Archives for posts with tag: 50s
George Trendle

George Trendle (1884-1972)

Earlier this week, Aryan Skynet’s Hipster Racist published a post titled “White Nationalists Should Take Over the Freemasons”. By coincidence, I just happened to come across the following passage in Native Americans on Network TV: Stereotypes, Myths, and the “Good Indian”, a study by mass media scholar Michael Ray Fitzgerald. Referring to George Trendle, who originally created the Lone Ranger character for radio, Fitzgerald writes:

One reason Trendle admired the Texas Rangers may have been that the outfit had been founded and staffed by Scottish Rite Freemasons, and Trendle himself was one. During the period The Lone Ranger was aired (1949-1957), Scottish Rite promoted the most extreme sort of racist views. The point here is that Trendle, as an active member of Scottish Rite, was steeped in these views. For example, an excerpt from Scottish Rite’s official publication, the New Age Magazine, published during The Lone Ranger’s first season, declared, “The hand of Providence has chosen the Nordic people to bring and unfold the new order of the world. … Providence has chosen the Nordic people because they have prepared themselves and have chosen God.” Belief in Nordic racial superiority did not originate in Germany: remarkably similar beliefs had been in circulation in England and in the United States (i.e., Anglo-Saxonism) before Germany emerged as a nation. According to Reginald Horsman, Anglo-Saxons have long believed they have a “gift for governing,” which they have a duty to bring to the rest of the world, whether or not it is welcome.

Where, then, does the American Indian fit into this worldview? In The Lone Ranger, Tonto serves as the Indians’ representative; he welcomes the white savior on their behalf. In turn he is accepted into the Anglo-Saxon-Nordic project if – and only if – he is willing to assist in this project of Anglo-American control of the land. Tonto becomes an apprentice white man, a Regulator, doing the dirty work for the white man. It might also be illuminating to ask, where do African Americans fit into this vision? The simple answer is they do not. Not only are blacks not included in Trendle’s vision of the Old West – even as third-class citizens – they simply do not exist. They have been, in [Cedric] Clark’s term, relegated to “Non-recognition” – or, as [George] Gerbner and [Larry] Gross would say, “symbolically annihilated.”1

It should be noted, however, that in a particularly striking instance of political correctness (given the standards of the time), the series converts the Indian into an ally of the white savior. “The villains on The Lone Ranger are always white men, even though a Texas Rangers historical site unequivocally states the organization was founded to fight Indians,” Fitzgerald points out2.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Endnotes

  1. Fitzgerald, Michael Ray. Native Americans on Network TV: Stereotypes, Myths, and the “Good Indian”. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014, pp. 44-45.
  2. Ibid., p. 36.

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