Been down so long getting up didn’t cross my mind

Been down so long getting up didn’t cross my mind May 9, 2023

81 percent.

“A federal jury has found Donald Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation in a civil lawsuit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll, who alleged that Trump raped her in 1996 in the dressing room of a New York City department store.”

81 percent.

The Trump National Doral resort will host two antisemites who have promoted pro-Adolf Hitler propaganda and spread virulently antisemitic conspiracy theories. They will be speaking at an event in Miami alongside numerous Team Trump personalities, including Eric Trump, Lara Trump, and Devin Nunes.

Trump Doral speaker Scott McKay, who has a streaming show on Rumble, has claimed that Jewish people orchestrated 9/11 and were responsible for the assassinations of Presidents Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and William McKinley. He has also said that Jewish people routinely torture children and eat their hearts.

He has praised Hitler for supposedly trying to take down a Jewish banking system and said, “Hitler was actually fighting the same people that we’re trying to take down today.”

In addition to the two “Yes, I’m an Actual Nazi” Actual Nazis, the event includes a host of QAnon celebrities — promoters of the conspiracy theory based on the blood libel or, in other words, the kind of Actual Nazis who may not have figured out that they’re Actual Nazis. Not sure which of those categories Eric Trump belongs in, but if he’s hanging with this crowd, it’s one of them.

Eric Metaxas claims he was recently “On my run up through Central Park in Harlem I saw four teenagers smoking weed. As I passed them I shouted in a firm but friendly voice: ‘Smells like failure!’ and kept going.”

The replies on Twitter should make Metaxas grateful that his cool story didn’t actually happen, but as much as I enjoyed seeing him get dunked on for pretending it did, I was more intrigued by the geography. Central Park ends at 110th street, which is to say that Harlem — rather famously — begins where the park ends. You can’t run “through Central Park in Harlem.”

But that’s just nitpicking, what really strikes me is how Metaxas — author of a terrible biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer — is apparently still wandering through Bonhoeffer’s old neighborhood without ever seeing or finding there what Bonhoeffer found and saw. He’s within jogging distance of both Union Seminary and Abyssinian Baptist Church, where Bonhoeffer was born again. I don’t know if Eric Metaxas has ever read Reggie Williams’ Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus, but then I’m not sure if, at this point, he’d be able to.

• A pair of filmmakers from British Columbia have produced a documentary on one of the worst things that province ever gifted the world: the fraudulent blood-libel “memoir” Michelle Remembers. Here’s the trailer for their film, Satan Wants You:

Judging from the way that trailer ends and from this article in the Vancouver Sun, I suspect Sean Horlor and Steve J. Adams’ documentary will dive into the creepy psychiatrist/patient-turned-husband/wife relationship at the center of this epic fraud.

If you’re too young to remember Michelle Remembers — the book came out in 1980 it was co-authored by Michelle Smith and her then-psychiatrist, Lawrence Pazder. It tells lurid, stories of the Satanic ritual abuse Smith suffered as a child, blocked out, then “recovered memories” of thanks to Pazder’s hypnotherapy. Those stories were bonkers, impossible, wholly lacking corroborating evidence, and shamelessly derivative of both Hollywood horror movies and centuries-old antisemitic legends, but none of that stopped the book from becoming a best-seller and from Smith and Pazder being featured on 20/20 and Oprah and just about every other news and talk show in North America.

Wikipedia has a good summary of the extensive debunking Michelle Remembers eventually received.

That Wikipedia page also, helpfully, includes a “see also” link to the entry for Laurel Rose Willson (aka Laurel Stratton, aka Laura Grabowski), author of a 1988 fraudulent memoir of Satanic ritual abuse, Satan’s Underground. Willson realized that Michelle Remembers was just too Catholic for white evangelical readers, so she basically reproduced the earlier book without all the Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael stuff that an evangelical audience might find off-putting. (She also nixed the heroic psychiatrist character.)

Once Willson’s fraud was exposed, she changed her name again and began a briefly lucrative second career as a fake Holocaust survivor. Here’s the 1990 Cornerstone investigation debunking Willson’s nonsnse.

Smith and Pazder were from Victoria, BC. Willson was from Tacoma. Something in the water up there maybe.

• This is a lovely, melancholy but funny piece by Dale McGowan on “The shredder of history and the oldest song in the world.” You can hear that song — the oldest surviving song — at the end of the post. It’s pretty. Selah.

The Smithsonian is still subtweeting at the top of its lungs: “How Josephine Herbst, ‘Leading Lady’ of the Left, Chronicled the Rise of Fascism.”

Atlas Obscura visits a greatly disappointing historical landmark.

• The title of this post comes from this Bobby Womack classic.

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