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

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:


  1. Posted June 15, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    I swear, these Christians are as incomprehensible and as creepy as pod people.


  2. gbjames
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Humans sure are strange.

  3. Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Stupid tricks and unnecessary risk-taking is supposed to bring me to God?

    Not going to work.

    • daveau
      Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      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.

    • Posted June 15, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      God probably double-dog dared him. What else was Wallena to do?

  4. Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Faith poisons everything. Everything.

  5. Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    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.

  6. daveau
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    If he really had faith, he wouldn’t need the safety harness. Just sayin’.

    • bernardhurley
      Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      If he really had faith he wouldn’t need the rope.

      • Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

        True, but it’s doubtful he would have gotten a permit for THAT stunt.

        (As for the safety harness: he had no choice: that faithless Disney corporation made him wear one).

        • Posted June 15, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

          Yet, when (if) he falls, and the harness catches him, guess who will get the credit: Mickey Mouse? or Jesus?

          • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
            Posted June 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

            The Mickey Mouse test of faith.

        • Notagod
          Posted June 15, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

          You’ve confused the christian love for money with having no choice.

    • Newman
      Posted June 15, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      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.

    • Posted June 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Exactly, It’s like the pope has faith, so why have the pope-mobile?

    • Notagod
      Posted June 15, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      The christian snake bit faithers don’t need no stinking safety harness.

      • Tim
        Posted June 15, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        LOL – you mean the late christian snake faithers.

        • Notagod
          Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

          ‘em jus’ bean callead two ‘da lard do too dare greight and powerful faiths.

  7. newenglandbob
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink


    Tanker spills gasoline after hitting pole – far more interesting.

  8. Hempenstein
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    I wonder what the coverage would be like if he said he was doing it for the glory of Allah?

    • bernardhurley
      Posted June 15, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      We’d all be watching to see him blow himself up half way.

  9. KP
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    “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?????????

  10. Blondin
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    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.


    • gbjames
      Posted June 15, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      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!

      • daveau
        Posted June 15, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        Like the snake handlers. And that worked out just fine.

  11. Posted June 15, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Jumping the Shark for Jesus!

  12. Posted June 15, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    The Disney Corporation, which owns ABC, does not want a man to fall to his death on live television.

    That’s probably more CBS’ style.

  13. Newman
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    This reminds me of that Drive-By Truckers song…

  14. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    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

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 15, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      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.

  15. Grania Spingies
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    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).

  16. DV
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    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.”

  17. Mary Gnusader Canada
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    He shouldn’t need safety equipment if he’s doing gods’ work.

  18. Veroxitatis
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted June 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      He is the one next to the trashed wooden can of spam over there.

  19. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    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.

  20. ArizonaJones
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    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.

  21. greyhound1405
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 3:49 am | Permalink

    Perhaps someone will throw him a poisonous snake to really prove his faith!

  22. Claimthehighground
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    …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.

  23. eedwardgrey69
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    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.

  24. Alex
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Why did he do the walk at night rather than in daylight?

  25. Posted June 16, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    The ‘drama’ factor.

  26. the Siliconopolitan
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    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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