“When I was a child, I understood as a child and spake as a child. When I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:
Elmer Gantry arrived as a womanizing drunk with a good singing voice, a knowledge of the bible, and a charismatic manner that allowed him to charm people into believing he was a saintly man. He led women, his church, and himself to ruin and destruction by pretending to be something he wasn’t.
It was easy for him, he had a charming manner and people loved him; until, he was exposed as a liar and a hypocrite.
He has seduced a preacher’s daughter, Lulu Baines, in the past and she ended up as a prostitute in a bordello, after being driven from her home by her enraged father. Thus his pattern is set for destroying those around him who have faith in his looks and his charming manner.
Gantry depicts a man whose morally corrupt lifestyle contradicts everything he professes and advises for others. The opening and closing lines of the book reflect the hypocritical and sanctimonious nature of Gantry: “Elmer Gantry was drunk. He was eloquently drunk, lovingly and pugnaciously drunk… we shall yet make these United States a moral nation.”
Like most con men the public takes to its breast, there is an eventual and unavoidable tragedy before the public realizes the extent of the charade.
The book, “Elmer Gantry”, 1927, by Sinclair Lewis, is a much more in depth study of faulty personalities and of fanaticism, hypocrisy, and the gullibility of the public, than the movie. Elmer was a morally corrupt evangelist, who seduced, corrupted, and ruined devout but lusty women in his psychopathic quest of hedonism. Sinclair Lewis skillfully portrayed the devastation that results from mis-placed trust in cult-like figures like Gantry. Eventually, these charismatic false heroes not only destroy the people they love, but they destroy themselves and the institutions around them as well.
Lewis may have intended to portray the sanctimonious nature of corrupt evangelists, but I see the story as a vehicle to portray all hypocrites and the tragedy that follows mis-placed trust. The revival evangelist seems to be but a convenient vehicle for the condemnation of the morally corrupt who lead with false piety and intentions.
America’s twenty-first century Gantry is easily identified as President Obama. Without documentation, America was deluged with claims of Obama’s genius and greatness: claims that have never been substantiated or documented, nor have we seen the slightest indication of superior wit or intelligence. Like the Gantry character, Obama can give impassioned speeches, with a caveat; Gantry didn’t need tele-prompters to speak. Gantry could also vary his speech delivery patterns to work a crowd into a frenzy: America’s public has been over exposed to Obama’s one trick pony style of delivery and is bored at the thought of listening to the same speech with different wording. Thus as the public grew tired of Obama, the cries to repeal the twenty-second amendment have been discarded and forgotten. Democrats realize he will probably lose his bid for a second term and the loss of the Senate seems inevitable, the cries for repeal of the twenty-second has become a moot point and an embarrassing memory.
Although, Obama has shown no tendency to be a womanizer, he managed to seduce the public; especially, the young and the “unsophisticated”, those who see brilliance as an “uncanny” ability to read a teleprompter from two directions.
Both Gantry and Obama granted themselves an equivalency with God; Obama plays his as an implied element of malignant Narcissism: Gantry defied God to strike him dead at the pulpit within 15 minutes if he disagreed with his work. Obama’s vision of God has become inconsequential in view of Obama’s ascension to the presidency.
In the book, Gantry admitted to detesting religion. It is not difficult to see Obama detesting the United States with his mentors throughout his life.
It is not enough for the ministry to stand back warning the malefactors, but a time now to come out of our dignified seclusion and personally wage open war on the forces of evil.
In the beginning of Obama’s presidency, Republicans were the enemy and were told Obama didn’t care to listen to them talking and they could come along if they sit at the back of the bus. Now that his fortunes have changed, he is calling for a new era of cooperation. Obama’s hypocrisy begins to confront him as satire. His reversal of fortune is so typical of the arrogant Narcissist who feels his world collapsing.
Lulu Bains: Oh, he gave me special instructions back of the pulpit Christmas Eve. He got to howlin’ “Repent! Repent!” and I got to moanin’ “Save me! Save me!” and the first thing I know he rammed the fear of God into me so fast I never heard my old man’s footsteps!
Lulu Baines is well aware of the contradictions within Gantry. There must be many more who were aware of the inconsistancies of Obama, but for some reason, no one spoke out.
Elmer Gantry: Sin, sin, sin! You’re all sinners! You’re all doomed to perdition!
Its’ best to picture a bleak picture for your flock and increase the vision of yourself as a problem solver; the situation I have inherited is much worse than I anticipated. It will take time to turn this situation around. Of course most students of economics learn that recessions last between four and seven years, if you do nothing. Why not enrich your friends and contributors in the interim? Loot the treasury and put the country in debt for perpetuity. Unfortunately, the looting of the treasury probably increased the severity of the recession and extended its lifespan. Neither Gantry or Obama could see the impending devastation yhat was a direct result of their moral corruption.
I have here in my pocket – and thank heaven you can’t see them – lewd, dirty, obscene, and I’m ashamed to say this: French postcards. They were sold to me in front of your own innocent high school by a man with a black beard… a foreigner.
The hero must always point out the problems in the community and scold his followers to establish a superiority over his flock; after all, he is a superior being and he knows of their weaknesses. The use of straw men was also a device of Gantry. Enemies are much easier to defeat if they don’t exist.
A janitor: Mister, I’ve been converted five times. Billy Sunday, Reverend Biederwolf, Gypsy Smith, and twice by Sister Falconer. I get terrible drunk, and then I get good and saved. Both of them done me a powerful lot of good – gettin’ drunk and gettin’ saved. Well, good night.
The fascination of cult figures disappears when the fraud and corruption is exposed. The cult-hero loses his prominence and becomes insignificant. Obama has just about played out his string.
Elmer Gantry: I was accosted by three painted women. Your streets are made unsafe by shameless, diseased hussies, rapacious pick-pockets, and insidious opium-smokers.
The human interest stories of the man who looks out for all of us by creating straw men are endemic of both characters and laughable as well. Obama’s letters from the down and out, but still hopeful for the future, that still cling to the forlorn hope that he will save them has become a standing joke.
Jim Lefferts: You look like a man who could use a drink.
Elmer Gantry: You know somethin’, Jim? There oughta be a law against drinkin’.
Jim Lefferts: There is. Prohibition.
Elmer Gantry: That’s against sellin’, not drinkin’.
Jim Lefferts: Amen.
The ability to rationalize with faulty logic was seen as a cultural difference early in his career, but the public is muh less forgiving after two years of the Obamanation failures.
Elmer Gantry: What is Love — the divine Love of which the—the great singer teaches us in Proverbs? It is the rainbow that comes after the dark cloud. It is the morning star and it is also the evening star, those being, as you all so well know, the brightest stars we know. It shines upon the cradle of the little one and when life has, alas, departed, to come no more, you find it still around the quiet tomb. What is it inspires all great men—be they preachers or patriots or great business men? What is it, my brethren, but Love? Ah, it fills the world with melody, with such sacred melodies as we have just indulged in together, for what is music? What, my friends, is music? Ah, what indeed is music but the voice of Love!
America thought it was getting a philosophical wise man; Gantry could at least do a better job with the ruse and he wrote his own material.
He explained that hatred was low. However, for the benefit of the more leathery and zealous deacons down front, he permitted them to hate all Catholics, all persons who failed to believe in hell and immersion, and all rich mortgage-holders, wantoning in the betraying smiles of scarlet women, each of whom wore silk and in her bejeweled hand held a ruby glass of perfidious wine.
Gantry and Obama are paragons of virtue in their own minds and those of the public for a short time; until the facts begin not to add up. It is obvious that Obama has his crony friends on Wall Street among the super wealthy. They work in concert; Warren Buffet stands and confesses that he and other wealthy people don’t pay their fair share of taxes. This baring of the corporate soul is heart warming; unfortunately, Warren Buffet is in a desperate battle with the IRS over back taxes and is trying desperately to keep from paying more taxes.
He was still not at all certain that he was doing any good, aside from providing the drug of religious hope to timorous folk frightened of hell-fire and afraid to walk alone.
The less sophisticated or intellectually dull to be less kind are the ones who still believe the lies and see Obama as the one who will protect them and care for them.
I was brought up to believe that the Christian God wasn’t a scared and compromising public servant, but the creator of the whole merciless truth, and I reckon that training spoiled me — I actually took my teachers seriously!
Obama gets into his folksy role to act like one of his subjects and for a few minutes, they feel the bonds of brotherhood with his Highness Obama.
A proper school should teach nothing but bookkeeping, agriculture, geometry, dead languages made deader by leaving out all the amusing literature, and the Hebrew Bible as interpreted by men superbly trained to ignore contradictions, men technically called “Fundamentalists”.
A common Liberal trait is to accuse the opposition of their own indiscretions; it is a fundamental precept of hypocrisy. Yet if you attack your opposition with relentless accusations, some of them will eventually be accepted as fact and the truth. Obama is a cult figure that has lost his momentum. His fall from grace will be much more catastrophic because his whole life has been built around a mythic cult-figure that has never existed.