This is Hell! is on vaction. We will broadcast Limbo episodes with staff picked interviews from the archive, and return to regular Hell! on August 16.
Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
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Slavery was not just an issue of Dixie. That is to say, you have the slave ships, to transport the enslaved from Africa to the Americas, that were built in Maine and Maryland. You had investments in cotton, which was a major commodity in Texas, that often sprung from New York City. And that explains why during the U.S. Civil War, 1861-1865 Dixie had quite a stronghold in New York City, of all places. That helps to explain the anti-draft riots, an anti-black pogrom in Manhattan, ca. 1863, often led by, I'm afraid to say, the Irish, who were revolting against fighting for the freedom of black people, that's something they wanted to part of. So, Washington was not as strong as it might have appeared to be against slavery.

 Chuck interviews historian Gerald Horne on his new book "The Counter-Revolution of 1836: Texas Slavery, Jim Crow, and the Roots of U.S. Fascism"

 


Posted by Alexander Jerri
Claes oldenburg floor burger

Most people born before the year 2000 can still remember when audio entertainment was supplied entirely by modulated radio waves tuned through antennae linked to cumbersome receivers. And those born before the year 1980 can even remember a program called A Prairie Home Companion, and its host, Kurt Waldheim. Waldheim also played the main character, a mythical figure named Garrison Keillor, tyrannical, bloodthirsty, ruling his legendary kingdom of Lake Wobegon with an iron fist and an oversized forehead. There was a poorly-received film based on the program, made by Robert Altman, in the waning year of his talent, about a revolution against that draconian leader, an uprising that ended in the utter destruction of the unhappy Minnesota town, supposedly erasing it from the Earth.

 

What Waldheim, Altman, and even Prince didn’t know is that there was a real Wobegon, Minnesota. It was a town on the southern shore of Wolf Bay on the outskirts of the Boundary Wilderness Area. The actual town was a far cry from the one in the myths and legends. In place of modest, provincial, lackluster Lutheran descendants of Norwegian farmers and German mail-order brides, the residents of the actual Wobegon ran the gamut from bitter and depressed to bitter, drunk, and depressed Lutheran descendants of Norwegian farmers who settled the area and mated with the sex workers who settled in the area not long afterward.

 

In the afterglow of the bumptious 1960s, the early 1970s threw its cloak of stylish rage over the cities of the United States, but in Wobegon, as in other small towns in flyover country, the dissolving of the Beatles, Saigon, and the Nixon Administration were barely noticeable, except to those at the Café Gras, the Perdition Roadhouse, or the Pandora’s Box café who sat from early morning to mid-afternoon drinking bottomless coffee while perusing the national and international news in place of, or supplemental to, the local paper, the Mist County Compass. They were Midwest Cosmopolitans, drinking in the national malaise with their ever-refilled cups of java, and they passed that mood to their neighbors in order to give the town a clear awareness of itself as a small, insignificant victim of the Arab oil cartel’s whims, the liberal project to ban sober body coverings, and the negative economic effects of the Symbionese Liberation Army.

 

In short, Wobegon was ready for Reagan... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri
Bananas egypt

Are there any real mysteries left? Clearly, we’re not the doe-eyed, innocent public we once were, back when Howdy Doody and Alka Seltzer ruled the popular zeitgeist. It’s not enough for things to be true anymore. Now they must pass a more rigorous test: the test of believability in the laboratory of public opinion. And yet somehow there still remain unsolved phenomena to boggle the jaded mind, shake us out of our trances, and remind us never to trust our senses, our reason, our memory, or the evidence. We live in a truly miraculous time, when anything can be true.

 

But only the best things can be SuperTrue®.

 

It was a day like any other for young Evalia Cementez. She woke before dawn to steal foxes from the furrier’s foxhouse, skinned them, fed them to her carnivorous chickens, and sewed their pelts into the expanse of fur she was accumulating which was destined to become the most elegant set of window treatments on the entire island of San Guadarico.

 

As she washed the blood from her hands in the galvanized tub next to the well, she felt the first big drop of rain. It was a raindrop big as a lobster, and it struck her on the back of the neck. Then another fell next to her, and still another. They were big, yellow drops of rain. As big as bananas. In fact, they were bananas. Before she had time to absorb what was happening, bananas were raining from the sky over Evalia’s entire village of Conejos Corners.

 

By noon, the rain had stopped, leaving the entire region for five miles in every direction covered banana-deep in flesh and peel. Many cheerful goats were hobbled in their enthusiasm, unable to stick their landings. But the danger to goats was minimal compared to the obese, sweaty immensity of the mysteriousness of the bananapocalypse.

 

Other strange precipitations have given the people of Earth cause to be unnerved. There was the famously documented rain of frogs in both a small village in Mexico and the PT Anderson movie Magnolia. There was the rain of fish in Iowa, at some point in recorded history. And of course the deluge of cats and dogs in the proverbial dimension.

 

But it is the rain of bananas that most tweaks the cranial thinkwurst of the UltraBelieving devotee of SuperTruth®. And why is that? Is it because the banana is an atheist’s nightmare, because it could only have been created by a Christian God? Could a random process... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri
Cave seance

Are there any real mysteries left? Clearly, we’re not the doe-eyed, innocent public we once were, back when Howdy Doody and Alka Seltzer ruled the popular zeitgeist. It’s not enough for things to be true anymore. Now they must pass a more rigorous test: the test of believability in the laboratory of public opinion. And yet somehow there still remain unsolved phenomena to boggle the jaded mind, shake us out of our trances, and remind us never to trust our senses, our reason, our memory, or the evidence. We live in a truly miraculous time, when anything can be true.

 

But only the best things can be SuperTrue®.


It was a Saturday séance like any other. The medium, a person sensitive to the presence of spirits of the dead who hovered close to the veil between worlds, intoned instructions to the others gathered, and recited incantations.

 

The one thing that stood out as different from any séance you might be picturing is that it took place thirty-four thousand years ago, and all the participants were Stone Age cave people.

 

Did they have candles? No. The cave they had gathered in was lit with twisted plant fiber wicks soaking in animal fat pooled in divots carved at intervals into the stone tabletop. The tabletop was also decorated with red and yellow ochre designs constituting a complex diagram of the spirit world. This schematic bled out from the limits of the tabletop and spread throughout the cave, across the floor, up the walls, and all over the ceiling.

 

All the better for the Stone Age medium and the avids and adepts assembled to fully inhabit the spiritual realm in both an analogous and an aesthetic sense.

 

They joined hands, connecting in a sacred circle, as their descendants would do in 19th Century parlors tens of thousands of years later. The medium, or shaman, for that was her function in her tribe, now brought an eerie, deep tone to her incantations. Her voice was no longer her own, indicating that she’d entered the trance that would allow her to pass through the barrier between the world of living bodies and that of the shades.

 

The flames guttered in the breeze that passed over them as if a hot, animal breath from deep within the cave’s tunnels. The various hanging shell and bone chimes rattled. Crude furniture fashioned from logs clattered as they hopped and shivered around the chamber. The company were all used to this... read more