Saturday, November 06, 2004

A LETTER FROM LONDON. At least I think that's where he was when he wrote this. Michael Goldfarb, the host of WBUR Radio's documentary series, Inside Out, writes to Media Log. I'm leaving nothing out - the ellipses are his.

You had a moment in your Phoenix column this week where you realized you were being intolerant ... Don't ever worry about it when it comes to the religious right. Intolerance is their weapon. They broke the boundary between the civic space and the religious space in our society a long time ago. Remember in my documentary A Southern State of Mind: Inside Out, Jim Cobb reminds us of the Scopes trial. We hear JFK delivering his speech to the Houston Methodist Ministers conference in 1960 ... This whole movement can be traced back to the break up of the New Deal coalition over Civil Rights. This ain't a new thing.

The pushback will inevitably lead to harsh words. But they were the ones who started it. First by inventing a religion for us: secular humanism. They have been fighting that non-existent faith and condemning us gleefully to hell for decades. Who are these peckerwoods to condemn anyone? Fight them back.

In the center and on the left the time has come to revive the magnificent thunderings of the Abolitionists ... If we seek to understand these Red state denizens ... it should be pragmatic intelligence gathering. Know your enemy so you can destroy his arguments.

"Land don't vote" is a phrase I've been using since the Sage Brush rebellion sent Alan Simpson to the Senate and later to Harvard where he deployed his charm in the Institute of Politics to great effect ... perhaps next week the Phoenix can do a Red/blue state map where population determines the size of the state in the map. [Here's one.] Puny Nebraska and Wyoming dwarfed by Cal and Illinois and Minnesota would be a more accurate reflection.

The rage and anger cannot go away, there can be no fear. The existential moment tells us this is what the country is. Kerry ran as good a race as was possible for him and he was the best candidate out there.

Now for the changes: Al From: go home. Harvard professors, stop spending your ridiculous salaries on expensive wine and dinner parties where you can sit around with people you already agree with. Stop biding your time in the groves of Academe waiting for a recall to power in the next Democratic administration and start providing intellectual leadership right now. Eric Alterman, stop telling us what CD is in your changer and do a little more shoe leather reporting for your opinions.

The left: pick better battles. In the thirty years since Title IX crowned the civil rights era the left has only succeeded in making it impolitic for the right to use hate words like nigger, fag and kike in public. You have neutralized their language, not their hate. That is no victory, that is the scaredy-cats way of avoiding the real fight.

Hollywood, you're so goddam liberal, right? Because you give all that money to the Democrats, money earned from making idiot, brain-dead, bang, crash wallop CGI nonsense. Stop polluting the cultural atmosphere and get back to stories with real people struggling in our modern society. The time is right for a revival of films à la John Ford in his social realist phase: Grapes of Wrath, They Were Expendable. Film Noir isn't an exercise in style: it is low-budget story-telling about ordinary folks trapped by uncontrollable, unaccountable powers. Sound familiar? Flood the multiplexes with those films. That is a more valuable contribution to political change than the six-figure check to

Everyone, read the bible ... and some history of how the big book was actually written. Get ready for theological argument. Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin ... We have been weighed in the balance and found wanting ... but by the forces of history, not by the Lord.

NEW AT DANKENNEDY.NET. Under "Writings," I've posted the text of a lecture I gave at Northeastern University last Wednesday on "The Media, the Internet, and the 2004 Presidential Campaign." It's in PDF format.

FEAR ITSELF. What is this crap (PDF file) doing on page A14 of today's New York Times?


Anonymous said...

Re Fear itself:
As usual, you are shooting the messenger. Only liberal idealogues continue to apply the same inputs to a systemic problem, (other than more money), expecting a different output. Unfortunately, there ARE some dopes out there who need such explicit common sense advice, (driven on I-93 lately?) Going back to 9-10-01 would be nice, let us know when "Mr. Peabody and the Wayback Machine" answer your calls. I suspect right-wingers had nowhere as frustrating an experience during Clinton as you seem to be having under Bush43. Like me, you only get to vote once. That means that if you truly want to preach to someone other than The Converted, you are going to have to learn than "whining is not good PR". Just because there are right-wing nut jobs out there doesn't mean that "fighting fire with fire" will work. If ideas have validity, they will succeed with people, it's that simple. On a more practical basis, do you really want to re-live the "Groundhog Day" experience of the last week 208 times?

Anonymous said...

Re NU speech:
If objectivity requires a "cult" we are in worse shape than I thought. Your words were well-chosen for the audience, (i.e. under 25 yrs.old). Older folks would have recognized a certain McCarthy-like tone to criticism of Karl Rove and others or the equivalence of Kerry's and Edwards's "lifetime" voting records. Anecdotal evidence being what it is, one could postulate that we have been visited by aliens, if that were one's agenda. Put me down as a slave to "the cult of objectivity". I guess I'm just not smart enough to form opinions on anything but facts.

Anonymous said...

From Anon. #1
I just read that Bill Clinton agrees with me. Now that's scary....