Prairie Fires: Chapter 13 (Part 2)

[Prairie Fires Content Note: Racism, Settler Violence, Nazis, Child Abuse]

Prairie Fires: I started and stopped a Little House deconstruction awhile back, but the subject matter stayed with me. This book--a new and informative expose on Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane--was recommended to me so I picked it up on a lark. I was not prepared. This is a record of my live-read on Twitter.

Prairie Fires, Chapter 13

(Tweet Link: Part 10) #PrairieFires, Part 10. Proceed with caution.

Rose urges Herbert Hoover to find Rexh Meta. She fears that her "vindictive personal enemies among communists" are causing her requests to be ignored. Does... she think Hoover is a communist? She doesn't find him (he's apparently/probably in prison) and laments forever that he totes would've been rescued if she'd been a member of the communist party. Okay, like, if you really believed that, wouldn't you join up????

Reader's Digest wants to run Hurricane. She meets with the editor and he brings his 14yo son Roger to meet Rose. While he is in high school, Roger regularly spends evenings and weekends at Rose's house. That's all the details I have on Roger MacBride at the moment. I will report as the situation develops.

Rose begins acting out. She chases a building inspector out of her New York apartment, yelling that he's a "storm trooper". She starts obsessively canning, claiming that those who give in to rationing will starve to death. I'm frankly surprised she knows how to can.

She rails to her agent about magazines requesting rights to her articles because this undermines the "human right of ownership of property" and is an attack on "individual liberty". I thought the whole point of libertarianism was being able to sell your labor? Rose wants to sell her labor but still keep it to resell again and again. Author rights are complicated, don't get me wrong, but.

She plans a libertarian sequel to Discovery of Freedom, to be called The World is Round. "She asked Bye to write to foreign embassies, asking for a “complete set of books” about their history, politics, and economies. “Letter head is very important to foreigners,” she advised."

Oh god.

Oh god.

Oh god.

No. NO.

"In 1943, she had started writing a column, “Rose Lane Says,” for the Pittsburgh Courier, an African-American newspaper that she learned about when her black housekeeper left a copy in the Danbury house."

*literally rocking back and forth*

"Discovering the “tragic fallacy” of bigotry, she called to “renounce their race,” asserting that the notion of different races was a “fantastic belief.” Wartime rationing was “economic slavery,” she told her readers, not recognizing they were the true experts on that topic. Urging insurrection, she assured them that the Founding Fathers wanted citizens to rise up and overthrow the state: that’s what the Second Amendment was for. She was fired from the Courier in 1945, which she attributed to its pro–New Deal sentiment."


How the fuck do you just.

'What a charming newspaper my housekeeper left here! I'll just ring them up and offer to educate black people about slavery!'


'Have you considered that we're all the SAME RACE and really TAXES are the true SLAVERY? Makes you think!'

How did she last over a year there???? Was she kept on for the amusement factor???? Did her readers derive many chuckles over her cluelessness???? Did people read her columns in, like, diners and try to keep a straight face?

"What does Rose Lane Says today, Bob?"

"Well, Jim, she says rationing laws are slavery."

*Jim struggles to keep a straight face*

"That so, Bob?"

"She does indeed, Jim. Good points."

*Jim cracks up*

Did they play games where you could BLUFF and make shit up and people had to guess whether Rose Lane actually said it?

"Jim, today Rose Lane Says sand makes excellent roofing material."

*long pause from Jim*

"Bluff, Bob. I'm calling it."

"Got me there, Jim. She actually said roofs should be made of dirt."

We interrupt this live tweet to remind you that shit like this is defended by people who invoke these books as reasons. Like, we can like the Little House books. I'm not here to ruin your enjoyment! But we have to tear down the idol of white settlers with guns being True Americans.

I honestly want to give y'all more tonight but it's bedtime here and I'll be incoherent if I continue. Not the funny kind of incoherent, just "wait what?" So. I'll see you tomorrow!


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