In D.W. Griffith's silent film classic about the Klan "Birth Of A Nation," we see familiar Glenn Beck themes: succession..states rights....the "end of civilization itself"....a charismatic mulatto leader tutored by white political radicals...voters intimidated by a Negro civil defense force...activist judges...whites bunkered in remote cabins shooting black looters The history of the Klan told using all of Glenn Becks favorite themes!
We are seeing the evolution of the GOP's guerilla resistance. The last time they lost like this in 1992, Newt Gingrich shut down the government. It's the same goal today, except this time they have the corporate sponsored teabag astroturfers , and their dark muttering of "tyranny" and "revolution" have moved off short wave radio and mimeographs and on to Fox News prime time.
We've already explored remarkable parallels to Mein Kampf, and the "death panels" propaganda is eerily like the "blood libels" of the "Protocols of the Elders Of Zion." Despite their love of swastikas, the GOP base seems to be heading towards a "leaderless resistance" of local militias merged with local power structures. More like the Taliban, or more precisely, the Klu Klux Klan.
Let's kick off movie night with Griffith's rampaging blacks:
Early in the movie, we see this Charleston newspaper headline:
If the North Carries the Election, the South will Secede.(6:45)((youtube 6KPCTXBexEo))
For me, this was the first of several "holy crap" moments where current events seem be following the movie's script.
When the Confederacy surrenders at Appomatax, the caption reads
The End Of State Sovereignty (8:10)((youtube o1gVm1gZAdE))
Sounds like any movement conservative of today, doesn;t it?
And this quote from Woodrow Wilson at 6:35
the policy of the congressional leaders wrought...a veritable overthrow of civilization in the South....Exactly the sort of language we hear from teabaggers today, isn't it?
At this point you are probably thinking that this is pretty cute, all it needs is a radical boogeyman like Saul Alinsksy. In fact we have "Austin Stoneman" and this segment opens with
The great Radical delivers his edict that the blacks shall be raised to full equality with the whites.((youtube ZqGcYuCb1Sw))In the previous reel, Stoneman steps into the gap left by the death of Lincoln and sets himself up a "The Uncrowned King." I don't think anyone calls him a "usurper," but this is familiar ground all right.
This real also introduces Stoneman's protege, the charismatic mulatto, Silas Lynch, who goes to South Carolina, where he encourages the formerly happy tapdancing slaves to slack off and start living on government charity confiscated from hard working whites. Well, actually I don't think we ever see any whites working in this movie, but someone has to supervise those cotton-picking (literally) blacks.
Blacks and mulattos in this film seem to be played entirely by white actors in black-face, and some of the mulattos looks like escapees from the Island of Dr. Moreaux.
Soon enough, these lazy blacks get motivated to join some sort of civilian force that folks like Glenn Beck would equate with ACORN or AmericaCorp. they intimidate white people at the pools. We all know about the Souths' tragic history of whites being intimidated at the polls, don't we?
Election Day - all blacks are given the ballot, while the leading whites are disenfranchised(7:40)Yes, Lynch is elected Lt. Governor by the strong arm tactics of his well paid army of black volunteers.
Meanwhile the local whites inflame each other reading accounts of discrimination against whites from the newspapers. Who would have guessed that 100 years later, their less literate descendants would be spellbound by Rush?
The case was tried before a negro magistrate and the verdict rendered against the whites by the negro jury.(1:35)Holy Wise Latina!!!
And of course the minority thugs go door to door during election season
Their own faithful family servant is punished for not voting withWow, sure sounds like the "Obama's SEIU Thugs Attack Black Conservative" thing, doesn't it?
ACORNthe Union League and SEIUCarpetbaggers. (2:43)
Then the Klan forms! They wear sheets because the negros are terrified of haints. They also have horns on their heads like narwhales. I guess negros were scared of narwhales too. Narwhales and haints, maybe even haint narwhales. Anyway, the Klan rides to the attacks like the ghosts of Confederate narwhale cavalry, sort of.
The answer to the blacks and carpetbaggers (6:00)....Lynch accepts the challenge by ordering((youtube 5tw_0sFPam0))
Americorpthe negro militia reinforcement to fill the streets (7:00)
The negro militia starts searching door-to-door, a classic white spurpemicist theme right out of The Turner Diaries. Terrified whites are loaded on wagons and hauled away, no doubt headed for something like Glenn Becks FEMA camps..
Some of terrified whites take refuge in a cabin occupied by two veterans of the civil war (don't ask don't tell, y'all).
At 8:00 we see this amazing line
The former enemies of the North and the South are united again in their common defense of their Aryan birthrightThis 1915 movie highlights the link between New World rural white supremacy and corporate funded antisemitism (funded by Henry Ford), and how it cross pollinated the growing Fascist and Nazi movements of post-WW1 Europe. Hitler borrowed freely from racist material published by Ford and praised him in Mein Kampf.
In the final reels, white folks triumph. The whites bunkered in the cabin fight off the hordes of murderous black looters, although one of the vets comes close to bludgeoning his 8 year old grand-daughter to spare her being gang raped by the negro mob. Defending the isolated retreat is still a favorite white separatist/white supremacist/survivalist fantasy scenario.
Blacks' guns are confiscated in big piles in the streets (an odd role reversal for the 2nd amendment paranoids), followed by a big Klan parade.
The final scenes show a Millenialist view of Heaven on Earth, overseen by Jesus. There are no blacks. Sort of like White Heaven on The Boondocks.
For a trip down the Everflushing Toilet Of Wingnut Irony, we can amble over to Redstate,
where they are reacting to a cartoon I'd never seen of a 912er with a Klan hood and a tiny lynched Obama instead of a teabag. I thought that was a little over the top, and my standards are notoriously high. But while these guys are all cluthing their pearls and having an attack of the vapors, talk quickly turns to an embedded video of a black Reston cop asking a guy with a Obama/joker poster to put it away because he is on school grounds. The cop resists being taunted and called a "fascist." Kudos for the cop keeping his cool, and although I can't say that images of black man in whiteface is identical to the white actors in blackface in "Birth of a Nation," it seems offensive in similar ways. But where DW Griffith probably did not intend to make his minstrel players grotesque and offensive, the guys with the Joker posters certainly do mean to offend.
Allow me to construct a strawman here for the RedStaters who agree the cop is a Fascist:
Because this country is heading for a revolution, and it's time to get the heel of these Fascist blacks off the neck of the white man!Yes, these guys resent be called Klan wannabees, but they immediately lapse into the script of "Birth of a Nation." In response to being compared to Klansmen, they resort to classic Klan themes!