Monday, June 6, 2011

Rick Santorum's Nostalgia for the Good Old Days: You Too Can Have Thirteen Slaves for a Nickel!

I will have more on Rick Santorum's honest moment of yearning for a return to pre-1965 America to come in a bit. Given Santorum's mouth utterance over the weekend, my discovery of a 1939 issue of Popular Mechanics and its essay "Thirteen Slaves for a Nickel" was priceless in its timing.

You have to love the whiteness of memory. When the Tea Party GOP and their assorted crew of candidates talk about "real America" and "the good old days" they are really signaling to a myopic Whiteness of memory. The blacks knew their places. Women knew to shut up and stay in the home. The domestic sphere was secure. The queers stayed in the closet. Happy Days and Leave it to Beaver were actually real...except for the parts that were not.

Most important to the White Soul, there wasn't all of this "political correctness" stuff. Good white people could say what they want and about whoever they wished without any consequences. It was also a fun time where the possibilities of science and progress were everywhere. One could even innocently dream of owning black people as slaves and recreating yee old southern plantation with the help of your friend the kilowatt--without having to worry about being made to feel guilty by those Negro agitators and other assorted rapscallions and troublemakers.

The semiotics of "Thirteen Slaves for a Nickel" are priceless (pay particular attention to the smiling faces, the invisibility of non-whites, and how domesticity is depicted).


Big Man said...

Be honest, if you were white, wouldn't you yearn for that time as well?

It's like that scene in "Higher Learning" where the neo-Nazi tells Remy that there is nothing better than being white and male in America, even as he stokes his fears of marginalization and discrimination.

White people love the good old days because they were in fact good for them, but they hate to admit that the reason there were good was because of discrimination and terrorism. It's like white folks talking about the Golden Age of baseball, but neglecting to mention that Golden Age didn't allow black folks to participate.

They do not want to admit they that their love of the past is direct proof of their current racism, even as these bouts of nostalgia are cover for appeals to the idea that if we just got rid of the undesirables things would be fine again.

It's quite interesting.

Oh Crap said...

Lol, poor pRick "Fetus Hugger" Santorum.

Tried to make his announcement for president today, and some lady fainted.

Then the news of the latest Palinoid malfeasence, them mucking around in Wikipedia hit the news.

After that, it's been nothing but Weiner jokes.

Like every other conservative loser, pRick Santorum isn't even capable of failing right.

Abstentus said...

I'd bet my last nickel (which I would never spend on human bondage. FTS!) that Ricky doesn't think he's a racist, or out of touch, or a dangerous revanchist, or any thing remotely approaching a bad man who does the bidding of Satan and the work of evil (not that I literally believe in Satan.)


BBJ said...

Having read that astonishing article, I am now looking with deep guilt at all of my appliances.

I am holding kilowatts in bondage. What to do?

chaunceydevega said...

@Bigman--You gave me an idea about something. Let me process.

@OhCrap. I love Dan Savage's take on Santorum. That was one of the high points of the last decade.

@Abstentus. You people are too sensitive. You all need to stop.

@BBJ. Be careful, they may liberate themselves and your Nat Turner Jon Brown appliances are going to cut your throat just like Maximum Overdrive.

fred c said...

The "if you were white" question should be clarified to either "if you had been born white" or "if you woke up one day and were white like in one of those movies." If the former: you could turn up anywhere in the range of Whiteness. If the later, you would most likely retain your present values and yearnings.

I wake up White everyday, and I never, ever yearn for those bygone days.