Cities without landmarks
Niagara Falls, U.S./Canada
I don’t know why Fox News’ Glenn Beck, railing against Barack Obama again on his show Thursday, felt the need to reference the 1968 movie “Planet of the Apes,” but since I’ve been instructed it’s bad form to call the folks on Fox “racist,” it can’t be racism. In case you missed it, Beck rolled a fairly dull clip of Obama praising the AFL-CIO for helping him stand up to “special interests,” and it drove the Fox star into his trademark apoplexy. He ran up to the stilled video clip and pointed to the “AFL-CIO” in the background behind the president, yelled about the union federation being a “special interest” itself, and then declared: “It’s like the damn Planet of the Apes!” (H/t to my friend Taylor Marsh; I clicked around later and found it on a few other blogs as well.) Watch:
Nope. No racism there. Beck didn’t mean anything by the reference to “apes.” Don’t be oversensitive. How could Glenn Beck know that you can find “Planet of the Apes: A four year Obama survival guide” on the white supremacist site Stormfront.org? Or countless Google images and blog posts comparing Michelle Obama to the character “Dr. Zira”? Or the fact that, frankly, you can’t swing a cat on the Internet without coming across some comparison of Obama’s political rise to the apes’ ascendance in, yes, “Planet of the Apes” (but some of them are careful to state upfront that race has nothing to do with the comparison!)
And of course Beck never read “Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America,” where historian Rick Perlstein places “Planet of the Apes” in the panorama of racial paranoia and fear that defined early 1968. In the wake of bloody Newark riots, armed white vigilantes patrolled the streets, while across the country, 5,000 Black Panthers celebrated the birthday of Huey Newton, in jail for killing an Oakland cop, where H. Rap Brown saluted Newton “as the only living revolutionary,” and asked, “How many white folks did you kill today?” One book advised families on how to defend themselves “as the crime rate continues to soar in the Great Society jungle.” And, Perlstein added, “A new movie, ‘Planet of the Apes,’ imagined what life would be like if whites found themselves a subject population.”
Beck couldn’t know about that!
Now today, you can find folks debating whether “Planet of the Apes” was racist (the “apes” conquered the white humans just like you know who would like to) or anti-racist (the oppressed white human heroes show the idiocy of racism/ape supremacy), but there’s no doubt Perlstein is right about the film’s perceived message at the time, at least among white working-class New Yorkers (I was just a kid, but I remember the panic around me). Set in a devastated New York, it starred hero Charlton Heston (whose most famous line may have been, “Get your stinkin’ paws off me, you damned dirty ape!” which is kind of funny now) and there’s no doubt that whatever its intent, it played to the fears of whites under siege.
Just the way Fox (run by “Nixonland’s” Roger Ailes) does today. Of course, back in 1968, there were things to be afraid of. You had H. Rap Brown asking how many white folks Panthers had killed today. Crime was soaring. Cities were aflame, from Watts to Washington, D.C. Today, crime is down, the only people marching in the streets with guns are Tea Partiers, and the scariest black man on Fox for a while wasn’t H. Rap Brown or Huey Newton, it was the admirable but indisputably dweeby Van Jones. (Fox was getting ready to cast Shirley Sherrod in the Angela Davis role, but her Afro wasn’t big enough, and it just wasn’t a great overall fit.) Fox’s other black bugaboo, the New Black Panther Party, couldn’t get 50 people to a rally, let alone 5,000.
The truth is, the scariest black man runs the country, and with his anodyne speeches to union members, he’s turning our nation into “the damn Planet of the Apes”! But that’s not racism. Got it? Happy weekend, everyone!
Update: I learned after this post went up that the folks at StopBeck.com noticed that one of Beck’s Twitter “favorites” was MalevoFreedom.org, the self-described “White Nationalist News and Forum,” when it Tweeted “Embrace White Culture.” Apparently Beck made it a favorite in early July, but once his favoriting (it’s becoming a verb!) was made public, he scratched his whole “Favorites” list. Here is StopBeck.com’s account — and here is MalevolentFreedom.org’s account.
Also, a few people have suggested in email I took Beck’s rant out of context, so I wanted to add the context. It talks about “dirtbag cities” and makes his strategy to turn 2010 into 1968 more apparent, not less. Enjoy!
Special interest! What planet have I landed on? Did I slip through a worm hole in the middle of the night and this looks like America? It’s like the damn planet of the apes. Nothing makes sense!
The guy who’s helped destroy all these pensions, Andy Stern, he is now on the financial oversight committee. Is this who we want to take advice from?
The unions who have collapsed all of the businesses, who have collapsed all of their pensions, they are bankrupting everything they touch and we go to them and we say, yes, tell me, what should we do? It’s like any marital tips from Tiger Woods.
Hey, I got an idea. Let’s appoint the guy who designed the Edsel and the Yugo to head up G.M.
This is how crazy it is. That actually might be an improvement. Let’s get the inventor of Betamax to be our technology czar. Yes! Yes!
Hey, the guy who created smokeless cigarettes, he’s our new EPA chief.
We are turning to the epic failures of our time and hoping that they will fix it. How? I don’t know if God is even powerful enough to help him fix it.
America, you watch the headlines. When are your neighbors going to wake up?
Our cities are now being forced into drastic measures and make cuts and guess what’s first up on the chopping block? The teachers, the cops, the firefighters. Well, of course, that’s the first thing you cut. Why? Why?
Well, progressives, they don’t want to make any cuts. Why do you hate the children?
Do you remember Cloward and Piven? Cloward and Piven, the 1960s dope-smoking, hippy crowd that wanted to destroy America then, they think the best way to get their socialist utopia is to financially collapse the current system and start all over again.
Let’s look at the cities. For anybody who — it’s crazy. Let’s look at the cities who are either threatening to cut or have already cut teachers, cops and firefighters. Where are they?
Show me the cities.
Wow! What do they have all have in common?
Well, you got sniper attacks and rights in d riots in Oakland. It’s the third worst rated crime city in the US.
Hey, but then you have East St. Louis, there’s a paradise for you — crime index of three, that means it’s only safer than 3 percent of cities in the country, which means it’s only slightly safer than Oakland. They just cut 19 officers and we’ll have at times — but only the most dangerous night shifts — only one cop.
Thugs probably shoot at the cops for sport in Philadelphia. It’s so bad that the mayor had to ask citizens to help the police. You got to be kidding me.
Beautiful Newark, which is especially around fall when the trees match the blood in the streets, oh, they’re celebrating now a whopping 43 whole days without a single murder. Well, congratulations! Don’t get too cocky!
Yes, they’re considering now, I mean, it’s been 43 days since a murder, cutting 250 police officers. The cops have to go. The cops have to go.
Really? And in your wildest dreams is that where you would start cutting?
In Oakland, California, they keep $7 million for cost in museums. Let me tell you, Oakland, you’re going to lose the art in the riots.
Newark, $39 million set aside for neighborhood and recreational services. Well, as much fun as I have sitting in the parks in Newark, I think you could probably cut back on the goodtime parks for a while before you slash the cops.
Philadelphia, you can save a couple cops right off the bat. Cut the million dollars set aside for mural art. Mural arts — I don’t know if you knew this, free market is great, baby, they do it for free, it’s called graffiti.
Thirty-two million dollars for a free library — well, I got to tell you, I read probably twice as much as the average Joe, I love to read. But I have a hard time reading or my kid would have a hard time reading when blood coming down their eyes.
Baltimore, cops are on the chopping block. But for $750,000, you can — they got to rid of the cops — we got an opera house online. This is like your wife coming home and saying, honey, we run out of money, we got to cut down on expenses but we got to stay healthy. We got to do something. We can’t afford all of this food.
You’re right, honey. We got to cut the milk, and meat and the organics. We got to cut all that out. We’re only going to buy Mountain Dew and Cheetos. Mountain Dews and Cheetos!
How about we get the rich who never pay their fair share to buy their stupid, snotty opera house?
Let me ask you — you’re in a state — would you cut the opera house or the cops?
You know why this is easy for you? You know why it’s infuriating for you? Because you have common sense.
Now, what does your gut tell you? That everybody involved in this is moron? Or is there something else? Is there something else going on?
They have — they have put me in a place — and God bless `em, God bless `em — they have smeared me and people like me so hard, so long. I mean, “Media Matters,” I’ll bet you, by the end of the show, “Media Matters” has four stories out about me — all on Soros money.
So, the people who disagree with me, you ask your friend for specifics! What is it that Glenn Beck says? They can’t. They can’t, because they only read the smear which stops them from looking at things like this that you know because you watch the show. Cloward and Piven, ask them.
I sat with a senator one day, about two weeks ago, and he said, “Hey, Glenn, I just heard about Cloward and Piven,” blood started shooting out of my eyes. Really, Senator? Today, you got that. I have to get that on the air — a year ago.
Cloward and Piven, you know about the Weather Underground and the revolutionaries that are all around this administration. Does that make sense? Does that make the opera house make a little more sense?
You know that progressivism is a cancer to the republic. It goes against the Constitution. It is set to destroy the Constitution. That’s the plan.
And three civil unrests and emergencies, they work in favor of these revolutionaries. Is there anything — is there anything we’ve seen in today’s news that make these work and explain the Cheetos over the cops and the teachers? Oh, yes. Yes, the pattern seems to make sense if you do your homework and it sucks to be them because we do.
We looked at the budgets of these craphole cities. I’ll show you what they should cut — next.
I really wasn’t — I really wasn’t hacked off until I started talking to you tonight. I’m with you.
Let me bring out the list of dirtbag cities I’m going to talk about again. Actually, some of these cities, Baltimore is a great city. Chicago is one of the best cities in the country. Philadelphia could be better Chicago but they’re all corrupt. I mean, it’s just.
Let’s look at these cities. These are the cities they are cutting teachers off and cops and — oh, they need help from the federal government. Let’s just see how many of these economies are being collapsed by the “workers of the world unite” unions and their pensions.
In Oakland, they laid off 80 cops right after the riots, because public pension deals made during boom times, well, we can’t afford them. Check.
Philadelphia, unions are fighting to keep devastating pension plans on the books like the deferred retirement option that now has cost the city $258 million in the last 10 years. Check.
Baltimore and unions fighting pension reductions, even though the cuts are necessary to avert fiscal disaster in the city. Check.
Newark, $16.7 million deficit.
Chicago — don’t worry about Chicago. Chicago — here’s their budget. No biggie with Chicago. They are — they’re only $654 million in the hole. But they got nice fountains.
Now, let’s see — what else could be causing cities’ problems. Is there any drain on these cities? Oh, hey, I know, let’s look and see if any of these have — any of these are sanctuary cities, huh? We know illegal immigration collapsing education, health care systems.
Sanctuary cities? Zero in, no, it can’t be. Uh-uh! Uh-oh! Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Check, check, check.
Gee, all of these things are happening now. You know what it is? Those evil, big spending Republicans. Let’s see who’s running these cities because it could be just a string of bad luck. But I’m guessing it’s those evil Republicans.
If you were cynical, you’d say, Glenn, you’re going to find a pattern of progressives or radicals. No. No.
Uh-oh, uh-oh, it doesn’t look good. Oakland City Council, currently all Democrats.
The mayor is best known for its affinity for Cuba and Fidel Castro. He was even suspected of passing American classified intelligence materials to Castro. That’s right. He also spoke at the cop killer Black Panther, Huey Newton’s birthday party. I love him when he was with the news. And he didn’t renounce their tactics.
It’s been all Democrats since 1976. Look for the union label.
And here in Philadelphia, Democratic since 1962. The extra city taxes have already caused businesses to fail and people to flee. Run for your life if you’re in Philadelphia. But now, they’re doing a keeping Philly clean tax and a soda tax. That will be fixed.
Baltimore — Democratic mayoral controlled since 1967, including the mayor named Sheila Dixon. She was great. She was only charged with 12 counts of perjury, theft, misappropriation and misconduct — but only 12. The current city council — all Democrats.
Newark, Democrat since 1928. Now, that’s quite a streak, Newark. I knew I like you for a reason.
Current mayor, Corey Booker, prides himself on progressive programs. He’s working like this with the Center for American Progress on green jobs, because that’s what I think of when I think of Newark, New Jersey. Four years in office and Newark still ranks the 10th most poverty-stricken city in America.
You got it going on. Word to your mommy.
Chicago, all Democratic mayors since 1927. Former home of Al Capone. Chicago politics, you know, home of all “Crime Inc.” — you know, super players, Bill Ayers, ShoreBank, Obama, Jarrett, Blagojevich. They have only had 79 elected officials convicted of wrongdoing since 1972.
You see, all these cities are falling apart. Yes. I don’t think it’s the tough economy or the Bush politics.
I’m not a fan of George W. Bush, but no one in the media will tell you that. No. I’m a big Republican.
It’s all the economy. All the economy is doing is exposing and accelerating what the progressives want to do in the first place: collapse the system and start all over again. This is antiquated. This Constitution is old and dusty.
They’re doing a pretty good job, no? Progressivism is a cancer and if we keep going down this road, all of our cities will be crumbling because you’ll be paying for the dirtbag cities that made choices to do crazy stuff that you weren’t involved in.
Progressives need to you do be dependent on them. Hey, wait a minute. Hold it. Didn’t I just see that welfare rolls are at an all-time high? What a wild coincidence.
America, it comes down to a choice — a choice. Are these people just misguided? Are all these — they’re just a spring of bad luck? Or are they trying to do this, are they trying to spread the wealth globally, to stop the oppressive America?
Joan Walsh is Salon's editor at large and the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America."More Joan Walsh.
Niagara Falls, U.S./Canada
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, U.S.
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Siena Cathedral, Siena, Italy
Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France
Lost City of Petra, Jordan