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John Bunch, aka 'Luscious M. Bromley,' defends Barney hoax

Re: Barney hoax is no joke, Feb. 19 column by Thomas J. Billitteri.

Two puerile pinheads engage in religious bashing and thinly veiled hate? I don't think so, Mr. Billitteri. Puerile? Sometimes. Pinheads? I doubt it. Religious bashing and thinly veiled hate? No way.

Since Billitteri has found it necessary to stoop to name-calling, how's about I call him Mr. Hyper-Inflated Pseudo-Intellectual Pumpkinhead?

Billitteri seems appalled at the comical use I made of far-right, fundamentalist Christian doctrine, and states that we played off "the stereotype of the Jimmy Swaggart-style, Bible-waving religious fanatic who wants to quash Barney, secular humanism, Darwin, and the Museum of Science and Industry all in one fell swoop." Yep. That's pretty much it. Now tell me, what's wrong with taking a shot at hypocritical, anti-intellectual, old-lady's Social-Security-check-grabbing TV preachers?

Also, let me make this perfectly clear: I did not poke fun at all Christians. I singled out only fundamentalist, far-right Christians who: (a) believe that dinosaurs are a fiction of scientists; (b) believe that things on TV have the magical power to lead a person to cocaine use, pornography addiction, abortion, gang violence, homosexuality, and maybe even marijuana addiction; and (c) believe they should impose these beliefs on others.

Let's think about this. The modus operandi of the Christian far right is to force its strict, biblically-inerrant beliefs onto society through legislation and intimidation. Warm and fuzzy luminaries such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson speak at the Republican National Convention, and locally David Caton attempts to exorcise his personal demons of "pornography addiction" (please!) by establishing a government-imposed dress code on everyone and denying homosexuals their civil rights. Does Billitteri really think these people have no political agenda and are thus immune from comic satire?

Billitteri's personal tirade even goes so far as to claim that my actions are somehow undemocratic, that they somehow "harken back to an era when Catholics were demonized, Jews were driven out of "Christian' neighborhoods" He even gives the example of Louis Farrakhan's aide's condemnation of homosexuals, disabled people and the blind; then through some bizarre leap of logic, implies that my mockery of the Christian far right is analogous to this.

Oh, let's be serious. Homosexuals, disabled people and the blind do not attempt to impose their beliefs on others; they simply request an equal opportunity to compete in society. Also, I am not condemning Christian fundamentalists nor am I attempting to censor any of their speech (though they would do exactly that to me). I am simply holding them up to the scrutiny they deserve. According to Billitteri's view of the world, one's beliefs and actions are beyond reproach so long as those beliefs and actions are identified as religious.

In my comedy, I try to develop characters who are amalgams of the bizarre in our society, concentrating on people or groups having an overabundance of absurdity. "Luscious M. Bromley" is only one of many characters. "Luscious" appears to be quite effective, based on such an irrational, emotional reaction from Billitteri. The name of our comedy act is "The Human Kennel."

I can't think of a better name.

John M. Bunch, Tampa

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