Friday, August 1, 2008

Paul Harvey...Good day

Before Rush Limbo or Howard Stern, there was Paul Harvey. According to Wikipedia, he did his first radio broadcast in 1933, and has been doing his news and commentary program since 1944. Harvey hasn't done his new and commentary much recently.Fred Thomson, Paul Harvey Jr. and Mike Huckabee have filled in for him recently. I happened to hear a rare appearance by Harvey a few weeks ago. He talked about a new phase in the life of Paul Harvey (he often refers to himself in the third person). It was like the end of an era, although Harvey's voice is still heard on his program pitching the products he favors.

Harvey always reminded me of my Grandfather, a strong believer in American manifest destiny and cultural superiority. Grandpa had a Goldwater bumpersticker in his barn, a portrait of Ronald Reagan in the kitchen, and told me that George Bush (the elder) wasn't "forceful enough." Grandpa disliked long hair on men, unions, jazz and rock and roll, and anything with a hyphen before the word American. He was also pretty sure that the Soviets were conducting experiments to increase the harshness of American winters, and showed me a newspaper clipping about Russian rocket tests to back up his claim.

On one broadcast in June 2005, Harvey lamented that America has lost the will that drove us to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. "We didn't come this far because we're made of sugar candy. Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and across this continent by giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. That was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever.And we grew prosperous. And yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves. So it goes with most great nation-states, which--feeling guilty about their savage pasts--eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry up-and-coming who are not made of sugar candy."

Although I'll miss him, I hope the time of Paul Harvey's jingoistic world view is drawing to a close.

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