Thursday, February 14, 2019

Propaganda Review: “Hate.Com: Extremists On The Internet” (2000)

Nineteen years ago, HBO and the Southern Poverty Law Center teamed up for a special about the growing white nationalist movement on the Internet. And yes … it is every bit as heavy-handed as you’d expect it to be.

By: Jimbo X

When my cousin got broadband cable back in the late 1990s, it was like a whole new world was opened up to us. Granted, none of this stuff sounds even remotely exciting in the heyday of hyper-fast Internet and thousands of HD television channels, but having access to 300 different stations — a good 100 or so that were variations on HBO and Showtime — back then was positively mind-blowing.

Thanks to that fiber cable hookup, I was introduced to the impeccable comedic stylings of George Carlin and Richard Pryor, while its uncensored metal channel introduced me to all of the heavy hitters of death, black, thrash and grindcore that I would spend the bulk of my teenage years jamming out to. And that’s to say nothing of the potpourri of unedited movies, which afforded me my first screenings of such all-time masterpieces as Mother’s Day, Heavenly Creatures and Horror Hospital.

But one of the things that impacted me that, in hindsight, you really wouldn’t have thought would have impacted me as a 14-year-old were all of the ham-fisted documentaries running on HBO 3 and Showtime West Coast and Cinemax Ultra and whatever they hell else they called all of that crap. For example, they’d used to always show these episodes of Autopsy at like three in the morning, and they’d usually be wedged in between old episodes of that “adult” animated Spawn cartoon you totally forgot about until I just reminded you it existed right then. And pretty much every weekend you were assured to see The Iceman Tapes at least once, and if you were really lucky, maybe even a replay of Just Melvin, Just Evil. But for every legitimately engrossing doc like Paradise Lost, you had to sift through about three or four REALLY subpar ones, like the ones about medical treatment for depression or the one that tries to make you feel bad about a 16-year-old that shot a black cop in the neck.

Then you had the “special presentations” that didn’t even bother trying to mask their low-lying intentions. And if you think you’ve seen disingenuous, hysterical documentaries about “contemporary racism” before, have a good a true gruesome twosome of political correctness to lob at ‘ya: hailing from 2000, it’s Hate.Com: Extremists On The Internet, a barely 40-minute long co-presentation from HBO and … hold on your hats, folks … The Southern Poverty Law Center.

And wouldn’t you know it, I just happen to have a 19-year-old VHS cassette containing the original special, in all its pre-9/11 majesty, just waitin’ for us to relive it, right here in my possession. Sound like something you want to revisit, dear Internet visitor person? Well, too bad, ‘cause I already hit the “PLAY” button, and this sumbitch’s “STOP” function quite working around 2006.

We begin the special pretty much the way you’d expect it to, with an ominous voice talking about that there internet fad gaining traction, and it isn't long before she goes full SJW nutzoid and declares "increasingly, what people find when they log on ... is HATE." Cue a potpourri of images of Klansmen and swastikas and MS Word documents talking mad shit about the Jews and homosexuals. Oh, and lucky us, the whole thing is narrated by MORRIS DEES. Yep, we're going to need some chemical assistance to get through this one, for sure.

Dees tells us the first "hate site" on the 'net belonged to Stormfront, and it isn't long before we get an interview with organization founder Don Black. Yeah, I know, there is some omega-level irony in the leader of the nation's biggest white supremacy group, technically, being a "Black" man. "Most people who hold our point of view are reluctant to become publicly known, because they're afraid to lose their jobs or they will be subject to other forms of harassment," Black says. Well, that's certainly not happening in the year 2019, I think it's safe to say.

Even members of the Huey Newton Gun Club would probably want to smash this.

Then we meet this Aryan cutie-pie named Brandi Houston, who literally has a tattoo on her arm reading "death to Jews." She also said she plans on sending all the ... uh, Africans ... back to Africa and all the Mexicans back to Mexico, and once that happens the superior white race will then take over the world. Then we cut back to Black, who says he's gotten at least two and a half million hits since the website went live in the mid '90s. Then we're introduced to his son Derek, who recently started a sub-site called "Stormfront for Kids," who says the white people need their own homeland and that he gets a lot of email each day from fellow teens and tweens agreein' with him. Among other activities, the website include racist crossword puzzle and a Doom mod that replaces the monsters with hulking black caricatures that launch watermelons at the player.

"They're always going to have the beer belly redneck and punk skinhead on the street following their beliefs," Dees said, ironically using a decidedly dehumanizing ethno-racial slur to describe the objects of scorn in the "documentary." Then he turns his ire to the World Church of the Creator website, and its ringleader Rev. Matt Hale. "This is not guilt time for the white race," he says. "Without white people, black people would be running around half-naked eating each other, selling each other." Well, how dare this man say something so incredibly racist that we here at the SPLC can't seem to offer a solid rebuttal to, for some reason!

Apparently, Hale works out of East Peoria, Illinois, which isn't really the first thing you think of when you think "hotbed of white nationalism." Dees says Hale isn't trying to win "a popularity contest," he's just angling for the one-tenth or two-tenths of the American populace to accept his wack-a-doodle political agenda so they can overthrow their government or something ... or, at least, that's what Dees THINKS he's up to, because at no point in the video does Hale himself come anywhere close to saying that's his explicit goal.

We cut to Hale on the Nancy Grace show, where he says blacks are inferior intellectually and Jews have been expelled from a lot of countries for some totally irrelevant reason. The SPLC, naturally, feels so strongly that Hale's assertions are wrong that they feel no need to display evidence to the contrary revealing Hale's views as erroneous. "When free speech ends, violence often begins," Hale states. "People have to have freedom of speech that we are guaranteed by the Constitution, otherwise, people will commit violence." You know, if I didn't know any better, it's almost like that's what contemporary ultra-leftists WANT, isn't it?

So anyway, a whole buncha' minorities get shot in and around Chicago, so naturally the SPLC blames 'em all on Hale's group. One of Hale's acolytes gets blamed for the shooting spree, but he commits suicide before the cops can get to him. Cue the footage of black and Asian people crying over their dead loved ones and than Hale turning around and saying he doesn't give a shit if non-whites live or die. This leads to a spiel from Dees about "lone wolf" radicals and an anecdote about these two hardcore homophobes who killed two homosexuals in Redding, California. One of the killers starts talking about his Christian Identity views from prison and says black people are "a cursed people," according to the bible. "I think the internet became his best friend," said one of the killers' best human "friends." This leads to the killer saying that he wished every synagogue in America would burn to the ground, and that he believes any American is entitled to remove "sex perverts" from the gene pool.

Morris Dees, seen here in one of his more conscious moments in the special.

Oh boy, now it's time for a spiel against Eric Rudolph. This ought to be good. Buck Revell, a former FBI director, talks about how dangerous the internet is in disseminating information about ... eegads ... biological and nuclear weapons, which we can all agree is reason enough to ban free speech outright on the internet. Morris then says there's about "50,000" true Christian Identity adherents out there in the boonies, and that leads to a speech from Richard Butler, who says the government is hellbound on eliminating the white race. Then another "lone wolf" shoots up a day care in Los Angeles and Morris says Butler should take SOLE responsibility for the attack, even though he wasn't the one that pulled the trigger. Which leads Morris to say this incredibly ironic chestnut about "othering" the enemy: "Their whole dehumanization, it's classic. Adolf Hitler used it, it's always used when you want a soldier in a battle to go out and shoot somebody and take away from that soldier the normal moral consciousness that you would have in killing another human being." Uhh ... remind you of anything?

Mark Potok of the SPLC says the Christian Identity movement is inherently designed to "hurt," and then we get a segment about the National Alliance and William Pierce. Yep ... the same guy who wrote The Turner Diaries so you just know this part is gonna' be good. He says he believes the system has become terminally corrupt and needs to be rebuilt from scratch. Of course, Dees blames the Oklahoma City bombing on Pierce and white supremacy, even though McVeigh himself said otherwise. Of course, all of the victims shown on-screen from the OKC bombing are white, which kinda' makes you wonder what the point would've been if McVeigh was a real white supremacist, but whatever. Cue a radio interview from Pierce, wondering aloud why there was so much negativity around the OKC bombing but people just wrote off the Waco massacre as an "LOLOOPS, mah bad" on behalf of the Clinton Administration. Well ... you can't say he doesn't have something resembling a point there, no matter your take on his ideology.

Of course, there's a segment in there about the death of James Byrd, which — of course — Dees and Co. blame on The Turner Diaries, as well. Fuck, they might as well blame Matthew Shepard's death on the book, while they're at it. Anyway, Dees says the internet is making it WAY easier for people to read The Turner Diaries, so I guess you can figure out where THIS little diatribe is headed. Pierce talks about his follow-up tome Hunter — it's about a interracial couple murderer, in case you were wondering — and one of his acolytes, Joseph Paul Franklin, talks about how much he enjoys picking up female hitchhikers, except the ones that have sex with black men ... in that case, he just shoots them.

"The goal of these organization's leaders is to put America in fear, because they know fear is their biggest gun," Dees said. "With its worldwide reach and promise of anonymity the internet allows hate group leaders and lone wolves to connect, communicate and infect others with their message of hate." The ultimate goal of these organizations, Dees continues, is to plunge the country into a bloody race war and rip apart democracy from within. Then there's some postscript about how the SPLC sued Aryan Nations for $6.3 million and how it's "a momentous landmark in prosecuting a hate organization for the actions of their members." What the ... social justice warriors, trying to use lawfare to financially bankrupt their ideological enemies? Who'd thunk it?

Anyway, the documentary asks you to visit and the end credits, which take two minutes, unfurl over a distorted flame while painfully late '90s-sounding stock techno music plays in the background. And just like that, the magnetic tape transitions to static, and then … pure blackness. Kind of poetic that a special about WHITE supremacy concludes that way, eh?

And all it costs us was freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom to peaceably assemble, freedom of the press ...

Well, I guess I don’t have to say too much about that, do I? Of course, since Newton’s Third Law of Motion also pertains to human behavior, naturally me and my cousin saw the special not as a dire warning, but rather a nice little compendium of all the super-racist websites out there in AOL-Land, and needless to say, guffaws were had en masse as we explored the oh-so hateful rhetoric on such long, LONG defunct websites as WhitesOnly.Net … a website that’s worth remembering, if for absolutely nothing else, it’s strangely comforting MIDI theme song.

So yeah, you don’t need me to tell you that over the last two decades, not a whole lot has changed. Indeed, it’s pretty easy to see the SPLC making the exact same “documentary” today, only with the rancorous, scornful “alt-right” as its subject/targets/figures of Two Minutes Hate. In a way, perhaps this video can be seen as sort of an Old Testament for today’s hyper-aggrieved, evil-honky-hating, mega-SJW culture, right down to the SPLC admitting that its endgame is silencing the First Amendment rights of the political other and economically crushing them via lawsuit attrition.

You don’t need me to tell you that people like Aryan Nations and any other number of hardline, Christian Identity militants are “bad” and potentially dangerous people. But then again, I can pinpoint any number of more melanated identitarian groups that are equally morally reprehensible and just as dangerous, if not mathematically more likely to kill a motherfucker. And it’s obvious that the mainstream media, as an organelle, is clearly going to bat for the SPLC agenda; hence, why the entire corporate media superstructure goes on an anti- ="alt-right” pogrom in the wake of Charlottesville, but finds itself playing ideological defense force after Micah Xavier Johnson killed five police officers in the name of Black Lives Matter.

This stuff wasn’t a new phenomenon, culturally, in 2000, and it certainly wasn’t one back when MTV was doing specials about heinous, horrendous “Hate Rock” back in the early 1990s. In fact, the onset of hyper-P.C. leukophobia we’re seeing today probably would’ve entrenched itself far earlier had it not been for the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, when America — in a brief moment of 21st century clear-headedness — decided it was more worthwhile socially to combat ideologues that REALLY did want to cause mass death than cower in fear of the Caucasian boogeyman in the ku klux kloset.

And in that, Hate.Com, while far from being enjoyable, is nonetheless a solid neo-archaeological uncovering, this relic of the iffy ‘90s-2000s transitional epoch that, to some extent, parallels our own time’s difficulties weighing the peace of mind of some against the constitutional guarantees afforded to all. The great culture war — and with it, its large-looming consequences on free expression — at the heart of this awkward-ass HBO special from almost 20 years ago is far from over, amigos … although something tells me that, another 20 years from now, the SPLC and their ilk are STILL going to be banging the drumbeat of the virulently prejudiced pro-white ideologue, even as the number of actual crimes whites commit against non-whites continue to plummet.


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