by Poirot

I recently came across an article from the 2008 election in California regarding Prop 8. For those of us with bad memory prop 8 aimed at ratifying previous court rulings granting same sex couples the right to marry. In a Fox News article regarding prop 8 Tom Hanks is quoted having said that Mormon Prop 8 supporters were "un-American.” Subsequently, this entry is not about Prop 8 it’s about a problem which has raised from media outlets such as FOX news, ABC, and even senators such as Rep. Michele Bachmann. Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001 the media has found its new McCarthy era witch hunt. The media has thrown the word Un- American around for any reason imaginable; for instance on July 23, 2007, the City Council of Annapolis, Maryland, convened to consider a bill banning plastic shopping bags from the city, in order to protect the marine life of Chesapeake Bay. Safeway with the backing of The Capitol (Annapolis Daily Newspaper) characterized the Annapolis bill, and presumably the motives of its proponents, as "un-American". The term Un-American dates back to 1934 during Herbert Hoover’s presidency, The most famous use of the term was in the title of the House Un-American Activities Committee which was started to combat Nazi and Ku Klux Klan (KKK) activity in the US during World War II and which later investigated the activities of Communists and purported Communists in the US. By 1959, however, former President Harry S. Truman had denounced the House Un-American Activities Committee as the "most un-American thing in the country today.”

So the question remains why has the term stuck around? And what does it mean today?

The former question is one that cannot be answered without extensive research as the term has been used to imply anything from treason as in the case of Adam Yahiye Gadahn the pro Al-Qaeda American Terrorist who On October 11, 2006, became the first indictment for treason against the United States since 1952. A Murdoch-owned channel was quoted calling him “Un-American”. Consequently the term has also been used by people like Fox Business Channel analyst Jonathan Hoenig, who stated in rebuttal to president Obama’s call for Americans to devote themselves to something greater than themselves. “Individuals, especially young people, should essentially ... 'devote themselves' to something greater than themselves -- sacrifice their own wants, their own interests, to serve the common good, whatever they happen to believe it is at the time. To me, that's very un-American." Thus it is obvious that the term is thrown around for any reason.

The later question however can be explained through simple economics. The ultimate goal of any business is to produce an income, and simple laws of economics tells us that the more consumers one has the more income one generates, thus; as it is with all other businesses media outlets look for consumers. consequently, words such as “Un-American” are thrown around not so much to explain a state of being rather to elicit a certain human curiosity. Finally in order to understand why the term has stuck around it is imperative that we look at what draws the consumer to terms such as Un-American.

After 9/11 the Bush Administration with the help of multi-million dollar P.R. firms signed into law the “Patriot Act”, and thus dubbed some actions as Patriotic and some as Un-Patriotic. For example under the act it was Patriotic to spy on everyday Americans and it was unpatriotic to question the “decider” (a term George W. Bush used in 2001 while referring to himself). How does this link in to the question of being American or Un-American? The simple explanation is conditioning by drawing upon pre-constructed fears -- by this I mean the fear generated by people such as McCarthy during the cold war, who dubbed Americans with Communist ties as Un-American and thus Dangerous to our everyday life—McCarthy produced a snowball affect which has forever associated a term with danger, and has thus been used to classify groups of people into safe or dangerous. Nonetheless most of us would agree that if one lives in the United States it is Un-American for that person to secretly devise plot to destroy its people for the benefits of another country. However to ban plastic bags is not an act of treason or anti- American, but by using terms associated with greater fear the media manages to produces a sense of fear which then becomes crucial information to media consumers. It is ultimately our job as media consumers to read meaningless terms such as Un-American.


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Ali Parsa

by Cyrus_ (not verified) on

Where did he refer McCarthy as President ???
I will copy/paste it here for you.

"Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001 the media has found its new McCarthy era witch hunt."

"The term Un-American dates back to 1934 during Herbert Hoover’s presidency, The most famous use of"

aval dorost bekhoon badesh Iraad begir.

vali ma irania ino balad nisteem engar


There is REAL Un-American, and personal-feeling-Un-American

by Jaleho on

And I guess one should put a clear distinction between the two.

One objective criterion for REAL UN-American would be if you clearly put the interest of America, American people and American values as defined by the constitution in peril for the interest of another country and interest group. The most obvious example of this would be if you spy for another country against America to make a special group profit at the expense of American blood and money.

In this format, I think Israeli Lobby is quite un-American objectively, although different groups might "interpret" their activity based on their political views. However, when there are solid cases of espionage against America as in the case of Jonathan Pollard, and an entire lobby inside the US tries to defend him, this is an obvious case of objecive UN-Americanism. Now take the case of Steve Rosen and Weismean, the AIPAC directors who were indicted for espionage against American interest. An entire cabal of Jewish powerful figures and attornys with well established ties to many powerful personnel in the US government and media, have been trying to bypass American laws, and find all kind of excuses to postpone and make their espionage case irrelevant, just because these people are big officers of a powerful lobby in the US, albeit working for the interest of Israel at the expense of America. I bring this case since it is very much related to the "Patriot Act" types of laws and all the propaganda that was made around it by the dominantly Jewish media, related to this case, and you brought it up in your article.

Briefly, the evidence for the espionage case of Rosen and Weisman, was completely taped and as such are irrefutabel. So, somehow, you have to "invent laws" to make the documented conversations not legally usable, even if the "patriot Act" allows the government to use its eavesdropping evidence in cases that jeopardizes the security of America. Then there is also the case of Judith Miller, part of the Jewish cabal in the media who concocted lies to take America to a Iraq war which clearly devastated the US, although Israel pushed for and benefitted from that war. Patrick Fitzgerald ( we recall him as perfectly AMERICAN here), tried to catch this UN-American figure from the Wilson-Plame case. However, as you see in the following link, the same efforts to protect Miller is made by the same Jewish and AIPAC cabal, and this time the men of JINSA (Jewish Institue for National Security Affairs) including the very top guys Scooter Libby and Cheney himself. Can the office of the vice president be UN-American? I think objective evidence tells you so! As you see in section 9 (secondary case) of the following wiki-link on Miller, she has called a terrorist cell just before the governmental authorities went to bust the cell. Would I vote for the Patriot Act or laws like that to allow Fitzgerald find out why exactly Judith Miller made a terrorist cell related to 9/11 aware of a government's imminent raid by warning them and aborting the govenment's effort? SURE, IT IS ONLY AMERICAN!! Here's the link for you:



On the other hand,  there is a case of personal-feeling-un-American which is quite subjective, and anyone can call other Americans Un-American. In fact, the American self-righteous arrogance has made this case so wide-spread that some Americans feel entitled to call any other American as "un-American or less-American than me!!" This just stems from the ignorance of those Americans with a sense of self-entitlement. They are even getting sick of each other. The republicans call democrats un-American or vice versa. the person who loves motor boat calls the one with a sail boat un-American and vice vesa! You name it...it is just an arrogant ignorance, and has nothing to do with either legal definitions of "American" or the American values as aspired by the constitution.

Ali A Parsa


by Ali A Parsa on

Nice article and legitimate question, but first a comment. McCarthy you refer to as President was never a President. He was Joseph McCarty, a "holier than though" Congressman who struck a fear in the hearts of the people he did not like by accusing them of whatever he wished to get his way which was the only way!

That was one of the turning points on the way to deny the people of their freedom of expression after the American Revolution and some 2000 years after the inception of idea of freedom and the right to question the authorities in the Western world. Most people who were intimidated by Geroge Bush and his cohorts did not even recall the history of Western world and the trial of Socretise and his willingly drinking poison hemlock redommended by the court that condemned him of "corrupting the youth" and teaching them to question in order to learn. Just read one of many books discussing Socretise's death if you are interested in being inspired in defending freedom of expression. Yes, history repeats especially for those who do not read history.




by maziar058 (not verified) on

do they mean by supporting gay and lesbian union in our society it will make TRUE AMERICAN ?
come on man get a grip ,what peoples wants to do behind their closed doors is theirs ,what they want to force on others minds, thats AMERICAN'S business......... so there.

anonymous fish

this was actually funny...

by anonymous fish on

but sad and pathetic at the same time!



What is your definition of

by vashti (not verified) on

What is your definition of American???