will be monumental.
will be uncounted TV specials; memorial books, magazines and
Seal of the 40th President ashtrays; country western “You
Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” tribute albums; websites
featuring commemorative T-shirts, mugs, medallions and bomber
jackets. AFC will almost certainly present a movie marathon — Hellcats
of the Navy, Bedtime
for Bonzo, Kings
But Nice, Brother
Rat. Nick at Night: reruns of Death
Ronald Reagan, will die soon. But on the upside, our myth-making
machinery had plenty of prehumous prep time. Broadcast, print
and internet media have backloaded content for the most anticipated
death of this young century since…well…last century.
need to go further than the “embargoed until Reagan’s
death” pages at Knight
Ridder — publisher of 31 daily newspapers across the
United States — or the CNN online Reagan memorial (here
at Smoking Gun) to see the impact his demise will have.
No doubt, after these bits of prerecorded history are
loosed on the American public, a long line of teary-eyed
politicians will trumpet Reagan’s extraordinary
accomplishments. If all goes as planned, Republicans will get a huge boost
in the polls. There will be proposals in Congress for a Ronald Reagan national
holiday. Reagan-named buildings, parks, and highways will sprout nationwide.
Reagan Legacy Project is already working to name at least
one notable public landmark in his honor in each state and all
3067 U.S. counties. My mind reels at the possibilties.
blocked from our collective memory by the edifice of manufactured
glory will be Reagan’s support for Saddam Hussein, Reagan's
Nicaraguan terrorist “Freedom Fighters,” Reagan's
violation of the Boland Amendment, Reagan's Iran-Contra scandal,
Reagan's Beirut disaster, Reagan's arms for hostages deal, Reagan's
denial of the AIDS epidemic, Reagan's wreath-laying at Bitburg,
Reagan's close ties with Ferdinand Marcos, John Poindexter, James
Watt…SOMEBODY STOP ME!!
All of these
unsavory Reaganisms will be trivialized, sanitized or censored
not unlike the CBS mini-series The
Reagans. And well they should be. For as Reagan once
said, “Facts are stupid things.”
In that spirit,
he also said:
tree's a tree. How many more do you need to look at?"
the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored
and decaying vegetation in this land are responsible for 93 percent
of the oxides of nitrogen."
said it before and I'll say it again. The U.S. Geological Survey
told me that the proven potential for oil in Alaska alone is greater
than the proven reserves in Saudi Arabia."
should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?"
silly talking about how many years we will have to spend in the
of Vietnam when we could pave the whole country and put parking
stripes on it and still be home by Christmas."
was really the basis for the New Deal."
we have found in this country, and maybe we're more aware of it
is one problem that we've had, even in the best of times, and
that is the people who are sleeping on the grates, the homeless
who are homeless, you might say, by choice."
insurance is a pre-paid vacation for freeloaders."
were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed
every night. Well, that was probably true. They were all on a
is just like show business. You have a hell of an opening, coast
for a while, and then have a hell of a close."
Reagan will have a hell of a close.
— Nathan Callahan,
November 19, 2003