Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Friday, April 04, 2008
  Wrong side of history
David Brooks is a disengenous twit when he writes things like this:
Martin Luther King Jr. at least left behind a model of how to repair the social fabric. He was scholarly, formal, assertive and meticulously self-controlled in public. If Barack Obama’s presidential campaign represents anything, it is the triumph of King’s early-60s style of activism over the angry and reckless late-60s style. King was in crisis when he was gunned down. But his inspiration is outlasting his critics.
The New Republic's Spencer Ackerman gets it just about right when he comments on Brooks' column:
Forty years ago today, a madman from David Brooks' America murdered our prophet. For a variety of reasons I obviously wish King had lived. But one of them is so we would have seen the right unmasked. Had King not been martyred, the right would treat him like it treats Jesse Jackson -- as nothing more than a "hustler" or a "huckster." You know, all those two-syllable words that are supposed to mean a different two-syllable word that starts with an N.
If you don't believe me, check out this thread at the always entertaining far-right site,
To: pinochet

King was a communist agent who worked to implement slavery worldwide. He was elevated to “sainthood” by the left, much as algore and obambi are today.

6 posted on 04/04/2008 7:31:42 PM PDT by Eagles6 ( Typical White Guy: Christian, Constitutionalist, Heterosexual, Redneck)
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To: tired1
King belonged to two dozen identified Communist organizations which were, at that time, identified by J Edgar Hoover.

Today they are called "progressive" organizations.

7 posted on 04/04/2008 7:45:34 PM PDT by oldtimer
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To: pinochet

If we have to put up with saturation media coverage of MLK every April on the anniversary of his assasination can we please do away with his holiday???

8 posted on 04/04/2008 7:46:41 PM PDT by blue state conservative
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There's plenty more where that came from. If King had survived to modern times, I could just hear the Rush Limbaughs of the world mocking him and doing Al Jolson-esque impersonations on the radio.

50 years from now, when I am hopefully a quick-witted old fart, I expect that some, if not most, of racial polarization in American politics will have diminished. 40 years after his death, MLK's legacy is still evolving. Just ask yourself, would David Brooks have written that column 20 years ago?

Being on the wrong side of history has a funny way of distorting your rear-view mirror.
Greg, from your post it seems to me you have to believe one of the following:

1) That King, had he survived, would be as corrupt as Sharpton and Jackson (e.g., inciting crowds, leading to the murder of Jewish people, or shaking down corporations for millions of dollars and beer distributorships, etc.).

2) That such activities by Sharpton and Jackson don't matter, and shouldn't affect how legitimate we (or people like David Brooks) view them.

3) That you don't know about such such activities by Sharpton and Jackson.

4) That any argument, no matter how specious, is legitimate, if it is used to attack a political opponent to your right.

Please tell me there's a fifth possibility.
5) That MLK was neither Jackson nor Sharpton and that I've heard the phrase "The Reverend Martin Luther Coon" one too many times to believe that had MLK not been martyred that he would be a widely accepted and respected figure. He would have been stereotyped in his middle-aged and declining years to fit the mold of the uppity black opportunist.

Please name a nationally prominent Black person (aside from Oprah) whose race is not used as a club by his/her opponents. It happens on both the left (Obama) and right (Clarence Thomas) and I have no doubt whatsoever that it would have happened to MLK.

I don't consider Ackerman's argument to be specious in the slightest. And I've written before about what a twit David Brooks is. I stand by what I wrote.
So you've heard the phrase "The Reverend Martin Luther Coon."

Therefore, King would not be "widely accepted and respected."

And therefore "the right" would treat him, like Jackson, as a "hustler" or a "huckster" because they'd be thinking of the "two-syllable word that starts with an N."

Therefore, David Brooks must be a "disengenous [sic] twit" because he praises King's demeanor, and also praises Obama's for being similar, and he's of the right.

And the fact that people on the left, including Blacks, use racial language to attack such as Clarence Thomas is more proof of the racialism on "the right" -- because if something is universal, it is by definition practiced on all sides, and thus, of course, especially by the right, since they are, we must sometimes concede, people too.

So David Brooks is especially guilty and disingenuous, enough to prove his bad faith when he praises King, because he is a "twit" and of the right. No doubt he lacks nuance as well, which we see is the strength of the left.
David Brooks is a twit, even when he is right, which he is not in the passage comparing King and Obama. His view of America is far more condescending than most of the "liberal elites." His disocovery of 'real' Americans living in the exurbs and their motivations was a huge bunch of clap-trap that has been quietly tossed aside since the implosion of the Republican Revolution.

If King had survived, he would be a "controversial figure." Take the controversy of Rev. Wright and multiply it 1000X. Do you think MLK would have faded away, or would he have marched in Jena? What would King say about New Orleans? How would it be received? If his children had succeeded in business, would that be part of a shakedown?

Your odd attempt to make arguments and logic based upon the fact that you disagree with my opinion of David Brooks and "what-if" history puzzles me.
Succeeding in business is not a shakedown, but using protests to extort money and succeed in business, is. I agree that if King had survived, and now acted like Jackson or Sharpton or Wright, he would be subject to the sorts of criticism that they are now subject to.

But then we would now be living option #1 above, and that criticism would be proper. I don't accept that that is especially likely alternate history -- and King's widow and children have certainly shown a lot more class than Jackson or Sharpton or Wright, as has Obama. I also don't see why a conservative should be attacked for pointing such things out. He would have better grounds to attack you for sullying King's memory.
Stomping your feet and repeating something over and over doesn't make it true Dave.

As for sullying King's memory, remember, you're the one who brought up Sharpton. The moral equivilency argument is all yours. I do not say one way or another how King would have purported himself.

As for Obama's "class," as you put it, perhaps that is why Rush plays "Barack the Magic Negro" as Obama's theme music. (Limbaugh claims immunity because the phrase was used in an essay, written by David Ehrenstein, describing the mythical powers projected upon certain black leaders by the white media.) And the Rev. Wright controversy is a classic example of guilt by association. (Dontcha' know that Obama is secret black-power Muslim disciple of Louis Farakahn?!?!? < / sarcasm >)

It would not have mattered in the least what King had done in '70s, '80s and '90s. If he was perceived as a political threat, he would have been demagogued. Adjectives like "traitor," "Communist," "Black Supremest," "Philanderer," "Plagiarist," etc.... would preface almost every right wing mention of him. As matter of fact, those words are all used today by those who have not given up hope of dragging King's legacy down.

I think you were old enough to remember the battle surrounding the creation of the MLK Holiday. Just look at the arguments made against the already-dead King only 14 years after his assassination. They are the same ones that would be made in 2008 on FreeRepublic, Fox News, The WSJ OpEd page, Limbaugh, etc... if King were alive today.
No doubt some people would trash a living King, but the "guilt by association" is yours, for assuming that David Brooks is among these people.

As you may note, I lumped Sharpton in rhetorically with Jackson, not with King; except to note that your position was incoherent unless you equated King with Jackson or Sharpton.
Shorter Brooks: If MLK hadn't been assassinated we wouldn't have so many black people who are still mad about it. We should all pretend that that didn't happen. Ok?

A true man of genius. This column is almost as good as the one he wrote recently, saying: If we had found WMD and turned Iraq into a model democracy, then I, David Brooks, would be like, so totally right.

How can you not love him?

-Cap'n John
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