January 24, 2013

“THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS” – Woody Guthrie’s enduring words…


WOODY’S FAMED ANTI-FASCIST SLOGAN:

“THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS”
      
Woody Guthrie (1912-1967)
       American folk musician and social activist
       The
legendary words he put on guitars he played
      
Some sources say Guthrie got his famous slogan from inscriptions painted on the sides of planes used by leftist Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), in their ultimately doomed attempt to prevent General Francisco Franco from imposing a Fascist dictatorship in Spain.
       Guthrie was a committed leftist himself (even an avowed Communist at one time), so that claim may be true. However, I was unable to find any authoritative history books or sites about the Spanish Civil War or any historic photos confirming the presence of the slogan on Republican airplanes, either in English or in the Spanish form “ESTA MÁQUINA MATA FASCISTAS.”
       Woody owned many acoustic guitars during his musical career. Photographs of him show that he played at least two adorned with the slogan “THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS.” In the best-known, now-iconic photo, the words are hand-written in large letters on the body of a guitar Guthrie has in front of him, hanging by a strap around his neck. In other photos, the words are on what appears to a hand-lettered sticker at the top of a guitar he is playing.
       Guthrie was certainly sypmpatico with the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. But unsurprisingly, in light of his strong pro-union and anti-racist activism, his definition of “Fascists” was broader than the political term applied to 20th Century political regimes in Europe. 
       The lyrics of his song
“All You Fascists” (which Guthrie once performed with the great African-American folk blues musician Sonny Terry on a radio show in 1944) say, in part:
          “Race hatred cannot stop us
          This one thing we know
          Your poll tax and Jim Crow
          And greed has got to go... 
          I’m going into this battle
          And take my union gun
          We’ll end this world of slavery
          Before this battle’s won
          You’re bound to lose
          You fascists bound to lose!”


PETE’S PEACENIK VERSION:

“THIS MACHINE SURROUNDS HATE AND FORCES IT TO SURRENDER”
      
Pete Seeger
       American folk musician
       Words written on Seeger’s favorite banjo 
       Seeger was a close friend of Guthrie. He was and remains an equally committed social activist. But he was always a strong believer in pursuing change through non-violent means and preferred to avoid even a metaphorical reference to the use of violence to achieve social change in America. In
a 2009 CBS News article, Seeger explained: “He [Woody Guthrie] had a sign on his guitar saying, ‘This machine kills fascists.’ I wanted something a little more peaceful.”


AN UPDATED VERSION FOR THE 21ST CENTURY:

“THIS MACHINE DRIVES NEOCON, HOMOPHOBIC, WAR-MONGERING, CORPORATIST, ANTI-INTELLECTUAL, POLLUTING, IMPERIALISTIC, CRYPTO-FASCIST, HATE-SPEAK, FAUX-POPULIST, THEOCRATIC, CHICKENHAWK PRIVATEERS FROM THE ROOM” 
      
Roy Zimmerman
       Musician and humorist
       Slogan written in a spiral on Zimmerman’s banjo
       One of the witty songs on Zimmerman’s 2010 album
Real American is “This Machine,” which ends with this funny final chorus: “This machine drives neocon, jingoistic, war-mongering, theocratic, faux-populist, anti-intellectual, drill-a-holic, social Darwinist, racist, sexist, isolationist, derivative insecurities, tax-cheating, C Street, hard line, strip mine, tea-bag, confederate flag, Birthers, Flat-earthers, hate-speak, crypto-fascists — and Brit Hume — screaming from the room.”


THE ROMNEY APPROPRIATION PLAN VARIATION:

“THIS MACHINE KILLS MUPPETS”
       A witty version shown on
the “Historical Romneys” Tumblr site
       This variation is on a guitar “held” by Mitt Romney in a Photoshopped version of the famous Woody Guthrie photo. It’s a satiric poke at the
infamous remark Romney made about the Muppet character Big Bird during his first presidential debate with President Barack Obama. Romney claimed to love Big Bird but said he would cut federal funding for PBS, which airs the hugely popular children's show that features the Muppets, Sesame Street.


A RECENT APPROPRIATION OF THE SLOGAN BY THE ANTI-GUN CONTROL SIDE:

“THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS”
       Sign held by a protester opposing a renewed ban on assault rifles in the US 
       The protester and his sign, which juxtaposed the slogan with a drawing of an assault rifle, were featured in a January 2013 story about the gun control debate
on Reuters.com.


A COUNTERQUOTE BY THE PRO-GUN CONTROL SIDE:

“This machine kills people.”
       Caption on a photo of an assault rifle posted
on the Social Polemics website

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January 18, 2013

Some people say “Guns don’t kill people.” Other people say…


THE FAMOUS ANTI-GUN CONTROL SLOGAN:

“Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”
       The unofficial slogan of the
National Rifle Association 
       Contrary to popular belief, this is not an official NRA slogan, though it has been used by NRA members and other gun rights advocates since at least the 1950s. Ironically, it has also been used as a gun safety slogan. For example, in a May 31, 1959 Associated Press story I found in NewspaperArchive.com, Fred A. Roff Jr., president of the Colt Patent Fire Arms Co., was quoted as saying “Our big concern is to make sure that guns get into the hands of only those who know how to use them. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”


EDDIE IZZARD’S COUNTERQUOTE:

“The National Rifle Association says that guns don’t kill people, people do. But I think the gun helps, you know? I think it helps. I think just standing there going ‘BANG!’ — that’s not going to kill too many people, is it?” 
       Eddie Izzard 
       British comedian and actor
       In his HBO comedy special Dress to Kill (1999)


THE FAUX QUOTE ATTRIBUTED TO CHARLTON HESTON:

“It’s not the guns that kill, it’s the maladjusted kids.”
      
Charlton Heston (1924-2008)
       American actor and President of the National Rifle Foundation from 1998 to 2003 
       This quote is attributed to Heston by The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations, but it appears to be a misquote of what he actually said. Here’s how it was reported
in The Denver Post: Asked if the prevalence of guns might have contributed to the shootings last year at Columbine High School, Heston said he had talked to the father of a girl who was killed in the massacre. “He said, ‘I’ll tell you this. This is not about guns; this is about maladjusted kids.’”
       Just for record, Heston also did not say: “Guns don’t kill people. Apes with guns kill people.” (In real life or in the 1968 movie Planet of the Apes.)


THE FAUX CHARLTON HESTON’S QUOTE:

Charlton Heston: (actor Bob Legionaire) “Damn it, George, you just don’t get it! Guns don’t kill people.”
George W. Bush (actor Timothy Bottoms):
“They don’t?”
Heston:
“No! Bullets do! Guns just get ‘em going really, really fast!”
       In the Comedy Channel TV series
That’s My Bush! (2001)


A WHITE PUNDIT’S OPINION:

“Guns don’t kill black people, other blacks do.” 
       David Horowitz 
       Conservative columnist and activist
       In an opinion piece in
Salon magazine, August 16, 1999, about the NAACP’s plans to file an injunctive class-action suit “to force gun manufacturers to distribute their product responsibly.”


A BLACK COMEDIAN’S COUNTERQUOTE:

“You know guns don’t kill people, stupid motherfuckers with guns kill people.”
      
Chris Tucker, playing the character Franklin Hatchett
       In the comedy movie
Money Talks (1997)


ART BUCHWALD’S LOGICAL EXTREME:

“Hydrogen bombs don’t kill people — people kill people. The bomb is for self-protection and it also has a deterrent effect. If somebody knows you have a nuclear weapon in your house, they’re going to think twice about breaking in.”
      
Art Buchwald (1925-2007)
       American humorist 
       In his book
Laid Back in Washington (1983)


AN AMERICAN DAD’S WISDOM:

“Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Guns defend people against people with smaller guns.”
       Stan Smith (voiced by Seth MacFarlane)
       In an episode of the animated TV series American Dad!


LARRY THE CABLE GUY’S QUIP:

“Guns don’t kill people. Husbands that come home early do.”
      
Larry the Cable Guy  
       One of his quips on the TV series Blue Collar TV 


THE UHF MOVIE QUOTE:

“Gun control is for wimps and commies. Listen, let’s get one thing straight. Guns don’t kill people. I do.”
       Earl Ramsey (played by actor Ivan Green) 
       In a TV news interview scene in “Weird Al” Yankovich’s gonzo comedy movie UHF (1969)

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January 11, 2013

“Life is like a box of chocolates” (or not) – the Celebrity Edition...


THE POLITICALLY CORRECT FILM VERSION OF WHAT FORREST SAID:

“My mama always said, life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
       Forrest Gump, as played by actor Tom Hanks  
       Lines spoken by Hanks in the 1994 film Forrest Gump
       This famous philosophical simile is not in the 1986 novel by Winston Groom that the movie is based on. It’s an altered, politically correct version of the opening lines of the novel, which read:
       “Let me say this: bein a idiot is no box of chocolates. People laugh, lose patience, treat you shabby. Now they says folks sposed to be kind to the afflicted, but let me tell you—it ain’t always that way. Even so, I got no complaints, cause I reckon I done live a pretty interestin life, so to speak.”


THE KATY PERRY TWEET:

“Life is like a box of chocolates, eat them all.”
       Katy Perry
       American recording artist, songwriter and actress
       In a Twitter tweet linked to a photo of her sitting on a bench that has sign with a Forrest Gump quote on it. (It does not appear to be the actual “Forrest Gump bench” used in the movie, which now resides in a museum in Savannah, Georgia.)


THE WILL FERRELL TWEET (NOT):

“Life is like a box of chocolates. It doesn’t last long for fat people.”
       A tweet on the ItsWillFerrell Twitter page 
       That Twitter site is apparently not the real Will Ferrell’s official Twitter page. It’s maintained by someone who calls himself “Not Will Ferrell,” though his snarky version of the Gump quote does sound like something the real Will might say.


THE CHUCK NORRIS VERSION:

“Life is not, in fact, like a box of chocolates. It is more like a box of Chuck Norris, roundhouse kicking you in the face. And if you receive a box of Chuck Norris, you ALWAYS know what you are going to get.”
       A quip posted on many Chuck Norris fan sites


THE TARANTINO “GUMP FICTION” VERSION:

“Life is like a box of chocolates. You open it up and most times someone's taken a bite out of each and every one. That’s when I gotta get out my .45 and blow their heads off. And that’s all I have to say about that.” 
       The MADtv show’s gonzo version of Forrest Gump
       Lines spoken by
played by cast member David Herman in the parody trailer for the faux movie Gump Fiction, directed by “Alfred E. Tarantino.” It’s a truly funny sketch from Episode 1 of Season 1 (first aired Oct. 14, 1995) that can currently be viewed on YouTube.

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