The Idol Smasher

I brought up this author just the other day as a possible writer I found humorous and like earlier authors such as Swift and Twain, presented a biting satire beneath the absurdity and humor of his fiction. This morning I was checking my email and found a wonderful article on Ismael Reed by Chris Hedges on TruthDig called, The Idol Smasher. It deserves to be read and absorbed, but for a start …

The Idol Smasher

Dec 30, 2012

By Chris Hedges

Ishmael Reed has spent the last five decades smashing idols—idols of race, idols of capitalism, celebrity idols and the idols of national virtue and greatness. His essays, novels, poems, plays, songs and cartoons routinely shatter the delusions and myths of a nation stubbornly unwilling to confront its past or understand its present. He rips open a history that saw white Europeans exterminate one race and enslave another to create the nation’s prosperity, a past that includes the violent plundering of nations around the globe—Cuba, the Philippines, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan among them—to show us who we have become. He names the corrosive disease of empire. He excoriates what Alexis de Tocqueville called our “perpetual practice of self-applause.” He battles back against the sophisticated forms of propaganda—especially from Hollywood—that perpetuate patriotic fantasies and pander to the dark streams of paranoia, racism and fear that run like electric currents through white society.

Reed’s righteous fury is a heartening antidote to the squeamishness of liberals and the lunacy of the right wing. He says the editors of The New York Times and most other major media outlets “sound like they get their instructions from Julius Streicher [the Nazi propagandist] when it comes to blacks.” He calls the HBO series “The Wire” “a Neo-Nazi portrait of black people” and dismisses the movie “Precious” as a film that “makes D.W. Griffith look like a progressive.”

“Lazy, no-good black people, who are welfare cheats, sitting around eating chicken, and having sex with their children, right out of the Lee Atwater-Paul Ryan playbook,” he said of the portrayals in “Precious” when I reached him by phone at his home in Oakland, Calif. “The wonderful novelist Diane Johnson was right when she said that ‘largely white’ audiences are thrilled by images of black people as dysfunctional. This has become a billion-dollar market which led critics to assert that Black Bogeyman movies sell better than sex, according to the critic C. Liegh McInnis. You even have a critic at The Root website, a post-racial ‘Talented Tenth’ hangout for ‘exceptional blacks,’ praising Quentin Tarantino’s latest sick exercise into racial porn, called ‘Django Unchained,’ ” which I critique at the Wall Street Journal site Speakeasy. This movie is being praised by the same critics who loved ‘The Color Purple’ and ‘Precious,’ probably because it revives Stanley Elkins’ discredited ‘Sambo Thesis.’ ”

Reed has no time for Black Bloc anarchists, whom he calls “alienated, spoiled middle-class white kids from the suburbs” as well as “vandals and thugs.” He calls the Oscar presentation “a white supremacist pageant.” He detests the Clintons, who he reminds us sold out the poor and the working class. Hillary, he says, makes “Eva Peron seem benign.” He predicts more tragedies like the recent Connecticut massacre, noting that many white Americans stockpile assault rifles because they are terrified of black people and that mass shootings in the United States almost always are carried out by estranged white men.

Read the full article:  it will get you thinking …

5 thoughts on “The Idol Smasher

    1. I recommend reading Christopher Hitchens. Hitch’s anthology, The Portable Atheist, will assuredly introduce you to many other ‘readings for the non-believer.’

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      1. HITCHENS AND DAWKINS ARE ALL GOOD AND WELL.. SOMETHING WITH A BIT OF UMPF WOULD DO – SOMETHING FROM A LITERARY PERSPECTIVE, NOT SOME GARBLED SCIENTIFIC VIEWPOINT… THAT SAID, DAWKINS MAY BE WORTH DISCUSSING – AS HE IS EITHER VERY MUCH UNDER THE KOSH FROM HIS DETRACTORS (I.E. THE NAIVE RELIGIOUS PERSPECTIVE), OR FEELS THE NEED TO IMPOSE HIMSELF (DUE OF SOME HECTIC RUSH TO EXPLAIN) UPON OTHERS (RATHER LIKE RELIGIONS THEMSELVES)… WE ALL SUFFER FROM MISPREPRESENTATION – AND I AM IN TWO MINDS AS TO WHETHER THE LIKES OF DAWKINS MAKE A ROD FOR THEIR OWN BACK BY WRITING VARIOUS TREATISE, BRINGING THEMSELVES INTO THE PUBLIC EYE, ALLOWING OTHERS TO MISINTERPRET ETC… I HAVE MY OWN PROBLEMS WITH VARIOUS RELIGIOUS BODIES – BUT WOULD ALLOW SAID FOLK THEIR OWN VIEWPOINT… WHETHER I AGREE WITH THEM OR NO… THIS BEING “IMPOSED UPON” IS THE KEY FACTOR…
        REGARDS
        JONATHAN

        WordPress.com / Gravatar.com credentials can be used.

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  1. In my opinion, Ismael Reed is, usually, very, very right or very, very wrong, and Hedges’ article only reaffirms that opinion.

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  2. to be so termed iconoclastic one would think he, if he hasn’t already, would have smashed his own native idols (proverbial or no)… this constant study r.e the lack of scruples of the west (i.e. the white race.. if there is one) is far too one-sided and, hence, tedious… we may trek back a few centuries and look at african/middle eastern treatment of one’s fellow man… whole civilisations are based on the repetitive master/servant routine – however trite and misguided this may seem… guilty of being white may be apt nowadays. trouble is – whitey has gone and done the dirty on his fellow man when the whole world was watching – via the multi-faceted aspects of conglomerate mass media… have you added mr reed, here, in the hope of instigating debate??? it is very much expected that this fella would challenge the hegemony of his oppressive homeland as i would like to do with my home country – not feeling as though i was indoctrinated herein (the uk, that is).. we are all indoctrinated to accept, are we not? i do not feel this country (the u.k) is mine to call my own – this is a point of view from the disenfranchised alienated jonathan (a white guy)… obviously gun crime is an option… though not the option of choice… from my alienated perspective…
    “Lazy, no-good black people, who are welfare cheats, sitting around eating chicken, and having sex with their children, right out of the Lee Atwater-Paul Ryan playbook,” he said of the portrayals in “Precious” when I reached him by phone at his home in Oakland, Calif.
    read: “lazy, no-good white people, who are welfare cheats, sitting around eating chips, and having sex with thier children…” would be the obligatory description of pseudo-sophisticates when describing southern white trash/bible belt inhabitants, would it not??? such a description could also be applied to the community i live amongst – and, during some tedious days of the perpetual boredom, house breaking scenarios one must engage with, i would welcome such descriptions to be dissipated down upon these cretins!!! looking at american history (there is no such thing as contemporary history, it’s a misnomer) we can see european and eastern mores and historical data speedied up somewhat, wherein now we find the carpet bagging mentality of the mass throng – who proclaim: every man for his/herself!!!! irrespective of class and colour – you too can rip off your neighbour in the name of material gain and mercantile credit… it all depends on perspective… i despise the pigeon-hole rotuine, also… we cannot generalise – though that is the thing to do… it may be worth destroying the idols and taboos of one’s own culture first – but, then, one would be destroying oneself, wouldn’t he/she???
    regards
    jonathan

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