Tales of Bessman: Al Goldstein, Easter Bunny

My friend Tom Carson, far and away the best writer I know, seemed to be courting controversy when he posted a “Happy Easter” greeting last night on Facebook, accompanied by a photo of Piss Christ, Andres Serrano’s extremely controversial 1987 photograph of a plastic crucifix standing in a glass filled with his urine.

“I am not being obnoxious,” Tom insisted. “I will believe until the end of my days that Piss Christ is one of the greatest images of Christ ever created. That’s because it proves that the glory of Jesus can triumph over any context, piss included. And I think Jesus would have liked that.”

I make no such defense of my Easter Sunday greeting: A heartfelt “Fuck you!” in the name of Al Goldstein.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Al lately, and I know he would have liked that. As he used to tell me, “Every day when you wake up, the first thing you should say to yourself is, ‘What can I do for Al Goldstein today?’”

As one of his many disciples, I did a lot for Al, and wish I had done a lot more. At least I wrote a couple memorials to him when he died last year, one relatively clean one at examiner.com, and another more personal one on this site.

In keeping with the joyousness of today’s holiday, then, I will relate, in addition to the two “Fuck you!”s Al sent out to me on his infamous Friday night New York cable show Midnight Blue, his weekly Hitler tributes.

God, I wish I had taped them-and the time I brought on Tammy Faye Starlite, only for Al to use me as his idiot comic foil! The “Fuck you”s—perhaps Al’s most famous Midnight Blue segments, where he ranted against anything that upset him (which was just about everything) derived from my telling him how much I enjoyed the widely panned 2003 The Look of Love Broadway Burt Bacharach-Hal David musical revue, prompting him to go. He hated it, and let me—and everyone watching—know in no uncertain terms, so much so that a week after the first “Fuck you!” to me, he lost his train of thought on another “Fuck you!” and came back to me to finish it.

I find that I bring up the Hitler bits semi-frequently, whenever anyone is talking about  someone or something that is almost entirely bad.

“We all know the bad things about Hitler–but what about the good things?” said one of the irreverent Midnight Blue producers in voice-over while footage of der Fuehrer, on a terrace, was repeatedly programmed forward and in reverse to make it look like he was dancing to upbeat music. The producer would then go into an over-the-top German accent in finishing the bit with some ridiculously tasteless tripe that like everything else on the show was uproariously funny.

And, yes, I know that by invoking the name of Al Goldstein on Easter Sunday, I’m going to Hell. But that’s A-OK. I know that when I get there, Al—and the great majority of my many other deceased friends—will be there to greet me with a well-earned and much-deserved “Fuck you!”

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