3/13/2005

Are you on the left-wing watch list?

From Ben Tripp of CounterPunch:

I own a Soviet wristwatch and a vintage Chinese propaganda poster featuring Marx, Lenin, and Mao in heroic profile. That's as close to communism as I get, unless you include the first two reels of D.I. Pudovkin's "End of St. Petersburg," viewed ante-slumber during a film studies class at the Rhode Island School of Design. Yet I have been called a communist countless times, or maybe thirty-three times. This is because my detractors are boobs and ninnies, primarily, but also because there is a vast, primitive machinery devoted to rounding up enemies of the American state. This engine of paranoid jingoism is operated by common folk (very common they are, too), but the spares and lubricants are provided by the same folks that brought you the G.W. Bush Red White & Blue All-American 10-Inch Uncut Minstrel Show currently playing to standing-room-only crowds in Washington, DC.
This leftist-grinding contraption is fueled, ingeniously enough, by ground-up leftists. I've examined the basic plans and it seems the Republicans, in whose vested interests it is to ensure there isn't a single renewable resource in general use (from stem cells to fuel cells), have invented a perpetual motion machine that will run forever on a single trumped-up charge. The essential ingredient is a list of names. Orc-like zealots in the nationalist cause have been writing up a new list that should keep the machine a-grinding for fifty years: http://discoverthenetwork.org/individual.asp
The list includes a variety of persons public-spirited, creative, or well-meaning, born between the years 1910 and last week; there are also genuine communists, and just to throw a little Cajun spice on it, the list includes the occasional actual terrorist (Mohammed Atta, for example, and Roger Ebert).
It is the usual right-wing list-making effort, except this one has pictures and is even weirder than its forebears. The usual suspects, such as Jane Fonda and Jesse Jackson, rub shoulders with such impossibly diverse persons as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, ex-presidents Carter and Clinton, Tom Brokaw, and Betty Friedan--not people one would normally expect to find hanging around together. But it's how the list is presented that really makes it insidious. There are clever interactive charts. Click on a name, up comes that person's connections to every other left-wing person on the list, or every organization they're associated with, and all the names of all the organizations associated with that organization, until even I was convinced that Betty Friedan was secretly running the vast left-wing conspiracy out of Kofi Annan's garage.

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