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Father Charles Coughlin alert

March 24, 2009

How many pop culture references does it take before a topic or a person becomes a meme? I ask because in just the last two days I’ve seen separate references to Father Charles Coughlin on Real Time with Bill Maher and in an article by Walter Shapiro in the New Republic. Both alluded to the famously fascist and anti-semetic priest and his notorious radio broadcasts in the 30’s that were heard throughout the nation. Coughlin’s popularity only waned after he was found to be associated with a movement bent on establishing a Hitlerian dictatorship in the United States. Before his fall, however, he was an influential voice in troubled depression-era America, a powerful voice for the disenchanted and economically disenfranchised.

This raises the question: is our current crisis, in cash and confidence, creating a breeding ground for another Coughlin, or Coughlins, to emerge?

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