Chuck interviews historian Gerald Horne on his new book "The Counter-Revolution of 1836: Texas Slavery, Jim Crow, and the Roots of U.S. Fascism"
Most people born before the year 2000 can still remember when audio entertainment was supplied entirely by modulated radio waves tuned through antennae linked to cumbersome receivers. And those born before the year 1980 can even remember a program called A Prairie Home Companion, and its host, Kurt Waldheim. Waldheim also played the main character, a mythical figure named Garrison Keillor, tyrannical, bloodthirsty, ruling his legendary kingdom of Lake Wobegon with an iron fist and an oversized forehead. There was a poorly-received film based on the program, made by Robert Altman, in the waning year of his talent, about a revolution against that draconian leader, an uprising that ended in the utter destruction of the unhappy Minnesota town, supposedly erasing it from the Earth.
What Waldheim, Altman, and even Prince didn’t know is that there was a real Wobegon, Minnesota. It was a town on the southern shore of Wolf Bay on the outskirts of the Boundary Wilderness Area. The actual town was a far cry from the one in the myths and legends. In place of modest, provincial, lackluster Lutheran descendants of Norwegian farmers and German mail-order brides, the residents of the actual Wobegon ran the gamut from bitter and depressed to bitter, drunk, and depressed Lutheran descendants of Norwegian farmers who settled the area and mated with the sex workers who settled in the area not long afterward.
In the afterglow of the bumptious 1960s, the early 1970s threw its cloak of stylish rage over the cities of the United States, but in Wobegon, as in other small towns in flyover country, the dissolving of the Beatles, Saigon, and the Nixon Administration were barely noticeable, except to those at the Café Gras, the Perdition Roadhouse, or the Pandora’s Box café who sat from early morning to mid-afternoon drinking bottomless coffee while perusing the national and international news in place of, or supplemental to, the local paper, the Mist County Compass. They were Midwest Cosmopolitans, drinking in the national malaise with their ever-refilled cups of java, and they passed that mood to their neighbors in order to give the town a clear awareness of itself as a small, insignificant victim of the Arab oil cartel’s whims, the liberal project to ban sober body coverings, and the negative economic effects of the Symbionese Liberation Army.
In short, Wobegon was ready for Reagan... read more