My friend Kris gave me an odd present Monday at our memoir-writers group meeting. Her father, a rock-ribbed Republican, had died and she had found, in his effects, a little booklet of friendly advice to tea party folks by David Horowitz called The Art of Political War for Tea Parties (2009). She thought I might like to have it. She was right, as usual. The author’s name rang a bell so I looked him up on the interwebs and sure enough, he is also the author of Student: The Political Activities of the Berkeley Students (Ballantine Books, 1962) which I had seen a copy of at the gathering after the commemoration of the HUAC debacle. The man who brought the book said Horowitz had written a good account of the HUAC demonstration and the students involved back when he was a radical kid himself. He has since become an active anti-communist and is now supporting reactionary causes, including the tea-party movement. Student is hard to find now.
Horowitz is a red-diaper baby. Wikipedia provided this insight: “In a review of Horowitz's paean [Cracking of the Heart. Regnery Press, 2009] to his daughter, Sarah, in which Horowitz explores their estrangement and reconciliation, FrontPage Magazine associate editor David Swindle wrote that Sarah—who cooked for the homeless, stood vigil at San Quentin on nights when the state of California executed prisoners, worked with autistic children in public schools, and with the American Jewish World Service, helped rebuild homes in El Salvador after a hurricane and traveled to India to oppose child labor—fused ‘the painful lessons of her father's life with a mystical Judaism to complete the task he never could: showing how the Left could save itself from self-destruction.’”
Then last night at the writing workshop led by Mary Webb, I got back my last blog post which I had turned in, complete with photos, the week before for her review. She noted that she had been in City Hall on the day before, the day some anti-HUAC people got into the hearing room so there was no protest inside, no washing students down the stairs, only the picket line outside. She’d been busy elsewhere on Friday, to her regret. The woman sitting next to me saw the photos and got curious. I showed her what it was and she told me the paper she got back that night was about Kent State, which had just (May 4) passed the fortieth anniversary of the shooting of four students in an anti-war demonstration. So we traded papers and started reading. She had missed the day as well—she was enrolled at Kent State but was on a year of study abroad. However, her sister was on campus that day, so I read a conversation between the sisters about the events as seen from close up and far away. Their take was that Kent State was a pretty non-political place in those days and the police and administration over-reacted to actions by a small minority of students.
So what was in that booklet for tea-party activists? Mainly, that the Democrats had been able to position themselves as the party of the underdog, of women and minorities, and as Americans are a fair-minded people, this always has appeal. Horowitz exhorts the Republicans to take this position away from the Democrats, and indeed, that’s how the tea-party people present themselves. Of course their presentation is a little spoiled by the lack of minorities in their ranks.
And a little PS to the “Bellybutton Test” post: “Corporations have neither bodies to be punished, nor souls to be concerned, they therefore do as they like.” —Edward Thurlow, British Lord Chancellor, 1731 -1806. And in July 2009, at a lecture to the Stanford Business School, the CEO of British Petroleum Tony Hayward explained to attendees that BP was going in the wrong direction before he took over as CEO because, "we had too many people that were working to save the world." (Thanks to Maureen Barnato for that quote.)
If you live in California and are scratching your head over the propositions on the June ballot, here are recommendations from people I trust: The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.
What I forgot to say: Last night we watched Hollywood on Trial, a documentary about HUAC hearings in Hollywood and DC targeting union activists in the film industry. Claudia looked up the blacklist afterwards in Wikipedia and found that "In 1941, producer Walt Disney took out an ad in Variety, the industry trade magazine, declaring his conviction that 'Communist agitation' was behind a cartoonists and animators' strike. (According to historians Larry Ceplair and Steven Englund, 'In actuality, the strike had resulted from Disney's overbearing paternalism, high-handedness, and insensitivity'. Inspired by Disney, California State Senator Jack Tenney, chairman of the state legislature's Joint Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities, launched an investigation of 'Reds in movies'. The probe fell flat, and was mocked in several Variety headlines." After the war, HUAC took up this same tactic of trying to discredit active unionists as reds. Unfortunately, in the atmosphere of the Cold War, they succeeded all too well, and contributed to the decline in the power of unions leading to today's sorry state.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 11:49 AM
My mother was an art/design graduate of a small Boston art school during the depression. She learned to turn her skills to something that would pay, eventually being offered a job at Twenthieth Century Fox. Her friends who had moved to California to work for Disney simply told her of his overbearing, driven insistence on overworking even the most dedicated cartoonists....and not to venture into such territory...she had to turn down the job due to family illness, but this just backs up Nancy's point.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010 - 04:48 PM
Gallows humor in Louisiana...Spotted in a grocery store. For an inside look at oil rig culture, try this on YouTube. Thanks, Annie Feeney for the link and Maureen Barnato for the cake..
Wednesday, May 26, 2010