Looks like we’re not going to need Benson and Stabler to solve “Pizzagate”
Now that Richard Peck is on the case. Here’s a link to his superb “Slate” piece.
Peck relates it directly to the hysteria of the 1980’s when pre-schools were being accused of harboring witches who turned the children in their charge into sex slaves. The McMartin school in Los Angeles was the most famous of these cases, but there were many nationwide, resulting in trials right out of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” with many utterly innocent people sent to prison for years as a result.
How such mass hysteria operates was best described by sociologist Edgar Morin
in his book — Rumour in Orleans
In May 1969, Orleans, France (pop. 88,000) was swept by a grotesque — and entirely groundless — rumor: the Jews were abducting miniskirted maidens into the white slave trade; hapless victims, drugged by hypodermics, were vanishing from the town’s fashionable boutiques, spirited away via a secret network of underground tunnels. Sociologist Morin and a team of assistants from the Center for the Study of Mass Communication in Paris rushed down to investigate the genesis and life-cycle of this fantastic reverberation of medieval panics and atavistic terrors. Their ‘sociological dragnet’ yielded scant quarry since, by the time they got there, the sobered citizens were mostly too embarrassed to talk freely. As a result, this glimpse into the “”dark corners of mass culture and modern mythology”” is more speculative than empirical. Morin convincingly suggests that the tall tale dovetailed with the phobias of an uptight city where the provincial ideal was dead, the metropolitan still suspect. White slavery suited the matrons secretly convinced that miniskirts led straight to prostitution and provided the schoolgirls and stenographers among whom the myth incubated with an ideal vehicle for repressed sexual fantasies. The anti-Semitic element — which quickly became a political football — is less satisfactorily accounted for except as an archaic survival in the collective unconscious of provincial France.
That review is fine, save for the last line. For Morin accounts for the anti-Semitism quite well. In the book’s climax he recounts how crowds gathered and attacked Jewish-owned businesses of all sorts in the town — much as “Pizzagate” hysterics attacked other nearby stores and such. Anti-Semitism is as big a problem now as then. Leave us not forget Steve Bannon’s efforts to paint Hillary Clinton as a Jew — complete with Star.
And Drumpf hasn’t even taken office yet.
Akikio Yano will sing us out