During one of the economic downturns – euphemistically referred to as a “recession” – of the 70s I picked up employment as a truck driver. I hauled live poultry up and down the highways, not the most glorious of work but it was a job.
The period was from 1975 through about 1978 or so. It was a period I call BE – before electronics; or, at least before cell phones, GPS, the Internet, etcetera. The majority of truckers utilized the then ubiquitous CB Radio. One could get directions, call for assistance or report drunk drivers and chat through the lonely hours on the road. It was the chat aspect of the CB that used to entertain me while driving.
Not unlike many message boards out here in cyberspace today, the CB – because of the anonymity of the mechanism – was a tool not only for finding one’s way on the road but also for bragging and hurling invective. I cannot begin to recount the many, ongoing battles raging over the CB airwaves regarding the Civil War, for instance. At times I felt like the War Between the States never ended; indeed, for many of the southern (or wannabe southern) drivers this fight never seemed to get settled. This simulated combat generally degenerated into name-calling as well as some rather hate filled invective, as the “Rebs” would question the manhood of the “nigger-lovin’ Yankee faggots.” Of course, President Lincoln always came in for some choice epithets as well.
In the roughly three years I drove up and down the road I saw – and heard – what I felt was pretty much a microcosmic example of the undercurrent of hate that makes up – then as well as now - the body of these United States. This was also that period when the anti-war protests were all over the streets and the media so those “fucking hippies” also came in for some well-chosen comments and threats. I recall the first time I walked into a truck stop, long hair in a pony tail, earring, cut off jeans and work boots; gave new meaning to Bob Seger’s “Turn the page.” I could hear the comments, vis-à-vis “they let anybody drive a big truck these days,” but no one ever got in my face. Being six-foot plus and 250 pounds tended to forestall anything other than side of the mouth commentary and behind the hand remarks never did bother me.
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I always carried a micro-cassette recorder with me and would tape many of these verbal antics and threats that emanated from the CB radio. As a matter of fact a friend of mine took quite a few recordings and turned them into a series of one-act vignettes, which graced the boards of his street theater venue. I had always toyed with the idea of incorporating them into a book using the title of this article, Hate is US. Every writer has that cardboard box of memory that he or she feels could be turned into a novel highlighting life’s passing parade; or at least that portion of the passing parade which we view in jaw-dropping amazement at times. Maybe one day.
Began thinking about those old tapes recently as I interact out here in cyberspace, especially when viewing the various “message boards” one encounters on this great big anonymous Internet. I find it isn’t any different than the old CB radio; folks hide behind that cloak of anonymity to vent and direct their particular brand of hatred at other folks. Back in the day of the CB it was “Turban Heads,” (Sikhs were beginning to drive big trucks at that time) “Porch Monkeys,” “House Niggers,” “Tree Apes,” “Beaners” and other assorted directional bigotry that found its way over the airwaves.
One could listen to two drivers – offended at some slight one or the other may have committed – threatening each other, talking about “stomping a mud hole in your ass,” and other such colorful verbal jousting. In the time I drove I heard a lot of that, but I never actually saw two guys stop and come to blows. The closest thing to face-to-face confrontation I saw was one late night/early morning while southbound on I-95, I had been listening to these two guys threatening to shoot each other for a few miles. The chatter was getting stronger (louder) so I knew I was getting closer to the supposed field of battle, as it were. Up in the distance I spotted a set of headlights that were stationary and I assumed that was one of the erstwhile combatants. Sure enough, I slow and kind of pull over and there on the northbound side of the highway is this guy half in and half out of his rig with the CB mike in his hand. This driver is challenging – and threatening - his unseen opponent to step up here so he can “kick his ass into the blacktop.” I ease down the shoulder and about a mile down the road, is the other driver. He is in the same half in, half out position as his antagonist and matching the other guy word for word in the threat department. Neither one of them would budge from their respective idling positions. A lot of other drivers witnessed – and heard – this comedy. The comments from those other drivers were of the same general accord; “One guy scared to death and the other glad of it.”
CB “chatter” was predominately male and full of the requisite machismo with strongly held ideological opinions that tended to the conservative side. It was a “man’s world” out there and – according to a majority of drivers as well as some of the “trucker” lit of the time – the last refuge of the independent cowboy. Though it wasn’t generally admitted (this was a time before pissing in bottles and other such tightened regs for commercial drivers), a lot of drivers were – in their own mind’s eye – hard driving, hard drinking, cowboys, born one-hundred years too late.
Today, the Internet message boards are not much different than the old CB, the name-calling has been updated and a lot more descriptive from a hate standpoint, but the message remains the same. Hate is US. And to a large degree the same annotation; “one guy scared to death and the other glad of it” could be applied to the majority of the hate posters of the Internet. They – for the most part – are full of piss and vinegar behind the obscurity of their keyboard and would never think of getting in another person’s face and verbalizing the garbage, which they so love to post. I know, I know, there are plenty of organized hate groups out there who, collectively, have no qualms about getting in your face violent. That is a different animal and a combined threat. I’m talking about the anonymous, run-of-the-mill hate poster here. But, even with some groups’ dear reader, one should keep in mind that while the group may be viewed as a threat, or threatening, when the group is splintered, or individualized, the joint threat mechanism is considerably lessened. Classic psychology 101 lesson here folks, joining the (anti-social or hate group) enables the joiner, as it were, the ‘false courage’ of the gang. Much like the ‘false courage’ of the drinker al a Mel Gibson, to cite an example.
Kids join street gangs and/or prison gangs for the same reasons, sense of security, belonging, and protection, whatever it takes to survive, albeit for some it is a short survival.
Now, I’m certainly not a sociologist or a psychiatrist and there is no way I could even begin to understand just what engenders such malignant hatred by any group – or individual towards another. Common sense and a view of history tell me that most hatred is ingrained, taught. Politically, hate is also guided –overtly and covertly – by the power structure as a means of diversion. The Bush Administration are masters at this tactic, much like one of his much admired predecessors, Ronald Reagan.
I was an impressionable youngster during WWII and listened in to all of the hateful government engendered invective directed towards the “Japs,” “Krauts” and “Eyties.” Oddly enough my genetic makeup included two of those groups and I can remember how ostracized some of my relatives felt, especially the German side. Blind hatred, directed at a group or individual solely because of whatever the government or media propaganda mills put forth at the time. We are what we see, or hear, or read.
We see much of that today more than ever, since September 11, 2001 as the government and media propaganda mills ramp up – at every opportunity – “the war on terror,” for instance.Implicit in this Orwellian connotation is the overriding message that this is a war on Islam and Muslims. By extension – much like occurred in WWII – this becomes a war on anyone who dares be different, the government of course being the sole arbiter of just who, or what constitutes that dissimilarity. All one needs do is follow the media pronouncements regarding immigration, for a lot of Amerikans this equates to extreme dislike, which – by tacit approval of the state – means that it’s okay to hate all members of this sub-group, primarily Latino. By extension then, this means that hatred can be directed to all who have a skin color other than white, such is life in these United States.
According to a recent Cornell University poll almost half of the respondents’ felt that the government should curtail civil liberties for Muslim Americans. Another 27 percent of those polled felt that Muslim Americans should be required to register their location with the federal government. No one – fortunately – asked if Muslim Americans should be required to wear a crescent moon and star patch on their clothing but, I’m certain that if the question had been asked a large percentage of people would have replied in the affirmative. A good example of just how the state and the media promote hate are the comments of one Daniel Pipes a Bush appointee to the United States Institute of Peace. Mr. Pipes recently made comments that he “was encouraged” that 44 percent of Americans would curtail Muslim American civil liberties.
On the media side, Don Imus and MSNBC found themselves in trouble for comments that Imus made a couple years back when he referred to Palestinians as “stinking animals” and that they “should all be killed.” These, of course, are just two examples of deliberate state – and media - legitimization of hatred as government policy. The consequences of all of this state-sponsored hatred is that it filters down to the street and manifests itself in the form of hate crimes. According to the FBI's statistics, hate crimes are on the rise in Amerika. Does this really surprise anyone? With a fascist government running out of control, destroying the economy and any/all educational opportunities for a majority of its citizens, hate as a causative factor for Joe and Jane Six-Pack’s ills effectively takes the heat off Bush and Company. Couple this with the increasingly immoral illiteracy rate in this country and you have a population that is blissfully indoctrinated by the 30-second sound byte.
Newspaper message boards have also now become a relatively recent venue for the posting of directional hate communication. I read quite a few newspapers online and have noticed the rise in these types of comments. Most generally the comments tend to swell if the story has to do with immigration, Muslims, black crime, etcetera. I’m not quite sure just what a online newspaper might do – or not do - regarding this phenomenon. In print letters to the editor a newspaper “reserves the right” to print or otherwise edit individual comment. The majority of online newspapers do have a “moderator” for their respective message boards and many of these moderators will “flag” or otherwise delete what they feel is inappropriate commentary. This is an extremely gray area as one runs up against First Amendment rights here.
I view many online newspapers and do read (those who have message boards) the comments posted by readers. There are not many online papers that have message boards and probably for good reason,. Those papers that do offer these boards for the most part have some basic rules for posting which seem to check the more explicit racial hatred. There is one newspaper however, the South Florida Sun Sentinel, which seemingly allows without benefit of moderation the most hate filled commentary that I have seen on any online newspaper message boards. I will include here, only a few examples of that hatred.
The few comments that follow were posted on the Sun Sentinel’s message boards in response to a story about a Muslim woman who was strip searched at the Tampa airport. The Department of Homeland Security apologized (after the fact) for detaining and strip-searching the woman, a Spanish citizen. I have posted the comments as written with no corrections of spelling etcetera.
|get a grip |
Pompano Beach, FL
|Flag for Review |
apologize? why should we have to apologize for protecting our borders? if you don't like it don't come here when you know the chances of your name being on the "list" are pretty high. if you don't want to be screened, detained, or strip searched, stay your ass at home!
|g w bush |
Fort Lauderdale, FL
| |Flag for Review |
Jawad had planned to visit her son, who was having disciplinary problems, in April as a surprise. Instead, Hany was shocked to learn that his mother was in jail. He subsequently had to be hospitalized twice for out-of-control behavior, his father said. Now in Spain, Hany has calmed down a lot, although he has taken leave from school, his father said.``I lost my son because of what happened,'' said Kubba, who was lauded last year by Gov. Jeb Bush after organizing a trip where about a dozen friends went to Nashville to vote in the Iraqi election.``I have been in this country for 27 years. I am American,'' said Kubba, 49, who spent 40 days in an Iraqi prison for speaking out against Saddam Hussein. He left Iraq in 1979 after being sentenced to death, and his father was beaten to death by Hussein's agents.``My son wanted to be in the U.S. Navy, and he speaks both English and Arabic,'' Kubba said.``He would have been just what they are looking for. What they did to (Jawad) was unfair and is hurting America.''
just what our country needs in the armed service out of control iraqi teens from the funny farm
|Reality Check |
West Palm Beach, FL
|Flag for Review |
This is a joke. These people are blowing up plains, beheading americans and numerous other terrorist acts. And we are apologizing??????
Is our Homeland security crazy, how is anyone going to respect its authority???????
I wonder if the Isreali security apologizes??? Ofcourse not, that is why they have the best security.
|Deal with it |
West Palm Beach, FL
|Flag for Review |
2 less towel heads - so what! If the muslims have a problem with it - let the blame the muslim fanatics who brought the problem to them in the first place. Go back to the desert where you belong.
|woody hayes |
San Antonio, TX
|Flag for Review |
we have become a nationofPUSSIES!!!!!!!!!!
apologizing for something that is now required because of the muslim extremists.
let her get bin laden to apologize to her. it's his doings that brought this on. and you know what? bin laden would probably have her beheaded!
|Flag for Review |
One question... was she hot? You never know what you'll find under one of those burkas'. I'm thinking she was a fine young piece of tail... a firmed up Middle Eastern Anderson... with full C’s and long legs... NICE!
Historically hate crimes and attacks increase during bad economic times. Joe and Jane Six-Pack need to blame someone for the fact that they now have to buy generic cigarettes or bottom shelf-brand beer. It never occurs to them to blame the state or its attendant sycophants for their problems; after all, Rush, O’Reilly and the other propagandists/apologists for Bush keep repeating the same mantra over and over: “It’s all caused by those immigrants and terrorists.” So, Joe and Jane parrot the mantra to anyone and everyone within earshot as the bile and the hate boil over. After all, this is Amerika, home of the brave and land of the free – as long as you are white – and Hate is US.
“Hatred is the coward’s revenge for being intimidated.” George Bernard Shaw
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