Listening exercise
Satirical song: "Jerry Falwell's God" (I)
Words and music by Roy Zimmerman © 2004
Watch and listen to the YouTube video here:

     Roy Zimmerman writes and performs satirical songs. The song chosen for this assignment is, in my view, brilliantly witty. Even more importantly, it offers rich insights into current American politics and society; and since whatever the United States does has such an enormous impact on what happens in the rest of the world, it is well worthwhile to spend some time listening to and figuring out the lyrics of this song.
     The lyrics assume a great deal of background knowledge, so this song will probably be quite difficult at first. You will need to do considerable preparation before being able to understand the song in its entirety. For this reason, we will spend two weeks instead of one on this assignment.
     For the first week, we will work just on (1) collecting information on some of the key references in the song, and (2) trying to catch the words without understanding everything.
      First, do Google searches on the terms listed. Find sites that summarize the information clearly and briefly, and paste in appropriate excerpts in your written answers. Also look up all the vocabulary items you don't know. Bring these two parts of the assignment to class, along with the printed-out vocabulary list, and we will go over them in class to make sure everybody understands everything important mentioned in the song. In addition, write down anything else you find in the lyrics that you don't quite understand and would like to learn more about, so we can cover it in class as well.
     Second, fill in the blanks of the cloze exercise below. When you've done your very best, find the lyrics online and check your work. Keep in mind that in this performance, the words Zimmerman actually sings vary in places from the written lyrics you will find online. Remember to always believe your ears rather than your eyes!
     Once you have the requisite background, you should be able to better understand and appreciate the song. Next week you will have some deeper questions to answer about the lyrics and your thoughts on what Zimmerman is saying in this song.
     You can read the original quotes from Jerry Falwell's appearance on the 700 Club here, and a report on it here. You can read about Falwell's apology for his remarks here.

Use Google to find out who or what the following are:

Jerry Falwell
(don't say "nine-one-one"!)
The 700 Club
Pat Robertson
plague of the seven bowls
five (seven) loaves and two fishes (the feeding of the 5,000)
button that says, "What would Jesus do?" 2
People for the American Way

for the record
skeptics (British: sceptics)
to check out
to be a guest on a show
to leg-press 2000 pounds
to do some intellectual lifting
for the blame to fall on someone
to call in
to say something out loud

Song lyrics:
vengeful and jealous
to tend to
to smite ( = to strike)
to make someone all the more determined to
to show up
to punish
the beard down to here
gossamer wings
spaketh he
Jerry Falwell's god will not be mocked.
heavenly host
to throw a party
black, white, Swedish, Norwegian
the human spectrum
to begin "spaking"
bowling alley
to keep it down (= to be a bit quieter)
Oreos, Hydrox
to make the lame ( = handicapped) to walk
to be "lame" (= )
divided he
gays, lesbians, feminists, pagans, abortionists,
People for the American Way
to point a finger at each group
in turn
to secularize society
to cast someone out of
the town square
a "square" (= someone who is not "cool")
the end days are here
the judgment is nigh
to draw the faithful to heaven
to leave the unrepentant
to walk a desolate earth
to rain toads
to spit fire
to bring forth
seven bowls of seven plagues
to wreck a guy's party
to preach
to stand in the rubble
to say 'I told you so'
to use an international catastrophe
to score points
narrow, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, homophobic
life and teachings
vengeful, jealous, violent
to create someone in your image
to cast someone out of the town square
stone drag
to give someone a bad name
to turn away from your word (= to not keep a promise)
to have spinach in your teeth
smote (past tense of "to smite")

Cloze exercise:

     Now, two days after 9/11, 9/13 for the record, ah, were you (1) ____________ The 700 Club? Did you (2) ____________ it that day? As skeptics, you've got to (3) ____________ out on that, that show. That was the day that Jerry Falwell was a (4) ____________ on the show. It's Pat Robertson's show. I don't think he was leg-pressing 2000 pounds that day, but Jerry Falwell was doing some (5) ____________ (5) ____________ intellectual lifting. And he was saying that (6) ____________ some of the (7) ____________ for this (8) ____________ must (9)____________ on the ACLU. And gays and lesbians and (10)____________, abortionists, pagans, People for the American Way, and I (11)____________ to call in and say, "That was out (12)____________, did you know that?"

Jerry Falwell's god was (13) ____________ by the (14) ____________
while we were (15) ____________ about the (16)____________,
so we had to (17) ____________ him.
(18) ____________, we were (19) ____________ that he (20) ____________ come
because he's vengeful and jealous
and he (21) ____________ to smite people.
And, of course, he (22) ____________ we were thinking that.
It made him (23) ____________ the (24) ____________ (25) ____________
to show up and (26) ____________ us.
I wanted to (27) ____________ my god,
but he was at the (28) ____________.
Jerry Falwell's god is (29) ____________.
The (30)____________ and the beard down to here
and the gossamer wings
and the (31) ____________ that says, "What would (32) ____________ do?"
And (33) ____________ enough, day of the party, (34) ____________ he was at the (35)____________.
And he (36) ____________, spaketh he, saying, "I am (37)____________."
Yeah, I know there's a (38) ____________ there but...
Jerry Falwell's god will not be mocked.
So I said, "You know, come in."
Jerry Falwell's god
Jerry Falwell's god

Now, I'm no heavenly (39) ____________,
but I throw a (40) ____________ party,
and there were all kinds of people there X
black, white, (41) ____________, Norwegian,
the (42) ____________ (43) ____________ spectrum.

And (44) ____________ away, Jerry Falwell's god
found the two people who would listen to him
and began spaking in a (45) ____________ so (46) ____________,
that a (47) ____________ from the (48) ____________ alley
came over and (49) ____________ us,
would we (50)____________ it down.

And he (51) ____________ the loaves to (52) ____________
and the Oreos to Hydrox.
And he made the lame to (53) ____________.
And, you know, these were my friends,
so they were still lame, but they could (54) ____________.

And he divided up the room, (55) ____________ he,
saying "Gays here, (56) ____________ here,
feminists, pagans, abortionists,
People for the American Way,"
and (57) ____________, some of us did not know (58) ____________ to stand.
I went with the (56) ____________.

Jerry Falwell's god
Jerry Falwell's god

And he pointed his (59) ____________ finger at each group in turn,
saying, "I (60) ____________ you, and you, and you,
who have secularized (61) ____________
and (62) ____________ me out of the town square,"
and I thought, "Man, you are the town square."

And he said, "Lo, the end days are here,
and the (63) ____________ is nigh,
where I will draw the faithful to heaven
and leave the unrepentant
to walk a desolate earth."
I know, (64) ____________.

And he began to rain toads and spit fire,
and he brought forth seven bowls of seven plagues,
and (65) ____________ I just said,
"Listen, I'll tell you one thing Jesus would not do.
Jesus would not (66) ____________ a guy's party.

And Jesus would not preach (67) ____________.
Jesus would not stand in the rubble
and say, "I (68) ____________ you so."
Jesus would not use an (69) ____________ catastrophe
to score points for some (70) ____________, misogynistic,
anti-Semitic, homophobic (71) ____________ of his life and teachings.

And if people are vengeful and jealous and (72) ____________,
maybe it's because you (73) ____________ them in your image.
And if people have cast you out of the town square,
maybe it's because you are a finger-pointing,
moralizing, rageaholic, stone drag
who gives deities a bad (74) ____________!
And if people have turned away from your word,
maybe it's because you've got spinach in your (75)____________!"

And he smote me.

Jerry Falwell's god
Jerry Falwell's god

Listen to a video quote from Jerry Falwell:
Falwell and Robertson on The 700 Club after 9/11