It is very possible that Casey Anthony killed her daughter. Before we say anything else, we should say that: the fury that was unleashed over Anthony’s July 5 acquittal is based on some very understandable outrage. Anthony did not report that her two-year-old daughter Caylee had gone missing for 31 days; she lied to the police on numerous occasions, including one occasion on which she told them that a non-existent nanny had stolen the girl; the girl was found dead by the road, and several people said they’d smelled a decomposing body in Anthony’s car. Even after the verdict, no-one really believes Anthony was uninvolved in her daughter’s death. So quite a lot of people hate her, both for what they believe she did, and for the perceived lack of punishment she faces now. And, in the absence of a guilty verdict, America has turned to what it considers a suitable punishment for Casey Anthony: Porn.
Vivid Entertainment was the first to make an offer; they wanted Anthony to star in one of their films, with Steve Hirsch telling the press that “we believe we can help [Anthony] make the transition into a new life.” They later rescinded the offer. Now, Larry Flynt is taking up the cause, telling Nancy Grace that he’s prepared to pay $500,000 to get the Hustler spread of Anthony that “droves of men” have apparently requested. Hugh Hefner says he’s also received an “amazing” number of requests to feature her in Playboy.
Of course, offering Casey Anthony a job is an easy way for porn companies to get coverage, and it’s tempting to stop there. “The more you write about people offering Casey Anthony money to do porn, the more you encourage them to pull such crap stunts again,” Fleshbot editor Lux Alptraum Tweeted.
There is, perhaps, no politician more poetic than Sarah Palin. Yes, yes, I know: Contain your rage. What I mean by this is that Sarah Palin simply does not think in prose. Not for her, the worked-out, comprehensible statement; not for her, the careful chain of verifiable logic; not for her, the facts. She thinks in big, startling images and portentous phrases; she is capable of transforming nearly anything she touches, no matter how mundane, into a near-mythic entity, charged with emotion and significance. America becomes “Real America.” The media becomes “The Gotcha Media.” Blame for something she does not wish to be blamed for becomes “Blood Libel.” Although that last one… well, the Palin approach to language can backfire.
Still, after so many years of hearing Palin speak about “Real America,” it’s undeniably exciting to see her actually try to define the damn thing. Her current bus tour — devoted to “the fundamental restoration of America!” With Palin as pagan Earth Goddess, spreading fertility unto the wasteland with each blessed visitation — has the aim of visiting American landmarks and historical sites. So that Palin might pay homage to them, sure. But also, so that she might let us know what she perceives those essential American landmarks and historical sites to be.
So, for once and all, we have a chance to know exactly what Sarah Palin means when she speaks about “America.” And now, with the tour just begun, it is time for us to figure out what “Sarah Palin’s America” really is.
Just a note before I start: this is the 1000th post on Global Comment! To celebrate, why not become a subscriber and help us keep bringing you thought-provoking content?
The real objective of Socialism is human brotherhood…Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles, or get themselves killed in civil wars, or tortured in the secret prisons of the Gestapo, not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another.
-George Orwell, “Can Socialists Be Happy?” 1943
I start with Orwell because people often forget that he remained a socialist even as he mounted critique after critique of the U.S.S.R. and other totalitarian-Communist states. Because the first argument one often faces in the U.S. when one suggests socialism as an alternative to the current political-economic structure is that Communism failed. But reading Orwell’s essays from the 40s, from an England struggling against Nazism on one side and yet learning of the brutality of Stalinism, is to remember that it is possible to have an intellectually honest critique of the states that called themselves socialist and to still advocate for socialism. Continue reading →
I’ve explored the state of activism in the United States for several columns now. Today, I want to look at one of the most successful social movements of recent decades: the conservative movement.
The late twentieth century is chock full of important and flourishing movements. The African-American freedom struggle always comes to mind, but there’s also the gay rights movement, the environmental movement, the women’s movement, etc. However, arguably none of these movements have achieved as much as the New Right. I always tell my students that we have to think about conservatism as a social movement closely related to the movements of the 60s. The New Right came to prominence largely as a response to the 60s, while also borrowing heavily from their enemies’ tactics. Continue reading →
Saturday, August 28, 2010 was an extraordinary day here in the United States. The date marked the 55th commemoration of the lynching death of Emmitt Till. It also was the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s incredible “I Have A Dream” speech, which was arguably the single most important moment in the Civil Rights movement of the 20th century.
And on Saturday, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and a host of other conservative politicians and political figures, including Michele Bachmann and (sigh) Alveda King gathered with hundreds of thousands of their conservative supporters for a “non-political” rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. (Beck insisted that the date selection was purely coincidental.)
I watched with equal parts outrage, sadness and amusement as the Restoring Honor march/rally/hullaballoo-making unfolded on Saturday. With so many politicians spearheading and keynoting the event, if promoting a political agenda wasn’t the goal, then what was? Continue reading →
Those terrorists are at it again. This time bigger, better, and ultimately deadlier. They are building a mosque on the ashen remains of the World Trade Center, giving a giant middle finger to September 11th victims, and ultimately destroying Western Civilization with their violent extremism.
Or so says the right wing.
In reality, the infamous “Mosque at Ground Zero” is a cultural and recreation center located two blocks away from Ground Zero. Officially named “Park 51” for its address at 51 Park Place, it will offer community classes, a performance art space, cultural exhibition space, library, child care facilities, fitness center, swimming pool, and 9/11 memorial space. The building will also be completely green and include a garden. Along with offering these services to people of all faiths in an increasingly residential area, the project will invest over $100 million in infrastructure and create over 150 full-time jobs and over 500 part-time jobs. Continue reading →
When is a duck not a duck? Seemingly if it’s a grizzly.
If you paid attention to United States “feminist” writing in May and June you may have noticed a wee bit of activity over the use of the F word. Sarah Palin repeated her election campaign refrain of being a “feminist” at the Susan B. Anthony List gathering, inciting them to form an “emerging conservative ‘feminist’ identity” around opposing abortion rights. “Feminist” editorial writing exploded. Jessica Valenti, Kate Harding, and Rebecca Traisterpassionately wrote what dire straits this signaled for the future of”feminism”. Palin claiming “feminism” is presented as dangerous and ridiculous; yet if you are familiar with what “feminists” claim to desire – the right to be as powerful, as compensated as men, with no limitations on gender – it is technically appropriate. Continue reading →
The rise of the Tea Party has shocked the political establishment. Seemingly out of nowhere, the emergence of a grassroots far-right movement overwhelmed the Democratic landslide victory in 2008. The Tea Parties rejected the legitimacy of President Obama’s right to hold the office and called the entire Democratic agenda socialist and un-American.
In order to understand the Tea Party, we need to examine it in context with other reactionary trends in American history. The Tea Party has roots deep within the nation’s past. Its use of coded (and sometimes not coded) racial language and images go straight to the heart of the nation’s most divisive issue. Its anti-government message has roots extending back to the American Revolution and weaving throughout the past two centuries. Continue reading →
Oil has been flowing into the gulf for over a month now and it seems that a resolution continues to remain just out of reach. The disaster is now openly being compared to Hurricane Katrina – and while both of these events have caused a tremendous amount of damage, they are vastly different. In an effort to assign blame, politicians as well as the public have lashed out in anger at the Obama administration. The president has answered his critics in a recent press conference by stating that, “I take responsibility. It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down.” This statement is in line with his pledge to increase accountability and transparency in U.S. government. Continue reading →
When history is being made, you focus on the mundane details, such as the snow that swirled down on election day in Kyiv. At the local voting precinct, the first representatives of the electorate to show up in the morning were, of course, retired women. I chatted with one, a former janitor, outside, in the snow. She grabbed me by the sleeve and helped me up when I went skidding on the icy, unkempt sidewalk.
“I voted for Yanukovich. I think there will be less chaos, with him.” She seemed a little doubtful. She also seemed like she didn’t think she had a whole lot of choice. Yanukovich, she felt, she could relate to. “He’s a simple man. That’s not a bad thing.” Continue reading →