Friday, June 19, 2020

Movie Quote of the Day (‘Joe,’ With Fake News in 1970)

Joe Curran [played by Peter Boyle]: “Forty-two percent of all liberals are queer—that's a fact. The Wallace people did a poll.”—Joe (1970), screenplay by Norman Wexler, directed by John G. Avildsen

Joe is a far cry from Rocky, the lovable underdog heavyweight contender that would win John G. Avildsen a Best Director Oscar six years later. Instead, Joe may be thought of as a kind of relative of All in the Family’s Archie Bunker, but without the humanizing love for wife and daughter. 

But in the early 1970s, you would likely encounter Joe and Archie—and their real-life counterparts—in bars across America, fearful of a world changing faster than they could understand. To their horror, they even found that blue-collar workers such as themselves attracted a smaller share of liberals’ sympathy than they had decades before.

Moreover, as the above quote indicates, they were just as gullible as today’s Trump voter to rumors not merely false, but preposterous on their face. 

The only differences between now and then is that yesterday’s Joe would have nodded sympathetically when George Wallace complained about “pointy-headed bureaucrats” and assailed hippies, muttering darkly into his beer, while today’s Joe would have picked up a “fact” like the one in today’s quote and placed it immediately on his Facebook feed, where it would lead his “friends” to cheer on such viral nonsense even as they sent it around the globe, with barely a contradiction along the way.

Since the start of the year, the seismic shocks endured since—an impeachment inquiry driven into the ditch by the GOP Senate majority, COVID-19, and the Black Lives Matter protests of the last few weeks—have resulted in a proliferation of this nonsense. Expect more of the same until November rolls around.

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