I'm sure you recall my obsession with Gore Vidal's Empire books upon my escape from the psych ward. I found myself in a Half Price Books in Orland Park on Sunday, and I picked up a couple more Vidal historical novels. (And a crime novel he wrote under a pen name before he was Gore Vidal. But that's a story for another day.)
To borrow from Dan Carlin, I'm not a historian. I'm a fan of history. One of the things I truly enjoy about this series is that Vidal didn't rely on history class notes. He went out in search of the Truth (before the age of the internet, no less!) and wrote these books from that perspective. That got him into some trouble. For example, his theory that Hamilton accused Burr of fucking his own daughter. Or Lincoln's plan that, upon abolishing slavery in the US, he would send all former slaves to Grenada. Ending racism by deporting all former slaves, thus making US a white only country, is a very bizarre plan, but it was also a very real plan.
I wonder if I would have been upset by these "revisionist" theories if I hadn't learned distrust in what I was told as a teenager. Because I bought everything I learned in history class up until Mr. Tourney's class, where I was introduced to 1984 and the concept of doublespeak.
Try an experiment. Try sitting through ten minutes of Fox News sometime. My grandmother watches it religiously, and I pay attention when I'm with her. The biggest boogeyman these nutjobs have right now is something called Critical Race Theory. They are appalled that propaganda is being taught in schools.
And they're right. Just not the way they think. First off, CRT is not taught to children but to college students. But never mind that for now because I have a problem with the propaganda being taught to children as young as 5 years old.
If you know me, then you know my go-to move, which is a pop quiz, hotshot. Who discovered America? A lot of people will say Columbus. Those who are smarter than the average bear will mention the Vikings who got there long before that Italian asshole. But that's wrong, too. It's hard to discover a land where people had already been living for thousands of years.
And if you dare to suggest that Columbus was a slaver and a rapist and a murderer, then God's mercy on you. Why is that idea so difficult for most Americans to digest? It's because they were indoctrinated at an early age. Gotta get 'em when they're young and impressionable, as the cigarette companies used to say. It's a very powerful form of brainwashing. It's so sugar-coated that it makes me want to hurl. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Most people find it hard to believe that the Founding Fathers who said that all men are created equal, didn't actually mean that, but they did. Who counts as those "men?" You gotta be white, male and a landowner. I'm sure if they would have thought about it, those men would also have to be heterosexual. Hell, by their standards most of us wouldn't be able to vote, either. Renting an apartment? Stay at home, non-landowner.
I believe that we're in this mess because of this propaganda that we were all--ALL--exposed to as children. It never occurs to most that what they learned in school might actually be a nefarious plot to force your allegiance to your country. But those godless Commies in China? They need to stop their propaganda and teach their kids the truth!
It's a fucking mess. It really is. Land of the Free really is the biggest lie we were ever taught in school. Because it never has and probably never will be. I'm all for teaching CRT to children. Otherwise this problem is going to continue ad infinitum.
|This is a shirt I actually own. It's in my house somewhere.|