". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How Westbrook Pegler Entered sp's rnc Hate Speech

I was too young to know who Westbrook Pegler was, but older generations around me, even in ND, did. Sometimes they would evoke him. I never understood why, but I got the impression that he was not only 'bad' but worse -- something slimy, because he was crazy. People Back Home in those days whispered about people with mental health problems like they whispered about cancer. Which when I was much older I learned he was -- both slimy and crazy. Not only was he a (Joe) McCarthyite (which I was also too young to understand then, when people invoked his name) but a raving lunatic and anti-semite. Back Home associated him with the unspeakable insanity of the concentration camps and the holocaust -- and even WWII.

I'm so sorry that Back Home -- that small town, rural America invoked by the mcsp campaign -- is no longer is what it used to be, changed by those like rush limbaugh. who have embraced Pegler's hate speech, who have been bombarding Back Home with their ugliness 24/7 since the 70's.*

This man, Westbrook Pegler, was administered the rnc kiss of hate by their speech writer, and brought back to life by sp in her speech. This article describes in step-by-step detail how this ocurred, and all with her full understanding and cooperation. This was code, recognized by those at whom it was aimed, the base of the rnc.

[ Though Westbrook Pegler is today a relatively obscure footnote (Thomas Frank first recognized the "writer" quoted in Palin's speech), five minutes invested on Google would have provided those who thought to include his bromide about small-town morality more than enough information about his actual legacy, and one would expect, discouraged any sane political mind from doing so. After all, Pegler is not remembered for writing this phrase (other than in Buchanan's tome, where it is excerpted to illustrate his ability to embrace a candidate after hurling invective), but rather for being an example of Hearst Corporation's venomous voice.

Knowing how carefully Matthew Scully writes speeches, and given the stakes in introducing Sarah Palin, then mired in Twin Peaks-gauge scandal and innuendo, as a national political figure, it appears unlikely that the Pegler quote was introduced without being vetted by the McCain campaign. Someone would recognize the unsourced quote, and someone would eventually think it odd, distasteful, even, that a vice-presidential candidate compare herself to Harry Truman, who became President after Roosevelt's death mere months after the inauguration. More disturbing is the retro ethos provided by the Pegler/Truman one-two punch in the geopolitical context of this campaign: here is a candidate singularly unschooled in foreign policy whose reference to "decency" harkens back to a time, and a character, whose reflexive hatred for Soviets was enough, a time when NATO was created, a time when Truman dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. ]

* By the way, that Burk who threatened the non-support of Palin rally women in Anchorage with broadcast of their names, addresses and phone numbers on HIS radio show was suspended -- for a week, without pay. * By the way, that Burk who threatened the non-support of Palin rally women in Anchorage with broadcast of their names, addresses and phone numbers on HIS radio show (on the local faux neuwz station) was suspended -- for a week, without pay. Burk did broadcast the names and cell phone numbers of the two women who organized that rally, who sued, thus the slap on the wrist.

1 comment:

Frank Partisan said...

Really interesting post. What were they thinking?

I've been reading some interesting things about the Rosenberg Case. Morton Sobell said they were guilty.