|Blowing Smoke: Why the Right Keeps Serving Up Whack-Job Fantasies about the Plot to Euthanize Grandma, Outlaw Christmas, and Turn Junior into a Raging Homosexual - by Michael Wolraich|
HAS AMERICA LOST ITS MARBLES?
Television sensation Glenn Beck warns of White House plots to institute fascism, communism, and other terrifying “isms.”
Radio titan Rush Limbaugh charges that a racist Obama regime encourages black schoolchildren to beat up white kids.
Evangelical luminary James Dobson frets that Christians will be arrested for thought crimes and people will be allowed to marry donkeys.
Protesters in knickers and colonial-style hats march on Washington with signs that order Hitler-like caricatures of President Obama to return to Kenya.
As madness reigns, pundits, politicians, and cab drivers debate the source of the hysteria. Some blame ignorance; some blame
racism; some blame the economy.
After poring over mountains of political screeds and heedlessly subjecting himself to countless hours of Fox News, author Michael Wolraich discovered the secret formula that turns ordinary men and women into fire-breathing, smoke-blowing, right wing maniacs. It’s “persecution politics” . . again.
In Blowing Smoke, Wolraich documents, dissects, and deconstructs the myths that underlie the right’s growing reliance on the politics of persecution, from Joe McCarthy to the Tea Party movement. In the process, he delivers an original and compelling hypothesis with penetrating insight and blistering wit.
At turns hilarious, disturbing, and edifying, Blowing Smoke is a must-read account of modern American politics.
Reader Review Jerry Bucknoff, MBA, PMP
Why do Fox Cable Channel viewers, FNC.com and supporters of the Fox News Party candidates believe and stand by the obviously grossly untrue misinformation broadcast by Fox and published by Fox TV personalities (such as Coulter, Palin, O'Reilly, Hannity and, their mentor, Karl Rove)? The answer is: because they WANT TO BELIEVE it -- even if it's totally ridiculous and proven untrue time and time again. They WANT to believe that all the damage caused by Cheney, Rove and Bush was caused by Obama or, worse yet, they want to believe that none of the bad things that these guys did ever happened. They want to believe that the house is not on fire, even as the burning ceiling falls down upon them.
"It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grammes a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it."-- George Orwell, 1984, Part 1, Chapter 5
Take the "Obama's War on Christmas", something invented by Bill O'Reilly, Fox Channel personality. Because some holiday season signs say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas (the birthday of our Lord, Savior and American Founding Father), O'Reilly deliberately made the claim that Obama has declared war on Christmas (which, of course, he never did or even thought about doing).
The slippery slope, twisted, logic that O'Reilly and his Fox News handlers (Ailes and Rove) are counting on their gullible viewers to make is Obama declared war on YOU, personally. The War on Christmas: i.e., war on Christianity, i.e., war on the central premise of the American Way of Life (Christianity, as Jesus spoke of it when he wrote the U.S. Constitution), i.e., the war on Americans, i.e., the war on YOU and your family (since you are an Americans -- therefore, Obama has declared war on your children, therefore, it's OK to be against Obama because he hates your children and America. So if you hate it, it's not because he's black. Therefore your hate of Obama has no racism in it at all. Good thing, too, because it there wasn't a LEGITIMATE reason to hate Obama your hatred would come from your racial bigotry (which you do, in fact have), not from reason.
Racial bigots; ignorant people who irrationality hate all Democrats because Bill Clinton kissed a girl in the late 1990s; and uneducated folks (folks with limited schooling or, if they did have some schooling, it was in Texas) are looking for a reason to hate the black Presidents and hate all those commie liberals who want to force their daughters to have abortions from babies fathered by Jewish or Muslim homosexuals who live on welfare from YOUR taxes. Fox, Ailes, Rove, Limbaugh and the other leaders of the far-right tell these folks what they want to hear. I mean, do YOU want your daughter impregnated by a homosexual Jew living on welfare who supports radical Islam and belongs to the Nazi party? Of course not.
Michael Wolraich explains how Fox and the radical right can cause otherwise normal (and mostly well-meaning and patriotic) people to become so irrational. It's an important read but also a bit lighthearted. Although there is nothing funny about Fox and Ailes' war against Americans, some of the stuff they do is pretty silly if looked at from the eyes of a rational person.
I highly recommend this book. I know that Fox viewers and supporters of Fox News Party candidates will want to avoid this book like the plague since the last thing they want to do is actually know what's going on the world. So I'm confident they'll keep their heads in the sand.
The book is now available used for under $3, a bargain, and also available on Kindle, also under $3.
An interesting aside: A recent study at Fairleigh Dickinson University (peer reviewed and submitted to strict, empirical, scrutiny) shows that Fox News viewers are more ignorant than people watch neither Fox nor watch actual news. Read: FDU Study Fox Viewers Ignorant (MODERATOR: No to criticize, but to inform.)
Editorial Review From Booklist
The persecution narratives of right-wing extremists aimed at stirring up hysteria about the “socialist“ agenda of the Democrats generally and President Obama specifically are part of a long history of fear-mongering and paranoia, asserts political blogger Wolraich. Citing broadcasts and blogs by Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, and others, Wolraich scoffs at claims that there is a conspiracy to destroy Christmas in an overwhelmingly Christian nation or that Obama’s policies are racist and aimed at helping minorities at the expense of whites. He intersperses his criticism of modern extremists with historical perspectives on fear-mongering and paranoid campaigns, including the execution of Socrates on charges of corrupting youth, the banning of Shakespeare from London on similar fears, bans on comic books in the U.S., and the Red-baiting of the McCarthy era. He dates the intermingling of right-wing extremism and religious fundamentalism to the 1980s with the IRS crackdown on the tax-exempt status of segregated schools. The Tea Party is the latest manifestation of worries about hodgepodge conspiracies that are being dangerously exploited by political opportunists. Wolraich is keenly analytical and often caustic in this compelling look at the use of persecution to push politics to the extreme. --Vanessa Bush
See my post Republicans Use Psychology to Promote Fear