Monday, July 23, 2007

Tammy Faye 1942-2007

Tammy Faye in one of her prettier moments

When Dale first told me that Tammy Faye was going to do a live interview on Larry King while she was very sick, I laughed and made some kind of joke about her clown makeup.

Today I decided to YouTube her and watch the interview, which as it turns out took place less than 24 hours before she died.


Oh my God, am I a mess.


Let's just say that if I wore Tammy Faye's flavor of eye makeup, I'd have black streaks a mile long down my entire face.


I've always considered myself a reasonably good judge of character. Although I'm sure it's mostly just an "opposites attract" kind of thing, I usually feel drawn to good people. I've never met Tammy Faye in person, but I've always kind of liked her - mainly because she comes across as so genuine. Satan himself would probably have grown tired of faking all that emotion over the years.

Now as every Gentle Reader of this blog surely knows, I derive a substantial amount of enjoyment in poking fun at Kristians (see the footnote to this post for a definition of that term.) But despite the fact that Tammy spent too much of her life in bed with the Kristians, namely her ex-husband Jim Bakker, I don't think she was much of one herself.

For one, she didn't hate fags and dykes nearly enough to be a Kristian. Even way back during her televangelist days in the 1980s, she asked her viewers to stop picking on the gays and urged people to start showing some sympathy and compassion. Tammy even hosted people with AIDS on the PTL show and encouraged Kristians to pray for the sick. ("Sick" as in having a physical disease, not "sick" in the Ted Haggard sense of the word.)

Further, Tammy later developed close friendships with several gay men and even co-hosted a TV talk show with one for a short while. When asked by one of Larry King's viewers why she had chosen to embrace gay people, she replied that they were the ones who showed her the most support during her lowest periods, and that she would always love them for it.

(Ok, so she didn't realize most of this "support" came from the throngs of drag queens and fashionistas out to mock her criminal sense of style. But that's all water under the bridge.)

In short, Tammy Faye was a nice lady. Yes, she was flawed. Yes, she got mixed up with the wrong people for much of her life. Yes, she made a lot of terrible mistakes, some of them bordering on the felonious. Yes, she could have done more to relieve suffering as a devout Christian might be wont to do. And yes, she seemingly acquired her make-up application skills directly from an overfed court jester.


But through it all, she was nice. And that has to count for something. A lot, if you ask me.


Even though Tammy Faye aligned herself with Kristians for too many years, I believe she was always a Christian because she concerned herself with such novel concepts as compassion, trust in the Lord, and the love of Christ. Those are the kinds of things Tammy Faye talked about when discussing her faith. Unlike too many of her Kristian cohorts, she searched for ways to practice her religion without obsessing over whose dick belongs where.

Just think what the world would be like if every Kristian decided to take Tammy Faye's approach while preaching the Gospel.


Rest in peace, Tammy Faye.

24 comments:

KELSO'S NUTS said...

Right on, Coaster Punchman. Agree with you on both Kristians (KKKristians?) and Tammy Faye.

With regard to former, although I am a Humanist Jew [Now, that I live outside the US, I don't feel the need to be so AGGRESSIVELY atheist--I'm somewhat atheist!], I have no problem with any of the teachings of Jesus.

I part company, however, on the Council of Nicaea decision. While Jesus's words are beautful, I don't believe in ANYTHING supernatural.

You hit all the high notes on Tammy Faye.

Thanks for taking my thoughts on Obama seriously, by the way. I have some links on my blog, but I'm not the most professional blogger in the world.

Dale said...

They'd all be in a lot more makeup but busy being better people. I admired Tammy for all the reasons you mentioned. Great post. How much to get you into the makeup?

Melinda June said...

There's a great documentary about her called The Eyes of Tammy Faye. If you have not seen it your really must. Tammy Faye rocked.

Coaster Punchman said...

Oh for God's sake MJ, you're talking to a gay man here.

Beth said...

I was saddened about her death, too. Didn't the Larry King interview break your heart? I wouldn't have recognized her had I not YouTubed it.

I think Tammy Faye stood for what Christianity should stand for: love and acceptance and joy. I think it came through.

Her son lived here for years, running a ministry for the homeless and the forgotten, and we saw Tammy Faye with him once in a restaurant. Everyone was flitting around her, and she was a doll to everyone who spoke. I'm thrilled to say I got to see that makeup from three feet away.

Beautiful post, CP.

KELSO'S NUTS said...

CP:

Are you really gay? If so, why are you trying to impose your "lifestyle" and "agenda" on us normal Amer...wait a second, I live in Panama where gay marriage is legal and there's no bullshit about "lifestyle" this or "agenda" that at all!

I think you're more of a brawler than a counter-puncher, though.

Bubs said...

A very nice tribute C.P. I just heard an older interview on "Fresh Air" earlier today, and was very impressed with her. It's good to believe that there can always be redemption, isn't it?

chelene said...

Nice post, CP. I didn't know much about her until I saw her on the Surreal Life a few years. She was a very sweet person. A little prudish but she was in a house with Ron Jeremy so I can't really blame her there.

Eebie said...

Nice touch CP. You know me well enough to know the rest.

I would like to emphasize that great works like what her son does don't make the news or get on TV. Flashy, bright, and extreme is what is on TV - hardly a definitive statement on the rest.

Tenacious S said...

I have heard that their son is also pretty cool. I have to say this, but, I really did run into Tammy at the mall. Really. I did.In North Carolina in a T. Edwards store. That's all I've got.

Dino aka Katy said...

I saw parts of the Larry King interview they reran after she died and she looked pitiful. I don't know anything about here because she was in the spotlight before I came over here

Flannery Alden said...

Lovely tribute. Rest in peace, indeed, Tammy Fae; you were a peach.

Writeprocrastinator said...

"I think Tammy Faye stood for what Christianity should stand for: love and acceptance and joy. I think it came through."

Well said both Coaster and Beth.

Old Lady said...

I admired that fact, as sick as she was, she got up, made herself look good and faced the day.

Jake's Mom said...

Didn't care much for the package but I always appreciated her words, especially since she not only spouted them she demonstrated them and living by the words is more proof than mere words alone. It would be good if everyone could live and DO by the "Golden Rules"...what a good fantasy!
Well written CP.

lulu said...

Nicely said.

Grant Miller said...

She also was friends with Ron Jeremy although clueless to his profession.

Tumuli said...

Touching tribute to a memorable lady.

Johnny Yen said...

Nicely stated. I too felt empathy for her-- I respected and appreciated the way she turned away from the hate-filled Kristian minions.

Of course, the ten points I got for her in the Dead Pool vaulted me to second place, so I appreciated her even more.

Creepy said...

The interview was shocking (how sick she looked) and saddening. I would have felt bad for just about anyone in her condition.

Thymm Symmz said...

I have a spiritual connection with Tammy. She was simple, needy, and full of love. She was like my sister, and I loved her. In the early 80's when I was a stock broker I sold bonds for Heritage Village, Jim and Tammy's big Christian Disney World.

BeckEye said...

My roommate owns "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," and Melinda June is right...it rocks. She certainly seemed like quite a lady. It was very sad to see her in such a state on Larry King. I could only watch about 15 seconds of it.

GrizzBabe said...

Well said. Very well said. You're right. More Christians should have Tammy Faye's compassion and tolerance. I'm off to add "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" to my Netflix list.

GrizzBabe said...

Oh, and Beth, I was reading about Tammy Faye's son's church the other day and thought that's the kind of church I want to go to.