Listen to Rick Sanchez’s career-ruining rant and you quickly realize that he isn’t exactly endorsing The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He wasn’t really talking about the Jews–it was all about his own thin skin and his festering class and intellectual insecurities. “That’s what happens when you watch yourself on [Stewart’s] show every day and all they ever do is call you stupid,” he pouted, as he shot himself in the foot. Mostly what he said about Stewart was that he is “white, liberal, establishment.” That he comes from a ritzy NJ suburb; that his mother was a teacher and his father was a “physicist or something” and that he could never relate to a guy who wasn’t like him, who didn’t share his view of the world, and certainly not to a Hispanic whose father worked with his hands. All the big people at CNN are the same way too, Sanchez went on. Glib, smug, and if it comes to it, Jewish. They all think I’m dumb; they all look down on me.
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, as the old adage says, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Unfortunately, Sanchez makes his living (or made his living, until he resurfaces on Fox) by saying whatever comes into his head. He just couldn’t help himself.
Over at Salon’s War Room there’s video of Sanchez’s former colleague Anderson Cooper–now that’s what a member of the elite looks and sounds like–laughing at a clip of Rick Sanchez getting Tasered. Surely Cooper’s laughter stung no less than Stewart’s.
I’m Jewish and Sanchez’s rant didn’t offend me in the slightest. In fact it made me kind of sad. It’s a Cuban American version of What’s the Matter with Kansas–pure backlash and perfectly puerile.”The great goal of the backlash,” Frank wrote, “Is to nurture a cultural class war, and the first step in doing so, as we have seen, is to deny the economic basis of social class. After all, you can hardly deride liberals as society’s ‘elite’ or present the GOP as the party of the common man if you acknowledge the existence of the corporate world–the power that creates the nation’s real elite, that dominates its real class system, and that wields the Republican Party as its personal political sidearm.”
Sanchez’s backlash rage is purely instinctual. But for many other Cable TV pundits and rightwing political operatives, who deliberately egg it on, it’s a tactic of scapegoating, of divide and conquer. “We have set one against another the personal and national reckonings of the goyim, religious and race hatreds, which we have fostered into a huge growth in the course of the past twenty centuries,” as the Elders of Zion put it. And it works. All that the money powers have to do is get Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity to wave the bloody flag of cultural resentment–“They think you’re stupid! They say you’re bitter and cling to guns and religion!”–and they get to keep their tax cuts. As Thomas Frank put it (I’ve quoted this passage before): “the backlash was born to lose. Its goal is not to win cultural battles but to take offense, conspicuously, vocally, even flamboyantly. Indignation is the great aesthetic principle of backlash culture; voicing the fury of the imposed upon is to the backlash what the guitar solo is to heavy metal.”
If you want to see the real face of racial bigotry, go lurk at the white nationalist Stormfront forum and read what they’re saying about Sanchez’s downfall. “The Hispanics are catching on to the Jew,” one poster quips. “Do we get to close the border yet?”
“I’m guessing Sanchez has an Amerindian background,” another muses. “A real American ‘Latino’ AmeriIndian. A Castizo or non-White.”
“Sanchez was always a first-rate bigot himself. He seemed to care nothing for anyone who wasn’t an obvious visible minority. Especially if they weren’t Hispanic. I feel no sympathy for him whatsoever, and am glad he’s not still using airtime to fulfill his political agenda. Jon Stewart? If ignorance was ‘water’, that left-wing prick would be the ‘OCEAN’.”
“The Jews are going to hold him to the fire until he rescinds his statements. I hope he continues to call out the Jews for what they are,” another applauds. And then adds this: “Geez, these “Latinos” can sure get bitter when they think they are being discriminated against. White men have been getting ripped off by Affirmative Action since the days of Richard Nixon; good to hear Rick is getting a taste of it.”