Category Archives: Willie Horton

Hot Air

Grocery Grumbling

Wood czarina Nancy R. Hiller gets itchy just thinking about the whole Bloomingfoods/union contretemps going on.

Natch, which of us aren’t torn in this little tug of war? The majority of the citizenry of the People’s Republic of Bloomington are union partisans — yet everybody who’s anybody is hot for Bloomingfoods, the five-store co-op’s founders, its management, and its boardfolk.

Bloomingfoods Union Rally

Rally For B’foods Union Last week

In any case, Hiller got her hands on a list of benefits B’foods offers its galley slaves. The bennies look good, I’ll have to say. Shoot, they even offer free professional counseling which employees are eligible for the minute they start working. Dang, mang, I’d have saved tens of thousands of dollars in shrink fees had I worked for B-foods in my late 20s through early 40s.

Anyway, as soon as I get some free time, I’m going to grill some insiders about their grievances. A very friendly inside source has provided me a list of names and phone numbers of people who just may offer some insight into why at least some B-foods workers are ready to man the barricades.

Until then, read about Bloomingfoods’ employee benefits here, courtesy of our town’s most adept juggler of hammer and saw, the fab Ms. Hiller.

Boo!

The two most effective political messages in American history were Lyndon B. Johnson’s fabled mushroom cloud TV ad in 1964 and George H.W. Bush’s Willie Horton spots.

Mushroom Cloud Ad

Don’t Get Burned By Goldwater

I was too young to remember the mushroom cloud commercial, being eight at the time, but I remember Willie Horton well — I was 32 in 1988. Willie Horton was almost perfect in its simplicity and impact. Lee Atwater and company concocted the archetypical bogeyman: a scary, grotesque, really dark-skinned black man, a rapist/murderer sprung from prison by a lily-livered, pointy-headed Democratic governor. And you wanted that milquetoast Dem to be your president?

Horton

The Face Of Fear

As Atwater, Bush’s storied political strategist, said early on, “By the time we’re finished, they’re going to wonder whether Willie Horton is Dukakis’ running mate.”

His strategy was no less craven than that of adman Tony Schwartz, who created the mushroom cloud commercial (which, BTW, ran only once.) But craven in politics and other public pastimes works. Barry Goldwater was effectively painted forever as a nuke-slinging madman, Mike Dukakis a patsy for criminals, welfare queens, and — worst of all — black people.

The secret to success in public discourse is to scare the bejesus out of people.

Just as soon as GHWB trounced Dukakis in the ’88 beauty contest, it struck me that what separated the Democrats from the Republicans was the latters’ gleeful willingness to scare the populace and the formers’ hesitancy to do so (at least in the years post-1964.)

I immediately thought of the environment — you know, the air we breathe and the water we drink? All the environmental movement needed to do was start making the citizenry of this holy land wet its pants about pollution and, next thing you’d know, we’d start doing a thing or two about it. After all, the Reagan Administration had been as careful a steward of the environment as an eight-year-old husbanding his bag of Halloween candy.

Cut to almost two decades later: Al Gore et al came out with An Inconvenient Truth. Wouldn’t you know it, that Oscar®-winning doc got millions of us shuddering over the possibility that the likes of New York City and Miami Beach might soon be under water.

Gore/Truth

The Documentary Film Spawned A Book

We on the crunchy end of the political spectrum finally had our Willie Horton.

Don’t get me wrong, I dug An Inconv. Truth the most. Still, as I watched the picture, I had the feeling that certain suppositions in it were less than sure-fire bets. Nevertheless, the scare job was for a good cause, not for painting an entire race of American citizens as murderers and rapists.

Now comes a think piece by Charles C. Mann in September’s The Atlantic mag. He posits that the environmental gang is overreaching with its oft-times overblown rhetoric. Mann is a science writer who penned, among other works, the highly-lauded 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus.

Mann feels the scare tactics of environmentalists are working against their own aims. He cites for support, for instance, French philosopher Pascal Bruckner, who insists that many climate worriers are apocalyptic fanatics:

A best-selling, telegenic public intellectual (a species that hardly exists in this country), Bruckner is mainly going after what he calls “ecologism,” of which McKibbenites are exemplars. At base, he says, ecologism seeks not to save nature but to purify humankind through self-flaggelating asceticism.

To Bruckner, ecologism is both ethnocentric and counterproductive.

McKibbenites, of course, are fans of high-profile ecologist Bill McKibben.

Mann is right about some of the overblown rhetoric: One anti-Keystone Pipeline activist says if the thing is built “civilization would be at risk.” Mann’s conclusion is such operatic verbiage marginalizes environmentalists.

Mann is wrong, though, about the scare tactics. He may know a lot about science — and Bruckner may know a lot about philosophy — but neither knows the American people.

Priorities

You had to know this would happen: many parents in Middlesex County, New Jersey, are far more teed off about the cancellation of the remainder of the Sayreville War Memorial High School football season than they are about the digital/anal raping/hazing ritual that caused the cancellation in the first place.

Just to keep you up to date, seven Sayreville HS football players have been arrested for their alleged near-daily hazing of team freshmen. Acc’d’g to the cops, the seven would trap freshmen in the locker room, turn out the lights, and proceed to digitally penetrate the poor kids’ anuses for fun and laughs.

Eek.

Number One

The Foam Finger Takes On A Whole New Meaning

Anyway, some student victims told their parents about the ritual and the parents called the police. Seems open and shut, no?

No. Because of the scandal, the school’s principal cancelled the rest of its football season. And many parents are steamed about having to face life without high school football.

Anally raping an adolescent is one thing, I suppose, but canceling a football season? Now that’s an outrage.

Football. America’s game.

 

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“As people do better, they start voting like Republicans — unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing.” — Karl Rove

LAST TWO DAYS

You can vote this morning at The Curry Building, 214 W. Seventh St. from 8am-noon.

Tomorrow is Election Day. Vote at The Curry Building or your local polling place.

Oh, and do me a big favor — vote for Barack Obama, okay?

MONEY FOR RIGHTS

No matter who wins the presidential race tomorrow, the American Civil Liberties Union comes out ahead.

I’ve bet a C-note with the radical Chicago lawyer Jerry Boyle on the outcome. He’s certain Willard’s going to take the prize tomorrow and I’ve never wavered in my certainty that Barack Obama will be reelected. If Jerry’s guy wins, I cut a check to the ACLU. If Barack Obama wins — I mean, when Barack Obama wins — Jerry Boyle throws his wallet open.

Click For ACLU Online

Book it, if you think the ACLU is a danger to this holy land, you and I disagree profoundly about the meaning of freedom.

THE END OF AN ERA

Tomorrow will mark the end of national elections as we’ve known them since Dick Nixon foisted the Southern Strategy upon us in 1968.

That’s right, it’s been 44 years since Nixon and his gang of furry little mammals realized that the segregationist Democrats of the South and the blue-collar whites of the North could constitute a mighty, dependable bloc of voters for the GOP.

Nixon & His Southern Point Man, Strom Thurmond

Nixon was a clever man. He realized that the southern Democrats had no interest in being Democrats anymore. He also realized that even though many northern whites were nauseated by Bull Connor and his fire hoses and snarling dogs, they had zero interest in living next door to black families. More important, Nixon knew northern white daddy-os, by and large, were terrified by the prospect of their daughters sitting next to black teenaged boys in high school civics classes.

Sickening — From A Distance

Playing on these visceral racial fears, Nixon enticed millions of whites in this nation to vote for the man who, they were certain, would protect them from black people.

At the time, white people constituted nearly 80 percent of the electorate.

Since then, fear of a a black planet has been perhaps the single most important underpinning of Republican strategy in every national election. Willie Horton, anybody?

Even the hysterical aversion of certain pan-troglodytes within the GOP to the idea of a Barack Obama presidency in 2008 indicated that Nixon’s simple formula was falling apart. That year, it was not enough to simply point out that Obama was brown. No, the operative canard used against him was that he was a secret Muslim, an Ay-rab, a mole who’d give his terrorist brethren the high sign that they could now fly airplanes into every skyscraper in every big city in the United States.

…And He’s An Ayatollah!

Unfortunately for the antediluvian GOP, there are no longer enough southern segregationists and northern racists to swing an election. How many white families can you name that don’t include a brown member by marriage or birth?

Sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner with a brown niece or a black brother-in-law tends to change one’s outlook on things.

The terror is dissipating.

The numbers are working against that old guard Republicanism.

The US Census Bureau announced in May that minority babies accounted for more than half of all births in the United States in 2011.

That 80 percent is no more. Soon, it’ll be less than half.

If the Republican Party is to survive, it’ll not only drop the fear appeal but it’ll have to draw blacks and browns into its ranks. That’ll be a good thing.

YOU DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ VOTE

Meanwhile, the old GOP dogs are trying desperately to hold on.

Realizing the numbers are working against them, Republican strategists have been trying to quash the vote.

Take Florida, where the Republican-dominated state legislature last year reduced the number of early voting days by nearly half. Again, the GOP is being clever. They know that most early voters are Dems and minorities.

It must frustrate the GOP that many Floridians are lining up for six to eight hours at a time to cast their ballots.

Miami Voters On Saturday

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.


Monday, November 5th, 2012

VOTE ◗ The Curry Building, 214 W. Seventh St.; 8am-Noon

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallDoctoral Recital: Adam Karfeld on viola; 5pm

CLASS ◗ Sweet Claire Gourmet BakeryBread for the Holidays, Learn to make rosca de reyes, stollen, sweet breads, etc.; 6-8pm

VARIETY ◗ Cafe DjangoBloomington Short List, 10-minute acts, Hosted by Taylor McNeeley; 7-9pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts Center, Recital HallDoctoral Recital: Miji Chae on violin; 7pm

BOOKS ◗ Boxcar BooksCyberpunk Apocalypse Comix Reading, Presented by Nate McDonough & Dabiel McCloskey; 7-9pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “I Can’t Sleep“; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallPiano Student Recital: Students of Lee Phillips; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallDoctoral Recital: Justin Bartlett on piano; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubSongwriter Showcase; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopDJ Jeremy Brightbill; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallStudent Recital: Kevyn Bailey & Sammy Johnson on clarinets; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdWhite Denim; 9pm

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; through December 31st
  • “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers,” by Julia Margaret, Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan; through December 31st
  • French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century;” through December 31st
  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Pop-art by Joe Tilson; through December 31st
  • Threads of Love: Baby Carriers from China’s Minority Nationalities“; through December 23rd
  • Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st
  • Embracing Nature,” by Barry Gealt; through December 23rd
  • Pioneers & Exiles: German Expressionism,” through December 23rd

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits through December 1st:

  • “Essentially Human,” By William Fillmore
  • “Two Sides to Every Story,” By Barry Barnes
  • “Horizons in Pencil and Wax,” By Carol Myers

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits through November 16th:

  • Buzz Spector: Off the Shelf
  • Small Is Big

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibits through December 20th:

  • A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners
  • Gender Expressions

ART ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits:

  • “¡Cuba Si! Posters from the Revolution: 1960s and 1970s”
  • “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”
  • “Thoughts, Things, and Theories… What Is Culture?”
  • “Picturing Archaeology”
  • “Personal Accents: Accessories from Around the World”
  • “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”
  • “The Day in Its Color: A Hoosier Photographer’s Journey through Mid-century America”
  • “TOYing with Ideas”
  • “Living Heritage: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia”
  • “On a Wing and a Prayer”

BOOKS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibits:

  • The War of 1812 in the Collections of the Lilly Library“; through December 15th
  • A World of Puzzles,” selections from the Slocum Puzzle Collection

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibits:

  • Doctors & Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical Professions
  • What Is Your Quilting Story?
  • Garden Glamour: Floral Fashion Frenzy
  • Bloomington Then & Now
  • World War II Uniforms
  • Limestone Industry in Monroe County

The Ryder & The Electron Pencil. All Bloomington. All the time.

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