That post from Rachel Held Evans that we linked to yesterday — “Donald Trump and a Tale of Two Gospels” — apparently sparked a Twitter tantrum from Jerry Falwell Jr. Jerry Jr. apparently spent a chunk of his day angrily denouncing her on social media before deleting his tweets after, he said, he “took her down.” OK, then.
There’s a pattern here with angry authoritarian men like Falwell getting puffed up with indignation because this woman is saying intolerable things. (By which they mean there is a woman saying things, without their permission, and that this is, to them, intolerable.) When these guys find their infallible authority questioned by some uppity woman, they do what they have always done — for generations. They appeal to tribal gatekeepers to either force this woman to get back in her place, or to make an example of her by having her fired.
Falwell is the latest in a long line to wind up bewildered that this wouldn’t work when dealing with someone like Rachel Held Evans. It turns out he can’t simply have her fired because none of the official institutional gatekeepers had ever hired her in the first place. How can this be? How can she be selling all those books and reaching such a large audience if some man in authority hasn’t given her permission to do that? And what makes all those women reading her books and her blog imagine that they have permission to read such things? It’s simply inconceivable.
Falwell’s harrumphing frustration over this is all the more acute because the system had been working so well for him so very recently. Just last month he’d succeeded in getting a tenured professor suspended after some of her uppity students had dared to criticize him for something as simple as urging his students to carry guns so that they could kill Muslims. But now even that was turning sour for Jerry Jr., with that woman refusing to go quietly and become obediently silent. On top of that, here’s some blogger criticizing him for nothing more than endorsing the current front-runner in the evangelical party. And now it seems the old boys network isn’t even able to do what it’s always done and have her fired.
That old boys network used to be able to control things. They were in charge and they called the shots and no woman was ever going to be allowed to challenge that. But now it seems they’re no longer in control of everything. That’s terribly confusing and frightening for a guy like Jerry Falwell Jr.
And what do guys like that do when they’re confused and frightened by such changes to the world they thought they controlled? They endorse Donald Trump. He is, it seems, their last, best hope.
Oh, and how is Rachel Held Evans coping after being “taken down” by Jerry Jr.? She’s getting by.