5 Beloved People You Never Knew Said Crazy Horrible Stuff
They say you should never meet your heroes. Whatever celebrity you've looked up to all your life will almost certainly be a dipshit with some insanely awful opinions. This applies across the board, no matter how much we wish it wouldn't. Search deep enough, and even the most beloved figures have at one point or another blurted out something stupid, condescending, or plain hateful. Like when ...
David Bowie Was Extremely Pro-Fascist For A Time
David Bowie's career was one of constant reinvention, so it was only a matter of time before one of his gazillion personas turned out to be a bit of a dick. This happened way back in 1975, during a strange period when the mind behind "Rebel Rebel" called for ... a fascist uprising in Britain.
This was not your garden-variety right-wing stuff, either. At an early stage of his career, Bowie said: "I believe very strongly in fascism."
In a 1974 interview with Playboy: "Adolf Hitler was one of the first rock stars. Look at some of the films and see how he moved. I think he was quite as good as Jagger."
And an outright call to arms that, if stated today, would net Bowie a permanent gig with Breitbart: "You've got to have an extreme right-wing front come up and sweep everything off its feet and tidy everything up."
That's like Lady Gaga waving a tiki torch in Charlottesville. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Bowie started off talking about getting lost in the character of Ziggy Stardust, and the mania that caused, then casually transitioned into: "I could have been Hitler in England. Wouldn't have been hard. Concerts alone got so enormously frightening that even the papers were saying, 'This ain't rock music, this is bloody Hitler! Something must be done!' And they were right. It was awesome. Actually, I wonder ... I think I might have been a bloody good Hitler. I'd be an excellent dictator. Very eccentric and quite mad."
In 1977, after a photo emerged in which Bowie appeared to be giving a Nazi salute (but probably was just waving), he was quick to publicly and thoroughly denounce ever being a fascist. The fact that this happened soon after he had been detained on the Russian-Polish border for attempting to smuggle an assload of Nazi memorabilia is probably a coincidence.
Martin Luther King Jr. Was The World's Worst Advice Columnist
You know the old saying: "Iconic Civil Rights leaders make terrible advice columnists."
What? It's a saying. We said it.
Anyway, it's true. People writing into a magazine to have Martin Luther King Jr. help them with their personal issues sounds like the plot of a South Park episode, but it truly happened in real life. From 1957 to 1958, one of the greatest Americans in history wrote an agony aunt column for Ebony magazine. In his monthly Advice For Living, MLK offered his thoughts on all sorts of topics, from major issues of race to more traditional Dear Abby fare, like personal issues and crumbling marriages.
And he fucking sucked at it.
When a reader wrote him about her husband having an affair with another woman in their neighborhood, King told her to take up stalking: "In the meantime, since the other person is so near you might study her and see what she does for your husband that you might not be doing." King also helpfully noted that the woman herself was probably to blame, outlining all the ways in which she might be disappointing her unfaithful partner: "Do you spend too much time with the children and the house and not pay attention to him? Are you careful with your grooming? Do you nag? Do you make him feel important ... like somebody? This process of introspection might help you to hit upon the things that are responsible for your husband's other affair." That's right, ladies! If your husband cheats on you, the "I have a dream" guy says it's because you spend too much time tending to your children.
MLK's savagery was not reserved solely for victims of adultery: One particularly crushed woman wrote him about a car accident which had killed her young child and hospitalized her husband with serious injuries. "I worry and I am lonely and I have fears," she wrote. "Please help me." King sensitively responded:
"You are probably lonely and in fear today because you have not succeeded in getting the tragedy which befell your family out of your mind. Lonesomeness and fearfulness almost always stem from an over absorption in self. When one thinks only about his problems and misfortunes he cannot help living in fear and worry. First, you must rise above your misfortune enough to see that it is not so bad that it couldn't be worse. Second, you must find proper avenues of escape from self pity. Cultivate a love for great music. Give yourself to some purpose or cause beyond yourself. Develop a genuine love for your life's work. Cultivate genuine and abiding friendships. And above all develop regular habits of religious worship. Many people who have been burdened down by the problems of life have found great resources of power in prayer and worship. These are just a few things that can help you transcend your worries and fears."
That was one of history's most revered human rights champions ... telling a woman who just lost her child that she needs to suck it up and get over herself.
Benjamin Franklin Fuckin' Hated Germans
Benjamin "Kite Dogg" Franklin did own a couple of slaves, but eventually became a staunch abolitionist after visiting a school for African children in 1763 (the 18th-century equivalent of watching a UNICEF commercial). Touched by his experience, Franklin wrote: "I was on the whole much pleased, and from what I then saw, have conceived a higher opinion of the natural capacities of the black race, than I had ever before entertained. Their apprehension seems as quick, their memory as strong, and their docility in every respect equal to that of white children."
That's ... actually pretty cool, but it doesn't really seem to fit in with the theme of this article, does it? Well, while Franklin made it clear that he thought black people were "cool now," he wasn't exactly a bastion of progressivism:
"hy should the Palatine Boors be suffered to swarm into our Settlements, and by herding together establish their Language and Manners to the Exclusion of ours? Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion."
That's Founding Father Ben "Jammin'" Franklin complaining about immigrants, whom he assumes want nothing more than to replace everything we hold dear with their strange languages and customs. The subjects of his ire might have been German immigrants instead of whomever modern racists are most terrified of this week, but the train of thought was the same:
"Which leads me to add one Remark: That the Number of purely white People in the World is proportionably very small. All Africa is black or tawny. Asia chiefly tawny. America (exclusive of the new Comers) wholly so. And in Europe, the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians and Swedes, are generally of what we call a swarthy Complexion; as are the Germans also, the Saxons only excepted, who with the English, make the principal Body of White People on the Face of the Earth."
He's so mad at these immigrants that he subtracts freaking Germans and Swedes from the whiteboard. Not that we're fighting with Benjamin "Poor Richard's Almanack" Franklin about science stuff, but when you claim that the two whitest cultures in the history of the whitest continent don't count as white because you really don't like them, you might want to rethink your logic.
Ron Paul's Old Newsletters Featured Some Insanely Racist And Homophobic Stuff
Ron Paul has published a number of self-serving newsletters over the years. Between the 1980s and the 1990s, publications like Ron Paul Political Report, Ron Paul's Freedom Report, and The Ron Paul Survival Report have graced the mailboxes of literally dozens of people.
Full disclosure: While Ron Paul defended these newsletters back in 1996, he said he didn't write them in 2001, then had an aide say he didn't write "most of the incendiary stuff" in 2008, and finally personally disowned the writings in 2011. Still, whether the Libertarian Lilliput personally wrote the letters or not, at the end of the day, he still allowed some rather dubious statements to be published in his name for decades.
From a 1992 op-ed, cheerfully titled "Blast 'Em?": "It's the hip-hop thing to do among the urban youth who play unsuspecting whites like pianos. The youth simply walk up to a car they like, pull a gun, tell the family to get out, steal their jewelry and wallets, and take the car to wreck. Such actions have ballooned in recent months."
Having painted this worrying canvas of hip-hop gangstas out to steal your precious Miata, what are good white people to do? Glad you asked: straight-up murder some kids and then cover it up! "More and more Americans are carrying a gun in the car. An ex-cop I know advises that if you have to use a gun on a youth, you should leave the scene immediately, disposing of the wiped off gun as soon as possible. Such a gun cannot, of course, be registered to you, but one bought privately (through the classifieds, for example.)"
That is not an isolated brain fart. In 1990: "A mob of black demonstrators, led by the 'Rev.' Al Sharpton, occupied and closed the Statue of Liberty recently, demanding that New York be renamed Martin Luther King City 'to reclaim it for our people.' Hmmm. I hate to agree with the Rev. Al, but maybe a name change is in order. Welfaria? Zooville? Rapetown? Dirtburg? Lazyopolis? But Al, the Statue of Liberty? Next time, hold that demonstration at a food stamp bureau or a crack house."
Wow. Say what you will about Donald Trump, but at least he has yet to utter the term "Rapetown" in an official context.
Oh, but Paul (or his authorized clones) didn't keep it only to racist ranting. Occasionally he spiced things up with a dash of homophobia. In the Ron Paul Survival Report from September, 1994: "Those who don't commit sodomy, who don't get a blood transfusion, and who don't swap needles, are virtually assured of not getting AIDS unless they are deliberately infected by a malicious gay."
And then there's the straight-up conspiracy theories, so paranoid even Alex Jones would do a double take: "I've been told not to talk, but these stooges don't scare me. Threats or no threats, I've laid bare the coming race war in our big cities. The federal-homosexual cover-up on AIDS (my thinking as a physician helps me see through this one.) The Bohemian Grove-perverted, pagan playground of the powerful. Skull & Bones: the demonic fraternity that includes George Bush and leftist Senator John Kerry, Congress's Mr. New Money. The Israeli lobby, which plays Congress like a cheap harmonica. And the Soviet-style 'smartcard' the Justice Department has in mind for you."
See, no matter how many times he ran, stuff like this is the real reason why Ron Paul could never be president. Until Trump came along. Now, all bets are back on.
Jacques Cousteau Advocated Killing 350,000 People Every Day
Jacques Cousteau is probably the second-least-threatening underwater entertainment personality, right after Aquaman. But while Cousteau plainly loved life under the sea, he had a slightly different opinion about life on land. As an environmentalist, Cousteau saw that humanity was the environment's number-one enemy. However, unlike most environmentalists, Cousteau saw genocide as the only obvious solution. In a 1991 interview with The UNESCO Courier, which you totally knew existed before we mentioned it right now, Cousteau took the bold stance of speaking out against medicine in general, stating:
"Getting rid of viruses is an admirable idea, but it raises enormous problems. In the first 1,400 years of the Christian era, population numbers were virtually stationary. Through epidemics, nature compensated for excess births by excess deaths."
OK, not wanting to find cures for the things that kill human beings is really cold, but it's not that bad. It's not like Cousteau is calling for some sort of worldwide, suspiciously specific mass culling of humanity or anythi- "What should we do to eliminate suffering and disease? It's a wonderful idea but perhaps not altogether a beneficial one in the long run. If we try to implement it we may jeopardize the future of our species. It's terrible to have to say this. World population must be stabilized and to do that we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. This is so horrible to contemplate that we shouldn't even say it. But the general situation in which we are involved is lamentable."
Cousteau twice notes that it's an awful, terrifying idea, yet goes on anyway. This was not a product of some stupid radical movement Cousteau took part in his youth. He said these things, on the record and without prompting, all the way back in the far-gone days of ... 1991. Unfortunately, the interviewer steered Cousteau away from the subject before he could elaborate on precisely how he proposed mankind go about exterminating six digits' worth of people on a daily basis. It is perhaps unjust, but we assume ... drowning?
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