Hannity-esque days of rage at Salon!


We get tooken by a fiery headline: For the record, we’re opposed to the teaching of lies to American children. We’re especially opposed to the teaching of heinous lies.

Perhaps for that reason, we went for the feint when we saw this fiery headline at Salon:

“11 heinous lies conservatives are teaching America’s schoolchildren”

The number of lies—exactly 11—give this headline an air of verisimilitude. Everyone knows that a list of this type should have exactly ten items. Or perhaps twelve in a case of this type. This permits us to speak with real anger about a “dirty dozen.”

Whatever! We were still on board as we read Armanda Marcotte’s preamble. We even saw the reference to Texas, which may involve an actual problem, though Marcotte simple passes on a bit of conventional wisdom. But we still weren’t able to see the foolishness lying ahead:
MARCOTTE (3/13/13): If recent elections have taught us anything, it’s that young Americans have taken a decided turn to the left. Young voters delivered Obama the election: the under-44 set voted Obama and the over-45 set broke for Romney. The youngest voters, age 18-29, gave Obama a whopping 60 percent of their vote.

Now Republicans have a plan to try to recapture the youngest voters out there: Take over the curriculum in public schools, replace education with a bunch of conservative propaganda, and reap the benefits of having a new generation that can’t tell reality from right-wing fantasy.

How well this plan will work is debatable, but in the meantime, these shenanigans present the very real possibility that public school students will graduate without a proper education. To make it worse, many of these attempts to rewrite school curriculum are happening in Texas, which can set the textbook standards for the entire country by simply wielding its power as one of the biggest school textbook markets there is. With that in mind, here’s a list of 11 lies your kid may be in danger of learning in school.
Is “your kid” in danger of learning those lies in school? The chances are good that the answer is no, depending on where you live. By the time we get to Lie Number 5 (“Black people are the descendants of Ham and therefore cursed by God”), Marcotte can only report that the Texas Freedom Network “found two school districts teaching that the various races are descended from the sons of Noah.”

Allegedly, children are being taught that lie in two school districts, both in Texas. For the record, there are over a thousand such districts in the state of Texas alone.

It seems that the teaching of other lies is rather limited too. According to Marcotte, Lie Number 8 (“Dragons Once Existed”) is “suggested” by one passage in a textbook being used in a handful of Christian schools in Louisiana. By the time we get to Lie Number 9, we’re actually talking about a bill—a bill which has been proposed in the Tennessee legislature.

How about Lie Number 10? (“Hippies were dirty, immoral Satan-worshippers.”) Marcotte says your kid is in danger of learning that lie based on a passage in a textbook—a textbook which was “snagged” in a single Christian school in Louisiana. By the way:

Marcotte may not know this, being on the younger side. But many hippies actually were immoral Satan-worshippers. Please review Easy Rider for further information.

The foolishness finally comes to an end with Lie Number 11. (“Ayn Rand’s books have literary value.”) Is your kid in danger of being taught this lie in school? At present, it doesn’t seem likely. According to Marcotte, the chairman of Idaho’s Senate Education Committee “has introduced a bill that would require students not only to read...Atlas Shrugged, but also to pass a test on it in order to graduate.”

That would be a stupid requirement. At this time, the requirement exists in no American school.

As she closes, Marcotte says this: “We live in an era where no amount of right-wing lunacy is considered too much to be pushed on innocent children.” That isn’t exactly false. It’s also true that we live in an era when liberal publications are beginning to ape the lunacy of the right-wing in the drive to grab liberal eyeballs.

Marcotte is discussing an actual problem. Unfortunately, she’s doing so in a way which has been stolen from the crackpot right. She’s too worked-up to tell her readers that the Fordham Institute, from which she draws some of her criticisms of Texas, is a conservative organization.

Their criticisms carry special weight if you understand that fact. Marcotte doesn’t include it. To tell the truth, there's no real sign that she knows much about this subject.

This is Hannity-inspired work. Has someone been teaching Lie Number 12 to Marcotte, perhaps to the droogs now running Salon:

“Progressive interests will be served when we ape those we say we detest?”


  1. Is the MOVIE Easy Rider in play here? Because the hippies go for swim (no doubt cleaning up a bit in the process) and Satan never comes up.

    1. I also watched Easy Rider fairly recently, and didn't get the Satanist reference.

    2. Only thing I can think of was the scene where they dropped acid and wound up in a New Orleans cemetery. But I don't see what that has to do with Satan worshiping or hippies, since either the Fonda or the Hopper characters were "hippies."

      And by the way, Bob, Marcotte says that the lie is "Hippies were dirty, immoral, Satan-worshipers." You castigate her for using a reference from a single textbook as evidence this lie is being told, yet you wrongfully refer to a 44 year old movie to "prove" that "some" hippies were "dirty, immoral, Satan-worshipers."

      One could write a book about all the logical fallacies in just those few sentences.

  2. In all seriousness, it's a fairly crass bit of bigotry from Somerby, the sort of thing often thrown at those who were correct about the Vietnam War. I doubt he has much hard data on how much devil worshipping has gone on in the US at any time.

    1. Did you always want to be an ankle-biter, or does the role just suit your size?

    2. 2nd hand ankle-biting ^

    3. Cecelia, way back before Somerby jumped the shark, he wrote a post in the wake of 9/11 in which he condemned the trick of scouring the Internet for the most extreme example of stupidity then assigning that as the way broad groups of "enemies" truly think, then using that broad brush against them.

      Which is exactly what he is doing here.

    4. Cecelia could probably no more explain to us the difference between 2nd hand ankle biting and other kinds of ankle biting than She could explain why all hippies must be devil worshipers; but then She had often shown herself a very dim witted bitch indeed.

  3. I used to have some considerable respect for you, Bob Somerby. But lately it's become quite difficult to sustain that respect, and today you've made that task even harder.

    Granting only for the sake of argument that some hippies, in a movie and perhaps even in reality, were "Satan-worshipers" (whatever that means), why do you, in your own voice, refer to them as "immoral"? Do you really believe that "Satan-worship" is any more immoral than "God-worship" (whatever that means)?

    You used to know that slinging gratuitousness insults is not a really good way to convince people of anything. You don't seem to know that anymore.

    1. That s.b. "gratuitous insults", not "gratuitousness". I blame the spell-checker. Or was it... Satan?

  4. Evidently this combox has become the province of high seriousness.

    On first reading of Bob's comment about Easy Rider I chuckled, thinking it was a mild generational joke.

    After reading the usual excoriations from the Bob-haters and former-FOBs, I read the paragraph again and found it funny all over again.

    Sheesh. It's like listening to a murder of Marxist true believers - you all need to grow funny bones.

  5. The joke makes no sense. You are a fool, or perhaps the sort of right winger to whom it is hilarious to simply chirp "dirty hippie won't take a bath." Grow a brain, @sshole.

  6. Squeaky McCrinkleMarch 16, 2013 at 3:59 AM

    Some of you obviously were not around when mainstream comedians - Bob Hope, Dave Barry, Ronald Reagan - made lots of jokes about hippies. Like about sitting next to a hippie who had only one sandal (doesn't work as well with shoe, does it?) on an airplane. Asked if he'd lost a sandal, the hippie replied "no, found one".

    If anyone's an arsehole here Greg, it's more likely you.

    1. "Likely?"

      Nope. Certain.

    2. It's hard to gage the level of irony that Squeaky brings to the classification of Reagan as a "mainstream comedian," but I guess we can accept his (?) proffered knee slapper as an example of the lost genre of "hippy comedy" and moreover representative of the witless person's idea of wit. Alas, neither he/she nor his/her fellow loser does much to advance the case for Easy Rider being the story of Devil Worship among unkept hippies, but have you heard the one about two monkeys trying to F@ck a football?

  7. Fortunately Glenn Greenwald is at the Guardian and not Salon so I do not ever have to click on Salon.

  8. "Marcotte may not know this, being on the younger side, but may hippies actually WERE immoral devil worshippers. Please review Easy Rider for further information."

    Before we leave Bob Somerby's Al Capp/Dennis Miller moment, we should take at least a moment to marvel at how very odd it is. Somerby will write on film from time to time, and the fact that he is not the sort of pop culture vulture who generally gets into print is what makes it interesting when he does so. It's probable that at one time or another he saw Easy Rider. He might be getting it mixed up with another Peter Fonda film, "Race With The Devil" which DID have devil worshippers but no hippies. In fact, the devil worshippers(oh irony) were actually rednecks.
    I've come to believe when The Daily Howler goes badly adrift, usually some strained false equivalency bender, it's coming from a humanist instinct. In a general sense his right: there is always plenty of foolishness to go around across party lines; and often their lack of brains is matched by our lack of nerve. It's a point which, obviously, he will argue to the point of foolhardy tit for tatishness, and when things prove him wrong ("Passion Of The Christ" anyone?) he simply drops the subject.
    There is something here, however, that is a little ugly. "Easy Rider" is a very famous and divisive movie. While young lefties loved it, others stood up and cheered it's bloody climax. It seems to me Somerby probably remembers it well enough to know that there are in fact no devil worshippers in the movie. He may even recall that the "hippies" in the film are actually a group of young people who have made a desperate stand in a commune, repelled by the considerable ugliness society might have represented to them.
    But who knows? Maybe Somerby didn't even see it, or he equates the drug dealing of the two heroes as a form of devil worship. One senses, somewhat sadly, a geeky, rather square HHH liberal kid who never got over being laughed off by the hipper kids. At any rate, we must sadly conclude The Daily Howler is capable of producing work as shoddy and (this is what hurts a bit) as moronically mean spirited as anything it derides.

  9. Many slaveholders treated their servants in a kindly respectful manner. See "Gone With the Wind" if you don't believe me.

    1. Everybody who lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan worships the devil. See "Rosemary's Baby" for proof.

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