Skip to content

Old-Time Bigotry Alive in America



Editor’s Note: Even as American soldiers and diplomats in the Middle East seek to win hearts and minds by persuading the people that the United States is not at war with Islam and Muslims, only Islamic terrorists, Americans at home are screaming themselves red-faced over a planned mosque in Lower Manhattan.

On one level, this ugly bigotry is putting the lives of U.S. soldiers and diplomats at greater risk (though the screamers have likely given that little thought); and at another, it reminds the world of the nativism and hypocrisies that have often besmirched the high ideals of the United States, as Michael Winship reflects in this guest essay:

By Michael Winship at ConsortiumNews

As citizens of the nation continue through the summer, distracting themselves from difficult truths by howling at the moon and one another, I spent this past weekend in Manhattan seeing revivals of two classic period pieces of American theater. 

Magnificent productions of Our Town and South Pacific are about to close after long successful runs.

Escapist and quaint? Not at all.

These shows are as imaginative, poignant and pertinent today as they were the very first time their curtains came up, each a reminder of aspects of our national character; some grand and others we still struggle to put behind us.

Our Town is Thornton Wilder’s famous 1938 meditation on life and death, told via the comings and goings of everyday people in Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, a fictitious country town at the turn of the twentieth century.

Its message: that we are too often, too busy with our day-to-day existence to pay heed to the wonder of it all. And when we are dead, we are dead. But not quite.

“We all know that something is eternal,” the play’s omniscient Stage Manager tells us. “And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars… everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings.

“All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.”

The human beings of Grover’s Corners are proudly American, parochial but commonsensical, loyal, educated and devout. They read the paper and go to choir practice. Their children study Cicero and the Louisiana Purchase.

The only ethnic influence is indicated by a couple of references to the twins delivered by Doc Gibbs over in “Polish Town” — “Across the tracks… You know, foreign people that come here to work in the mill, couple of Canuck families, and the Catholic Church.” So much for immigration reform.

But some of these townsfolk yearn for broader horizons.

“It seems to me,” Doc Gibbs’ wife says, “that once in your life, before you die, you ought to see a country where they don’t talk in English and don’t even want to.”

A concept still lost on homegrown xenophobes who would seal off our borders and minds, eschew diplomacy with those not Judeo-Christian and hunker down, ever vigilant and paranoid, in Fortress USA.

(Bravo, by the way, to Josh Marshall of the Web site Talking Points Memo, who, reporting on the Ground Zero contretemps, wrote this week, “We’re in a midst of a spasm of nativist panic and raw and raucous appeals to race and religious hatred. What effects this will have on the November election strikes me as not particularly relevant. What’s important is compiling some record of what’s afoot, some catalog for understanding in the future who was responsible and who was so willing to disgrace their country and their principles for cheap advantage.”)

Soon enough, many of the children of Grover’s Corners and other American villages and farms did see for themselves, experiencing Europe for the first tine from the gruesome battlefields and trenches of World War I (but including the intellectual and sensual pleasures of Paris).

And three decades after that “war to end all wars,” the Second World War found millions of Americans shipping out to all points of the globe, battling enemies on a monumental scope and scale unlike anything in history.

That’s the setting of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific.
When it was first produced, in 1949, the war was still so fresh in the recent past that many of the cast wore their own, barely retired military uniforms. (You can see the production this week on public television’s Live from Lincoln Center series. Check your local listings.)

Because we are at war again, “the play summons a sort of memory of being under threat,” its director Bartlett Sher notes, but perhaps more important, it so vividly depicts American culture – U.S. Navy and Marines — colliding with the mores of another, vastly different society.

In South Pacific, it’s dark-skinned Polynesia as well as a French expatriate who escaped to the islands after killing a man back home.

Two love stories confront racial prejudice head on. Lieutenant Joe Cable, Philadelphia lawyer to be, is in love with the Tonkinese girl Liat but cannot overcome the elitist bigotry with which he has been inculcated. “You’ve got to be carefully taught,” he sings:

          You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
          Before you are six or seven or eight,
          To hate all the people your relatives hate…

The song was so controversial it was almost cut from South Pacific before opening night, and later, according to The Oxford Companion to the American Musical, “There were cities in the deep South that would not book the tour of South Pacific because of that number.”

In parallel, nurse Nellie Forbush, the self-described Southern hick from Little Rock, falls for the French planter, Emile de Becque, but recoils not from learning his murderous past but when she meets the mixed race children he had with his late Polynesian wife.

In the James Michener book of short stories from which the musical’s plotline was adapted, Nellie’s reaction is harsh and coarse; she uses the basest racial epithet to describe the wife and children.

“Her entire Arkansas upbringing made it impossible for her to deny the teachings of her youth,” Michener writes. “If she married him, they would be her stepdaughters. She suffered a revulsion which her lover could never understand.”

At the musical’s end Nellie surmounts her prejudice, but so little has changed since South Pacific premiered more than half a century ago.

Look at radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s on-air tirade last week, using that same epithet nearly a dozen times and dismissing an African-American caller’s frustration that her white husband’s friends and family made racist remarks in her presence:

“If you’re that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor, don’t marry out of your race.”

Alas. As the Stage Manager says in Our Town, “Wherever you come near the human race there’s layers and layers of nonsense.”

Michael Winship is senior writer at Public Affairs Television in New York City.

View the original article at Veterans Today

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Posted in War on terror.

Tagged with , , , , .

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.

Support #altnews & keep Dark Politricks alive

Remember I told you over 5 years ago that they would be trying to shut down sites and YouTube channels that are not promoting the "Official" view. Well it's all happening now big time. Peoples Channels get no money from YouTube any more and Google is being fishy with their AdSense giving money for some clicks but not others. The time is here, it's not "Obama's Internet Cut Off Switch" it's "Trumps Sell Everyones Internet Dirty Laundry Garage Sale". This site must be on some list at GCHQ/NSA as my AdSense revenue which I rely on has gone down by a third. Either people are not helping out by visiting sponsors sanymore or I am being blackballed like many YouTube sites.

It's not just Google/YouTube defunding altenative chanels (mine was shut), but Facebook is also removing content, shutting pages, profiles and groups and removing funds from #altnews that way as well. I was recently kicked off FB and had a page "unpublished" with no reason given. If you don't know already all Facebooks Private Messages and Secret Groups are still analysed and checked for words related to drugs, sex, war etc against their own TOS. Personally I know there are undercover Irish police moving from group to group cloning peoples accounts and getting people booted. Worse than that I know some people in prison now for the content they had on their "secret private group". Use Telegrams secret chat mode to chat on, or if you prefer Wickr. If you really need to, buy a dumb phone with nothing for the NSA/GCHQ to hack into. Ensure it has no GPS tracking on it and that the battery can be removed. These are usually built for old people to get used to technology storing only a set of numbers to call. However they have no games, applications to install or other ways people can exploit the computer tracking device you carry round with you most of the day - your smart phone. If you are paranoid ensure that you can remove the battery when travelling around and do so to prevent GPS tracking or phone mast triangulation. Even with your phone in Flight mode or turned off, it can be turned on remotely and any features like front or back cameras, microphones and keylogging software can be installed to trace you.

So if your not supporting this site already which brings you news from the Left to the Right (really the same war mongering rubbish) then I could REALLY do with some..

Even if it's just £5 or tick the monthly subscription box and throw a few pound my way each month, it will be much appreciated. Read on to find out why.


Any support to keep this site would be appreciated. You could set up a monthly subscription for £2 like some people do or you could pay a one off donation as a gift.
I am not asking you to pay me for other people's articles, this is a clearing house as well as place to put my own views out into the world. I am asking for help to write more articles like my recent false flag gas attack to get WWIII started in Syria, and Trump away from Putin. Hopefully a few missiles won't mean a WikiLeaks release of that infamous video Trump apparently made in a Russian bedroom with Prostitutes. Also please note that this article was written just an hour after the papers came out, and I always come back and update them.

If you want to read JUST my own articles then use the top menu I have written hundreds of articles for this site and I host numerous amounts of material that has seen me the victim of hacks, DOS plus I have been kicked off multiple hosting companies, free blogging sites, and I have even had threats to cease and desist from the US armed forces. Therefore I have to pay for my own server which is NOT cheap. The more people who read these article on this site the more it costs me so some support would be much appreciated.

I have backups of removed reports shown, then taken down after pressure, that show collusion between nations and the media. I have the full redacted 28/29 pages from the 9.11 commission on the site which seems to have been forgotten about as we help Saudi Arabia bomb Yemeni kids hiding in the rubble with white phosphorus, an illegal weaapon. One that the Israeli's even used when they bombed the UN compound in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. We complain about Syrian troops (US Controlled ISIS) using chemical weapons to kill "beautiful babies". I suppose all those babies we kill in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria are just not beautiful enough for Trumps beautiful baby ratio. Plus we kill about 100 times as many as ISIS or the Syrian army have managed by a factor of about 1000 to 1.

I also have a backup of the FOX News series that looked into Israeli connections to 9.11. Obviously FOX removed that as soon as AIPAC, ADL and the rest of the Hasbra brigade protested.

I also have a copy of the the original Liberal Democrats Freedom Bill which was quickly and quietly removed from their site once they enacted and replaced with some watered down rubbish instead once they got into power. No change to police tactics, protesting or our unfair extradition treaty with the USA but we did get a stop to being clamped on private land instead of the mny great ideas in the original.

So ANY support to keep this site running would be much appreciated! I don't have much money after leaving my job and it is a choice between shutting the server or selling the domain or paying a lot of money just so I can show this material.

Material like the FSB Bombings that put Putin in power or the Google no 1 spot when you search for protecting yourself from UK Police with "how to give a no comment interview". If you see any adverts that interest you then please visit them as it helps me without you even needing to give me any money. A few clicks per visit is all it takes to help keep the servers running and tag any tweets with alternative news from the mainstream with the #altnews hashtag I created to keep it alive!

However if you don't want to use the very obvious and cost free ways (to you) to help the site and keep me writing for it then please consider making a small donation. Especially if you have a few quid sitting in your PayPal account doing nothing useful. Why not do a monthly subscription for less money instead. Will you really notice £5 a month?