The World O' Crap Archive

Welcome to the Collected World O' Crap, a comprehensive library of posts from the original Salon Blog, and our successor site, (2006 to 2010).

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Hugh Hewitt: 1968? They Didn’t Even Have Cars Then!

Updated Below…
Instaputz points out this bit of mythbusting from that gimlet-eyed iconoclast and champion of intellectual honesty, Hugh Hewitt:
I played excerpts from Hillary’s speech from today, in which she references “hurling” her “bookbag” across her room at college on hearing of the assassination of MLK, as well as wearing a black arm band in a protest march in Boston in the aftermath of the murder.
Listeners are e-mailing skepticism about their being bookbags and arm bands in 1968. I have no opinion, being 12 at the time. E-mail evidence to
As for the first charge, Hugh is clearly right to be chary; a girl would never dream of putting her books in a bag, since lugging them around loose allows any lanolin-haired passing sheik to lay his raccoon coat over the puddle at her feet and and offer to carry her burden home. And that’s a possibility no smart co-ed could afford to foreclose, even at an all-female college.
Update:  Tom Maguire calls Hugh’s willful cluelessness “a drollery” (he visited our comments to make the same point, because how often do you get to use the word “drollery” in a single day without getting slapped?).
World O’Crap appears irate and delivers photos of armbands from the 19th century.  Well researched!  But WOC is a bit light on the bookbag controversy – all we are offered is a Times piece from last fall that may be recycling Hillary’s lies.
A fair point.  However…smart folks over at Instaputz have unearthed archaeological evidence of bookbags that predates living (or at least Hugh’s) memory. Here, for instance, is a 1950s-era Roy Rogers signature bookbag for sale on ebay:

Commenter William Ockham goes for the Classics approach, with this quote from Horace:
Although he ( my father) was a poor man, with only an infertile plot of land, he was not content to send me to Flavius’s school which the burly sons of burly centurions attended, carrying their book-bags and writing tablets slung over their left shoulders and paying their few pennies on the Ides.
While Maryc, in our own comment thread, posted this photo of Tom Brokaw modeling the latest in late 60′s biblio-transportation technology:
As for the second charge, that this whole black armband craze came in right around the time of Kangas and phat pants, Wikipedia offers this 1865 painting by Ford Madox Brown:
Poor orphans depicted wearing a makeshift black armband to mourn for their mother.
A commenter at Instaputz linked to this photo, proving that Jonah Goldberg was right: FDR was too obsessed with the latest fashion trends to bother solving the Great Depression.
Even worse, last September The New York Times joined Hillary’s conspiracy to send a remorseless, indestructible android back in time to scatter evidence of black armbands throughout our previously armband-free history, thus altering the timeline and putting Mrs. Clinton in the White House…
The day after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was slain, she joined a demonstration in Post Office Square in Boston, returning to campus wearing a black armband.
When Dr. King was killed on the balcony of a Memphis motel on April 4, 1968, Ms. Rodham was devastated. “I can’t take it anymore,” she screamed after learning the news, her friends recalled. Crying, Ms. Rodham stormed into her dormitory room and hurled her book bag against the wall. Later, she made a telephone call to a close friend, Karen Williamson, the head of the black student organization on campus, to offer sympathy.
Ms. Rodham, who met Dr. King after a speech in Chicago in 1962, had admired his methodical approach to social change, favoring it over what she considered the excessively combative methods of groups like the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee…
After Dr. King’s assassination provoked riots in cities and unrest on campuses, Ms. Rodham worried that protesters would shut down Wellesley (not constructive). She helped organize a two-day strike (more pragmatic) and worked closely with Wellesley’s few black students (only 6 in her class of 401) in reaching moderate, achievable change — such as recruiting more black students and hiring black professors (there had been none). Eschewing megaphones and sit-ins, she organized meetings, lectures and seminars, designed to be educational.
Meanwhile, in the long hot summer of 1968, Hugh Hewitt organized a letter-writing campaign to protest NBC’s decision to cancel The Monkees.

31 Responses to “Hugh Hewitt: 1968? They Didn’t Even Have Cars Then!”

WTF? These are the same assholes who to this day believe Saddam was involved in 9/11, we found WMD in Iraq, and George Dubya Bush was a model National Guardsman. And they’re wondering if Hillary is lying because they don’t think bookbags were invented in the era before Blue’s Clues? Laura-fucking-Ingalls-Wilder had a fucking bookbag. Look, Denial is a fine place to visit, but stop fucking blog commenting from there, you morons.
I don’t remember anybody carrying bookbags on campus in 1968 and I am very doubtful, especially since Hillary has a problem with the truth. For example, another untrue story in Hillary’s speeches came out today about the pregnant woman dying because she was turned down for treatment at the hospital. The hospital saw this story in Wall Street Journal this week and has told Hillary to desist in using that story because it is untrue; not only was the woman treated during her pregnancy, she also had insurance. Seems Hillary didn’t bother to verify the accuracy of the story before using it in her speeches. If people doubt Hillary’s authenticity, it is her own doing.
Hugh Hewitt organized a letter-writing campaign
in crayon, his preferred medium even to this day
Debra, the only part of
from the AP: “Clinton said she learned of the story from a deputy sheriff whose home she visited while campaigning in Ohio. She told the story as recently as late Friday, at a rally in Grand Forks, N.D.”
and further: “She tells the story as it was told to her by the deputy sheriff. She had no reason to doubt his word,” Elleithee said. “If the hospital claims it didn’t happen that way, we certainly respect that and she won’t repeat the story. She never mentions the hospital by name and isn’t trying to cast blame.”
So, although she used the story too soon, not only was she not intentionally ‘lying’ as you and your Republican cronies so wish to construe, she in fact was telling a story that does indeed have some basis in fact and I’m confident that if her staff had the time, they’d have no problem finding stories about uninsured persons in crisis turned away from hospitals; its a well known occurance among the poor.
As for the book bag, sniper fire, hosptial denials and other anecdotes that Hillary likes to inspire the crowds with, two points come to mind as to what I think is really bugging the Rethuglicans:
1. That they cannot find anyone who has had an illicit affair with her.
2. That she is not carrying on a lesbian relationship with anyone that she must hide from on a continual basis, as her votes obligate her to deny such.
3. That she does not have a history of preaching family values and then purchasing sex outside their sacred marriage bed, for which they must then fabricate lies to hide.
4. That she is so absolutely boring and straight laced as to almost fit the pro-family protestant profile better than any current or past Republican politician.
Enough to make any Young Republican hurl their Harvard Cafeteria lunch, much less their tattered LL Bean laptop bag.
Hugh is simply continuing the trend in the media of late.
Pointing out the increase of autism in the US. Or Georgia, or something….
Isn’t Hugh Hewitt an attorney?
Armbands were all the rage in the sixties, and they even found their way into the courts:
TINKER v. DES MOINES SCHOOL DIST., 393 U.S. 503 (1969)
As for bookbags, it’s inconclusive, but I see what looks like a bookbag on the shoulder of the student in the far left of this famous photo (of a victim of the Kent State shootings). Hey, darned if it doesn’t look like she’s carrying a water bottle, too. That must be the android!
THAT’S a bone of contention for this jackass? Um…doesn’t any bag you carry books in automatically become one? Whether she’s referring to a consumer product labeled a “bookbag” or just using verbal shorthand hardly matters.
Besides, I find it hard to believe they didn’t exist 40 (or more) years ago, because what else would you use to transport books in? A picnic basket? I went to school in the ’70′s and ’80′s and I’m sure I saw people with them then. They didn’t strike me as some new-fangled item.
Once again we’ll point out that for mid-Boomer AV nerds such as Hewitt (b. 1956) and James Lileks (b. 1958) this Sixties/Liberalism As The Sideburns Mom Wouldn’t Let Me Grow business pretty much empties the bag.
You can add to that the fact that Hewitt was 14 and 15, respectively, during the second and third Vietnam Moratorium Days, meaning it’s fairly likely he either remembers classmates wearing their black armband symbol or can attest that the mind can play a trick or two after forty years.
As for Hillary’s bookbag I have no idea, but I had a girlfriend who carried one in the mid-70s; that it was what one might now describe as a tote, and not the highly flammable faux-camping gear favored by today’s grammar schoolers does not disqualify the usage. Finally, one might suggest that when one’s two favorite post-bellum Chief Executives are almost wholly fictional creations one might be a little more circumspect in choosing one’s targets.
I don’t remember anybody carrying bookbags on campus in 1968 and I am very doubtful, especially since Hillary has a problem with the truth.
I genuinely believe that’s the feeblest tenuous attachment to OT I’ve ever seen on a troll. Kudos, really. I’m very impressed.
Me, I was in kindergarten in ’68, and I carried a book bag. I suspect folks at Yale had more books to tote around than I did.
Geez, do I feel terrible. When I read Hugh’s post I took for granted he was offering a drollery about Hillary’s complete collapse of credibility post Bosnia and Ohio hospital. Honestly, is there really a controversy about whether there were armbands in 1968?
But now I feel like a chump for actually having smiled.
If Hillary had said she had thrown her “backback” against the wall, I might also be dubious, since that’s what the kids call the bags that carry their books these days-I know they don’t call them “bookbags”(at least not in my neck of the woods).
So, I did quick google. Sure enough–there were bookbags in the late 60′s. I even found a pick of Tom Brokaw carrying one:

They kind of look like today’s Messenger Bags that many students use to carry books.
Okay! Now aren’t there some actual…oh I don’t know…ISSUES that actually matter and affect our country that our time would be better spent discussing? Or is there some more useless “gotcha” shit assholes can use to distract everyone from the great dripping shithole that our country is turning into, thanks to people like Huge HeTit and FUX news?
See, I knew I should have waited for Maguire to show up before awarding the prize.
Sorry, Debs. I hope it was at least a shining brief moment.
Book + Bag = “Bookbag”.
Only to a special few.
Depends on what your definition of “bookbag” is, I suppose.
What a douche.
I had a bookbag in 1969 in New Jersey. Therefore it’s safe to assume that bookbags existed in 1968 in colleges around the country, since New Jersey was at that time at least four to five years behind the times in all aspects of popular culture (except for those involving chrome, Italian food, and profanity, where NJ was five years ahead.)
See, it’s all about regionalism. I too came up thru youth in NJ in the 50s-60s. In Hudson County (which might just as well have been called West Brooklyn, as in Brooklyn Dodgers Brooklyn) in elementary school, the boys carried book satchels, which were called bookbags, very like the Roy Rogers item above. Girls carried their books neatly stacked in two side-by-side piles on top of their big looseleaf binders, cradled in both arms against their bellies. I grew up in 3 different towns in NY Metro Area Jersey during this period, and this practice was unvarying in all 3. However, it would not amaze me to learn that in a different part of the same state, never mind a different state, the pattern was different. This is what you call yer anthropology.
In art school in NYC in the late 60s we used big portfolios for our art stuff, regardless of gender; but I would carry books, along with other girl-type junk, in a gaudy knitted Greek shoulderbag. I remember other girls carrying a wide variety of totes. I also have a clear memory from the late 60s/early 70s of cloth bags with drawstrings being available for book-toting at college stores.
(IMO, the Brokaw pic shows some kind of fancypants journalistic shoulder-strap briefcase, not anything meant for rough and ready DFH campus use. Look how well-groomed the dude is…)
A good source would be college yearbooks or college newspaper archives. This is what you call yer research.
The armband thing is ridiculous; the merest Google would have shown that the custom goes at least back to the turn of the 20th century. But that assumes some sort of interest in facts.
I have no opinion, being 12 at the time.
That sentence is poorly written. The Grammar Police, Syntax Squad, could make him write it correctly 100 times . . . but it wouldn’t do any good . . .
I’m just baffled at the assumption that any bag you stuff books in isn’t a bookbag, and that if Hillary didn’t have some extremely specific item in mind, the same extremely specific item her critics have in mind, then she must be lying and therefore the whole story is false.
Clinton Rules strike again!
If Debra’s still hinging around, she might find this somewhat edifying.
Bookbags? You had bookbags? Luxury!
WE didn’t have bookbags, we had to make do with gunnysacks.
Mind you, those gunnysacks are still useful. I hear that George Dubya still has one in his desk, that he uses to keep hammers in.
You had gunnysacks!
We had DOOFFELL bags an we wuz glad t’ have them! We had to cart th entire school library six miles uphill each way from home after working sixteen hours at mill until Daddy beat us ta sleep wif a truncheon!
Kids today, they don’t know how easy they have it!
Awww, we used to DREAM of being beaten with a truncheon! Our dad used to slice us in two with a breadknife!
Well, ours used a BUTTER knife, so it took longer and prolonged the agony.
Well, mine
Oh, wait, that’s not funny. Never mind.
Well, our dad would KILL us, and dance about on our graves singing “alleluia”
Ahh, The Four Yorkshire Men sketch from Monty Python! GOD, I love you guys!
“…Then we’d hop on a nearby wall and ride it home.”
Monty Who? I’m a Goon!
BOOKBAGS? This is controversial? Sheeeeit.
Yes, bookags existed even before Hewitt went to college. In 1960 — note, 1960 = 1968 – 8 — some people that I knew carried bookbags around campus, while others did not. These, by the way, were actual *bags*, not the prissy things illustrated above, green canvas (I think) bags with a long ribbon of black cloth that served as a drawstring to pull pull the mouth of the bag closed and then served as a handle by which the thing was slung over one shoulder.
Among the people who didn’t carry them, they were looked upon as some kind of Harvard affectation, to be snickered at. This, to be sure, was not your normal college campus, being Reed College, and the bags tended to be associated with the quasi-fraternity types who were less disheveled than the Reed standard of the time. (Seediness is next to Reediness.) But I think that in a mere 8 years, the idea of the book bag might possibly have spread as far as Yale. (The two are an easy bike ride apart, right? I’ve never quite mastered East Coast distance scales, but I still think Yale is physically less distant from Harvard than Reed is.)
Ahh, The Four Yorkshire Men sketch from Monty Python! GOD, I love you guys!
Except, they never did it! Well, they did it, but it wasn’t their sketch.
It was written for At Last the 1948 Show, whose writers included Cleese and Chapman (and Marty Feldman, of Young Frankenstein fame).
The Pythons did the sketch twice as an ensemble, only once filmed (the Hollywood Bowl concert).
All other filmed performances included non-Pythonians like Rowan Atkinson.
A pale imitation was performed at yet another Amnesty show in 2001, with Eddie Izzard, Alan Rickman (who got the spirit of it, at least), Vic Reeves and Harry Enfield.
The original version:
The Hollywood Bowl version:
The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball version:
The, um, most recent one:
1960 = 1968 – 8
Dirty fucking hippy and your dirty fucking commie pinko math…
When we consider how many of her right-wing counterparts were quite happy with the events of 4 April 1968, their wild rush to distract attention from her reaction becomes understandable.
Now, if we can get her to throw a bookbag at Hugh Hewitt, that would be a story…
Son-of-a-bitch! I’m the same age as Hugh figgin Hewitt! I have a theory that many of our wing-nut pals didn’t get their asses kicked often enough while they were young and impressionable. That’s why they are such assholes now. They never had to pay the consiquences for their reckless talk. I blame myself to not kicking his as back in my barroom brawling days.

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