Monday, August 04, 2008

Jonah Goldberg and the subtle politics of race-baiting

Jonah Goldberg's recent essay, "A Losing Salute," puzzled me at first.

Why would Goldberg, National Review Editor at Large, and author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, bother to write a long whiny essay about Tommie Smith and John Carlos's black power salute at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City? Surely the upcoming Beijing Olympics couldn't have triggered any remembered outrage, since Goldberg wasn't born until the next year.

Says Mr. Goldberg:

    ...this was 1968, not 1938. By the end of the 1960s, America had seen two decades of steady — if too slow — racial progress. The black-power vision of an irredeemably “racist Amerikkka” was all but blind to the desegregation of the military, the accomplishments of Owens and Robinson, and the civil-rights acts of 1957, 1960, 1964 and even 1968.

This smug little prick seems to have overlooked the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, and the killing of numerous civil rights protesters, all of which happened in 1968 prior to the Summer Olympics. I'd say he's missing a little context here.

For all of his supposed outrage at the politicization of the 1968 Games, he fails to comment on the equally political gesture by Czech gymnast Věra Čáslavská, who turned away during the playing of the Soviet national anthem to protest the recent Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Is he just another cynical right-wing dickhead? Yes, but there's more.

A careful re-reading finally gave me the clue. Key phrase: "the triumph of celebrity culture."

The Republicans and their surrogates are unable to come up with any compelling reason to vote for McCain and forced to dig ever further into their cesspool of slime. Remember John McCain's recent advertising misfire, where he claims Barak Obama is nothing more than a celebrity, who's not ready to lead?

Triumph of celebrity culture: Goldberg's veiled not so subtle echo of the McCain message, which he takes to the next level of brazen race-baiting by tying it to the image of two black athletes giving the black power salute.

Barak Obama = uppity self-centered unAmerican ungrateful (insert favorite racial epithet).

John McCain, who I've always believed to be an honorable man, appears to be slowly descending into the Republican toilet--the one they crawl into when they don't have anything else to campaign with.

It's sad to see it happen.

So, Mr. Goldberg, full of faux outrage at something you are either clueless about or don't --in your heart-of-hearts-- give a shit about, go crawl back under that dark insect-infested hole you crawled out of, and do something worthwhile with your f**king useless life for a change.

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