Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

The 700 Club

I love The 700 Club, and I’m not being sarcastic.

My affection dates back to the summer of 1992, when I was an intern at the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette in Illinois. I was 20, solo, lonely and sorta pathetic. I was so bored I turned to smoking, only to find I couldn’t get through half a cigarette without gagging. I broke both of my ankles playing basketball and I’m pretty sure the guy living in the apartment above mine beat his girlfriend.

It wasn’t a good summer.

My apartment had a small TV, but no cable. I got one or two channels, and watched two shows regularly. One was Star Trek. The other was The 700 Club.

If you’ve never seen The 700 Club, watch it. To surmise: Pat Robertson and a bunch of extremely happy white people tell you how to live your life according to Jesus. They bring on other happy white people to play the guitar, talk about their amazing experiences, explain The Word. I’m quite convinced that, as a 700 Club rule, nobody farts. Ever. To be honest, I’m not ever sure they use a toilet. At The 700 Club, everything is perfect and splendid. Smiles all around.

This morning, while working out at the gym, I caught The 700 Club for the first time in a while. The format hasn’t really changed in 19 years, though Pat has aged quite a bit. One new segment comes toward the end of the program, when viewers e-mail in questions and Pat answers them.

It is, in a word, fantastic.

Today, one viewer asked Pat if it’s possible for a relative (in this case, the writer’s son) to have a curse on his life. To the average person, this is a softball—No, there’s no such thing as curses. Bad luck, maybe. But not curses.

Pat, however, knows something we don’t. He said that, yes, it is quite possible, and it’s worth delving into a family history to see if anyone ever, literally, placed a hex on the family name.

Hard to argue that one.

Another writer was a medical doctor. She wanted to know if it’s moral to place the medical records of her patients on a computer. This seems to evoke two questions:

1. What sort of f%$#ing doctor asks such a moronic question?

2. Is she on my insurance plan?

Pat assured her that, yes, it’s OK—but with the caveat that the government may well be watching, so back everything up on a disc.

There were other inquiries—one about the seven deadly sins that seemed to leave Pat sorta confused. The writer asked where the sins come from, since they’re not actually listed in the Bible. Pat hemmed and hawed, then seemed to make something up about Catholicism. The heavily made-up white woman sitting alongside Pat nodded in agreement, though her facial expression screamed, “Pat, what the fuck are you talking about?”

Yes, I’m a Jew. And yes, Pat surely thinks I’m going to hell with the gays and the Kenyans. But I’m hooked.

700 Club for life!