The climactic uproar in Ferguson, Mo., a week ago took a zany turn when the “we want peace” message of Michael Brown’s family rotated 180 degrees to the imperative command, “burn this bitch down,” hollered repeatedly by stepfather Louis Head outside the grand jury headquarters as the decision was announced. The assembled crowd dutifully obliged and burned down many of the businesses that the local population depends on for routine commerce.
The scripted quality of these events seemed as formally predictable as an 1856 minstrel show, and the parallel is worth reflecting on because the nation appears determined to explode again in some kind of a civil war —bearing in mind Karl Marx’s advisory that “history repeats, first as tragedy, then farce.” As is the case with many show-biz extravaganza’s of our time the script had many authors.
First were the cable TV news venues, led by the race hustlers at CNN, whose limitless pandering to the intemperance of black viewers played a large part in cultivating the mood of injustice that failed to square with the objective reality of Michael Brown’s shooting at the hands of policeman Darren Wilson. Every conceivable delusion generated by the event was nurtured to the max in order to amp up the melodrama at the expense of clarifying what had happened. In the end, CNN celebrities Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper got the explosion of violence that their producers had worked so hard to fuel.