Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Sock It To Me

On Tuesday's ATC when Norris said NPR was going to look back at 1968, I cringed...

She interviewed Bruce Schulman, a historian at Boston University. He seems likable enough, but -whew! what a dull assessment of 1968. Schulman and Norris spend a bit of time talking about the assassination of Martin Luther King. He and Morris present the usual whitewashed version of Martin Luther King. Schulman describes King as "the figure who more than any other represented the Utopian idealistic hopes for productive, peaceful change." Fair enough, but you'd never know that King's assassination conveniently occurred just as King was ramping up his radical politics, vigorously attacking not just the Vietnam War, but the violence and exploitation of the whole US capitalist system.

One can say that NPR's 1968 is a little better than Brokaw's perversions of 1968, but it was notable as much for what was mentioned as what was left out:

Included in NPR's look back was the Tet Offensive, riots in US cities, King's assassination, Robert Kennedy's assassination, Nixon on Laugh-In, and the Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympics.

Just a few minutes of thinking about 1968 brought to mind a few items left out of NPR's retrospective: The My Lai massacre, FBI's targeting of the Black Panthers (and COINTELPRO in general), French student/worker uprising, the Soviet crushing of the Prague Spring, and the Tlateloco Massacre in Mexico.

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