While there were a few attempts at right-wing folk music during the 1960's, most notably The Goldwaters, Janet "anti-Baez" Greene was the darling of the conservative anti-communist right. Her songs include Fascist Threat, Commie Lies, and her most (in)famous, Poor Left Winger
"I'm just a poor left-winger, befuddled, bewildered, forlorn, duped by a bearded singer, peddling his communist corn. In the cafe, espresso, sounds of guitars could be heard, twanging a plaintive folksong, spreading the communist word..."[more inside]
Winston Burdett, one of the original Murrow's Boys, was a reporter for CBS Radio. He covered World War II, the invasion of Norway, the Axis retreat in North Africa (mp3), the invasion of Sicily (mp3), the invasion of Italy (mp3) and the capture of Rome (mp3). But from 1940 - 1942 Winston Burdett was also a spy for the Soviet Union. [more inside]
The most inspirational film ever has an underexamined dark side, including a 1947 FBI memo that branded the film as subversive and "a rather obvious attempt to discredit bankers." The film's script was influenced by the liberal populism of the 1930s, used suicide as a plot point, and was criticized by a Christian Right website for "lax attitudes on alcohol and drunkenness." The film also inspired a feminist art project on "bad girl" Violet Bick and a dead-on parody of a right-wing Christian movie review. Meanwhile, Jimmy Stewart paid back Frank Capra for reviving his post-WWII career by spying on him for the FBI. The hidden backstory behind It's A Wonderful Life.
An official comic book adaptation of the 9/11 commission report is due to hit bookstores this month. The U.S. Army seeks an Arabic-speaking comic book creator. Meanwhile, an Israeli blogger suspects a Kuwaiti company of misusing Marvel and DC comics. These are just the latest incidents in a long-running history of using comic books for propaganda purposes, ranging from Mussolini and Hitler to Captain America vs. the Nazi-affiliated Red Skull to anticommunist comics for Catholic parochial schools to a phony Black Panther comic book created by COINTELPRO to a comic book of the American invasion of Grenada. However, my favorite site of comic book propaganda tends to focus on more innocuous domestic issues such as bicycle safety, USDA nutrition standards, and fighting crack cocaine. (OK, that last issue isn't so innocuous, but comic book propaganda about health & safety issues still generally blows.)
Peekskill, 1949. "The mob was rolling toward us for the second attack. This was, in a way, the worst of that night. For one thing, it was still daylight; later, when night fell, our own sense of organization helped us much more, but this was daylight and they poured down the road and into us, swinging broken fenceposts, billies, bottles, and wielding knives..." Howard Fast's account of a terrifying evening that was supposed to be an outdoor concert near Peekskill, NY. You can think about the political implications ("...it illustrates how easily, when terror is unleashed in a nation, it can take hold, and how thin the line is that separates constitutional government from tyranny and dictatorship...") or just enjoy the riveting tale. (Related song and picture here.)