Monday, September 06, 2010
Music Video Monday: Thompson Twins
For this week's music video selection, I have chosen a quintessential 80s song by the Thompson Twins: "King For a Day." Check out the big hair! While the hair and clothing styles you see in this video was reflective of the music bands of the decade, I actually did not know many guys who had "big hair." Plenty of girls certainly did, though.
The reason for the selection is because I thought it was a perfect song to describe Glenn Beck's "I Have a Scheme" rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. a week ago. I've been meaning to write about it, but I wanted to find a transcript of his speech, which I have not been able to find through a simple Google search. I have found transcripts and even video links to his talking about the event in the days leading up to it but nothing on the event itself. I really would like to read what he had to say before I posted my thoughts on it.
There has been some controversy about his rally. He even addressed one of the major ones on his show. It was regarding the August 28th date that he selected, claiming that he did not know that it was the same day as Martin Luther King, Jr.'s most famous speech. I find this ignorance to be dishonest. How could someone with his own show and a full staff NOT KNOW? Does ignorance really run that rampant at the Fox Propaganda Network? Beck does not have nor can afford to hire a researcher? What a crock!
You know how I know he's lying? Because it was a mere TWO YEARS AGO that the media was talking about Barack Obama's historic speech at Denver's Mile High Stadium. The Democratic National Convention was scheduled later than usual (due in part to the Beijing Summer Olympic Games starting later than usual). It was well known that candidate Obama had wanted to give his acceptance speech on the 45th anniversary of Dr. King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech. Obama's nomination and election as the first African American president is considered by many to be "the first down payment" on Dr. King's dream. This was all discussed in the media. Where was Glenn Beck? Surely he had to remember all of this!
I think he did and that's why he scheduled his latest teabagging scheme when he did. He wanted to also claim the day for himself and his grievance movement. Most audaciously, he actually claims that conservatives are the true Civil Rights pioneers and that Dr. King, himself was a conservative who voted Republican. While it is true that Dr. King might have voted for Eisenhower in the 1950s, many historians consider the personal phone call candidate John F. Kennedy made to Coretta Scott King when Dr. King was in jail to have helped sway African American votes towards Kennedy instead of Nixon. When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, that cemented the reliable voting bloc of African Americans into the Democratic column for the past forty years. 1968 was a watershed year when many conservative Democrats (called "Dixiecrats") jumped ship and joined the Republican Party. Ronald Reagan and Strom Thurmond are two of the most famous defectors.
When you look at the history books and see photographs of the first African American students integrating the high schools and colleges of the 1950s and 1960s, what else do you see? That's right. Angry white people shouting epithets, spitting, and attacking the stoic-looking African American students. Only a historical revisionist would claim that it was conservative white people who supported Civil Rights, because that is blatantly false. Conservatives are about preserving things, maintaining the status quo. Historically, it has been the liberals and progressives who have pushed society towards greater inclusion and improvements. Conservatives fight every step of the way. But the remarkable thing is that today's conservatives are slightly different than yesterday's conservatives. For example, most of today's conservatives have accepted integration as the norm. They wouldn't be one of those ugly faces in history's photographs getting angry about integration. But the attendees at teabagger rallies do show their ugliness regarding the first African American president with their Obama as Hitler and Obama as Joker signs. Tomorrow's conservatives will likely be embarrassed by such photographs and not think of themselves as a teabagger. That's the way it goes.
My opinion on why Glenn Beck chose that day is because he wanted to blunt Obama's special claim on that day. He wants to go down in history, alongside Dr. King. However, Beck is about self-serving ego, not a true spiritual transformation of society. In fact, there have been reports that this scheme of his began as a book promotion (he does have yet another book coming out in time for the Christmas shopping season). But some higher ups thought that people would not show up for some book promotion (the National Park Service would have denied a permit anyway). They wanted the numbers to turn out. There has been a dispute about the number of attendees. CBS claims about 89,000 people while Beck claims 300,000 people. That's a wide gulf. Do numbers matter? Whatever the real amount of people, it was still impressive and should be considered a success. However, no one has reported in the week following that Beck's speech was memorable. Obviously, if I still can't find a transcript of his speech based on a quick Google search, it could not have been all that great. The transcripts to Sarah Palin's Vice Presidential Debate and her resignation speeches were available online within a day.
A post on Beck's rally is forthcoming, as soon as I find a transcript or view a video of his speech. I'm certain it will be a snoozer.
There's a line in "King For a Day" that applies to Beck: "All the money makes the world go round, but all the gold won't heal your soul if your world should tumble to the ground." Beck wanted to be Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for a day and he failed miserably. King's speech is sold on souvenir parchment paper and recited by children in schools all over the country. I doubt most of the teabaggers who went to see Beck's rally last week even remembered the key points of his speech by the time they reached the nearest METRO stop to the National Mall.