These Are Victims: Matthew Shepard and Emmett Till

This Is a Victim: Matthew Shepard

This afternoon, George Takei tweeted out this image. It is great and I’m pleased to share it here. (Matthew Shepard’s name is unfortunately spelled wrong.)

Phil Robertson’s anti-LGBT comments were totally offensive. And they show a creepy obsession that conservatives have with anal sex. Think about it. I assume none of the Ls are into anal sex. At least half of Bs aren’t into it. I don’t think any of the Ts are into it. So really, Granddaddy Robertson seems to only be concerned with some fraction of homosexuality. It shows that his Bible thumping is just an excuse for his intolerance. Typical American conservative Christian, “Goody! The Bible says I can hate on the gays!” It’s despicable and I’ll repeat what I said before, “In a nation that had any shame, this would be the last season of Duck Dynasty. Because no one would watch it anymore.”

But here’s the thing. I don’t find Phil Robertson’s comments on homosexuality nearly as offensive as I do his comments about the “happy blacks” of his youth. Maybe it is just because I am so used to “religious” people using their 2500 year old Bible verses to get away with their vile bigotry. Regardless, Matthew Shepard deserves to be remembered. But so does Emmett Till. So I used my meager artistic skills to create a corresponding image for him:

This is a Victim: Emmett Till
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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

4 thoughts on “These Are Victims: Matthew Shepard and Emmett Till

  1. You know, Blacks were very happy pre-civil rights. Because they knew if they dared show the least sign of anger in front of white people they could die for it. People like Howard Zinn were able to recognize those phony smiles as what they were; life under terrorism.

    You’ll recall that when less-bullshit versions of history began becoming mainstream in the late 80s-early 90s (having taken two decades to become mainstream) the right invented the fun phrase "revisionist history." Well, in a sense, ALL history is revisionist; the point of the field is to present newly discovered information/insight about the past. If you find and publish a town directory from 1822 that hasn’t been published before, you’re revising history.

    In the pejorative sense meant by the term, however, the right has patented "revisionist" history. Always did. always will. Because conservatism is a fairy story, full of magical heroes and monsters. Presented as straight political philosophy, it’s as worthless as those dead religious cults that abhorred intercourse. No intercourse, very few new cult members. Conservatism does not work, not for most people. When and where it is ascendant, it admits this. Where and when it is not in power, it revises history to sell itself to those who do not and would not benefit from it.

    Taibbi has a sharp point on the Beverly Hillbillies: Their staunch defender of "free speech," the vile Palin (Michael should sue!) was not so concerned with free speech when Martin Bashir was sacked for suggesting Mrs. Palin eat shit for her trivialization of slavery. Which, you’ll recall, was attacking one very public figure, not denigrating whole segments of the population.

    In the article, Taibbi links to a "Portland Mercury" review of Palin’s new book. She’s quoted in the review: "It was good Christians who opposed slavery and helped end segregation." This lie is repeated so often it now goes almost unnoticed. Yes, Black Christians helped end segregation. White southern Christians, and many northern Christians, opposed them. Billy Graham’s rise to fame came as an anti-civil-rights spokesman. And non-observant Jews were killed by southern Christians for supporting the movement.

    In a very calculated attempt to try and discredit the New Deal, the right savaged liberalism in the McCarthy period for having considerable basis in American communist/socialist parties. Isn’t it about time we call out modern American conservatism for having almost all its roots (Buckley too) in defending segregation? Especially since they have the unmitigated temerity to pretend they were its staunchest enemies all the time?

    150 years later, and we’re still fighting the Civil War . . .

  2. @JMF – You add so much to this blog with you comments. I really appreciate it. You really should have your own blog, but I’d hate to lose you around here.

    Some time ago, I wrote an article about how conservative ideas only have a shelf life of two generations max. We see it happening right now with gay rights. In 20 years, conservatives will do everything they can to avoid the awful truth of where they stood today. The same for conservatives today about the civil rights struggle. In Buckley’s defense, he did at least admit that he had been wrong. But he continued to repeat the same mistakes for the rest of his life.

    There really is a march of history (as long as civilization doesn’t crash). And those who stand in front of it yelling "Stop!" are going to look like fools or worse in retrospect. Go all the way back to Burke. Did the French Revolution go haywire? Yes. But his reaction to it made him literally "reactionary." That’s more of less what conservatism is. It isn’t anything so much as the instinct against change. And that’s not always a bad thing.

    What’s really worrying today is that mainstream conservatism (in America) doesn’t want to stop history–it wants to wind it back. This was always true on the margins, but such conservatives are now in control of the House of Representatives.

    I think the reason we allow conservatives to tell their stories and rewrite their own history of belief, is that we are social animals. We allow people to make mistakes and we allow people to believe their own BS if it makes them feel better. God knows, I depend upon that kindness. The problem with conservatives is that they continue to make the [i]very same[/i] errors they try to brush over in the past.

  3. Thanks so much for the nice words, and more for all the work you do to keep the site going! Merry Christmas!

    (And if I didn’t believe my own BS, at least in moments when I’m tired and down and need a mental break, I’d be loonier than I am already!)

  4. @JMF – I’m just telling it like I see it. Regardless, Merry Christmas to you too!

    I think self-delusion is especially important in our society, which is not very forgiving. See, for example, our over [url=]two million fellow citizens[/url] who are right now locked up in a cage.

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