Say what you will about him – and some of us who write for this website have had occasion to disagree with him – but Seth Grossman has the guts and integrity to stand up to the caterwauling of modern-day Inspector Javerts who obsessively want to hunt down and punish any human being – dead or living – who they believe does not live up to the fashions of their moment. Grossman, who runs the free market group Liberty and Prosperity, recently wrote:
There was nothing racist in any of the 3,000 songs by Kate Smith. To suggest or assume otherwise is ignorant, hateful, or both. Two songs in question, like those of Gershwin's "Porgy & Bess" and Hammerstein/Kern's "Showboat" raised awareness of the oppression of blacks a South run by white. At the time, most blacks voted Republican & threatened Democratic political machines as they moved north during the "Great Migration". Democrats used racist movies like "Birth of a Nation" in 1915 to demonize blacks, revive the KKK, suppress black voters, and win the 1916 elections. Tragically, they succeeded. During the 1920s & 1930s, young artists like 24 year old Kate Smith, Paul Robeson and others used these songs to undo that damage by humanizing blacks and raising awareness of their situation. LibertyAndProsperity.com
Grossman is correct. Kate Smith and Paul Robeson used satire to make their point. We wonder what some future Inspector Javerts will make of this effort at satire by the comedian Russell Brand…
Will he be exhumed and placed on trial before the fashion judges of some future moment? Is he ready for trial even now? Time will tell.