Category Archives: Nixonland

Hot Air

Zap!

Well, I’m alive. Although, from what I’ve been told, I was a daisy pusher for a hot couple of seconds.

See, I got my spanking new defibrillator implanted Friday. Apparently, immediately after wiring up the little dynamo, the docs as a matter of course cause the patient’s heart to go into fibrillation so’s they can see if the machine will properly jolt said muscle back into its customary walking bass line. And since fibrillation is, essentially, sudden cardiac death, well then, technically, I was St. Big Mike for that little snippet of time.

I know, I know — I’m over-dramatizing the whole shebang but, jeez, lemme have my moment on the sun, wouldja?

Anyway, I’ll be taking it easy for a couple of weeks now, although clacking out these screeds does not count as an undue burden upon my ticker and my two forefingers. So I’m back to haranguing you with my half-assed opinions and half-cocked suggestions.

Funny thing is, I was chit-chatting with a pal the other day and she said she doesn’t believe in “western medicine” which, I suppose means she’s suspicious about the motives and actions of pharmaceutical companies, health care insurers, and other such used car salesfolk. To a large extent, I agree with her. The profit motive makes our health care delivery system fairly fercockt, at least in relation to that of every other civilized nation on this Earth.

Still “western medicine,” meaning the science practiced by those who look askance at such parlor tricks as homeopathy, faith healing, magnet therapy, and qigong, has come up with a number of machines and drugs that allow me to be sitting here typing this out rather than fermenting in the ground at Rose Hill.

I’ll take the west, thanks.

Kent State

So, yesterday was the 43rd anniversary of the May 4th Massacre, aka the Kent State shootings. Four Kent State University student were gunned down by Ohio National Guardsmen during a protest rally that day.

For those of my generation, we can’t hear the words “Kent State” without thinking of the four dead in Oh-hie-oh, as Neil Young so memorably put it.

It’s also lesson number 624,539 that, no matter how uncivilized we think political discourse is these days, we ain’t got nuffin’ on the late 1960s and early 70s.

Consider this dialogue between a man who had sons attending Kent State at the time of the shootings and a researcher studying attitudes about the incident, as related by historian Rick Perlstein in his book, Nixonland:

Man: Anyone who appears on the streets of a city like Kent with long hair, dirty clothes, or barefooted deserves to be shot.

Researcher: Have I your permission to quote that?

Man: You sure do. It would have been better if the Guard had shot the whole lot of them that morning.

Researcher: But you had three sons there.

Man: If they didn’t do what the Guards told them, they should have been mowed down.

How delightful it must have been to have a father who was four square in favor of you getting your head blown clean off should you have failed to obey an order.

Here are some images, some iconic, of the day a bunch of Kent State students failed to obey orders.

Kent State

Kent State

Kent State

Kent State

Homo Sapiens sapiens. Yeah. Sure.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Turn on to politics or politics will turn on you.” — Ralph Nader

JENNA WANTS MITT TO LICK BARACK

Retired porn star Jenna Jameson has endorsed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Don’t you love it?

“When you’re rich,” Jenna reasons, “you want a Republican in office.”

Family Values

To balance things out, the incomparable Ron Jeremy is behind the President. Poor Barack.

WHOSE SIDE ARE THEY ON?

If this doesn’t scare the bejesus out of you I don’t know what will.

In a piece on the radical right in America, al Jazeera claims that Republicans quashed a 2009 Department of Homeland Security report suggesting hate groups began to proliferate in the United States after the election of Barack Obama.

Not that the groups weren’t proliferating before that, mind you. Only that their rate of proliferation was bumped up dramatically by the presence of a brown man in the White House.

I’d say the GOP has some ‘splainin’ to do.

HATE IS ENOUGH

We still don’t understand the meaning of hatred in this country. ABC News ran this online headline yesterday:

Still No Motive?

Does the swastika have different meanings for different people even at this late date?

THE NEW MACHINE

Many years ago, even the most polarizing figures in this holy land were permitted to have nuanced and even seemingly self-contradictory viewpoints. They didn’t run in fear from the Thought Crime authorities within their political parties or the punditocracy.

For instance, one of the heroes of the hard-hat, blue-collar, bungalow-belt Silent Majority was Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago. He ran a highly disciplined political machine. He tolerated little in the way of dissent. He was a tough guy.

The Boss

He’d called for his police to shoot to kill arsonists and shoot to maim looters during race riots. He turned his police force loose on demonstrators during the 1968 Democratic Convention. By the early 1970s he ranked just below George Wallace, Spiro Agnew, and Jack Webb in the law and order pantheon.

Yet he was a staunch opponent of the Vietnam War and, even more surprisingly, guns. According to Rick Perlstein in “Nixonland,” Daley was in Washington, DC testifying before a congressional committee in the summer of 1972. “Take the guns away from every private citizen,” he said.

Can you imagine any darling of the right even suggesting private citizens should be limited to possessing several dozen assault rifles these days?

A NEW UNDERGROUND RAILROAD?

Author and journalist Achy Obejas (say it, AH-chee oh-BAY-hahss) spent a few years at Indiana University before she dropped out and went to work covering politics, GLBTQ issues, night life, and a host of other beats.

Obejas

Achy points out the latest lunatic pronouncement from a member of the holier-than-thou gang. It seems Bryan Fischer, one of the paid squealers for the American Family Association, has called for good, god-fearing citizens to save children being raised by same-sex couples.

Well, perhaps the word save isn’t quite right here. How about kidnap?

Achy’s got a horse in this race. Her wife, Megan, gave birth to a son last year. Achy swears she’s never been happier.

IN YEARS AHEAD, HE WOULD NOT BE TED

Here a sample of some graphic ad work a then-unknown artist named Theodore Geisel did back in the 1930s and 40s:

Recognize the style? Geisel later became Dr, Seuss.

See more at “25 Advertisements by Dr. Seuss Before He Was Dr. Seuss” on BuzzFeed.

Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

“What If?” From XKCD

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

Present and CorrectFun, compelling, gorgeous and/or scary graphic designs and visual creations throughout the years and from all over the world.

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

Mental FlossFacts.

Caps Off PleaseComics & fun.

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Bear’s PlaceJazz Fables: Mr. Taylor and His Dirty Dixie Band; 5:30pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Americana Showcase; 6-8:30pm

Monroe County Public LibraryMonthly meeting, Bloomington Transportation Options for People; 6:30pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “To Rome with Love”; 7pm

Cafe DjangoJeff Isaac Trio; 8-10pm

The Comedy AtticTim Wilson; 8pm

Serendipity Martini BarTeam trivia; 8:30pm

Max’s PlaceWake the Dead; 9pm

The BluebirdApollo Quad; 9pm

The BishopHome Blitz, Bloody Mess, The Tsunamis; 9:30pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • Qiao Xiaoguang, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts” ; through August 12th
  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th
  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th
  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th
  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th
  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st
  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012
  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st
  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Coming — Media Life; August 24th through September 15th
  • Coming — Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture; August 24th through September 15th

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesClosed for semester break, reopens Tuesday, August 21st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living.” — Omar Bradley

BOOM!

WFIU reports that the US Army is staging a two-week nuclear explosion response simulation through mid-August right here in South Central Indiana.

Some 10,000 soldiers and civilian responders are play-acting what they’ll do in the event that some mad brown people drop a nuke on, say, Bloomington or even Indy.

The big burlesque is happening at the Muscatatuck Urban training Center, about 75 miles east-southeast of Bloomington.

Muscatatuck Urban Training Center (Click to enlarge)

MUTC covers a thousand acres and has more than a hundred training buildings including structures up to seven stories tall as well as good old split-level suburban type homes.

Now, I mention mad brown people because that’s who we’re really afraid is going to hurl the big one at us, no?

Didn’t George W. Bush whisper the words mushroom cloud and Saddam Hussein into our ears back in 2002 and 2003 to convince us to go along with him and his cronies on their war party? How much has changed regarding how we look at Arabs and Muslims since then?

When Michele Bachmann can get media mileage and a sharp increase in campaign donations out of linking one of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s aides with al Qaeda even now, we haven’t moved an inch off that witless, brainless dime in ten years.

Anyway, MUTC is located, appropriately enough, on the former site of the Indiana Farm Colony for Feeble Minded Youth. Adding to the irony of it all, the IFCFMY is where several thousand forced sterilizations took place after Indiana became the first state in the union to allow that eugenic practice.

I wonder if the people who ran IFCFMY instructed the kids to duck and cover back in the ’50s.

And how feeble-minded do we have to be to figure we’ll survive a nuclear blast if only we have enough ambulances and EMTs?

WHAT’S THE ANTIDOTE FOR ANTONIN?

I’ve been taking my time reading Rick Perlstein’s fab book, “Nixonland,” this summer.

Perlstein posits that Dick Nixon was the first television era president to give voice to the bleatings and ramblings of the gleefully uneducated in this holy land.

Rick Perlstein

Nixon’s was truly a grass roots campaign in 1968. He portrayed college-educated people as snobbish, superior, sex- and drug-crazed lunatics who were going to ram blacks, Jews, peace, welfare, and even a little bit of the Communist Manifesto down good people’s throats. Nixon was savvy enough to realize most Americans had a hard enough time getting out of high school.

He rode a wave of self-pity and manufactured paranoia into the White House.

The divisions Nixon capitalized on in the United States at the time make today’s Tea Party/Occupy Wall Street tête-à-tête look like a pillow fight.

Perlstein suggests that this nation avoided an actual second civil war by a hair’s width. Bombings, murders, assassinations, mob actions, and the army on American streets were as common from 1965 through 1973 as texting while driving is today.

Watts, August 1965

Anyway, during Nixon’s early years in the White House, PBS was coming into its own as a news operation to be reckoned with, especially since it didn’t have to answer to advertisers. PBS started nosing into some of the more unsavory aspects of the Nixon administration. The President directed the general counsel for the Office of Telecommunications Policy to draw up a plan to defang PBS.

That general counsel wrote memos spelling out precisely how Nixon could bring PBS to heel. He wrote: “The best possibility for White House influence is through Presidential appointees to the Board of Directors.”

Once Nixon had stacked the board with his boys, they could then work on local PBS stations to play ball with the White House through the granting of moneys that were originally meant to go to the national network. The reason? The national network was top heavy with people from “the liberal Establishment of the Northeast.”

In other words, college-educated men. Bad guys who must be battled.

The author of that strategy was a fellow named Antonin Scalia, now the longest serving member of the US Supreme Court.

Antonin Scalia: Warrior Against Liberals

Yeah, there was a revolution in the ’60s. Only the guys in power staged it — and won it.

Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

Present and CorrectFun, compelling, gorgeous and/or scary graphic designs and visual creations throughout the years and from all over the world.

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

Mental FlossFacts.

Caps Off PleaseComics & fun.

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Bloomington High School NorthYard sale to benefit the Color Guard; 7am-noon

City Hall, Showers Plaza — Farmers Market; 8am-1pm

Monroe County FairgroundsDay 8, 2012 Monroe County Fair, Veterans Program; 2pm — Dead Giveaway; 5pm — Demolition Derby; 7pm; Noon to 11pm

◗ IU Art MuseumTour: Exploring German Expressionism with docent Yelena Polyanskaya; 2pm

◗ IU Art MuseumTalk: Focus on Hockney with curator Nan Brewer; 2:15pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “David Hockney: The Bigger Picture”; 3pm

◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series: “Kumaré: The True Story of a False Prophet; 7pm

Bloomington Playwrights ProjectOriginal musical, “Dreams & Nightmares”; 7pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Jeb Brester; 7-9pm

Buskirk-Chumley Theater — “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast”; 7:30pm

Brown County Playhouse, Nashville — Cari Ray, The Not Too Bad Bluegrass Band;  7:30pm

◗ IU Woodburn Hall TheaterRyder Film Series: “Polisse”; 8pm

Cafe DjangoDave Gulyas & Dave Bruker; 8pm

The Comedy AtticCostaki Economopolous; 8 & 10:30pm

◗ IU Fine Arts TheaterRyder Film Series: “Oslo: August 31”; 8:30pm

The BishopJason Wilber, e.a. strother; 8:30pm

The BluebirdPam Thrash Retro; 9pm

Max’s PlaceLexi Minich and the Strangers; 9pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Bonz; 9:30pm

Max’s PlaceOtto Mobile; 10:30pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; opens Friday, August 3rd, through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • Qiao Xiaoguang, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts” ; through August 12th
  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th
  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th
  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th
  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th
  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st
  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012
  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st
  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Coming — Media Life; August 24th through September 15th
  • Coming — Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture; August 24th through September 15th

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesClosed for semester break, reopens Tuesday, August 21st

Monroe County History Center Exhibits:

  • “What Is Your Quilting Story?”; through July 31st
  • Photo exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

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