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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Old, Angry, Out of Touch Racists -- And the People Who Employ Them

I was listening to Alan Wolfe, author of Return to Greatness : How America Lost Its Sense of Purpose and What It Needs to Do to Recover It on C-SPAN Books the other day. He was talking about his thesis that the modern South is incapable of envisioning a country founded on higher principles because their acceptance of slavery and segregation in the recent past preclude them from doing so -- in effect, their idea of patriotism rests on the notion that United States is worthy of admiration solely because it is the biggest, meanest, nastiest-tempered mofo on the block.

Now, that makes a lot of sense to me, but you sort of expect that when you say stuff like this people on the other side will get pissed off. It always shocks me a little when anyone proudly embraces that kind of deranged totalitarianism, waving it around like a fresh tattoo.

MandT points us to FAIR, who tell us the tragic tale of senile old Paul Harvey (yes, he's still alive) who is from Oklahoma, so I guess that counts:
Disney/ABC radio personality Paul Harvey, one of the most widely listened to commentators in the United States, presented his listeners on June 23 with an endorsement of genocide and racism that would have been right at home on a white supremacist shortwave broadcast. Harvey's commentary began by lamenting the decline of American wartime aggression:

"We're standing there dying, daring to do nothing decisive because we've declared ourselves to be better than our terrorist enemies--more moral, more civilized," he said. Drawing a contrast with what he cast as the praiseworthy nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, Harvey lamented that "we sent men with rifles into Afghanistan and Iraq and kept our best weapons in their silos"--suggesting that America should have used its nuclear arsenal in its invasions of both countries.

Harvey concluded:
"We didn't come this far because we're made of sugar candy. Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and across this continent by giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. That was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever. And we grew prosperous. And yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves. So it goes with most great nation-states, which--feeling guilty about their savage pasts--eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry up-and-coming who are not made of sugar candy."
Harvey's evident approval of slavery, genocide and nuclear and biological warfare would seem to put him at odds with Disney's family-friendly image. The media conglomerate syndicates Harvey to more than 1,000 radio stations, where he reaches an estimated 18 million listeners. Disney recently signed a 10-year, $100 million contract with the 86-year-old Harvey. In 2004, Disney forbid its Miramax subsidiary to distribute Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11, even though Miramax was the principal investor in the film.

A Disney executive told the New York Times (5/5/04) that it was declining to distribute the film because, in the paper's words, "Disney caters to families of all political stripes and believes Mr. Moore's film...could alienate many." One wonders whether Disney executives are worried about alienating families who oppose slavery, nuclear war and Native American genocide.
(my emphasis)
I've heard a lot of dillies in my life, but I've never heard the one where passing out smallpox-infected blankets was chalked up to a triumph of the indominable pioneer spirit.

You know, I've got a few relatives on the walkers and oxygen tanks. Being old doesn't axiomatically mean you have to become a raging fascist asshole.