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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Greatest, Most Racist Generation: 1952 Magazine Feature Says "Wetbacks" 20+ Times

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_people_weekly_border_patrol.jpg

Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from Golden State thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

People Today

Date: 1952

Publisher: Hillman Periodicals, New York

Discovered at: The amazing Kayo Books, 814 Post Street

Representative Quote:

"From the Imperial Valley, wetbacks, often carrying knives, brass knuckles, guns, or sharpened screwdrivers, hop freight trains heading north."

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Of course this feature about a "wetback deluge" is disgusting and upsetting, and reading it is something like letting one of those Minuteman guys vomit again and again inside your brain. What's even nastier, perhaps, is that your Crap Archivist found it in People Today, a mainstream digest of bathing beauties and bizarre sports stories, rather than some supremacist rag. (Look for those bathing beauties and sports stories below, incidentally.)

But what's creepiest about it is how similar it is to today's coverage of illegal immigration.

People Today says:

  • "Wetbacks slip in by the tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands (officials won't even guess.)"

  • "this invasion of cheap labor [is] sprinkled with fugitives and Red agents"

  • "Some of the hardest workers are escaped criminals."

  • "[Their] favorite spot is where a fence straddles a mosquito-infested 5-ft.-wide creek flowing into the U.S. with excrement from wetbacks' village in Mexicali."

Just like then, nobody knows exactly how many undocumented workers have journeyed north from Mexico, but that won't stop media professionals from just cold making up some numbers, deeming them threats to national security, accusing them of miscellaneous savagery, and associating them with sewage, disease, and general un-American un-healthiness.

Then as now, the goal seems to be dehumanization:

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_people_weekly_border_pantsless.jpg

No joke: if we swapped out each "wetback" in the article with the term "illegal," this thing could run without much stir today.

Anyway, that's depressing, so let's just move on. People Today understood what anyone who enjoys a Fox News blonde can tell you: xenophobia goes down easiest with a slice of cheesecake.

Meet the "superbly enfleshened" Danton Walker.

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Yes, her lungs, ponderously mammalian, steadfastly expel the dioxide needed not by such a form made of meat, chastity, and gooseberries. She is a breathing marvel of undergarments and sentience.

Next: Proto-sexting, and "What's Your Wife Worth in Cold Hard Cash?"

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Alan Scherstuhl

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