Under the Radar

News Flash: Massive Earthquake Caused by Devil Worship

When news came through of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, I was reading James Ellroy's new Blood's a Rover, the third novel in his fictionalized tabloid history of the Sixties and right in the middle of a chapter that takes place in Haiti.

Just after Richard Nixon is sworn in as President, the mob seeks to collect on his debt to them (cf. "fictionalized" above) and starts to build a casino in the Dominican Republic to replace the ones lost in the Cuban Revolution. Anti-Castro operatives are in charge of the construction and they start running raids into Cuba after setting up a secret base over the mountains in Haiti.

Ellroy's Haiti is full of poisons and spells and unexplained death. I briefly wondered if anyone would make the "voodoo = earthquakes" connection but dismissed the idea as more news came through, followed by some of the most heartbreaking images we've ever seen on television. No one would dare make a joke out of such an overwhelming tragedy, especially one that had no man-made causes whatsoever.

I guess that's still true: Pat Robertson is definitely not joking here. His command of history may be shaky, since it was malaria (not devil worshippers) that drove the French from Haiti.

What's most incredible is that Robertson broadcast his comments on the Disney-owned ABC Family Channel and there's nothing Disney can do to distance themselves from his program. Under an iron-clad agreement signed when Robertson originally sold his CBN Family Channel to Fox, the network must broadcast The 700 Club for as long as Robertson chooses to do the show.

Robertson cashed out and kept the only time slot he really cared about, one where he can say whatever he wants. Disney makes too much money from the other 23 hours a day to care.

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