A change of pace this morning. Jonathan Bell was briefly something of a legend (primarily among stoners, I suspect) of public access television in the Dallas area some years ago. Stylistically he’s in a class all by himself.
Some of the preachers we feature here on Sunday Services have big churches and large crowds of dedicated followers, and their enterprises—especially those pushing some variety of “prosperity gospel” (Jesus wants you to have a Mercedes!)—are big money operations. Others run their circuses in smaller rented spaces, but if you add all the camp followers together you’ve got a substantial percentage of the US population. Not a majority to be sure, but it’s a significant proportion and enough to exert more influence on political and economic policy, both domestic and foreign, than in any modernity on Earth. Some comedian, I forget which one, once said that the US in this regard is “like Iran, only with better plumbing.”
Jonathan Bell is not in that class of operator though. He made only two television episodes, less than an hour each, then went back to being a hairdresser. One episode was in casual dress and the other in a tuxedo and a bow tie, and he’s included in this series simply because it would be an aesthetic calamity to leave him out.
The weird captions which appear from time to time (Satanism!, Dressed to Kill!, Depression and Low Self Esteem!) are all part of the original broadcasts and are not discernibly related to the ranting at all. He’s crazy, of course, and not just by a little bit, but there’s a kind of plaintive quality and lack of guile here that’s unusual. It’s not remotely difficult to muster hostility toward most of these shrill assclowns. But with Brother Jonathan, for me anyway, not so much.
If you wanna turn the channel, go ahead, fool! Turn the channel! If you wanna learn something about God, shut your mouth and listen to me for a minute.
I couldn’t find any edited version, so, for those with the stamina, here’s his tuxedo episode in full.