Friday, August 14, 2009

Tokyo Rose, Axis Sally and Fox News....

Iva Toguri mug shot, Sugamo Prison - March 7, 1946

I believe the best framework to really understand likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich, Michelle Malkin, Matt Drudge, Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly and the rest of the ultra-right wingnut punditry is to see them as the direct descendants of Tokyo Rose and Axis Sally.

Iva Ikuko Toguri D'Aquino, an American, was the woman most identified with "Tokyo Rose", a generic name given by Allied forces in the South Pacific during World War II to any of approximately a dozen English-speaking female broadcasters of Japanese propaganda.

Mildred Gillars, also known as "Axis Sally," was a female radio personality during World War II, best known for her propaganda broadcasts for Nazi Germany. Gillars' most famous broadcast, and the one that would eventually get her convicted of treason, was a play titled Vision of Invasion that went out over the airwaves on May 11, 1944. It was beamed to American troops in England awaiting the D-Day invasion of Normandy, as well as to the home folks in America. Gillars played the role of an American mother who dreamed that her soldier son, a member of the invasion forces, died aboard a burning ship in the attempt to cross the English Channel. The play had a realistic quality to it, sound effects simulating the moans and cries of the wounded as they were raked with gunfire from the beaches. Over the battle action sound effects, an announcer’s voice intoned, ‘The D of D-Day stands for doom…disaster…death…defeat…Dunkerque or Dieppe.’ Adelbert Houben, a high official of the German Broadcasting Service, would testify at Axis Sally’s trial that her broadcast was intended to prevent the invasion by frightening the Americans with grisly forecasts of staggering casualties.

They sought what Fox News seeks, the destruction of America. Unlike Sally and Rose, who we assume were motivated by some personal ideology, however wrong; Fox and the pundits are motivated solely by greed.

These are the people Richard Brautigan was writing about in his poem "Negative Clank" in his book Rommel Drives On Deep Into Egypt.

Negative Clank

He'd sell a rat's asshole
to a blindman for a wedding
ring.

2 comments:

Maria Andrea said...

Hi Stan,
Is a pleasure for me read your blog. Are you de same who wrote "One Step Up and Two Steps Back: A Heuristic Model for Popular Music and Communication Research"? Always I was interested in your works about popular music.
Just now I am looking desperate for this book but in Argentine it is impossible to find it, and in the web I have not been lucky either.
You might indicate me how can I obtain it? Because I am doing my thesis of degree and I would be interested to mention it. Or your another book "Asking Questions: Toward the Identification of Key Theoretical Issues in Popular Music and Communication Research."
Sincerely thank you very much for your help from Argentine. Andrea.

Stan Denski said...

These are not books, they are articles that are in two different journals. "One Step Up..." is in the journal Popular Music and Society, Volume 13 Issue 1 1989 and should not be difficult to find through your library.

"Asking Questions..." was published in Tracking: Popular Music Studies, 2:1, 1989 and I was able to find the entire text on line here: http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DATABASES/TRA/Asking_questions.shtml

Best of luck with your work.