Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Thursday, August 3rd, 2006.

Tin Foil Time

blogging, conservatism, Middle East, News Media

Monday I wrote, “I have no doubt the audiences of Faux Nooz and rightie talk radio are being told, over and over, ad nauseum, that the atrocity at Qana was staged, and that the Fable of the Staged Atrocity at Qana is already firmly established in rightie mythos.” I didn’t even have to look.

Via Digby, even Jefferson Morley of the Washington Post called the “Qana was staged” rumor the “right-wing equivalent of the Sept. 11 conspiracy theories.” Glenn Greenwald noticed that the righties are even making all-too-familiar arguments about how buildings collapse.

As Morley says, the Qana conspiracy theories fall apart when you ask about details, such as “How did Hezbollah truck in bodies to the Qana site without the pervasive Israeli aerial surveillance catching it on film?” or “How did any a demolition crew prep the World Trade Center towers for implosion without anyone noticing?” Oh, wait, wrong conspiracy. Sorry.

It won’t matter what evidence comes along that refutes “Qana was staged”/”WTC controlled detonation” theories. These notions are firmly embedded in the heads of the susceptible.

And the moral is, beware of believing what you want to believe.

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Hot Stuff


We on the East Coast have been promised an end to the triple-digit heat. It’s hot in Europe, too. In France 112 people died of heat in July. Germany and Britain endured their hottest July ever.

Well, folks, yesterday snow fell in Johannesburg, South Africa for the first time in 25 years.

I don’t fully understand this, but this article says melting polar ice puts more cold water into the oceans, which in turn stirs up global winds and causes change in weather patterns. So cool places get hot and hot places get cool.

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1 Comment

The Drug of Militarism

Bush Administration, Middle East

Yesterday I wanted to link to and comment on this excellent article by Robert Scheer, and I didn’t get to it. Ran out of time, or out of steam, or both. But please do read it and discuss it.

Also — Donald Rumsfeld won’t admit Iraq is in civil war until he sees Jeb Stuart’s cavalry riding around Baghdad.

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About That Graphic

Bush Administration

The Hate Brigade is trying to stir up outrage over Jane Hamsher’s graphic showing Joe Lieberman in blackface. I didn’t see the graphic until this morning, and I still haven’t seen it in the original context. But this rightie blogger wants to “lure” me into the “fray.” I carry firedoglake on my blogroll, so I’m honor bound to apologize for anything on firedoglake that is inexcusably nasty.

Without seeing the context I can’t comment on the Hamsher graphic specifically. Context is all. When Spike Lee put his actors in blackface, what was he saying? Was he making a racist statement or a statement about racism? The latter, obviously. Lee turned old racist imagery back on itself to blast the racisms and racial hypocrisies still among us. Whether depicting someone in blackface is racist or beyond the pale depends on the message the graphic is intended to convey. Seems to me blackface is only racist per se to racists, who can’t see the difference.

Awhile back I defended Steve Gilliard’s use of blackface in a graphic, because in context there was nothing racist in what Steve was saying with the graphic. Pretty much the opposite, actually; the message intended by the proudly sable Mr. Gilliard was that an African American politician was pandering to racists. And Joe Lieberman is in fact stooping to some bare-assed race baiting, as Mr. Gilliard explains here. Holy Joe deserves to be slammed for it.

Old cartoon depictions of African Americans, like this one (from Puck, 1893) at the Library of Congress, are creepy. Is this poster, published in the 1890s, racist? You betcha. Blackface symbolized white dominance. These once-common images are shocking today. The people who drew them were saying something very ugly about African Americans. Spike Lee notes that such images are hidden away today —

C: About the montage at the end of Bamboozled, which shows how black people have been represented in America – why was it all old film and TV clips? Why didn’t you bring it up to date?

SL: I didn’t feel it was necessary, because there are movies that do that for me already – look at the black characters in The Legend Of Bagger Vance, The Green Mile, Family Man. I thought it was more important to deal with history, because there was a lot of stuff in those films that most people haven’t seen. In the clips of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney putting on blackface – if you see that film on TV today in the US, they cut that out. We found a cartoon where Bugs Bunny was in blackface, and we wanted to include that, but Warner Brothers refused to let us use it. I don’t think those clips should be buried. I think it’s good we see this stuff. It’s evidence of the misrepresentation of a people.

C: The film seems to make comparisons between gangsta rap and minstrel shows.

SL: I feel that gangsta rap is a 21st century form of a minstrel show, and the sad thing is, a lot of those guys don’t even know it. Rap music is huge, all over the world, but a small percentage of the people that buy it are actually black. And with excessive use of the N-word, a lot of young white kids think it’s OK to use that word, and they go call black people that word also.

As I said, blackface is creepy; it’s shocking; it makes us uncomfortable. I understand that whites don’t want to look at it, particularly whites who aren’t being honest with themselves about their own racism. But if you’re going to deal with racism, whether our society’s or our own, we have to look at this stuff. We have to acknowledge it and pass through it and get beyond it. Racists can’t do that. Instead, they shut their eyes and call us liberals racists because we’re able to look, and process, and turn racism back on itself.

Spike Lee’s point in “Bamboozled” was that the entertainment industry is still stereotyping African Americans. When Steve Gilliard puts Michael Steele in blackface, he’s saying that Steele is still shackled by the racism that blackface has come to personify. And I suspect that’s what Jane Hamsher was saying about Mr. Lieberman.

Update: More distinguished and erudite commentary from Tbogg.

Update update: La Lulu is having a fine time throwing charges of racism at the leftie “nutroots” and smearing Ned Lamont by association. Let us remember some of La LuLu’s past efforts, such as the time she obsessed over her fear of scary black people, as I discussed here:

In one of her most brilliants posts yet, Michelle Malkin calls the suspects “black Muslim radicals” and provides us with an overview of recent terrorist threats coming from black Muslim radicals, going back to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and including the Beltway snipers and black Muslim inmates in Folsom Prison. She even takes a swipe at “the old school black Muslim thugs (and Jesse Jackson pals) of the Chicago-based El Rukn.”

And then she says … get ready for this … “Bob Owens catches the Democratic Underground already playing the race card.”

Awesome. You don’t have to parody Malkin. She does it herself.

This is also the same woman who went on a rampage because U.S. newspapers wouldn’t publish racist caricatures of Muslims, remember.

Update update update: See Steve Gilliard on Lieberman and the racist College Republicans.

BIG Update x 4: Don’t miss David Neiwert.

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