A friend sent me a worried email, saying Naomi Wolf’s recent lecture, found here on YouTube, caused him a restless night.
In this lecture, Ms. Wolf began her talk warning her audience that she would scare them, but at the end, it would all be okay. Soon, she would offer them solutions. She then outlined her concerns, based on her book research, that the USA is falling into a fascist state, and that the fall will happen quickly, rather than slowly–a drop off a cliff, rather than a slow decline.
She kept pointing to her wrist, devoid of a watch, and saying that she had known what was coming next in the news, because she had learned about how other countries, such as Germany and Italy, fell under a dictatorship.
She told us at what point she, herself, would stop speaking publicly. It would be when those of her social class and occupational group—the media writers and talking heads– were charged with sedition. But, she pointed out she had recently thrown away a tee-shirt she’d been given as a gift, that could be interpreted as seditious, before loading her suitcase for a plane flight. She also recognized that a $30. book she had bought to read on the plane, had classified information in it, although it could be bought in the airline bookstore. This, she also threw in the trash.
She was “on the list” she told us, plaintively, making a joke about her harmlessness based on height, her Jewish ethnicity, and her propensity to shop with her credit card in hand. “I’m not like them,” she seemed to imply. “I’m wealthy and white. This should not be happening to me.” She also appeared to further prove her “just like you” status by assuring us, with a mock plea for discretion, that her daughter watches “America’s Next Top Model.” Imagine, she confided, ‘Me, the author of the Beauty Myth!”
Her solutions were really easy. Give her your email address and vote Democratic. She spent less than five minutes offering them. Republicans have ruined this country and the President and Vice President should be impeached and imprisoned. But, Ms. Wolf, who will do it? Certainly not the Democrats currently in office.
Her easy solutions paled in comparison to the more powerful lessons that that lecture left in my consciousness and what she left unspoken. Why hadn’t she mentioned the democratic role in selling out our freedom? If she mentioned prisons, why not talk about her former employer’s role, Al Gore, in privatizing prisons in his own state of Tennessee? Didn’t he teach us all how profitable it was to put people behind bars? Couldn’t politicians reward friends and jack up their campaign contributions as a result? Weren’t these very same “prison-for-profit’ folks helping pay Ms. Wolf’s $15,000 a month consulting fees? And wasn’t the very nature of credit card debt serving to economically enslave USA citizens, and make them more compliant?
Why hadn’t she mentioned the complacency those of “just like herself”–those powerful shapers of the American consciousness? Why not attack the selectivity that goes into which news will make the “news” and which gets censored? And what about the intimate link between corporatism and fascism? She jokes about, instead of challenges the very mainstream media television network conglomerate that shapes her daughter’s values, as she watches “America’s Next Top Model.” No, she doesn’t mention this, because Ms. Wolf will not bite the hand that feeds her– and she’s not the least bit seditious or insurgent— which is why she’s such a media darling. She’s a billboard for the status quo.
While Patrick Henry said “Give me liberty or give me death,” Ms. Wolf tells us that it is better to toss a book than it is to be delayed in her flight plans. And if Ms. Wolf– best-selling author, Yale graduate, consultant to a former President and Vice President–carefully selects her reading material before boarding her flight, what powerful implicit message is she actually leaving us with?
“It’s a scary world out there, so thank goodness we still have the privacy of our voter box to bring the ‘Good’ guys (and gals) into office: The Democrats.”
Cost of Freedom? $30. Being a mouth-piece for the Democrats? Priceless.