Bettie Page’s Hips

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In the ninth grade, in Laramie, Wyoming, I took typing, probably the most useful class I ever took. To this day I view touch typing as an essential skill, right up there with readin’, ritin’, and rithmetic. After I learned to type, apart from filling out forms and signing my name, I avoided writing anything in longhand. Learning to type changed my life and helped define who I am today.

Now I’m trying to re-learn the art of writing by hand, in grade-school cursive yet, using a fountain pen my father gave me 29 years ago. Be patient, I tell myself. It’ll be worth it.

I don’t know anything about Julian Assange’s writing habits, but if he has a mind to work on his calligraphy he’ll soon have plenty of time to do it. I have mixed feelings about Assange being remanded to U.S. custody for prosecution, which I’m pretty sure will be the upshot of his arrest this morning in London. Yes, he did Trump a solid by publishing stolen Democratic Party emails in 2016, but muzzling the press is far more important to Trump than protecting a supporter who hasn’t done anything for him lately, and making a show of locking Assange in prison will give his administration the excuse and precedent it needs to go after media outlets who cross Trump. By, say, publishing a leaked copy of the Mueller report, or his tax returns.

Most of us have by now been exposed to the right wing claim that Hitler’s Nazis were socialists. It’s right there in the name, they say: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. “Socialist” and “Workers,” two words forever associated with Karl Marx and the Soviet Union. This in spite of the fact that the people making this claim are generally fine with anti-Semitism, white nationalism, and authoritarianism, three central features of Nazism. So how to make sense of something like this, posted to Facebook yesterday by an old friend?

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Because I can’t even. One, the Dutch resistance fought the Nazis, not “the socialists.” Two, there’s no “resurgence” of socialism there … the city of Arnhem, along with the rest of the Netherlands and other Northern European nations, has been progressively socialist since the 1950s (“failed idea,” my ass). Three, my old friend is an educated man, far too sophisticated to fall for the infantile “but it’s right there in the name” argument. He knows better.

Here’s what I think: he sees himself as a social media influencer. By pushing the Nazis=socialists/socialists=communists meme to a right wing audience, he’s helping the ideologues he supports strengthen the weapon they’ve always deployed against progressive Democratic Party candidates running for office. Kamala Harris? Beto O’Rourke? Elizabeth Warren? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Socialists! Just like Hitler! (and never you mind there are plenty of things about Hitler these people admire).

Nice touch, though, throwing in a photo of Audrey Hepburn. She sure draws the eye, doesn’t she? I wonder what she would have thought about all this. I also wonder what’s going on with her hips. Bettie Page’s hips didn’t stick out like that, is all I’m sayin’.

© 2019, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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4 comments to Bettie Page’s Hips

  • Jeanne Jeannie

    Oh, oh, oh – I always say that my typing courses were the most important course I took (not even taking into account how bad my handwriting has always been). Having attended so many meetings as I have, I sincerely regret that I did not also take shorthand. My friends’ children, who are now in their 20’s (the kids no my friends), were not taught keyboard skills in Canada, England and Switzerland in high school – what???

    My counter-argument about the Nazis and socialism is the Democratic Republic of Congo or the German Democratic Republic – look it is right there in their names!! Democracy must be awful.

  • Jeanne, that’s the counter-argument I used with my friend, only I cited the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He hasn’t responded. After all, I was not the choir he was preaching to!

  • Jack T Brown

    Typing in 9th grade was the most practical course I ever took. I could write longhand cursive, badly, as did my older brother; when he did his 2 infantry tours in Vietnam I had to read his letters to the family as I was the only one in the family that could read his writing.

    Glad to see another moderate progressive former military officer with an active website and not afraid to speak his mind. Jim Wright (USN 25 years) and his Stonekettle Station and Major Kong (retired B-52, KC-135 Driver) on Daily Kos are other favorites.

    Keep up the good work, and I am so jealous of your volunteer work at the Air and Space Museum!
    — Jack (AD Army 5yrs, 44 months 1/6 Infantry FRG 76-79)

  • Great to hear from you, Jack. Major Kong and I comment back and forth on the DKos Kossack Air Force group, and I’ve seen some of his political/social commentary on Gin & Tacos. Haven’t looked at Stonekettle Station in a while but will revisit. Thanks!

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