The Corner

Re: The Curious Case of Rev. Falwell & Mr. Winky

Some dispute my attempt to shave the a few inches off the mountain of Falwell-bashing. See Eric Berlin’s generous objection, for example. I stand by what I wrote, but let me be clear: I was never a huge fan of Falwell’s, even if I was never a huge critic either (Peter Lawler strikes the right tone , I think). As I said, I think the whole Tinky-Winky bashing thing was a blunder on Falwell’s part. But the mainstream press so clearly enjoyed the story as a way of ridiculing Falwell and those he represented  (and carrying water for gay rights groups) that it got way out of hand and reflected on them badly. 

And then there’s this, from a reader in the Gay hinterlands (a great name for a bar): 

“Tinky-Winky was a campy icon of gay clubbers in London and New York long before Falwell even knew who Mr.(?) Winky was … But instead, everyone pretended that Falwell had come up with this thing all on his own.” While this may be the case, most of us out here in the vast Gay hinterlands didn’t know about the Teletubby connection until Rev. Falwell made an issue of it. And as soon as he did, I purchased my own Tinky Winky plush doll and propped it in the rear window of my car. As far as I was concerned, it was Jerry Falwell who had given me a brand new Gay icon, and in the process he came off as being extraordinarily silly.

Me: And to this fair point I have no rejoinder.  Though I do wonder: Does the BLM or Census Bureau officially designate certain parts of the country the “gay hinterlands”? I bet there are some nice houses there.