In my perambulations here and there yesterday, I ran across this, linked to a link to a link I was following. I don’t know how I missed it in 2008. Titled “The First Time I Heard of Barack,” it’s a gem. Ahem:
During the period of roughly February 1992 to mid 1994, I was making frequent trips to Moscow, Russia, in the process of starting a software development joint-venture company with some people from the Russian scientific community. One of the men in charge on the Russian side was named V. M.; he had a wife named T.M.
V. was a level-headed scientist while his wife was rather deeply committed to the losing Communist cause – a cause she obviously was not abandoning.
You already see where this is going, don’t you?
Bitter, bitter T. has one too many vodkas and lets the truth slip!
“Yes, it is true. This is not some idle talk. He is already born and he is educated and being groomed to be president right now. You will be impressed to know that he has gone to the best schools of Presidents. He is what you call “Ivy League”. You don’t believe me, but he is real and I even know his name. His name is Barack. His mother is white and American and his father is black from Africa. That’s right, a chocolate baby! And he’s going to be your President.”
I waited for V. to wrestle her to the ground, cut out her chatty tongue or otherwise show concern for such treasonous blabbing. No. He lets his wife go on and on:
She rattled off a complete litany. He was from Hawaii. He went to school in California. He lived in Chicago. He was soon to be elected to the legislature. “Have no doubt: he is one of us, a Soviet.”
Note to “Tom Fife,” the author of this gem: When rewriting “The Manchurian Candidate” for dissemination to Free Republic-like websites, don’t stick too close to the original. It was brilliant to have Angela Lansbury be the ultimate bad guy in the original, but it’s OK to mix it up a little for the remake. Otherwise people call you derivative.
Funny that I should run across it yesterday, when the local news was full of stories about the Hutaree, whose name I’m still not clear on pronouncing — I think it’s Hoo-TAR-ee, and for what it’s worth, I don’t find them especially alarming, although maybe if I were in law enforcement, I might not be so blasé. But I think they’re a perfect example of what we started discussing low in the comments yesterday, representatives of a certain kind of rural hopelessness. Reading the Free Press and News stories about the group’s rural Michigan stomping ground was a short course in class signifiers:
He lived in two rusty trailers in Clayton on a messy yard strewn with toy guns, a flagpole and a Porta-John.
…Spurgeon attended the wedding of Joshua Stone earlier this month at the church and said he was surprised when the groom and other male attendees wore military-type uniforms.
…Donna Spurgeon said all the Stone children were home-schooled. They were smart, polite and artistic but socially awkward, she said.
Two generations ago, the Stone clan would have lived in a ranch house down the block from the Dairy Barn. The menfolk would have worked in light industry, as mechanics at the farm-implement dealer, maybe even as insurance agents or store owners. Everyone would hunt and go to the Methodist, Presbyterian or Lutheran churches in town. No one would be home-schooled. But something went wrong. What went wrong? Daddy hurt his back, and the insurance company just wants him to take his Oxycontin and shut up. Junior went up to Detroit to see the Bob Seger show and got carjacked; he won’t make that mistake again. Shelley got a job down at the wire-harness factory, but they closed a few years back, sent the whole shootin’ match down to Juarez. And now here we are, and the kids are getting married in camo. Have you ever heard of such a thing?
The News story has photos of the camo wedding, as well as the trailer.
As part of my research for this book I’m working on, I ran across this account of the New Bethel Church shooting case, c. 1969 in Detroit. You may notice many parallel elements with the Hutarees. Separatism, violence. Old wine, new bottles.
Some may point out that you know you’re crazy when the Michigan Militia is helping the police track you down, because you give their kind of crazy a bad name. All I’m saying is, it’s out there. And who knows what they’re reading on the internet.
Bloggage? I guess I have a little:
I was intrigued to see David Brooks’ column hed today: The Sandra Bullock trade. I was not surprised to learn it had nothing to do with Sandra Bullock, beyond a vague sort of anecdotal connection. That’s Brooks, however. And that’s why we have Gawker.
Ricky Martin came out of the closet. It sounds classier in Spanish: Hoy ACEPTO MI HOMOSEXUALIDAD como un regalo que me da la vida.
And now I’m off to the gym. Where are you off to?