Thursday, September 17, 2009

Déjà Vu All Over Again “Golden Dreams: California In An Age of Abundance 1950-1963” by Kevin Starr

I’m about halfway through this masterful history of my adopted state. Starr covers an impressive amount of economic, social and cultural territory, relating the story through the people of the era, famous, obscure, forgotten: Herb Caen, Earl Warren, Pat Brown, Dorothy Chandler, Walter O’Malley, Richard Nixon, Dave Brubeck, the beats, and many others.
The reason for this blog entry rests in what I read last night. Clem Whitaker and Leone Baxter “for all practical purposes” invented the modern political campaign, using newspapers, radio and TV to push a candidate or cause. In 1949, the AMA hired them to combat Harry Truman’s call for mandatory health insurance. Their successful argument against it: such a move would lead to socialized medicine. Sound familiar? That was 60 years ago.
Also, in light of the right’s nutty reaction to Obama’s education speech to school kids last week (the one where he brainwashed them all with the socialist message to study hard and stay in school), Starr writes about this equally insane conservative reaction in the early 1950s to UNESCO (that’s the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Turns out a segment of the right (Hearst’s Los Angeles Herald-Express, the American Legion, the Congregational Church and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles) objected to students in the LA Unified School District writing essays about UNESCO. Why? UNESCO, they alleged, advocated one-world socialism. As a result of the tumult, all pro-UNESCO programs in the school district were eliminated, and anti-UNESCO candidates won seats on the school board.
Plus ca change, c’est la meme chose.


Blogger Ron said...

Hi again, Vince. Another fine post, and another shot at connecting with you. See my comment under Bud Schulberg. Thanks and good luck. R

Ron Mills
847 630 0641

3:48 AM  
Blogger FourEyedFrog said...

Vince: So great to see you today. And I'm very impressed by your blog. I started blogging a few months ago but simply haven't been able to stay with it. You are on our email list now, so that gives us a chance to stay in touch.


3:58 PM  

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