Behind America’s facade

When I lived in the United States in the late 1960s, my home was often New Orleans, in a friend’s rambling grey clapboard house that stood in a section of the city where civil rights campaigners had taken refuge from the violence of the Deep South. New Orleans was said to be cosmopolitan; it was also sinister and murderous. We were protected by the then district attorney, Jim Garrison, a liberal maverick whose investigations into the assassination of John Kennedy were to make powerful enemies behind “the Facade”.

The Facade was how we described the dividing line between the America of real life – of a poverty so profound that slavery was still a presence and of a rapacious state power that waged war against its own citizens, just as it did against black and brown-skinned people in faraway countries – and the America that spawned the greed of corporatism and invented public relations as a means of social control (“The American Dream” and “The American Way of Life” began as advertising slogans).

The wilful neglect by the Bush regime before and after Hurricane Katrina offered a rare glimpse behind the Facade. The poor were no longer invisible. The bodies floating in contaminated water, the survivors threatened with police shotguns, the distinct obesity of American poverty – all of it mocked the forests of advertising billboards, relentless television commercials and news soundbites (average

— source | 19 Sep 2005

Nullius in verba

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