“Helter Skelter. Helter Skelter. Helter Skelter… she’s coming down fast.”
Those lyrics, along with the rest of the Beatle’s song was interpreted by Charlie Manson and his L.A based group ‘The Family’ to be a “message.” The message, as Manson decoded it, was that a race war was coming to America and with it the apocalypse. His plan to participate in the cataclysm was to record his own music, then kill random people. He went on to kill the Tate/LoBiancos. Infused by the Zeitgeist of the time; pot, acid, and sex, all Manson needed was the Beatles stoner/psychedelic Double “White Album” to put him and his ‘Family’ over the top.
That was then: today we have Rupert Murdock, Roger Ailes, Glen Beck, and Sara Palin. They too have a message, one that frankly doesn’t need a lot of decoding. It goes like this: Obama and the Democrats are illegitimate, the President is illegitimate by birth, the administration wants to change the Constitution and bring on socialism and European style government. They want federally funded abortion in the health care bill. They want “death panels”. They want to take away all of your rights including those to have assault weapons.
The other day I was listening to a radio program called Focus on the Family. They flat-out encouraged their listeners to foment “civil disobedience” over the health care bill. One listener thought the radio host was calling for an armed response. The broadcaster responded, “You got that right.”
Conservatives and Right-wing Republicans had no trouble believing that the heavy metal bands Slayer, Metallica and Ozzy Osborne were sending out despairing messages that called for (or encouraged) teen suicides. Lawsuits against the bands were supported by parent groups who saw a direct link between the music and teen suicides.
It seems to us that this same sort of linkage applies to the paranoid hysteria of Fox News as it relates to the Hutaree militia. At the close of a Glenn Beck show I watched, he implored his viewers to “remain peaceful.” What does that mean? It says to me that he knows that his diatribes inflames and provokes many people, and that he has real power over them. The clear implication to me was that one day he just might tell them to get those guns off their racks and use them. We should all watch for that day: besides, it’s good for ratings.
Andrew Stack crashed his small Cessna into an IRS office in Texas. He too had absorbed enough of the Fox News boogiemen: the auto industry, the medical system, big insurers, and the IRS. Nowhere have I read about his media habits. Nonetheless, it would not surprise me in the least if he were a heavy “user” of Fox News. The round the clock histrionic, rhythmic drumbeat repeating the refrain of how the “lifeblood of liberty” is being drained away cannot be soothing for the unstable.
The plan of the Michigan Hutarees was almost exactly the same as the Manson Family’s plan: start a civil war. The “Colonial Christian Republic” Hutaree’s, as their uniforms stated, planned to ambush a law enforcement officer - to “pop him”- according to an FBI informant. Then at the officer’s funeral, they planned to kill several more policemen, thus starting a nation-wide conflagration. There were nine members of the Hutarees, a group just a little larger than Charlie’s “Family.”
The other messages pouring out of the paranoid right go back to a time pre-dating the Beatles: specifically to the Book of Revelations in the Bible. This topic is hot. The gloomy end of the world including a fantasia of beasts, War, the Anti-Christ, hell-fire and brimstone presage the “Final Days” so vividly described in Revelations is being marketed to the masses by Big Business Christianity. The “End of The World” industry has made good use of publishing, radio and cable television to market their message; it is clear that Doomsday sells. The Hutaree’s incorporated this message in their doctrine. Their website told of “resisting” the Anti-Christ that was in our midst.
This doctrine of “resistance” that Java Jag has written about so much as it relates to Hamas and Hezbollah has a mirror image in the American right’s Fox News Universe. Much about this has been reported especially by Thomas Frank the author of the “Tilting Yard” column in Wall Street Journal about the sense of victimization that is claimed by the conservative and right wing movements. Conservatives are suffering at the hands of liberals. They are always under attack. This political line of being besieged spews forth from Fox News personalities like an open sewer. Watching the crew at Fox, you would think they were pioneers in covered wagons, and the Democrats and the government were the circling Indians. Just watch Glen Beck, Hannity or Bill O’Reilly. Victims all.
Victims merely strike back when they just “resist” in their minds – rather than being aggressive or war-like. Resistance is a cover for action you are afraid to initiate but feel justified in mounting a defense against. It is an insidious form of cowardice used by the Huratees and Hamas alike.
Why would an establishment figure like Rupert Murdoch or his company Newscorp create such a destabilizing message? Why would he want to recast himself as Julius Streicher, publisher of the Nazi era hate tabloid Der Sturmer? What possible benefit could accrue to either Murdoch or Newscorp if American law enforcement has to spend valuable time and money to tamp down a new wave of homegrown terrorists? What benefit does Newscorp accrue if Glenn Beck believers start blowing up federal buildings and murdering government officials?
It is possible that the Hutaree’s may be the first of many blowbacks. The history of the vicious paranoid apocalyptic right wing often mirrors that of one of their iconic figures: Joe McCarthy: a rocketing assent followed by an ignoble flameout. The ever increasing and strident rantings by the Fox crowd and others are more and more foaming at the mouth than news or information. The ever-widening conspiracy theorist’s sucks in more and more members of establishment. The illogic of the rants become more transparent, the destabilizing effects on the Republic more clear. There is a thin line between entertainment and incitement and it would be wise for the corporate world of Newscorp to pay attention to that fact.
Disclosure: no disclosures