Radical Chic, Then And Now

OK, let's start with the "now" half, as this is too good to miss:

Just when you think certain celebrities couldn’t get any more obnoxious, we are treated to an interview with last night’s Golden Globe winner, James “I’m the King of the World” Cameron in Entertainment Weekly. On page 35 of the latest edition of the print version, Cameron responds to the following criticism of his latest film “Avatar”:

EW: “Avatar” is the perfect eco-terrorism recruiting tool.”

JC: Good, good. I like that one. I consider that a positive review. I believe in ecoterrorism.”

Apparently, he said this in all seriousness.

For those of you who do not know what eco terrorism is, meet the people of ELF. No, not the blue creatures in “Avatar,” but the people of the Earth Liberation Front.  According to Wikipedia, ELF is the collective name for anonymous, autonomous individuals who use “economic sabotage and guerrilla warfare to stop the exploitation and destruction of the environment.” In other words, they burn down buildings and engage in other destructive activities under the cover of darkness because they believe we should all still be living in caves and subsisting on roots and berries.

ELF engages in family-friendly activities like toppling radio towers because “AM radio waves cause adverse health effects;” burning luxury home developments; and firebombing research facilities in order to stop research on genetically-engineered trees and modified potatoes.

ELF has declared war on “greedy capitalist pigs” and “rich scum.” People like … James Cameron.

Meanwhile in "The Ramparts I Watched", City Journal contributing editor Sol Stern flashes back to a previous -- and very different -- publication he was once affiliated with:

I also felt partly responsible for creating the myth of the Black Panthers as righteous rebels fighting off brutal police oppression. In 1967, I wrote a hagiographic profile for Ramparts of Huey Newton, the Panthers’ “minister of defense,” and then published basically the same article in the New York Times Magazine—yet another indication of the changes in the mainstream media. It soon become clear to anyone who cared to look, however, that Newton and the Panthers were clever street thugs who used revolutionary slogans to avoid accountability for their crimes. As one of the New Left’s favorite black criminals, Soledad Prison inmate George Jackson, once put it, “Marxism is my hustle.” After my Newton article, Ramparts ran three more celebratory cover stories on Panther leaders -- Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, and (again) Newton.

When I learned that Horowitz and Collier had taken the Ramparts helm, I assumed that the magazine would become more intellectually serious, if somewhat duller. Unfortunately, Horowitz and Collier drank the Kool-Aid served by the Left’s most destructive elements. They published Hayden’s drivel calling the Black Panthers America’s “internal Viet Cong,” along with his exhortation for radical white youth to create “liberated zones” in cities and on campuses to serve as sanctuaries for their heroic Panther allies. Ramparts’ new editors then topped this foolishness with their own, proclaiming Hayden “one of the country’s most serious revolutionaries.” To me, the lasting image of Ramparts’ second incarnation was a cover depicting a burning Bank of America branch in Southern California. The radical students who firebombed it, said the accompanying text, “may have done more for saving the environment than all the teach-ins put together.”

They believed in eco-terrorism, too. And the causes that Ramparts championed found plenty of gullible celebrities back then, as well.

(H/T: Fred Siegel.)