Nixon and the Sixties: Mass Media and the Sanitized Past

The spectacle of revisionism exposes our mass-mediated postmodern culture for what it is: a montage of images, symbols, and sound-bites that not only obscures reality but in some critical ways reverses it. The results of this sanitizing process are readily apparent in the Orwellian comments of people too young to remember the real events. What can progressives do in the face of such a total rewriting of history?

That Black-Jewish Thing: What’s Going On?

Late last May at San Francisco State University, in the week before final exams an African-American artist named Senay Dennis unfurled a mural he had painted t honor Malcolm X and his legacy. The mural was commissioned by the Student Union Governing Board, and the artist was paid $1,500 in student funds. The idea that Malcolm was worthy of a major artistic monument was evidently universally accepted on this very multicultural urban campus, a place that pioneered “Third World” or Ethnic Studies in the late 1960s as well as faculty unionism on the West Coast. What was controversial was the fact that the artist had surrounded the image of Black nationalism’s patron saint with Stars of David, which were next to dollar signs, skull and cross-bones, and the phrase “African Blood.”

Dealing With the Hard Stuff

For many years, I had difficulty listening to the Megillah reading on Purim. I found the story morally repugnant. Vashti’s banishment for refusing to display herself before a group of drunken revelers seemed to me an example of male chauvinism it was impossible to slide over. And I experienced chapter nine, in which the Jews slay their enemies, as dreadful and bloodthirsty.

Troop Reversals in Gaza and Jericho

Like the graffiti scrawled all over Gaza’s walls, the criss-crossing narratives of what’s to come after autonomy almost obliterate the actual moments of its arrival. Narratives and predictions, ominous premonitions vying with optimistic scenarios germinate not only locally, but come at us from all over the globe, superimposing themselves on the troop reversals finally happening on the ground.