What with everything going on today, it may strike you as strange that I'm thinking about Saul Alinski.
It was all over the web about a year ago, and the madness lasted well into the summer. Satanic Saul was all that the right-wingers could talk about. As I said back in March:
What a bizarre situation! I've been chatting with lefties since the Carter administration, yet I've never run across anyone who said: "You've gotta read Rules For Radicals! Saul Alinksy is a friggin' genius!" The guy simply hasn't been on my radar, and my radar takes in a rather large amount of territory.
Yet if you wander into RightWingerLand, you'll soon see that the folks there believe that guys like me have spent the past forty years eating, drinking and breathing Alinksy. The right thinks that Alinkyism controls our every action and every utterance.
Oddly enough, if you type the name "Saul Alinsky" into Google, you'll see that only right-wing political sites make the front page. Very few people on the left care about Alinsky -- even though the reactionaries love to hallucinate otherwise.
If you repeat that experiment now, you'll find that most of the Google hits take you to material printed six or more months ago. Alinski-mania is over. The moment is gone. The blog devoted to combating the Alinski threat
has not published a new story since August.
What I'm wondering is this: Was Alinski madness a real thing? I mean, the people who spread the fever -- were they sincerely
worried about the murderous menace of Saul Alinski? Or did they know full well that they were playing the rubes for suckers? When right-wing bloggers worked together -- worked collectively
, if you will -- to transform Saul Alinski into a scarecrow to frighten the gullible, did they do so disingenuously? Or did they really believe the shit they said?
Whenever the right fixates on a meme of this sort, I always wonder if their howlings express their legitimate feelings, or if they are simply engaging in political theater. Some of you may remember when we woke up one day last year to discover that every
Breitbart-linked blogger was talking about the murderous menace of Brett Kimberlin, a former jailbird who allegedly did something bad. We were told that Brett was a leader of the left, that all liberals everywhere hung on his every word, that Brett was the boss, that we were all Crusaders for Kimberlin. And every actual
liberal responded by saying: "Brett who
Does the right have a central planning office where they come up with these ersatz scandals
? If so, the hysteria machine seems to have broken down...