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Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Large-Circulation Propaganda About the "Diversity" of the "Peace" Movement.

The reliably amusing Detroit Free Press (comfortable home to leftist mau-mau artists like Brian Dickerson) published a front page article celebrating the broad spectrum of support for the "peace" movement in Metro Detroit. Well, it's not titled a celebration, but from the looks of it, someone called a buddy at the Free Press and asked for a puff piece. He got it. For some reason, the Freep (as it is popularly known) is the largest circulation newspaper in Michigan.

Must be the sports section.

You can trust the article, too, because it relies uncritically on the unverified reports of artists, students and--especially--peace activists from the tonier suburbs of Metropolitan Detroit. A bigger load of no-news, press-release propaganda has not been seen in some time. Here's excerpts from the Free Press story, with editorial annotations:

The ranks of antiwar activists are growing to include grandparents, religious leaders, labor activists, artists, teachers, veterans and others whose presence hasn't typically been associated with peacenik priorities.

An interesting and newsworthy premise, to be sure. The slight weakness found in the article is that it utterly fails to provide any examples of grandparents, religious leaders, labor activists, veterans who are not peace activists or others not typically "associated with peacenik priorities." Fortunately, this blemish didn't deter the intrepid Ms. Potts or the Freep editors. Plus, on the bright side, artists, teachers and--especially--peace activists are well-represented.

"People are coming from all over," said Amy Cairns, 30, chief coordinator for the Lansing-based Michigan Peace Team. "It's great because there's all this fresh energy and enthusiasm."

Our first peace activist! Uh, Ms. Potts: about that whole "hasn't typically been associated with peacenik priorities" part--probably shouldn't lead with a peacenik, then....And one from Michigan's political nerve center, to boot! Too bad Ms. Cairns doesn't offer any evidence in support of her claims for folks coming out from "all over." But surely, there will be some later in the article. Right?

Meanwhile, those affiliated with groups promoting peace say involvement has spiked, especially in recent weeks, and is coming from all layers of society.

"There's been a rather dramatic increase in concern being expressed by people and increasingly larger turnouts by people in protests," said Sylvan Lake resident Bill Carry of the Oakland County Peace and National Priorities Center. "They're people who have not typically been active in the peace movement, and there's a lot of ethnic and racial variety that you didn't see before."

Our second peace activist! Sensing a pattern here? And from the increasingly-pricey Oakland County neighborhood of Sylvan Lake, too--niiiice! The veterans and grandparents must be next.

Evidence for the "dramatic increase in concern" and "increasingly larger turnouts"? Not to put too fine a point on it, but: Bupkis. Unless you count the disinterested say-so of Mr. Carry. As I said: bupkis.

Artist Jean Wilson said she believes the popularity of her blue-and-white "No War" signs is evidence of "how deep and wide the peace movement is."

"This is not a class thing. It's not a race thing. . . . It's not even a left or right thing," said Wilson, 45.

Our first non-activist--and she's an artist! Who-hoo! The groundswell surgeth! Surely she has hard evidence beyond "the popularity of her blue-and-white 'No War' signs", right? [In the meantime, ponder what constitutes a "right-winger" in Artistville.]

Last fall, she said, she thought she was alone in her opposition when she took a sign for a window company off her lawn on Trumbull in Detroit and painted the antiwar message over it.

Suddenly, she said, "people would stop and thank us. They would walk by and yell and debate. It was kicked down and stolen. There was all this emotion and action because of this sign."

That's when she paid a local printer to make a couple hundred signs. Churches, schools, peace groups and individuals began inundating her with requests and donations for the signs, which have turned up from Toronto to Washington, D.C., Wilson said.

"It would be nice if the president couldn't look out his window without seeing one," she said, adding that more than 8,000 have been distributed.

Ah, Ms.Wilson lives in Corktown, a pleasant eclectic middle-class neighborhood in the vicinity of Tiger Stadium (please doff your caps when that grand ballpark is mentioned--thank you) that's become a magnet for the artsy in recent years. Contrary to the inaccurate (but popular) neverending-tracer-fire-lighting-up-the-night-sky reputation Detroit has acquired, there are plenty of decent neighborhoods in Detroit. Corktown is one of them. It isn't mansion-studded Palmer Woods, but it's nice just the same.

Moreover, she's passed out all of 8,000 signs. Continent-wide. Uh, if that's a groundswell, it doesn't even register on the Richter scale. Consider this: Liberal Mecca Ann Arbor has over 100,000 people. 8% of Ann Arbor--across North America--is a decidedly modest "achievement." In A2, the Trotskyists would fire whoever led them to such a disastrous showing.

Wayne State University English professor Mary Dorsey said she and her husband are displaying a "No War" sign in their Beverly Hills yard.

"It was an extraordinary step for us to take," said Dorsey, 57, who also attended an antiwar march in Birmingham on Saturday -- something she had not done since the Vietnam War.

"I'm like Jane Citizen and the people in this march were not wild-eyed radicals who like to get attention," she said of the Women In Black demonstration. "I had sort of lulled myself into thinking that other voices would do it for me. But people need to speak out and find their voice."

Let us pause to salute the inspiring courage of our first university professor. I mean, just last week, Catholic militiamen under the direct orders of Donald Rumsfeld ignited 30 uppity women opposed to the war in nearby Pleasant Ridge. I read about it in The Hallucinatory Sparticist. Extraordinary heroism, indeed.
BTW, Beverly Hills, while not as expensive as its California namesake, is still a nice Oakland County zipcode. I'm sure the sign provoked enormous consternation there--carefully disguised as gaping yawns. Actually owning a pickup truck would cause far more consternation in BH, but hey, nostalgia for Vietnam won't be denied. "I'm just like Jane Citizen..." Yep. Jane Citizen with tenure and a mortgage payment that could feed Basra for a day. "Just like Jane Citizen," except for that part about being completely different.

And if she doesn't regard the selective performance-art-response-to-aggressive-evil of "Women In Black" as wild-eyed radicalism, I'd hate to find out what she thinks fits the bill.

University of Michigan student Matt Hollerbach is part of the younger generation that has discovered the peace movement. His group, Anti-War Action, is trying to raise awareness and encourage activism around Ann Arbor.

Hollerbach, 20, who grew up in Grosse Pointe Farms, said he did not become socio-politically active until after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Now, however, he has a skill that's helping the peace movement gain momentum: Internet savvy. "The Internet is . . . going to mobilize people," he said.

Lord, where to begin? Our first student! And a U of M student, too! One who doesn't fling a sports object, or write for or read the Michigan Review. He could try harder to be a leftist, but that would require a tattoo on his forehead stating "I am a Leftist!"
"Did not become socio-politically [?] active until after" 9/11. When, evidently, he decided America's proper response to the jihadi and WMD-craving tyrants of the planet was to take it up the tailpipe. And he's supposed to be representative of which broad movement, exactly?

And he's from Grosse Pointe Farms--Joy! GPF's motto: "Where Coupon-Clipping Is Life!"
Er, actually, nothing screams "old money" in Michigan quite like the Pointes. Let's put it this way: Houses in the Pointes that cost $250K are in the process of being condemned.

Also, consider this admission: "'The Internet is . . . going to mobilize people,' he said." Uh, I thought they were being mobilized? "The ranks of the activists are growing," and all that. Let the choir say: "Consistency!" "Consistency!" Moving on:

"The Internet has just changed everything. You can get organized more quickly and it provides a means of protesting," said Laura Dewey of Grosse Pointe Woods, who was raised by peace-activist parents and has been involved with the cause ever since.

Dewey, a 41-year-old free-lance editor and mother of two, has been impressed that "this peace movement has started before the war officially started."

"We are being more proactive than reactive, and that's a good thing," she said.

Not a peace activist this time. Nope. She's a second-generation peace activist. Well, that's different. And note the diversity angle again: She's from Grosse Pointe Woods. A world alien to that of Grosse Pointe Farms: In the Woods, they prefer British sedans to the German coupes popular in the Farms. Worlds apart, indeed. Strangers to each other. But they put aside their differences and unite in the cause of trendy old money liberali--Peace!

Note that she's impressed with the fact that "this peace movement has started before the war officially started." Yes, unique indeed. So unlike the Gulf War. Or the Second World War. Or the First World War.

Isn't it at least perversely reassuring to know that the history programs in rich school districts are awful, too?

That could be attributed to a number of reasons, say activists, including lessons learned from Vietnam, a distrust of government and a general opposition to a war that may harm innocent civilians and U.S. troops.

What about historical illiteracy, moral relativism, Vietnam nostalgia, hatred for the "selected not elected" Bush Administration, a bored disregard for tyrannies that oppress people less white than themselves, amnesia about 9/11, reflexive leftism? Maybe that last one's redundant.

"I sense that while everybody wants to be patriotic and support our country, there's a great unease . . . about the prospects of this war and what it will bring," said Al Fishman, who has been a peace activist since serving in World War II. "But I do know from over 50 years of experience that protest has its impact. I am hopeful and we will continue to try."

One--two--three--four--four peace activists! Ah-ah-ah-ah! So he was some sort of veteran. But he's been an activist for at least twelve times as long. And the article ends here, so the tally for non-activist veterans, religious leaders, etc. is officially zilch.

I'd like to finish up with a thought experiment: Can you picture a story based upon this uncritical a regurgitation of the reports of pro-lifers? Or gun owners? Of course not.

A front page story, folks.

Really! Perhaps Howell Raines edits two papers.

And this story couldn't buy a line of ink in the Freep.

Just a point to ponder.

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