Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

June 18, 2019

Max Blumenthal and Howard Stern

Filed under: humor — louisproyect @ 1:25 pm

(I am reading Max Blumenthal’s “The Management of Savagery” mostly to hone in on the chapters about Syria but was obliged to begin with page one to understand his overall argument, which is not that much different from books and articles on “Islamofascism” written by people like Paul Berman, Christopher Hitchens and  Kenan Makiya in the early 2000s. He argues that 9/11 was carried out in order to give the USA an excuse to make war on the Muslims, thus giving the neocons in Bush’s administration all the ammunition they needed to put the USA on a war footing. What surprises me is that he devotes a good page and a half to what Howard Stern was saying on 9/11/2001 in order to show how media figures were goaded into a hysterical war fever. Max obviously knows nothing about Stern since his business is based on saying shocking things. He became infamous–and profitable–in 1982 when he was on the air in Washington, DC when an Air Florida airliner crashed into a bridge over the Potomac. He led listeners to believe that he called the airline and asked for prices to the 14th Street bridge, the site of the crash, and if it would be a “regular stop. What would have been really shocking was if Howard Stern had maintained the same kind of lugubrious tone that other radio stations expressed that morning. Max not only didn’t “get” Syria, he didn’t “get” Howard Stern.)

Pam Anderson’s Jet

The catastrophic and catalyzing events of September 11, 2001, unfolded live on one of New York City’s top morning talk shows. At 9:01, Howard Stern delivered a brief update about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, gashing open the face of the tower and sending plumes of smoke into the sky. I don’t even know how you begin to fight that fire,” he commented. Then, without missing a beat, the legendary shock jock returned to an inane yarn about his date with former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson at a seedy Midtown bar called Scores.

“I felt her butt,” Stern bragged to his randy co-hosts. A highly involved discussion ensued about his failure to “bang Pam Anderson.” “I wasn’t gonna sit there and work it all night,” Stern explained moments before the second plane hit. Then, as soon as Tower 2 caught fire, he quipped, “I’m telling you, it was Pam Anderson’s jet.”

Minutes later, Stern’s producers began piping in audio from the local CBS affiliate, setting a traumatizing aural atmosphere that recalled Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds.” Stern apparently realized the flames were the product of a terror attack, probably by Muslim extremists. Confronted with a national calamity, he and his shrieking sidekick Robin Quivers immediately shifted gears.

“We’ve gotta go bomb everything over there,” Quivers insisted.

“We’ve gotta bomb the hell out of them!” Stern added. “You know who it is. I can’t say but I know who it is. This is more upsetting than me not getting Pam Anderson!”

As the smoke engulfed lower Manhattan, Stern descended into a series of genocidal tirades.

“We’ve gotta drop an atomic bomb,” he proclaimed. “There has got to be a war,” Quivers demanded. “But a devastating war, where people die. Burn their eyes out!”

Thirty minutes later, as the news of mass civilian casualties poured in, Stern had transformed into a cartoon villain: “Now is the time to not even ask questions. To drop a few atomic bombs. Do a few chemical warfare hits! Let their people suffer until they understand!”

“Because we haven’t been bothering anybody,” Quivers interjected. “They started screaming about colonialism. We stopped.”

Moments later, Stern repeated his call for nuclear annihilation. “Blow them all to sky high!” he said. “Atom bombs! Just do it so they’re flattened out and turned into a paved road and we’ll take the oil for ourselves.”

This was not right-wing radio, but one of the consistently most highly rated morning shows in the country. Stern’s exterminationist diatribes demonstrated how deeply the neoconservative mindset had been inculcated into mainstream American culture, how it had been simmering just below the surface of the bawdy blather that normally dominated the drive-time airwaves and was waiting to explode upon what PNAC described as “some catastrophic and catalyzing event.” The sleaze-laden shock jock who compared himself to Dan Rather as the attacks unfolded had given voice to large sectors of a shell-shocked public, earning in praise for channeling the outrage that average New Yorkers felt on that clear blue day.


1 Comment »

  1. Idk I was on the upper west side that day and I would say what’s quoted there pretty accurately reflects what every (white) person I knew or ran into was saying. New Yorkers have long had that kind of streak, just bubbling under the surface. Liberals and neo cons agree on everything except bathroom usage.

    Comment by Carlin — June 20, 2019 @ 12:39 pm

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