Thursday, January 19, 2006

White-out: the new newsprint

Along with a new college semester comes the first issue of the University of Louisiana Vermilion for 2006. Tons of turnover mark this go-round, with new columnists for almost everything. One of the only mainstays, however, is our old friend John Hinson. Regular readers are well-aware of Hinson's racialist proclivities. And for Martin Luther King week, he surely didn't disappoint! What follows are excerpts from his Jan. 18 column. I always remix/excerpt these, lest I be sued for acute rhetorical poisoning:

Honoring a lie

He's talking about the MLK holiday, but he could just as easily be talking about his diatribe.

I will show that the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. is a disgrace to the nation and to what our country was founded.

If ever a topic sentence defined the word "antithesis," this is it.

Just who is Martin Luther King Jr.? King was born Michael King in Atlanta in 1929 (

I once saw this fact on a racist site, as part of a list on why MLK was a bad guy. "He's a fraud because his birth name was Michael." Seriously! That's how little ammunition they have against him.

This is the first of Hinson numerous allusions to Wikipedia. He must have read my comment last time about needing Wikipedia to understand his references. I was kidding, man! In any case, Wikipedia, as useful as it is, is nonethless not the best source to back up these sorts of arguments. I've removed the rest of his Wiki-links for clarity, though they can be accessed on his Verm page.

Revelations after his death have shown King to be a rabid plagiarist, stealing, at least in part, most of his writings, speeches and even his dissertation. [...]
His speeches fared no better. Laughably, even King's moving "I Have a Dream" speech was plagiarized. He had a dream all right; evidently someone else's dream.

Hinson left something out from the Wiki-page he cites for this point:

The closing passage from King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech was borrowed from Archibald Carey, Jr.'s address to the 1952 Republican National Convention. The major similarity is that both speeches end with a recitation of the first verse of Samuel Francis Smith's popular patriotic hymn "America" (My Country ’Tis of Thee), and the names of some mountains mentioned from each exhorts "let freedom ring" are the same in both speeches.

Keith Miller, in Voice of Deliverance: The Language of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Its Sources, argues that such borrowing, which he terms "voice merging", follows in a long tradition of folk preaching, particularly in the African American church, and should not necessarily be termed plagiarism. On the contrary, he views King's skillful combination of language from different sources as a major oratorical skill.

Even if such speech melding weren't a tradition, it'd be hard to argue that King was a plagiarist simply because he cited the same song as someone else did in an unrelated speech. Also, remember that King offered the words "let freedom ring" as an allusion, and probably wasn't aware that those words would be forever associated with him. And for someone who relies so heavily on secondhand information, Hinson shouldn't be throwing stones.

The only legit issue here is whether or not King properly attributed his quotations in his dissertation; everything else sounds kosher to me. After all, the point of a dissertation is to assemble various sources, quotations and citations together as part of a larger collective study. So reading that King's essay was one-third outside material and two-thirds his own words sounds about right. If not actually a low ratio.

Even worse, King's affiliation with known Communists like Stanley Levison of the Communist Party USA in the middle of the Cold War suggested ulterior motives. Levison assisted behind the scenes with King's rallies and speeches.

By that logic, I'm in a lot of trouble; I've had many radical Republican teachers, mentors, bosses and advisers over the course of my life. Also, I once co-wrote with Hinson, who is an admitted member of the NAAWP, a white-power organization founded by David Duke (and has since changed its name to WORKING People!!). With associations like that, I'd better not become famous!

But don't take my sarcastic word for it. From the MLK Wiki-page:

The attempt to smear King as a communist was in keeping with the feeling of many segregationists that blacks in the South were happy with their lot, but had been stirred up by "Communists" and "outside agitators." [...]

HUAC later was discredited for its coercion of witnesses and the manner in which it sought to implicate individuals with vague and often sweeping accusations and assumptions of guilt by association. The Committee was renamed in 1969 and eventually abolished.

Later, the focus of the Bureau's investigations shifted to attempting to "discredit" King through revelations regarding his private life.

Sounds like HUAC really had ammo with that Communist allegation, huh?

As icing on the cake, both leaked FBI reports and accounts corroborated by those closest to King show that he was a moral degenerate as well, cheating on his wife, Coretta, with married women.

Well, I suppose that negates the whole Civil Rights movement. King cheated on his wife. Thank God the FBI was spying on the man, otherwise we never would have known that extremely relevant factoid! Perhaps he should have stayed home and cross-dressed instead, so that at least J. Edgar Hoover would have something exciting to watch after hours.

Frankly, how does this man deserve a national holiday? When you consider his background and all other Americans' contributions, King should not even stand a chance. [...] a social and moral degenerate, an opportunistic Communist sympathizer and a plagiarist would hardly be in line for No. 1 when it comes to national holidays.

No; but then you haven't really proven any of those allegations, nor have you explained why some of them would even matter.

For the future, Martin Luther King Jr. should be recognized for what he is; a flawed man whose contributions hurt America more than added to it. Americans nationwide should not be forced to pay lip service to this failure of a man.

Gee, John, who do you suppose we should honor instead? Let's find a flawless human being who did the opposite of what MLK accomplished, since he's such a bad guy. Hmm...where can I find a true American hero who not only promoted segregation through violence, but also did so while being the perfect human being? This might take some time. I might have to grab a Snickers bar!

As it is, Hinson's column has only reaffirmed my belief that Martin Luther King Jr. is as noble a role model as his detractors aren't. I'd say "nice try" regarding the column, but it really wasn't that nice of a try. Perhaps next week...


Flamingo Jones said...

Whoa. I'm having trouble stomaching this one.

That's about the biggest bunch of Ad Hominem b.s. I've seen in a long time.

He attacks the man, because he cannot attack the message. I think King would be proud of that.

Murph said...

When you think about it, there's only one other American who has a national holiday named after him (the presidents & veterans all get lumped together), and that person is Jesus, so shouldn't we hold any other American eligible for a national holiday up to the same standard we hold Jesus? Is it that much to ask that the person be born without sin from a virgin without sin?

Flamingo Jones said...

Bonus points if said American can turn tap water into top shelf hard stuff.

Ian McGibboney said...

Well, Jesus wasn't an American and he certainly wasn't preaching the opposite of King's message. Though I don't doubt that the anti-MLK crowd will claim him anyway.

So, really, you could say that King is the only American to have his own holiday. Unless you count Columbus, which I don't. But even if you do count him, King clearly is one of the most Christlike Americans we've had. Amazing how we as a nation actually got that holiday right.

jenny said...

i really love the line in dogma where the metatron says "Noah was a drunk. Look what he accomplished.". eventhough the message is from kevin smith and i can't vouch for his interpretation of bible stories, it's a reassuring message.

Anonymous said...

Your header at the top of the page says it all "Not right about anything". People just need to sit down and look at the facts. I choose to work on this "holiday". I'm not honoring someone who, well, is a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

It amazes me how many ppl take what they read for facts about King the man did a lot for this nation. Columbous day is a bigger hoax first off he was loss second he wasnt the one who got lost his black navigator did so really it should be the lost black navigators day. The FBI says they have this and that on him they also said pearl harbor was unprovoked which we all know was a lie. The fool is the one who listens to what the gov says. After 9/11 attack bush's speach was plagerized anyone ever seen the seige he says the same thing he quotes bruce willis. Rather he cheated on his wife i dont know he was a man not GOD every man has cheated hell every president weve had has been unfaithful Jefferson was screwing his slave who was his wifes half sister. No one will ever know if the things they say about him is true or not hes not here anymore let the man legacy live in peace.

melissa said...

My history teacher in college just blurted out in class in the midst of a discussion that MLK slept with a bazillion other women besides his wife---- and I thought that was the trashiest thing for her to dare say about him. MY question to her and the like is; where the hell is the proof? it just sounds like a big load of racist and federal lies to discredit Him and the black race. I will not believe it until the files come out in 2027 saying so.