Sep
28

Pick A Bale Of Stupid




Posted at 4:33 by Jillian

I am beginning to suspect that the greenhouse gases being released into the world by industrialized nations are having an adverse effect on the space-time continuum. There are days, based on the rhetoric I see coming from some of the loonier corners of the right wing batty brigade, that I can’t tell whether it’s 1932, 1919, or 1896.

See, Michael Medved wants to set us all straight about the so-called evils of American slavery.

Before we go on, I just want to stop and savor that line for a minute or two. Michael Medved. American slavery. Revisionist history.

medvedralphie1.pngAt this point, I’m pretty much irrelevant, aren’t I? You just know this is going to be chock-a-block full of gibbering insanity.

Luckily for us, he’s broken his ravings down into numbered bullet-points – much like the leaflets you find stuck to telephone poles about how the head of the CIA is a mutant lizard person who performs religious/medical experiments on homeless people often are.

Those who want to discredit the United States and to deny our role as history’s most powerful and pre-eminent force for freedom, goodness and human dignity invariably focus on America’s bloody past as a slave-holding nation.

See what I mean? Aren’t we off to a rollicking good start?

1. SLAVERY WAS AN ANCIENT AND UNIVERSAL INSTITUTION, NOT A DISTINCTIVELY AMERICAN INNOVATION. At the time of the founding of the Republic in 1776, slavery existed literally everywhere on earth and had been an accepted aspect of human history from the very beginning of organized societies. Current thinking suggests that human beings took a crucial leap toward civilization about 10,000 years ago with the submission, training and domestication of important animal species (cows, sheep, swine, goats, chickens, horses and so forth) and, at the same time, began the “domestication,” bestialization and ownership of fellow human beings captured as prisoners in primitive wars. In ancient Greece, the great philosopher Aristotle described the ox as “the poor man’s slave” while Xenophon likened the teaching of slaves “to the training of wild animals.” Aristotle further opined that “it is clear that there are certain people who are free and certain who are slaves by nature, and it is both to their advantage, and just, for them to be slaves.”

And after so opining, Aristotle then got drunk on six-week-old wine and had unspeakable carnal relations with a sixteen-year old boy. For real!

Medved actually thinks an argument about how the ancient Greeks and Mesopotamians practiced slavery are worth considering. Does he know anything at all about ancient Near Eastern ethical standards? You’d think someone who’s presumably read the Old Testament once or twice in his life would appreciate the progress that humans have made in applied ethics since then. By 1776, for instance, European civilizations had given up the practice of stoning disobedient children.

As sad as this particular argument is, it’s actually the best of the six that Medved manages to muster: It’s all downhill from here, I’m sorry to say.

2. SLAVERY EXISTED ONLY BRIEFLY, AND IN LIMITED LOCALES, IN THE HISTORY OF THE REPUBLIC – INVOLVING ONLY A TINY PERCENTAGE OF THE ANCESTORS OF TODAY’S AMERICANS.

Okay, now I’m really confused. Didn’t Medved just finish saying that slavery was “universal”? How could it have been “limited” in America if it were “universal”?

Actually, this chumpwad’s abuse of and ignorance about American history is making me too mad to even joke right here. Slavery was NOT limited in America AT ALL. The first American colony to legalize slavery was Massachusetts (in 1641); the first slave revolt in English colonial territory was in 1712 in New York. Slavery existed EVERYWHERE in the New World — everywhere there were people with enough money to buy other people.

And the hamfisted rhetorical trick of claiming that slavery only existed for 89 years in the United States is beyond horrid. I had a girlfriend once who had lived with a guy who beat her for eight years before she married him. They divorced after two years. If you claimed, “Well hey, she was only married to someone who hit her for two years,” you would be technically correct. You’d also be a pompous, condescending asshole of the first order by minimizing the eight years she spent with him without being married.

Slavery existed on this continent for over two hundred years before the laws supporting it were removed, and any attempt to minimize that fact is beyond execrable. Way to go, Medved — have you considered pimping this argument out to David Duke? I bet he’d love it.

Grrr. . .I don’t like being this angry. Let’s move on and hope we get to the funny stuff soon…

3. THOUGH BRUTAL, SLAVERY WASN’T GENOCIDAL: LIVE SLAVES WERE VALUABLE BUT DEAD CAPTIVES BROUGHT NO PROFIT. Historians agree that hundreds of thousands, and probably millions of slaves perished over the course of 300 years during the rigors of the “Middle Passage” across the Atlantic Ocean.

Not funny. Very true, and very sad. Could we be having a breakthrough here? Has Michael Medved looked into his own people’s history — the Exodus, the Shoah — and found compassion in his heart for the sufferings of the human chattel broken on our shores?

Perhaps the most horrifying aspect of these voyages involves the fact that no slave traders wanted to see this level of deadly suffering: they benefited only from delivering (and selling) live slaves, not from tossing corpses into the ocean.

I’m sorry; what was that?

Perhaps the most horrifying aspect of these voyages involves the fact that no slave traders wanted to see this level of deadly suffering: they benefited only from delivering (and selling) live slaves, not from tossing corpses into the ocean.

I’m. . .well, I’m…

You know what? I’m just going to go sit over here in the corner and pretend that I never, ever read that sentence. I much prefer the thought of living in a world where people who would honestly say that the worst thing about the slave trade was the money slave traders lost on slaves who died in transit are put into a home for the deranged and cared for compassionately until they died, far away from any access to pens or paper or the internet, not given syndicated radio shows. You guys watch this for a couple of minutes; I’ll be back.

All right. Let’s move on, shall we? And just forget about that earlier bit – I’m still pretending it didn’t happen. Don’t spoil the illusion for me.

4. IT’S NOT TRUE THAT THE U.S. BECAME A WEALTHY NATION THROUGH THE ABUSE OF SLAVE LABOR: THE MOST PROSPEROUS STATES IN THE COUNTRY WERE THOSE THAT FIRST FREED THEIR SLAVES.

Oh, fuck it. I give up. What does this even have to do with whether or not slavery is a blot on American history? Slavery would somehow have been more horrible if everyone had gotten rich off of it? So because the defense of slavery was often rooted in pure, unadulterated racism instead of economic convenience (an assessment I agree with, by the way), this makes it a better thing?

5. WHILE AMERICA DESERVES NO UNIQUE BLAME FOR THE EXISTENCE OF SLAVERY, THE UNITED STATES MERITS SPECIAL CREDIT FOR ITS RAPID ABOLITION.

Yes. And while I deserve no unique blame for inflicting this piece of tripe by Medved on you, I merit special credit for its rapid cessation.

I have to stop soon anyway, because I’m starting to feel physically ill from reading this. If you really care, you can see a brief breakdown on when various countries outlawed slavery here; I note (as I’m reaching for the milk of magnesia) that we beat out Zanzibar by about thirty years. Hooray.

6. THERE IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT TODAY’S AFRICAN-AMERICANS WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF THEIR ANCESTORS HAD REMAINED BEHIND IN AFRICA.

And this is the crux of it right here; the fiery, dense kernel of stupid, crapulous, filthy, racist tripe that generations of wingnuts past have applied the titanic pressures of their stupidity to in order to produce a perfect diamond of codswallop.

We did those benighted African savages a favor by enslaving them, you know. We brought them civilization, and Christianity! And shoes! And transistor radios! Just look how happy they are, walking around in their shoes with their transistor radios and praising Jesus! How can you say what we did is wrong?

What’s wrong with this, of course, is that even if every single descendant from a slave alive in America today were currently rich enough to spend all of their time managing their own elephant polo team, that still doesn’t make slavery right. If slavery is wrong, then it is wrong, no matter how salutary the outcome of enslavement may (or may not) be.

Medved goes on to make some blathering argument about how calls for reparation of any sort are all motivated by white liberal guilt, and since he’s proven that there’s no need for any of us white folks to feel guilty about anything, all those annoying uppity darker folks should just get back in the kitchen and hush up. I have to say that I am consistently amazed at the moral depravity this sort of argument shows in the person who makes it – is the only time one seeks to right a wrong when one feels a personal sense of moral guilt over the wrong? From where I’m sitting, this is actually the height of moral bankruptcy. This isn’t an argument about whether some sort of reparations for slavery are right or wrong; this is simply the recognition that if reparations are a moral right, then they are a moral right whether or not you or I or Michael Medved have any reason to feel guilty over the legacy of slavery in this country.

I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to the next set of installments in the “Inconvenient Truths by Michael Medved” series. Seeing as how he schooled us all on the “Inconvenient Truth of Genocide Against Native Americans (it never happened!)” last time, I’m betting the next one is going to set us all straight on the Inconvenient Truth About Rape (it’s not so bad if you lie back and relax!), or perhaps the Inconvenient Truth About Witchtrials (those witches deserved it!).


Update: My identical brain-twin, Clif, has more. I’m beginning to think that with a little practice, Clif, we ought to be able to just communicate telepathically and collaborate that way – shall we try it for the next piece?

220 Comments »

  1. Marita said,

    September 28, 2007 at 4:43

    PUPPY BOWL!!!!1!!!

    Oh wait… I’m sorry… was someone saying something?

    Oh right. Medved. Gack.

  2. Jillian said,

    September 28, 2007 at 4:46

    Puppy Bowl got even better when they introduced the Kitten Half-Time Show.

    I am not ashamed to admit I watched the whole thing a couple of years ago. All three (or was it four?) hours of it.

  3. a different brad said,

    September 28, 2007 at 4:47

    Geez, Jillian. Noble savages only existed in North America, and as the white man crossed the continent, they slowly melted away into the landscape, like so many leprechauns. Being noble, despite their savagery, they knew it was their duty to merely tend the land until the white man’s manifest destiny brought him to it, to improve it with his touch.
    Africans were literally living in piles of mud until the white man came along, and in no way has anything the white man has done to the continent contribute to the problems faced in so many parts of it.
    White men set the slaves free, didja ever think of that?

  4. Marita said,

    September 28, 2007 at 4:47

    ZOMG! T-Rex is a poodle! Who knew?

  5. a different brad said,

    September 28, 2007 at 4:49

    Oops. *contributed
    School’s back, gotta stop being a McArdle.

  6. Pere Ubu said,

    September 28, 2007 at 4:50

    6. THERE IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT TODAY’S AFRICAN-AMERICANS WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF THEIR ANCESTORS HAD REMAINED BEHIND IN AFRICA.

    Africa would be nothing but restaurants where people hung out decked in “bling” and baggy pants and screaming “MOTHERFUCKER WHERE’S MY ICED TEA”. Or something.

  7. Some Guy said,

    September 28, 2007 at 4:50

    “5. WHILE AMERICA DESERVES NO UNIQUE BLAME FOR THE EXISTENCE OF SLAVERY, THE UNITED STATES MERITS SPECIAL CREDIT FOR ITS RAPID ABOLITION.”

    What? Slavery had been outlawed by most other modernized nations well before the US had a war. In fact, before the Civil War, the import of slaves from Africa had already been established, too little effect. See, the key terms of it were “from Africa”. Slaves from Cuba, Dominica, any where like that? Load them on up! Never mind that THOSE slaves were from Africa! I think that they eventually fixed that loop-hole, but by that time, there was a large enough indigenous slave population to sustain itself.
    Also, as has been noted, by the Civil War, slavery had already been outlawed by roughly half the states in the Union. And many other nations. Then the south decided to be pricks about every goddamned thing that didn’t go their way and started a war over it. For four years.
    I wouldn’t call that “rapid”

  8. Humor Me said,

    September 28, 2007 at 4:59

    Man Marita, that was my exact thought. I friggin LOVE Puppy Bowl. And Jillian, I would so tap your starter if it needed it (hope you got that fixed BTW). and, well, Medved. If there is a god, Medved will be consumed by a gay-interracial-diaper-sex scandal beyond even my imagination.

    And puppies.

  9. Some Guy said,

    September 28, 2007 at 4:59

    Also, chihuahuas are proof that there is no god.

    And speaking of “God”, “proof”, and “chips with salsa con queso.”
    http://unitedcats.wordpress.com/2007/05/29/major-biological-discoveryinside-the-chernobyl-reactor/
    ZOMG! Matter, with energy applies, created life! Where’s your god, NOW, huh?

  10. Jillian said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:00

    Got the starter fixed.

    Found out I need new tires. Sigh.

    But the joy of being surrounded by Puppy Bowl fans more than makes up for it!

  11. RandomObserver said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:04

    “THOUGH BRUTAL, SLAVERY WASN’T GENOCIDAL”

    America – home of the increasingly low standards.

    Hey at least we don’t torture. Hey at least we don’t execute children and the mentally retarded. Hey at least we don’t imprison people without charging them with a crime. Hey at least we don’t spy on our own citizens in violation of our own Constitution. Hey at least we don’t make unprovoked war on other countries

    You know…all those terrible things Iran does that we don’t do?

    Err…at least we didn’t kill all black people. Hey that one’s still good! We’re golden.

  12. Pere Ubu said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:07

    Personally I prefer the Kitty Halftime show, m’self, but that’s just me.

  13. Pere Ubu said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:12

    You know…all those terrible things Iran does that we don’t do?

    Iran’s such an evil poopyhead totalitarian dictatorship that they won’t even let you criticize the military!

    …oh, wait…

  14. Pere Ubu said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:15

    Aristotle further opined that “it is clear that there are certain people who are free and certain who are slaves by nature, and it is both to their advantage, and just, for them to be slaves.”

    Thank god our enlightened future society has evolved far beyond such ridiculous ideas.

  15. Some Guy said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:17

    New tires are fun. Makes sure you got a good pressure gage and know what your PSI’s should be at. I got new tires on mine, but fucked up when i was trying to read the tire plate on the driver side door, and had them about 10psi under what they should have been for a few thousand miles. now two of them have had inflation issues.

  16. blowback said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:25

    The mortality rate on the slave ships delivering the slaves was high and it was even higher after the British and Americans outlawed the slave trade because the penalties the captain/owner would suffer could include destruction of his vessel and execution so it was safer for the slaver to throw all the slaves overboard if he was likely to be stopped by the Royal Navy. I am surprised Medved didn’t bang on about how it was piracy for the Royal Navy to destroy slave ships (property rights!!!) and prevent slavers from earning an honest dollar.

  17. blowback said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:29

    Talking of tyres, couldn’t some one give that dumb fuck Medved a necklace.

  18. Ruthie said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:33

    I think my brain has been scorched by “teh stoopid.” I just keep wondering who is responsible for Medved’s dye job.

  19. Djur said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:36

    OK, #6 was actually proposed regularly by historical apologists for racism and slavery, so at least Medved can take pride in the fact that he’s in illustrious company. But…

    Holy fuck is #5 stupid. It may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever read in my entire life, and I’ve read Little Green Footballs. It’s an ahistorical marvel, really; a wholly unprecedented feat of delusion. I won’t even believe it’s deception, because nobody capable of average cognitive reasoning could ever imagine they could get away with such an astounding lie in service to such a detestable argument.

  20. RandomObserver said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:41

    Now he did say “perhaps.” As in:

    “Perhaps, to some extent, the worst thing about slavery was that I never personally got a chance to own slaves. I mean come on now!”

  21. Pere Ubu said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:44

    “Perhaps, to some extent, the worst thing about slavery was that I never personally got a chance to own slaves. I mean come on now!”

    Perhaps, to some extent, being beaten vigorously about the head and shoulders with a red-hot bicycle chain wouldn’t be THE worst thing the Medved had ever experienced.

  22. M@ said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:46

    I thought moral relativism was a leftist thing. When did we lose the monopoly on that!?

  23. Col Bat Guano said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:47

    A little rewrite might be in order:
    “Perhaps the most horrifying aspect of this involves the fact that Medved didn’t want to see this level of deadly suffering: he benefited only from live hookers, not from tossing corpses into the ocean. “

  24. El Cid said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:48

    Let’s say that Medved were to be judged correct in his attempt to prove that the history of slavery in the English North American colonies / USA did not prove that (a) the USA was the most cruel, savagely murderous nation in history, and (b) that the USA had failed to do some good in the world.

    So?

    Does he think he has proved something significant?

    Does he think that Frederick Douglass wouldn’t ask the man if he thought he was lecturing a child? Does he think that American slaves and former slaves themselves were unaware of the possibilities of those two perspectives? Is he unaware that throughout the South, African Americans ran for and won political office for decades after the end of the Civil War, ceasing only due to a murderous right wing proto-fascist terrorist insurgency (“Redemption”) — precisely because they thought the country worth fighting for yet remembering the evil of slavery?

    I guess right wingers basically have a simple Hitler-Stalin-Mao test for the USA. If the USA is doing something better than what Hitler-Stalin-Mao did, well, it’s not very wrong, even if it is somewhat wrong, and it’s only possibly wrong if it’s in the past, because anything wrong going on currently is for the good of the nation and the world, until such time as the said wrongness is far enough in the past to be considered harmless old news.

  25. MrWonderful said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:48

    Jillian, I’m here to tell you that your deepest reaction of revulsion at this fuckwad is exactly correct.

    Years ago I wrote, in a parody of William F. Buckley’s journals, something to the effect that corporations (in WFB’s voice) “don’t take lightly to killing people, since it depletes their customer base.”

    At the time I thought, Well, that’s literally true, but it’s extreme, so no one REALLY thinks that. So ha ha, yay me.

    And now you’re quoting this Medved crap. And there it is: The slaves benefited from their servitude, because “there’s no reason” to think they’d have been better off back in horrible old Africa.

    It really IS that extreme. God, what a desperate, pathetic fuckhead.

    Go have a drink. I know I will.

  26. amh said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:54

    The comments sections fun. Two comments in there’s this:

    Great article Michael, obviously you did a lot of research. Recently, I traced my family tree & I found on one side, my ancestor sold himself as an indentured slave to gain passage to the New World. After serving, he married, raised a family & was reasonably successful. On the other side of my family, my ancestors were slave owners. So, in my family there exists both slave & slave owner, & I am white. When my slave owner relatives moved, some of the slaves went with them because they wanted to be with them. One of the women slaves became the local midwife & she was buried on my family plot. I’m proud of both the slave & the slave owner, in America anything is possible.

    It’s sort of like the slavery version of the “I have plenty of [insert minority] friends” defense.

  27. g said,

    September 28, 2007 at 5:55

    6. THERE IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT TODAY’S AFRICAN-AMERICANS WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF THEIR ANCESTORS HAD REMAINED BEHIND IN AFRICA.

    Whatever I might say to this can’t do any better than Randy Newman:

    In america youll get food to eat
    Wont have to run through the jungle
    And scuff up your feet
    Youll just sing about jesus and drink wine all day
    Its great to be an american

    Aint no lions or tigers-aint no mamba snake
    Just the sweet watermelon and the buckwheat cake
    Evrybody is as happy as a man can be
    Climb aboard, little wog-sail away with me

    Sail away-sail away
    We will cross the mighty ocean into charleston bay
    Sail away-sail away
    We will cross the mighty ocean into charleston bay

    In america every man is free
    To take care of his home and his family
    Youll be as happy as a monkey in a monkey tree
    Youre all gonna be an american

    Sail away-sail away
    We will cross the mighty ocean into charleston bay
    Sail away-sail away
    We will cross the mighty ocean into charleston bay

  28. Clif said,

    September 28, 2007 at 6:03

    Oh, shit, Jillian. We have got to stop sharing the same brain cells. I just posted on the Medved column here as well. And I used the same picture but with a different, er, statuette. I’m gonna move it over to my place. Gimme a little link love, though, okay?

  29. g said,

    September 28, 2007 at 6:03

    Old Slave Market, Charleston

    In the seven decades between the drafting of the U.S. Constitution and the Civil War, more than one million American-born slaves were sold away from plantations in the upper South to work the rapidly expanding cotton and sugar plantations in the lower South.

  30. JustMe said,

    September 28, 2007 at 6:05

    I was going to write some snark about how the Holocaust really worked out well in the end for Jews in the long run but it just wasn’t funny.

    Go fuck yourself Mr. Medved.

    Just go fuck yourself.

  31. Dave Latchaw said,

    September 28, 2007 at 6:11

    Like Michael Medved, I am also a devotee of Aristotle. I have begun my own program of space travel based on Aristotle’s Physics. By constructing a craft of sufficient moon-ness I am sure I can can travel to the moon through the principal of “like attracts like” with no need for messy, expensive, and noisy rockets. I am having trouble aquiring sufficient quantities of green cheese, however.

    After my voyage to the moon, I will embark on my exploration of the superlunary regions. By duct-taping together many, many bottles of Kristal, I hope to be drawn to the crystalline spheres themselves.

    I’m wondering if Sadly, No readers could PayPal me donations to help with my research. Especially the Kristal part.

  32. Humor Me said,

    September 28, 2007 at 6:12

    Cliff, you may have been second, but the lawn jockey was sweet.

  33. RubDMC said,

    September 28, 2007 at 6:21

    “history’s most powerful and pre-eminent force for freedom, goodness and human dignity”

    Someone please help me catch up – who’s he talking about?

  34. Nylund154 said,

    September 28, 2007 at 6:22

    A number of black people over the age of 45 still remember when they weren’t allowed to legally piss in the same toilet as a white person. Some freedom.

  35. Righteous Bubba said,

    September 28, 2007 at 6:23

    Someone please help me catch up – who’s he talking about?

    Superman.

  36. Clark Kent said,

    September 28, 2007 at 6:25

    Superman

    Damn! Missed him again!

  37. Derek Henderson said,

    September 28, 2007 at 6:29

    An interesting aside for any lit crit nerds out there… Medved’s argument is essentially the same one that Steven Knapp makes against the usefulness of literary theory…

    Just sayin’ is all…

    cf. Dawkins & the selfish gene…

  38. Lesley said,

    September 28, 2007 at 6:35

    THOUGH BRUTAL, SLAVERY WASN’T GENOCIDAL…Historians agree that hundreds of thousands, and probably millions of slaves perished over the course of 300 years during the rigors of the “Middle Passage” across the Atlantic Ocean.

    I’d call hundreds of thousands and probably millions dying from being stuffed into cramped fetid cargo holds with insufficient food, water, and breathing room, a form of genocide.

  39. laserda said,

    September 28, 2007 at 6:44

    I’m thinking Clif must be feeling pretty slow right about now.

  40. laserda said,

    September 28, 2007 at 6:45

    And I guess if I had read all the comments before opening my virtual piehole, I would have known he was feeling kinda slow.

    Now I’m feeling kinda slow. Me, and Google Reader.

  41. galactic Dustbin said,

    September 28, 2007 at 6:53

    THOUGH BRUTAL, SLAVERY WASN’T GENOCIDAL…Historians agree that hundreds of thousands, and probably millions of slaves perished over the course of 300 years during the rigors of the “Middle Passage” across the Atlantic Ocean.

    Millions dying in pursut of profits is not genocide- its just bad business practices. The perps were punished with lower stock options and bad annual reviews. Justice has been done!

  42. Incontinentia Buttocks said,

    September 28, 2007 at 6:56

    An interesting aside for any lit crit nerds out there… Medved’s argument is essentially the same one that Steven Knapp makes against the usefulness of literary theory…

    Hmmm…this may be the most obscure comparison in the history of S,N!

    I’m trying to figure out what Knapp’s argument might be….

    1. LITERARY THEORY WAS AN ANCIENT AND UNIVERSAL INSTITUTION, NOT A DISTINCTIVELY POST-STRUCTURALIST INNOVATION.

    2. DECONSTRUCTION EXISTED ONLY BRIEFLY, AND IN LIMITED DEPARTMENTS, IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN ACADEMIA – INVOLVING ONLY A TINY PERCENTAGE OF THE DOCTORAL ADVISERS OF TODAY’S PROFESSORS.

    3. THOUGH BRUTAL, OF GRAMMATOLOGY WASN’T GENOCIDAL: “LIVE” SPEECH IS VALUABLE BUT “DEAD” WRITING ALSO BRINGS PROFIT AVANT LE LETTRE.

    4. IT’S NOT TRUE THAT STANLEY FISH BECAME A WEALTHY PUBLIC INTELLECTUAL THROUGH THE ABUSE OF LITERARY THEORY: THE MOST PROSPEROUS PUBLIC INTELLECTUALS IN THE COUNTRY ARE THOSE THAT AVOID LITERARY THEORY ENTIRELY.

    5. WHILE AMERICA DESERVES NO UNIQUE BLAME FOR THE EXISTENCE OF FORMALISM, THE UNITED STATES MERITS SPECIAL CREDIT FOR ITS RAPID ABOLITION.

    6. THERE IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT TODAY’S LITERARY SCHOLARS WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF THEIR MENTORS HAD REMAINED NEW CRITICS.

  43. Lesley said,

    September 28, 2007 at 7:04

    Shorter Medved: Slaves were a valuable labour force, therefore any deaths that occurred were accidental and unintentional!

    Every job has risks, after all!

    (I wonder why he doesn’t talk about the slave owners’ “bullet in the head” pension plan.)

  44. Outside The Tent said,

    September 28, 2007 at 7:04

    [...] post appeared for about 3 minutes at Sadly, No! until I discovered that only minutes before Jillian posted on the same Medved column there. Coincidence or hacking? You decide. Permalink 2 [...]

  45. Incontinentia Buttocks said,

    September 28, 2007 at 7:06

    Dept. of Tiny Silver Linings:

    I suppose we should be a little grateful that most (if not all) of Medved’s argument still entails the premise that, at the time, slavery was a not entirely good thing.

    Since in the last five years torture (torture!) has been entirely normalized in our society, I have come to think that just about anything is possible. At least we haven’t yet gotten to the point that the Medveds are actively trying to reintroduce slavery.

  46. M. Bouffant said,

    September 28, 2007 at 7:07

    Love the commenter referenced above, comparing his ancestor’s 7-10 yrs. of indentured servitude to slavery, describing said ancestor as an indentured slave. One little difference, dipstick!! And he’s so proud of his slave owner ancestors who buried “Mammy” in the fambly plot. Gaaarrrghh!!

    Commenter said: Great article Michael, obviously you did a lot of research. Maybe a lot of research for comment boy, who doesn’t know the diff ‘tween slavery & indentured servitude. Every one of those six points has been recycled by hatemongers since the ’60s. And the reason black people in Africa may not be as well off as some are in the U. S. is European imperialism & colonialism, as much as Medved wishes it was ’cause of the Bell Curve.

    I’ll gladly slap that dick-dusting mustache off his face, one hair at a time, if any one wants to front me air fare.

  47. Notorious P.A.T. said,

    September 28, 2007 at 7:11

    He must be right–he wrote in all caps!

  48. Hysterical Woman said,

    September 28, 2007 at 7:15

    Russia abolished slavery* before us. Russia.

    *Technically serfdom, but that’s a form of slavery, just one tied to certain land.

  49. M. Bouffant said,

    September 28, 2007 at 7:17

    5. WHILE AMERICA DESERVES NO UNIQUE BLAME FOR THE EXISTENCE OF SLAVERY, THE UNITED STATES MERITS SPECIAL CREDIT FOR ITS RAPID ABOLITION.

    BULLSHIT!!! The Brits stopped it in 1830-something, & didn’t have to fight a bloody war over it, either.

  50. Lesley said,

    September 28, 2007 at 7:17

    Since he looks the part – I can’t help thinking Medved must sound like this; (with profuse apologies to Terry Thomas).

  51. Pinko Punko said,

    September 28, 2007 at 7:18

    I love the internal Sadly, No race to the bottom of the barrel. Oh, look the bottom of the barrel has a psychotic clown face, er…it’s Michael Medved!

  52. g said,

    September 28, 2007 at 7:19

    I’d call hundreds of thousands and probably millions dying from being stuffed into cramped fetid cargo holds with insufficient food, water, and breathing room, a form of genocide.

    Yeah, what’s the percentage of tose who survived vs. those who died? Just curious.

  53. Lesley said,

    September 28, 2007 at 7:19

    Did Pinko just slam me for a looks/sound-ism?

  54. Notorious P.A.T. said,

    September 28, 2007 at 7:20

    THERE IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT TODAY’S AFRICAN-AMERICANS WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF THEIR ANCESTORS HAD REMAINED BEHIND IN AFRICA.

    Is there a reason to believe that, had the slaves who died crossing the ocean instead stayed in Africa and had descendants, those descendants would be glad their ancestors were not loaded onto slave ships? Just wondering, folks.

  55. M. Bouffant said,

    September 28, 2007 at 7:38

    Another comment:

    Get ready for the Socialists to whine

    This is a great outline of the history of slavery, reasoned and well-researched.

    Unfortunately, it won’t mean one jot of difference, if you find yourself confronted by a Socialist running down the US as a white-supremacist, oppressive slavemaster state.

    They don’t want to know facts; they only want to feel good. Facts be damned!

    Great outline of the history of slavery? Blaming the Greeks, and then making most of the rest of it up? “Socialists only want to feel good? “Aw, don’t make me feel bad by bringing up all that slavery stuff. I want to feel good about my country. You socialist, you!”

    Boring factual point: Commenter who’s so proud of “mammy” being in the family plot identifies herself as MissAnn, so I guess it should be comment “girl,” as I doubt many of the Clownhallers are secure enough in their sexual identity to joke around w/ it. Or joke around w/ anything, what w/ their panties being twisted up all the time. I sort of suspected, ’cause men don’t give a shit about our ancestors (or descendents either, ha ha!!).

  56. Snoops Durston said,

    September 28, 2007 at 7:48

    I’d call hundreds of thousands and probably millions dying from being stuffed into cramped fetid cargo holds with insufficient food, water, and breathing room, a form of genocide.

    Yeah, what’s the percentage of tose who survived vs. those who died? Just curious.

    The estimates for the Atlantic slave trade (1440s-1880s) is estimated 9 million (lowball) to 15 million arrivals in the New World. Dead in middle passage ranged from 33% to 8%, so figure at least 2 million over 4 centuries. These numbers certainly leave out dead in coastal holding cells, marches to the coast, and warfare inspired by Atlantic slave markets. These numbers also leave out Indian Ocean and trans-Saharan slave trades, smaller annually, but over longer time periods.

    The U.S. officially outlawed the import of new slaves in 1808, one year after U.K. The U.K. abolished slavery itself in its colonies kind of in 1833, though slaves had to serve a 4-6 year “apprenticeship,” so that the owners could get themselves “on their feet” with the drastic economic change. Which often wasn’t that drastic as the slaves continued in many places as low-wage laborers, or else South Asian indentured servants were imported.

  57. Drats Durston said,

    September 28, 2007 at 7:50

    I meant someone other than Snoops. And “estimates … estimated.” Ugh. Edit your goddam self, Durston.

  58. dadanarchist said,

    September 28, 2007 at 7:51

    Hah, the asshole is even wrong about the death of slaves on transatlantic voyages “hurting” the slave traders because it diminished their profit margins.

    Actually the slavers could collect money from slaves that died. The origins of the modern insurance industry were closely tied to the slave trade. Among Lloyd’s other profitable enterprises were insuring slave shipments across the Atlantic, like any other commodity. Sometimes sick slaves or slaves that were maimed on the journey across were purposefully thrown overboard to collect insurance.

    There is so much written on slavery – Medved has not even begun to penetrate .001% of its surface, what a surprise – but the one basic thing almost anyone can say about the trans-Atlantic slave trade was that it was unprecedented in its scope and in its brutality. What was particularly unique about the American system was that there was no way out for slaves. Other slave societies – for instance, the laws governing slavery in Muslim lands – provided a set of laws and customs that theoretically at least protected the slaves from the abuse of their masters and established a process of manumission. American slavery had no such features, almost unique in the history of slavery.

    The jury is still out on the role that slavery played in the formation of American industrial capital, but the sense is that it was vitally important to the rise of industry generally.

    I eagerly await Medved’s comments on how the annihilation of the Native Americans pales in comparison to the Roman sack of Gaul in the last century, BCE.

    Some quick references:

    - Ian Baucom, “Spectres of the Atlantic: Finance Capital, Slavery and the Philosophy of History” – insurance + slavery + capitalism
    - Joseph Miller, “The Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade” a devastating masterpiece
    - Sidney Mintz, “Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History” – sugar, slavery and the origins of capitalism
    - Sadiya Hartman, “Lose Your Mother: A Journey Across the Atlantic Slave Trade” – scholar writes non-scholarly take on the slave trade

  59. Some Guy said,

    September 28, 2007 at 7:53

    “Get ready for the Socialists to whine
    This is a great outline of the history of slavery, reasoned and well-researched.

    Unfortunately, it won’t mean one jot of difference, if you find yourself confronted by a Socialist running down the US as a white-supremacist, oppressive slavemaster state.

    They don’t want to know facts; they only want to feel good. Facts be damned!”

    Wow. I want to see Medved post up his history on how the Earth is really banana-shaped, and see how many of his commenters say how great it is, well-researched and all.

    And what does socialism have to do with American slavery? The mind boggles!

  60. Crooked Timber » » Horrifying Aspect said,

    September 28, 2007 at 8:12

    [...] Sadly, no! (whose discerning discussion of the whole column is worthy of your attention.) posted on Friday, [...]

  61. Drats Durston said,

    September 28, 2007 at 8:14

    I hadn’t read the article yet when I posted, but I should’ve known he was going to bring up the crap argument that Atlantic slave trade apologists have been making at least since the late nineteenth century, “but the Arab slave trade was bigger”! Medved’s figures (12-17 mio) come from over-estimates that are based on figures drawn straight out of air, and British prejudices from the 19th-century. The chap who gets cited for the 17 million figure gets his numbers from a self-citation of a never-published paper.

    Where exactly are these huge populations of Islamic-trade slave descendants living in the Middle East and South Asia these days, Mike? Why’n't you bring up the big-bad Muslims-enslaved-Whitey-in-the-Med story, huh?

  62. Drats Durston said,

    September 28, 2007 at 8:27

    The notion that America based its wealth and development on slave labor hardly comports with the obvious reality that for two hundred years since the founding of the Republic, by far the poorest and least developed section of the nation was precisely that region where slavery once prevailed.

    Because, as we all know, places that primarily produce raw materials and foodstuffs are never poor.

    -The NW European shipping industry (and all its subsidiaries) built in the 17th and 18th centuries emerged in all its complexity (and wealth generation) to capitalize on the slave trade.
    -The New England colonies in fact became economically viable by selling both timber to this shipping industry and cod to the slave colonies in the Caribbean.
    -The tobacco, coffee, and sugar grown by slaves helped to create the consumer society that crossed the North Atlantic and diversified and enriched those economies (not to mention the pleasure centers of white consumers)
    -The industrial processes required to process sugar on the Caribbean islands served as a model for the factories of the industrial revolution
    -The American slaves’ production of cotton fed the beginnings of the industrial revolution in England

    The whole northern hemisphere’s wealth and economy is indebted, in part, to the labors of New World slaves.

  63. lobbey said,

    September 28, 2007 at 8:30

    I was going to write some snark about how the Holocaust really worked out well in the end for Jews in the long run but it just wasn’t funny.

    If he was being consistent, the argument would be that the holocaust was good because it allowed the formation of Israel.

    Get ready for the Socialists to whine. This is a great outline of the history of slavery, reasoned and well-researched.

    what a moron, Socialism wasn’t even up and running in the 18th century

    Another good book that describes the economic impact of slavery to the formation of the colonies (as they were then) is “Scotland’s Empire” by T M Devine. Is very Scotocentric, but does clearly illustrate how important slavery was in the America.

  64. Paddy Mac said,

    September 28, 2007 at 8:46

    “Those who want to discredit the United States and to deny our role as history’s most powerful and pre-eminent force for freedom, goodness and human dignity invariably focus on America’s bloody past as a slave-holding nation.”

    Mike, that’s cuz you Republicans refuse to give us reasons like torture, unprovoked war, secret prisons, illegal detentions, warrantless wiretapping, and stolen elections. If you’d just do that, we wouldn’t have to confuse you by citing this thing called “history”, about which you seem to know nothing.

    “. SLAVERY WAS AN ANCIENT AND UNIVERSAL INSTITUTION, NOT A DISTINCTIVELY AMERICAN INNOVATION. ”

    In fact, even dirt-poor inhabitants of a desert on the east end of the Mediterranean had it, three thousand years ago. But you wouldn’t know anything about that, now, would you? Even though nineteenth-century American slave-holders cited a certain ancient “holy” book to justify the practice.

  65. GNU-STRUMPET said,

    September 28, 2007 at 9:54

    Well, we now know what happened to the class of ’65– and it ain’t a pretty picture. They’ve suffered many ethical casualties in transit.

  66. JABbering Stooge :: Tossin’ the slaves down the memory hole :: September :: 2007 said,

    September 28, 2007 at 10:34

    [...] Michael Medved (hat tip, the fine folks at Sadly, No!): Six inconvenient truths about the U. S. and [...]

  67. Incontinentia Buttocks said,

    September 28, 2007 at 11:20

    Unfortunately, it won’t mean one jot of difference, if you find yourself confronted by a Socialist running down the US as a white-supremacist, oppressive slavemaster state.

    They don’t want to know facts; they only want to feel good. Facts be damned!

    I know this is like shooting fish in a barrel, but I have another question about this Medved fan comment: how does pointing out the horrors of American slavery make us “feel good”?

  68. Jillian said,

    September 28, 2007 at 11:53

    IB, it makes us feel good because WE HATE AMERICA, and anything that lets us revel in the badness that is the U.S.A. is therefore a good thing.

    Yes, their thinking is really this cartoonish.

  69. GotDaFeevah said,

    September 28, 2007 at 12:06

    Slavery did, in fact, exist in many other societies throughout human history, but its its place within different societies is incredibly complex and there is nowhere in the history of Africa of the Middle East where it took the particularly brutal form that it did in the New World.

    My knowledge is mostly of slavery within Africa (as your resident BA in African History, natch) and there was no society in Africa that had what you call “chattel slavery” where the slaves are threated like animals and the owner owns their mind, body, soul and reproduction. There are plenty of possible formulations for not-exactly-free-ness that are less total and far less brutal. It dosen’t make either form good, but you certainly can’t use one as any sort of justification for the other (as people sometimes do, to my astonishment and disgust). To equate the slavery that we had in the US with other types from history at least profoundly ignorant and certainly morally repugnant.

    And don’t even get me started on how the slave trade changed the very map of West Africa and crippled its economy in at least 3 different and profound ways. If the life of the people who avoided the slave trade was not all that great either, it is hardly a separate phenomenon.

    And I am not even a specialist in West Africa. This is just shit that anybody who is going to go on about how slavery is “NOT A DISTINCTIVELY AMERICAN INNOVATION” ought to fucking LOOK UP!

    What is the world coming to when guys like Medved are not run out of town for saying stuff like this?

  70. W. Kiernan said,

    September 28, 2007 at 12:29

    racist bonehead: “5. WHILE AMERICA DESERVES NO UNIQUE BLAME FOR THE EXISTENCE OF SLAVERY, THE UNITED STATES MERITS SPECIAL CREDIT FOR ITS RAPID ABOLITION.”

    Special credit, eh? You know, the U.K. abolished human slavery quite a bit before the U.S.A. did. But that’s because the people of the U.K. weren’t so fervently devoted to the continuation of slavery. For example, as far as I know, no major church denomination was in the U.K. was created especially to serve the spiritual needs of slavery advocates, whereas here in the U.S. we have the Southern Baptists, whose reason for existence as a separate

  71. W. Kiernan said,

    September 28, 2007 at 12:41

    church was the defense of slavery.

    Then also, the people of the U.K. weren’t such fervent lovers of human slavery that it took a four year war that killed 800,000 people in the U.K. to put an end to the practice.

    I don’t know if that last bit is entirely clear, so I will make an analogy. Imagine there are two dudes who work in your office, John and Sam, who smoke cigarettes. Imagine you’re trying to get them to quit because no one else can breathe inside the office while they’re puffing away. So you go up to John and say, “John, I hate to tell you this but you’ve got to stop smoking in the office.” John says, “Aw, do I have to?” You say “Yes,” and so John quits.

    Next you go up to Sam and say “Sam, I hate to tell you this but you’ve got to stop smoking in the office.” Sam howls like a stuck pig, pulls out a gun and shoots the department secretary dead, then barricades himself inside his office and every time he hears a sound outside he responds with hysterical curses and a volley of gunfire. Four days later, the office is a shambles, half the file room has been burned out, two dozen of your fellow workers are dead and another fifteen are variously crippled amputees, and at long last the seige has ended as the authorities have dragged Sam, bleeding and dazed, from his last retreat in the men’s room. Now which of the two, John or Sam, was the bigger and crazier cigarette fan?

  72. Scott Mercer said,

    September 28, 2007 at 12:51

    Medved does not deserve to call himself a Jew.

    I hereby, on behalf of the Jewish people, revoke his Bar Mitzvah.

    Turn in your yarmulke at the nearest synagogue, Medved.

  73. WCW said,

    September 28, 2007 at 13:55

    I thought I was the only one who got physically sick while reading such things. Thanks Jilian.

    To think I used to own a copy of the Golden Turkey Awards…

  74. Ripley said,

    September 28, 2007 at 14:12

    Unfortunately, it won’t mean one jot of difference, if you find yourself confronted by a Socialist running down the US as a white-supremacist, oppressive slavemaster state rightwing neocon chickenhawk promoting US Imperialism and war on all brown-skinned people.

    They don’t want to know facts; they only want to feel good. Facts be damned!

    When you put it that way, it makes a lot of sense.

  75. Ripley said,

    September 28, 2007 at 14:14

    What the….?!? Where’d my strike-thru go?

    Unfortunately, it won’t mean one jot of difference, if you find yourself confronted by a Socialist running down the US as a white-supremacist, oppressive slavemaster state rightwing neocon chickenhawk promoting US Imperialism and war on all brown-skinned people.

    They don’t want to know facts; they only want to feel good. Facts be damned!

  76. julia said,

    September 28, 2007 at 14:20

    Sorta makes you wonder what that whiny liberal Moses was getting all worked up about, don’t it.

  77. Pere Ubu said,

    September 28, 2007 at 14:33

    Unfortunately, it won’t mean one jot of difference, if you find yourself confronted by a Socialist running down the US as a white-supremacist, oppressive slavemaster state rightwing neocon chickenhawk promoting US Imperialism and war on all brown-skinned people.

    They don’t want to know facts; they only want to feel good. Facts be damned!

    Wull, SHEEE-IT, don’t you know the only time us Socialists “feel good” is when we’re “running down the US”?

    I mean, if it was any other country, you know, we might be pointing out awful things done in the past so we could, you know, AVOID THEM in the future. But hell, American Exceptionalism and all that.

  78. Percyprune said,

    September 28, 2007 at 14:41

    Why’n’t you bring up the big-bad Muslims-enslaved-Whitey-in-the-Med story, huh?

    Because clearly that would be an admission that white slaves loved slavery as much as the blacks and that it was as beneficial for Europeans as it was Africans.

  79. Dhalgren said,

    September 28, 2007 at 15:20

    So this is the arc of the Michael Medved story. He went from pro-censorship film critic, to the victim of plagiarism by a BU dean in 1991, to a syndicated opinion columnist, to a radio talk show host, to full-blown wingnut. It took 20 years.

  80. Wally Whateley said,

    September 28, 2007 at 15:30

    I’ve just about had it with the national media enabling these racist motherfuckers. They managed to purge Imus, but they can’t be bothered to get rid of O’Reilly or Medved or Malkin or any of the rest of these fucknozzles.

    Tell y’all what, elect me president and not only will I get the troops home by the end of the year, but I’ll make sure Medved gets his citizenship revoked and his ass deported. By cannon. Into the sun.

  81. thelogos said,

    September 28, 2007 at 15:41

    Maybe his next column will be on how the Shoah was really a good thing for the Jews and that calls for damages to be paid to camp survivors and their kin are really the product of white liberal guilt.

  82. Jake H. said,

    September 28, 2007 at 15:44

    Six related inconvenient truths for Medved:

    1. SLAVERY WAS AN ANCIENT AND UNIVERSAL INSTITUTION, NOT A DISTINCTIVELY EGYPTIAN INNOVATION.

    2. SLAVERY EXISTED ONLY BRIEFLY, AND IN LIMITED LOCALES, IN THE HISTORY OF EGYPT (WHICH IS THOUSANDS OF YEARS OLD) – INVOLVING ONLY A TINY PERCENTAGE OF THE ANCESTORS OF TODAY’S EGYPTIANS.

    3. THOUGH BRUTAL, SLAVERY WASN’T GENOCIDAL: LIVE JEWS WERE VALUABLE BUT DEAD CAPTIVES BUILT NO PYRAMIDS.

    4. IT’S NOT TRUE THAT EGYPT BECAME A WEALTHY NATION THROUGH THE ABUSE OF SLAVE LABOR: THEY ALSO SOLD PAPYRUS AND…UH…ASPS OR SOMETHING.

    5. WHILE EGYPT DESERVES NO UNIQUE BLAME FOR THE EXISTENCE OF SLAVERY, EGYPT MERITS SPECIAL CREDIT FOR JUST CUTTING THEIR LOSSES ONCE THE RED SEA CLOSED UP ON THEM.

    6. THERE IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT TODAY’S JEWISH-AMERICANS WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF THEIR ANCESTORS HAD REMAINED BEHIND IN PALESTINE.

    Unfortunately, it won’t mean one jot of difference, if you find yourself confronted by a Moses-loving Rabbi performing a seder running down Egypt as a genocidal, oppressive slavemaster state.

  83. Gundamhead said,

    September 28, 2007 at 15:49

    “5. WHILE AMERICA DESERVES NO UNIQUE BLAME FOR THE EXISTENCE OF SLAVERY, THE UNITED STATES MERITS SPECIAL CREDIT FOR ITS RAPID ABOLITION.”

    It always amazes and disgusts me when they make this argument. Are they stupid or just pure evil? Do they so desperately need to believe that America is the best country in the history of like the whole fucking universe that they have to just make stuff up? Are they delusional enough to believe their own lies?

    Fuck, I can’t even laugh at this shit. Fuck you Porn Stache’! Just die already.

  84. Left_Wing_Fox said,

    September 28, 2007 at 15:56

    Thanks to Bob B in the Comments of Crooked Timer for finding the painting that this immediately reminded me of.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Slave_Ship

    Which was painted in 1840 in support of the British Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 and based on the Zong Affair, where slaves were murdered at sea for the insurance money.

    One 19th century painting that blows #3 and #5 out of the water. You’re out of your FUCKING league little movie critic.

  85. The Mahablog » More Drool said,

    September 28, 2007 at 15:56

    [...] Jillian at Sadly, No and John Holbo at Crooked Timber also comment. But no one so far has asked the critical question, which is What the hell was eating at Medved’s reptilian brain that inspired him to write this? Has criticism of American slavery been in the news lately? Spotlight [...]

  86. Lean Left » Not a Post Racism Society: Michael Medved said,

    September 28, 2007 at 16:04

    [...] Via Sadly, No! we find that Michael Medved is trying to argue that slavery wasn’t so bad. No, seriously. Go Read the whole post at Sadly, No because, frankly, they are funnier than I am, and asshattery of this level deserves all the mocking that can be heaped upon it. I just want to point out three things: [...]

  87. Percyprune said,

    September 28, 2007 at 16:04

    “5. WHILE AMERICA DESERVES NO UNIQUE BLAME FOR THE EXISTENCE OF SLAVERY, THE UNITED STATES MERITS SPECIAL CREDIT FOR ITS RAPID ABOLITION.”

    His mendacity is breathtaking. Don’t you Americans teach the history of your Civil War at school?

  88. Percyprune said,

    September 28, 2007 at 16:08

    One 19th century painting that blows #3 and #5 out of the water.

    A painting by Turner, no less. A bona fide masterpiece.

  89. Legalize said,

    September 28, 2007 at 16:13

    Shorter Medved: In order to free the black Africans, we had to enslave them and explot their labor for 100 years or so.

  90. Wally Whateley said,

    September 28, 2007 at 16:14

    Don’t you Americans teach the history of your Civil War at school?

    Our pundits don’t believe in education. Most of them are rabidly opposed to anyone learning anything.

    A painting by Turner, no less. A bona fide masterpiece.

    There was a PBS program called “Simon Schama’s Power of Art” that focused on Turner and “The Slave Ship” for one of its episodes. Powerful stuff.

  91. Lex said,

    September 28, 2007 at 16:21

    Dammit, this is like my Pottery Barn Ruby Ridge now ex-neighbors telling me that they weren’t racists because they invited their daughter’s whole class to their party, “even the black girl” while the same kid was chasing me around my street calling me a “dirty Mexican”.

    Even my white branch of the family, all of us proud Georgians, don’t understand why I apologize just to try to make things better in the world for the fact that we were a slave owning family. Well, multiple slave-owning families. It wasn’t right then, regardless of the fact that it was common practice, and though I don’t think feeling guilty personally as a nation today is the answer, individually making amends and not letting people like Medved get away with this kind of crap at least shows blacks in America that we truly have changed.

    This is as bad as the growing “other neo-colonialism” I am studying regarding “evangelical Christian” missionary trips to Catholic & Orthodox countries to “save souls” and do church “seed-planting” because those poor people just don’t know the “truth about Christ”. Sickening. And their “truth” is, of course, rooted in an American modern evangelical teaching of Christianity. This isn’t over, folks. The “little brown brothers” of the former colonial age have been renamed and retargeted for transport to “Jesus Camp”, and it’s still all about race and culture.

    Now with help from Medved! Charming. Important note: just as in vampire movies, these folks have a similar reaction to rainbow flags as the crucifixes in the movies. Or garlic in either case, really. Seriously, I don’t think these people have even discovered Chinese food yet.

  92. timekiller said,

    September 28, 2007 at 16:26

    Jesus H. Christ! Each time you folks post something these so-called wise and serious folk write, for profit, and publish in a large forum, it is worse than the last one. Where do you find these people?

    This has to be the most ignorant, thoughtless waste of paper I have read in years. This is the shit that these people get paid to write? Again, I will repeat my belief that when this is all over, these people must be required to get real jobs. In Medved’s case, he can plant, tend and pick the beans on my back 40. Maybe he’ll get a perspective on stuff he likes to write about.

    I was going to point out some things I read in that piece sophistry that were flat out insanely wrong, but what’s the point?

  93. DAS said,

    September 28, 2007 at 16:35

    I posted this on an earlier, dead thread, but figured it might be relevent here as well:

    Why am I thinking these schmucks would get along with George FitzHugh? – Jillian

    Nope … they’d hate him. FitzHugh was very anti-capitalist.

    However, they’d much love to claim that our opposition to FitzHugh means that we Jews, er, liberals are not only behind the Commie, er Islamo-fascist conspiracy to enslave Christendom, but we also are behind the Capitalist, er Hollywood Elitist conspiracy to oppress the working class.

    Actually, the right claims as much today with all their talk about our “cultural elitism”. Of course, it doesn’t help when so-called liberals take positions that are effectively anti-working class thus giving truth to conservative lies about who’s on whose side. Remember there is not much of a difference between the sort of “centrist” who says “well both the Dems. and GOP are equally rotten, but dang if I’m gonna trust those effete liberals in the Dem. party on issues of national security” and the Nadar voter who says “well both the Dems. and the GOP are equally rotten, so I’m gonna vote for Nadar even if it means the election goes for the GOP, since the Dems. are just as bad”. Nu? Perhaps if the Dems. move to the left (rather than to the center), that’s how they’ll get the so-called centrist block … offer an alternative to compete with the GOP “brand” rather than offering a knock off? Remember, people only buy knock-offs if they are cheaper and people don’t perceive “tax-and-spend Democrats” to be cheaper.

    In fact, the GOP (with its lurch to the right) realized this a long time ago. When will we Dems. realize this? Perhaps when key Dems. realize that the so-called liberal media is not actually on our side and hence we should maybe not take their “advice” so readily?

  94. Sarcastro said,

    September 28, 2007 at 16:39

    At the time of the founding of the Republic in 1776, slavery existed literally everywhere on earth …

    Except Britain which abolished the practice in 1772. Oh, and Portugal which abolished slavery in 1761. Did I mention Sweden (and it’s Finnish territories) outlawed slavery in 1335? Japan did so in 1588.

    That’s like 5 minutes worth of research.

  95. JK47 said,

    September 28, 2007 at 16:42

    Don’t you Americans teach the history of your Civil War at school?

    Naw, we got home schooling over here. In the home-school version of American History, there are no pesky, uncomfortable truths such as “slavery was bad.” This dovetails nicely with the science curriculum, which revolves heavily around a talking snake in a tree. Plus your kids don’t have to sit in class with them naggers.

  96. Drats Durston said,

    September 28, 2007 at 16:50

    Except Britain which abolished the practice at home in 1772. Oh, and Portugal which abolished slavery at home in 1761.

    Clarified that for you.

  97. Left_Wing_Fox said,

    September 28, 2007 at 16:59

    A painting by Turner, no less. A bona fide masterpiece.

    There was a PBS program called “Simon Schama’s Power of Art” that focused on Turner and “The Slave Ship” for one of its episodes. Powerful stuff.

    Which is actually why that was on my mind in the first place. I happened to catch that exact episode a couple months ago back while on the road.

  98. Percyprune said,

    September 28, 2007 at 17:03

    Our pundits don’t believe in education. Most of them are rabidly opposed to anyone learning anything.

    I’m mystified as to why a foreigner like me can know more about this than Americans like Medved, who have no excuse.

  99. Percyprune said,

    September 28, 2007 at 17:05

    Has Medved ever sung the words to ‘John Brown’s body’? Even I have, and I’m bloody English!

  100. atheist said,

    September 28, 2007 at 17:08

    To be fair, Percyprune, I think the majority of Americans still are educated that slavery was actually quite bad for the slaves. I used to believe that everyone knew this, now I’m not quite so naive. There are people like Medved, and also a surprisingly large bunch of people who aren’t so polite about it as he.

  101. atheist said,

    September 28, 2007 at 17:11

    Even Americans who are anti-slavery, however, are often rather naive about what the situation really was like, until they actually start reading and researching about it. The schools teach it, but it seems to me that people are still afraid to really get into the details with children.

  102. Sadly, Cambridgeport said,

    September 28, 2007 at 17:12

    Well, speaking of the Shoah, and continuing in the Godwin vein (as if the article even needed Hitler analogies to illustrate how reprehensible it is):

    The Nazis technically didn’t invent the Jewish ghetto; or restrictions on employment, public access, and property ownership for the Jewish people; or the requirement that the Star of David be worn on clothing; or slave labor camps; or gas chambers. Even genocide had been practiced by various cultures for thousands of years, including, arguably, the Jewish people upon their return to Canaan.

    The Nazis cannot be credited with originating any of these atrocities, but they did have a unique role in making them nearly universally taboo. What is with all the debbie-downer-dhimmis who have to go attacking Germany’s past every chance they get?

    The politicians, media, and educational institutions of every country should just keep a working assumption that their country is as virtuous as it possibly can be and always has been, while the blame lies with other, much wickeder nations. That way we can all feel better! I can’t imagine how there could be any negative consequences.

  103. sophie brown said,

    September 28, 2007 at 17:13

    Actually, the guy who wrote this book: http://www.amazon.com/Southern-Slavery-Was-Douglas-Wilson/dp/188576717X,
    is the leading distributor of classical christian curriculem for schools and homeschooling. He feels like you have to defend american slavery, since the bible says slavery is ok.

  104. Sadly, Cambridgeport said,

    September 28, 2007 at 17:14

    A painting by Turner, no less. A bona fide masterpiece

    And hanging right in our very own MFA – this is still a Boston blog, right?

  105. RubDMC said,

    September 28, 2007 at 17:21

    Photo caption: “You say you want me to shove this up my ass?”

  106. J— said,

    September 28, 2007 at 17:23

    Clif and Jillian: I say next time, the two of you should podcast or v-log your posts simultaneously, with each of you reading your respective texts out loud and each voice coming out of a different speaker. It would be like Bloggingheads, except actually entertaining and funny.

  107. atheist said,

    September 28, 2007 at 17:40

    I’d pay to see that.

  108. El_Cid said,

    September 28, 2007 at 17:41

    The more fiercely US right wingers condemn the imaginarily giant phantoms of a devoted anti-US Bolshevik left, the more they become like them.

    Their giant slippery-slope fear is that if it is ever truly admitted and accepted that not only have the governments of the USA done things which were wrong, but which were really, really, really wrong, then it suddenly becomes more difficult to demand obedience to their crazy crazy crazy policies right now based on the argument of uninterrupted and unquestionable the moral perfection of any right wing US policy.

  109. kiki said,

    September 28, 2007 at 17:43

    Sarcastro: Hey, give the guy a break. He only said “literally” – he didn’t mean you to take his statements, like, literally.

  110. r4d20 said,

    September 28, 2007 at 17:44

    White millionaires are the truly oppressed.

  111. Jake H. said,

    September 28, 2007 at 17:56

    I continue to be MYSTIFIED by the American conservative movement’s failure to attract minority voters! I mean, WHAT could it be? They had mariachi bands at their convention and everything! Plus didn’t Ken Mehlman actually TALK to some black people once, and Bill O’Reilly went to a restaurant IN HARLEM, even though he knew that most black people in restaurants curse and shoot at each other and booty-dance on the table and pay with the money they got selling their food stamps (thankfully, amazingly, just this once, they sat at their tables and ordered food like white people).

  112. Jon H said,

    September 28, 2007 at 18:03

    I love how he thinks the worst part of slavery was the part it had in common with retail sales – the heartbreak of shrinkage.

  113. Righteous Bubba said,

    September 28, 2007 at 18:10

    I continue to be MYSTIFIED by the American conservative movement’s failure to attract minority voters!

    I think it’s worth being a Republican to vote for Alan Keyes in primaries.

  114. SamFromUtah said,

    September 28, 2007 at 18:16

    Dear Ghod, what an unbelievable retchtastic bit of revisionist / apologist / racist / dickweedist tripe Medved has wrought.

    Puppy Bowl was the perfect antidote, though, and I thank you for that.

    Puppy Bowl got even better when they introduced the Kitten Half-Time Show. I am not ashamed to admit I watched the whole thing a couple of years ago. All three (or was it four?) hours of it.

    Agreed – it makes Super Bowl Sunday tolerable, since I can’t imagine giving less of a shit about football. My wife and I not only watched the whole Puppy Bowl but taped it. Bowl-Cam is teh Best Thing Evar!

  115. The American Street » Blog Archive » In Defense of that Peculiar Institution: Moronic Punditry said,

    September 28, 2007 at 18:26

    [...] Oh. My. Invisible Object of Secular Non-Worship. [...]

  116. Notorious P.A.T. said,

    September 28, 2007 at 18:27

    I continue to be MYSTIFIED by the American conservative movement’s failure to attract minority voters!

    LOL!

  117. isaac said,

    September 28, 2007 at 18:30

    the idea behind all of this is that somehow the holocaust was worse than slavery and that african americans shouldnt even try to make such a specious comparison because our suffering is sacrosanct and yours isnt

  118. dadanarchist said,

    September 28, 2007 at 18:33

    “Actually, the guy who wrote this book: http://www.amazon.com/Southern-Slavery-Was-Douglas-Wilson/dp/188576717X,
    is the leading distributor of classical christian curriculem for schools and homeschooling. He feels like you have to defend american slavery, since the bible says slavery is ok.”

    Holy shit. What moral midgets our generation of evangelicals are.

    I wonder what Garrison or Wilberforce or the Stowes or the countless other evangelical Christians who helped spearhead the abolition of slavery and the slave trade would say about these people.

  119. Percyprune said,

    September 28, 2007 at 18:38

    I wonder what Garrison or Wilberforce or the Stowes or the countless other evangelical Christians who helped spearhead the abolition of slavery and the slave trade would say about these people.

    They would weep, then roll up their sleeves and get with the ass-whupping.

    Let’s not forget that in their time there was no shortage of holy rollers ready to champion the cause of slavery. They were used to these scum.

  120. Percyprune said,

    September 28, 2007 at 18:45

    The Nazis cannot be credited with originating any of these atrocities, but they did have a unique role in making them nearly universally taboo.

    Thank goodness for the Dungeons & Dragons(R) cartoon strip Order of the Stick for pointing out that evil is measured in kilonazis!

    http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0489.html

  121. Gentlewoman said,

    September 28, 2007 at 18:50

    I’m mystified as to why a foreigner like me can know more about this than Americans like Medved, who have no excuse.

    Oh, he knows the truth. He just doesn’t care about it. Plus, remember he’s writing for people who probably either don’t know (a frightening proportion of the GOP Base) or don’t care (their handlers, like Medved and the rest of ClownHall).

    I despair. But Puppy Bowl and Sadly, No! help me keep going. Thank you.

  122. Dorothy said,

    September 28, 2007 at 18:51

    I can’t believe he said this:

    IT’S NOT TRUE THAT THE U.S. BECAME A WEALTHY NATION THROUGH THE ABUSE OF SLAVE LABOR: THE MOST PROSPEROUS STATES IN THE COUNTRY WERE THOSE THAT FIRST FREED THEIR SLAVES.

    I guess he can’t take the next logical step and ask why slavery continued in the US even though–in his own argument–it wasn’t a source of prosperity. You’d think that after the third or fourth state freed their slaves and suddenly prospered (I know, I know–but that’s his implication here!) , the other states (good capitalists all!) would immediately follow suit, right?

    So why on earth would good capitalists continue a practice that (according Medved) was clearly inhibiting their own prosperity…hm…why might that be?

    For bonus points, try to come up with an answer that makes our ancestors seem like better people than we thought they were.

    Nope. I got nothing.

  123. Kevin Hayden said,

    September 28, 2007 at 19:14

    Thankfully, we’ve advanced as a society so our Blacks should be grateful, and our illegal immigrants, too.

  124. zsa said,

    September 28, 2007 at 19:19

    Some motherfucking ice tea would be pretty good right about now.

  125. Kevin Hayden said,

    September 28, 2007 at 19:21

    Crap. That shoulda been:

    Our Blacks should be grateful.
    Our immigrants should be, too.
    Not to mention our poor.

    Sigh. As for our morons, we just keep screwing up in comments.

  126. zsa said,

    September 28, 2007 at 19:33

    Medved is basically taking the “Rape: Best Just Lie Back and Enjoy It” argument and retroactively applying it to 400 years of the slave trade.

    Why is he even writing about this subject? Are they hoping to get the slave trade running again? Or perhaps just bring indentured servitude back into the Overton Window? We are going to have a lot of destitute ex-homeowners pretty soon … can’t pay the mortgage, can’t declare bankruptcy, might as well put them to work to pay those debts down.

  127. Captain Bathrobe said,

    September 28, 2007 at 19:35

    Is Medved actually trying to argue that slavery was not so bad because it wasn’t, technically speaking, genocide? Hello? It was *slavery*–involuntary servitude, you’re somebody else’s property, not even allowed to marry or decide with whom you reproduce, whipped bloody at someone else’s whim– slavery! Isn’t that bad enough?

    This is the sort of facile, “positive good,” apologetics that would make John C. Calhoun blush–and even he didn’t try to argue that the real victims of the slave trade were the traders who lost so much precious cargo.

    I would say it’s unbelievable, but (Sadly, No!) it’s what I’ve come to expect from Medved and his ilk.

  128. mikey said,

    September 28, 2007 at 19:39

    You’d think that after the third or fourth state freed their slaves and suddenly prospered (I know, I know–but that’s his implication here!) , the other states (good capitalists all!) would immediately follow suit, right?

    If we had Universal Health Care in this country, GM, Caterpillar, Boeing, American Airlines and the rest of the Fortune 5000 would benefit in a HUGE way. And yet the upper management of those companies will do anything and spend anything to prevent it? Wonder why that would be?

    mikey

  129. Worst. President. Ever. said,

    September 28, 2007 at 19:39

    5. WHILE AMERICA DESERVES NO UNIQUE BLAME FOR THE EXISTENCE OF SLAVERY, THE UNITED STATES MERITS SPECIAL CREDIT FOR ITS RAPID ABOLITION.

    I am a US citizen who lives in Canada. Lt. Governor John G. Simcoe abolished slavery right here in my town of Niagara-On-The-Lake in the year 1793.

    In fact, I am proud to live on Simcoe Street.

    Let’s type this slowly so that even complete idiots like Medved can understand:

    1) Not only is the United States a bit late in stepping up to the plate (at least 70 years), but

    2) it took a brutal motherfucking war to fee the slaves, and

    3) even after the slaves were freed, they were still treated like shit and

    4) even to this very day in the south, there are people who are mad about both the war and the slaves being freed… And I know this because some of these racist idiots are my relatives.

    Wingnuts— no brains, no compassion, no shame.

  130. timekiller said,

    September 28, 2007 at 19:39

    IT’S NOT TRUE THAT THE U.S. BECAME A WEALTHY NATION THROUGH THE ABUSE OF SLAVE LABOR: THE MOST PROSPEROUS STATES IN THE COUNTRY WERE THOSE THAT FIRST FREED THEIR SLAVES.

    This is probably a misreading of this statement but it seems to suggest that the US could have become wealthy if they made better use of slave labor but instead the managed to become wealthy in spite of the abuse of slave labor. It seems to suggests that, “Damn it, we could still have slaves and be wealthy if we didn’t abuse misuse what we had!”

    Maybe that’s just my take on this. I think there are many who consider themselves serious, refined, educated, and powerful who actually long for a time when they really can own other human beings and live in a manner akin to the Saudi Royalty. They see countries like that and think, “Why can’t that be me? And here I am in the US and have to pay these poor suckers!”

    Lastly, a question: I thought the 13th amendment abolished slavery? Did individual states abolish it before the enactment of amendment 13 in 1865?

  131. mikey said,

    September 28, 2007 at 19:42

    Is Medved actually trying to argue that slavery was not so bad because it wasn’t, technically speaking, genocide?

    Don’t forget these are the same people who told us repeatedly and with a straight face that Guantanamo Bay wasn’t so bad, in spite of the torture, the lack of human contact, the inability to talk to a lawyer or your family or even ask why you are being held, because the food was so damn yummy…

    mikey

  132. Michael Muttonhead, Wingnut Extraordinare said,

    September 28, 2007 at 19:45

    “SLAVERY WAS AN ANCIENT AND UNIVERSAL INSTITUTION, NOT A DISTINCTIVELY AMERICAN INNOVATION”

    Among friends, I’ll go even further and admit it was an “HONORABLE” institution.

    “SLAVERY EXISTED ONLY BRIEFLY, AND IN LIMITED LOCALES, IN THE HISTORY OF THE REPUBLIC – INVOLVING ONLY A TINY PERCENTAGE OF THE ANCESTORS OF TODAY’S AMERICANS.”

    Proof: The 1850 Census lists only 3.2 million slaves out of a total population of 23.2 million. But they’re dead, so they don’t count.

    “THOUGH BRUTAL, SLAVERY WASN’T GENOCIDAL: LIVE SLAVES WERE VALUABLE BUT DEAD CAPTIVES BROUGHT NO PROFIT”

    My point is that dead slaves are just like spillage at your local fast food stand.

    “IT’S NOT TRUE THAT THE U.S. BECAME A WEALTHY NATION THROUGH THE ABUSE OF SLAVE LABOR: THE MOST PROSPEROUS STATES IN THE COUNTRY WERE THOSE THAT FIRST FREED THEIR SLAVES.”

    That’s right, New York is wealthier today than Mississippi.

    What’s that? Oh, you ask who was wealthier in 1850? That would have been Mississippi. Oopsie!

    But that proves my point! Today we wouldn’t tolerate anything that would have such an adverse impact on the wealth creators in American society.

    “WHILE AMERICA DESERVES NO UNIQUE BLAME FOR THE EXISTENCE OF SLAVERY, THE UNITED STATES MERITS SPECIAL CREDIT FOR ITS RAPID ABOLITION.”

    Nor does America deserve unique blame for the existence of Michael Medved.

    “THERE IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT TODAY’S AFRICAN-AMERICANS WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF THEIR ANCESTORS HAD REMAINED BEHIND IN AFRICA.”

    Like I said, dead slaves don’t count.

  133. dadanarchist said,

    September 28, 2007 at 19:50

    “Don’t forget these are the same people who told us repeatedly and with a straight face that Guantanamo Bay wasn’t so bad, in spite of the torture, the lack of human contact, the inability to talk to a lawyer or your family or even ask why you are being held, because the food was so damn yummy…”

    Ha, excellent point.

    I was wondering where the illustrations to Medved’s article were, y’know, with a pickaniny (sp?) gratefully “thankin’ massa” for delivering him from the eeeeviiiillsss of the African continent and giving him the bible and clothes and watermelon and fried chicken…….

    I mean, how bad could slavery have been, right, with all that delicious food and excellent music?

  134. Son Of Slam said,

    September 28, 2007 at 19:53

    Dorothy,

    Not only that, but he doesn’t even ask why, if slavery wasn’t so good for prosperity, slaves commanded those high prices he discussed.

    Research. I think some of those commentors should become aware that “Making shit up” is not the same as “research.”

  135. Sadly, Cambridgeport said,

    September 28, 2007 at 19:53

    I wonder what Garrison or Wilberforce or the Stowes or the countless other evangelical Christians who helped spearhead the abolition of slavery and the slave trade would say about these people.

    Oh no you don’t, Wilberforce is one of THEIR heros. Evangelicals have full proprietary rights over his name, historical legacy, and
    what he would say if he were here today
    .

    A nibble:

    Indeed, some of Wilberforce’s comments could easily have been written to describe today’s times, with a plethora of anti-Christian books, TV, films and laws:
    ‘The time is fast approaching when Christianity will be almost as openly disavowed in the language as in fact it is already supposed to have disappeared from the conduct of men: when infidelity will be held to be the necessary appendage of a man of fashion, and TO BELIEVE will be deemed the indication of a feeble mind.’

    Oh, but it gets better:

    ‘The anti-slavery movement was spearheaded by people who would today be called “the religious right” and its organization was created by conservative businessmen. Moreover, what destroyed slavery in the non-Western world was Western imperialism.’ ‘Nothing could be more jolting and discordant with the vision of today’s intellectuals than the fact that it was businessmen, devout religious leaders and Western imperialists who together destroyed slavery around the world.’

    Other highlights include:

    *Black conservative says slavery wasn’t about race (so STFU minorities!)

    *Richard Dawkins and his atheist buddies are really to blame here

    And, of course,

    *slavery = abortion

    Have fun kids!

  136. K said,

    September 28, 2007 at 20:03

    Human beings took a crucial leap with the submission of chickens?

  137. the stupid it burns said,

    September 28, 2007 at 20:03

    4. IT’S NOT TRUE THAT THE U.S. BECAME A WEALTHY NATION THROUGH THE ABUSE OF SLAVE LABOR: THE MOST PROSPEROUS STATES IN THE COUNTRY WERE THOSE THAT FIRST FREED THEIR SLAVES.

    Yeah. Rhode Island & Mass shipping merchants had _nothing_ to do with the slave trade, and rum, and er, they never, ever, ever, traded with the sugar planters in the Carribean. And let’s just pretend that Northern slavery didn’t exist. ok? (Hey – how did all those bodies end up in New York City’s African burial grounds?)

    And the growth of cotton in the South had nothing to do with the textile industrial revolution in England. Nothing. I can’t hear you. la la la la la la la la…

    And South Carolina wasn’t the wealthiest per capita colony in the 18th century.

    Whee! a fact free life can be fun!

  138. dadanarchist said,

    September 28, 2007 at 20:04

    “‘The anti-slavery movement was spearheaded by people who would today be called “the religious right” and its organization was created by conservative businessmen. Moreover, what destroyed slavery in the non-Western world was Western imperialism.’ ‘Nothing could be more jolting and discordant with the vision of today’s intellectuals than the fact that it was businessmen, devout religious leaders and Western imperialists who together destroyed slavery around the world.’”

    Wow, yeah, there is some looney-tunes shit in there. Western imperialism most definitively did not end slavery – in fact, in many places, particularly South and Central Africa, it made slavery worse. Anti-slavery was only a convenient excuse for Western rapaciousness, not its driving motivation.

    And the colonial labor regimes that were implemented throughout Africa, though technically “free”, differed from slavery in only the most minor details. That said, Christians did some good in parts of Africa in the 19th century though not without a high cost in cultural destruction. Jean and John Comaroff’s work on South African missionaries is very good.

    And finally, it must be pointed out that the slaves, really, freed themselves in many places. The abolition of the slave trade was influenced by several factors, including Christian sentiment, but also nascent capitalist beliefs about free labor and free markets, and the not unjustified belief that slaves, just removed from Africa, were the most likely to revolt against their masters. In its early stages, the Haitian revolution was spearheaded by slaves only just arrived from Africa. Nearly every major change in the slave trade and in abolition was preceded by a a major slave uprising. Linebaugh and Rediker’s book, “The Many Headed Hydra” has the details.

  139. Notorious P.A.T. said,

    September 28, 2007 at 20:06

    The 1850 Census lists only 3.2 million slaves out of a total population of 23.2 million.

    So, in 1850 slaves made up about the same proportion of society as immigrants do today; yet immigrants today are here in such incredibly large numbers that America faces catastrophe if we don’t do something about them, but there weren’t enough slaves in 1850 to really take notice of. Okay, got it, thanks right-wingers.

  140. mattt said,

    September 28, 2007 at 20:13

    THERE IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT TODAY’S AFRICAN-AMERICANS WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF THEIR ANCESTORS HAD REMAINED BEHIND IN AFRICA.

    =

    “There’s no reason to believe that today’s Jews would be better off if the Holocaust had not caused many to seek greener pastures outside Germany, and contributed to the creation of modern Israel.”

  141. Gary Ruppert said,

    September 28, 2007 at 20:14

    The fact is, if Atheists and Darwinists had their way, we would still have slavery today. If the Socialists take over the country, we may as well be slaves.

  142. Douche Baggins said,

    September 28, 2007 at 20:18

    Lex had a classic line to which I wish to draw attention: Seriously, I don’t think these people have even discovered Chinese food yet. Brizziliant.

    Oh, and wrt/Gary, it’s my turn: Fuck off, troll.

  143. Jonathan Edelstein said,

    September 28, 2007 at 20:20

    As sad as this particular argument is, it’s actually the best of the six that Medved manages to muster

    No, it isn’t even that. Slavery was not universally accepted, or even universally practiced, in 1776. Sweden and some of the Italian city states had abolished slavery as early as the 14th century, and several other countries had followed suit in the intervening centuries. The Somerset judgment in England was handed down in 1772. In the early 1600s it might have been a closer call, but by 1776, the United States couldn’t avail itself of the “everyone does it” excuse.

    Hell, moral arguments against slavery existed even in the ancient world. I notice Medved’s list of citations doesn’t include Euripides’ Trojan Women or the teachings of those Stoic philosophers who opposed slavery as an institution.

  144. Lesley said,

    September 28, 2007 at 20:21

    Medved’s JEWISH? (the mind reels.)

    He and LindaSoG would make a fine demented couple. Someone should introduce them.

  145. Hoosier X said,

    September 28, 2007 at 20:21

    I wrote a master’s thesis on southern newspapers from 1800 to 1865 and, even after frequent exposure to every conceivable justification of slavery (some of which ended up in my thesis), I would see something that would make my jaw drop.

    Like an article from the 1840s that attacked Frederick Douglass for being so ungrateful as to criticize slavery. You see, the only reason he was literate and well-spoken enough to go around and lecture on the evils of slavery was … because slavery had given him the discipline and the opportunities to learn to read and speak so well.

    I’d like to talk to Medved. I’d like to ask him why the fuck he’s so committed to making conservatism look so vile. Is it really that awful? Or is it just a bunch of mean liberals pretending to be conservative just to make conservatism look like blatant idiocy? I’ve often felt the same way about Mallard FIllmore.

    Sensible conservatives, if there is such a thing, should be denouncing stuff like this crap from Medved out of embarrassment. But they don’t. So they must not be embarrassed.

  146. freddy said,

    September 28, 2007 at 20:29

    If wingnuts took the time to actually read the 13th amendment they’d see a lovely little loophole:

    “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

    Imagine the possibilities beyond simple chain gang road work…

  147. agum said,

    September 28, 2007 at 20:31

    The best thing about slavery was that idiot Southern aristocrats invested so much money in the “human property” bubble, that slaves ended up being half the value of all assets in the South.

    So instead of making capital investments *in the middle of the Industrial Revolution*, they bought slaves. Which, upon emancipation, proved to be worth nothing. Wiping out half the wealth in the South.

    These people have never been known for their forward thinking.

  148. Tim B said,

    September 28, 2007 at 20:34

    Drats Durston: Where exactly are these huge populations of Islamic-trade slave descendants living in the Middle East and South Asia these days, Mike? Why’n’t you bring up the big-bad Muslims-enslaved-Whitey-in-the-Med story, huh?

    There aren’t huge populations in the Middle East (although if you travel in countries like Iraq and Yemen, you will see some people who are noticeably blacker and who have African blood). This is partly because of the practice of castrating males slaves to make them into eunuchs, and partly due to the high attrition rate that accompanied the large-scale use of slaves and freed slaves as soldiers. So your argument doesn’t prove that the Middle Eastern slave trade was smaller in scale. Although I guess one upside of these practices in comparison with the Transatlantic trade is that since the slaves to which they occurred didn’t produce succeeding generations, the misery of slavery ended with them, and so the total numbers of people subjected to slavery in the Middle East (as opposed to the numbers *actually traded*) was almost certainly smaller than in the West – in other words, Medved’s claim that:

    ‘Meanwhile, the Arab slave trade (primarily from East Africa) lasted longer and enslaved more human beings than the European slavers working the other side of the continent’

    is incorrect.

  149. dadanarchist said,

    September 28, 2007 at 21:15

    “‘Meanwhile, the Arab slave trade (primarily from East Africa) lasted longer and enslaved more human beings than the European slavers working the other side of the continent’

    is incorrect.”

    It lasted longer, but it is doubtful that it enslaved more human beings.

    There were major differences, however, in how slavery worked in the Arab and non-Arab, yet Muslim, parts of Africa. While slaves were used for plantation work in West Africa, this primarily took off after the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. In the Arab world slaves tended to fill specialized and particular niches. So, for example, there were vast slave armies commanded by slave generals. Slaves, especially eunuchs, were often very powerful within courts and households. Additionally, the much-maligned by the wingnutosphere sharia law contained legal means for the emancipation of slaves, as well as guidelines about how slaves should be treated, what could be done with children born to slaves, and children produced through the union of a master and a slave. Theoretically, slaves that converted to Islam should be freed, and any children they had were free, whether their parents were or not.

    I don’t want to idealize Muslim slavery – the slave caravans across the Sahara were just as brutal as the slave ships – as practice rarely matched theory.

    Nor can we just blame whitey. Slavery was made up by interlocking networks of oppression and exploitation. But by any objective standard, the demand for plantation in the New World totally reoriented the already existing slave networks of West Africa in destructive ways that have a lasting legacy for Africa.

  150. kiki said,

    September 28, 2007 at 21:20

    agum – that is some funny shit. All their assets literally just got up and walked away. Awesome.

  151. kiki said,

    September 28, 2007 at 21:24

    My ex-girlfriend’s mother, at the age of 50 or so, had heard of Chinese food, but never tried it because of what the Japanese had done during the war. True story.

  152. One Inconvenient Truth About Michael Medved: He’s An Imbecile » Comments From Left Field said,

    September 28, 2007 at 21:29

    [...] from: Michael van der Galiën, Sadly, No!, Lean Left and Crooked [...]

  153. Sadly, Cambridgeport said,

    September 28, 2007 at 21:30

    Geez kiki, that’s about like refusing to eat pierogies and kielbasa because you still hold a grudge against the Nazis.

  154. Vin Scully said,

    September 28, 2007 at 21:30

    And the worst part is the absolute ingratitude of the black people in America! We save them from lions and snakes and a life of putting missionaries and explorers and Abbot & Costello in giant cauldrons (and occasionally forcing Bob Hope to marry a gorilla), and do they ever say “thank you”?

    Well, I’m taking the high road. To all African-Americans, on behalf of Michael Medved’s white America, you’re welcome.

  155. sagra said,

    September 28, 2007 at 22:21

    “I’d call hundreds of thousands and probably millions dying from being stuffed into cramped fetid cargo holds with insufficient food, water, and breathing room, a form of genocide.”

    I’d call it capitalism.

  156. Hogan said,

    September 28, 2007 at 22:31

    “I’d call hundreds of thousands and probably millions dying from being stuffed into cramped fetid cargo holds with insufficient food, water, and breathing room, a form of genocide.”

    I’d call it capitalism.

    You say tomato . . .

  157. EWI said,

    September 28, 2007 at 22:31

    But that’s because the people of the U.K. weren’t so fervently devoted to the continuation of slavery.

    I’ve heard several of Medved’s ‘arguments’ before in a certain context – c*nts justifying the history of the English colony in Ireland. And the support of England for the Confederacy springs to mind, too!

  158. Hoosier X said,

    September 28, 2007 at 23:43

    England’s support of the Confederacy was always rather tepid, and it was really the work of a rather vocal minority in the government. The idea that the Brits were continually on the verge of officially recognizing the Confederacy and maybe even entering the war on the side of the Confederates has a grain of truth to it, but it was never very much more than a Confederate wet dream, something they said to each other over and over again.

    Gettysburg and the Emancipation Proclamation dashed what little hope there ever was of such cooperation, except among the ultra-delusional Southerners. (They make me think of Fred Thompson’s supporters.)

  159. Bing McGhandi said,

    September 28, 2007 at 23:45

    THOUGH BRUTAL, SLAVERY WASN’T GENOCIDAL: LIVE SLAVES WERE VALUABLE BUT DEAD CAPTIVES BROUGHT NO PROFIT.

    “…Now, what we did to the Indians THAT was genocidal.”

    What a little puke.

    HJ

  160. Larry said,

    September 28, 2007 at 23:48

    “Those who want to discredit the United States and to deny our role as history’s most powerful and pre-eminent force for freedom, goodness and human dignity”

    Seriously, when I read stuff like this, I’m completely mortified, even though I didn’t write it. I mean, what must people from other countries think when they read that? They must see America as a man with a very, very flexible spine, if you get my drift.

  161. greenpagan said,

    September 29, 2007 at 0:22

    Slavery wasn’t all that bad for African-Americans and The Holocaust wasn’t all that bad for the Jews and Atomic Bombs weren’t all that bad for the Japanese…etc.

    The guy needs to get his eyes fixed for one thing. Ever see him? He has this annoying eyelid flicker like his face was being attacked by little insects. (Like flies on shit…)

    Creeps like Medved just want the rest of the world to feel as miserable as they do.

    ====

  162. eyelessgame said,

    September 29, 2007 at 0:24

    Here’s the thing.

    I have discussions with my conservative-religious friends and family regarding their devotion to every word of the Bible.

    I point out that the Bible condones slavery.

    Their canned excuse is that one cannot judge all historical slavery by the brutal example of the American South — that most slavery was much less evil than that.

    I’d like to introduce them to Medved. Then again, he’s not a Christian conservative. But a lot of them are going to read this, approve of it, and not notice that it explodes the opposite argument they make when convenient.

  163. r4d20 said,

    September 29, 2007 at 0:31

    .Perhaps the most horrifying aspect of these voyages involves the fact that no slave traders wanted to see this level of deadly suffering: they benefited only from delivering (and selling) live slaves, not from tossing corpses into the ocean.

    Wow. Is he that stupid or just a lying sack of shit?

    100 slaves – 30 dead en route = 30% death rate = 70 slaves sold upon arrival
    200 slaves – 120 dead en route = 60% death rate = 80 slaves sold upon arrival.

    Carrying a bigger load can still be more profitable even when it means bigger losses en route.

    Profit is what made them pack the slaves into such inhumane conditions to begin with.

  164. mikey said,

    September 29, 2007 at 0:32

    that most slavery was much less evil than that.

    Even granting this dubious distinction, aren’t they still saying it’s evil? And the bible not only condones this evil practice, but provides guidelines for managing the practice? How is that ok?

    mikey

  165. Bill S said,

    September 29, 2007 at 0:43

    Y’know, I’d say Medved should be sold into slavery, but I can’t think of any practical use for him.
    How does a person this stupid live so long?

  166. Bill S said,

    September 29, 2007 at 0:47

    “He has this annoying eyelid flicker like his face was being attacked by little insects.”
    IF. ONLY!!!!

  167. Woodrowfan said,

    September 29, 2007 at 1:45

    Hoosier X: Thanks for the link. I bookmarked your site. looks interesting. I shall enjoy reading it.

    WF

  168. Woodrowfan said,

    September 29, 2007 at 1:46

    Y’know, I’d say Medved should be sold into slavery, but I can’t think of any practical use for him.

    Doorstop?? paperweight?? Dustmop (with that mustache)??

  169. Anne Laurie said,

    September 29, 2007 at 2:31

    Other slave societies – for instance, the laws governing slavery in Muslim lands – provided a set of laws and customs that theoretically at least protected the slaves from the abuse of their masters and established a process of manumission. American slavery had no such features, almost unique in the history of slavery.

    American Exceptionalism — fuck, yeah!

    Whoever mentioned the Overton Window had the right (Right) idea. If a significant proportion of what used to be the middle class is hopelessly bankrupt, and unable to ever get out from under its debt load, how are the credit-card companies going to keep their quarterly profits rising? Well, why should “chattel slavery” remain a mere metaphor, when so many improvident spenders have children whose education has become a charge upon the state?

  170. Jon H said,

    September 29, 2007 at 3:06

    “Profit is what made them pack the slaves into such inhumane conditions to begin with.”

    It’s worse than that – apparently the slaves were insured if they died at sea, but not if they were dead or sick (and unsaleable) on arrival.

    The slavers didn’t lose *anything* by packing them in like cordwood, and had incentive to dispose of the sick rather than keeping them alive and trying to nurse them back to health.

  171. Bill S said,

    September 29, 2007 at 3:18

    I’ve got it-human toilet brush! :)

  172. Hoosier X said,

    September 29, 2007 at 5:00

    Woodrowfan,

    Thanks for your interest in my thesis.

    Are you a fan of Woodrow Wilson, by any chance? Or is it Woodrow Hayes?

    I am not a fan of Wilson, at all. The more I learned about him, it became easier to see why the world basically ignored his 14 points. Who is Woodrow Wilson to tell the people of Europe what to do? they could ask. He was a racist, an ardent racist, and all you have to do is read his history of the American people, where he minimizes the Ku Klux Klan as much as possible, and says their actions were “pranks and mummeries” necessary to protect the white race and white women. He further defends the Klan by saying that any violent actions of the Klan, like murder and arson, were likely committed by low-class persons pretending to be the Klan.

    Man, that’s just for starters.

    If that’s not the Woodrow you’re a fan of, forget I said anything.

  173. Qetesh the Abyssinian said,

    September 29, 2007 at 5:29

    zsa, it’s worse than “Slavery: just lie back and enjoy it”. He seems to be saying “Slavery: it’s good for you!”

    Kiki, that’s absolutely priceless. And it’s those selfsame people who will cheer on the Prez as he demands that another country be bombed into submission.

    Larry said,
    “Those who want to discredit the United States and to deny our role as history’s most powerful and pre-eminent force for freedom, goodness and human dignity”

    Seriously, when I read stuff like this, I’m completely mortified, even though I didn’t write it. I mean, what must people from other countries think when they read that? They must see America as a man with a very, very flexible spine, if you get my drift.

    Speaking as someone from another country, I have to say that it paints a very disturbing portrait of the likes of Medved. I’d say not so much flexible spine, as totally weenie weenie: someone who needs to use tweezers to hold it while he urinates. That is, once he’s found it with the electron microscope.

    Fortunately, most of us (I think) realise that not all Americans are as dumb as your Preznit, or your media, or your politicians. We realise that a small sample of a population is not representative of the population as a whole. Unlike, say, the 30%-ers who want to bomb Iran now.

  174. Mo's Bike Shop said,

    September 29, 2007 at 5:33

    …And that’s how you move the Overton window!

    What a whistleprick.

  175. Lulu said,

    September 29, 2007 at 5:49

    I read somewhere that slavery started as a humane alternative to just slaughtering the losers of a war between two tribes. Instead of killing every last one of your enemies, you generously put them in chains, let them do all your work while feeding them the same slop as the hogs, and followed up with a Number Six dance. Obviously, Medved thinks this kind of compassion and kindness shouldn’t have been allowed to vanish from the world.

  176. transit holo said,

    September 29, 2007 at 6:52

    I find it interesting that no where in this back and forth is it mentioned that the ones who sold the slaves in africa were their Muslim cousins from the middle east and north africa. Also, that until the U.S. navy and Marine corps destroyed their fleet in 1804, those same lovable muslims attacked Europe and sold the white people that they kidnapped to the black kingdoms that they could not subdue.

  177. g said,

    September 29, 2007 at 7:15

    Perhaps the most horrifying aspect of these voyages involves the fact that no slave traders wanted to see this level of deadly suffering: they benefited only from delivering (and selling) live slaves, not from tossing corpses into the ocean.

    This would be offensive even if he were only talking about importing cattle.

  178. Genocide and America « Petunias said,

    September 29, 2007 at 7:19

    [...] didn’t constitute genocide, but Michael Medved does both and in 7 days no less. See Sadly No! (or Clif ) for more and for the links-I refuse to link to this [...]

  179. Drats Durston said,

    September 29, 2007 at 7:24

    There aren’t huge populations in the Middle East (although if you travel in countries like Iraq and Yemen, you will see some people who are noticeably blacker and who have African blood). This is partly because of the practice of castrating males slaves to make them into eunuchs, and partly due to the high attrition rate that accompanied the large-scale use of slaves and freed slaves as soldiers. So your argument doesn’t prove that the Middle Eastern slave trade was smaller in scale. Although I guess one upside of these practices in comparison with the Transatlantic trade is that since the slaves to which they occurred didn’t produce succeeding generations, the misery of slavery ended with them…

    Yes, there certainly were middle eastern slave armies, but it sounds like you’re assuming such armies were all black just because they were slaves. Yet these slaves came from all the peripheries of the Muslim world–the Western Med, the Balkans, the Black Sea, South Asia, across the Sahara and Red Sea, and from East Africa.

    It also sounds like you’re arguing that the Muslims extracted predominantly male slaves, but the ratio of African slaves exported by the Muslims actually tended to lean heavily towards women, sometimes in numbers as high as 4:1, though there’s some argument among historians about how far back this trend went (whether the heavily male Atlantic trade re-oriented Saharan trade to females, at least).

    I know you realize that the “upside” of no suffering succeeding generations is a small one, but much of the Atlantic system was infamous for its lack of producing slave children (and mostly males were imported until the eighteenth century); working conditions combined with intentional action from pregnant slaves to keep fertility down.

    It undermines my own initial argument a little, but the tending-toward-more-family-inclusiveness of Islamic domestic slavery, and the fact that concubines’ children were somewhat more legit than “half-slaves” born in the Americas, might mean the dilution of “African blood” in the long run in southwest Asia.

    Most importantly, the numbers that have been used to generate the trends of Arab enslavement of Africans over more than a millennium were all calculated from nineteenth-century tendencies, numbers written down by anti-Muslim Christian missionaries and pro-colonizing European states. These numbers are absolute garbage for telling us what went on over the centuries.

  180. Hoosier X said,

    September 29, 2007 at 7:30

    I find it interesting that no where in this back and forth is it mentioned that the ones who sold the slaves in africa were their Muslim cousins from the middle east and north africa. Also, that until the U.S. navy and Marine corps destroyed their fleet in 1804, those same lovable muslims attacked Europe and sold the white people that they kidnapped to the black kingdoms that they could not subdue.

    So that makes American slavery okay, then. I see your point.

    I’m scrolling through, trying to find the part where somebody said the Muslim slave traders were lovable. I suspect somebody heard about straw man arguments and decided to try one out.

  181. Drats Durston said,

    September 29, 2007 at 7:31

    #

    transit holo said,

    September 29, 2007 at 6:52

    I find it interesting that no where in this back and forth is it mentioned that the ones who sold the slaves in africa were their Muslim cousins from the middle east and north africa. Also, that until the U.S. navy and Marine corps destroyed their fleet in 1804, those same lovable muslims attacked Europe and sold the white people that they kidnapped to the black kingdoms that they could not subdue.

    I call fake transit holo!

  182. Lesley said,

    September 29, 2007 at 8:26

    Y’know, I’d say Medved should be sold into slavery, but I can’t think of any practical use for him.

    A photographer’s monkey on tourist beaches. Dress him up in a Lederhosen and a little cap and he’d be perfect.

  183. links for 2007-09-29 « Dark Corner of the Empty Head said,

    September 29, 2007 at 10:26

    [...] Sadly, No! » Pick A Bale Of Stupid See, Michael Medved wants to set us all straight about the so-called evils of American slavery. [...]

  184. mmy said,

    September 29, 2007 at 15:37

    Re the question as to what American are taught at school — I don’t know what they taught but I do know that American college students don’t feel it necessary to remember much they were taught at high school. Many are in fact annoyed that I (a foreigner) expect them (Americans) to know as much about their country as I did at the same age.

    In the past week I noted in my undergraduate classes that:

    a) not one of my students was aware of the “recolonization” movement and its relationship to abolition. The names “Liberia” and “Monrovia” were meaningless to them.

    b) they knew NOTHING about the “removal” of the Cherokee from Cherokee Nation East to what is now Oklahoma. They didn’t know what I was referring to when I mentioned the Trail of Tears.

    c) they didn’t know what I was referring to when I mentioned the Bataan Death March

    d) they thought that Puerto Rico was a foreign country.

    In the past I have also noticed that they tend not be be clear as to which World War the Nazis were involved in, they think that England had no Allies until the United States entered WWII, are unaware that any other nations fought on “their” side in the Korean War, don’t know that there are still American troops stationed in Korea, think Permanent Residents and other legal non-citizens in the United States don’t pay taxes (hey, no taxation without representation right?) and are surprised that other countries have had women leaders. Few of them can actually tell me what rights are protected in the 1st Amendment and less than half of them know of the existence of the Articles of Confederation.

    Sigh, bang head against desk, realize that teaching almost ANYTHING at the college level in the United States involves having to teach remedial history as well.

  185. Lex said,

    September 29, 2007 at 15:39

    Really, finding and reading slave narratives is not that difficult of a task.

  186. Jillian said,

    September 29, 2007 at 15:54

    I actually AM a high school history teacher, which made reading this Medved piece all the more painful to me. In addition, I teach in an inner-city high school, so this whole issue is one that hits me where I live and breathe.

    On a happier note about student ignorance, I’ve spent some time in class in the last couple of weeks talking about the Jena 6 case, and while having my students read news articles about it, I found out that most of them didn’t know what the term “noose” meant, or referred to.

    At first I despaired over yet another sign of the woefully lacking vocabulary skills my kids have. But then I looked at it from another point of view: I teach African-American students in the South, in a city that was legally segregated until not too long ago…..and things have improved so much in just a couple of generations that none of my students have ever had an occasion to happen upon a noose before.

    For some good, if painful, history laughs, check this out.

  187. Jillian said,

    September 29, 2007 at 15:58

    Incidentally, my favorite passage from the book is not included in the article…..after attributing Hitler’s rise to power to the presence of decadent cat berets in Berlin, Hitler’s army then launches the devastating Blintz krieg, which goes right around the Marginal line.

    I hurt myself laughing over that.

  188. mmy said,

    September 29, 2007 at 16:00

    Jillian

    First — I agree that sometimes what we decry as ignorance reflects a change for the better — that sometimes they are not motivated to learn about things because they don’t fear them. That lack of fear is a step forward

    Second — Notice that I said that they don’t feel a need to remember. I am not traducing high school teachers. I am painfully aware that teaching information and inducing our students to value and retain are too different things. Given the ahistorical horrors I have heard from American politicians in the last few years alone I don’t blame my students for not feeling that ‘larning’ is a valued activity.

  189. windy said,

    September 29, 2007 at 16:29

    “SLAVERY EXISTED ONLY BRIEFLY, AND IN LIMITED LOCALES”

    “THERE IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT TODAY’S AFRICAN-AMERICANS WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF THEIR ANCESTORS HAD REMAINED BEHIND IN AFRICA.”

    How can both of these things be upsides of slavery at the same time? If slavery was good for the descendants of slaves, surely then it must be a bad thing that slavery existed so briefly and was abolished so quickly. Why, most Africans are still languishing in Africa! Wouldn’t the best-case scenario be that the trans-Atlantic slave trade had persisted to rescue them all?

  190. Bill S said,

    September 29, 2007 at 20:35

    Jillian, if it’s appropriate to a subject you’re teaching, you ought to bring this column into class and ask your students how many things they can find wrong with it.
    On second thought, never mind- there probably wouldn’t be enough time; you’d have to keep them after school.

  191. GotDaFeevah said,

    September 30, 2007 at 0:07

    transit holo:

    “I find it interesting that no where in this back and forth is it mentioned that the ones who sold the slaves in africa were their Muslim cousins from the middle east and north africa.”

    This is an incredibly simplistic and inaccurate way of describing the reality of the way the African side of the Trans-Atlantic trade went. Some muslims were involved but the idea of putting the whole thing on them is pure revisionist history by people whose current political outlook involves a whole lot of muslim-hating.

  192. Mo's Bike Shop said,

    September 30, 2007 at 4:03

    I call fake transit holo!

    It’s people like you who drove Bruce away…

  193. Porlock Junior said,

    September 30, 2007 at 23:13

    One suspects that dadanarchist intended to be sarcastic in writing,

    “I was wondering where the illustrations to Medved’s article were, y’know, with a pickaniny (sp?) gratefully “thankin’ massa” for delivering him from the eeeeviiiillsss of the African continent and giving him the bible and clothes and watermelon and fried chicken…”

    All right, cast your mind back, if you will, to 1957 or maybe it was 1958. I’m sitting in an excellent public high school in a highly (too-damn) prosperous district in a state that never supported slavery, at least since it was stolen from Mexico in 184x. I am reading our American history textbook, written by a genuinely distinguished American historian, Samuel Eliot Morrison. It’s talking about slavery, which was certainly a bad thing, but you know, not all that bad like some Uncle Tom’s Cabin stuff. It tells about typical life among the slaves, the parents are doing this and that, and the pickaninnies are playing happily in — THE FUCKING WHATS? You don’t use that kind of language in the 20th century! Not if you’re not some kind of cave dweller, or so I thought then. But if you were a distinguished historian writing textbooks to be approved by state authorities, you did. (You might as well use — but after all, the latter word is why I chose to read Hucckleberry Finn from the Am. Lit. reading list about the same time, it having got HF banned in New York.)

    So you know, these nice folks are hardly more than 50 years out of date. It’s the Morrisons who were already 100 years out of date 50 years ago. Somehow that doesn’t make me feel a lot better.

    BTW certain nosy foreigners ask whether we learn about our own Civil War in school. Well, we used to, in the North. In the South: No such thing. It’s the War Between the States, if you please. Guess whether they learned anything much about it, but that’s what the people with slavery-envy insisted on calling it back then, before they figured out it was the War of Northern Aggression — which I Am Not Making Up. Ponder this during the next debunking of the notion that Iraq is in a civil war.

  194. jerry kernes said,

    October 1, 2007 at 2:51

    I read it all and loved it. I wish I had said 1/10 th of what Jillian said. If only the words had physical truth as well as verbal. I would send them in a staccato stream at Michael’s head. (I can dream can’t I?)
    Proud to be on your side.

  195. Larry Yates said,

    October 1, 2007 at 17:59

    Folks, especially white folks, interested in going farther into the question of reparations should look at the webiste of CURE, a group of white people actively supporting reparations. http://www.reparationsthecure.org

    Larry Yates

  196. … the Hell? A new contender for stupidest pundit in print « Skulls in the Stars said,

    October 1, 2007 at 20:30

    [...] most idiotic pundit in print (though he still has a way to go to beat John Stossel), and numerous people have already commented, and torn to shreds, his six bullet point [...]

  197. Daily Dojo of Joshua James » Blog Archive » Medved: Slavery In America Wasn’t That Bad . . . said,

    October 1, 2007 at 21:24

    [...] in the comments points out a wonderful take-down of Medved by Sadly, No! called Pick A Bale Of Stupid – go read, it’s [...]

  198. Dr Zen said,

    October 4, 2007 at 6:07

    The saddest thing is not that Medved is prepared to write this shit. It’s that a fucking queue of retards has formed to congratulate him for it.

  199. Kip W said,

    October 4, 2007 at 18:16

    Did somebody say Puppy Bowling?

    Oh. I thought somebody said… never mind.

    Medved. He was tedious as a film critic. How much more tedious he is as a society critic.

  200. truckfarmer said,

    November 17, 2007 at 3:54

    It is amazing to me to read some of the stupid comments here. Medved is not defending the institution of slavery. Anybody with an IQ above room temperature can understand that. What he is doing is arguing that it is ridiculous to single out the US as the epicenter of evil, because we, like virtually every other country around the world, have slavery in our history (Interestingly, several countries – most of them African – still practice slavery).

    His piece is a reaction to the reparations hysteria currently sweeping a very small, very uninformed segment of society.

    For goodness’ sake, people, grow a brain!

  201. Simba B. said,

    November 17, 2007 at 4:02

    It’s funny that someone who purports to farm trucks would tell us to grow a brain.

  202. Pandagon :: Racist science for choads :: November :: 2007 said,

    November 24, 2007 at 18:50

    [...] instance, Medved is a slavery denialist, a practice that’s going the way of calling the Civil War the War of Northern Aggression. As [...]

  203. jakealope said,

    November 24, 2007 at 22:45

    Medved wasn’t defending slavery. He was defending America and the west from cretins who indict our whole society based on the fact that slavery once existed. After all, it was we and the British that finally suppresed the slave trade. If you are so exercised over slavery, then why aren’t you attacking the places where it still exist, like in some Islamic countries.

  204. tenured feminist said,

    November 25, 2007 at 14:49

    Does anyone know why the slave trade was abolished in 1808? Ferris? Ferris? Anyone?

    OK, it’s like this: the original Constitution prohibited the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade prior to 1808 in order to get the south on board with the whole deal. By the early 1800s, a coalition had formed between early white abolitionists and southerners to push for eliminating the transatlantic slave trade. The abolitionists liked this issue because they saw it as the thin edge of the wedge to get at slavery as a whole, and there was plenty of information out there about just what was going on and how bad it was. The south, however, got on board for a very simple reason: by that time, an internal economy of slave breeding and a lucrative intranational slave market had developed. The transport of new slaves from Africa by international slave traders was undercutting the profit margin for home grown American slave producers. So they were happy to accede to the elimination of the slave trade.

    It wasn’t about the US suddenly becoming all enlightened about the evils of slavery and bravely sallying forth to stop the slave trade as the first grand step in a progressive and triumphal march toward emancipation. If you don’t believe me, just look at the increasingly strict and punitive laws that were passed from the 1830s on regarding slavery. Slavery got worse, not better, in the run up to the Civil War.

  205. joolya said,

    November 27, 2007 at 23:29

    “SLAVERY EXISTED ONLY BRIEFLY, AND IN LIMITED LOCALES, IN THE HISTORY OF THE REPUBLIC – INVOLVING ONLY A TINY PERCENTAGE OF THE ANCESTORS OF TODAY’S AMERICANS.”

    But a disproportionately high percentage of today’s AFRICAN-Americans … Though, to be fair, a lot of African-Americans’ ancestors are also white slave-owners. So really, any black American with even a hint of, uh, cream in their coffee ought to be paying reparations to THEMSELVES, since OBVIOUSLY they also have WHITE ANCESTORS!

    Haha! It all makes sense now.

  206. joolya said,

    November 27, 2007 at 23:57

    Medved wasn’t defending slavery. He was defending America and the west from cretins who indict our whole society based on the fact that slavery once existed. After all, it was we and the British that finally suppresed the slave trade. If you are so exercised over slavery, then why aren’t you attacking the places where it still exist, like in some Islamic countries.

    Dude. No one is saying it’s not wrong in other countries. But is a great man not purported to have said something about pulling the plank outof your own eye before you can pick the sawdust out of your neighbor’s?

    “3″Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

    I’m not really a Christian but damn if there aren’t a few good quotes in that book!

  207. The Austringer » Getting the Help the Discovery Institute Deserves said,

    November 28, 2007 at 1:32

    [...] of slavery. Fortunately, I don’t have to engage in deconstruction of this odious dreck, the Sadly, No! blog has taken on that job and dispatched it. As an example of argumentative and persuasive [...]

  208. Michael Korn said,

    November 28, 2007 at 18:55

    now you are getting it. jews are racial supremacists. they have no compassion for anyone but their own. and they expect the whole world to weep for their sufferings and to applaud their successes. they are the ultimate spiritual narcissists.

    it would be great if Michael Medved got hauled up for hate crimes talk on this one.

    but probably he is just being a good jewish lawyer. his people were very prominent in the african slave trade (as they were in the european slave trade in the middle ages) and the last thing he or his kind want is to be stuck with reparations payments.

    Jewish deaths = HolyCo$t
    African deaths = lost profit opportunities

  209. Righteous Bubba said,

    November 28, 2007 at 19:11

    Michael Korn is an ass. That is all.

  210. Michael Korn said,

    November 28, 2007 at 19:22

    i think you mispelled it.

    astute is the correct spelling.

    if you know what that means.

    from your website your righteousness extends to perversion, pornography, and depravity. so what are you doing at this site anyway?

    go back to your hole and play with yourself.

  211. Righteous Bubba said,

    November 28, 2007 at 19:32

    Michael Korn drinks horse pee.

  212. Jillian said,

    November 29, 2007 at 1:35

    Um, Michael Korn?

    Hate to break it to you, but I’m the author of this piece – and I’m a Jew. Go figure.

    Now, kindly go fuck yourself sideways with a bowling pin, you Nazi shithead.

    Thanks, and have a great day!

  213. raj said,

    November 29, 2007 at 17:02

    Let’s lighten up

    From the late, lamented, Satire wire

    GOD NAMES NEXT “CHOSEN PEOPLE”; IT’S JEWS AGAIN

    “Oh Shit,” Say Jews

    Jerusalem (SatireWire.com) Update — Jews, whose troubled, 10,000-year term as God’s “chosen people” finally expired last night, woke up this morning to find that they had once again been hand-picked by the Almighty. Synagogues across the globe declared a day of mourning.

    Asked if the descendants of Abraham shouldn’t be pleased about being tapped for an unprecedented second term, Jerusalem Rabbi Ben Meyerson shrugged. “Of course, you are right, we should be thrilled,” he said. “We should also enjoy a good swift kick in the head, but for some reason, we don’t.

    Much more at http://www.satirewire.com/news/march02/chosen.shtml It’s funny as heck.

  214. Paul Fraser said,

    February 6, 2008 at 10:54

    Pick a bale of what? Michael seems to be showing a great deal of compassion with his remarks. I think you’re trying too hard to debunk him here. http://battlesoftim.com/btrep.htm

  215. Loserr face said,

    September 29, 2008 at 1:55

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    Uhh I came to this site to look fer research on this project I have and I wasted mii taime even tempting to read this!!
    This is deffenatlyy stupidd.

  216. jane said,

    December 4, 2008 at 7:47

    i need money please help me about my problems, i am a victim of a theft here in iloilo and no money left in me. just send me an email, i really need it today to support my fathers medication because he was a kidney trouble. i am asking your help. please help me!

  217. fu said,

    December 27, 2008 at 17:33

    You are all anti-white racitsts.
    You want me to feel some special guilt over this because you either love black d or hate white people.
    I won’t feel a lick of guilt until you racists heap some blame on Africa who started the slave trade. We had outlawed slavery of European citizens in almost every European country before the trans-Atlantic started. So therefore the only place to get slaves was, oh let’s see – aren’t those Africans selling them by the millions to the Arabs. Let’s go over there and buy some slaves. Oh and by the way, the North Africans have forcefully enslaved us (1.125 million) by CAPTURE so I don’t think they’d mind if we BOUGHT some.
    Learn your history. LEARN YOUR HISTORY. QUIT BEING RACISTS OR SELF-HATING SELL-OUTS!
    I love the feriousness that black have against arguments like mine. It just shows that they don’t want to recognize all the FACTS about slavery; just the ones that make white people look bad. Why, because they ARE RACIST WHITE HATERS! That’s why.

  218. ????? said,

    December 31, 2010 at 23:30

    the North Africans have forcefully enslaved us (1.125 million) by capture so I don’t think they’d mind if we Bought some.
    Learn your history. Learn YOUR HISTORY. QUIT BEING RACISTS OR SELF-HATING SELL-OUTS!
    I love the feriousness that black have against arguments like mine. It just shows that they don’t want to recognize all the FACTS about slavery; just the ones that make white people look bad

  219. ipad case said,

    April 23, 2011 at 17:18

    greate debate i thought about this

  220. Gertrude Nojiri said,

    February 29, 2012 at 0:03

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