Hey check this out:
Max's advice columns – like this one and this one – have been so good. Unfortunately both of the last two websites he wrote them for – Input and Buzzfeed News – went out of business almost immediately after he started. RIP to Hell World I suppose. Send in your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have them. It should be fun!
Be sure to buy the new book that is making many people say "my daughter likes the cover."
Today David Grossman joins us to write about the 1930s radio phenomenon Father Coughlin and the parallels to a certain recently unemployed cable news host. He recently wrote for Hell World on the protests in Israel.
The question of the protests is, I think, are they for liberation from the three-class/apartheid system or not? This is not a question that the Jewish American establishment is prepared to ask, because that would mean to admit Israeli ever practiced apartheid in the first place.
Before we get to that a couple of quick memorials for the sudden end of Tucker Carlson's putrid run on Fox News from the archives.
This was in January, she died two days after inauguration. I was watching when my dad called to tell me to come out to Arizona because she wasn’t going to leave the hospital. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in October and ended up in the hospital with pneumonia right at New Year’s. It was really fast. The thing is my mom was never Republican, my dad was always the standard fiscal Republican who didn't care really about social issues. She was a Brooklyn Jew who taught nursery school. The flip switched in 2008 and she just got scared of the world. Between Fox News and Facebook it just was a feedback loop of fear and hate. I went the other direction, I've slid pretty far left over the years. My brother and dad are both slightly Republican but got scared of my mom and I decreed whenever I visited she was not allowed to be blasting Fox 24/7 in front of my kids. She agreed and we ignored politics besides me seeing her like Ted Cruz posts on Facebook.
The night before she died (she chose to be taken off oxygen the next day) I guess she decided she needed one more hit and it was worth it to break our agreement. It was a Tucker segment about immigrants streaming over the border. I ate in silence, said goodnight and cried in the car.
Soon it was the only programming he ingested other than talk radio. He became addicted to the anger. He thought if he was angry at all the “injustices” Fox News presented to him he must be righteous. He grew more irritable. He banned watching any news other than Fox News in his presence and failure to adhere would lead to abusive emotional outbursts. Soon he lost his sense of humor. Everything became about punching down at gays and minorities. Then he started making derisive comments about Democrats during family functions when it was considered inappropriate. He declared his favorite show was “The Five”, which then led to it being required viewing at our dinner time. If any real life occurrence interferes with him viewing “The Five” our family would be subjected to hours of screaming and cursing. He then became more paranoid, claiming that power or cable outages were a plot by the Democrats (who secretly control everything).
My mother had enough. Out of the blue, she filed for divorce. He was crushed, couldn’t understand why, and took comfort in drinking while watching his friends on TV. She is happier than I have ever seen her and he is sad and angry living in the basement of a rented house, still watching “The Five”, Tucker Carlson, Jeanine Pirro, etc.
Rupert Murdoch ruined my family and my country. If a genie gave me wishes I would hope his private plane crashes into the sea and every single person that works for Fox News gets trapped in the building and burns alive.
Staunchly xenophobic and anti-immigrant sentiments are not new for Carlson, who has said previously: “Latin American countries are changing election outcomes here by forcing demographic change on this country at a rate that American voters consistently say they don’t want.”
In September Carlson railed against the idea of diversity, questioning how it could be seen as a positive.
“How precisely is diversity our strength?” he asked. “Since you’ve made this our new national motto, please be specific as you explain it. Can you think, for example, of other institutions such as, I don’t know, marriage or military units in which the less people have in common, the more cohesive they are? Do you get along better with your neighbors or your co-workers if you can’t understand each other or share no common values?”
That same month Media Matters prepared a highlight reel of Carlson’s comments on minorities and immigrants juxtaposing them against the rhetoric of some of the most virulent racist agitators on the white nationalist right such as Richard Spencer, David Duke and Christopher Cantwell.
While Carlson’s presentation as a prominent TV host may make him more palatable for his audience, it’s no surprise that Carlson has proven to be a regular favorite of the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer, who have featured his commentary on the site 265 times in the past two years.
“Tucker Carlson is basically “Daily Stormer: The Show” the site’s leader, Andrew Anglin, has said. “Other than the language used, he is covering all of our talking points.”
Anyway thanks for the book blurb bitch.
Relatedly here's one of the worst fucking things I have seen in a long time. You will have heard that the legislature in Montana have barred transgender lawmaker Zooey Zephyr from the statehouse floor.
To give you an idea of what the Montana Republican lawmakers are like please watch this clip of Rep. Kerri Seekins-Crowe talking about her experience with her own trans child last month. It's very inspiring!
"One of the big issues that we have heard today, and talked about lately, is that without surgery the risk of suicide goes way up. Well, I am one of those parents who lived with a daughter who was suicidal for three years. Someone asked me wouldn't I just do anything to help save her? And I really had to think. And the answer was... no. I was not going to give in to her emotional manipulation, because she was incapable of making those decisions, and I had to make those decisions for her. I was not going to let her tear apart my family, and I was not going to let her tear apart me...."
Don't you feel a certain kind of inspired?
Ok here's David on Father Coughlin and Tucker. More from me down below on what appears to be a grisly anti-homeless vigilante assaulting people on the streets of San Francisco. When is something going to be done about these violent homeowners?
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They would all just say hard times
by David Grossman
He’ll surely come back in some form or another, but Tucker Carlson’s sudden exit from Fox News represents the end of something. More than other, more generically conservative talking heads like Sean Hannity, Carlson spoke to a broken country and said that it was, in fact, broken for very specific reasons.
He told America that its military was “shameful,” which it was, but because it allowed women in combat. He decried ruling class “mercenaires” for screwing over workers, which they did, but because of trans rights. He told Americans they were being plundered, which they were, but by undocumented immigrants. He offered conditional praise of Sanders and Warren, hoping to turn their critiques of capitalism towards stopping what he called “demographic change,” which was “more change than human beings are designed to digest.”
This type of worldview, which promotes economic equality for some while promising punishment for others, has a long history in this country.
It’s hard to fully process how much America broke during the Great Depression. Numbers like twenty-five percent unemployment don’t feel real. If any book gets close to the experience of living through the Depression, it’s Studs Terkel’s Hard Times. A mosaic of experience, Terkel does what he always did best: interview just about everyone and let them describe the world as they saw it.
Through his interviews, Terkel introduces readers to the militant protests of the Bonus Army, the tragedies of mining disasters, the people who went broke and started writing songs because they had nothing to do, and to the people who were born too late and didn’t even know what the Depression was, but still felt its effects. One fourteen year old named Roger, who came to Chicago from West Virginia, tells Terkel they never called it the Great Depression where he’s from. “They would all just say ‘hard times.’ It still is.”
Early on Terkel quickly takes readers through some of his own experiences. His parents managed Wells-Grand Hotel, a small rooming house. At first the only effect of the Depression Studs noticed was fewer guests. But then, as the years grew long and pockets thin, things began to change. People felt lost. On the radio, Terkel says, “a new voice dominated” the hotel’s lobby every Sunday. “It was Father Charles E. Coughlin, coming through the box radio, high on a wooden pedestal.”
Coughlin had been broadcasting since the 1920s from his parish, the Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, Michigan, right outside of Detroit. His mixture of spirituality and pulling for the working man meant he had common cause with Socialists and Communists, although he hated their ideology as much as he hated capitalism. Communism “robs us of the next world’s happiness,” he said, while modern capitalism “robs the laborer of this world’s goods.”
His audience exploded in the Depression. He did numbers, clear and simple. Estimates today put his listenership at between 16 and 30 million, which is in line with Sunday Night Football today. He had to build his own post office just to handle all the fan mail. All this attention allowed Coughlin to expand his radio show to include a political organization, the National Union for Social Justice, with an accompanying newspaper called Social Justice.
Terkel describes Coughlin’s explosion through the night clerk of his parent’s hotel, Matt McGraw. Matt was “something of an intellectual,” Studs says, a master carpenter who was “constantly quoting books, weeklies, and monthly radical journals.” He took these journals to heart, speaking out “against the moneyed interests, against the privileged, against monopoly.” He quoted the type of people leftists still quote today, like Eugene Debs. Although Terkel kept himself at a distance in these books, it’s clear he had a lot of respect for Matt.
When the Depression hit, when the journals he read and the people he admired proved to be more right than ever about capitalism, something happened to Matt. Terkel doesn’t get into specifics, but he says it happened “somewhere between October 1929, and November 1934 (when the Union for Social Justice was formed).” The result left smart, talented, and passionate Matt “a forgotten man” whose “cup of wormwood had flowed over.”
Coughlin’s influence dots the interviews in Hard Times. A man named Hank remembers growing up in a Wisconsin run by lumber barons. His father, who lost a leg in the lumber mills, pulled hard for the progressive Fighting' Bob LaFollette. Hank describes his father as “violently anti-Red,” but he still “objected to a lot that was going on.” So, Hank’s father figured, there “had to be a reason for all the injustice.”
With Father Coughlin’s help, Hank’s father, and in fact Frank’s whole neighborhood, decided that the reason was the Jews. Coughlin’s antisemitism was latent at first, but became a central part of his worldview. From a religious perspective, Coughlin had been taught to hate and despise usury, better known as moneylending. And guess who did all the moneylending?
“We have lived to see the day that modern Shylocks have grown fat and wealthy, praised and deified, because they have perpetuated the ancient crime of usury under the modern racket of statesmanship,” Coughlin said in 1930. Coughlin developed a contentious relationship with FDR, at first supporting him in his first election and calling him “a liar” afterwards.
As the Nazis rose to power, Coughlin developed what he felt was his own ideology. “Americanism, neither Nazism or Communism,” he called it in a radio broadcast (which you can find, with adoring commenters saying how wise he was, here). As you might guess, this increasingly came to look like Nazism.
Coughlin saw Kristallnacht as fair payback for what the “atheistic Jews,” Lenin and Trotsky, had done to the Christians of Russia. He started publishing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Social Justice, offering a nonsensical defense. “We are not attributing them to the Jews,” he said. “We are simply insisting upon their factuality, be they plagiarized or not plagiarized, be they satires, or not satires."
In other words, he was just asking questions about the Protocols.
Hank’s father came to despise Jews, laughing whenever Coughlin would out some Hollywood celebrity by saying their full Jewish name over the air. “And yet,” he tells Terkel, “my father was a good and kind man, and suffered along with his neighbors.”
Neither Hank or Studs would be the last American to watch somebody change right in front of their eyes. Their stories abound. During a shiva service for my grandmother, a woman I had known for my entire life through my parent’s synagogue started ranting to me about how trans women were going to destroy women’s sports. I had gone to this woman’s house every Hanukkah for her husband’s incredible latkes. I loved how she had never lost her New York accent despite decades in Los Angeles. What on Earth was she thinking?
How people can hold love and hate in their hearts at the same time is one of the mysteries of the human experience. As Hank observes to Terkel, the “rise of Hitler comes along the same time as the rise of Roosevelt.”
The need to understand is a powerful one, and so the people who can build a narrative around the events of the world can grow to tremendous power. Polling shows that although the vast majority of Americans disapproved of Kristallnacht in 1938, a majority of just over 70 percent rejected the idea of allowing more Jewish migration. Two years later, when Germany invaded Belgium, the Netherlands, and France, over 90 percent of the country rejected the idea of going to war. Coughlin can’t take all the credit for these ideas, but he was in the air.
That’s what Tucker Carlson has been: in the air. Even if you don’t know someone who watched Tucker Carlson Tonight directly on Fox, you know him and you know what he stands for, even though it seems kind of muddled at times. He embraces inequality like Coughlin did, with clear prescriptions that just so happen to land on a minority’s doorstop. But there were no real solutions coming from either, no matter how critical they were of the powers that be. That’s what happens when you try to build socialism without socialism: all roads will lead to the same place.
David Grossman is a freelance journalist who’s on Twitter at @davidgross_man
Early in April a man named Don Carmignani was beaten badly outside of his mother's home in San Francisco. Carmignani is the former Fire Commissioner for the city and a commercial developer and is very well connected politically a fact that likely eased his path into becoming a bigwig in the local cannabis industry. After the attack Carmignani was hospitalized with a fractured skull and broken jaw.
It appears he may have had it coming.
As you can imagine the beating of a high profile figure led to the typical catastrophizing from the local and national media and concerned officials about the scourge of unwashed hordes filthying our streets. Especially coming the same week as the killing of Cash App founder Bob Lee.
"These types of brutal attacks and these types of brazen attacks, these are the kinds of things that have people anxious," San Francisco police chief Bill Scott said.
"I understand how a violent attack like this can shake a community and I am committed to ensuring that the defendant is held accountable, so that we send the strongest message that violence like this is unacceptable," San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said.
It was the type of crime that leads the heart-deadened "San Francisco is Hell now" tech ghouls to call for public lynchings.
Not long after the attack a man named Garret Doty was found and charged with the assault.
(This may or may not be relevant to what comes next but Carmignani resigned from the Fire Commissioner position after only four months after being arrested for felony domestic violence in 2013.)
This week there was a pretty big potential twist in the story. Doty's public defender has alleged that Carmignani matches the description of a suspect in eight separate bear spray attacks on unhoused people in the vicinity of his mother's home.
Watch this video below. No one knows for sure if this is Carmignani at this point – and he denies it – but whoever it is I think it's safe to say getting tuned up a bit with a pipe is the least that he deserves.
Here is another video of what appears to be the same man approaching Doty with what appears to be a can of bear spray on the day Carmignani was attacked.
This is probably just a big misunderstanding but it turns out Carmignani had a can of bear spray on him at the time he was attacked.
This whole fucking thing man. It makes me sick to my stomach. No not the presence of unhoused people – although that makes me furious that we suffer under a system that would allow that to happen to so many people – but the rhetoric around how downright dangerous they are to all of us. The real people who matter.
Look at this cowardly loser in Florida from the other day for example. "Saved by God's Grace" in the bio of course.
Imagine just fucking struggling at your lowest point just trying to live and some red faced hog vigilante comes up to you when you’re sleeping and sprays you like a fucking cockroach? Or even simply takes a photo of you while shitting their pants in fear?
I repeat myself but with these people it's always about what the unhoused are doing to you the upright protagonists of the neighborhood by forcing you to notice them existing instead of what has been done to them.
These people are not sub-human. They are you after a couple of bad breaks.
I'm not saying violent monsters aren't real and out there living among us by the way. They just aren't the ones we're being told to be scared of.
Doty has since been released from custody with restrictions as Carmignani was not able to appear to testify against him. Contrary to earlier reports the charges against Doty have not been dropped the DA said.
Some relevant reading from the archives:
I do not know of course if any of these violent people are targeting the homeless specifically because of Trump or Fox News and we have always hated and perpetrated violence of all kinds against the poorest among us in this country but I think it’s probably safe to say that having the president and the propaganda network that slurries people’s brains daily talking about the homeless like a disease and a vermin invasion doesn’t help nor does villainous dog shit from our cruelest and dumbest writers like this...
This video here is one of the most downright evil things I've seen in a long time. This fucking guy has taken it upon himself to gleefully destroy the tent structure of an unhoused person on the streets of Los Angeles and film it for clout on the internet. It's shit like this that makes me believe in the second amendment and castle doctrine laws for a change. It's shit like this that makes me wish I actually believed in Hell. The real one I mean not the one we're already in.
When you are this type of guy you are making the same sadly correct gamble that every prolific serial killer in history makes which is that you can harm the homeless (and sex workers and trans people and other more vulnerable types) more freely because cops do not care what happens to them.
The discomfort of seeing the unhoused living in squalor leads many to a crisis of conscience. Most don’t have the language to recognize the fact that the people on the streets are purposeful victims of capitalism. And none of us “regular folk” want to think about how close each of us really are to finding ourselves out on the street, struggling to survive. So we end up telling each other that it's their own fault, or that these people live on the streets by their own choice. We end up concluding that the unhoused are bad people who purposely shun the plentiful help available. That we have so generously offered. In this alternate reality, recreated daily by city leaders looking to avoid accountability for the ballooning of the unhoused populace, it is the homeless themselves who must be fixed. No further analysis of our economic system or societal values needed. It’s a comfortable and conscience-easing conclusion. And when you come to believe it, then you can be reconciled to the idea that your unhoused neighbors are not part of your community at all. They are threats to society rather than victims of its fundamental structures.
But Boston, the expensive liberal city, can’t seem to find that will. The policymakers, the home owners, and the business leaders of Boston—the people who arguably have the most political power here—still haven’t found it within themselves to call for investments in the infrastructure and social services that unhoused people need. The deficit of housing in Boston neighborhoods remains, as does the opposition to building more housing: a paranoia that adding more housing will jeopardize the “character” of these neighborhoods, where property owners call the shots and bend politicians to their will. So when Leung compliments Janey for removing the tents on Mass and Cass, the “courage” she seems to be alluding to is the message Janey has sent to the unhoused. We do not want you here, and if you don’t go away, we will put you away.
Over the years, I’ve heard “addiction doesn’t discriminate” more times than I can count. The problem is people do discriminate – especially people in positions of power within our social structures. They often benefit when a certain story is told a certain way. Why not blame the people they always have – the Black, brown, and poor people who chronically bear the brunt of our country’s cruelty and cowardice? Why not position them as more addicted, more depraved, and less innocent, less worthy of compassion?
Homelessness is a precarious existence. Homeless people are routinely subjected to verbal harassment, physical and sexual assault, and theft. An unsheltered man died last week after he was set on fire while he slept in the stairwell of a public housing building in New York City. The de facto criminalization of street living means unsheltered people have, on average, 21 encounters with police per six-month period, which often leads to increased rates of incarceration and in turn makes the prospect of exiting homelessness even more dim.