Back in the early 1990s, I lived in King of Prussia and worked in North Philadelphia, at Temple University. It was a hellishly bad decision to live there, but we had had to find an apartment from a long distance away, and all the information we had to go on was that King of Prussia had excellent schools for our kids, and so we ended up living next door to the biggest mall in the country. That was bad enough, but the killer was the commute. I’d have to get up at 5am, very quietly so as not to disturb the kids, have a light breakfast, and then go catch a bus for my voyage down
the River Styx Schuylkill Expressway.
There’d often be some downtime — gosh, I’m ready, but I’ve got 20 minutes to catch the bus. It’s not as if I could get any work done. My eyes would be glazed, I’d be sucking down coffee with trembling hands, I’d sit as one lost in the desolation of hell. So I’d flip on the TV, with the volume down low. There was nothing on at that hour but cheesy infomercials and one thing: Kenneth Copeland, or as I liked to think of it, the Creepy Puppet hour.
It was perfect for my state of mind. I was too tired to manage any kind of coherent thought, but Kenneth didn’t provide any. What he did do, with his beady little eyes and leather skin, was provide a mesmerizing exhibition of weird random facial expressions: smiling by making a huge toothy grimace, glowering by scowling and lowering his eyebrows that his eyes almost disappeared, and changing his expression at a manic pace with almost no association with the point he was making. I thought of him as a creepy puppet because when you’ve watched him a while, you begin to realize that there’s no one there, that there’s an alien persona or personas inside his head trying to mimic human responses, and thinking they’ll be more convincing the more extreme they are.
Years later, I’d get the same impression from Andy Serkis’s performance as Gollum. This is what a psychopath looks like, trying to pass as normal in public.
Now you can watch the same alien in action. A reporter from Inside Edition caught him between flights on his expensive private jet and asked him some questions about his lavish lifestyle. It’s horrific watching the animatronics struggling with limited, but exaggerated, expressions and phrases to talk with a human.
I never watch Kenneth Copeland’s gospel show anymore. I no longer need to get in the right frame of mind for a commute on the Schuylkill. Praise the Lord!