Wallenda walks Niagara Falls on a tightrope; hopes to bring people to God

June 15, 2012 • 7:55 am

Today’s the day that Nik Wallenda of the famous “Flying Wallenda” family will walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope.  He needed a special exemption from the state legislature to do this, since it’s normally forbidden. As the New York Times reports:

In some ways, Mr. Wallenda’s walk is more audacious than those of his 19th-century predecessors. His rope has been set right above the falls, which throw off enough spray to drench those on the shoreline. By comparison, walkers like Jean Francois Gravelet, better known as “the Great Blondin,” walked across a tamer part of the gorge.

From the Boston Herald:

“It’s happening. This is going to be the biggest event on the planet!” said Jim Diodati, mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario. Such hyperbole has fueled Wallenda mania, bringing flashing highway signs warning of Wallenda-related traffic jams and crowds gawking at cranes holding Wallenda’s 2-inch-wide cable taut over the roiling blue water.

Stadium-style lights were focused on the cable, which will sway several inches back and forth in the wind and bounce up and down. Midway through the 40-minute walk, Wallenda is expected to be wrapped in a bone-chilling fog far harsher than the soaking mist that showers visitors to the Falls.

The walk should take about 40 minutes.

But unlike his predecessors, some seen in the video below, Wallenda isn’t in much danger, for he’ll be wearing safety equipment (he damn well should—he’s got three young children).

Along the falls, there was much discussion of the safety harness that ABC, which is televising the walk Friday night, has insisted Mr. Wallenda wear. The Disney Corporation, which owns ABC, does not want a man to fall to his death on live television.

Here’s a brief video history of Niagara Falls daredevils:

But for me, the whole stunt was spoiled by Wallenda’s insistence that he’s doing God’s will:

49 thoughts on “Wallenda walks Niagara Falls on a tightrope; hopes to bring people to God

    1. Oh, I don’t know. I know a guy who fell for a video about how a guy didn’t get electromacuted by a bazilliion volts because he was in a Faraday cage, er, I mean, because it was God’s will that he wouldn’t die. Not you personally, Jacob, but some rube will.

  1. If that’s not a schtick of Nik’s to attract the wide audience delusional nitwits he knows are out there to help him validate his goofiness, Nik is batshit crazy, crazy enough to be locked up in a rubber room, strapped tight in a straight jacket and fed an IV of Ritalin.

    Holy shit, what a nut.

    1. According to a quote I read on a CBS News story, Nik is annoyed that ABC is making him wear a tether. If it were up to him, he wouldn’t be wearing one.

  2. “We need a new superhero, but one that walks in the light, in the shadow of the Almighty.”

    Well, Nik, are you walking in the light or in the shadow????

    Such is the gobbledy-gook that is religious (ESPECIALLY CHRISTIAN) “testimony.”

    I read this after reading the post about all the accomodationism at the NSF-funded UC Berkeley site and think WHY WHY WHY do they want to patronize this stuff?????????

  3. Well, I can’t be bothered watching if there isn’t at least the illusion of a possibility of disaster. Like Great-grandpa Karl in Puerto Rico – now that was entertainment.

    /sarcasm

    1. How could there be a disaster? If he makes it it is because God got him across. If he falls to his death (pretending he didn’t have a safety wire), it would just have been God calling him home to Jesus. Either way a win!

  4. We’ve had a bit too much of ideas about what God wants as Roger Waters song “What God Wants” nicely puts it. I put only the first stanza here

    What God wants God gets God help us all
    What God wants God gets
    The kid in the corner looked at the priest
    And fingered his pale blue Japanese guitar
    The priest said
    God wants goodness
    God wants light
    God wants mayhem
    God wants a clean fight
    What God wants God gets
    Don’t look so surprised
    It’s only dogma
    The alien prophet cried
    The beetle and the springbok
    Took the Bible from its hook
    The monkey in the corner
    Wrote the lesson in his book

    1. I could never figure out quite what Roger Waters was trying to say. I get the general tone but some of his lyrics are very ambiguous / cryptic. Sorta like the Bible, really. Only better orchestrated. 😉

      But I have to confess, I’m more of the Gilmourite sect of Floydians, rather than a Watersite. But either one, Dave or Roger, have made some mind-blowing music.

  5. How on earth can wearing more safety equipment equal a “more audacious” stunt?

    It equals a more health and safety conscious stunt. But I guess that doesn’t sound quite as cool.

    Personally I have zero attraction to these sort of stunts (with or without safety harnesses).

  6. Mark 61:17-18

    “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they walk on wire across misty cliffs with falling water; and if they fall from a deadly height, it shall not hurt them, so long as they wear a safety harness.”

  7. A number of people have descended the Falls in a barrel. I recollect the beginning of a poem which I had thought was by Ogden Nash, but perhaps not, since I now cannot trace it, which, if my memory serves me correctly, commences:-
    “I’d rather have pellagra
    Than fall in a barrel over Niagara”.
    Perhaps someone can identify the author.

  8. So he’s wearing a harness. In other words, he’s cheating and it isn’t for real.

    (Don’t get me wrong, heights scare me. But compared with the guys who walked across depending entirely on their sense of balance to stay alive, he’s not risking much. It’s a bit like snake handling with a (small) boa.)

    So my immediate reaction, which was a totally reprehensible hope that he falls off, didn’t really count for much anyway.

    Of course, if he’s really serious about not wanting a safety line, he could always take it off half way. What’s Disney gonna do? – cut the transmission halfway through?

    My sneaky doubt that he really wants to do without the safety line just proves I’m a nasty cynical person, I guess.

  9. Now that’s more like it.

    As a true test of faith, I think

    all baptisms should require walking

    across a giant, raging waterfall on

    a tightrope.

  10. …now if Evel Knievel had jumped the falls on a motorcycle; unless they made him tie a safety bungee cord to the back bumper. Visions of just making it to the Canadian side and the bungee snaps him back to dangle mid-falls: Now, that’s entertainment.

  11. I knew since I was a child that I would do God’s work. Because he told me. Unfortunatly the only thing I’m good at is walking on a tightrope, so……. walking on a tightrope is doing God’s work now!

    Religious logic, ladies and gentlemen.

  12. So they can add in a five second delay to avoid bad words and nipples, but not for this?

    If God wants him to do this, wearing a harness is spitting in God’s face. Presumably someone will stone him when he steps back on terra firma.

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