09 December 2006

the roots of conservative derangement syndrome

I was lookin' high an' low for them Reds everywhere,
I was lookin' in the sink an' underneath the chair.
I looked way up my chimney hole,
I even looked deep inside my toilet bowl.
-- Bob Dylan "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues"

48 years ago today the John Birch Society was founded in Indianapolis, Indiana by retired candy manufacturer Robert Welch as a reaction to the progress of the post-WWII years. New chapters soon popped up across the county promoting anti-unionism, anti-communism and free enterprise. Birchers, as they were commonly known, were strong supporters of HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) and the anti-fluoridation movement. Naturally, they were concerned about communists trying to sap and impurify their precious bodily fluids.

The group also adhered to and promoted several conspiratorial views, such as the belief that FDR allowed the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor in order to snag himself a war and that the US and USSR were colluding to create a "New World Order" to enslave all citizens of the planet Earth. I'm unaware if the latter theory involved Martians or brain-eating zombies. To put it bluntly, these were deeply paranoid people. Their group lives on today, albeit in a more calm and collected fashion.

The John Birch Society found success in the newly expanding suburbs of my home Orange County, California. By the early 1960s Orange County became known as "nutjob county" thanks to the activity of the JBS and similar New Right groups in the area. Take the 1964 election results. In Orange County, Goldwater garnered 55.9% of the vote compared to Johnson with 44.0% (the national average was Goldwater 40.79%, Johnson 59.11%). Nutjob county is not as extreme right as in the past, but it's still a proudly considered a "red county" by many of its residents.

I shouldn't complain about living here though. We've got the greatest Republican theme park west of the George H. W. Bush library, and no, I'm not talking about Disneyland...


I guess you could say this is the "Original Pime". I stopped blogging here regularly in May 2008 (if you don't count the B-Sides diversion - yes it gets confusing) when I joined the Tumblr revolution. Going forward bravely into 2009, this site will serve to house any large image work I produce.

Peace out.


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