They would just add the letters K-L to the front of a lot of things. So, the Klan's meeting place was called the klavern-- like a cavern, but a klavern.
And two Klansmen would hold a klonversation. And then the officers were known as the Klaliff, and the Klokard, and the Kludd, and the Kligrapp, and the Klabee, and the Kladd, and the Klarogo, and the Klexter, and all these ridiculous things. They had a Klan handshake, which you would grip left hands in this limp-wristed way and wiggle like a fish a few times. And that was the Klan handshake. The other thing about the Klan that Stetson Kennedy found out was that they were a pretty smooth moneymaking operation.
And so there were all kinds of dues. And you had to buy your robe from a certain place.
And the robes were very expensive. And you could only have your robe cleaned at a certain place, because they didn't want everybody to find out about it. So it was this big racket. There were all kinds of rackets. I never thought to think that, actually, you had to buy your robe from them. I just somehow thought that they all made their own robes.
And they really were just sheets with hoods. So Kennedy tried to use the information that he was discovering inside the Klan against the Klan. When his chapter was hired by local businesses to break up a union meeting or threaten organizers, he'd warn the union guys in advance. He passed along other information to an assistant attorney general in Georgia. He wrote editorials. He made speeches. At one point, he actually wanted to start a competing group that he also wanted to call the Ku Klux Klan, which in theory would have let him get injunctions against any real Klan group, on the grounds that they were violating the laws and charter of his Ku Klux Klan.
He was having some successes, but it was kind of slow going. And then he harnessed the most powerful force known to man. I'm talking, of course, about radio. And that's when he came up with this unbelievable idea. He was one day walking down the street. And he saw some kids playing this game of cops and robbers, essentially. And they were exchanging secret passwords.
And it reminded him of the Klan, because the Klan meetings that he went to-- they would change the password every day, they had this secret handshake. It was all this childlike stuff. And this was right as World War II was over. And one of the biggest figures in all the media and in all the public imagination at that point was Superman in the comic books.
But also the Superman radio show was hugely, hugely, hugely popular. It was on every night. And it could be like Superman takes on the Ku Klux Klan. Wouldn't that be cool? When Jimmy Olsen, as manager of the Unity House baseball team, selected a Chinese boy named Tommy Lee for his number one pitcher, he incurred the wrath of a band of intolerant bigots calling themselves The Clan of the Fiery Cross.
So Stetson Kennedy started feeding them information. And they would end up doing four week's worth of nightly radio shows. In a glade-- casting weird shadows over the nearby hills and lighting the sky above-- burns a huge wooden cross. Before it kneel half a hundred men clothed in long robes. Gosh, who are all these guys, Uncle Matt?
RCMP investigate KKK-inspired image on Coquitlam liquor store website
And why are you wearing the sheets and hoods? We're the Clan of the Fiery Cross, Chuck. We're a great secret society pledged to purify America. Only one? But the Constitution says all Americans have the same rights and privileges. At the first Klan meeting he went to after the show hit the air, the Grand Dragon, who was the leader of the local group-- he's trying to run the meeting.
And then one regular rank-and-file Klansman gets up and starts shouting. He said, I came home from work the other night, and my kid and all these other kids had these towels tied around their necks like capes. And some of them had pillow cases over their heads. And the ones with the capes were chasing the ones with pillow cases. And when I asked them what they were doing, they said they were playing this new game of cops and robbers called Superman against the Clan.
I never felt so ridiculous in all my life. Suppose my own kid finds my Klan robe someday? Stetson Kennedy was also feeding his information to big-time journalists and radio commentators-- like Walter Winchell and Drew Pearson-- who would quote things that had happened at that week's Klan meetings. And I don't want to exaggerate the effect of all this.
From a Klan perspective, it wasn't klataclysmic. But it was pretty klupsetting.
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They didn't like being made fun of. The climax of the four weeks of Superman broadcasts comes in this scene that is pure poetic license on the part of the Superman writers. Basically, the racist uncle in the story evades capture by Superman and seeks refuge with the imperial head of the clan, who-- in this radio world Ku Klux Klan-- sees the Clan only as a money-making scheme, nothing more-- just a way to get suckers to pay dues and buy robes.
Come now, Riggs. Is it possible that you really believe all that stuff about getting rid of the foreigners? That "one race, one religion, one color" hokum? Why, it's the absolute truth. We've got to save America from foreign elements.
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Well, I'll be-- I thought you had brains, Riggs. But you've become drunk on the slop we put up for the suckers. Our members, Riggs. The poor fish who want to hate and blame somebody else for their failures in life. The saps who believe drivel such as, a man is a dangerous enemy because he goes to a different church.
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The little nobodies who want to believe some other race is inferior so they can feel superior. Of course not. Everyone here except the Indians is descended from foreigners. I'm running a business, Riggs. And so are you. We deal in one of the oldest and most profitable commodities on Earth. See, that's how you do it, right there. You get to know your enemy, and then you put it on the radio as forcefully as you can.
www.cantinesanpancrazio.it/components/robezag/106-localizzare-posizione.php We have three stories today on our radio show that do just that, with one big difference from Stetson Kennedy's story. In none of our other stories today do things work out so victoriously. In fact, in the other three stories in today's show, when people get to know their enemies, it just makes things way more complicated, and more confusing. I'm Ira Glass. Today's show, Know Your Enemy. We have the remarkable true story of a suicide bomber and her conversation with the head of the defense forces from the other side.
Act Two, I Am Curious, Jello, in which two former adversaries-- punk star Jello Biafra and the government prosecutor who went after him-- sit down after two decades to talk.
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Act Three, Eight Percent of Nothing.
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