June 20, 2005

The Progressives Go Bust

The Progressives Go Bust

As has been oft noted in the American media, the Democratic Party has done its best to appeal to new voters of late by calling Republicans “evil,” and likening Gitmo to Nazi concentration camps. Although it’s still unclear whether such tactics will grab many swing voters in these here United States, it strikes us as a peachy strategy. As far as we can intuit, nothing “riles up the base” quite like calling the country a haven for evil Nazis.

In fact, the local Howard Dean/Richard Durbin spin machine has been so appealing that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have recently pined to display our own radical bona fides. After all, nothing demonstrates your independent cast of mind quite like advertising the fact that you have the exact same political beliefs as all your friends.

Still, dear reader, we were caught in something of a quandary. How could we best champion our own commitment to radical politics? Perhaps an Eric Alterman T-shirt? Well, maybe, but we have the suspicion that an Eric Alterman T-shirt would be mighty ugly. Or how about a “Honk If You Love Robert Fisk” bumper sticker? Nah, that’s too tacky.

The Official Conspicuous Consumption Department here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” was stumped for a good while, until it came across an advertisement for the perfect products.

A group named the Progressive Arts Collective calls itself “an organization of artists and cultural workers who work toward the promotion of justice, a healthy environment, multiracial equality and cross cultural understanding.” Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

And what, you may be asking yourself, does this Progressive Arts Collective sell? Well, very prominently displayed on its “website” are sculpted busts of various “progressive” superstars.

What do we mean by “progressive” superstars? You know, dear reader, the usual suspects: Gandhi, Che, Malcolm X, Amiri Baraka.

Perhaps a few of you consider this array of heroes a bit quizzical. After all, whereas Gandhi offered independence to his homeland through non-violent resistance, Che helped Fidel Castro establish a police state in Cuba, and had a hand in the deaths of thousands. Not exactly similar figures, are they?

And then there’s Amiri Baraka. If you think hard enough, dear reader, you just might remember him. A while back, the Good Mr. Baraka spent some time in the lofty role as Jew-Hater Laureate. Among Mr. Baraka’s poetry are ditties blaming the Israeli government for 9/11.

Gee, nothing quite promotes “cross-cultural understanding” like an Amiri Baraka bust.

But the Progressive Arts Collective’s wares get even more bizarre. Its “website” also features a Cleopatra (VII) wall hanging.

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” had no idea that Cleopatra was a progressive. We suppose the label fits: She was a tyrant who poisoned her husband.

Perhaps our eco-conscious brothers at the Progressive Arts Collective champion Cleopatra because she attempted to use Mark Antony as a means to win a civil war in Rome and save her teetering kingdom. Or maybe our cross-cultural connoisseurs believe that Cleopatra, a Ptolemaic Greek, was black.

Anyway, if you ask us, we think the Progressive Arts Collective doesn’t have a suitably diverse array of objects. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” would love to get our hands on the following:

1. A commemorative Robert Mugabe ethnic cleansing statue

2. A watercolor of Fidel Castro imprisoning homosexuals

3. A calligraphy version of Noam Chmosky’s love letters to Pol Pot

4. A talking Kofi Annan doll: Just pull the string, and it says such humdingers as “Genocide? What Genocide?”

Posted at June 20, 2005 12:01 AM | TrackBack