By Evan Derkacz
Posted on July 11, 2006, Printed on July 14, 2006
Media Matters' latest has right wing radio's Michael Savage saying: "Liberalism is, in essence, the HIV virus." The rest of his tin-foil-hat-tinged rant has the ACLU and Barbara Boxer wrecking the police and the Catholic Church.
The Jewish-born Savage, actually a homeopathy expert known to his parents as Michael Alan Weiner, has succeeded in co-opting Adolph Hitler's metaphors and language in his rants.
Holocaust scholar Richard Koenigsberg wrote this passage in a paper on imagery and genocide, eery in light of Savage's comments:
I found that Hitler's ideology revolved around the metaphor of the German nation as an actual body or "living organism." The Jew was identified as a force within this body working toward its destruction. In his writings and speeches, Hitler continually referred to the Jew as a force of disintegration or decomposition; as the cause of Germany's disease (a bacteria or virus); and as a "parasite on the body of the people." The nature of these recurring images and metaphors constitute data revealing the fantasies contained within Nazi ideology.
Later, in the same paper, he works "vermin" into the equation:
The presentation of Jews as "corroding and poisonous parasites, as vermin, as bacteria and bacilli, everywhere infesting and striving to destroy the body of the German people as a whole and each individual German with a demonic power paralyzed to a large extent any internal resistance on the part of the masses." Lagarde's metaphor, Bein observes, of the Jews as "bacilli not to be negotiated with but to be exterminated" could, in the atmosphere of Bio-Mythology, become a horrible reality.
The fact that Savage says the things he says makes him a paranoid bigoted shitheel. The fact that MSNBC gave him a show, that he has the third most popular talk show in the nation with at least 8 million listeners, and that he's a big supporter of the Republican Party is what's scary.
Some, like Savage himself, will claim that he's a big critic of the Republicans, "an independent-minded individualist." This is something of a ruse. Sure, he'll gripe when the Republicans fall short on his racist wishlist, and champion animal rights and the environment, but make no mistake about it, he's a Republican. From his Paul Revere Society, post 2002 midterm elections...
CONGRATULATIONS YOU DID IT.
REPUBLICANS SWEEP THE SENATE,
THE HOUSE AND OWN THE PRESIDENCY.
THE PAUL REVERE SOCIETY WILL HELP THEM PUSH THROUGH A REAL CONSERVATIVE AGENDA.
EMAIL US WITH YOUR WISH LIST.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE
THE REPUBLICANS DO WITH THEIR
MANDATE OF TOTAL CONTROL?
An ironic footnote. Savage was fired from MSNBC after just a couple of months for telling a gay caller: "You should only get AIDS and die, you pig, how's that?" While this wasn't the first, nor last, sickening comment about gays, Savage once cavorted with the likes of Allen Ginsburg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
He'd prefer to forget that era, no doubt, but it gets better. According to a letter he wrote to Ginsburg while writing his thesis, "Nutritional Ethnomedicine in Fiji," Savage had a little tryst with a "black brother":
"After speaking to you on the phone ... I walked downstairs to the school courtyard, where a little-known black brother looks at me, takes my hand gently, we do some old-world lower East Side finger tricks, and he peacefully kisses the back of my hand - I do the same for his hand. I told him about our brief talk and he says, 'I must have felt the vibes.'"
[O]ld-world lower East Side finger tricks? What the... (MediaMatters)
Evan Derkacz is a New York-based writer and contributor to AlterNet.