“When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” – Sinclair Lewis, American novelist, short story writer, playwright, and the first writer from the United States to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, born 7 February 1885.
It is instructive to consider “Babbit” (1922), “Elmer Gantry” (1927), and “It Can’t Happen Here” (1935) in light of contemporary cultural and political realities in America, since eighty years ago Lewis cogently described many of the forces that continue to threaten democracy in the United States, including an almost unchallenged Corporate hegemony that demonizes organized labor, theocratic and hypocritical evangelical Christianity, and right-wing ideologues in control of media outlets. If you haven’t read Lewis’s books, do so as soon as possible, and then take a clear-eyed look at the recent Super Bowl commercials, The Walt Disney Company, Wal-Mart, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Fox News.
A few quotes from Sinclair Lewis:
“Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless.”
“People will buy anything that is ‘one to a customer.’”
“Every compulsion is put upon writers to become safe, polite, obedient, and sterile.”