Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Monkeys and Dragons

Here's an excerpt from a post by Lee Sigelman who blogs at the Monkey Cage, whose mission is explained in its inaugural post. It's a blog well worth keeping up with.

In the early '70s he and a political scientist colleague did some field-based research in the weird and scary world of the Klan. They interviewed over the course of a handful of trips a KKK 'Grand Dragon' Bill Chaney. The post ends:

'On our penultimate visit, I discovered that Chaney had a taste for bourbon. Acting on that knowledge, I determined that it would be an appropriate component of our research methodology for me, on our next visit, to come bearing a gift, in hopes of loosening his tongue on some issues about which he had previously been reluctant to speak. On the last evening of the visit, I produced said gift, much to Chaney’s delight. He immediately began to sample its contents and invited me to join him. It was an offer I could not refuse under the circumstances, and as he continued to increase his sample size, I continued to accompany him. We drank late into the night.

Early the next morning, I was awakened by the ringing of the telephone in my room at the Holiday Inn. It was Chaney, in a highly agitated state. “Listen,” he said, “you’ve got to forget everything I told you last night. Some of what I said could get us both killed.” At which point my only response, which was totally honest, was “Don’t worry, Bill. I don’t remember a word you said.”

(POSTSCRIPT: Chaney himself was an FBI informant. In the labyrinthine politics of the Klan, all the various factions that were competing for supremacy were spilling secrets about one another to the FBI; Chaney ultimately won out over his competitors in that struggle. He was later convicted of firebombing an Indianapolis-area business.)'

But read the whole post. It's good stuff.

4 comments:

jimmy said...

Where is your coverage of Hazel and Gordon?

Gaw said...

I think the coverage is already more than adequate. I can't think of an angle that hasn't been covered!

Gadjo Dilo said...

Strewth, drinking bourbon with the Klan. Is the gentleman in question any relation to Dick Chaney by any chance?

worm said...

that was a great story! thanks for the pointer

I've never quite decided whether the klan are dangerous or comical. Even Hollywood sends out kind of confused messages as to it's views too.