Baby, Don’t Fear the Reaper
by Gary Phillips
Fear Itself is one of those company-wide “events” Marvel Comics has done like other such comics universe shaking events such as Blackest Night and the New 52 over at DC Comics. It’s a storyline that threads through various titles to essentially boost sales wags have noted. In this case, Sin, the daughter of the Red Skull, the ultimate Nazi, unleashes an ancient evil called The Serpent. Fear and uncertainty grip the land. Well by gosh, sowing fear and uncertainty, with a liberal dose of Nazism, sure seem to be the mantra of the right wingers these days.
You got ol’ Coultergeist, as my boy Keith Olbermann calls the Blonde Ghost, Ann Coulter, doing her sycophantic riff on Fox News’ Follow the Money. She denounced the Occupy Wall Streeters as totalitarians and Stalinists, that what they were talking about in terms of the banks and rich being held accountable “… could have been said in 1789 France before the Revolution,” she opined. That the “Democratic Party love mob uprisings, it’s their rise to power.” She went on to spout that with just a few adjustments to their speeches, this would be the rise of what happened in Nazi Germany.
This was echoed by her fellow right wing hot air meisters Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. In particular I loved how Jon Stewart on The Daily Show skewered Hannity fawning on and on about the freedom loving taxpayers that are the Tea Party on his show a couple of years ago. Thus demonstrating how those same comments fit with what the OWS movement—maybe it’s too early to call it that—is doing. Then there’s country singer Hank Williams, Jr. on the Nazi tip.
Occupy Wall Street
On another Fixed News show, Fox & Friends, Williams was being interviewed about the current crop of GOPers contending for the presidential bid. At one point he offered this bit of whack job analogy comparing the golf game that happened between President Obama and Speaker of the House John “The Crying Man” Boehner as "It’d be like Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu," Williams said via satellite. Asked to make it plain he went on to say, "They’re the enemy," adding that by "they" he meant Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
After twenty years, ESPN subsequently ended their association with Williams who introed NFL games singing the footballized version of his song “All My Rowdy Friends.” Thereafter he penned a song blasting both Fox & Friends and ESPN, also warning that we were heading toward the United Socialist States of America. And on the matter of rowdiness, can you get any rowdier than Glenn Beck? Seems he more than the others in the right wingosphere fixates on Hitler and the Nazi analogies. In the past he compared former Vice President Al Gore’s work around global warming issues to the likes of the exhortations of Reich Minister of Propaganda Paul Joseph Goebbels.
The Anti-Defamation League took Beck to task specifically around this, but also made the cogent point that,
It has become almost commonplace for talk-show pundits to use the Holocaust and Nazi imagery to attack people whose views they disagree with, whether the issue is global warming or immigration, as we witnessed when [then] CNN’s Lou Dobbs recently suggested on his program, that immigrant rights groups use tactics similar to those of Nazi propagandists.
Beck has also warned the Occupy actions could lead to gas chambers and mob rule. It’s like once these knuckleheads get their talking points from their central command, they can’t seem to be extemporaneous and adapt when it comes codifying OWS—a legitimate, grassroots/techroots uprising against boardroom greed. They have to stay on script even if cold reality slaps them in the face. Granted, this discipline of messaging has served the right well whether it was jamming up Obamacare or the fake debt ceiling crisis. But as Rachael Maddow cited on her show recently, 52% of self-identified Tea Partiers in a recent poll agreed they don’t want millionaires paying less than non-millionaires in taxes.
This past week, Herman Cain, Mister Surge, Mr. Black Walnut Flavor, did his own take on railing against the OWS folks as complainer and whiners. Let’s not blame the banks and brokers for making money hand over fist he posited. “Don t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself. It is not a person’s fault if they succeeded, it is a person’s fault if they failed,” he said on the Wall Street Journal’s The Big Interview web video show.
So the sucking sound you hear is the disconnect the right wingers find themselves in at this historical moment. When he says he doesn’t have facts to back him up, he nonetheless hinted additionally on The Big Interview that this was a put-up job by Obama the Sith Lord to detract attention from the shortcomings of his administration. I don’t believe he’s repeated this claim since then as no doubt his handlers must have told him those kind of pronouncements took him into Bachmann territory and they best steer clear of Crazyland if he wants to be seen as a serious contender. Indeed Presidential hopeful Cain has rounds to go with the other frontrunners Romney and Perry. Each of the camps of “The Big Three” must be calculating how much fear to stoke, how hard to decry the Occupy Wall Streeters, yet without seeming to be the handmaidens of multinational capital—when they are.
I imagine as the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon grows from city to city, and as evidenced by the manifesto they issued in New York, articulating their message, it becomes harder to simply denounce them as either hippies or brown-shirters. This must be giving the Big Three some anxiety. For as the Blue Oyster Cult song, “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” suggests, like his scythe, fear itself can cut both ways.