Really difficult. I mean, financially, it’s obvious how that could cause problems. You invest all of your money, your life savings into something and no money comes out of it and you have no money left in the bank. It’s pretty nasty. And then the legal stuff is just wrong, and this idea that it’s something that you own, that you worked towards and earned, like I totally earned those sales and what money was coming to me, and someone kind of takes it from you. It’s the way it’s set up. It’s kind of a lot of details involved, but it’s actually happened to a couple of other people in Canada.
Q: What it the result of the label or the distributor?
A: It was the distributor. It was Song, Corporation and Page. It was mostly Page. That was the difficulty. So it’s still pending. I don’t want to get into the details of it, but what ends up happening on a spiritual level and creative level, is that where music is supposed to be your comfort and your solace and where I find security and confidence in my life, I could no longer go there because that ended up being the source of all my problems and all my pain. Sitting at the keyboard and writing a song just seemed useless and hopeless. That was kind of the downward cycle that I was in for a good long while after Brown. Like Brown I toured for two years, which I was lucky to do, because they say with independent records the life span is about six months. Even with major labels, a year and if it’s a great record, then a year and a half, two. I could even tour this record even up until 2002 I went on a jazz festival tour. It did really well. To me, it was a real success. ‘Cause we didn’t have a huge amount of support by a label or anything, but we reached a lot of people on a very raw level. Then I went through the turmoil of a couple years, and what kind of brought me out of it was I went on a writing trip to Philly and I worked with some people there and it just reminded me how valid I was, and how valid my talent was. And that that’s something that could be taken away from me and it still existed if I could turn to it. And then I went on tour with De La Soul and that just reminded me, just excellence. Just how amazing it can feel to just live up to your potential. And to give, to give again.
Q: Does Brown now have a negative connotation for you because of that?
A: No. There’s no way. See what happened could never do that to me because to me it doesn’t necessarily have to do with the album; it has to do with the industry and how things are set up. It’s business. I can still go back and listen to Brown and think, ‘I’m proud of it.’ I think one of the things after a couple of low periods during that time, but I was coming out of it at the end. One of the things that I learnt after I went through all my turmoil is the whole idea of really trying to separate the business from the music.
Q: I would imagine that’s hard to do.
A: It is. But I managed because I tried to have life outside of music, because all of my friends, everyone I hung out with was in music.
Q: So your life is more even now?
A: It’s more balanced because I have friends outside of the music industry, which is really important. I didn’t realize that importance of that until I went through what I went through.
Q: Do you have good memories of Bass is Base?
A: It was good and bad. When I look back now, it was a very necessary part of my growth. It really helped me evolve. I learnt a lot.
Q: Do you plan on staying in Toronto?
A: I plan on it being one of my homes. My family is here. All of my natural resources are here.
Q: What was touring with De La Soul like?
A: Unbelievable. Honestly, they are legends. To watch them every night and how they carry themselves – they are professional.
Q: What about touring in Japan? Was that completely different?
A: It was wicked. It was seven shows in four days. It was very intense, but as is the culture. They have an incredible work ethic, they’re incredibly professional, efficient, everything, so you can’t help but live up to their standards. Tokyo was especially amazing. We can honestly learn a lot from their culture.
Q: How did you come up with the title, Corduroy Boogie?
A: I like it too, actually. Well, for the first record, I figured the music I was making was, it was very much about a colour. But this time it was more about a texture, because I dug in more, as far as the groove goes. If you look at corduroy, you can grab onto it – and there’s more groove to grab onto on this record, more beat driven. Corduroy at the same time, is always in style, it never goes out of style. And it can be very hot at times – it being the it fabric to wear, but it never goes outta style and that’s the type of music that I want to be making. Like for me, it’s a combination of past and future. And corduroy having a bit of a nostalgic feel to it, because my influences are from the seventies and eighties, but I’m very much moving into the future taking what I’ve learnt from the past.
Q: Why the resistance to drum programming on the album?
A: I’m based in live music. I’m a live musician, and so I play with so many incredible drummers that it kind of felt wrong for a bit to use a machine. It felt a little mechanical at times, when I’ve heard some stuff. But then I started hearing the drum programming coming out of West London and West Germany and Philly – and I was like, what these guys are doing is on another level. It’s actually it’s own instrument so I started appreciating it for its own thing, because it does express a lot of things that maybe you couldn’t necessarily do on the drums. Which is really interesting because it takes groove and beat further.
Q: You did a little drum and bass didn’t you?
A: Yeah, and now I kind of embrace broken beat, which to me, is where drum and bass couldn’t evolve to.
Q: Did you always think trumpet was cool?
A: I don’t think I would put the word cool to it. I just love the instrument. I loved the way it sounded. Whenever I walked through a mall and I heard Muzak or whatever, the trumpet would always perk my ear up. Louis Armstrong was one of my favourites and I realized I just adored the sound of the trumpet. One of the reasons I probably chose it is also because it’s loud. I’m the younger of two children so it’s really necessary to be heard. I’m a Leo too, so a boisterous instrument kind of suits me.
Q: You’ve been doing a lot of stuff with jazz festivals. Is that something you still want to do?
A: Yep, definitely. I think jazz festivals have really great audiences. First of all, they’re really well organized and the audiences are really open and they’re very adventurous. They’re willing to, and looking forward to, listening to new music. I think it’s a great forum for a musician to express themselves in because it’s very much a give and take situation.
My purpose is back. I’m living up to my potential again. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and that feels good.
You can vote for the video ‘Deserve’ at http://www.muchmusic.com.
Stalking Rick Mercer
Copyright © Stephanie Dickison 2006.
I have a thing for celebrities. I know that they are just regular folks spending their days making music videos, television shows and movies. But they have something that the regular person is lacking. That special something. That’s what’s fascinating.
I live in a neighbourhood that houses a lot of celebrities. But none more fascinating than Toronto’s own Rick Mercer. He is not only sexy, but smart. He can talk politics at the drop of a hat and has no fear in talking to anyone – He has skated with Belinda Stronach and driven a huge oil rig. What is there left to do, Rick?
So, it is with this fascination that I spent a couple of months observing Rick Mercer, the man behind the celebrity. You know, for strictly anthropological purposes.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005.
Rick leaves the house with blue recycling box in hand. He drops it at the lawn’s corner and walks east to where our neighbourhood’s shops and cafes are. I see that he is a big white wine drinker.
Tsk tsk, Rick. And on a work night too… Does Gerald know about this?
Thursday, October 27, 2005.
Apparently the Mercer accountant has visited because there is a large, clear plastic bag filled with shredded documents. Rick, don’t you trust your neighbours? We are Canadians, politely appreciating you from afar, giving your space and privacy. What is that? $400 for appetizers and drinks at Jamie Kennedy’s? Or is it, it couldn’t be $4,000?!? Where is my scotch tape?
Sunday, November 6, 2005.
On my nightly walk, I pass by Rick’s house. The light’s are out, his car is gone. Hmm. He has Monday Report to do. Why isn’t at home working? Where could he be? Is he all right? Maybe he’s just napping. I walk as lightly as possible to the side window, which I gather is his living room. I try not to crunch down into the driveway as I press up on my tippy toes. I can’t see anything but a couch and a piano. I wonder if he plays. He doesn’t really have the hands for it, but I bet he has a musical ear, can play anything that he’s heard only once. I think he did play once for Paul Martin, now that I think of it.
I move down the driveway, peering in windows, looking for clues. There is a note on the refrigerator, held up by a very expensive magnet (he really must learn to manage his money better). Are these instructions for the housekeeper while he is away? I can’t read it and have left my Land’s End binoculars at home. Think, Dickison. Think. Did I absorb all of that military training for nothing? I take out a meal replacement bar. It’s going to be a long night.
Later that same Sunday, November 6, 2005.
It’s 2:36 a.m. and I am awakened by a car on approach down the driveway. I scatter into the nearby bush (Sheridan Gardens Blue Fir – $290). I don’t want to bother Rick. He’s just a regular guy like you and I. He gets out of his car (Saab – 1999), takes out his keys (Key fob includes an Esso swipe key, a Newfoundland flag and a picture of Jack Layton) and approaches the front door. I come out of the bush, arms flailing, and wailing like a baby bird shrieking for food. I run all the way home.
Monday, November 7, 2005.
I take a new route to the store today. Just for today. No reason, really. Just wanted a change is all. Is that Rick Mercer buying water at Sam’s Milk? What kind of water does he like? Is he a Fiji man like Jennifer Aniston, or does he like old school evian like Rachel McAdams? I reach into my pocket for my binoculars…
YOU’VE GOT MAIL
Copyright © Stephanie Dickison 2006.
It starts off innocently enough. You check your email for the hockey spreads so you can make your picks before heading home and bing! You’ve got mail! Wouldn’t you like to inherit some money from someone you’ve never met, nor heard of? How about winning an award for something you’ve never done? Would you like to buy some crude oil for a reduced price? It’s going fast!!
You receive a letter containing the words “overinvoiced”, “double invoiced.” Or, maybe a “bequest” left you in a will. Whatever the doublespeak, you are asked for some advance fee to be paid. This may be stated as “Advance Fee”, “Transfer Tax” or “Performance Bond.” The variations are as vast as shapes of pasta. And if you think a one-time payment is all you will need to make, think again! Like the gift that keeps on giving, the letters and requests will keep on coming! No reply card to fill out! Just send us your bank account information and we’ll do this rest! Welcome to the “Nigerian Email Scam.”
This is spam at its worst. Also known as the “419 Scam,” – after the section of the Nigerian penal code which addresses fraud schemes – this not only preys on the weak, elderly and gullible, but snakes into your otherwise intelligent subconscious. What if I don’t reply? Am I missing out on an opportunity? Our egos allow us to think that we are special and that people want to help us. This isn’t an entirely bad thing, but it can lead to trouble. It led a friend of mine to enroll in “Millionaire U” where for $5,000 he learned how to suss out a house worthy of purchasing. Doesn’t sound like a scam? It isn’t, except that for about four days he was inundated with phone calls trying to convince him to extend his credit line to do the $20,000 package. For three days of “schooling.” I too succumbed to the temptation of the get-rich-quick scheme. As a young teen, I was approached to do test shots for film and television. They “saw something” in me. I went, smiled, posed and dreamed of becoming a star. Then they demanded more money for the photos. Ohh.
In order to protect yourself, you need to get cautious about email. A happenstance that has created one of the greatest revolutions in communication history, email has become so commonplace that we’ve become lax, forgetting that our personal notes can be traced, even published, that the words we type aren’t usually those we’d use if face-to-face, and our finances, while assured of the security of on-line banking and business transactions, are still public domain, ripe for hackers, stalkers, and grifters to take advantage of you, to steal your hard-earned cash.
In this email correscamdence, not only will a “business man” try and separate you and your wallet, he will try to lure you into the country (where bribed customs officer let you in without a passport). Then, once in the country and under foreign laws, you are left helpless, without counsel and only your tears and empty wallet to fall asleep on. That is, if you are not found missing or dead.
Anywhere between the third and fifth largest industry in Nigeria, this scheme has bilked thousands of people out of millions of dollars. Circulating for a number of years, the internet has allowed the perpetrators not only to target more people, but has sped up the process of completing the transactions. In heavily disguised letters with official stamps, seals and logos, “proving” the authenticity of their proposal, you will be asked to send them blank company letterhead, forms and provide bank account, telephone and fax numbers. Hopefully, you will be able to see through all of us. However, the tricksters have one incredible card up their sleeve. Time pressure. Making all of this URGENT and NEEDING IMMEDIATE ATTENTION leaves you struggling to make sense of it all. You make rash decisions, which is when these costly mistakes occur.
An example of an email you may receive:
BUSINESS TRANSFER OF US$25.5M ( TWENTY FIVE MILLION
FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS ONLY)
I am the New Auditor General to Audit Government
Account for this 2002 year budget, during my
auditing, I discovered that there was an over invoiced
amount of US$25.5 Million, in United States Dollars
The above amount is floating after my auditing,since
it was an over – invoice amount, this means that the
money is from a contract executed by a Foreigner and
the real contract sum was paid remaining the floating
amount of US$25.5M.
Based on this development, I cannot claim this money
except with the help of a Foreign Partner, this is my
main reasons for contacting you. Now , I got your
contact from your Country’s profile abroad and
I reserve your contact for this kind of transaction
What you have to do is to send a reply mail telling me
that you are interested in this transaction and trust
worthy to handle this transaction for me, because I
will put your company’s name as the Contractor that
executed the contract before and the money will be
wired transferred to your bank account, I will then
travel to meet you in your country for my own share
when this amount is wired to your account.
I would have travel out to open an account myself for
this transfer, but as a Civil Servant I am not allowed
to operate foreign bank account while in services ,
hence the need for an overseas partner.
According to The 419 Coalition, a group formed for the purpose of alerting others to the dangers of this scam, the five rules for doing business with Nigeria are:
1. NEVER pay anything up front for ANY reason.
2. NEVER extend credit for ANY reason.
3. NEVER do ANYTHING until their check clears.
4. NEVER expect ANY help from the Nigerian Government.
5. NEVER rely on YOUR Government to bail you out.
Now, here are my own email rules.
1. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Doing business overseas via email spells d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r.
3. If you want to make a lot of money, figure out an honest way to do it. People aren’t going to come out from nowhere and just offer it to you. Unless of course, they’re Ed McMahon.
4. Unsolicited email should always be viewed with extreme caution. Put your checkbook away. Far, far away.
5. Use email for checking in with friends and family and the bank for monetary transactions. Now go enjoy a life of pleasure where “email scam” is just something you hear happening to other people and isn’t something you pay for for the rest of your life.
The Following May Contain Important Information. Viewer Discretion Is Advised
Copyright © Stephanie Dickison 2006.
In a world where Khia can sing unabashedly about “My neck/My back/My pussy and my crack” there are a lot of questions being raised about parental guidance warnings and “viewer discretion is advised” before film and television programming.
Early in 2004, Canada had its own showdown of what happens when the advisory is left out. A pre-recorded segment of the 2003 Juno Awards was aired with Eminem accepting the award for International Album of the Year. His acceptance speech went a little something like this:
“Thank you so much. I am sorry I couldn’t be there right now, but, as you can see, I’m hard at work in the studio picking my fucking ass. I hope to see you soon. Thank you very much.”
According to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, (CBSC) a viewer immediately complained to the CRTC saying, “My children simply wanted to watch Avril (Lavigne) and ended up listening to that. If anyone is ‘picking their fucking ass’, it is the people at CTV.”
During the two-hour broadcast, CTV aired but one viewer advisory eight minutes into the start of the 8 p.m. show. Eminem’s segment was aired over an hour after that.
Is that enough?
The disgruntled viewed didn’t think so, but then again, music videos aren’t subject to this kind of treatment and you know not only the kind of message but language that is used in them. Music videos are sometimes not run because of controversial material – for example, Madonna’s video for American Life originally had an anti-Bush message and was heavily packed with images of war – but somehow they found a way of being released, either on later-night programming like Uncut on BET, or aired after the initial disturbance has quieted down.
The world of video watchers is a much smaller one than those that watch film and television. And this is where it gets difficult. Only certain programming will receive these warnings. While some might believe that sex with mothers and twentysomethings on the O.C. is de rigueur, some might think of it as lewd behaviour. While this is a subjective matter, it is important to keep in mind the kind of world children are growing up in now.
Today’s youth are much more aware of the “other side” of things. Look at what they are exposed to. They have seen Michael Jackson turn from black to white, to a man who loves boys (though recently acquitted of any molestation charges). They have seen Paris Hilton having sex with her then much older boyfriend on the Internet. They have seen the trials and tribulations of the down-and-out lives of Courtney Love, Mary-Kate Olsen and place celebrity-of-the-moment here, crumble right before them. They are watching post-war footage on the evening news, with discarded bodies piled up, rotting in the sun. They are seeing U.S. soldiers being returned home – in body bags. They are privy to images of chaos in the streets of Baghdad. These are no longer our innocent children. These are highly aware individuals who have not been shielded. So should they continue to try to be?
On the already salacious programming over at BET, they have gone one better – BET Uncut, where not only naked parts jiggle and wiggle but simulated sex occurs and while this all happens at the crack of dawn, it just goes to show that the audience of today wants more – more skin, more sex, more of everything. Uncut is on well after kids go to bed and disclaimers are run before any racy videos (wouldn’t that mean they’d have to run them before each one?)
Sex has always been in music, but ever since visuals began to accompany them, there is a whole new, younger audience waiting, wide-eyed.
The Eminem situation aside, the viewer discretion warning is causing a lot of debate and a lot of headaches for industry execs. While the advisories shown during television have quelled a lot of parental concerns, they have acted as an ineffective camouflage due to the amount of times they are shown during a program and when. And then there’s Nipplegate – the incredibly overblown, over-publicized event that happened at last year’s Super Bowl. Janet Jackson flashed a very big, incredibly adorned nipple while performing with Justin Timberlake. There was a huge amount of speculation as to whether it was planned or not. It doesn’t matter now, because the FCC fined all of the CBS affiliates for a total of over half a million dollars, after receiving over 500, 000 calls last year. That forever changed live television and after this year’s Super Bowl, according to mediaweek.com, four people called the FCC about, of all people, performer Paul McCartney (lyrics from 1969′s “Get Back” contain “grass” which the viewers took to mean marijuana). In 2001, Showcase Television broadcast a Spanish film, Caniche from 12:15 to -2:00 a.m. A warning was posted at the beginning of the broadcast, both a voice over and on-screen. Advisories didn’t come on again until the fourth and fifth commercial breaks and were auditory only. It said, “Caniche returns on the Showcase Late Revue. Viewer discretion is advised.”
Why all the fuss about some film called Caniche? Because it is about the complicated relationship between a brother and a sister, Bernardo and Eloisa. And as stated in the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council National Specialty Services Panel brief: “It contains scenes of bestiality and incest and also implies that they kill other dogs to grind up food for Danny.” It went on to list many other examples where sex and dogs and death intermingle.
So, it’s not your usual Friday night TV “Guys Night In” type of flick. But upon watching it for a few minutes, that would be obvious, wouldn’t it?
Well, one viewer was appalled and felt that the things that occurred between humans and animals were “disturbing and of bad taste.” And then he felt that while he disapproved, so should Showcase.
Showcase defended itself for putting the movie on in the first place:
“The decision to air Caniche is consistent with Showcase’s mandate to provide an alternative to other broadcasters’ offerings…”
Poor Showcase. They are merely trying to give audiences a chance to see art movies that they might otherwise never know about. Should they not be allowed because of the subject matter? And how often should we demand that these advisories be shown? After every commercial break? Sure, it sounds good on paper, but imagine sitting and listening to that each time. It is like those 3 minutes in the shower waiting for the conditioner to sink in. It seems like forever, and it’s enough to drive a person mad.
In addition, these warnings sometimes do the exact opposite. Upon seeing the following warning, some might feel compelled to watch because of this warning:
The following program contains scenes of nudity and sexuality. Viewer discretion is advised.
The world of film is slightly different. A ratings system has been in place since November 1, 1968. What you may not know is that it is a “voluntary system” sponsored by the Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners. It “carries no force of law.” It is in place “to provide parents with advance information on films, enabling parents to make judgments on movies they want or do not want their children to see.”
They are part of a specially designed committee called the film rating board of the Classification and Rating Administration. Theme, language, violence, nudity, sex and drug use are among those content areas considered in the decision-making process.
The ratings are as follows: PG General Audience. All ages admitted. PG-13 has a “higher level of intensity” than films rated PG. R contains adult material.
NC-17 (formerly X-rated films): No one 17 and under admitted.
These are as subjective as what you deem “healthy” to eat. What do they mean when they say higher level of intensity? What is “adult” material? Are these the same standards as when the ratings were in place in 1968? PG-13 is new but NC-17 is the same as it ever was, it just has a different name now.
Television has these too. TV-14 means “Parents Strongly Cautioned.” Doesn’t that mean that Bobby maybe shouldn’t be watching it in the first place? And how do you protect your child from all of this? Should you be looking to the ratings to decide what your children should be watching? And if the rating systems are this misaligned about violence, sex and course language, just imagine the messages your children will take from them. What now? Channel blocking?
It is a cacophony of confusing messages that seem to have no real effect on those who are particularly susceptible – children. It is the adults writing in with their fists raised over the programming. And while they may be thinking of the children, it will be years, maybe even decades before we see whether the effects of watching today’s television, movies and music videos had any effect.
Hopefully it’s not too late. Hopefully it’s going to get better, not worse. And hopefully we’ve seen enough half-time nipple for a lifetime.
Copyright © Stephanie Dickison 2006.
“I think Muhammad was a terrorist.”
These words were spoken by Conservative American preacher, Jerry Falwell on a recent segment of “60 Minutes.” If there wasn’t an audible gasp of indignation across the nation, there should have been.
The serial controversialist has since apologized for this and other remarks made during the interview, but this seems to be another case of too little, too late for the specious Baptist. His comments caught some media attention here in North America, but caused such tension between Hindus and Muslims in western India, it led to the death of at least nine people and left more than 140 injured.
Abdullahi An-Na’im, the former head of Human Rights Watch Africa told Newhouse News Service, “Most Muslims will ignore this, but the Islamists, the fundamentalists, the militants will weave this as a scenario between Falwell and Bush.”
As of October 2002, Iranian Muslim clerics have ordered a fatwa, calling for Jerry Falwell, along with Franklin Graham and Pat Robertson. Franklin Graham, son of Billy, said the God of Islam is not the same God as the Christian/Judeo-Christian faith. Robertson posits that Judeo-Christian values are more qualified to govern America that that of Hindus and Muslims.
From the frying pan into the fire. In a nation that is already trembling with fear and terror, we now have a war of words on our hands. This however, is nothing new to the bombastic Falwell.
Not so long ago, September 12th to be exact, the Reverend apologized for comments he made blaming feminists, gays or lesbians for bringing on the terrorists attacks while on “The 700 Club.” Before this, he asserted that Teletubby is gay and the Antichrist is a Jew. The amount of damage done and empty apologies is right up there with those of recent political pundits. After stating that gays and lesbians were responsible for the 9/11 tragedy, Falwell told CNN, “I would never blame any human being except the terrorists, and if I left that impression with gays or lesbians or anyone else, I apologize.” In a world where weather forecasters can make inaccurate predictions regularly and not risk unemployment, there is still a strong following for Hurricane Falwell. His views are so popular, he’s instituted a school where people who share his beliefs can congregate, and now, receive a law degree.
The Liberty University School of Law
“In a nation that, in one generation, has legalized abortion on demand, removed prayer and Bible reading from our schools and more recently attempted to outlaw the Pledge of Allegiance because of the words ‘under God,’ it is high time that we create a law school that will produce men and women who are committed to the Judeo-Christian ethic, the preciousness of human life and the defense of the Judeo-Christian values that formed this great nation.”
The nation’s climate has had little effect on Falwell. His pitch-perfect timing to cause uproars and get away with it continues to be the litmus test for which the country takes on an almost daily basis.
Like Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships, Falwell launches furies that hath no end. In For The Sake of Peace: Seven Paths to Global Harmony – A Buddhist Perspective, Daisaku Ikeda says,
“Eternal peace is a continuum consciously maintained through the interaction of self-restraining individuals within a self-restraining society.”
While Falwell’s appeal may be as a defender of moral rights, his downfall continues to be his inability to take into account what is going on in the world, outside of his palatial walls, and then plays hot potato with who is to blame when his words are contended.
Falwell continues to be in the spotlight due to the devotion of his followers and his own smooth self-promotion. He ignites a nation with a cacophony of lethal verbal vipers and steps away unscathed. A few insincere apologies and he goes right back to his pulpit, virtually without castigation.
Robert Lynde once wrote, “It is a glorious thing to be indifferent to suffering, but only to one’s own suffering.”
This is not only a mystifying quality for a human being to inhabit, but for a preacher of the word, it seems extremely paradoxical. This is what is at the heart of Jerry Falwell. He is a fundamentalist, through and through.
fun·da·men·tal·ism Pronunciation Key (f n d -m n tl- z m)
1. A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.
a. often Fundamentalism An organized, militant Evangelical movement originating in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century in opposition to Protestant Liberalism and secularism, insisting on the inerrancy of Scripture.
b. Adherence to the theology of this movement.
fun da·men tal·ist adj. & n.
fun da·men tal·ist ic adj.
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
It is mandatory that as a sundered nation, we move away from intolerance and become more accepting of those that differ from us, in opinion, dress or language. It is up to the leaders of the world to begin this change. The nation will follow. And if Jerry Falwell refuses to change, then he should not be allowed the (inter)national attention he usually receives. A man who has started war with his mere words, should not be allowed to get the soapbox he stands upon. However, free speech asserts that he is given this right.
For The Sake of Peace also offers the following five principles of peace.
1. Mutual respect of territorial rights
2. Mutual nonaggression
3. Nonintervention in domestic politics
4. Equality and reciprocity
5. Peaceful coexistence.
Perhaps if you and I begin to undertake this task of both tolerance and self-restraint, the rest of the world will follow. Let’s hope so. Jerry Falwell has a big mouth, and an even bigger following. It’s going to take more than a village. It’s going to take a planet. Let’s get started.