THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2003
THATS A ROGER: When you deal with a Girl Named Bruce, perhaps you expect contradictions. But in the case now under review, contradictions and confusion abound. Her name may be Bruce, but her manner is frank; every time she comes on the air, the Fox contributor quickly admits that yes, she really is a Big Democrat (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/17/03). And not only thatby her own admission, Bruce is a feminist, shes openly gay, and she has an investment in progressive politics. In short, if youre willing to listen to Tammy Bruce, Tammy Bruce is a screaming Dem liberal. But then, as soon as someone asks her a question, Bruce begins to trash all Dems! Its no wonder our analysts were so kerflubbled. Is Foxs Girl Named Bruce the real deal? Or is Tammy Bruce just the latest slick Willie?
Who in the world is Tammy Bruce? In 1989, Bruce, then 27, became head of the Los Angeles branch of NOW. But she was forced from her post in 1996canned for making racially naughty remarks about the O.J. Simpson case. On December 7, 1995, Marc Lacey gave an overview in the Los Angeles Times. Bruce was quoted in an Associated Press report as saying she did not want to discuss the O.J. Simpson case on a TV program because she did not want to argue with a bunch of black women, Lacey wrote. Bruce also said her domestic violence message provided a needed break from all that talk of racism. Maybe these were just clumsy locutions, and maybe NOW was hyper-sensitive. But the national office censured Bruce, and asked her to apologize for these remarks (and some others). Bruce refused to do any such thing. Six months later, T-Bruce moved on.
Bruce made news again in the summer of 1998, when she was canned as a radio host at L.A.s KFIfor making racially naughty remarks! On July 8, Camille Cosby, Bill Cosbys wife, published an op-ed in USA Today. One day earlier, 19-year-old Ukrainian immigrant Mikail Markhasev had been found guilty of murdering the Cosbys son, Ennis. I believe America taught our sons killer to hate African Americans, Camille Cosby wrote, citing a racial remark by Markhasev and his previous criminal assault on an African-American. After reading Cosbys column, T-Bruce swung into action. Six weeks later, KFI program director David Hall apologized for Bruces remarks. Judith Michaelson described the action in the Los Angeles Times:
MICHAELSON (8/21/98): In a highly unusual statement aired eight times over a two-hour period Wednesday night and Thursday morningin which the word apology was used 10 timestop management at talk station KFI-AM (640) expressed deep regret, made corrections and offered retractions for comments made by nighttime host Tammy Bruce involving Camille and Bill Cosby and the murder of their son, Ennis.Holy cow! What had KFIs progressive Democrat said? Michaelsons report provided some details. As he apologized on behalf of KFI, Hall spoke in the first person plural:
MICHAELSON: Specifically, Hall said, Mrs. Cosby was characterized as incredibly unstable, crazy, paranoid, delusional, just nuts and the like. It was suggested that Mrs. Cosby seek therapy. We had no information about Mrs. Cosbys mental health We wish to apologize.No doubt about itBruces deep investment in progressive politics had really begun to shine through! In a lengthy, generally sympathetic portrait of Bruce, Ron Russell provided more quotes in the New Times Los Angeles:
RUSSELL (11/12/98): I have two words for you this evening, she warned listeners. Camille Cosby. The Tammy, as fans affectionately call her, then went ballistic. In two hours of fire and brimstone, she ripped apart the essay line by line, not only questioning Camilles sanity but wondering aloud about her super-rich and powerful husbands sexual mores, referring to him as a philandering, impregnating friend of O.J. Simpson. While acknowledging that she had no proof, she suggested that the revered Cosby, a friend of Simpson lawyer Johnnie Cochran, may have secretly helped to fund the ex-football stars murder defense. But most of her ire was aimed at Camilles assertion that the 27-year-old Ennis had been shot to death while changing a tire late at night near a lonely stretch of Mulholland Drive because he was black. Bruce posited that he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong timewhile driving his mother's $130,000 Mercedes-Benz. She then implied that the parents themselves shared the blame. I say to Mrs. Cosby first of all, if shes not in therapy she needs to get some immediately. And how dare she! fumed The Tammy.Bruce said her remarks been taken out of context. But the thoughtful feminist was finished at KFI, and soon enrolled at the University of Southern California. Soon, shed reappear as a Trojan horse, rolled on TV to pose as a Dem while trashing all Dems and all liberals.
Bruce began to re-emerge in 2001 with her incoherent book, The New Thought Police. Early on, Bruce engaged inwhat else?racially naughty remarks; indeed, by page 18, she had trashed both Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, while magnanimously saying that King and Parks werent necessarily villainous. I wouldnt say that these people are the villains of the current Left, T-Bruce generously said (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/2/03). But King and Parks did show their preference for deceit in the pursuit of power, she noted. More specifically, Rosa Parks had pushed us into the maze of Thought Police totalitarianism that we face today.
Are you starting to see a recurrent theme in BruceThought? Needless to say, the racially naughty remarks persist in her current book, The Death of Right and Wrong. Indeed, Bruce revisits an old pal, Bill Cosby, whom she compares unfavorably to convicted rapist Mike Tyson. [A]t least Tysons honest about his corruption, she types. But Bruce dismisses the Cozalong with Kweisi Mfumeas The Great Black Hypocrite. Men like Cosby are the main threat to the black community, she writes. According to Bruce, Cosby and Mfume are part of the Black Elitepeople who are motivated, whether consciously or unconsciously, by a deep-rooted hatred for their country and themselves, which leads them to attempt to destroy the future of their own people and, indeed, everyone else. And yes, this is the kind of writing which pervades Bruces crackpot books. For the record, Bruce cites only one piece of evidence regarding Cosbys devilryan ambiguous (and unsupported) passage from former supermodel Janice Dickinsons recent book, a book in which Dickinson claims love affairs with many famous men. Most of these men are white, of course, and therefore manage to escape Bruces notice. For the record, Dickinson plainly doesnt claim that she ever had sex with The Coz.
No doubt, all these remarks have been taken out of context. In no way should they make readers wonder why Bruce presents herself as a progressive and a Democrat. But other parts of The Death of Right and Wrong might at least raise such a question. Early on, we couldnt help wondering why a fiery progressive would want to say something like this:
T-BRUCE (page 15): Wow! Neither guilty nor innocent! Hows that for Through the Looking Glass? Thats how the liberals would have our world be. No judgment, no conclusions, no reality, no rules, no personal responsibility. No guilt or innocence. The death of right and wrong.According to Bruce, the liberals want there to be no reality. We thought that statement was just a bit odd, coming from such a committed progressive. But then, knowing what a Big Dem Tammy Bruce is, we were also a bit surprised by a grouping she gave to Bill Clinton:
T-BRUCE (page 35): [T]he Judeo-Christian ethic and the personal standards it encourages do not impinge on the quality of life, but enhance it. They also give one a basic moral template that is not relative, but thats exactly why it threatens the Left Elite. This basic ethical guide provides standards that people like Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Andrea Yates and Mumia Abu-Jamal do not meet. But these are the very people who are held up as examples by the Media Elite (serving as foot soldiers for the Left).Trust usmost Democrats dont lump Clinton in with someone who recently drowned all her children. But by now, of course, youve seen the Big SecretTammy Bruce is a circus actsomeone you just can't take seriously. But just imagine that shes put her on the air to pose as a Dem when she writes clowning bullroar like this:
T-BRUCE (page 125): Leftists, now in control of the Democratic Party, have simply co-opted issues of importance to all Americans, including black civil rights. But the proof of a real commitment isnt seated in rhetoricits in action. Which is probably why it took a fairly conservative president, George W. Bush, to finally appoint black people to real positions of power. Jimmy Carter didnt. Bill Clinton didnt. It didnt take a village, Hillaryit took a Republican.But then, T-Bruce seems to think poorly of all major Dems. Early on, for example, she provides a review of the cardinal virtues. After quoting C. S. Lewis definition of justice, she relates the concept to both the Clintonsand, of course, to Teddy Kennedy. I think its safe to say that this virtue doesnt even remotely touch their lives, T-Bruce says.
As weve mentioned, T-Bruce is a circus act. The fact that she's on the air at allwell, its a stunning fact about our era. But how about the fact that Fox presents her as a progressive and a Democrat? Whatever this Girl Named Bruce really is, its fairly clear that shes neither of these. Would it take a real faker to pose Bruce that way? Our answer is clearthats a roger.
TOMORROW: This Girl Named Bruce can explain the whole thing. But so can the other faux Democrats.
VERY RELIABLE SOURCES: What an amazing remark by the Thurmonds lawyer! Michael Janofsky quoted the counselor in Tuesdays New York Times:
JANOFSKY: As J. Strom Thurmond has passed away and cannot speak for himself, the Thurmond family acknowledges Ms. Essie Mae Washington-Williams claim to her heritage, a family lawyer, J. Mark Taylor, said in a brief written statement. We hope this acknowledgment will bring closure for Ms. Williams.Amazing, isnt it? Whatever one thinks of this fascinating story, Strom Thurmond had 78 years to speak for himself about this matter. We couldnt restrain those low, mordant chuckles as we marveled at Taylors construction.
Meanwhile, we suggest that you read Brent Staples discussion in todays New York Times. Staples critiques the work of establishment sources in the telling of Americas racial history. How about Thomas Jefferson, for example? The big lesson for historians in the Hemings-Jefferson case was that the oral histories passed down by slaves and their descendants were more reliable than the official written record, Staples notes. So too with the Thurmond story. Like most stories of its kind, this one would have died out long ago had it not been carried for nearly a century on the tongues of black South Carolinians, who recognized the story of Strom Thurmond and Essie Mae Washington-Williamss mother as a universal story of black families across the state. Official sources, alas, told it wrong. Official folk? They misinformed you:
STAPLES: It was not, however, the official story. The biographer Nadine Cohodas dismissed it as a legend in the black community a decade ago in her book Strom Thurmond and the Politics of Southern Change. Another writer of the South described it as apparently without foundationa phrase that is used all the time to dismiss the black oral tradition as apocryphal.Ah yesthose official stories. We have tried, for the past six years, to debunk many current official storiesofficial stories which store-bought bootblacks have been more than willing to tell you. But then, store-bought scriveners are always eager to tell you the tales current power prefers. As you read through Staples piece, be sure to sing praise of two writers he mentionsa journalism professor, Jack Bass, and a Washington Post reporter, Marilyn Thompson. Tomorrow, well consider the way some modern scribes have kept you clueless about other stories. For example, why must you read about Tammy Bruce here? Tomorrow, well name the names of store-bought scribes who hate disrupting official stories. As sources, they are completely reliable. Want the truth? You can wait 80 years.