I am not prone to hyperbole, and I don't get pissed off easily, but the Daily Beast has driven me to indulge both of these today. They ran an article by Matt Lewis, ostensibly a journalist, entitled "Meet the Woman Who Was the Nixon Era's Alex Jones."
This is one of the most staggeringly inane articles I have ever had the displeasure to read, and certainly one of the worst caricatures of journalistic integrity to ever appear in a semi-legitimate publication. The subject of the piece is Mae Brussell, and as you can see from the title he compares her to Alex Jones.
This is already an insult, but Matt's just getting started.
Now Mae Brussell is a legendary figure in the counter-culture and in conspiracy circles, and her work is meticulous, complex, and possessed of an insight into both historical veracity and human nature. She sometimes gets labeled as a "conspiracy queen," but this term is mostly used to demean her, as is the frequent observation that she was a housewife. As if there is anything inherently wrong with that.
Brussell's intelligence is on display on any of her radio shows or her articles (which found an audience in Paul Krassner's magazine The Realist. Krassner was so impressed with her that he helped put out her Conspiracy Newsletter.) Her intelligence - and singular power of analysis - is readily apparent, whether or not one agrees with her assessments. Although, frankly, if you're disagreeing with her assessments you are probably wrong. For just one example, the Watergate burglars were arrested in June of 1972. Before Woodward and Bernstein started their series in the Washington Post, two weeks after it had happened, Brussell had written her article "Why Was Martha Mitchell Kidnapped?" in which she had figured out most of the structure involved. That article appeared in The Realist in August 1972.
Seriously, read the article. It's amazing. She has the players down cold. Instantly.
And do you know why that article is amazing? Because Mae had this habit of reading - a habit that Matt Lewis seems to be unacquainted with. She knew who the people were, and knew their backgrounds. Jesus Christ, she already mentions the slush fund tied to Richard Nixon. Woodstein, the intrepid pair, wouldn't get there for another year and needed Hal Holbrook in a parking garage to feed them breadcrumbs, if you believe that story.
The point is, what I am saying is that Matt Lewis comparing Mae Brussell to an assclown like Alex Jones is beyond the pale. Only someone who either (1) has an agenda or (2) is bereft of cognition could make the comparison. I used to live in Austin, and I'm a political activist, so I'd see Alex around at events. I saw him interact with his staff, and somewhere there may be tape of me refusing to be on his public access show. When we were in Dallas for the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK, John Judge was talking to a small group who had braved the ice storm to participate in the memorial. John's speech was interrupted by Alex, of course, blaring nonsense from his bullhorn and accompanied by his usual gang of idiots.
To say that Mae and Jones are comparable because they were both "conspiracy theorists" is like saying Matt here is like Stephen Glass because they're both journalists. If you aren't able to draw distinctions as obvious as these, then you are in the wrong profession.
But it gets worse. Because next, he compares Mae Brussell to Father Coughlin. Father Coughlin may not be a familiar figure to many, but he was a believer in the "Jewish conspiracy," and promoted the Protocols of the Elders of Zion - much like Henry Ford did, among many others in America both in the years leading up to World War II and, unfortunately, now.
Equating these two people is…the word I want to use is "demonic," and I am not religious.
Perhaps that's an overstatement; I don't have a good word for this comparison. Trumpian.
Mae Brussell was the most anti-fascist personality that one could possibly imagine. She spent her life's work rooting out Nazi influences on the American government and found a great many. Her work was continued to a large degree by John Judge and also Alex Constantine, continuing the research into the fascist operatives lurking in sheep's clothing of a democratic republic.
Saying Mae Brussell is like Father Coughlin is like saying Matt Lewis is Joseph Goebbels. So hence my hyperbole. By the way, Mae Brussell was Jewish. So yeah, you just did that.
Likewise, the iconoclastic Brussell defied ideological labels, though she was probably more left-wing than right-wing. Crazy knows no bounds.
He's writing this about a woman who is deceased and can neither respond nor sue.
Fuck you, Matt. And fuck the Daily Beast for allowing this insane article to be published. If this idiot had read one sentence about Mae Brussell, he would not have been able to write that she was "probably more left-wing…" It's unbelievable. Except unfortunately it isn't, because welcome to our America, I guess.
If you would to read some of Mae Brussell's work, or listen to her shows, I can suggest the following websites:
Worldwatchers.info (the best Brussell site of them all, built by my late friend Rob Falotico)
Ratical.org (run by Dave Ratcliffe)
You can also find some of her work collected in this book, published by Feral House and edited by Alex Constantine:
I strongly urge you to look at her material. I think you might come to realize that maybe Mae has a point. Considering who the President is and what the hell's going on in this country, I would suggest that perhaps she has a little more insight into our situation than Matt Lewis, who has failed to do his homework like a fucking child.
I don't expect much from the Daily Beast, but I do expect better than this.
This is Joe Green's blog.