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CSotD: Fear and Fiction

Bill Bramhall (NYDN) captures the moment by contrasting FDR’s first inaugural call for national unity with the current GOPs determination to maintain division.

First of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

An optimistic opening to his campaign to pull America out of the Great Depression and the accompanying national malaise.

In retrospect, it’s easy to say America did, indeed, rise up and join in the effort to rebuild the economy.

Yet, apart from Anti-Semites who insisted this Episcopalian was a Jew — which they considered made him part of the International Conspiracy — FDR faced enough more thoughtful opposition that he proposed packing the Supreme Court with addition judges to help his proposals see the light of day.

Principled differences, however, can be debated and resolved.

Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror, as he noted, simply paralyzes the process.

So now we’re still debating Dr. Seuss, and we’re well past the point where it can be laid off to honest misunderstanding.

Given the information available, it is, at this stage, a deliberate lie.

Worse, it’s part of a larger lie about “Cancel Culture” from those who not only “canceled” Colin Kaepernick and the Dixie Chicks, but who “canceled” Young Pharaoh’s scheduled speech at CPAC while simultaneously misrepresenting the Seuss estate’s decision.

They also continue to champion the Big Lie and support the treasonous idea of “canceling” the Presidential election.

Absurd, yes. Despicable, yes. But their divisive lies have, indeed, raced around the world several times while Truth was lacing up its boots.

They are actively, purposefully, and successfully generating the type of fear we have to fear.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Steve Kelley – Creators)

(Deb Milbrath)

The decisions of Seuss Enterprises and Hasbro about the marketing of their products is not the only basis for fearmongering and division.

Rightwingers have rushed to the defense of Neanderthals, citing phony science to attack a common metaphor.

Their sudden love of prehistoric folk is as transparently fake as their passion for books they’d never heard of, much less read.

And Kelley is dead wrong to suggest that Democrats are rallying behind Cuomo.

It’s Democrats who are pressuring him to resign.

But even Milbrath, cartooning from the other end of the political spectrum, repeats a myth that deserves correction on International Women’s Day.

The notion that cavemen took wives by force doesn’t square with any serious study of hunter-gatherer societies.

Most such societies are at least matrilinear though not necessarily matriarchal.

Men — the hunters — may have the say in when to move camp to follow the herds, but women — the gatherers — generally hold sway over who marries who and how the resulting children are raised.

Point being that, if you’re going to try to refute a well-known, casual metaphor, at least back it up with real anthropology.

Come on: If someone speaks of sunrise in America, you need a better rebuttal than pointing out that the Sun doesn’t rise but the Earth turns.

(Especially since you wouldn’t want to alienate political supporters who believe otherwise.)

 

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

 

(Michael Ramirez – Creators)

(Gary Varvel – Creators)

It’s not just metaphors that are getting an unfair workout these days.

There’s also the stereotype of the disease-ridden minority, the same muck that was slung at Italian and Eastern European immigrants a century ago.

First of all, the notion that any increase in covid in Texas will not be the result of the governor lifting mask mandates and social distancing restrictions but, rather, an influx of “drug dealers, criminals and rapists” from “shithole countries” is blatantly racist.

But it also flies in the face of specific changes in policy at the border, where the Biden administration has been clear that refugees and immigrants, legal or undocumented, will have to undergo coronavirus testing and spend time in quarantine.

Hence the boarding facilities Biden opponents of both parties claim are “cages.”

Hence the presence of HHS personnel to take over responsibility from the Border Patrol.

And it’s at least part of why the administration is attempting to make clear in the nations that send us the most refugees and strivers that we’re not yet ready to welcome them.

That’s not interpretation or a difference of opinion.

That’s a level of fact commentators should investigate and disprove, not simply contradict.

Otherwise, they’re just fearmongering to preserve our divisions.

 

Steve Bell (UK Guardian) offers this look at the Queen and Prince Charles watching Harry and Meghan being interviewed last night.

Oprah produced a solid interview, sympathetic but not fawning.

For instance, Meghan having revealed that someone in the royal family was worried that their baby would have dark skin, Oprah got confirmation from Harry but did not probe when he declined to specify who said it.

Similarly, she brought out that Harry and William are estranged and that Prince Charles no longer takes phone calls from his younger son without demanding more details than Harry was willing to furnish.

But, really, what more do you need to get the picture?

One of the best, most telling and yet humorous details, was Meghan telling how, when she first met her prospective husband’s grandmother in what was an informal, family setting, she was still required to curtsey.

Which meant, as an American, she had to quickly learn how.

That anecdote rather summed up her four years in the palace, to which I would add that one measure of a man is how he responds when his wife tells him she’s suicidal.

Harry had to shake off a lifetime of programming, but he came through.

Now, to sum up today’s topic of intentional attempts to divide, here’s what happens when royal butt-kissers are asked to comment on an interview they haven’t seen yet:

 

Community Comments

#1 Fred King
March/8/2021
@ 2:34 pm

A friend of mine noted, after watching The Crown, that the Royal Family doesn’t really have a good onboarding process for new members.

#2 Don Blakeslee
March/8/2021
@ 6:49 pm

Ah, the poor Neandertal. The iconic image goes back to the early 20th century, when the Brits were jealous of the French and others who were turning up Neandetals at a great rate, whereas glaciers had erased most of the early sites from their island. To cap off the injustice, a French scholar found a complete skeleton and devoted a whole book to it. He even paid for a frontispiece that showed Mr. N emerging from his cave, modestly clad in an animal skin and with a club in his hand. The next issue of Punch (Mad Magazine for grownups) put a cartoon version on its cover, adding the girlfriend being dragged by her hair, with the caption, Early Frenchman.

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