Tags: anti-immigrant discourse, Paul Blanshard, The Nation magazine, Thomas Nast
I know I promised not to post anything else for a while, but this letter, which appears in the May 9-16 2016 issue of The Nation magazine, is quite short and may amuse you.
In light of the virulent anti-immigrant sentiment widespread in the United States these days, the reminder in the March 28/April 4 issue of Thomas Nast’s 19th-century anti-Catholic cartoons is more than welcome [“Papist Invasion”]. As a scholar of American Catholicism, I have on more than one occasion reminded others of the similarities between current anti-immigrant discourse and Nast’s portrayal of Catholic bishops as salivating crocodiles coming ashore to consume American youth.
But I can’t help also being amused by the appearance of this sidebar in The Nation, since, in the late 1940s, The Nation itself published a series of ferociously anti-Catholic articles by an associate editor, Paul Blanshard. The articles were later published in book form as the best-selling American Freedom and Catholic Power. As Philip Jenkins, by no means a Catholic advocate, observes in his 2003 book The New Anti-Catholicism, “While Blanshard does not conjure up crocodilian Catholic bishops, the image is certainly implied.”
It sometimes surprises me that I, an Irish-American Catholic, am such a dedicated reader of The Nation. And I imagine your Nast sidebar has Paul Blanshard turning over in his grave.
New York City