by Bernie Quigley – for The Free Market News Network, 11/12/06
There is a political cartoon in today’s New York Times which gives a complete picture of what is dragging the Democratic Party into the sea of historical oblivion, even though it is showing signs of a new vitality in the November election.
Good luck with that. Old School is just waiting to pounce, to dominate, to territorialize and to control the young bloods coming into Congress, with Hillary waving the charge and that old Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Love, First Person Bill, first on the float, whenever he’s not touring with the Rolling Stones. The problem is this:
Bette Midler once said, “When it is 3 am in LA it is still 1938 in
The New York Times political cartoon is by Jules Feiffer. It is a comic homage to Barrack Obama, the new darling of the Democratic Party. There is nothing really that qualifies him to be President, President being a management thing, but he is a good-looking, well-educated and charming black man, and in a political climate that has been reduced over recent years to vaguest sensory impressions and the freest associations, it is good to look like someone you might remember from a movie or from The Ed Sullivan Show. And as Bill Clinton kind of looks like Elvis, Obama sort of looks like Xixo who played N!xau in the funny movie The Gods Must Be Crazy. If you are a certain age and of a certain culture, it bubbles imperceptivity to mind.
Remember N!xau? No? Remember Jules Feiffer?
There was a time in this country when the pulse was strongest and the life force of the Western world burned its very brightest at Junior’s on Flatbush Avenue, or at Harlem’s Apollo Theater or at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station and in the narrow streets and inexpensive bars and restaurants that converged Chinatown, Little Italy and The Bowery. You can see the last traces of that intelligence, integrity and almost boundless, spontaneous creatively in the terrific movie Pollock, set in the 1940s and ‘50s.
In its last days, Norman Mailer and Dan Wolf founded The Village Voice and Jules Feiffer wrote a weekly cultural cartoon for it – droll and ironic, in the political fashion of the day, exactly like the one this morning in The New York Times.
But the Angel passed, as She always does. The last hurrah might have come in a bar called The Lion’s Head, just off
I think it was Jimmy Carter. In my experience as northern-born and reared, he was the first Southern white person that we ever liked and thought of as one of us, after Watergate heroes Sam Irvin of
In this most creative period the best New York editors were, strangely enough, Southerners; Willie Morris at Harpers, Harold T.P. Hayes at Esquire, Wayne King at the helm at The New York Times and Howell Raines. But after a rash of critical books from a
The best and most influential sensed the change and moved on. Morris moved home to
If you don’t recall Jules Feiffer you are probably not from
The demographic is troubling. Less than a year ago, The New York Times Magazine had a cover story about Mark Warner, former governor of
Not long ago The New York Times did a brief interview with Marcos Moulitsas of The Daily Kos, calling him a rising star, but with that patronizing tone that New York editors and journalists conjure when speaking to someone not of the realm – Foreign Devils - a realm that has become as narrow and provincial as the Saul Steinberg cartoon that shows New York City as an island in itself and makes no distinction between outlanders beyond the Hudson River, be they from Indiana, Indonesia or China. Why does the world need blogs and the new independent on-line journals like this one, the reporter wanted to know? What’s wrong with The Village Voice?
I think Marcos (most of whose four million weekly readers are way under 60 and don’t like or read The New York Times) responded: Ha Ha.
Before I moved to
That satisfied us and unfortunately, it satisfied him. Here is the key to this: We did not like Southern white people and as we were taught to love black people or at least the idea of black people instead of their actual selves, we were also taught at every turn that we were morally superior to Southern white people as they were slavers. And although slavery was most elementary to the ports of
Our black student was “our favorite Negro” as black scholars came to call this condition. It was he upon whom we projected our pieties and our vision of ourselves as liberators and enlightened avatars: He, the black man, being the victim of some other kind of white people – people we opposed and did not like.
That was in 1964. And to there the Democrats in
From then to now, most anyone who has been to college might have read John Hope Franklin or W. J. Cash and learned something about race and the South. If we are to be a true federation of regions as
Such a course of study might start with William Alexander Percy’s Lanterns on the Levee, about the fate of the white planter class in
This old and irrelevant class developed and even evangelized a romanticized vision of Negroes as natural and joyful in song, true in prayer and organic and loving as help in the household; particularly during birthing and child-care tasks. And parallel to that the old planter class developed a hatred of the Southern whites on the smaller farms – the “white trash” and “crackers” whose rise in post-Civil War economy now threatened their livelihood and their authority.
Full economy came to the South in the late 1950s and early 1960s. We in