For all the divisive rhetoric and devotion social media has displayed to argumentation for sport, every now and then, the internet delivers, calling out the bull$hit when necessary; and, when it does — as in the case of bombastic, self-interested megachurch pastor, Joel Osteen — the internet’s punishing hand of justice can be altogether unforgiving.
For Osteen, whose waffling and reluctance to open the doors of Houston’s Lakewood Church — with a seating capacity in excess of 16,000 — during the torrential deluge of Hurricane Harvey and the jaw-dropping flooding in its aftermath provided voluminous fodder for internet trolls keen to spotlight hypocrisy.
And deliver, the internet did.
Of countless brilliant memes and spoofs deftly filleting the flashy megachurch owner (and his widely suspected fear of carpet stains), leading the pack is Musician Roy Zimmerman, whose parody of the Osteen gaffe — written with Melanie Harby and set to the tune of Dolly Parton’s Jolene, to vocals and acoustic guitar — marries wit, criticism, and social commentary in an effortless slam against self-aggrandizement and penuriousness in the face of catastrophe is pure genius.
There’s a reason the video on Facebook had over 2.5 million views — in just 21 hours.
“Joel Osteen,” Zimmerman — whose Facebook page includes a quoted personal compliment from parody master, Weird Al Yankovic — sings as he strums guitar for the opening refrain, substituting the name for the song’s traditional namesake, Jolene,
“They’re begging you to help your fellow man … But you won’t help them even if you can.”
“Now Houston had a mighty flood, but somehow it’s your name that’s Mud ‘cause you just want to keep your carpets clean.
“You swore that there was no access to your door, and you’re right I guess, ‘cause you made sure you kept it locked, Osteen.”
Indeed, Houston residents, who had not been ordered to evacuate in advance of the rapidly-developing and strengthening hurricane, fast realized Osteen wasn’t even doing the least amount necessary to assist in the massive rescue and shelter effort underway, and promptly destroyed him across multiple social media platforms.
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a flood victim to enter into Joel Osteen’s church,” one critic coolly asserted, referencing a passage from the Bible admonishing arrogance, the pursuit of wealth, and materialism — and the absence humility — will not, a seat in Heaven, grant.
“You offered ‘em your pious prayers, but your prayers couldn’t answer theirs, they needed basic shelter and hygiene,” Zimmerman’s Joel Osteen parody continues.
But, to truly appreciate the song and Zimmerman’s crafty sting of Osteen, you’ll have to watch and listen for yourself — the musician even subtitled the work, so you can listen without volume.
Thank you, internet. Enjoy.
(Image: Roy Zimmerman, Screenshot)