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Former United States Senator Jesse Helms, 1921 - 2008.
July 4, 2008 8:22 AM   Subscribe


 
Wow, now I have two reasons to party today!
posted by Nelson at 8:23 AM on July 4, 2008 [9 favorites]


*
posted by Afroblanco at 8:24 AM on July 4, 2008 [5 favorites]


Treble.
posted by biffa at 8:26 AM on July 4, 2008


3-peat!!
posted by tresbizzare at 8:27 AM on July 4, 2008


On the Fourth of July.

Mixed emotions, I have. He was the epitome of so many North Carolinians of his generation, both for good and for ill.

Most of you knew him as Senator No. Many of us of my generation knew him as an editorial broadcaster-if I recall correctly, for Channel 5.

Whether you hated him or loved him or were indifferent to him, he is definitely a part of this nation's history.
posted by konolia at 8:28 AM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


he is definitely a part of this nation's history

like a lung cancer, yes.
posted by yort at 8:30 AM on July 4, 2008 [8 favorites]


I wonder if he ever had a Tantric massage?
posted by Abiezer at 8:30 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know who else was part of a nation's history?

/obligatory
posted by bhance at 8:31 AM on July 4, 2008 [10 favorites]


This seems like the best of the bunch, even if I mistook it as number two instead of number three when I was deleting the real number two.
posted by cortex at 8:33 AM on July 4, 2008


Woot! Hope your trip to hell is quick, Jesse.
posted by cerebus19 at 8:34 AM on July 4, 2008


Jesse Helms, White Racist by David Broder, Washington Post.
posted by ericb at 8:35 AM on July 4, 2008


This nation lost two Bozos in one week.
posted by applemeat at 8:36 AM on July 4, 2008 [19 favorites]


Is this the guy that makes the kickin' head gear?
posted by oddman at 8:36 AM on July 4, 2008


What a patriot. Checking out on Independence Day.

I thought he was dead already. So long you racist fuck. It is guys like Helms that make me wish there was a hell.
posted by birdherder at 8:37 AM on July 4, 2008


Some of his choice words -- from the attributed quotes link*:
"There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy."

-- States News Service, 5/17/88

"What is really at stake is whether or not America will allow the cultural high ground in this nation to sink slowly into an abyss of slime to placate people who clearly seek or are willing to destroy the Judaic-Christian foundations of this republic."

-- 1990, on funding for the National Endowment for the Arts

"I've been portrayed as a caveman by some. That's not true. I'm a conservative progressive, and that means I think all men are equal, be they slants, beaners or niggers."

-- North Carolina Progressive, February 6, 1985

"Let me adjust my hearing aid. It could not accommodate the decibels of the Senator from Massachusetts. I can't match him in decibels or Jezebels, or anything else apparently."

-- 1993 Senate floor debate with Ted Kennedy

"All Latins are volatile people. Hence, I was not surprised at the volatile reaction."

-- stated by Helms after Mexicans protested his visit to Mexico in 1986 to investigate allegations of political corruption.

"To rob the Negro of his reputation of thinking through a problem in his own fashion is about the same as trying to pretend that he doesn't have a natural instinct for rhythm and for singing and dancing. The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that's thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men's rights."

When a caller to CNN's Larry King Live show praised guest Jesse Helms for 'everything you've done to help keep down the niggers,' Helms' response was to salute the camera
and say, 'Well, thank you, I think.'"

--- Wilmington Star-News, 9/16/95

"If God had wanted us to use the metric system, Jesus would have had 10 apostles."

"The New York Times and The Washington Post are both infested with homosexuals themselves."

University of North Carolina (UNC). "University of Negroes and Communists."
posted by ericb at 8:38 AM on July 4, 2008 [45 favorites]


Thanks for that, ericb--I guarantee you that MSM coverage of Helms' death will mirror that of his retirement. This native North Carolinian does not mourn his passing.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:38 AM on July 4, 2008


Sen. Helms was a lighthouse keeper singing a beautiful song of liberty, equality, and justice while he worked through the night to guide us past these rocky shores and shoals of immoral, silvery fish. His light, now sadly extinguished, leaves us all racing dangerously towards unknown cliffs and sandbars that will strand us and leave us desperate for salvation. Now we are left with nary a Coleman lantern to guide us through these strange waters, and the world is worse off for it. Godspeed, Sir Helms, may your memory enlighten us for ages, as you were truly a humble, noble king amongst men.
posted by cmonkey at 8:39 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is part of the masterplan of the Republicans to provide the US with unlimited energy. When Obama wins it in 08, the generator they wire to his body will spin so fast it could power the country for the next century.

Good riddance to bad trash. I know one shouldn't speak ill of someone when they've passed, but for him I can make an exception.
posted by inthe80s at 8:40 AM on July 4, 2008 [7 favorites]


Thanks for reposting that, ericb. There were some good comments in the first post.
posted by yoga at 8:40 AM on July 4, 2008


No dots
posted by netbros at 8:40 AM on July 4, 2008


Obligatory Bill Hicks quote:

I'm so sick of hearing, "Well, your leaders misspent your hard-earned tax dollars, so you the people have got to tighten your belts and we gotta start payin' this back, because we, your leaders, misspent your money." You know what would make tightening my belt a little easier? If I could tighten it around Jesse Helms' scrawny little chicken-neck. "AHHHH, I feel better about the sacrifice right now!"

"You fuckin' tobbacco-pushin' motherfucker... you are the worst fuckin' drug dealer in the fuckin' wooooorld, you scrawny, right-wing fearmongering piece of -- SUCKER OF SATAN'S COOOOOCK! YOU SUCK SATAN'S COCK, you fuckin' chicken-necked little cracker!" I'd tighten my belt if that were the case. I'd eat bologna for a week, you know what I mean? I'd sacrifice.

Boy, Jesse Helms is another great one, isn't he? Just another fevered ego tainting our collective unconscious. Cause you know, anyone that far to the right, like Swaggart, anyone that far to the right is hiding a very deep and dark secret, you do know that, right?

I'm an armchair fuckin', uh, psychologist BUT, anyone - you know that when Jesse Helms finally dies, he's gonna commit suicide first of all in a washtub outside, underneath a pecan tree. He's gonna slash his wrists and write in blood, "I've been a bad boy." But you know they're going to find the skins of young children drying in his attic, swarms of horseflies going in and out of the eaves, and on CNN over and over, his wife going, "I always wondered about Jesse's collection of little shoes." Anyone that far to the right is hiding a deep, dark secret.

posted by tapeguy at 8:40 AM on July 4, 2008 [14 favorites]


Good riddance, you sorry fuck.
posted by cropshy at 8:41 AM on July 4, 2008


Something tells me most will not commemorate the memory of Helms dying on the 4th. of July in the same way that we remember three notable Americans who also passed away on this national holiday: Thomas Jefferson (1826), John Adams (1826) and James Monroe (1831).
posted by ericb at 8:41 AM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


"I've been portrayed as a caveman by some. That's not true. I'm a conservative progressive, and that means I think all men are equal, be they slants, beaners or niggers."

I'm sorry, I need extra proof that that one's a real quote and not something that a comedian attributed to him or something.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:42 AM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Shine on, you crazy deutsch bagge.
posted by porn in the woods at 8:44 AM on July 4, 2008


Mixed emotions, I have.

Really? At least you admit it, I guess.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:45 AM on July 4, 2008


What's the over/under on the time of the Metatalk call out for shitting in the obit thread?

Shine on, you crazy deutsch bagge.

Don't mention the Germans.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:47 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mixed emotions, I have.

Why am I not shocked?
"Many white North Carolinians are no doubt motivated to vote for Helms because of the almost primal fears he fans. 'The principles we're espousing have been around for thousands of years,' former aide James Lucier once explained, citing the 'prepolitical' themes of God, family, property, and national pride.

But some voters are also attracted to Helms by the personal qualities that make him a rarity among politicians. He brings genuine passion and a sense of moral purpose to what he does. He stands on principle and refuses to compromise. He stands by his friends, and he forces opponents to vote on issues they would rather ignore.

'Most North Carolinians are not as conservative as Jesse Helms,' says Paul Luebke, a state representative and author of Tar Heel Politics. 'But by presenting himself as a man of courage, willing to stand up against "tax-and-spend liberals," homosexuality, and so forth, Helms commands respect.'" *
posted by ericb at 8:47 AM on July 4, 2008


I'm generally not a fan of grave-dancing, but I can honestly say I won't miss him.
posted by jonmc at 8:51 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


former aide James Lucifer once explained

FTFY.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:53 AM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


"There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy."

He did later redeem himself somewhat by sponsoring bills funding HIV/AIDS treatment in Africa. All thanks to this man.
posted by dw at 8:53 AM on July 4, 2008


"...as a TV commentator, [h]e spent the decade railing against [Dr. Martin Luther] King, 'Negro hoodlums,' the media, 'sex perverts,' and anyone on welfare. As he explained in one of his nightly five-minute broadcasts, 'A lot of human beings have been born bums.'"*
posted by ericb at 8:53 AM on July 4, 2008


I'm generally not a fan of grave-dancing, but I can honestly say I won't miss him.

I've walked past the Helms burial plot many times. If you're ever in Raleigh, let me know and I'll take you by.
posted by EarBucket at 8:57 AM on July 4, 2008


Something tells me most will not commemorate the memory of Helms dying on the 4th. of July in the same way that we remember three notable Americans who also passed away on this national holiday: Thomas Jefferson (1826), John Adams (1826) and James Monroe (1831).
posted by ericb


I was trying to find some other old conservative, racist fuckwad that is still alive and have Helms' last words be: "That other conservative, racist fuckwad still lives" like Adams' supposedly last words about Jefferson. Maybe we'll get lucky and whoever that other old conservative, racist fuckwad that I can't think of will die later today and say "Helms still lives." Which I guess is what would have to happen for my original analogy to work.

I still can't bring myself to say I'm glad someone is dead. But I don't mind saying in his obit thread that he was a racist, hateful and divisive person.
posted by marxchivist at 8:58 AM on July 4, 2008


I wonder how many illegitimate black children this one fathered.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:59 AM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


I noticed that CNN didn't mention his racism AT ALL
posted by mrbill at 9:00 AM on July 4, 2008


Here's his soon-to-be grave. I guess I need to change the title on that photo.
posted by marxchivist at 9:00 AM on July 4, 2008




EarBucket, I didn't say I wanted to actually do it. I like to think I'm above that kind of stuff. I simply wanted to make it clear that I did not like the man or what he did.
posted by jonmc at 9:01 AM on July 4, 2008


So, does anyone have anything nice to say about this guy?

I ask as a young pup who was 18 when Helms retired. I missed his career in politics; did he do anything worthwhile?
posted by JDHarper at 9:02 AM on July 4, 2008


Yay!
posted by cazoo at 9:02 AM on July 4, 2008


I'll leave my disrespect for the dead to defter hands.

MC Stephen Hawking - Why Won't Jesse Helms Just Hurry Up And Die?
posted by uri at 9:02 AM on July 4, 2008


"Soon after the Senate vote on the Confederate flag insignia, Sen. Jesse Helms (R.-N.C.) ran into [Carol] Mosely-Braun (D.-Ill.) in a Capitol elevator. Helms turned to his friend, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah), and said, 'Watch me make her cry. I'm going to make her cry. I'm going to sing 'Dixie' until she cries.' He then proceeded to sing the song about the good life during slavery to Mosely-Braun

-- Gannett News Service, 9/2/93
posted by ericb at 9:04 AM on July 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


Goodbye, you horrible old fuck. With you and Strom Thurmond both gone, maybe I can hold my head up as a Carolinian once again. Please, if there is a god, don't ever let another one of you rise zombie like from the swamps and pollute our political air ever again. I'm going to hope that we've finally, finally moved past a time where you and your ilk could ever rise to any office higher than town idiot, although I don't mean to insult the revered position and many fine people in the office of town idiots.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:09 AM on July 4, 2008 [11 favorites]


So, does anyone have anything nice to say about this guy?

Part of the reason he kept getting reelected was his staff offered really good constituent service. My grandma was having some problems with her some social security or veteran's benefits and a call to his office cleared it right up. Plus, I guess he had grandchildren, maybe they liked him.

And no, I did not just say something nice about him. Probably any Senator would've done the same thing. But helping his constituents was part of his reputation around here. At least among white folks.

I missed his career in politics; did he do anything worthwhile?

Except for helping my grandma, no. He did his best to keep this country mired in a white-supremacist past.
posted by marxchivist at 9:10 AM on July 4, 2008


The video that greets you at the website of the Jesse Helms Center asks "Do You Think Like An Entrepreuer?"
posted by jbickers at 9:10 AM on July 4, 2008


Perhaps it's karmically fitting that, in the year in which we're likely to elect our first African-American President, the last of the old-guard racist politicians on the national stage would die on Independence Day.
posted by mkultra at 9:12 AM on July 4, 2008 [24 favorites]


Fuckin' a!
posted by gman at 9:16 AM on July 4, 2008


Hey buddy, you OK there?
posted by ardgedee at 9:16 AM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


did he do anything worthwhile?

Read the link! He died.
posted by dobbs at 9:17 AM on July 4, 2008 [22 favorites]


From Wikipedia:

Helms had "the 'humorous habit'" of calling all black people "Fred".

What's the origin of this? Is it something like "George", or was he just trying to inject a little wackiness into his bigotry?
posted by decagon at 9:18 AM on July 4, 2008


To echo what mgl said: the more relics from uglier eras pass on (Strom Thurmond, Lester Maddox, and now Jesse Helms), the more the South can move forward and put the past away.
posted by jonmc at 9:18 AM on July 4, 2008


I was going to put up a Kurt Vonnegut arsehole (*) of remembrance, but I see afroblanco has beaten me to it.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:20 AM on July 4, 2008


Drama queen, making the holiday all about him.

what's the opposite of the dot? "+"? "!"?
posted by fuse theorem at 9:22 AM on July 4, 2008


Whether you hated him or loved him or were indifferent to him, he is definitely a part of this nation's history.

So were a lot of people. But he said and did a lot of unconscionable things, so I can't really mourn him all that much.
posted by jonmc at 9:23 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I missed his career in politics; did he do anything worthwhile?

Yes, and personally as well. Apparently he lived his life under Milk Wood.
posted by IndigoJones at 9:25 AM on July 4, 2008


Every time a bitter racist conservative dies, an angel gets its wings.
posted by Lectrick at 9:25 AM on July 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


'A lot of human beings have been born bums.'

At least he knew himself well.
posted by wendell at 9:27 AM on July 4, 2008


So, does anyone have anything nice to say about this guy?

I have a really nice set of prints from well known NYC artists because of him. Long time ago, they got together and published print editions to raise money to try to defeat him. Of course it didn't work, but if not for him I wouldn't have this nice art. But I guess that is actually saying something nice about the artists - who put their time and talent into trying to defeat a racist.
posted by R. Mutt at 9:27 AM on July 4, 2008


Is this the guy that makes the kickin' head gear?

No, that's Jesse Helmet.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:31 AM on July 4, 2008


America's suddenly a little bit brighter.
posted by Legomancer at 9:37 AM on July 4, 2008


Unfortunately, we're still stuck with a lot of the racist bastards that kept electing him.
posted by Legomancer at 9:39 AM on July 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


What an asshole...good riddance.

*
posted by schyler523 at 9:40 AM on July 4, 2008


"And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."
posted by Flunkie at 9:41 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


He died too soon. I truly wish he lived long enough to see, and would have been cognizant enough to understand, that a black man was going to be his next president. Fuck this guy.
posted by hobbes103 at 9:41 AM on July 4, 2008 [10 favorites]


This one's gone too.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:41 AM on July 4, 2008


"Soon after the Senate vote on the Confederate flag insignia, Sen. Jesse Helms (R.-N.C.) ran into [Carol] Mosely-Braun (D.-Ill.) in a Capitol elevator. Helms turned to his friend, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah), and said, 'Watch me make her cry. I'm going to make her cry. I'm going to sing 'Dixie' until she cries.' He then proceeded to sing the song about the good life during slavery to Mosely-Braun

Y'know, some people who say dumb shit I can shrug off as products of their time or misguided or ignorant or whatever, but that makes me realize that Jesse Helms wasn't just a bigot, he was a mean-spirited bully, too.
posted by jonmc at 9:41 AM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Shrug.

(That's my suggestion for a good "opposite" for a single period.)
posted by CommonSense at 9:43 AM on July 4, 2008


The prospect of a black president was just too much for him, I guess.

I can't help laughing, though; even such a veteran denialist cannot have escaped realizing how much the backlash against his blundering, venomous stupidity has paved the way for the Obama candidacy.

Fat chance, but R. I. P., Jesse.
posted by jamjam at 9:44 AM on July 4, 2008


Also, Sen. Mosely-Braun should've sang this until he shut the fuck up.
posted by jonmc at 9:45 AM on July 4, 2008


Larry "Bozo" Harmon and George Carlin both died of Heart Failure. They haven't reported Helms' cause of death yet, but you can't have something fail that you don't have.

Did anybody ever sing "We Shall Overcome" to him until he cried?
posted by wendell at 9:47 AM on July 4, 2008


*burns confederate flag over jesse helms' grave, pisses on the ashes*
posted by pyramid termite at 9:47 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


The prospect of a black president was just too much for him, I guess.

now i'm actually sorry he died - the bastard should have lived to see obama be made president and then died
posted by pyramid termite at 9:49 AM on July 4, 2008 [4 favorites]


That's quite enough of that.
posted by tommasz at 9:50 AM on July 4, 2008


On the 4th of July? Like Adams and Jefferson? I'm speechless.
posted by orthogonality at 9:51 AM on July 4, 2008


My first ever use of the "F" word on the internet.

Good fucking riddance!
posted by notreally at 9:56 AM on July 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


REALLY
posted by notreally at 9:56 AM on July 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


fuse theorem : what's the opposite of the dot? "+"? "!"?

That would be the *

(And if only Vonnegut had lived to see this day)
posted by Afroblanco at 9:56 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Every time a Republican dies, a black man eats chicken wings. Good riddance, asshole!
posted by ChickenringNYC at 9:58 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've always believed we should only say good things about the dead.

Jesse Helms is dead. Good.
posted by MrBadExample at 10:06 AM on July 4, 2008 [12 favorites]


This is really sad, truly heartbreaking...that I never got a chance to punch him in the dick.
posted by The Straightener at 10:06 AM on July 4, 2008 [8 favorites]


Happy birthday, America.
posted by Flunkie at 10:09 AM on July 4, 2008 [4 favorites]


*
posted by joe defroster at 10:10 AM on July 4, 2008


the bastard should have lived to see obama be made president

maybe he said 'over my dead body,' and God said 'that can be arranged.'
posted by jonmc at 10:10 AM on July 4, 2008 [21 favorites]


Helms was a staunch supporter of Taiwan, and for that he will be missed.
posted by gyc at 10:15 AM on July 4, 2008


Go Go Hagiography!

It seems that we're all wrong about Jesse. He had a black friend, so he couldn't possibly be racist!
posted by Legomancer at 10:16 AM on July 4, 2008


There seems to be a lot of floccinaucinihilipilification of the Senator.
posted by MtDewd at 10:16 AM on July 4, 2008


Even the most evil things eventually end.
posted by clockzero at 10:26 AM on July 4, 2008


I'm conflicted about this. On the one hand, I think he was--well, others upthread have covered all that. On the other, I think a certain amount of respect is due when people die. And no, I really don't want to get into an argument about that. I'm sure someone will start one, though.

So.. compromise: I feel sorry for his family. One hopes that they loved him, and they are probably very sad right now.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:27 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Er... I don't hope that they're sad. Obviously.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:29 AM on July 4, 2008


I think a certain amount of respect is due when people die.
Only one of us said he pisses on Helms' grave. How much more respect do you want?
posted by Flunkie at 10:29 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I more or less agree with you, dnab. And quite frankly, the reason I try not to indulge in grave-dancing (I fail sometimes) is that I sleep better when I can say 'I was more decent than you.'
posted by jonmc at 10:30 AM on July 4, 2008


That's neither respect nor decency. That's "I'm better than you."
posted by Flunkie at 10:32 AM on July 4, 2008


I'll just say that there's double the reason to celebrate this day today. Happy 4th, y'all.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:34 AM on July 4, 2008


Goodbye, you fucking buffoon.
posted by sonic meat machine at 10:35 AM on July 4, 2008


Only one of us said he pisses on Helms' grave. How much more respect do you want?


*sigh* You missed the point of what I was saying.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:37 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


"You needed that job..."


You know, I think all our American friends here, whenever they have the misfortune to be in the company of someone who uses the term "liberal media" unironically, should mention how said "liberal media" obscenely whitewashed Helms's racism from the coverage of the later part of his career and of his death. Cuba, abortion, they were only side issues: Helms was about one thing, and one thing only:
Appearing on “Larry King Live” in 1995, Jesse Helms, then the senior senator from North Carolina, fielded a call from an unusual admirer. Helms deserved the Nobel Peace Prize, the caller gushed, “for everything you’ve done to help keep down the niggers.” Given the rank ugliness of the sentiment — the guest host, Robert Novak, called it, with considerable understatement, “politically incorrect” — Helms could only pause before responding. But the hesitation couldn’t suppress his gut instincts. “Whoops, well, thank you, I think,” he said.
He spent his life doing all he could to "keep down the niggers", period. Of course, the liberal media is instead telling us all about the anti-communist, "pro-life" Senator, instead. Not even Nixon, with his hero's funeral, got this kind of treatment with kid gloves.
posted by matteo at 10:38 AM on July 4, 2008 [4 favorites]


matteo, it's only 'liberal bias' when it's saying what the rightwingers don't want to hear.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:41 AM on July 4, 2008


Maybe they'd rather he fade away into the dustbin of history where he belongs.
posted by jonmc at 10:41 AM on July 4, 2008


"If God had wanted us to use the metric system, Jesus would have had 10 apostles."

This one's actually funny.
posted by oaf at 10:43 AM on July 4, 2008


I think a certain amount of respect is due when people die.

Not everyone. My only sadness is he didn't waste away from a mysterious communicable illness while his government did nothing and told him it was god's judgement for his lifestyle.
posted by Nelson at 10:43 AM on July 4, 2008 [9 favorites]


Jesse Helms is the subject of one of my favorite jokes by the political comedian Will Durst.

Back in the early 80's, when Helms was trying to slash funding for the NEA, Durst said that "Jesse Helms doesn't know enough about art to spell it, even if you spotted him the A and the T." Later in the same routine, Durst is talking about a painting of dogs playing poker or somesuch, and he imagines Jesse Helms pointing to the painting and exclaiming, "Now that's aft!"
posted by stefanie at 10:44 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


He spent his life doing all he could to "keep down the niggers", period.

That's a good summary of his life and career. Perhaps add something about his anti-homosexual legacy also.
posted by marxchivist at 10:44 AM on July 4, 2008


Wow, despite the full-on economic collapse this could shape up to be a pretty good year for America.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:46 AM on July 4, 2008


*sigh* You missed the point of what I was saying.
*sigh* Back at you, actually.
posted by Flunkie at 10:46 AM on July 4, 2008


No, Flunkie, seriously.. I wasn't asking anyone else to do anything. I have a history of pointing out in MeTa obitchuary threads that I feel respect is deserved. Someone like this pushes the very far edges of that feeling. That's all I was saying. I wasn't asking for anything. That's why you didn't get it. Is that clear enough?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:49 AM on July 4, 2008


That's neither respect nor decency. That's "I'm better than you."

or conscience.
posted by jonmc at 10:51 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


As a life-long North Carolinian, I can think of no better way to say it than this:

When we first heard the news this morning, there was joyful singing and dancing on my street.
posted by thivaia at 10:53 AM on July 4, 2008


Oh, please. If your objection is that I think you're demanding respect for Helms, change my statement from "How much more respect do you want" to "How much more respect do you think he deserves".
posted by Flunkie at 10:53 AM on July 4, 2008


I wish he had died during his hay day when he had power. I imagine he would really have hated that. 'So many to hate, so little time.' Dying now in this fossilized state is pathetic.
posted by hojoki at 10:53 AM on July 4, 2008


or conscience.
No, conscience would be if you didn't do it to say that you're better than him.
posted by Flunkie at 10:54 AM on July 4, 2008


I'll bet he died on the 3rd and the fudged it so they could say it was on the 4th.
posted by RavinDave at 10:54 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Respect is never deserved, it is earned.

A man who exploited the ignorance and hate of poor white southerners for political gain for decades and actively worked to oppress those less fortunate is a villain plain and simple.

He has earned no respect.

We should hold a parade celebrating his demise. Seriously.
posted by device55 at 10:54 AM on July 4, 2008 [4 favorites]


I suspected the same, RavinDave.
posted by hojoki at 10:55 AM on July 4, 2008


Flunkie, put it this way: I didn't like the man or his policies or his statements, but maybe he had some people somewhere that loved him, and I think everybody deserves a small modicum of respect simply for being a human being. and yes, maybe there's a little bit of tactical advantage in saying "I showed more respect for your dead than you did for mine.' If you want to argue against that, go ahead, but what you're making is the small end of a fine point shaved down to nothing and accomplishes zero.
posted by jonmc at 10:57 AM on July 4, 2008


hojoki writes "Dying now in this fossilized state is pathetic."

I know North Carolina can be backward, but I thibk calling it a "fossilized state" is going too far. ;)
posted by orthogonality at 10:57 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Shine on, you crazy deutsch bagge.
posted by porn in the woods at 4:44 PM
hey, we have enough racist assholes to worry about, you can keep that one.

(was he of german heritage? Not that it would change anything, the little man with the beard was from austria and that doesn't really absolve the germans.)
posted by kolophon at 10:58 AM on July 4, 2008


I read the other day that North Carolina could be a swing state in the upcoming elections.
I hope that NC residents put the bigotry and racism behind them and make the right choice.

If this does happen then this truly is a great country.
posted by Webbster at 10:59 AM on July 4, 2008


Didn't Jesse hire James Meredith?

Helms was more complicated on racial issues than the caricature he became for many Americans. He actually had African Americans on his staff including James Meredith who integrated the University of Mississippi.

Yes, it IS complicated. And back a few years ago it was way more complicated than it is now. Please realize that even white southern politicians grow and learn.

Heck, even my racist father invited and hosted my black son in law for Christmas dinner last year.

How about let's not have total knee jerk reactions at a man's death-and instead take the opportunity to learn a little bit more about what was truly going on?
posted by konolia at 11:00 AM on July 4, 2008


obitchuary

ISWYDT
posted by yort at 11:00 AM on July 4, 2008


Fuck 'im.
posted by billypilgrim at 11:03 AM on July 4, 2008


fossilized "condition", then. :)
posted by hojoki at 11:03 AM on July 4, 2008


Please realize that even white southern politicians grow and learn.

Sure (I say that unsarcastically). George Wallace publicly apologized for the things he did duringthe civil rights era. Helms didn't. I don't believe in the knee-jerk anti-Southernisms that many engage in, but Helms was what he was.

Heck, even my racist father invited and hosted my black son in law for Christmas dinner last year.

Good for him. But part of reconciliation is acknowledging past wrongs and how wrong they were, and Jesse Helms kept the drum beating beyond any kind of sense (not that there ever was any, but you see what I'm saying).
posted by jonmc at 11:05 AM on July 4, 2008


I don't think he was a good man, but I offer sympathies to his family, who no doubt loved him and are grieving.
posted by Justinian at 11:07 AM on July 4, 2008


everybody deserves a small modicum of respect simply for being a human being.

Citation needed.
posted by tzikeh at 11:07 AM on July 4, 2008 [3 favorites]




dirtynumbangelboy writes "I think a certain amount of respect is due when people die"

Oh, I disagree. I firmly believe that some deaths in this world should be celebrated. Either happiness for a life well-spent, or joy at seeing the end of a life that caused sorrow and misery for others. In either case a celebration is warranted, and if there's a line forming to dance on the grave, go ahead and join the queue.

The only respect due to the dead is the respect the dead person in question had for others when he or she were still living. If a Fred Phelps or a Robert Mugabe dies today, then find that grave and dance, motherfucker, dance - and sleep with a clear conscience when you are done.

Now, Jesse Helms? I'm not saying I'm driving to Raleigh to spit on the headstone, but weighing the good he did against the bad... I surely won't miss the son of a bitch.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:15 AM on July 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yeah, he was a douche bag... a truly evil man. But, as I've said in previous obit threads, I just can't take pleasure in the death of another.
posted by brundlefly at 11:16 AM on July 4, 2008


The fact that he lived so long and died relatively peacefully is just more confirmation to me that there is no benevolent sky father, and that this country is sick at it's core.
posted by vertigo25 at 11:16 AM on July 4, 2008


I can't hold a grudge against Jesse Helms. He was very nice to my mother once. She was trying to cross a busy intersection, and he stopped punching a black man in the face long enough to help her get across.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:18 AM on July 4, 2008 [13 favorites]


I finally got around to watching Sicko the other day, and ever since have been somewhat conflicted about the idea of celebrating our nation today. But now, yes, I'll enjoy those fireworks knowing that today we're a little bit better than we were yesterday.
posted by sriracha at 11:20 AM on July 4, 2008


I believe some singing and dancing is called for.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:23 AM on July 4, 2008


He doesn't deserve a period
posted by mike3k at 11:23 AM on July 4, 2008


the little man with the beard was from austria

Freud?
posted by briank at 11:24 AM on July 4, 2008


Looking back on the recent deaths of Jesse Helms and Bozo the Clown, I'm rather saddened to see Bozo the Clown pass on.
posted by tyllwin at 11:24 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, please. If your objection is that I think you're demanding respect for Helms, change my statement from "How much more respect do you want" to "How much more respect do you think he deserves".

And you're still missing the point. I wasn't asking anyone else to do anything or change their behaviour or anything. I was musing on the conflict this brought up in me.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:27 AM on July 4, 2008


just can't take pleasure in the death of another.

Man, it's a heavy burden you lay on me. But ok, I'll take the pleasure for you.
posted by Nelson at 11:28 AM on July 4, 2008


Grave dancing is fun, definitely. And I agree that much of it is born from an ugly place in the human soul, the "I'm better than you" place.

But this is a case where a man proudly and effectively spent his entire lifetime causing real, measurable, tangible harm and suffering to many, many good, honest, hard working patriotic people whom I love very much, including my dark-skinned wife, my gay sister, and many of my close friends. To reflect upon his life and accord him respect for the type of life he led is far more offensive and disregarding of human dignity than spending some time on the internet pointing out the short comings of his pathetic world view.

Yes, as a human being he deserved basic human dignity and I think he got that in his lifetime. But he also pissed on everything important to me in the world so he can go fuck himself all the way to hell.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:30 AM on July 4, 2008 [6 favorites]


If the death penalty is supposed to be a deterrent to violent crime, then why can't dancing on the grave of a racist asshole be considered a deterrent to racist assholery?
posted by troybob at 11:30 AM on July 4, 2008


But now, yes, I'll enjoy those fireworks knowing that today we're a little bit better than we were yesterday.

This brings up a topic I often think about, in terms of progress, if you'll permit me to discourse a little bit... I always find it astounding how things like true racism, sexism, and other varieties of bigotry & hatred can persist for so long in the face of rationality and decency. And yet, every day another "fossilized" appendage of the octopus of our collective consciousness crumbles away (take THAT English language!), and someone born today takes its place, living their whole lives in a racially/culturally diverse neighborhood (like me), or among many openly homosexual friends (like my sister), etc. So, even if I & my family are as whitebread as it gets, we are exposed to, and are not afraid of, the Other, and can't be pushed around for fear of them, because they are our friends and neighbors.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 11:37 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


On the other, I think a certain amount of respect is due when people die.

I totally agree with you. I think a lot of us forget that death is an accomplishment that few achieve, an accomplishment so strong and brave that it negates the fact that the person who managed to pull off such a feat was a complete shitbag undeserving of respect or being pissed upon while on fire while alive.
posted by cmonkey at 11:39 AM on July 4, 2008 [14 favorites]


I'm looking forward to reading the Raleigh News & Observer tomorrow-- both op-eds and letters-- it should be interesting. I was going to link to the comments page where people are invited to "Share your remembrances of Jesse Helms, tributes and condolences" but so far there are only 2 comments, including one "good riddence."

So instead I will link to this article in which the current senior Senator from North Carolina, Barbara Dole, remembers that he always used to call his mother on her birthday, and one time he took his staff out for ice cream. (!)
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:40 AM on July 4, 2008


Grave dancing is fun, definitely. And I agree that much of it is born from an ugly place in the human soul, the "I'm better than you" place.

Well, yeah. Which is why, on a certain level I'm glad he's gone, since like I said, everytime another relic of that era dies off is a chance for somebody more reasonable to take over. And, like you, I'm angry at the grief him and his kind caused plenty of people close to me. But, I also want to believe that I'm better than him, and frankly wanting to consider yourself the moral superior of Jesse Helms is not exactly scaling the heights of self-righteousness, so I'll allow myself the small indulgence of feeling superior to him for not dancing on his grave while still giving his actions all the ridicule they deserve.
posted by jonmc at 11:41 AM on July 4, 2008


Jonmc nails it. Almost all of the most hardcore Southern segregationists repented of their ways later in life, at least publicly. Wallace, Thurmond, they admitted they were wrong. Helms never did. As a North Carolinian, there was nothing more embarrassing than the fact that for many people, this racist fossil was the public face of my state. I wrote about this for my college paper back when Helms retired. Looking back, it's not my best piece of writing, but I still agree with the central thesis. Helms earned the support of many North Carolinians not because they were necessarily racist or hateful, but because he represented a bulwark of stability during a time when our state was changing. I can't excuse it--the truth was too obvious to ignore--but perhaps I can understand it. Now we again find ourselves on the cusp of even more meaningful change: there's a lot of talk that NC might go for Obama this November. Will it actually happen? I don't know. But I can think of no better refutation of the politics of division and spite that Helms represented for so long.
posted by Rangeboy at 11:41 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


...

I just said to my half-asleep fiance, "Hey, Jesse Helms died."

Our parrot interjects, "That's good!"

I'm not making this up.
posted by Nattie at 11:43 AM on July 4, 2008 [12 favorites]


Almost all of the most hardcore Southern segregationists repented of their ways later in life, at least publicly.

Off all of them, I'm only persuaded that Wallace was sincere, since once you brush aside his racism, he was actually fairly liberal, unlike Helms. Jim Goad actually wrote a fairly perceptive article comparing Wallace and Elijah Muhammad.
posted by jonmc at 11:45 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Addendum to my comment: maybe I should mention that my sister is in 9th grade, and that even 10 years ago when I myself was in 9th grade, having openly gay students would have caused some kind of major riot, fire, or small scale civil war in my hometown.

My point is, eventually things get better, because people like Jesse Helms die. Eventually.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 11:46 AM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


I totally agree with you. I think a lot of us forget that death is an accomplishment that few achieve, an accomplishment so strong and brave that it negates the fact that the person who managed to pull off such a feat was a complete shitbag undeserving of respect or being pissed upon while on fire while alive.

cmonkey, you're missing it too. I agree that he was a reprehensible human being. I stated what very clearly. I also feel that people deserve respect when dead--if for no other reason than for the family and loved ones of the dead person. That is why there is a conflict for me here. I really, really don't understand how I could be any more clear.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:48 AM on July 4, 2008


I hope there is a God.
I hope God washes Jesse's filthy, tainted, wasted soul clean and forgives him his sins and shows him the justice and mercy that Helms spent the best part of his life denying to others.

But, first, I hope God tortures that motherfucker good.
Something involving humiliation and degradation and shunning.

Redemptive suffering, baby.

Mr. Helms, God rest his human soul, deserves the chance to redeem his soul just like any other sad, misguided, ingnorance and hate filled evildoer. But redemption isn't free.

Penance first, then mercy.
posted by mer2113 at 11:50 AM on July 4, 2008


Sen. Helms was a lighthouse keeper singing a beautiful song of liberty, equality, and justice while he worked through the night to guide us past these rocky shores and shoals of immoral, silvery fish. His light, now sadly extinguished, leaves us all racing dangerously towards unknown cliffs and sandbars that will strand us and leave us desperate for salvation. Now we are left with nary a Coleman lantern to guide us through these strange waters, and the world is worse off for it. Godspeed, Sir Helms, may your memory enlighten us for ages, as you were truly a humble, noble king amongst men.
posted by cmonkey at 8:39 AM on July 4


I think a lot of us forget that death is an accomplishment that few achieve, an accomplishment so strong and brave that it negates the fact that the person who managed to pull off such a feat was a complete shitbag undeserving of respect or being pissed upon while on fire while alive.
posted by cmonkey at 11:39 AM on July 4 [+] [!]


The irony is strong with this one.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:50 AM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


And you're still missing the point. I wasn't asking anyone else to do anything or change their behaviour or anything. I was musing on the conflict this brought up in me.
I'm guessing that you missed the part where I said that if your objection is that you think I think you're demanding that anyone else do anything or change their behavior or anything, you're wrong.
posted by Flunkie at 11:50 AM on July 4, 2008


Slarty, I'm not sure what you're getting at. cmonkey's a lot of things, but he's generally a decent guy and pretty staedfast in his positions. You'll have to do better than cherry-picked quotes to attack him.
posted by jonmc at 11:54 AM on July 4, 2008


The whole 'respect for the dead' thing is superstitious garbage. What's horrible about this guy is not simply that he was a bigot, but that he fostered and benefited from bigotry, and quite enjoyed it. He has planted seeds of hatred that will go on for decades, and efforts to find something good to say about him--like the media's (so far) shying away from this horrible legacy of his--are an embarrassment in a time when we should know better. The last message we should send to any bigot is that they can still manage to command our respect.
posted by troybob at 11:56 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe the word is not "irony" so much as "knack for scathing satire".
posted by cortex at 11:57 AM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I thought cmonkey's first quote was serious when I first read it. That's all
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:57 AM on July 4, 2008


troybob, I think you realize that's expressly not what most of us are doing.
posted by jonmc at 11:57 AM on July 4, 2008


"Democracy used to be a good thing, but now it has gotten into the wrong hands."
posted by popechunk at 11:59 AM on July 4, 2008


Off all of them, I'm only persuaded that Wallace was sincere, since once you brush aside his racism, he was actually fairly liberal

I'm not sure I would call him "liberal," but I agree that Wallace was a far more complicated man than either Helms or Thurmond. His early racism seems to have been tactical rather than innate (as evidenced by his infamous comment about his failed 1958 bid for governor.)
posted by Rangeboy at 11:59 AM on July 4, 2008


We will all be dead someday, and the universal condition is why I generally will not generally speak ill of the newly dead, but keep my mouth shut, except to say that in this case, Jesse Helms looked liked a cartoon turtle.
posted by Snyder at 12:00 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I thought cmonkey's first quote was serious when I first read it. That's all

And it was meant as a compliment.

posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:01 PM on July 4, 2008


For the record, the liberal, godless, pro-Al Qaeda, pro-Hamas, unborn-child killers over at the New York Times slapped a big photo of Helms with Reagan (Reagan, you know, the greatest President ever) over their website's front page and in a very long obituary the NYT mentions the word "segregation" once, in this context:
For Mr. Helms, the orderliness of the small town even encompassed racial segregation; as a child, he saw it not as a great evil but as an accepted part of his world.
I mean, only as a child, 80 years ago, he saw segregation as part of daily life, like hot weather in the summer and Christmas trees in December. For the rest of his life he was clearly against it, one assumes from the Newspaper Of Record's obituary.
posted by matteo at 12:01 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


please do take notIce that thIs sentence does not have a dot In It

no dots

he doesnt deserve punctuatIon

so what helms had supported taIwan

nIxon had supported chIna

both men were elItIst racIst prIcks and theIr tIme Is over

forgIve yes of course

forget hopefully sooner than later

today we celebrate our Independence from helms scrawny ass and bIg fat mouth
posted by ZachsMind at 12:02 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


The last message we should send to any bigot is that they can still manage to command our respect.

I know. I agree with you! For God's sake, seriously, do you people not read? Nobody here is saying that we should respect him. The only person who came close was me, and I have more than clarified what I said. Seriously. What is wrong with you people?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:05 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


take it to Meta, dirtynumbangelboy
posted by matteo at 12:06 PM on July 4, 2008 [8 favorites]


I agree that he was a reprehensible human being. I stated what very clearly. I also feel that people deserve respect when dead--if for no other reason than for the family and loved ones of the dead person. That is why there is a conflict for me here. I really, really don't understand how I could be any more clear.
You have not clearly made a convincing argument that by simply dying a monster deserves more respect than he did in life.
posted by device55 at 12:07 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


He was always my touchstone for the one person who would have made a worse president than Bush. Now I guess Bush is number one.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:11 PM on July 4, 2008


How about let's not have total knee jerk reactions at a man's death-and instead take the opportunity to learn a little bit more about what was truly going on?

Ok konolia, explain to us whats "truly going on" when Helms saluted and said "thank you, I think" to somebody who congratulated him for "keeping down the niggers" in 1995.

What was going on then? Or when he said that Bill Clinton would "need bodyguards" if he ever visited NC?

We know, konolia, you (*heart*) the Republican party and all they stand for, but this is just ridiculous. Helms was an evil and racist man who did everything he could to pit 2/3rds of North Carolina against the other 1/3 his entire political career.

Some day you're just going to have to own up to the fact that your Favorite Super Friends in the Southern Republican party were, for most of your life, really rotten people who believed really rotten things.

Oh but its all ok because Dems are baby-killers, right? Helms loved babies, even the filthy, criminal negro babies!
posted by Avenger at 12:12 PM on July 4, 2008 [7 favorites]


"I am from North Carolina, and I did not vote for Jesse Helms" was a popular bumper sticker 'round these parts. The parts that hated Jesse Helms.
posted by malaprohibita at 12:12 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


dirtynumbetc: I was speaking to the general thing in the media now that is holding back on giving any kind of accurate assessment of this guy, which seems to come from this idea of observing respect for the dead, if not simply fear of the right-wing crowd they seem so scared of anymore.

Believe it or not, everything around here is not about you.
posted by troybob at 12:13 PM on July 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


Zach, I flagged your post to take care of the one on the bottom of the flagging exclamation point. But I can't do anything about your username or the colon in the timestamp.
posted by Esoquo at 12:13 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


You have not clearly made a convincing argument that by simply dying a monster deserves more respect than he did in life.

Probably because I'm not arguing that? Please go back and re-read what I've written.

*sigh*

Whatever. I give up. Henceforth I'll keep my comments confined to LOLCATS threads, since I am clearly speaking in a different language.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:15 PM on July 4, 2008


by the way, this is the NYT today in full revisionist mode re: Helms's radio program:
From 1960 to 1972 he did political commentary on WRAL radio, WRAL-TV and the Tobacco Radio Network. The stations’ statewide reach and Mr. Helms’s piquant commentaries against communism, the “lax” criminal justice system and welfare turned Mr. Helms into a household name, both loved and hated.
So, according to the NYT, Helms there spoke out against communism, crime, and welfare.

A less dishonest view of his broadcasts:
Helms, as a prominent TV editorialist, repeatedly criticized what he called "the so-called" civil rights movement, attacked the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and portrayed the white South as a victim of a national smear campaign.

"The civil rights struggle is now no more than a political gambit leading to anarchy," Helms said in a WRAL editorial in April 1964. "It is time for politicians to stop thinking of the minority bloc votes of the next election and start thinking of the next generation. Otherwise America will be destroyed from within -- just as Karl Marx forecast."
More on the content of his broadcasts here:
What he doesn't say is that the 2,751 editorials were based in some of the most venal bigotry of the times. "Are civil rights only for Negroes?" he asked in 1963. "White women in Washington who have been raped and mugged on the streets in broad daylight have experienced the most revolting sort of violation of their civil rights. The hundreds of others who had their purses snatched last year by Negro hoodlums may understandably insist that their right to walk the street unmolested was violated." In his five-minute editorials, Helms condoned lunch-counter segregation; said civil-rights protesters were "no less an affront to society" than the Ku Klux Klan; and accused civil-rights marchers of participating in "sex orgies of the rawest sort." He also insisted that four Alabama Klansmen who murdered a Detroit woman in 1965 were responding to "deliberate provocation" by Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon Johnson. If Helms feels any remorse for inflaming racial tensions in North Carolina during the 1960s, he reveals none of it in his new autobiography.

In fact, he still justifies his opposition to civil-rights laws. "Many good people who supported the principle of progress for everyone could not agree to the destruction of one citizen's freedom in order to convey questionable 'rights' to another," he writes. "They believed forced social engineering was hazardous to the freedom we all deserve." By polarizing the races, Helms writes, the civil-rights movement constituted a "new form of bigotry." But he also wants us to know that he himself is not a racist. As proof he offers his "friendship"--more like friendly banter--with one of the Capitol's black elevator operators.
I mean, he was just against "social engineering", after all.
posted by matteo at 12:15 PM on July 4, 2008


I'm stopping my attempt at the 'no punctuation thing' from this point forward cuz it's far too much effort to put into a man this dead and this racist, but just pretend everything in this thread is without any resemblance of punctuation cuz that woulda been cool looking.

Welcome to MetaFilter: Where we roast dead racist bigots, and we roast anyone who remotely attempts to defend said dead racist bigots!

I love MetaFilter. =)

Really. Each and every one of you still in this thread. We've already exhaled far more than enough carbon dioxide in this DEAD RACIST BIGOT CARCASS' direction. We already know anyone who tries to defend him is secretly one day also going to be a DEAD RACIST BIGOT CARCASS and there's no need for the rest of us to constantly underline or highlight the fact that DEAD RACIST BIGOT CARCASSes suck raw eggs through a straw and should be ground up and fed to starving pigs.

But this is only the same kind of hate Helms spewed for a career and a lifetime -- just pointed in the opposite direction. That doesn't make it any better.

We've wasted enough time on this fool in this thread. There may be a hundred or more comments after the one I'm making right now. Just riddle me this: Recent obit threads have included George Carlin, Tim Russert, Don S. Davis, and that cute little masturbating walrus. Does Helms really deserve to be in such esteemed company?

We loved and respected Carlin, Davis, Russert, and that stupid walrus far more than we do Jesse Helms, and yet he gets his same day in the MeFi sun to shine. There's some kind of imporant Afterschool Special kinda message to be had here, but I've lost sight of it cuz I can't get over the fact that Jesse Helms is a DEAD RACIST BIGOT CARCASS. I think I'm gonna have me a beer!
posted by ZachsMind at 12:26 PM on July 4, 2008


This is all getting kind of weird, in that konolia and dirtynumbangelboy are being joined at the hip here. They're both decent, but somewhat addled people who've been at eachother's throats before. That's kind of a strange side-effect of a thread about the death of a bigoted senator, but maybe I'm crazy.
posted by jonmc at 12:27 PM on July 4, 2008


Who in the what now?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:35 PM on July 4, 2008


Jesse Helms was a traitor to his country.

He was such a friend of the brutal Chilean dictator Pinochet that he warned him of an impending CIA operation against him.

Not to mention the time he basically called for the President's assassination "Clinton better watch out if he comes down here (North Carolina). He'd better have his bodyguard." The Secret Service wanted to press charges, but was dissuaded.


I hope he and his close friend Pinochet rot together in hell.
posted by eye of newt at 12:40 PM on July 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


Henceforth I'll keep my comments confined to LOLCATS threads

so, you favor the imprisonment of all verbalizations with risable felines? i expected no less out of you.
posted by quonsar at 12:41 PM on July 4, 2008


eponysterical.
posted by Dave Faris at 12:43 PM on July 4, 2008


I never thought anything could top the Fourth of July when I was 14 years old, and the cool punk rock skater boy I had a crush on walked me home from the city park after fireworks, and we stopped off in the cemetery where I had my first kiss.

I was wrong. This is the BEST Fourth of July EVER!
posted by scody at 12:43 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Who in the what now?

Meaning yo're both taking shit here. That's all. Maybe you can coonect based on that. Call me kooky.
posted by jonmc at 12:43 PM on July 4, 2008


I thought cmonkey's first quote was serious when I first read it. That's all

I just like writing over-the-top memorials to people who don't much deserve it. Sorry for the confusion.

posted by cmonkey at 12:44 PM on July 4, 2008


Maybe you can coonect

LOL
posted by quonsar at 12:46 PM on July 4, 2008


Haha. It was typo. Holiday, I've been drinking.
posted by jonmc at 12:47 PM on July 4, 2008


May he be resurrected as a mighty cockroach! Cya Biattchhhhh!!
posted by Flex1970 at 12:52 PM on July 4, 2008


This is the BEST Fourth of July EVER!

All things considered, seconded.
posted by humannaire at 1:01 PM on July 4, 2008


This ridiculous etiquette of not speaking ill of the dead is what leads to apparently reputable news organizations writing obituaries that are complete lies of omission. Painting a dead person in a good light is all well and good for regular citizens, but lying & glossing over in order to spare the feelings of a politician's grieving family is trumped by the public's right to the truth. Isn't the obituary of a famous person an historical document in many ways, when it comes from a world famous publication?
posted by zarah at 1:02 PM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Adding to the pile of "good riddance, supreme and monumental asshole" sentiment.

Maybe this will be a normal human stride toward ethical evolution, as opposed to the micromillimeters he's restricted [NC] to for way too many decades. I'd rather waste my keystrokes on someone that gives a damn about humanity.

-signed, a graduate of the University of Negroes and Communists
posted by yoga at 1:03 PM on July 4, 2008


But this is only the same kind of hate Helms spewed for a career and a lifetime

No, it isn't. Not at all.
posted by JackFlash at 1:03 PM on July 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


I know there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth over Obama's FISA compromise, but I can think of no better way to get Jesse Helms to spin in his grave than to donate money to the Obama campaign in North Carolina. If we can get the home state of Jesse Helms to put the first black man in the White House, I can think of no better symbolic victory over racist assholery.
posted by jonp72 at 1:11 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


We're all just idiots on this bus. I hope, for Jesse's sake, death brings this message home, and he can find his place in the circle. I guess humanity needs people like him for balance, to offset the generous and compassionate.

But I'm glad he's not troubling us anymore.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:15 PM on July 4, 2008


Well, my momma always told me, if you can't say something nice, then say nothing at all. So, I'm outta here. Heh.
posted by jamstigator at 1:16 PM on July 4, 2008


Haha. It was typo. Holiday, I've been drinking.

I hope so! Better to have imbibed in the spirits than to have been imbued with a demon spirit!
posted by troybob at 1:25 PM on July 4, 2008


Well, my momma always told me: "If you can't say something nice about someone, come over here and sit by me."
posted by ericb at 1:42 PM on July 4, 2008


Way too late in this thread, just saw it ... but I gotta agree with Lentrohamsanin: I am skeptical about the "caveman" quote. The only source for it is some dude's att.net website. No real attribution there.

Not that I wouldn't love for it to be real, mind you. But it just set off too many red flags when I read it; sounds like something a comic would write.
posted by Ike_Arumba at 1:45 PM on July 4, 2008


Goodbye, you monstrous old scumbag.

The world would have been better off without you.

Obituary: Jesse Helms
posted by Auden at 2:01 PM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Fuck yeah. Happy birthday America. Rot in hell Jesse.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:25 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Stay classy, Metafilter.

That said, fuck Jesse Helms. Fuck him in hell forever.
posted by Caduceus at 2:27 PM on July 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


JDHarper: I ask as a young pup who was 18 when Helms retired. I missed his career in politics; did he do anything worthwhile?

I looked in the New York Review of Books archive and found a 1987 article by Garrett Epps, The Discreet Charms of a Demagogue. Subscribers only, unfortunately. Epps describes his political impact:
Days after Helms was sworn in [in 1973], the Supreme Court ruled abortion legal; Helms's crusade against Roe v. Wade became a model of the tactics he would use in building the New Right. By tacking "pro-life" amendments onto unrelated bills, he forced his colleagues to vote on the abortion issue again and again; these votes were then used against them at election time. Helms has never hesitated to embarrass his peers on issues that would build a national constituency—the Panama Canal, school prayer, busing, "secular humanism," and other now-familiar New Right causes. In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 1975, he said, "I think we will find our majority in presenting our views in terms that are easily understood by persons who are worried about what is happening to them, but are outside of active political participation."

By doing so, the right could enlist "not only our trusty band of ideological conservatives, but nonpolitical people who are grappling in their own communities with issues such as pornography, the right to life, school textbooks, community control of schools…. We must not forget that the most fertile ground for political action lies with the millions who are completely disgusted with both major parties."

Helms has also helped set up many of the New Right's network of PACs, foundations, and think tanks. He has a genius for fund raising. In his 1978 campaign for reelection, against weak opposition, he raised more than $6 million—then a record. In 1984, he raised a staggering $16.5 million, an all-time record for a Senate campaign. An analysis of campaign documents in 1985 by the Institute for Southern Studies and The North Carolina Independent showed that more than 60 percent of Helms's money came from donations of $200 or less—the small givers who respond to direct-mail appeals. The survey found that "most of Helms's biggest givers are risk-taking entrepreneurs, owners of medium-sized, often family-dominated businesses, producers of hard goods rather than services."

In effect, Helms has successfully combined the support of the "nonpolitical people" he described in 1975 with that of rich backers of the old far right. Texas oilman Nelson Bunker Hunt, for example, gave the 1984 Helms campaign $4,000—and gave $90,000 to a Helms-related foundation, the Institute of American Relations, which advocates right-wing policies in Latin America and has financed some of Helms's trips there.

The 1972 election left Helms with a small campaign debt. With his friend Tom Ellis he sent out a direct-mail appeal for help; it was so successful that it grew into the National Congressional Club, a computerized direct-mail fund-raising machine whose headquarters are in Raleigh. The club is the nation's richest political action committee; it raised and spent more than $15 million in 1986 alone. Without Helms and the club, Ronald Reagan would very likely not be president today. In 1976, Reagan seemed about to drop out of the presidential race after defeats in the primaries in several northeastern states. Helms urged Reagan to remain in the race until the North Carolina primary; and with Helms and Ellis guiding his campaign (among other things, they circulated a handbill with a photograph of then Senator Edward Brooke, a black man, and warning that Ford might make him vice-president), Reagan scored an upset in North Carolina and went on to lose by a surprisingly narrow margin to Gerald Ford at the convention. This made him the party's frontrunner for 1980.
posted by russilwvong at 2:36 PM on July 4, 2008


Well hot damn, he was a slumlord, too. That's cute.
posted by Caduceus at 2:37 PM on July 4, 2008


Damn. This is hard.

I promised myself that I would be good and not talk shit about a dead man or woman in the next dead asshole obit thread. I know that we all fail to live up to our potential, and that I myself have been petty and unkind, and that all people deserve empathy and compassion.

And then Jesse Motherfucking Helms happens to be the dead asshole in the next dead asshole obit thread.

Fuck it. Good riddance, you evil, nasty, cruel piece of shit. I hope the last rational thought you had before your brain turned into fucking pudding was "I wasted my life causing untold grief to good men and women; may god have mercy on my soul."
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:46 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm reading this listening to my music on random, and as I was halfway down the thread, the Great God iTunes selected the end of Handel's Foundling Hospital Anthem, which starts "The people shall tell of their wisdom, and the congregation shall show forth their praise."

And I thought, not really.

So flipped over to Haydn's Creation:

Affrighted fly hell's spirits black in throngs;
Down they sink in the deep of abyss,
To endless night.
Despairing cursing rage
Attends their rapid fall.

Much better.
posted by athenian at 2:58 PM on July 4, 2008


I wondered why none of you were at the lake today. So long suckers I'm going outside to light some fireworks.
posted by nola at 3:30 PM on July 4, 2008


pleasepleasepleaseplease let God be a black, gay women
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:51 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, my momma always told me, if you can't say something nice, then say nothing at all. So, I'm outta here. Heh.
posted by jamstigator

And my momma taught me that if someone tells a racist, sexist joke in your presence, you don't add your tacit agreement with your silence, but rather speak out and make it clear that bigotry and blind hatred are not to be tolerated by decent people.

Helms was a man with very bad thoughts who should have kept those evil thoughts locked up in his breast. Instead, he used his influential position to spread the poisonous hatred. On today of all days--the day we celebrate our great Democratic Nation-- we should remember that as a man elected to represent North Carolina in the United States Senate, Helms represented all of the people of his state. But for Helms, Blacks and Gays were lesser people not deserving to be represented. He was a blot on our Nation's history; he does not deserve to be buried with Pomp and Circumstance. He should be buried in silence and quickly forgotten.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:55 PM on July 4, 2008


*******!
posted by OolooKitty at 4:03 PM on July 4, 2008


I feel bad... for all the damned in hell who'll have to make room for his rotten, stinking corpse. Good riddance to that bigoted, homophobic piece of garbage. May you be joined with the rest of the trolls who voted for you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:40 PM on July 4, 2008


Folks -- what dirtynumbangelboy is trying to say is: "Helms was an asshole, but even assholes have people who loved them, and breaking out the party hats when someone dies makes their grieving families even more sad. So that's why I personally am not going to do it." He wasn't saying "respect the dude, y'all," he was saying "I would feel weird making Helms' kids cry, so I'm gonna sit this out."

And that's why I tend to sit this kind of thing out too.

But I am going to make one pedant's point -- everyone saying "whoo-hoo, it's a birthday present to America, he died today"? He actually died yesterday. ...Sorry, that's just been bugging me a little. :-)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:47 PM on July 4, 2008


Actually from the linked article, it says he DID die today; one article I saw had the time of death at around 1:30 AM.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 4:50 PM on July 4, 2008


I would like to point out that Jesse Helms died during the scant few days between the nationwide Gay Pride parades and the fireworks displays that celebrate our nations independence. A person of African-American descent is pending major party nomination to the highest office in the land. What I like most about our Jesse is how he goaded people into working toward his defeat.
posted by telstar at 4:50 PM on July 4, 2008


I would feel weird making Helms' kids cry, so I'm gonna sit this out.

Jesse Helms' kids are on Metafilter??
posted by scody at 5:02 PM on July 4, 2008



Helms is personally responsible for probably at least as many AIDS deaths as his belated conversion to support for funding for the African initiative can save. The "Helms act" to this day bans federal funding for needle exchange programs and Bill Clinton didn't have the balls to lift it when he had the chance.

Obviously Helms didn't really believe that all AIDS resulted from gay sex-- he wanted to be sure it would kill as many IV drug users and their partners and children as possible, too. It was another way he worked to oppress black people (sadly, much of the black leadership was complicit in this part by also opposing needle exchange)-- there's not much of a heterosexual epidemic outside the black community in the U.S., but most of what there is in the black community is due to failure to prevent infections in IVDU's, not amongst gay men. The UK, which did needle exchange early under Thatcher, didn't even have a real epidemic amongst addicts-- let alone in the poor communities around them.

One of my favorite pieces of AIDS activism was when TAG, then part of ACT UP, put a giant condom over his house.
posted by Maias at 5:14 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Helms had "the 'humorous habit'" of calling all black people "Fred".

Maybe, but did he ever get a leather for his Fred?
posted by bwg at 5:28 PM on July 4, 2008


Senior Senator from North Carolina, Barbara Dole

I believe you mean Elizabeth Dole.


Meanwhile, Jesse was the rightwinger of rightwingers, who knew that in order to get elected in North Carolina at that time he had to be racist. And he probably was racist himself, for a very long time. In later years, he mellowed some, how much, I don't know. But enough to hire African Americans for his senate office.

He stood for a lot of things I hate, and he also stood for a few things I support.

I'm thinking that you can disagree with someone, vehemently, without hating them. When you start hating, you are no better than the person you hate.

Again, he was an integral part of NC politics. I'd say about as much as Ted Kennedy was for Massachusetts, at least at one time.
posted by konolia at 5:31 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


When you start hating, you are no better than the person you hate.

See, that's the thing. My hatred for Jesse Helms is very specific and very personal. It is for the individual, the man who sat in the Senate for thirty years on a platform of racism, bigotry, and isolationism. It is for the powerful politician who did nothing when AIDS started killing my friends, nothing except point and accuse and further their deaths with his political action. A hate Jesse Helms, the individual.

Helms hatred was much deeper, broader, and blacker. Helms hated whole groups of people and used that hate as a force to get himself re-elected time and again. And he took that hatred and committed terrible injustices against the very people his job was to protect.

My hate is nothing compared to his.

I'm thinking that you can disagree with someone, vehemently, without hating them.

Sure, and for normal disagreements I much prefer a genteel exchange of views, something not so personal and powerful. I'm not proud of my hatred for this evil man, I don't enjoy it. It's a burden. I'm enjoying its carthatic release today.
posted by Nelson at 5:37 PM on July 4, 2008 [6 favorites]


I don't think it's sacrilegious or even a sign of disrespect -- or hatred -- to think out loud about the numbers of people (including many whose lives he helped make a nightmare with his prejudices and, more importantly, with his utterances and his votes as one of the most powerful men in the Senate) to whom this very prominent and very public figure brought misery during his time in office.
posted by blucevalo at 5:39 PM on July 4, 2008


who knew that in order to get elected in North Carolina at that time he had to be racist.

Oh. No that part was a bonus and came natural. What you had to be was a fucking asshole. And he didn't fake that either.

Helms is one of those rare humans that I am not only glad is dead and whoes passing I will celebrate but I also insist we drive a four foot iron stake through his chest and cut off his head. Just in case.
posted by tkchrist at 5:41 PM on July 4, 2008


Again, he was an integral part of NC politics

and the entire Movement Conservative machine.

I hate everything they've done to my country, and also Latin America, and therefore I hate him.

The number of people that have been raped, killed, assassinated, ripped off, disenfranchised by this machine, and by Jesse Helms by extension, numbers in the millions.

Granted, the number of little babies in this country that have been aborted since 1973 also numbers in the millions, but it is an order of magnitude less and these little babies that you fight for didn't suffer a trillionth of the ongoing human pain that conservative Republican right-wing politics has inflicted in this world in my lifetime.
posted by yort at 5:49 PM on July 4, 2008


Again, he was an integral part of NC politics. I'd say about as much as Ted Kennedy was for Massachusetts, at least at one time.

Exactly the same! Except for the fact that Helms was an evil, hate filled racist bigot who caused immense harm to many, many people and Kennedy was not.
posted by JackFlash at 5:50 PM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'll say it; Jesse Helms died too soon.

That's right, Jesse Helms died too soon. I wish he had lived a longer life. Maybe to celebrate this aged statements, Obama could have given him a front row seat. At the inauguration. Of a black dude. As president.

Obama could have waved to him. Maybe after being sworn in he could have leaned over and whispered something fitting in Jesse Helms' ear.

Yes, I think Jesse Helms deserved to live longer.
posted by Justinian at 5:53 PM on July 4, 2008 [4 favorites]


What the? statements = statesman.
posted by Justinian at 5:54 PM on July 4, 2008


As much as I enjoy speaking ill of dead racists, the following euology renders my disdain moot:
"Jesse Helms was a kind, decent, and humble man and a passionate defender of what he called "the Miracle of America." So it is fitting that this great patriot left us on the Fourth of July. He was once asked if he had any ambitions beyond the United States Senate. He replied: 'The only thing I am running for is the Kingdom of Heaven.' Today, Jesse Helms has finished the race, and we pray he finds comfort in the arms of the loving God he strove to serve throughout his life."
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:56 PM on July 4, 2008


Jesse Helms was a hate-filled human being in the deepest, most sludge-filled sense of the word "hate". Bona fide disgust at other parts of the human race. He gets no respect from me on his passing because he never earned any from me.

If we are to speak of a man's life when he dies—if his actions in life define his legacy when he's dead—what else are we supposed to say about Jesse Helms?
posted by Mikey-San at 6:07 PM on July 4, 2008


what else are we supposed to say about Jesse Helms?

We say that, if god exists, we hope the Jesse Helms is judged fairly and gets all that he deserves; no more and no less.
posted by Justinian at 6:10 PM on July 4, 2008


I'm arriving late on the scene, but anyway...

I see that some have decided to hold back when talking about the man. I respect that, but I won't. Jesse Helms was a racist, homophobic, fear-mongering piece of shit.

His story to me is nothing more than the story of progress in general. What I mean by that is that with every old racist and homophobe that kicks the bucket, the world moves forward just an iota. For every person that no longer can spend a lifetime becoming successful playing to the base (and baseless) fears of voters, we all are better off.

I'm drinking a very nice beer tonight in honor of the fact that this horrible example of humanity no longer walks this earth. Here's hoping that his offspring, and all of ours, grow up to be actual tolerant human beings.
posted by rollbiz at 6:15 PM on July 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


"If God had wanted us to use the metric system, Jesus would have had 10 apostles."

Say what you want about the man, but that was funny.
posted by spaltavian at 6:27 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


grow up to be actual tolerant human beings

I'd prefer thinking and empathetic. "Tolerance" implies being non-judgmental, but I think there are rational bases for being judgmental; cf. this thread.
posted by yort at 6:41 PM on July 4, 2008


Does anyone know why I'm remembering him in the context of "The Jesse Helms"? It was from popular culture somewhere, I'm sure, but fuck me if I can remember where. It's driving me batty!
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:46 PM on July 4, 2008


Yes, I think Jesse Helms deserved to live longer.

What do you think killed him? Yeah, they're saying that it was "old age," but I think the fact that Barack even had a chance was enough to block his colon and give his heart a few palpitations.

I regret that he managed to die on the Fourth. I'm sure that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams are really pissed off about it, and are probably beating him up as we speak.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:52 PM on July 4, 2008


I would pay real money to see that, good friend.
posted by Dizzy at 7:09 PM on July 4, 2008


I think a certain amount of respect is due when people die.

I think a certain amount of respect is due when people live. So fuck him.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:22 PM on July 4, 2008 [9 favorites]


But enough to hire African Americans for his senate office.

I'm not sure that shows lack of racism. First (not to Godwin, but..) we have the tired old "but some of my best friends are Jews" thing. Second, and I think more importantly, Helms viewed black people as inferior. That is, as the people to do his fetching and carrying. Hiring black people (apart from being a savvy PR move that was probably instigated by a flunky anyway) probably allowed him to pretend, somewhere inside, that the Good Old Days were still alive and well, with Little Black Sambo running around doing his bidding and calling him master sir. Certainly that's the way it was with a friend's dad; sexist prick down to his toes. Claimed he wasn't because he hired lots of women... to fetch him coffee and run his errands and generally be lorded over. I suspect it was something similar with Helms. I would love to be proven wrong, but..

Folks -- what dirtynumbangelboy is trying to say is: "Helms was an asshole, but even assholes have people who loved them, and breaking out the party hats when someone dies makes their grieving families even more sad. So that's why I personally am not going to do it." He wasn't saying "respect the dude, y'all," he was saying "I would feel weird making Helms' kids cry, so I'm gonna sit this out."

Bingo. Thank you. With the addition that with someone like him, not breaking out the party hat is very, very difficult. But.. I guess it's this: factual recognition of what he was is not disrespectful; facts just about never are. The 'dancing on the grave' and 'stake through the heart' comments, though..
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:23 PM on July 4, 2008


dnab, I don't think it's wise to strongly assert reasons as to why Helms hired minorities for his staff in absence of first-hand knowledge of the situation.
posted by yort at 7:42 PM on July 4, 2008


WHOOOOOOT!!!!
Christmas in July!
posted by stagewhisper at 8:07 PM on July 4, 2008


When I saw this FPP, my initial reaction was just like Dave Faris's. Then I realized that it's not quite - that this is good news for the sane - the reasons for which I believe have been well explicated above in numerous comments.

This whole "respect for the family of the dead" thing - (NOT respect for the dead - I think Konolia's the only one expressing that) - I am not sure that it justifies the whitewash (exceedingly appropriate terminology, IMHO) from the media, and certainly doesn't justify any need to hold back here (I concur with scody - do we really think any Helms family member is going to be reading this site in their grief - or ever).

When a real scumbag dies, there might even be utility in expressly NOT pulling any punchers - after all, I am sure Helms had some redeeming qualities, but they don't matter. After all, Robert Pickton may be a really generous guy but he's still a psychopath. When he dies, it's the latter that should be remembered, not the former, even if there are people who still love him at that point.

I'm not suggesting that it is meet to call up Helms' children and spew righteous vitriol at them about their father (I'm not sure I'd spare his wife's feelings very much - as a politician's wife, she knew (or ought to have known) that she was expected to be a public support figure for him - thus tarred with his brush to some extent). That doesn't mean that those who are glad to see the pustulent man dead shouldn't feel free to expound about their joy - he was a hateful man, and if that is swept under the carpet just because he kicked the bucket, it seems a little too much like silent assent - that he wasn't THAT bad, so we CAN respect his family's loss.

They are entitled to their grief, but they are not entitled to have us all ignore the many reasons why many will not grieve at all - after all, when Helms descendants look back at the man, shouldn't the record reflect his full nature - not simply what is respectful of his family's current situation...

yort - I don't think "probably allowed" is "strongly assert"ing anything
posted by birdsquared at 8:23 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


.
posted by aerotive at 8:34 PM on July 4, 2008


dnab, I don't think it's wise to strongly assert reasons as to why Helms hired minorities for his staff in absence of first-hand knowledge of the situation.

Oh goody, we're back to totally misconstruing what I say.

I said 'probably'. That's not really a 'strong assertion'. It was a thought. But hey, why let what I actually meant stop you?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:50 PM on July 4, 2008


I tried typing my sentiments, but determined that they were "inartful." Let it be said though, after deleting that long paragraph, that I for one, will not be missing the asshole whatsoever.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:51 PM on July 4, 2008


too bad he died on the same day as the great john adams and thomas jefferson. actually, it's kinda weird.
posted by brandz at 8:57 PM on July 4, 2008


I guess that's the thing with any day of the year, though. Looking at the list of (famous) people who've died on any day will show (appropriately enough, I guess) a really random cross-section of humanity.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:59 PM on July 4, 2008




Y'know, I've never actually looked at that site.

Are we really sure it's not a joke?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:41 PM on July 4, 2008



posted by crataegus at 10:18 PM on July 4, 2008


Well, it's a new day.

He's still dead, right?
posted by mazola at 11:01 PM on July 4, 2008


Meanwhile, in the Mirror Universe...

Dude, you can almost see the goatees on everybody.
posted by Avenger at 11:47 PM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah, fuck "respect for the dead." The dead are dead. They don't care. If they cared so much what people said about them after they died, perhaps they would have taken greater care not to be such douchebags while they were alive.

Respect for the family of the dead I can understand. No reason to hurt peoples' feelings. However, I have a feeling that the Helms family are not regular contributors on the Blue.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:52 PM on July 4, 2008


yup, there's a grave. and i'm gonna dance...
posted by blessedlyndie at 1:27 AM on July 5, 2008


I'm thinking this would be one of the better times to keep my mouth shut, but I won't, because this man, and everything he stood for, was an enemy of everything I believe in for this country, and for humanity. I'm glad he's off the map, glad his leadership won't plague us anymore, and glad he lost his battles.

I won't dance on his grave. He doesn't deserve the recognition. The real enemy is still alive. It's what he stood for, and that's not dead yet.

He was only a symptom of our disease. Never forget that. The values that he was able to take advantage of to hoist himself to power and stay there still exist. The only way to ensure his kind don't emerge in the future is to dismantle all the excuses we have to destroy the lives of others. He was a bully, a fearmonger, a terrorist in the purest sense of the word, who played off of our fears time and again, and we let him.

I hope to god we'll become wise enough not to enable his kind again.

Vague, I know, but it's all that can really be said in answer to what he was.
posted by saysthis at 2:07 AM on July 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


This account is disabled.

Permanently disabled, it would seem.
posted by bwg at 3:48 AM on July 5, 2008


@helms Burn in hell, you sanctimonious sack of shit.
posted by mds35 at 5:14 AM on July 5, 2008


A profoundly disgusting piece of shit, wiped from the cruelest and most hateful outer rim of this country's asshole and smeared across its governing body for a generation and a half. I thank God for sanitizing the nation and the earth of his vileness. The world is a slightly more wonderful place today. Rest in a chaotic throng of worms, trashbag.

Ugh, did that just come outta me? Ah well, on review, it is fair and true.
posted by damehex at 5:31 AM on July 5, 2008


I think that aerotive's is the first sympathy dot in this thread.

235 comments in an obit thread before the first sympathy dot. That's probably some kind of record.
posted by JDHarper at 5:38 AM on July 5, 2008


I bet the Freepers, if they even care, would feel just as stunned as we do if they looked at this thread, which is filled with as much hate as theirs is filled with love of the man. Surely we can't be talking about the same person, can we? It's ironic that they seem to debate whether Helms was a polarizing figure.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:05 AM on July 5, 2008


Well, I've learned one thing from obit threads on MeFi, and that is that it is utterly unacceptable to say anything remotely critical about the person.

So, having learned my lesson I shall now do the only thing such threads exist for: lionize and otherwise heap praise on the dead person, even if the dead person in question was an evil fucker. Apparently death converts everyone into great figures for whom any criticism is completely beyond the pale.

Jesse Helms was the best human being to have ever lived. His efforts to promote racism, sexism, homophobia, and every other vile and base aspect of humanity were, in retrospect perfect in every way and any person who dares to think otherwise is a horrible human being.

Hail Jesse Helms, his efforts to prevent MLK Day from being a national holiday were his finest hour and beyond any criticism. Had we followed his lead we wouldn't be having all these problems.

Hail Jesse Helms, his efforts to block research into preventing AIDS clearly originated from his heroic embrace of all humans, his love for his fellow man, and his unimpeachable political record as the best human being to ever serve in the Senate. Clearly all homosexuals are sub-human monsters who deserve death, for I cannot criticize Helms and his actions to condemn them to that death.

Hail Jesse Helms, a visionary who understood that black Americans are simply not as good as white Americans, a truth that we cannot criticize this day of his death for in his death all evil becomes good.

Hail Jesse Helms, the single greatest human being to have ever lived, a man of infinite goodness, kindness, and generosity. A man who's every action should be emulated by all ethical people, a man who graced us with his infinite wisdom, and who we should emulate in every way.

Hail Jesse Helms, a man who never, ever, did anything even remotely bad, and who's every action was neigh-Godlike in its perfection.

That good enough? Or must I claim, now that the evil fucker is dead, that his touch healed lepers too?
posted by sotonohito at 6:09 AM on July 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


Good morning! It's a new day, and Jesse Helms is still dead. Man, I hope this great feeling lasts all week.
posted by Nelson at 7:03 AM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


One freeper comment:

Sorry to hear this. Rest in peace Senator Helms. Prayers for him and his family.

I've been listening to Fox News in the background for the past hour, and haven't heard this once. Yet we were repeatedly blasted with the news of Kennedy's illness. No media bias there
.

Yeah--Fox News and their notorious liberal bias! Sickening.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:26 AM on July 5, 2008


:D!
posted by perilous at 8:07 AM on July 5, 2008


Hey Jesse! The Devil just ordered some buffalo wings....and you're it!
posted by doctorschlock at 9:43 AM on July 5, 2008


The Guardian obituary:
To echo this newspaper's memorable comment on the death of William Randolph Hearst, it is hard even now to think of him with charity.
...
In domestic politics he denounced the 1964 Civil Rights Act as "the single most dangerous piece of legislation ever introduced in the Congress", voted against a supreme court justice because she was "likely to uphold the homosexual agenda", acted for years as spokesman for the large tobacco companies, was reprimanded by the justice department and the federal election commission for electoral malpractice, and compiled a dismal personal record as a slum landlord.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:20 AM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's ironic that they seem to debate whether Helms was a polarizing figure

This is a polarized society, divided roughly into thirds, one third largely agreeing with the man's positions on publicly-sanctioned homosexuality and sodomites, protecting the life of unborn babies, ensuring that only pro-dollar bloc governments rule to our south, staunchly opposed to the feminist agenda, and fighting the good fight to keep ketchup a vegetable serving in school lunch programs.

As mentioned above, one third of this country is essentially fucked in the head, and the late senator was certainly an able advocate and representative of their world view.
posted by yort at 10:47 AM on July 5, 2008


One third is fucked in the head to the other two thirds, no matter who your advocate is.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:38 AM on July 5, 2008


*dances on grave*
posted by sexyrobot at 12:04 PM on July 5, 2008


While a general minimum of human respect should be afforded everyone (and perhaps especially the deceased), sometimes a person comes along who despite a handful of positives is just an asshole through-and-through and whose sole purpose seems to be to represent an example of how many things can go wrong in a human being's belief system. Hitler being another example of that.

/FTG (for the Godwin!)
posted by Lectrick at 2:00 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Good riddance.

Long before he came out of the closet, Armistead Maupin worked for him.

"If you can't say something nice about someone, come over here and sit by me." Alice Roosevelt said it first.
posted by brujita at 2:14 PM on July 5, 2008


Also:
"Well, you know what they say: if you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!"

-- Clairee Belcher (Olympia Dukakis) in Steel Magnolias.
posted by ericb at 3:06 PM on July 5, 2008


 
posted by grouse at 3:37 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


If there is a Christian God and a Christian Hell - Jesse Helms is going straight there.

And by hell, I mean a particular corner of heaven where there were rainbows and unicorns and rivers of chocolate milk, and it only ever rained just enough to make the candy grass grow, and men and women (and men and men and women and women) held hands all the time and were always comfortably touchy-feely while sharing experiences with each other and communicating effectively and everyone was loved and happy and rested and fed forever and ever and there was never, ever any need for strife.

Because he'd totally hate that shit. Screw the fire and brimstone. Plug that bitter old coot into the Orgasmatron and set it to eleven. Bake until stewed. Then ressurect him and tickle him to death with puppies. Make him sing shiny-happy Broadway musicals until his head explodes. Make him so happy he's just brimful and fit to burst.

Then put him in the Total Perspective Vortex (empathy edition) and simutlaneously expose him to how puny his insignificance is in the face of the incredible vast awesomeness of the Cosmos itself, while cross-referenced with the real pain his sort of intolerance and bigotry causes in our lives.
posted by loquacious at 8:47 PM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


This North Carolinian (and former WRAL employee and Gantt supporter) isn't shedding any tears.
posted by Vidiot at 5:18 AM on July 6, 2008


Well, I've learned one thing from obit threads on MeFi, and that is that it is utterly unacceptable to say anything remotely critical about the person.

I'm just glad that I've got this thread to cite as precedent for my grave dancing when Bruce Springsteen goes.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:33 AM on July 6, 2008


oh, and his daughter taught at a school where I went for a year and a half, and I was a former schoolmate of his granddaughter, who's now a Raleigh judge (and, in a wonderful irony, is a lesbian.) Helms visited the school once while I was there, and I kept my distance even at the age of ten.
posted by Vidiot at 5:34 AM on July 6, 2008


(and for once, I really really hope that Westboro Baptist is out in full force at a funeral.)
posted by Vidiot at 5:42 AM on July 6, 2008


Vidiot, I don't think anyone deserves Westboro at their funeral. Not even Helms, may we not see his like rise to such power again. Westboro pretty much hates all of humanity. Helms may have hated much, but not even he hated as much as they do. They have an extra special hatred for certain groups, gay people being at the top of their list, but they're so very extreme that they could cause a lot of extra grief at anyone's funeral. And it's not a matter of what Helms deserves, since funerals are not really for the dead. I'm sure there are people in Helms' family who don't share his views and wouldn't appreciate the stuff the Westboro crowd would say.

And by hell, I mean a particular corner of heaven where there were rainbows and unicorns and rivers of chocolate milk, and it only ever rained just enough to make the candy grass grow, and men and women (and men and men and women and women) held hands all the time and were always comfortably touchy-feely while sharing experiences with each other and communicating effectively and everyone was loved and happy and rested and fed forever and ever and there was never, ever any need for strife.

I like this. I was going to say he should spend eternity at a very happy never-ending interracial interfaith gay wedding officiated by a woman, myself. I was thinking the reception could just go on and on, and then everything loops back again.
posted by Tehanu at 9:00 AM on July 7, 2008


For the most the write-ups locally have been fairly hagiographic. They might say Helms was "controversial" or mention the word "segregation" in the next to the last paragraph. Here is a local columnists take on Helms that pretty much tells it like it is (was).
posted by marxchivist at 10:16 AM on July 7, 2008


Christopher Hitchens: Farewell to a Provincial Redneck
posted by homunculus at 1:28 PM on July 7, 2008


That's an insult to the provincial redneck community.
posted by Tehanu at 2:34 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whether you hated him or loved him or were indifferent to him, he is definitely a part of this nation's history.

Even konolia can't manage to really defend him unreservedly.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:12 PM on July 7, 2008


Well, I can't rag on him. He was the first one to nominate my son to USAFA (he didn't get in the first year he applied.)

To be fair, when John Edwards nominated him (along with Dole) the following year, I promised myself not to speak ill of Edwards while he was in office either. Oh, that was tough.
posted by konolia at 3:48 PM on July 7, 2008


So he was a massive racist dick who spent his life working to further white supremacy, but you can't rag on him because he did you a favor?

God? I wish to file a bug report.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:24 PM on July 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Pope Guilty, I'm really not much on ragging people in general, but I do understand that white men born in the 1920s generally had a lot of preconceived notions to overcome, and not all that many managed to do it. Ain't much stubboner than an old white dude, unfortunately.
posted by konolia at 6:39 PM on July 7, 2008


I do understand that white men born in the 1920s generally had a lot of preconceived notions to overcome, and not all that many managed to do it

Millions did. There have been sizeable antiracist movements in the US and worldwide since long before his birth. They got it right, that piece of racist shit had the opportunity. Helms knew what he believed, and he was confronted, repeatedly, with reality. Making excuses for that filth is disgusting.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:35 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pope Guilty, I am thinking of the tons of Southern white men of that age that I have known, and in one case, fathered me. Theirs is a pretty crusty mindset that takes a heck of a lot to change. I am old enough to be your mom (in fact my son is three years younger than you) and it is hard for anyone my kids' age to imagine just how stratified and different the "culture" here was even forty years ago.
posted by konolia at 7:48 PM on July 7, 2008


I'm really not much on ragging people in general...

Except for the gays!
posted by ericb at 8:37 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh Barf.
The Wall Street Journal's editorial page wrote a fawning piece of upchuck today.
posted by stagewhisper at 9:05 PM on July 7, 2008


(well, the editorial board I mean. If the editorial page had written itself it might have made more sense)
posted by stagewhisper at 9:07 PM on July 7, 2008


konolia, I'm well aware of how different it was. It's a subject of interest to me. None of that, however, excuses even a single racial slur. Many people from that very same culture got it right; none of them have an excuse not to.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:53 PM on July 7, 2008


I'm really not much on ragging people in general, but I do understand that white men born in the 1920s generally had a lot of preconceived notions to overcome, and not all that many managed to do it. Ain't much stubboner than an old white dude, unfortunately.

If he were just the old coot down the way, I'd be more sympathetic to this statement. But for someone of his stature, acting so long on the national (if not international) stage, he turned a blind eye to the changing world around him for a long, long time. "He was a man of his times" doesn't apply to people like him.
posted by mkultra at 5:47 AM on July 8, 2008


To be fair, I have been reading local editorials written by African Americans...they clearly express their own discomfort with him but they also make it plain that when it came to looking after his constituency-both white AND black-he was the best of the best. Both in print and in TV editorials, they stressed the things he actually did for actual black people. Doesn't make the racist crap right, but "set in his ways" doesn't even begin to describe it.

And mkultra, he WAS basically "the old coot down the way." He literally WAS the face of the common white North Carolinian of his generation. Which is why he stayed in office so long. The good ole boys had his back.

And for real, you never had to wonder where he stood on ANY issue. That is an attribute I could wish every single politician had.
posted by konolia at 7:28 AM on July 8, 2008


Many people from that very same culture got it right

Unfortunately the vast majority did NOT.

You should have been me back in the late sixties when I was going into fifth grade and they were finally integrating the local school system....I knew perfectly well how most of the adults felt about it.
posted by konolia at 7:31 AM on July 8, 2008


Unfortunately the vast majority did NOT.

I'm quite aware. That they were the vast majority does not excuse them.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:15 PM on July 8, 2008


Well, see, that kind of racism was like water to fish-it was so ubiquitous people never even gave it conscious thought. It was the way things WERE.

Like, how years ago, used to be that the want ads differentiated between male and female jobs. The first time I heard a female disc jockey, I swear I thought-that's bad-only men make good djs. Women sound funny.

It is mindboggling from today's viewpoint that anyone could think that, but it was deeply embedded into the culture.

You younguns live in a much better time. You have no idea just how much!
posted by konolia at 4:17 PM on July 8, 2008


konolia is exactly right-- I remember some DJs in the mid-70s cracking wise about women applying for jobs on the radio-- because everybody knew that female voices were higher pitched and therefore didn't carry properly on radio frequencies-- by saying "We'd like to invite baritones to apply!". This was all very ha ha at the time, typical, the culture that you moved in constantly. Jokes about "woman drivers". Women couldn't possibly be in politics because they were too emotional. Women doctors? What is this, Russia? Women lawyers? What a joke. And on an on. All of it received wisdom, and all of it held to be true, by and large, even by women themselves.
posted by jokeefe at 5:41 PM on July 8, 2008


It is mindboggling from today's viewpoint that anyone could think that, but it was deeply embedded into the culture.

Indeed. Just think how generations from now will look back on the struggles over gay marriage, now that it's finally on its way to becoming normalized and the stubborn old coots are dying off.
posted by scody at 5:55 PM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I want to do something to help the Negro race to recognize the opportunity that awaits it. It is not enough for me to hire a few qualified Negroes for good jobs in our own company. To tell you the truth, we would like to have more than we presently have....

We now have Negroes operating our film center, for example, and our very best film editor is a Negro....

I propose to set up at our station a separate department which, for want of a better name, I think we shall call our "Department of Racial Development."...

. . . .

Our department head and Mr. Coltrane would then work to find places for these people in business and industry. We would make constructive examples of them. We would have personnel people of the various companies appear and give testimony as to the productivity of the Negroes whom they have hired.

A step further: The Negroes who have obtained jobs would then be the best possible spokesmen to urge others to prepare themselves, to stay in school, to apply themselves.

I think I need not go on with the details of what might be done. What I want, simply said, is to create a climate of acceptance among the races--both ways. [emphasis added] As it now stands, a lot of people are doing a lot of talking, and are making whatever token efforts might be necessary to "get along." That is not enough.
-- Jesse Helms, then an executive at WRAL-TV in Raleigh, N.C., in 1965
posted by orthogonality at 6:57 PM on July 8, 2008


Regarding the letter orthogonality quotes: "The letter appears to be a draft (it is unsigned and has a few editing marks), so we don't even know if Spaulding received it."

So it's possible that he didn't even write or approve it.
posted by grouse at 12:31 AM on July 9, 2008


L.F. Eason III gave up the only job he'd ever had rather than lower a flag to honor former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms.
posted by EarBucket at 11:34 AM on July 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


He wasn't the person personally tasked with lowering it. He only supervised the employee that would. He worked for the state. Helms was a Senator, period. Respect the office, not the man.

(Actually, I would admire him for his stance if what he did affected only him. But his wife begged him not to do it. He should have got her on board, as his resignation at that relatively young age will affect her quite directly.)
posted by konolia at 2:53 PM on July 9, 2008


Respect the office, not the man.

This is a guy who, when meeting a black Senator, sang "Dixie" to her. There's very little that any of his detractors could do to tarnish the office that he didn't spend his career doing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:48 PM on July 9, 2008


Was that the same Senator that hit a security guard?

Yeah, lawmakers are people too. And sometimes do pretty off the wall things. But they are senators, and the office itself deserves respect.
posted by konolia at 8:11 PM on July 9, 2008


Was that the same Senator that hit a security guard?

When has a senator hit a security guard?
posted by oaf at 11:10 PM on July 9, 2008


Was that the same Senator that hit a security guard?

No, konolia, that was a different black member of Congress.
posted by grouse at 11:19 PM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Dammit, grouse, I was trying to be more subtle. Oh well.
posted by oaf at 11:21 PM on July 9, 2008


No, konolia, that was a different black member of Congress.

Goodness, aren't we advanced! More than one black member of congress? Well, bless their hearts!
posted by scody at 11:23 PM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


(sarcasm not aimed at you, grouse, just in case...)
posted by scody at 11:25 PM on July 9, 2008


No, konolia, that was a different black member of Congress.

Well, how can she be expected to tell them apart? They all look-

...sorry, no, couldn't even type it out.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:57 PM on July 9, 2008


Ain't much stubboner than an old white dude, unfortunately.
posted by konolia


First thought: At least you didn't say southern.

Pope Guilty, I am thinking of the tons of Southern white men of that age that I have known, and in one case, fathered me. Theirs is a pretty crusty mindset that takes a heck of a lot to change. I am old enough to be your mom (in fact my son is three years younger than you) and it is hard for anyone my kids' age to imagine just how stratified and different the "culture" here was even forty years ago.
posted by konolia


But you couldn't resist. There are white men of that age across the entire country that fit that profile. More in the south? Sure. But your attempt to gain sympathy for Helms because he's southern and old is offensive.

If your father is racist he's racist because he chooses to be racist, not because he happens to be an old guy from the south. Let him own his racism, don't blame it on age and geography.
posted by justgary at 1:54 AM on July 10, 2008


I thought it was Carol Mosely Brown both times-wasn't it?

And I said Southern because I know the south. I know nothing of foreign Yankee ways.
posted by konolia at 6:31 AM on July 10, 2008


Yeah, lawmakers are people too. And sometimes do pretty off the wall things. But they are senators, and the office itself deserves respect.

Who's disrespecting the Senate here? If I say, "fuck that guy", it's pretty clear that I mean a person and not an office. Your mantra comes off as little more than an apologia for a racism, sexism, and other uncivil things.
posted by mkultra at 6:46 AM on July 10, 2008


I thought it was Carol Mosely Brown both times-wasn't it?

No. Let me break it down for you:

Carol Moseley Braun: former senator from Illinois, not crazy
Cynthia McKinney: former Congresswoman from Georgia, crazy
posted by oaf at 11:24 AM on July 10, 2008


Who's disrespecting the Senate here? If I say, "fuck that guy", it's pretty clear that I mean a person and not an office.

It's the same horseshit as when people use "Support the troops!" to shut down criticism of any individual soldier or mission.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:25 PM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


N.C. State Employee Rejects Helms Tribute: "North Carolina lowered flags this week to honor the late Sen. Jesse Helms. But L.F. Eason — director of the state Standards Laboratory — chose to retire rather than comply with the directive. Eason explains his objections."
posted by peeedro at 2:42 PM on July 10, 2008




Put that link on the front page-that's quite interesting.
posted by konolia at 6:20 AM on July 11, 2008


So it's been a whole week now since Jesse Helms died. And while the novelty has worn off a bit, it's still totally great that he's dead. Miserable bastard.
posted by Nelson at 7:45 AM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


konolia, I've already posted today. Go for it.
posted by homunculus at 12:32 PM on July 11, 2008




Bill Passes Without Helms' Name.
posted by ericb at 8:11 AM on July 17, 2008


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