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1-18-68--Eartha Kitt confronts LadyBird at WH about poverty + VN

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bobbieinok Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-05 09:32 PM
Original message
1-18-68--Eartha Kitt confronts LadyBird at WH about poverty + VN
Edited on Mon Sep-19-05 09:33 PM by bobbieinok
http://froth.blogspot.com/2004_01_18_froth_archive.html
(breaks by me)

from a RE/Search interview with Eartha Kitt:

RE/Search: When you were invited to a White House luncheon, didn't you cause a scandal?

EARTHA KITT: In 1968, during the Vietnam War, I was invited by Lady Bird Johnson to give my opinion about the problems in the United States, specifically, "Why is there so much juvenile delinquency in the streets of America?" The First Lady seemed to be more interested in decorating the windows of the ghettos with flowerboxes. I meanit's fine to put flowers in the ghettos, but let's take care of the necessities first: give people jobs, and find a way to get us out of poverty.

When it came my turn to speak, I said to the president's wife, "Vietnam is the main reason we are having trouble with the youth of America. It is a war without explanation or reason." I said that the young ghetto boys thought it better to have a legal stigma against themthen they would be considered "undesirable" and would not be sent to the war. In their opinion, in this society the good guys lost and the bad guys won.

That incident, reported in such a way as to deface me in the eyes of the American people, obviously had to have been given by someone from the White Houseprobably the press secretary: "Earth Kitt makes the First Lady cry..." There were no reporters present! So this was a manufactured furor.

RE/Search: Didn't you suffer because of this?
EK: Of coursewithin two hours I was out of work in America.
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fiveleafclover Donating Member (382 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-05 09:37 PM
Response to Original message
1. I love Eartha Kitt
The only Catwoman in my book, nobody else has ever come close.
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-05 09:43 PM
Response to Original message
2. What an excursion into yesteryear.
At that time, and as a kid, I was horrified and repulsed that Eartha Kitt would insult the Texan first lady and the policies of our American president.

Then reality caused by body bag by body bag, injury after injury, set in. I learned that our government does not always do right, even at the cost of 57,000 Americans dead. Then I became one of her biggest fans.
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-05 09:48 PM
Response to Original message
3. I Remember That Very Well...
She was torn apart in the media and it all but destroyed her career.

She spoke some very powerful words, but, in honesty, to the wrong person. Lady Bird was an incredible first lady...having to come out of the shadows of both Jackie Kennedy and her own husband and pushed for the most social change and activism since Eleanor Roosevelt.

The date of this is also very telling. This was either during or right after the Tet offensive...the height of our military participation in Nam and had totally polarized and energized the country. There were also two very "hot summers" of racial strife and that cauldron was all set to spill over...all it took was MLK's assasination a couple months later to show what fury raged in the black community.

Those were very energized times. Tet broke the myth that Vietnam was "winnable", and in fact things were getting worse. This led to the rise in popularity of Gene McCarthy's campaign that began to put pressure on Johnson. Cronkite came out about this time and denounced the war...that led Johnson to cut bait after McCarthy showed extremely strong in New Hamsphire. And this was even before Bobby Kennedy threw his hat into the ring.

How times have changed, how some things still remain.
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-05 09:55 PM
Response to Original message
4. Wasn't her agenda "beautify the highways"
or something equally frivolous considering the times? I can remember thinking that our kids were dying and she's thinking about such superficial causes.
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bobbieinok Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-05 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. you're talking about LadyBird, right?
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-05 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Yes, LadyBird's agenda
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bobbieinok Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-05 09:55 PM
Response to Original message
5. my favorite Eartha Kitt song 'Santa Baby'
I understand Madonna sang this too, but like my son says I'm stuck in the 60s.

Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree,
For me.
been an awful good girl,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa baby, a 54 convertible too,
Light blue.
I'll wait up for you dear,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Think of all the fun I've missed,
Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed,
Next year I could be just as good,
If you'll check off my Christmas list,

Santa baby, I wanna yacht,
And really that's not a lot,
Been an angel all year,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa honey, there's one thing I really do need,
The deed
To a platinum mine,
Santa honey, so hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa cutie, and fill my stocking with a duplex,
And checks.
Sign your 'X' on the line,
Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight.

Come and trim my Christmas tree,
With some decorations bought at Tiffany's,
I really do believe in you,
Let's see if you believe in me,

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing,
A ring.
I don't mean on the phone,
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight,
Hurry down the chimney tonight,
Hurry, tonight.
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Maple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-05 10:18 PM
Response to Original message
8. There's a movie called 'Up Pompeii'
Frankie Howard, Eartha Kitt

If you're fan of 'naughty' British movies, check it out.

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