Monday, June 7, 2010

Ironie ist Verboten.

In a sane world sensible to irony, intolerant of hypocrisy and stupidity, one that vilifies cruelty, prejudice and needless paranoia, people such as Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter would be reduced to standing on the street corners of America's inner cities holding up tattered, feces-stained cardboard signs proclaiming "Teh End is NEER!!"

However, these people and many others are among the richest and most influential people in the media today. How, we naive liberals ask daily, do these people thrive and how do they get national platforms?

Well, we live in a theoretical democracy in which one of the strongest laws is called the First Amendment. As well as guaranteeing us the right to peaceful assembly, to petition and to worship free from persecution, the First Amendment also gives us invaluable freedoms such as the right to free speech and a free press.

OK, class, simmer down and stop sniggering. I already know that the emerging fascist state in our government and nation had long ago already adroitly circumvented every one of those rights and made them conditional. Petitions don't have to be accepted, the right to assemble can also be denied at the whims of police chiefs and anyone who's ever been circumscribed in a "free speech zone" or was penned behind barbed wire chain link fences ironically named "freedom cages" and watched by snipers during the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston can tell you the exact limits of two of our most cherished constitutional protections.

Still, you get one freebie: Why do people like Glenn Beck get not only one free pass after another but why is he also among the wealthiest people on Fox Spews when by all rights he would've been hounded out of Rupert Murdoch's Castle Frankenstein by a screaming mob a la James Whale?

Well, America, you have only to blame yourselves for the emergence of people like Glenn Beck. You ever heard of the bedrock economic principle of "supply and demand"?

You see, kiddies, long ago Jabba the Hutt Roger Ailes decided that the nation provided him with a still largely untapped reservoir of conspiracy theory lunacy. It's perhaps no coincidence that Fox Spews was launched by a Republican operative at the midway point of the Clinton presidency. Still branded to this day as a liberal, the right wing dictator-coddling, Godfather of NAFTA provided Republican conspiracy theorists of all stripes to finally connect and to denounce our 42nd president while remaining strangely blase and nonchalant about his fascist successor.

Yet, you would think that even the First Amendment would protect people like Glenn Beck only so far and that even the irony-challenged pod people who make up Fox's hard core would realize that something's seriously wrong when their hero Beck goes on his radio program to publicly laud one of America's most rabid anti-Semitic cranks, Elizabeth Dilling.

To those of you who have forgotten Dilling, you can be forgiven. Long since dismissed by evil liberals as the hysterical crank that she was, the anti-Semitic movement's answer to the cat lady with head-high stacks of Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and given a wide berth even on Halloween, Dilling was largely forgotten by her death in 1966.

But in her day, as a contemporary of Father Coughlin, Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, Ezra Pound and other Jew-baiters of note in the first third of this century, Dilling also was more than philosophically sympathetic to the same Nazi Party of whose growing emergence in the Age of Obama Glenn Beck is hoarsely warning us. That would be the same Glenn Beck who, like all good Republicans, loves Israel but denigrates its religion.

Irony, thy name is Fox.

So what do we infer from Beck's championing yet another paranoid conspiracy tome of antiquity, this time Dilling's The Red Network?

Well, we're supposed to just ignore Dilling's politically-incorrect anti-Semitism for her politically-correct pro-Nazism, which is not at all synonymous with anti-Semitism. Plus, in encouraging his listeners to think for themselves, Beck diplomatically elects not to condemn Dilling for her hatred of Jews. That's up to Beck's listeners.

Likewise, we're also not supposed to remember or learn on our own that under Communist rule, Soviet Russia was almost as virulently anti-Semitic as Nazi Germany. Dilling was such a Jew hater she wouldn't even give brownie points to the Commies for interning millions of Russian Jews in their gulags.

Likewise, we're also not supposed to remember or learn that, while Karl Marx was a Jew, the kind of Communism he was thinking of wasn't the same kind that was hijacked by Lenin and Stalin. Communism, under Marx and Engel, was supposed to empower the workers of the world. Under Lenin and Stalin, workers were more impoverished than ever and were hardly what you'd call empowered.

Sort of like in the latter-day United States.

But thematically intact, cogent, logically-consistent arguments was never Beck's forte and that explains his appeal to those who are similarly crippled and hobbled by whatever intellectual bastinado that'd been visited on them by shoddy parenting and the public school system.

Because pining for the days of Joe McCarthy and tacitly glorifying fascism, in resurrecting the biggest mistakes and blackest parts of human history is the legacy of latter-day conservatism. No crime, no atrocity is too great to be permanently put to rest. In short, you can't keep a good right wing tyrant down forever.

And you have their apologists, the muckrakers of Fox Spews to thank for stirring up these fascist elements.

Noted antisemite Ezra Pound was incarcerated at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, DC largely for his antisemitism and pro-fascist broadcasts from Europe. It was obvious that Pound was deranged even as far as Nazi apologists went. He wouldn't get released until 1958, 13 years after the war ended.

But then, that was during a time when we had a better handle on what elements were dangerous in our society. Eventually, people like Pound and Father Coughlin were hounded off the air waves and fringe lunatics like Skousen and Dilling were rightfully relegated to the obscurity they deserved.

Today's system not only takes up and resurrects their causes, its right wing pundits even enrich themselves beyond the original lunatics' wildest dreams of avarice.


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