One of the enjoyable moments last Sunday during the regular three-hour venting of TV gas-bag-dom was the segment that the pussy-footing Tim Russert had on "Meet the Press," a joint appearance of Southern Baptist Mullahs Richard Land (the mastermind behind iVoteValues) and the Very Reverend Jerry Falwell and Sojourners editor Reverend Jim Wallis and the irrepressible Rev. Al Sharpton. I wanted to get the exact words, so I retrieved the transcript.
Russert sez to Falwell, he sez, "Two interesting developments over the last month or so. A report came out that the state with the lowest level of divorce is [ultra-liberal] Massachusetts. The states with the highest level are the so-called Bible Belt in the South." Sharpton interrupted impishly with, "That's because they watch 'Desperate Housewives.' " Which was an important point, and accurate, but also a distraction. Russert pressed on, trying to articulate his question to Falwell: "Why is it that the red states--" Anticipating Russert's impertinence -- we can only assume Russert was going to ask, "Why is it that the red states are such examples of hypocrisy?" -- Falwell himself interrupted, quickly admitting that the South is no more a part of the body of Christ than the North. It took Falwell only a second more to begin to recover his trademark braggadocio: "I would take that poll a little further. Among born-again, Bible-believing Christians who take the Bible as the word of God--" Russert in turn interrupted him, a bit incredulous: "They don't watch 'Desperate Housewives'?" Falwell snapped back, "I hope they don't!"
Hope springs eternal, eh, Reverend Falwell?
I'm something of a connoisseur of hypocrisy, having grown up in the bosom of Southern Baptist posturing in the reddest of red states. The Reverend was pouring vintage swill last Sunday.
Perhaps the current uproar over this TV show from the Religious Right is that they don't like looking into that mirror and seeing their own reflections. If "Desperate Housewives" shows us anything true about American society, it shows us well-coifed Republican women sunk in the dull outcomes of two highly touted Republican "values": wealth and stay-at-home huswifery. Most of the action in "Desperate Housewives" takes place in exactly those locations celebrated in Republican and Christian Right propaganda ... in those perfect big well-kept domiciles owned and operated by George W. Bush voters. Great wealth, great clothes, great cars, great personal grooming, and great sex or drugs or delusion -- take your pick.
We will continue to watch "Desperate Housewives" for the altogether revealing image it reflects back of "red America."