By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
The Germans of the same era were considered thickheaded dunces and freethinkers who undermined Americanism; the Know Nothing Party was founded in reaction to their arrival. By the way, the Germans of 1849 were despised specifically because they were German and not poor and congenitally lazy; many were well-to-do and educated but fleeing vengeful aristocrats after the failure of the 1849 revolts. They were also thought to be bad soldiers, incapable of following the simplest commands and lambasted by that fine humanist General Oliver Howard, late commander of the 11th Corps at Chancellorville and Gettysburg, first administrator of the Freedman’s Bureau during Reconstruction and eponymous founder of Howard University.
One of the funniest examples of the virulent hatred Americans have for the recently arrived dates to the Johnstown flood. A writer for a Chicago paper reported on how the dirty Poles were looting the dead bodies. His story came back; the paper didn’t want to offend the Poles in Chicago. He filed again, calling the perps Serbs. Same reaction. He tried Hungarians; the same. He finally filed it claiming it was the dirty Bulgarians doing all the evil. The Bulgarians lacked the requisite clout, so the story ran.
The Emma Lazarus melting-pot version of immigrant history was dreamed up by socialist utopians of the 19th century who were fortunately rounded up and deported by Attorney General Palmer under that hero of liberalism, Woodrow Wilson. In reality, the country invented things like the Pledge of Allegiance and flag worship to let all the dagos, kikes and Polacks know what real Americans were all about. The country got back to normalcy and could again thrash Catholics, Negroes and immigrants through the Black Legion and the KKK. Until the Depression, FDR and World War II intervened. It was expedient then to invent a tolerant America, so the utopian malarkey was trotted out as fact. (The beloved and sainted FDR ran for vice president in 1920 on a Democratic ticket headed by an avowed white supremacist.)
We try to present this as a race issue, but it isn’t; it’s about economics. It’s about how much you are willing to pay for food, to have dry-walling done, to do gardening, to do the menial labor Americans don’t want to do. You either pay more or you import new Americans to clean out your toilets. I think it’s important to remember that we probably wouldn’t like our ancestors, or they us, if we met them on the street at the same relative social status.—David Heckman
Reading Mira Tweti’s “A Pet Peeve” [August 9–15], I am reminded of why it is that I do not shop at pet stores that sell live animals. I encourage everyone not to extend their business to the stores referred to that sell creatures that have been subjected to an environment that causes them great stress, and to the inexpert individuals “responsible” for their daily nutritional needs. Bottom line: If we don’t buy these animals from these stores, then they will eventually stop selling them. I encourage everyone, instead, to look for a rescue organization that specializes in whatever animal you are looking for. And there is a rescue for everything! Not only will these animals from rescue be healthier, but you will be happier in the pocketbook (and in your heart) too.
Also: Thanks for Nikke Finke’s Deadline Hollywood item in the same issue. I have never watched Fear Factor, and after reading your story, I think I will now eliminate NBC from my TV remote altogether.
Re: Johnny Angel’s “Butterfly Meets Bazooka” [August 9–15]. I say to Brian Robin: Surely you can’t be that stupid! Freedom of speech is irrelevant in a private message. If you had the bad judgment to phrase a public letter the way you phrased that message to Congressman Thomas, then you could have invoked the First Amendment.
What did you hope to achieve by sending such a message privately, anyway? I see your action as the same as those idiotic TV ä reporters who stick a microphone in the face of an accused murderer and ask them to incriminate themselves by admitting to the crime. (“Mr. X, did you kill your wife?”) You should have known, and by now you definitely know, that what you did was nothing less than shooting yourself in the foot.
CHOOSE THE MUSE
Recently, I read Gabrielle Idlet’s condemnation of the misdeeds of her late father, the poet John Thomas [“Hitting the Beats,” July 19–25]. It would be a true blessing if the L.A. Weeklywould emulate its sister publication the O.C. Weeklyby providing readers with weekly coverage of the poets and poetry in Southern California. This would be so much better than your current policy based, it would seem, on the assumption that your readers aren’t interested in poetry-related subjects unless they are tinged with sensationalism.
SEEMS LIKE NEW TIMES?
Re: Joseph Treviño’s “Sinner Behind the Saint” [August 2–8]. Why don’t reporters stick to facts? The article seemed to be merely a chance to bash the Catholic Church. Mr. Treviño presented what he wants us to believe Bishop Onésima Cepeda is like. Why not print an actual interview with the bishop, and let us judge for ourselves?
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