aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, November 16, 2007
Not The Daily Show, With Some Writer
In this youtube, Daily Show writer Jason Rothman delivers an hilarious monologue about the Writers’ Guild strike against the studios, who claim that they can’t compensate writers for digital media because no one knows how much this stuff is worth. The clip delivers a Daily Show-style montage of coverage from the $1 billion+ Viacom lawsuit against YouTube, including clips of Viacom’s CEO talking about how digital content is worth tons of money and getting paid is the name of the game. The clip includes a nice guest appearance from Daily Show correspondents, too.
In a related irony:
The WGA strike has put an end to TV Guide’s plans to air its first-ever Online Video Awards show on its cable channel. But no fear, the results in 18 categories will still be announced online on November 26th.
The parties go duck hunting
The New Republic’s Eric Rauchway says both parties have a history of catering to white racists. The Democrats stopped. Have Republicans?
In the 1890s, southern states began to amend their laws and constitutions to keep black people from voting, in part because they wanted to stop poor whites from joining the Populist Party, which sought to implement an income tax and break up business monopolies. Democrats, then the reigning political power in the South, figured that they could keep some large number of poor whites from worrying about their economic status by appealing to their racism. They proved correct. Thus the South solidified behind the Democratic Party and white supremacy.
Cracks opened in this sectional foundation when the Democrats nominated Al Smith for the Presidency in 1928. The multi-ethnic, Catholic, Manhattanite Smith represented “card playing, cocktail drinking, poodle dogs, divorces, novels, stuffy rooms, dancing, evolution, Clarence Darrow, overeating, nude art, prize fighting, actors, greyhound racing, and modernism,” as one Protestant minister raved. As H. L. Mencken noted, these fears would get “Methodist Ku Kluxers of every state south of the Potomac ... building forts along the coast to repel the Pope.” The Republicans benefited, and picked up a few southern states.
These cracks opened wider in 1948 and 1960, both close elections in part because white southerners punished Democrats for taking small steps toward civil rights. In 1948, Harry Truman’s effort ”to secure these rights“ prompted Strom Thurmond to run on a “states’ rights” ticket, costing Truman electoral votes he could scarcely afford. In 1960, some southern electors fled the Catholic and tepidly tolerant John Kennedy for a ticket with states’ righters Harry Flood Byrd and Strom Thurmond on it. These southerners whose votes had kept Democrats in office--southerners who for generations had been poorer than their northern counterparts--nevertheless let race-baiters woo them away from the New Deal, whose political programs had done them so much good.
By the 1960s it had become clear that the white South would bolt the Democratic Party under the right circumstances. As Barry Goldwater told fellow Republicans in 1961, owing to the New Deal, the GOP would never “get the Negro vote ... so we ought to go hunting where the ducks are.”
With that the catering-to-white-racist baton is handed off to the Republicans. But I’m not seeing how Goldwater’s strategy is a whole lot different than Tom Schaller’s prescription for Democrats in Whistling Past Dixie. The Dems is a sin of omission rather than of commission:
For a generation the Republicans have benefited from keeping Mississippi burning, just as the Democrats did before. Both hoped that racist populism would trump economic populism. The coming year will likely bring more of the same, and the results will tell us whether Americans will be so simply fooled again.
Dems may rightfully claim they’re not the party catering to white racists but so long as they use that fact as a benefit to win rather than actually doing something on the ground to counter and change it, they are complicit in the ongoing structural racism. And that’s not much to be proud of.