Blogathon: #46 – In The News

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I get regular Google alerts whenever Up With People makes the news somewhere. Most of the time it’s just the string “up with people”, which doesn’t mean anything to me. Sometimes it’s something being compared to Up With People (i.e. it’s “shiny-happy-strange” reputation). Once in a while I’ll get something that is actually talking about Up With People the organization – recently there’s been a lot of press in North Platte about Up With People coming over, and there was a news article about the reunion and about a wedding between two alumni members.

One article I just got alerted about puzzled me though. Apparently Up With People caused some sort of political rift?

From the Google Alert:

REVIEW : Politicians now speak from conservative dictionary
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (subscription) – Little Rock,AR,USA
… The turning point in the war of words between liberals and conservatives came in August 1968, when the group Up With People sang at the Republican National …

What did Up With People singing at a Republican convention have to do with anything? Did they inadvertedly cause something to happen? I’ve been trying to log in, but it’s pay only and BugMeNot’s not helping.

It was really bizarre getting that alert – the Up With People is non-political. Most of my crew were of liberal leanings. Even if we had a Republican (which I’m not aware of; we did have a few socially conservative people but I don’t know their politics), it wasn’t a matter of conflict. We weren’t told to pick one side over the other. Besides, with all of us from all over the world, it won’t have worked. Just take Australia as an example – their “Liberal” party is apparently very right-wing.

Now I’m severely curious. What happened with Up With People at the Republican event that apparently caused some sort of a rift? Can someone solve the mystery?

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One Response

  1. This was bothering me because I remember this being talked about. I think one of the founders of UWP and member of the Colwell Brothers mentioned it when he visited, as part of the history. I found the full version of the article here, and it basically says:

    “The turning point in the war of words between liberals and conservatives came in August 1968, when the group Up With People sang at the Republican National Convention. The group was introduced by someone who noted there was “not a hippie among them,” which prompted cheers from the delegates. Up With People, described by one writer as “attractive but nonetheless very square,” was the perfect symbol for the Republican Party’s new emphasis on “values.” Since then, writes Geoffrey Nunberg, conservatives have dominated the national discourse with repetition, well-chosen phrases and a little linguistic thievery.”

    If memory serves, UWP was looked upon badly from this event because they didn’t represent the “majority of youth” but rather what the Republican propaganda machine wanted, the conservative, squeaky clean, square, religious youth with great potential. Belk and the rest of the gang quickly disassociated themselves with all things political, adding “apolitical” to their description soon after. This separation from government actually helped foreign governments embrace the UWP cause, turning this into a plus.

    I hope this helps solve a little of that mystery.

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