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November 06, 2007

Snakes On A Brain

It's interesting to see how leaders use the same imagery over and over again through history. For instance: snakes. Political-types have repeatedly intuited that an excellent way to make their monkey subjects frightened of the Official Enemy Du Jour is to call the enemy "snakes." This suggests the effectiveness must have evolutionary roots, which makes sense. Indeed, I'm getting a little scared just writing this. Help, snakes!

Joe Lieberman interviewed by Glenn Beck last year:

BECK: I've been saying this before we even went into Iraq, that we're trying to change the face of the Middle East...We were trying to go and pop the head of the snake in Iran...

LIEBERMAN: Well, you're right.

Saddam Hussein, July, 1985 (via the BBC Worldwide Monitoring Service):

The plot in which the Iranian regime was used against our land, life and future was the most serious and the largest plot...The fine empty words spoken by the Khomeyniite snakes will not change the Iranian regime's racist, expansionist and terrorist nature.

Nazi propaganda, from The Nazis: A Warning from History. Written on the snake is "Marxism/International/High Finance":

Posted at November 6, 2007 03:21 PM | TrackBack

So many things in this post! Ugh!

1. So Saddam Hussein called the Iranians terrorists? This makes my brain hurt! We have to blow stuff up in Iran now!

2. What does it mean to pop the head of a snake? Has Glenn Beck confused snakes with zits?

3. I'm not sure how the "Don't Tread on Me" flag fits into this idea....

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at November 6, 2007 04:30 PM

It started long ago, in The Garden of Eden, when------

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 6, 2007 05:23 PM

Michael Savage threw a bizarre on-air tantrum a couple days ago, calling for bombing Iran and referring to their "tentacles." So he's raising the stakes, since I figure that an octopus is like a snake multiplied by eight.

Posted by: Whistler Blue at November 6, 2007 05:27 PM

Put best, as usual, by the Fuehrer:

"So wie es sich im Jahre 1918 blutig geraecht hat, dass man 1914 und 1915 nicht dazu ueberging, der marxistischen Schlange einmal fuer immer den Kopf zu zertreten..."
Mein Kampf, Kap. 15, "Notwehr als Recht"

Stomping the head of the marxist ( or your favorite enemy: Islamofascist, Zionist, Liberal-Left... _____________) snake.
The more things change, the more the schmucks and thugs stay the same.

Posted by: donescobar at November 6, 2007 05:43 PM

Heh, Iran's an octopus?
Like these?

Posted by: StO at November 6, 2007 07:23 PM

Whistler Blue:

No, Michael Savage is playing into our primal fear of Ctulhu! HAIL CTULHU! CTULHU LOVES YOU!

Posted by: En Ming Hee at November 6, 2007 07:43 PM

Whistler Blue:

Savage is playing into our primal fear of CTHULHU! The moment we EMBRACE CTULHU and the rest of the GREAT OLD ONES that fear shall disappear! ALL HAIL CTHULHU!

Remember the Necronomicon:

"That is not dead which can eternal lie.
And with strange aeons even death may die."

Posted by: En Ming Hee at November 6, 2007 07:50 PM


Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 6, 2007 07:59 PM

yeah i wonder if non-abrahamic folks use metaphorical snakes the same way

Posted by: hapa at November 6, 2007 08:31 PM

No, I think Savage has been reading Japanese manga comics.

Posted by: Mike at November 7, 2007 01:30 AM

No, I think Savage has been reading Japanese manga comics.

Not that I'd know anything about that, of course.

Posted by: Mike at November 7, 2007 01:31 AM

Damn double posting....

Posted by: Mke at November 7, 2007 01:33 AM

Snakes are our friends, except when they're not.

Here in the Eastern Cape, tornadoes are called inkanyamba, the "snake in the sky". You aren't supposed to mention their names, because they might come. (Whoops!)

Someone my wife knows had a father who sold his -- well, it's complicated, his destiny to a mamlambo, also known as "nkosazana" (the Princess), who appears as a sexy woman but is actually a snake, and can bring good luck (except you have to keep killing your children). He had a snake which popped up in the pocket of his coat every day.

So, I suppose what I'm saying is, don't be prejudiced against snakes just because loony Yanks use them as panic symbols.

Especially boomslangs, they're gorgeous (black, green and gold, coincidentally the ANC colours) and hardly ever kill you (they have to chew on you awhile before the poison takes hold).

Hmmm. This is not very coherent. But anyway, viva snakes, viva!

Posted by: MFB at November 7, 2007 02:17 AM


Yeah, but we also worship rats, give them milk and everything...

As to that Nazi picture, what's most fucked up is the connection between Marxism and high finance. How did anyone ever swallow such a brain-dead ideology?

Posted by: saurabh at November 7, 2007 07:22 AM

Skewering linkage. Brilliant. And to think that Beck just got himself an Alex-Rodriguez-like contract with that anachronistically named Premier Radio Network.

Posted by: Pierre at November 7, 2007 08:15 AM


Also: Badgers.

Posted by: me at November 7, 2007 09:12 AM

Hmm. I always think of the positive snake image in American political symbolism already mentioned: "Don't tread on me" and "join or die". Anyway, most North American poisonous snakes are pretty docile --- the rattlesnakes anyway. You need to pretty much tread on a rattlesnake to get bitten (or stick you hand in a bag of dog food where a snake was hiding as my father did a couple of years ago). MFB: our poisonous snakes are more like slow puff adders than black mambas. Now that's a scary snake. Don't boomslangs have the fangs in the back of the mouth?

Posted by: pulaski at November 7, 2007 09:46 AM

saurabh, I've no idea. They called themselves Socialists, so plainly they were left-wing. Why would they turn on their own like that? I guess it was like the Greens and the Democrat party or something. The Marxists weren't pure enough for the Nazis because they hung with Jews.

Posted by: me at November 7, 2007 10:57 AM

1-202-225-0100 DEMAND IMPEACHMENT.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 7, 2007 01:36 PM

I noticed the odd High Finance/Marxist connection, too. But if it seems bizarre, don't forget the number of right-wingers who are firmly convinced that the majority of American news corporations are engaged in a massive conspiracy to make corporations and America look bad.

Posted by: Whistler Blue at November 7, 2007 04:11 PM

Geez, guys, read your Freud. The snake is a penis. They must pop the snake's head because it threatens them.

Posted by: Tonsure WImple at November 8, 2007 01:10 AM