Sunday, June 18, 2017

Orson Welles commentaries


These days, WBAI constantly brags about its perceived uniqueness and that is not entirely wrong, for I can think of no other NYC station that is as amateurish and dishonest. Not true, however, is their claim of singular honesty. They like to tell their listeners that what they just heard can "only be heard" at 99.5. They are—or so they wish you to believe—driven by a "truth to power" pursuit.

There was a time when that would have been a true statement and I wish Bill Crosier the best of luck as he braves the deceitful elements and tries to get the station back on track.

I thought of this as I came across two vintage commentaries by the remarkable renaissance man, Orson Welles. When he spoke these words a week apart, July 28 and August 4, 1946, over the ABC Radio network, it brought national attention to an ugly sequence of incidents that was as revealing as it was commonplace. Wilson's hypocritical WWI slogan, vowing to "make the world free for democracy", remained as hollow and discriminatory in FDR's follow-up World War. Welles' broadcasts brought Isaac Woodard, Jr. and the racism he suffered into sharper focus, but it obviously did not do away with it. The opening comment here, by our friend, 'indigopirate' (see below) contains a link with details

I hope you will take a half hour to listen as Mr. Welles relates, comments and follows up on a shameful racist incident that took place in Aiken, SC and is all too similar to what we hear regularly in today's news, over 70 years later. His comments on world politics and our Congress sound equally current, and he does a fine job of responding to a complaint from the Mayor of Aiken.

17 comments:

  1. A valuable window into the not-so-very-distant past.

    My thanks for presenting it.

    The atrocity to which Welles calls attention is described at some length here, as are some of its echoes, its ramifications, its consequences https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Woodard

    Though we are ever and always a rancorous species, from time to time some small ‘progress’ is possible, and is to be deeply valued.

    ~ ‘indigopirate’

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  2. I knew Truman desegregated the armed forces but I never knew the context. Thanks for the info. Regarding your comments about Wilson and FDR, I've never liked the notion of summary judgments of past leaders from the present especially when we in the present enjoy the benefits of their actions. They need to be judged in the context of their time. They weren't angels but they weren't devils either.

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  3. The real devil at WBAI was Samori Marksman - that evil piece of shit destroyed the station - hope he is burning in Hell on the Father's Day!

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  4. Chris--Thank you for presenting the Welles broadcasts.

    Indigopirate--Thank you for the link.

    For all of the anti-white bigotry you hear on BAI these days, it's ironic that stories like this are not mentioned. I guess it's just too complex for the likes of Michael G and his ilk: They are not capable of thought, much less analysis.

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    1. I think Haskins is too dense to realize how dense he is.

      As always, it's good to see you around, Justine.

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    2. On this post-Juneteenth, once again the need to defend Michael G. stirs within me. It seems to be generally accepted in these precincts that he unfairly plays upon race. He always struck me as both aware of those local realities, but not monomaniacal.

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    3. His "playing upon race" is, sad to say, not backed by anything that might provoke meaningful thought from people of intelligence.

      I think he regards unbridled blather as evidence of "free speech".

      That said, there is also the matter of a "chief engineer" who cannot hear or be bothered by unacceptable audio misbalance, a "chief announcer" who stumbles over simple sentences, a "radio guide" who delivers a scam pitch as were it the weather outlook.

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  5. gloria brown , started talking about the london fire , but ofcourse quickly turned into
    black lives matter horseshit. How predictable are these idiots.

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    1. Almost too predictable to be believable.

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  7. Wednesday, June 21. It is 8:00 AM and WBAI has been off the air since 6:00 AM.

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    1. One wonders what Reimers' story will be this time. Surely, the ESB didn't pull the plug on WBAI for a mere $2,000,000 plus in arrears?

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  8. WBAI Podcasts thru iTunes starting July 1. Sounds good. Why am I just hearing about this now?

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    1. For a ready answer to that question, look who calls the shots at WBAI.

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  9. (JustAListener)
    Thanks for posting this.
    Issac Woodard and Rosa Parks made their mark before I was born, but while I was very aware of Parks, I had not heard of Woodard.
    Perhaps because Parks is seen as a heroic figure while Woodard might be viewed as a victim.
    And these days many seem to be unable to acknowledge there were whites like Welles that had the moral clarity and courage (yes, it would be easier to stay silent) to stand up and help propel civil rights.

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    1. If the weak one-track minds that fuel WBAI's current agenda allowed themselves to view more than a corner of the picture, Mr. Woodard's name would be known to listeners, but they prefer to fantasize about the likes of a thug who goes by the stage name of "mumia."

      It might also—as you point out—behoove the biased bozos to recognize the part people of other races (and, indeed, segments of mainstream media) played in combatting civil wrongs.

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  10. They should just change the name to wblm already , and get it over with. Geez

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