You know. The All American Goody-Two-Shoes? (and they were White Bucks, as I recall).
The guy you thought of right after someone said, "Apple Pie, Motherhood and Chevrolet."
The guy who crooned "April Love" and "Love Letters in the Sand" in the late 1950s while all the teen aged girls swooned and fainted.
Him. Pat Boone.
Father of the one-hit single Debby Boone. You know, the one who made us all groan every time she sang, "You Light Up My Life." (Just mentioning that song makes me queasy.)
There I was, at the Atlanta Bread Company Friday afternoon, eating my Southwestern Salmon Salad and Ice Tea for lunch, minding my own beeswax and reading the Special Edition, Spring, 2009 issue of "The Intelligence Report," published by The Southern Poverty Law Center.
I turned to page four and was reading through "Intelligence Briefs: Hate in the Mainstream" - which is a collection of quotes compiled from media accounts, web pages and a group called "Media Matters for America"a website that monitors the Far Right.
I cringed but was not surprised to read this:
"Well, I think probably there'll be ham hocks and turnip greens"
That was from G. Gordon Liddy, commenting during the November 4 broadcast of his Radio America program on what sort of food would be served in an Obama-run Concentration Camp.
Or, this from Michael Savage, on the November 18 edition of his syndicated radio show "The Savage Nation," predicting what Obama's election as president would bring:
""[T]here's gonna be a wholesale firing of competent white men in the United States government."
And, this just flat out disgusted me:
"Viva Viagra. Well - after all, who's gonna father the next generation of illegals to come swarming across the border in their effort to reconquer the Southwest?"
That was Jim Quinn, on the November 18 edition of his syndicated radio show, "The War Room With Quinn & Rose," reacting to Mexico City's plans to distribute erectile-dysfunction drugs to elderly men (No word if they're going to distribute condoms and birth-control pills to women of childbearing age.)
But, this . . .this caused my jaw to drop, right there in the Atlanta Bread Company, right in front of God and everybody, including all the (half dressed) giddy high school senior girls, fresh from having their 'mani-pedi's' who were 'doing lunch' before getting all gussied up for Prom Night:
"What troubles me so deeply...is that there is a real, unbroken line between the jihadist savagery in Mumbai [India] and the hedonistic, irresponsible, blindly selfish goals and tactics of our homegrown sexual jihadists."
What the what?
Pat Boone? Said that?
Yup. Apparently he said it in a December 6 commentary on the right wing WorldNetDaily website, comparing mass murderers to gay rights activists who are seeking to reverse California's Proposition 8, passed in November, outlawing same-sex marriage.
I sat there, shaking my head in disbelief. And anyway, what the heck is a 'homegrown sexual jihadist'? And how in the precious name of the Risen Lord has that got anything to do with jihadists in Mumbai?
Okay, okay. I've known for a while that the Squeaky-Clean All American Boy had become a "Christian singer" - and, I thought it was pretty funny a few years back when he came on the American Music Awards to promote his album "In A Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy." He appeared with Alice Cooper and was dressed all in leather and wore a dog collar.
I thought it was even funnier when the Christian Right didn't see the humor and fired him from a TV show he did for the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Well, funny in that sad sort of way when bigots show their true colors.
The stunt did boost the sales of the album up the pop charts - the first time in 35 years he had a hit song. Ah, the price of success! Fame and fortune don't come cheap, that's for sure.
Okay, I do remember reading about his support for The Shrub. I also remember that he called the Theory of Evolution 'absurd', 'nonsensical' and 'bankrupt false religion'.
I guess I missed the memo when he wrote an editorial for WorldNetDaily in the form of a fairy tale where a young Prince Charming was seduced by a dwarf, got AIDS, and then overdosed. Well, he meant it as a 'cautionary tale' about the moral decay of our American culture.
Had I read that in advance, it might have given me a bit of a heads-up, eh?
So, here's my question: How does this happen?
How does a fresh-faced teenage heartthrob become a right wing hatemonger?
Anybody got a clue?
It's an easy (if not cheap) shot to say that the man is so desperate for attention that he'll hang out with Alice Cooper and sing the theme song for the Ozzy Osborne 'reality show'.
Being a spokesman for the Religious Right is not a bad gig - an easy way to extend your already overspent 15 minutes of fame - for a rapidly-aging-but-still-sorta handsome, former teenage heart-throb.
It's another easy (if not cheap) shot to quote Shakespeare and say, "Methinks the man doth protest too much."
Well, easy or cheap, it's not such a big stretch to connect the dots. I have no doubt that, after his death, we'll read some biography somewhere by one of his former lovers, who kept silence out of respect and love for the man.
It's just very hard for me to reconcile someone who professes a Christian faith on the one hand, and and spews inflammatory hate-speech soundbites like 'homegrown sexual jihadists' on the other, without being very curious about what is really going on under all that flare and protest.
Then again, there just might be something in the air out there in Orange County, CA, which is home for nationally known centers of religious worship, such as Crystal Cathedral, Saddleback Church, and Calvary Chapel.
Please keep up the prayers as we await the decision from the California Supreme Court on Tuesday morning.
You can learn more about the Memorial Day Weekend Prayer Vigil here, and light a candle and say a prayer in my Prayer Room here.
Probably wouldn't hurt to light a candle for Mr. Boone, too. Poor man seems to have been in the dark waaaayyy too long.