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CultureCow: The Eyes of Tammy Faye exposes televangelism and NFT enthusiasts get scammed for millions: it’s a good week

Commentary by Devin McCue, Sumner Newscow — Happy Friday. If you’ve ever seen televangelists like Joel Osteen and Pat Robertson, you’ve probably noticed a few things.

Their sermons are largely focused on building one’s own wealth, right-leaning politics, and other subjects subtly building the case to excuse how they got so rich preaching the word of their god.

You’ve probably also noticed that it seems like a big scam.

There’s nothing wrong with preaching one’s religion to people who want to hear it, nor is it immoral to make a little money off it. That’s how pastors, priests, imams, rabbis, and other religious leaders make their living.

Televangelism is another animal entirely, and the new movie the Eyes of Tammy Faye exposes that animal in remarkable fashion.

Tammy Faye is the former wife and business partner of televangelist Jim Bakker. Bakker built an empire from televangelism that included the country’s largest religious TV network, a massive estate for him and Tammy to live on, and even a bible-inspired amusement park.

The funds for all of that came from the donations he begged for on his show every day. Unfortunately for those donors, a lot of those funds went into Bakker’s pockets rather than into the charities they thought they were giving to.

Bakker’s downfall came after years of public outcry that he embezzled funds to build his house and even pay off a woman who he sexually assaulted. Those accusations led to a guilty verdict and financial ruin for him and his wife.

But this movie isn’t about Jim, it’s about Tammy Faye.

Tammy Faye, played by the marvelous Jessica Chastain, was a true believer in her god and believed that she spoke with him personally. She grew up in a heavily evangelical revival church and spoke in tongues at the services.

For all intents and purposes, she was just an extremely religious Minnesotan who got caught up in televangelist culture and luxurious lifestyle.

The movie goes to extreme lengths to show how Tammy was blind to the crimes around her and while I’m not too convinced that someone who worked for that business for decades didn’t know what was going on, it was a great story. Her real claim to fame is that Tammy embraced the gay (Christian) community in a time where people were deathly afraid of AIDS.

Tammy went on to be considered a gay icon by some and she continued to speak out to her fellow Christians to accept them.

No matter how you feel about Tammy Faye, Jim Bakker, or televangelism as a whole, this movie is definitely worth your time. It’s funny, it has some incredible performances from Chastain and her costars, and you might learn something about the roots of performance-based religious services.

October 11 came and went this week, so, I’ll wish you a happy belated Indigenous People’s Day.

For once, this was actually an Indigenous People’s Day that properly honored indigenous Americans as well. The White House kicked the holiday off with a proclamation, officially recognizing the holiday federally.

It might not seem like much, but this step is important and gets rid of the unofficial designation that kept the holiday from getting its proper recognition. Biden also recognized the great harm colonization and nearly 150 years of oppression had on the myriad Indigenous tribes, the first President to do so.

The Biden administration went much further than paying lip service, however.

The White House, led by Deb Halaand the Secretary of the Interior and first Indigenous person to hold a cabinet position, returned 6.37 million acres of land to its proper stewards.

The land includes:

  • Bears Ears National Monument in Utah
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah
  • Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in New England

All three locations are culturally and spiritually important to the native tribes of those areas and it’s nice to see the federal government finally include indigenous voices and leadership into the way they treat these locations.

The government will still monitor and lend increased staff to patrol and steward the land, but this return is the biggest step so far to repairing the country’s relationship with the original people who lived here.

In some news we can all enjoy, rich-crypto d-bags got scammed out of millions of dollars last week.

If you’ve been wondering what an NFT is, you’re not alone. NFT stands for non-fungible token, which is a fancy way of saying it’s a piece of digital art that can be proven as original.

That means that any image, gif, or video on the internet can be turned into an NFT if it’s connected to a blockchain…and it can be stolen with a screenshot.

If it’s that easy to steal and you’re not getting anything of value for your money, why would people shell out millions for them? Because it’s not about the art, it’s about funneling your extreme wealth through these stupid images without being able to trace where the money’s coming from, avoiding taxes and any connections to your business.

Well, a hero decided to get in on the fun by creating a series of images called Evolved Apes. The “artist” also promised to create a game where buyers could battle their NFTs against each other and sold these hideous images for millions of dollars.

Then, once they accumulated enough cash from the rubes, the scammer left and there’s no way to find them because the very anonymity they buyers hailed in the first place.

There are few people in the world as annoying as people who like NFTs and cryptocurrencies. They buy stupid things and believe Elon Musk and Joe Rogan are geniuses so, when they get scammed, it’s a win for all of us.

Meme of the week

I, unfortunately, can’t look at every meme that dominates the internet every week, so if you see a meme and think it should be the meme of the week please send it to: SumnerCultureCow@gmail.com

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If, on the other hand, you’d like to read more from me head over to my blog, MouthfulofTeeth.com where you’ll find my favorite CultureCow articles and my other writing on politics, fiction, and anything else you’d like to read

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