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Arts and Culture

Michael Kazin on Dorothea Lange and the Great Depression

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Posted on Oct 16, 2009
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By Michael Kazin

(Page 2)

Morris Dickstein devotes large chunks of his rambling survey of 1930s culture, “Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression,” to the same wave of social realism to which Lange belonged. But the distinguished critic gives barely a mention to documentary photography. His attention is fixed primarily on the “proletarian” novelists and playwrights whose ideologically driven creations were controversial in their own time and whose artistic merits untold numbers of English professors have been debating ever since.

Dickstein discovers nuggets of literary imagination shining in the dustbin of radical dogma. He argues that Mike Gold’s 1931 autobiographical novel, “Jews Without Money,” had much in common with Allen Ginsberg’s “impassioned, surreal language” in such 1950s classics as “Howl” and “America.” Ginsberg, the ecstatic gay Buddhist, was like Gold, who became the hanging judge of Stalinist letters, “a Jewish visionary touched by messianic hopes, a reader of Whitman and Blake mesmerized by the American junkyard and its outcast inhabitants.”

In another unconventional move, Dickstein rescues Erskine Caldwell’s novels about white sharecroppers—the most famous being “Tobacco Road”—from the enormous condescension of critics who accused the writer of exaggerating the incestuous, amoral behavior of his characters. Despite bad reviews, Caldwell’s novels were best-sellers in the 1930s; an adaptation of “Tobacco Road” played for over seven years on Broadway. Americans, contends Dickstein, were getting more than they realized from the author, who was then close to the Communist Party. While most of Caldwell’s readers thought they were merely enjoying a “wild, grotesque, lubricious comedy,” they were also learning about the harshness of rural life that the Depression had only exacerbated. Caldwell “turns cruelty and inhumanity from a joke into a bitter joke indeed.” Dickstein makes equally telling points about Richard Wright and Nathanael West (the pen name of Nathan Weinstein), writers who also emerged from the Communist milieu to produce works that unflinchingly explored some of the more gruesome aspects of American society.

 

book cover

 

Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression

 

By Morris Dickstein

 

W.W. Norton & Co., 624 pages

 

Buy the book

book cover

 

Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits

 

By Linda Gordon

 

W.W. Norton & Co., 560 pages

 

Buy the book

Then, rather abruptly, Dickstein turns to Hollywood. He dwells on predictable figures and their movies—Busby Berkeley’s hyper-disciplined choreography, Astaire and Rogers as dancing sweethearts, Grant and Hepburn as rich folks with nothing to do but crack jokes and look marvelous. To his credit, Dickstein understands how the “lightheartedness and frivolity” of this popular fare, often labeled “escapist,” obscured an ironic subtext. The routine “We’re in the Money,” from Berkeley’s “Gold Diggers of 1933,” included showgirls losing their jobs and a sheriff closing down a bankrupt show. “Escapist illusions,” observes Dickstein, “are what this number is about—pretending you’re in the money when there isn’t any.” 

Unfortunately, the thematic imagination of “Dancing in the Dark” goes no deeper than that. It is a pleasure to follow Dickstein as he displays his vast knowledge of the fiction and film of the Depression years. His book is studded with little insights, conveyed in fluid prose unmarred by the “theoretical” jargon that too many scholars of literature confuse with original ideas. But Dickstein offers no overarching way to understand how the two kinds of 1930s culture—hard-luck realism and jazzy romantic comedies—worked together. Only rarely does he seem interested in what the consumers of all these products may have been thinking as they read or watched them. In place of larger meanings, Dickstein often descends to banalities, such as stating that the energy of screwball comedies and dance films “made those difficult years more palatable, and left us with many works that testify to the unquenchably vital spirit of those who lived through them.”

After reading Gordon and Dickstein’s books, it is hard to avoid a pang of nostalgia. Both authors eloquently remind us that thousands of American artists in the 1930s were able to express a spirited left populism without sacrificing the dignity and autonomy of their craft. Much of their work endures because of its artistic brilliance, not merely because they empathized so strongly with people who fully merited that sentiment.

But where are today’s Richard Wrights and Dorothea Langes? The left does have powerful cynics like Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein, who flail the system with the bitterness of a Mike Gold but have no credible alternatives to offer. And it has Michael Moore, whose talent for radical satire loses force with each repetition.

But one seeks in vain for artists—whether they work in print or pixels—who effectively convey the ideals of social equality and democracy that are essential to reviving any mass movement on the left that would be worthy of the name. One of the best things in Dickstein’s book is his appreciation of the films Frank Capra made in the late 1930s and early 1940s, which too many liberals and radicals now dismiss as sentimental fables. The critic is particularly fond of “Meet John Doe,” the dark allegory of an attempted fascist takeover of the United States, made in 1941. “Without abandoning his belief in the common people,” writes Dickstein, “Capra … not only satirizes them (and himself) but shows how fickle and vulnerable they can be, how easily an unprincipled plutocrat with dictatorial ambitions can manipulate them.”

Yet the film, written by the passionate New Dealer Robert Riskin, concludes with one of the purest expressions of populist defiance ever seen on screen. “Ordinary Americans”—members of the John Doe Clubs who have wised up to the plutocrat’s scheme—convince their hero, played by Gary Cooper, not to commit suicide. Then, their unofficial spokesman, a hard-bitten newspaper reporter, turns to the would-be Mussolini—a wealthy newspaper publisher named D.B. Norton—and declares: “There you are, Norton! The people! Try and lick that!” It is not an easy task to balance the gullibility of “the people” with their capacity to help themselves. But in the grip of our own economic debacle, it remains a very good idea.

Michael Kazin’s last book is “A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan.” He teaches history at Georgetown University and is co-editor of Dissent magazine.


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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, October 28, 2009 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

All depressions are caused by the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Agenda and the masses of the American population voted to reject a Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST agenda in the last election and will continue to do so, as is demonstrated by the FOX Media Network being rejected as a legitimate news source by the Government of the United States.

The Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST leaders of the Republican Party: Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Dick Cheney, Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, Bill Kristol, Ralph Reed, Pat Buchanan, Dick Armey, Rupert Murdoch, Phil Gramm, et al are all purveyors of the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST agenda to the exclusion of anything to the best interest of the PUBLIC, the liberals, the Common Population, the masses of the American population, are sick of listening to the consistent stream of Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST subjective propaganda presented to the public, the liberals, the Common population, the masses of the American population, as the only way government can be ran, without any consideration whatsoever for the public, the liberals, the Common Population, who provide the responsibility that protects and supports the Private Capitalists, who take the public, the liberals, the Common Population for granted, without any concern for the public’s welfare and squander the public’s communal resources and conserve their private capital. ENOUGH is ENOUGH, it is time for a change to Socialized Capitalism, so the public and small business will benefit from the country’s wealth along with big capitalists.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 28, 2009 at 2:26 am Link to this comment

In Lange’s case if the shots are in fact not candid, my disappointment would only be in the knowing, for the works were powerful. 

Today some photographers bracket a thousand photo shots to get one, for some reason this seems to be using the term fine art loosely.

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By Sepharad, October 28, 2009 at 1:14 am Link to this comment

At the risk of further upsetting an already sound-and-fury-signifying-nothing thread, my husband said he’d read some academic’s contention that most of the work Lange did with Steinbeck (when she “snapped” the iconic Migrant Mother) was carefully posed and reposed, props such as drying laundry and washtubs as well as people were put into very specific poses to fulfill the photographer’s and author’s ideas. I bridled at the notion—being a big fan of that era’s work, not just Lange’s but also Walker Evans and James Agee’s, Seema Weatherwax’s photos of people engaged by Woody Guthrie and all the rest—but can’t dismiss it without finding the academic’s book and reading it to see what his sources were.

If true, then Leefeller would be right in comparing Hitler’s (at least Leni Riefenstahl’s) taste in art to Life Magazine’s, insofar as both were big on carefully designed shots to convey a particular message. Is the rule for great non-combat photography “No spontaneity need apply.”? Guess we’ll have to wait for the book to see what develops (no pun intended).

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 26, 2009 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment

Your assumptions are assumptions regarding Leefeller Guy’s opinions or sentiments on art. We have already previously talked about Hitler and him as an artist on an other articles thread.

Since I do not know Hitlers art nor his demised feelings towards art, other than what I read in the previous article, I can say my appreciation, sentiments, opinions or feelings towards art are profoundly different then anyone’s, for only I know my true feelings about art.

All artist’s past and present of all the arts would most likely describe their sentiments (your word)  in many different profound ways, and they have.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, October 26, 2009 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

Leefeller, October 25 at 6:15pm,

It is interesting that Adolph Hitler had equivalent sentiments about art as you, Leefeller. Hitler knew art served a purpose and he made good use of it.

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By Leefeller, October 25, 2009 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

Powerful displays of expression by an artist are most important forms of communication, providing feeling and message both combined to grab the audience’s attention. 

Art as part of life can be useful in many different ways. If anything allowing people to see things differently than they ever did before.

It seems in our country, art is being circumvented by the conventionality of mediocrity by opportunism.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, October 25, 2009 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, October 25 at 4:06pm and Shenonymous, October 25 at 3:30pm,</b>

Blah.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 25, 2009 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

Deja vu all over again, every place I go, is that redundant redundancy?

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 25, 2009 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

We all know, ThomasG who wears that bucket.  We all know who is trying to
wiggle out of it but who has been shot dead in the psyche and will wear it forever
at least on this website!  It is none other than YOU!  Wiggle as you might, it will do
you no good.  There is only one way to creep out of it.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, October 25, 2009 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, October 24 at 2:04am,

Shenonymous said: “You will be haunted
forever by that bucket on your head.”

ThomasG’s answer: I agree with you that you and the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Movement “will be haunted forever by that bucket on your head.”

Wear YOUR OWN “bucket of shit” for a Halloween costume, it is YOUR “bucket of shit” NOT mine——I have higher standards than YOU Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS that have been pushing “buckets of shit” as “bouquets of roses” from the time of Goldwater through Reagan, Bush I and Bush II. 

The masses of the American population voted to reject a Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST “bucket of shit” agenda in the last election and will continue to do so, as is demonstrated by the FOX Network being rejected as a legitimate news source by the Government of the United States.

The Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST leaders of the Republican Party: Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Dick Cheney, Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, Bill Kristol, Ralph Reed, Pat Buchanan, Dick Armey, Rupert Murdoch, Phil Gramm, et al are all purveyors of Right-Wing Conservative “buckets of shit” for the Republican Party and have been carrying and casting buckets of Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST “buckets of shit” for the Republican Party from the time of Goldwater, through Reagan, Bush I and Bush II to the present, and the masses of the American population are sick to death of listening to Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST “shit” presented to them as if it is “bouquets of roses” ; ENOUGH is ENOUGH, it is time for a change.

It is time for an end to Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST “shit” carried and cast by the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Movement, the Right-Wing Media Echo-Chamber, and Right-Wing toadies seeking scraps from the Right-Wing table of the Corporate Elite.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 25, 2009 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

In politics, delusions of righteousness do not only come from the right.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, October 25, 2009 at 1:15 am Link to this comment

Sepharad, October 22 at 12:34am,

Sepharad said: “Martha, some populists are from the right, some from the left. It’s a very large tent with a lot of different—REALLY different—people under it who agree on opposing the governance and dominance of the elite, but differ on just about everything else.”

MarthaA’s answer: You are deceived, along with everyone else who think that there is a big tent on the Right, the Republicans.  The one and the only big tent is on the LEFT, the Democrats.  The genteel population on the Right are deceived and actually are causing the economic problems our nation is having, because they do not know that the Right doesn’t represent them and are deluded into thinking that the Right has a big tent——the Political Right only represents big business, big pharma, big industry, big bankers, big insurance and big capitalists.  All little capitalists and individuals fall under the constituents of the Political Left, the Democratic Party.

Sorry, but it is so.  Hopefully, you and all others who are of this same delusion will somehow get understanding before it is too late.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 23, 2009 at 11:04 pm Link to this comment

I repeat it here for posterity:

Everyone can see ThomasG that you are obsessed.  You will be haunted
forever by that bucket on your head.  Oh well, you could go Halloweening in it
without the expense of buying a costume.  Look at it that way.  Look on the
brighter side of life.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, October 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

Well ThomasG you have me pegged wrong but then you seem to have a very narrow range so you just cut to fit your narrow parameters. Too bad. At least you could pick a better word than “shit” to fixate on now can’t you? Can’t you?

How about those quotes from “Mein Kampf” like I ask? You do have a copy, right?

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, October 23, 2009 at 10:02 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, October 24 at 12:12am,

Blah, “shithead”.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 23, 2009 at 9:12 pm Link to this comment

Sorry, ThomasG, it is a bucket of your own shit with your head in it, and you
prove it with all the shit that perpetually comes out of your mouth.  You are a
sorry piece of it.  I’ve got you figured out, don’t I?  Clever Shenonymous! 
You will always be stuck with that bucket on your head!  Laugh laugh That is how
everyone imagines you now.  You can’t shake it off no matter how much you
incessantly blather.  You are the epitome of blah.  You are incapable of anything
else.  I only laugh at you and I wager so does everyone else.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, October 23, 2009 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, October 23 at 6:34pm,

Blah, blah, blah.

You, Shenonymous, are the bucket lady.  Your post sounds to me like you have fallen into your own ever expanding “bucket of shit” and you are trying to find a way out of YOUR OWN “bucket of shit” that you are up to your nose hairs in.

You know as well as I do that Capitalism is dependent upon the communal resources of the masses for its very survival cyclically and that at present Capitalism is dependent upon TENS of TRILLIONS of DOLLARS of communal resources for its continued survival and has been existing off of borrow and spend support from China, as a Communist Nation, as the policy of Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Governance.

You brand yourself, Shenonymous, for what YOU are by YOUR own behavior.  YOU make YOUR own choices and YOUR choices have been to support the agenda of the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS and the subjective tactics of Adolph Hitler in “Mein Kampf” as the methods of sophism and propaganda that you approve of and defend on the Truthdig forum.  If you chose to be otherwise, act otherwise, instead of trying to put YOUR own degenerate Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST behavior off on me.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 23, 2009 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

We all can see you are obsessive compulsive ThomasG most likely from
having your head in the bucket for so long, it has warped your sense of reality. 
You pontificate.  You show signs of a patriarchal mentality.  An arch controller. 
Would you be perhaps a descendant of a pope?  You have produced an
excessive number of egregious opinions about others on this website and me,
and some alleged relation between communism and capitalism but you do not
give any facts.  You think you have some algorithm that will resurrect
communism, which, in fact, is the real economic system that died.  It looks like
your vectors of thought are a bit crooked.  The wobbly arrows are going in the
opposite direction to what is the accurate story.  If you wish to be a
communist, that is your choice.  But it is not mine and I have only heard one
other person on Truthdig express their embracing communism,
MarthaA.  Of course we all also notice that you concocted an elaborate
story and petulantly insist we believe and accept it as truth.  The other fact you
refuse to cognize is that communism has demonized itself through the
existential examples it has presented history.  Show us an example of even one
major country that practices communism.  The ones that did exist, have fallen
like fatally diseased flies.  Moreover, just go out among the common people
and ask them which system they would prefer instead of trying to force your
ideology onto them, take a poll of the hundreds of millions of Americans,
forget about the corporations and politicians, go directly into the people. 
After all they are the ones you pretend to represent.  But you won’t do that
because you prefer to spout your nonsense on blogs where you don’t have to
do much of anything except beat your gums on the computer. 

I do agree that the right-wing conservatives, both extremists and centrist
attempt to control the entire population, poor, middle class and the wealthy. 
They have their own warped sense of what the public needs, but not what the
public wants.  You don’t need to have your head in a bucket to notice that. 
Even we who are bucket-free can see it.  They also pontificate on a daily basis. 
Even so, while I am not a Right-Wing Conservative Republican, I have friends
and family who are.  We have diametrically opposed views and I have always
supported the liberal program monetarily and I have physically helped contrary
to what you try to paint me as.  But I don’t need to defend my ideals because I
love my errant friends and family (I think they are errant and I would not wish
them one second of harm) and because I do believe profoundly in freedom of
speech and religion which are objective manifestations, and freedom of
thought, which is a subjective act, without forced indoctrination, and with a
special emphasis on political thought since that is the present issue, they have
an inalienable right to believe and act on their beliefs as much as I do.  They
respect me and I them. Why?  Because we are civilized.  I even respect your
right to believe as you do.  But you do not have a right to brand me as a pariah. 
It is you who are out of step with reality.  You who has his head in a bucket and
cannot see the truth that you do not have any worthwhile program for the
common population.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, October 23, 2009 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, October 23 at 3:03pm and Leefeller, October 23 at 3:19pm,

Blah, follow your own advice Right-Wingers.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, October 23, 2009 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

In reference to the Shenonymous, 10/22 6:29pm post:

Communism has been demonized by Capitalism with regard to benefit for the masses, and co-opted exclusively as a life line for Capitalism, as a means of resurrecting Capitalism like a Phoenix from its cyclical death spirals, that at present has sucked and continues to suck TENS of TRILLIONS of DOLLARS of communal resources from the masses of the taxpayers of the United States, since March 1917.

Communism is embraced by Capitalism to resurrect Capitalism from its cyclical death spirals, Communism for the few at the expense of the many.

The argument by Capitalists that Communism for the many is evil and that Communism for the few at the expense of the many to resurrect Capitalism like a Phoenix from its cyclical death spiral is good is an invalid argument.

Communism that is good for the few, Capitalists, at the expense of the many, U.S. taxpayers, is just as good for the many, U.S. taxpayers, at the expense of the few, CapitalistsSophism and propaganda used by Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS, both inside and outside of the U.S. Government, to condition the masses of the U.S.Population to accept Communism for the few at the expense of the many in support of Capitalism as being necessary to the best interest of the United States as a whole, while demonizing Communism for the many for the benefit of the many, as a PSYOPS operation in support of PRIVATE interests of capital and maintaining the value of PRIVATE capital at the expense of communal interest of U.S. taxpayers and the masses of the public as a whole must end.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 23, 2009 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

Is it possible impacts of works like Dorothea Lange’s work is superseded by MSM and Television’s constant barrage of mind chumming crap.  A Saturation of non impact pablum compared to a single great works impact.

I can remember and have visions of many great works, but very few Television, movies or videos? Remembering some of the great movies though maybe personal preferences, though I have little to remember of Televisions contribution to memory, though, it may just be me?

Maybe the book discuss this very thing?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 23, 2009 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG

Since I have not read Dale Carnegie’s book “How to win friends and influence people”  even so my life is a bed of roses, I have friends and do not try to influence people as the book title suggests. 

Socially handicapped persons as portrayed by ThomasG comment, seem to need all the help they can contemplate,  maybe reading the book would help?

Unfortunately comprehension may be required after learning how to read!

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, October 23, 2009 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG you act like someone with Torette‘s Syndrome latching onto a word then repeating it endlessly. Got brains? Then use more than .002% of it please? It might just be a popular trend yet!

Why did you comment if you weren’t interested in the topic? Did you read it? If so what did you think of it? Can you comment on something outside of your rigid parameters of thought? If not it is time to expand your horizons to a wider world. I do, you can too!

Where are our Dorthea Lang‘s? I suspect we have them but I just haven’t seen their work yet. There is plenty to photograph in these trying times.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, October 23, 2009 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

Sepharad, October 22 at 12:34am,

Right-Wing Lumpen-Proletariat that have been conditioned both inside and outside of the churches of the Evangelical Christian and Mormon Churches to vote against their own best interest are far different from people on the Left who know what their best interest is and stand up politically in their own best interest to try to effect the promulgation and enforcement of law and order that is in their best interest, apart from Right-Wing Lumpen-Proletariat that have been conditioned with sophism and propaganda to support the agenda and interests of the worthy wealthy in the name of God against their own best interest together with U.S. Government PSYOPS operations that condition the masses of U.S. taxpayers to act contrary to their own best interests.

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By ThomasG, October 23, 2009 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

KDelphi,

All of you Right-Wingers seem to be talking about shit, can you be more specific, in regard to MarthaA’s post and about the shit you are talking about.  Are you talking about Shenonymous’ OBJECTIVE “shit in a bucket” or what?  Could you expand upon YOUR shit?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 22, 2009 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment

Divisive distinctions separated by the fine nose hairs of pettiness seem important to those who need use labeling differences according to their own petty preferences.  Conservative, Liberal, Progressive, right left, it goes on and on, categories for petty differences, so necessary in the enhanced separation of ideas inclined to separate instead of bond!

Bigots do it and so do the self righteous!

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 22, 2009 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

Just this morning on one of the news programs the topic of working women
came up.  Often these days a percentage is given as to “how far” women have
come in terms of acceptance into society and the work force.  It also tries to
give perspective about what are women’s status is today which in effect says
how really ugly and mean the world of men has been to women throughout
history.  And that only in today’s “open” environment can any progress be
detected. 

Women are not supposed to have lives of their own, their own dreams of
achievement.  They are to subserve to the jurisdiction of motherhood and are
criticized when their choice is not what was expected by the indoctrinated
population, and even other women who have forgotten their inalienable right to
freedom and liberty criticize those who do not find parenthood all that
challenging or stimulating. 

It is not that there is no place for motherly love.  It would be insipid to think I
eschew motherhood.  I have children and dearly love them and find them
precious and I would do anything for them, and have.  That is not really the
issue, whether women love their children or not. 

To confuse being a loving mother with the need to be accomplished in an
occupation separate from motherhood as crass and unfeeling, is to be a vulgar
bonehead. The state of mind of guilt plagues many women because they have
been conditioned not only by their families but by their societies that they have
no right to be a person outside of motherhood. I don’t even want to go near at
this time what some Islamic women must endure and be beaten or even
murdered.  This is not to say that every single mother has had to endure that
burden.  I know women who have juggled their lives quite well to have a career
and be a mother.  Well, saying “quite well” might be an exaggeration since the
family dynamics for each of them is not known.  I also know brave women for
whom it has been hell.

Desperate people will cozy up to desperate others as misery loves company.  If
Erskine Caldwell closed ranks with the Communist Party in the 1930 era, it is
not surprising given the fact the world was reeling from it poverty.  Any
promise of a more egalitarian life would have been welcomed relief from the
horrors they faced.  It is obvious now in retrospect that Communism as it
existed in the 1930s was not a real promise of a good life.  None of those
communist regimes exist today!  Not even Mao’s!  And many, if not most, of
the glamorous who embraced communism then really gave it up after
discovering it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.  Communism is good in
theory but not in practice.  Some forms of socialism has seemed to work in
small European countries, but there simultaneously exists with it private
ownership of land and companies.  If pretense ever works it is because it does
hide the hideousness of real life.  The Wizard of Oz does that and so does an
unending number of books and films.  The Greek tragedians and Samuel
Beckett offered reality but it was always couched in ways that are tolerable to
the ordinary person: in the Greeks, it was the horrors that happen to royalty
and the gods; in Beckett, minimalist that he was, his work used ironic and
satiric comedy often called gallows humor.

People will always seek deliverance from misery.  You know that.  What ever
palliative is handy will do, whether it is drugs, drink, sex, or slapstick comedy. 
Charlie Chaplin proved that to us.  Populist/Liberal, the distinction being made
is picyaune.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 22, 2009 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

Just a little more…
Kazin laments wrongly I think, that “one seeks in vain for artists—whether they
work in print or pixels—who effectively convey the ideals of social equality and
democracy that are essential to reviving any mass movement on the left that
would be worthy of the name.”  Artists may reflect the ills of society in their
work, but art does not motivate.  They only become essential once a movement
has begun to quicken.  To gain insight into what does motivate, the only book
to read is a very small one named The True Believer by Eric Hoffer.

The film Meet John Doe was barely an unmitigated critique of the socialist
motives and the New Deal way back when.  Viewing the film would bear me
out.  But I say it is relevant to today’s issue of media meddling.

Instead those issues were pretty much ignored focusing more on debating the
effect of the mass media and its capacity to reduce to the only the essentials
and merge debates. The film showed rather in graphic detail the way mass
media elevated the possibility for a ‘common man’ (John Doe who was really
fabricated) to speak for ‘the people’ supposedly in a positive way.  This
ostensibly was to spread one individual’s messages into the masses,  But this
possibility becomes destroyed supposedly because the media ultimately
becomes exploited by the wealthy for their own ends.  This does seem to
resemble today’s scene except for the fact that for the most part the media
exploits the news conjointly with the wealthy that either owns them or
conspires with them (as in cable Fox) to deceive the public for their own ends. 
The distrust that was of Hollywood in the 30s has now shifted to politics in the
central government.  The fear of Nazism regenerating is always a risk since
fascism can emerge in any ideology where the public is kept ignorant.  Both in
a capitalistic society and a communistic one.  On the Left and on the Right. 
Leftist/Rightist fascism, what is the difference?

The economic debacle is a slogan that rings easily with those who carry their
ideology to bed with them.  The economic debacle is cyclic, not only here in
America, but throughout history in any powerful government.  I do not believe
any movement of moment will occur.  Even with the incredible unemployment
situation.  Why? Because there is momentum and it is being fueled by the media
in their incessant reportage.  Washington is moving a whole lot faster than they
ever have and momentus actions are taking place that have never been taken
before.  Cutting CEO’s salaries by 50% is unprecedented.  It is an astounding
first step. 

I think the poor American common population has been attributed with much
too much energy to do anything.  There is no evidence that this modern society
would move much for anything.  Witness that the religious right has been
rather unsuccessful.  The movers and the shakers are simply moving and
shaking because there are too strong of oppositions in the Coliseum of
American politics.  Gladiators on both sides are swinging their swords and the
mostly secular American people will accept whatever comes down the pike. 
They simply don’t want to get in the way.  Even the media cannot motivate
them in really great numbers.

There is a teeming populous but it is not motivated to any political agenda and
there are no real motivators.  No Malcom Xs, no John Kennedys, no Martin
Luther King, Jrs, no Castros, no Stalins, no thugs like Mao, no Ghandis, no
American heroes to pull the Sled of Life.  What motivates the ordinary
American?  Football games, owning Blackberries, wearing cool athletic shoes. 
Go into any ghetto and you will see a microcosm of what the general public are
interested in.

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By Sepharad, October 21, 2009 at 9:34 pm Link to this comment

Martha, some populists are from the right, some from the left. It’s a very large tent with a lot of different—REALLY different—people under it who agree on opposing the governance and dominance of the elite, but differ on just about everything else. Talk to a liberal and his populist example is Dennis Kucinich, but talk to a conservative and it might be Joe the Plumber or even John McCain. Richard Hofstadter has written a lot of history concerning the populist movement, as has Yale historian, the late C. Van Woodward, who studied varieties of populism such as his work on Tom Watson, a Southern agrarian populist who put together an interracial Southern populist party only to have it banned by Robert Lafayette-type populists from their national convention because they felt the interracial group might engender divisions among the white populists. (Watson became embittered, even racist. In more modern times, we’ve seen similar developments as in South Boston workingclass white riots against black working people.)

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By NYCartist, October 21, 2009 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

There are plenty of socially activist artists.  I think it’s hard to find us because, as someone has said, it’s a problem of getting the work seen.  There is also the problem of artists supporting ourselves.
I remember a survey done by an association of galleries/museums that was mentioned in a fundraising letter by the National Museum of Women in the Arts:
  in the mid1990s, only 1% of artists earned enough
    from the sale of our work to support ourselves
    (I had outside jobs to support my career until I
    became too severely disabled with CFS/ME to work)

    It’s the same for theater folks.
    How many of you have heard of the National Museum of Women in the Arts?  http://www.nmwa.org/CLARA
The CLARA Database has lots of artists.

    I do political art, as well as my sculpture.
I am not using my name because I’m keeping separate my comments.  I just finished one using street photos (I get out infrequently using a wheelchair, due to CFS and carry a lightweight camera.  Still learning tech skills…learning is hard with CFS/ME)
I give away my art on paper, political art.  I did one on the drones in Jan.26, 2009 (updated in Feb.), sent one to the White House and got back a preprinted card thanking me for my mail several weeks later.  I don’t think my art is hanging in the West Wing…

  There are street artists, in NYC, for sure - such as near Union Square, Manhattan - google A.R.T.I.S.T. for the group selling all kinds of art, including political art.  I’m sure there are artists wherever you live…

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By Leefeller, October 21, 2009 at 6:56 am Link to this comment

“Dancing in the Dark”, a title of the Book of Dorothea Lange’s powerful works, has connotations and intones suggesting many things, but for me it asks a question about art as a form of individual expression. Art having been changed by technological newness, meaning out with the old in with the new, always attempted anyway!  For instance photography is a new technology compared to writing on cave walls, what does this mean?

How about instant everything, concepts of making something instant forms a direct means of opportunism, a way to make money, possibly having invested control in the climbing concepts of instant. From Rice A Roni instant food to Photo shop computerized digital manipulations. Just in my lifetime the changes have been mind boggling. 

Looking at Art through the ages, one wonders what is instore for Art in the future?

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By Leefeller, October 21, 2009 at 12:54 am Link to this comment

Why do I perceive some posters are doing a reactionary homework assignment?

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By KDelphi, October 20, 2009 at 10:02 pm Link to this comment

MarthA—bullshit

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By Night-Gaunt, October 20, 2009 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

How can I be the one deceived? It is all those in the common population who have been fooled into supporting the ways of the Republicans even as it is a detriment to themselves. How can you insult my intelligence by saying I am the one fooled when I pointed it out?

It is true and continues in some ares, notice the Tea Partiers, not all of them are extreme right wingers.

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By Leefeller, October 20, 2009 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment

When one who loves the arts sees them constantly superseded and cast aside for petty personal political posturing of self stroking simplistic egosm almost like inherent perversions, force proponents of the arts to down a double douse of reality, for the same thing happens in real life.  Especially in the the alleged United States, arts seem to suffer while pettiness and opportunism soar to unseen magnitudes.

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By MarthaA, October 19, 2009 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, October 19 at 10:09pm,

You have been deceived.  The Right-Wing does not represent the populous, the Common Population, in any way.

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By Night-Gaunt, October 19, 2009 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment

There are right wing populists that sway those who are in the so-called middle and they aren’t liberal. The world doesn’t function in an Aristotelian logical way. There are too many variables and attributes that don’t fit into cozy nooks of classification. Most people aren’t always one choice but some can be if they think it is the most important item to them.

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By MarthaA, October 19, 2009 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi, October 18 at 1:54am,

KDelphi: I saw Grayson on Bill Maher—he seems better than most, but I wouldnt exactly call him a “liberal”—more of a populiat.

MarthaA’s answer:  A Populist is a Liberal.  Anyone in favor of political support of the ENTIRE Population, instead of only a few, is a Liberal.

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By MarthaA, October 19, 2009 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment

“Without abandoning his belief in the common people,” writes Dickstein, “Capra … not only satirizes them (and himself) but shows how fickle and vulnerable they[the 70% Common Population] can be, how easily an unprincipled plutocrat with dictatorial ambitions can manipulate them.”

”... concludes with one of the purest expressions of populist defiance ever seen on screen. “Ordinary Americans”—members of the John Doe Clubs who have wised up to the plutocrat’s scheme—...”  .... “.... turns to the would-be Mussolini—a wealthy newspaper publisher named D.B. Norton [Rupert Murdoch]—and declares: “There you are, Norton [Murdoch]! The people! Try and lick that!” It is not an easy task to balance the gullibility of “the people” with their capacity to help themselves. But in the grip of our own economic debacle, it remains a very good idea.”

Like in the 1930’s, the people, other than in the movies— wised up, and so will the people today.

The movie “V for Vendetta” is going to now be a weekly show on television along with all of the different Judges Court Shows and the like, that show the stupidity and gullibility of the common population; as humor entertainment.  IMHO, Making light of the common people’s lives as humor for entertainment is an abomination unto God, but the elitist media and corporate culture think it entertaining.

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By Night-Gaunt, October 19, 2009 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

The fact that the middle class came into existence in 1945 and reached its height in 1980 and has been going down and disappearing since then should tell you something. Those that want ultimate power over us (12%)don’t like the idea of a middle class. Just upper, lower and a military force to keep it that way if some get out of line. They are among the richest 10% in this country. They have many more followers who want to dominate all they see and believe their god gave it to them along with their wealth. They are the main danger here and eventually globally.

To them predatory capitalism as part of their religion and we see examples of it everywhere. It came about around the founding of this country by the white, landed gentry on the backs of black slaves, taking red people’s land, and women’s labor to make if free for them. We have gone far beyond what most of them envisioned. We still have a chance to make a better place here using the true meanings of their powerful words—-for all of us, not just a few.

As Machiavelli said that you can’t put in your organization until you remove the one that is in place. Our Republic has been crippled and is still being drained as it feeds the growing apparatus of empire and dictatorship here. It is a peculiar hybrid that can’t stand. One will fall or they will both fall. The Republic must remain.

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By Leefeller, October 19, 2009 at 12:58 am Link to this comment

Us and them, clearly necessary in divisive posturing. So us is me and them is not me.  Rich and poor in the same sense is similar to better or worse or bigger or smaller, so anyone richer or bigger then me is richer or bigger than me, the same goes for smaller or poorer relative to the definition.

Arrangements of people by Classes is another way of doing it, but my preference is me and not me!

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By elisalouisa, October 18, 2009 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment

Whatever Martha. the Elite want more power, the middle class and working class are of no importance to them.

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By MarthaA, October 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa, October 17 at 10:13am,

elisalouisa said: “The reality is the elite do not want the middle or the poor class to have
power,”

MarthaA’s answer:  There is NO POOR CLASS; there is a 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION.  The Common Population rises and falls with the economy.  There are poor scattered throughout the majority common population, but they do not stay poor and there are well off in the common population that do not stay well off and lose their homes and fall into the poor——the well off and the poor is always changing, therefore there is NO POOR CLASS, only a COMMON Class——the 70% MAJORITY Common Population.

The Nearly Noble Middle Class earn $250,000. up to a Million a year and the 10% aristocratic Elite Capitalists Nobles Class are all Millionaires and up.

If you earn $250,000. per year you can consider yourself in the 20% of the population that are the Nearly Noble Middle Class, otherwise you are of the 70% MAJORITY Common Population.

This is the reality—the Elite do not want the Middle Class to have POWER, but the Middle Class do not want the Common Population to have POWER, so the Conservatives of the Middle Class work with the Elite AGAINST the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION ——trying to make the population believe there is a POOR CLASS is one of the elitists propaganda techniques.

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By KDelphi, October 17, 2009 at 10:54 pm Link to this comment

I saw Grayson on Bill Maher—he seems better than most, but I wouldnt exactly call him a “liberal”—more of a populiat. He talked abou t Huey Long, which was good.

Maher is getting really wierd, if you ask me. Anybody else see it? What is with him these days??

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By Sepharad, October 17, 2009 at 10:46 pm Link to this comment

Thomas G., thanks for the link to Grayson and the Progressive committee. I think I’ll go to their website and do as he says—email not just Harry Reid but our own Congressional and Senatorial reps, to try and give them a litle more backbone. (It’s very encouraging to listen to someone NOT spouting amorphous BS.)

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By KDelphi, October 17, 2009 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment

Yes, FDR saved Capitalism and the cries of the “elite” were all phony, as they are today.

Rep Frank has watered down the financial regulation legislation to dis-include OTC trading and I have not a fricking idea as to his reasons. Well, i do. But, i think we should be abel to expect better. We shouldnt anymore—out of either party.

I am stil just incredulous that the duopoly gave those banks all that money and asked for nothing in return, and that they celebrate the return of the Mkt as a return to “growth”—we havent even “stabilized” and we shouldnt!

it needs to be revamped—the entire war based “economy”. Sen Sanders got some of it, right, but it certainly doesnt go far enough…how can people keep tolerating these crumbs from Wall Sr after all working people bailed then out? Unbelievable.

http://sanders.senate.gov/legislation/issue/?id=3884AF85-AD3D-4E6E-A150-155E90F26FC8

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By Leefeller, October 17, 2009 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment

One hears the sound of one head banging against a rock!

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By Night-Gaunt, October 17, 2009 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

for one thing ThomasG they were not punished in any way, even when they were caught doing business with the Axis during the declared war.

My point is that those GOMO powers learned from their mistakes and set about to make sure they won the next time. Very serious, very patient and very careful. I am sorry if you can’t see it. I see it and I see it continuing obviously since 1980 and unbroken through the Democratic and Republican presidents up to today. It is there but who is looking? Even you don’t see it.

They want a theocratic dictatorship of their group with others of like or similar mind who will follow them when the curtain comes down on our Republic when the economy will be allowed to finish its fall. It has only been arrested. If oil shoots up to $400 a barrel it will happen. There are so many possible triggers they have prepared for. The last 8 years they have moved more swiftly than before and are continuing under Obama who is of their ilk. A later recruit or one from the beginning it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t even have to know what all they are planning to get the job done.

We are still in great danger and the economy and gov’t must not fall or it is too late. If it hadn’t been for what FDR did we could of had another Civil War and the attack on Pearl Harbor also galvanized everyone as Americans first. Just as 9/11/01 did for us, it also accelerated the degeneration of our Republic which still continues.

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By KDelphi, October 17, 2009 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

elisalouise is spot on. So is Night Guuant. Sepharad, too. Good points, peeps!

I was looking for someone to answer this question? Perhpas we cannot?

“But where are today’s Richard Wrights and Dorothea Langes? The left does have powerful cynics like Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein, who flail the system with the bitterness of a Mike Gold but have no credible alternatives to offer. And it has Michael Moore, whose talent for radical satire loses force with each repetition.

But one seeks in vain for artists—whether they work in print or pixels—who effectively convey the ideals of social equality and democracy that are essential to reviving any mass movement on the left that would be worthy of the name.”

Anybody?


It is not desirable to repeat the New Deal—it left too many out and did not change the real character of US Capitalism, which is doomed to failure.

The system is not broken, in that it never really worked at all. Boom-bust.

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By Leefeller, October 17, 2009 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

One Billion people starving world wide, without poverty and the poor, the elite would not be the elite.

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By elisalouisa, October 17, 2009 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

The working and middle class are intermingled, there is no true divide. It is in the interest of the elite/power structure to keep them both down. That is the reality. We are in a global economy and those in power are not really interested in the working class except to throw them a few bones in the way of $250.00 checks or whatever when they start rumbling. If they really cared about the working class they would not have sold them out by way of closing their factories and sending their jobs to other countries. If they cared about the middle class they would not have thrown
money at Wall Street with no accountability as to where this money went,
including foreign banks. The middle class lost in the way of housing values,
retirement benefits, stock value and job loss.The last thing those in power want
is accurate policy appraisals submitted to a peoples’ ombudsman who would
analyze them and write a clear, truthful picture of the choices and what they
mean. The reality is the elite do not want the middle or the poor class to have
power, that is the point of what is happening. If we cannot see this or the fact
that the global economy was entered into without consideration as to the affect
on the average American we are truly being deluded. Do not listen to what our
leaders say, their actions tell it all.

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By Leefeller, October 17, 2009 at 1:53 am Link to this comment

Apt descriptions LostHills,  perceptions of FDR may deceptive, especially in my case, I was not a history major like Bush. “But the songs, the books and the films chronicling this experience are there. Future generations can read them and weep.”

The plight of the world seems cause for weeping now!

Sephards comment “We desperately need realists”  my sentiments, maybe even some impressionists chronicling the worlds beauty as Plato’s Cave becomes reality.

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By LostHills, October 17, 2009 at 12:18 am Link to this comment

Great article, and both books are now on my reading list. Parallels to are own time are inescapable… Kazin seeks “in vain” for the artists of today who speak for democracy and justice, but he is not looking. The mainstrean media is ignoring them, but they are out there producing great works. People today are not blind, but they have been successfully divided, and the media gatekeepers have been successfully bought off. Our government has been bought off too.

People who want Obama to be like FDR have a deified image of FDR and over inflated hopes for Obama. FDR was not a great progressive leader, but he was a great politician, and he realized that power comes from the ballot box, and voters in the 1930s had drifted to the left. Power does not come from the ballot box today. Voters are not on the left, either. And Obama is not FDR.

The nation is in the same dilemma it was in in 1930, only worse. But money has taken over our system of governance, all politicians belong to the money interests, and the vote means nothing. There can be n “new” New Deal. And things are not going to get better.

But the songs, the books and the films chronicling this experience are there. Future generations can read them and weep.

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By ThomasG, October 16, 2009 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad, October 16 at 7:14pm,

Congressman Alan Grayson is proposing a solution that is more than amorphous nonsense; listen to what he has to say for yourself:

Congressman Alan Grayson and PCCC Delivering Petition to Harry Reid
http://www.actblue.com/page/reidaccountable?refcode=f-bcn

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By Sepharad, October 16, 2009 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

As a subscriber to Dissent, I appreciate Michael Kazin’s insights. And particularly, I’ve also wondered where our Richard Wrights and Dorothea Langes are, not to mention our Steinbecks. (Lange’s first exposure to the migrant camps was with Steinbeck, who was under contract to Life magazine to investigate this relatively new phenomenon. Steinbeck, a native son of California’s Salinas Valley, was later pilloried for his disloyalty when “Grapes of Wrath” was published.)

Cynicism is what it is, but if it does not yield practicable solutions, it’s pointless and, worse, distracting. You can only go so far shaking your fist and saying “No no no, bad bad bad”. On the other had, “Meet John Doe”, unlike cynicism, falls into the opposite but equally unhelpful category of optimistic wishful thinking.

We desperately need realists, in our artists and writers and commentators and our politicians, certainly, but most of all we need realists casting their ballots in every election. There will never be enough realistic voters until there are people who realistically define and communicate policy issues complete with their relevant possibilities, upsides and downsides.

“Bipartisan” is not all that it’s cracked up to be: it is a compromise, sometimes embodying the best and the worst solutions to any given issue. Look at the handling of our financial crisis, our health care crisis. Both are being negotiated and controlled by participants with interest conflicts and lobbyists. Obama is not strong enough to change this; perhaps no President is. We need a different system; ours is clearly broken. If we could somehow get accurate policy appraisals—effects and costs, upsides and down—and submit them to a peoples’ ombudsman/woman who would analyze them and write a clear, truthful picture of the choices and what they mean, if we could do all that we might find that voters’ “realistic” IQs jump drastically.

What Wright, Steinbeck, Lange, Edward R. Murrow, Walker Evans and James Agee did so well was neither advocate nor lobby but to present a very clear picture of reality. And that gave FDR and every other reformer a good chance to bring about what was needed. No boosterism, no advocacy reporting, no talking points, and an imperfect situation, but a real policy with suggestions and amendments that could be voted up or down.

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By Leefeller, October 16, 2009 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

Dorothea Lange photos were very powerful and showed the real world as it was.  We need more Dorothea Lang focusing on our nations and the worlds plight, maybe the fallen military photos should be released, one billion starving people in the world, people here in the USA losing their homes, how to show congress partisan posturing while all this goes one. Of course reality must be hidden as the tea baggers watch the mass media and eat their daily pablum, yes did you hear about balloon boy!

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By ThomasG, October 16, 2009 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, October 16 at 12:31pm,

What is your point?  The Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS were trying to take over the U.S. Government in 1934 and they are still trying to take over the U.S. Government; the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS were not successful in 1934 with regard to their domestic efforts in the United States, or in their efforts led by Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo, and the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS have not been successful with their pathetic, so called, Right-Wing Republican Conservative Revolution led by Goldwater, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II.

In 1934 Major General Smedley D. Butler was a patriot, the problem was effectively dealt with and the United States went on to crush the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Governments of Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo under the leadership of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and I am supremely confident that President Barack H. Obama will be just as effective with his efforts of crushing Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST efforts both foreign and domestic that are engaging in plots to take over the government of the United States and the World.

The Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS are always trying to take over the government of the United States and the World and the Political Left, Liberals, always stand in their way and frustrate their efforts; this was so with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and this is so with President Barack H. Obama.

This is the cycle of history, the difference between the RIGHT and the LEFT, between Liberals and Conservatives.  The Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS are always trying to take over the government of the United States and rule the World and the Political Left, Liberals, are always standing in their way to keep the peace and look out for the best interest of all of the people of the United States.

Knowing this, it is hard to understand why people of the 70% MAJORITY Common Population allow Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS in the Media and Churches to lead them to support a Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Agenda contrary to their own National Security and contrary to the security of the World.

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By Night-Gaunt, October 16, 2009 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

Why don’t you look up “Business Coup” and see what it gives you before you trash me. My data is correct.

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By MarthaA, October 16, 2009 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, October 16 at 12:31pm,

So now your purporting to be a squandering conservative expert on what liberal President Franklin D. Roosevelt knew, which is amorphous nonsense.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt held the Presidency by the power of the people for 12 years and would have been in another 4 years if he had not passed away.

People can say what they want to; and, of course, conservatives will run President Roosevelt down,  but my family lived through that time and none of them had one bad word to say about President Roosevelt’s liberal policies, because life got better for all of them because of President Franklin D. Roosevelt knowing what he was doing and doing it.

It’s expected that aristocratic Conservatives will run down and demean a Left-Wing democratic president, which is why I am of the opinion there should be NO Conservatives or Moderates on the Left, only Liberals, because the Left is Liberal, the MAJORITY Common Population, and doesn’t need their own left side running them down, as there is enough to endure putting up with all the Right-Wingers running the Left down; it is time to move all the aristocratic Conservatives and Moderates back on the Right where they belong.

Today, as then, the people of the United States are relying on their government to somehow pull a rabbit out of the hat after the mess dished out by the squandering Right-Wing Conservative Bush administration, and President Obama is working on a solution and a single-payer public option health care plan that will be beneficial to the solution, because a single-payer public health care plan will put more money back in the public sector, as the capitalist economy is cyclical and has cycled back to a situation similar to what President Roosevelt dealt with, and our nation’s economy is again tilted way too far to the private sector, the Right-Wing Conservatives, which is the farthest EXTREME there is to the Right on the Political Line Graph Color Spectrum.

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By Night-Gaunt, October 16, 2009 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

In 1934 we just escaped, by accident, a fascist coup by the richest of the rich and FDR knew nothing about it till that great patriot Maj-Gen Butler who had been tapped as the commander of the new, hidden ITT equipped shadow army of veterans, told him. Hushed up by the president, Maj-Gen Butler was fired for his work and the would be Axis members were given a stern talking to. The Fraternity learned their lesson and made sure today they would own the house, the game and all the players to make sure they would win this time. To bring down the republic from the inside out and have their Shining City on a Hill as they envision it. A holy enterprise of the kind Calvin would approve.

Because 1934 was such a rich medium to which to have their coup they recreated it as best as possible. So here we are and it is ugly and not finished just yet. Starting in 1980 the middle class, the economy in general, the movement of the wealth to the very top are all part of their elaborate plan to win this time. All because of FDR not wanting to destablize the country by prosecuting and putting to death the very rich traitors of our land. Also the confiscation of that wealth would have helped.

Nothing has been done to keep us from plunging into the abyss of a Greater Depression. We are in a Great Depression now with 15% unemployement and the top 1% own 75% of the wealth and pay just 35% if the taxes. Anything now could put us over and then the gov’t will be shown to be incompetent and they will come in to “save” us from neo-barbarism they created in the first place.

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By abdo, October 16, 2009 at 12:49 am Link to this comment

n 1935, which also happened to be the year the New Deal turned left and most American leftists signed on to the Popular Front, which encouraged radicals to become boosters of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, while nudging the Democrats to take more forthright stands against racists, fascists and anti-union businessmen.

very interesting , do you think that could happens again, I have a slight feeling that Obama is inching little to the left of himself why, the savage attack from the right, and the money grab by the banks , he do not like to lose, his own sense of justice?

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