Social media is awash in conspiracy theories — another word for confused persons trying to window-dress reality into something they can understand and accept. The dust hadn't settled after Amtrak's Washington State crash before right wingers were blaming it on their bogeyman of the moment, the anti-fascist movement Antifa.
Then an actual real-life conspiracy gets unearthed and people just shrug on hurry on. If it doesn't buff their biases, they don't care.
I was flitting around Twitter this week when I happened upon an article by Chicago freelancer Robyn Pennacchia on Quartz, a web site run by The Atlantic Magazine.
I don't like to echo the work of others. But OMG.
The headline says it all — "America’s wholesome square dancing tradition is a tool of white supremacy" — and explains the reason countless kids in countless gym classes have been swinging their partners round-and-round for the past 90 years. It is not — as I supposed — some vestige frontier tradition that lodged in public school physical education and somehow survived the lash of time, but a direct result of ... well, better let Pennacchia explain it:
To understand how square dancing became a state-mandated means of celebrating Americana, it’s necessary to go back to Henry Ford... Ford hated jazz; he hated the Charleston. He also really hated Jewish people, and believed that Jewish people invented jazz as part of a nefarious plot to corrupt the masses and take over the world—a theory that might come as a surprise to the black people who actually did invent it.I knew that the inventor of the Model T was a poisonous anti-Semite, an inspiration to Adolf Hitler and the only American mentioned by name in Mein Kampf. But the jazz stuff is new. Pennacchia quotes volume three of Ford's The International Jew, written in 1921:
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