Confederate History Month: Something to Read

When I lived in Georgia I was in the newspaper business and for a time I was a crackpot with a newspaper (now-a-days that would be like being a crackpot with a blog). Anyway there was a daily paper in Anniston, Alabama that was an inspiration for independent voices in print media in the South. It was the Anniston Star. Back in the 1960s they took a pro-Civil Rights stand and George Wallace use to call it the “Red Star”. I’ve always had a fondness for this newspaper.

Today the publisher, H. Brandt Ayers, is out with an editorial about the Republican Confederate Party celebration of Confederate History Month. And I would add it as a must read.

ConfederateGOP Logo

Mr. Ayers calls his editorial, I am a somber rebel. He calls out folks like Bob the Reb of Old Virginny, but he calls others to task as well. Mostly he seems sick of where Nixon’s Southern Strategy has led us as a Nation and how the conversation about race, the Civil War, civil rights and the politics of outrage never seems to be able to get beyond the repeat cycle. His grief at yet another lost opportunity for national understanding is raw.

Here is how he opens the piece:

As Confederate History Month wanes, the orchestra in my head plays “Dixie” and the rising melancholy cellos, which touch the merry tune with tragedy, put me in a somber mood. The song and the jaunty St. Andrews flag grow fainter, smaller …

They will shortly be gone, packed off in shame to an historical closet, and with them another opportunity for national understanding will have been aborted.

The latest skirmish in the culture war over the Civil War was touched off by Virginia’s new Republican Gov. Robert McDonnell who sought to honor Confederate dead but forgot to mention slavery was a cause of the war.

When the oversight was brought to his attention, his apology sounded unconvincing, as if he was saying: Slavery? Slavery? Yes, darn, I remember reading about that; should of put it in the proclamation. Sorry.

Read the whole thing. While there are some points I do not agree with, it is good food for thought on a Sunday night.

Cheers

dengre

113 replies
  1. 1
    Joel says:

    My favorite part:

    The response of the print and cable TV punditocracy, instead of focusing light on the governor’s cynical manipulation of his right-wing white base, reacted as if it was a personal insult, their heat welding the right more firmly to him.

    Reminds me of where I’ve settled on the teabaggers; they’re not angry about anything in particular, they’re just mad about not winning. They want to win, one hundred percent of the time, and if they can piss on everyone else while doing it – especially liberals – then all’s the better.

    Fuckers.

  2. 2
    Bnut says:

    My uncle used to set set print and do photography for the Anniston Star. He was a nice, grass smoking Southern hippie and I miss him.

  3. 3
    gbear says:

    @Brick Oven Bill: Has anybody told you lately that you suck?

  4. 4
    dr. luba says:

    The response to the original article by a JSObrien is more thoughtful than the original:

    I found this piece … puzzling. As a former, temporary resident of Anniston (back when I was an actor at ASF), the descendant of more than a dozen Confederate soldiers, and a boy who grew up in Virginia where I couldn’t spit in any direction without hitting a Civil War battlefield, I feel I have a fairly strong connection to you, the South, and your themes. But if your thesis is that “average” white people are having their “very selves and culture erased,” I cannot imagine why you might feel that way.

    I haven’t found anyone suggesting that the history of the Confederacy or the South be expunged. Hardly. If anything, most of the ink (real or electronic) spilled on this subject seems to advocate a common goal: Tell the truth about history.

    As an analogy, I think it’s fair to say that the Wehrmacht fought very, very well and courageously in WWII, and one of the best fighting units in history may well be the Waffen SS. They fought for what they believed, and it’s fair to say that many in the Wehrmacht fought because, like grunts all through history, someone handed them a weapon and gave them no choice. Having said this, would you advocate that the Germans should have “Third Reich Month” in order to honor the Wehrmacht’s sacrifices? Of course you wouldn’t. The Third Reich was evil, and the fact that many fought for it well and bravely, without being Nazis, doesn’t change that fact.

    If what you want is for white Southerners to be allowed to whitewash history and take refuge in some sort of moral “nobility” of the Confederacy, then, yes, that is unlikely to be allowed. The answer is relatively simple: teach white children in your schools that the American Civil War hinged on the issue of slavery, that slavery was evil, that it was wrong to allow it, and even more wrong to take up arms to defend it. Then, you can explain how many men fought bravely and well, even if in the wrong cause.

    The Douglas Southall Freemen mythology surrounding that war has long been discredited. It’s time for all Southerners to face the truth. Until we do, we, and the country, cannot move on.

  5. 5
    Yutsano says:

    @gbear: I want nothing less than an extended trip to the sin bin for that comment. Either that or BoB can come be my slave for a few weeks and he can thus experience what it is like for himself. I doubt the attitude will change, but the pictures would be very entertaining.

  6. 6
    cs says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    This is, I think, the most brilliant satire I’ve seen of the whole Confederate Party’s view on history and race. Almost worth printing on a bumper sticker to see how many teabaggers would snap it up.

  7. 7
    demimondian says:

    @Yutsano: Yeah…no.

    Part of the misery of slavery is that it is life long; there is no way out except death, and you know it.

  8. 8
    demimondian says:

    @dr. luba: This.

  9. 9
    Yutsano says:

    @demimondian: Sigh. I know. I just really wanted some free housecleaning more than anything. You did get me wondering though: is there any sort of study regarding slavery and the suicide rate? I know it sounds morbid, but if you knew it was your only method of release, I would think it would have happened. I don’t recall ever hearing about it however.

  10. 10
    SteveinSC says:

    I don’t think it’s particularly odd that over time, lots of time, rich white people in the North have replaced the slave-owning rich people in the South as masters of the black-hating, poor rednecks in and effort to regain or hold power. The poor whites who fought and died for the slave owners 150 years ago are now being ginned up to fight (and maybe die) for a newer and more cynical rich. It has been sort of like the Lord of the Rings, with the “precious”, lost in the South after the civil war, but trying, trying over time to rejoin the others of its type. Hence, the modern neo-Confederate Republican Party, a match made in Hell. I also don’t see how the GOP can ever shake loose from this ricketty Faustian bargain: They’ve reached nearly the bottom of the available choices by marrying the haters and there is no way off this crocodile’s back.

    (vis-a-vis the editorial, though, I am not sure I understand the part about the white people’s song and flag and soul and a national soul.)

  11. 11
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Twenty-some years ago I attended a conference in Anniston, AL that included a private reception at Brandt Ayers’ home (don’t know why, but perhaps the Anniston Star was a sponsor of the conference, which was on acid rain, of all things). Ayers and his wife were incredibly gracious and intelligent, and their home was simply breathtaking — a very modern, angular structure with lots of glass; books and music and glorious works of art everywhere — I’ve never forgotten it. Before that, I knew him only by reputation, but I became a fan that night and I’m glad to see he’s as principled as ever.

    And Dengre, if I haven’t said it before, thank you so much for this series on CHM. Your research is thorough and meticulous and a pleasure to read. You also inspire a fair number of thoughtful comments along the way. I do hope you’re thinking about collecting all this and putting it together in a more permanent form at some point. You are a wonderful addition to the frontpageteriat and the entire BJ community. Cheers.

  12. 12
    frosty says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Arbeit macht frei, y’all.

  13. 13
    someguy says:

    Slavery was wrong and, frankly, we don’t rub the South’s nose in it often enough. Damn skippy we’re trying to eradicate their culture, if by that you mean pry the whip out of their hand. The only reason this is controversial is because so much of the South still clings to the old hatreds. The fight over the confederate flag and McDonnell’s proclamation are just proxies for the same old battle – right wing white Southerners loves to hate ’em some negros, and the rest of us are anti-racism. Call it what it is.

  14. 14
    geg6 says:

    I don’t know what BOB said but I can guarantee it was racist tripe cuz that’s how he rolls.

    I haven’t read the piece yet but I feel for Southerners of conscience. How discouraging it must be to know that the majority of your neighbors, co-workers, relatives, friends, and leaders are, openly or subtly, unrepentant racists. I know I see enough of it here on the farthest edge of Appalachia for it to drive me almost insane, but it must be even worse for all of you.

  15. 15
    Warren Terra says:

    It’s crap like #3 that makes me hope BoB is sincere and not a spoof. I’d hate for someone who’s remotely right-thinking to spout vile nonsense of that sort in jest; doing it from madness, I can see.

  16. 16
    Mike in NC says:

    The wife attended a golf tournament in Charleston, SC last week. Needless to say, they drove past a number of rural places where billboard-sized Confederate flags were flown (usually over some filthy, dog-shit strewn hovel, as one might expect). Yes, the South will rise again!

  17. 17
    Dennis G. says:

    @dr. luba:

    This comment to the editorial helps me put my finger on what troubled me about it. This is not a zero sum game. It is about telling and honoring–warts and all–our real shared history. It seems to me that Americans of color have been more than willing to do that for years and the it is white folks who have a problem with coming to grips with our shared story.

    And the funny thing is that our collective story is a good one. There are lots of heroes and heroines. It is a good story to embrace and perhaps if we started there we could get past the cynical gaming of the Southern Strategy and move on.

    Still, I give Mr. Ayres and the Anniston Star a lot of props in this arena. They’ve earned it.

    Cheers

  18. 18
    Cat Lady says:

    Watched Hour 2 of Eyes on the Prize tonight – the march from Selma to Montgomery. What a bunch of stupid ugly crackers white law enforcement and the screaming mobs were. It’s embarrassing as a white person who’s never set foot in the south (does Florida count?) to see the depth and the width of the hate. I can’t imagine having that as my heritage, much less celebrate it.

  19. 19
    geg6 says:

    Warren Terra @16:

    This is why I had to finally pie BOB. Can’t deal with his disgusting shit. I salute Cole’s liberal commenting policies, but there are times when the ban hammer, IMHO, can be useful. But that’s me and not Mr. Cole. Perhaps we can convince Tunch to murder BOB as a sort of practice for his plot against Cole.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    Yutsano says:

    @geg6: Nah. No real sport in it. I mean c’mon, he’s afraid of a lesbyterian forklift driver. What kind of a man could he possibly be?

  22. 22
    trollhattan says:

    @cs:

    I think b.O.b’s been ghost-writing for the local rag:

    http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/mitc.....dment.html

  23. 23
    Yutsano says:

    @trollhattan: Words. Fail. I’m still trying to figure out if what he’s really saying is that women aren’t Republican enough. Or rational enough to handle anything outside of the home. Or something. I still can’t figure it out.

  24. 24
    demimondian says:

    @geg6: This may come as a surprise to you, but BOB is far from the most nauseous commenter that this blog has seen over the years. Cole’s treated them all the same way — letting the rest of the commentariat handle the malefactors is more efficient than using his power to control things. It seems to work, and the fact that there’s no such thing as a ban-hammer means that obnoxious but independent voices can’t be silenced here.

    There’s a lot to be said for that.

    Oh, and BOB: your racist bilge is disgusting, and you are a disgusting, half human loser.

  25. 25
    PeakVT says:

    Slavery was wrong and, frankly, we don’t rub the South’s nose in it often enough.

    The goal isn’t to subject “the South” (which contains 100 million or so people of diverse backgrounds and outlooks) to collective punishment for actions of those long dead and gone. Instead, it is denounce and mock those who choose to cling to or cynically use various myths about what really went on.

    It’s easy to bash the South as a whole (I’ve done it plenty of times), but if we want people to view the past accurately, we should probably do the same with the present.

  26. 26
    petorado says:

    I hadn’t revisited my understanding of the confederacy until Gov. McDonnell brought it back into our everyday lives. In the most backhanded way possible, I must thank him. You can’t lance the boil until someone makes a stink and brings it to the attention of a doctor.

    But honest thanks to Dennis G and TNC for re-opening my eyes to history I’d reconciled to the past.

    Slavery was never about the work, but about the theft of one’s humanity. And in the process of dehumanizing the exploited, the enslavers lose their own soul. It’s a Faustian bargain all the way.

  27. 27
    demimondian says:

    @trollhattan: Hey, dude, that’s some fine troll fodder there. It’s…wow…almost worth front-page display. As Yutsano says…words fail.

  28. 28
    Cat Lady says:

    @trollhattan:

    Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

  29. 29
    geg6 says:

    Yutsano @22:

    Yeah, you’re right. Tunch would probably not be interested due to the lack of challenge involved. He prefers a wily opponent like Cole, not a cringing halfwit cowardly stalker.

  30. 30
    Yutsano says:

    @geg6: Ugh. And apparently I’m his latest target. I confess it was a lot cuter when he was chasing FH #1.

  31. 31
    rootless_e says:

    The future President gave a speech here in Austin, in front of the state capital, during the primary elections. And I am sure I was not the only person there who listened to the speech while kvelling in the knowledge that all the nitwits who had funded the monument behind him that commemorated the Confederate Soldiers who fought for “our constitutional rights” were spinning in their graves.

  32. 32
    Gus says:

    @Cat Lady: Meh, Coulter has said much the same thing. Yawn.
    Also, on the Confederate thing, why do so many Southerners insist that the civil rights struggles of 40-50 years ago are ancient history, but we should honor and commemorate their Confederate heritage?

  33. 33
    Donald G says:

    @geg6:

    I haven’t read the piece yet but I feel for Southerners of conscience. How discouraging it must be to know that the majority of your neighbors, co-workers, relatives, friends, and leaders are, openly or subtly, unrepentant racists. I know I see enough of it here on the farthest edge of Appalachia for it to drive me almost insane, but it must be even worse for all of you.

    It’s not fun, even for a white Southerner of conscience, especially one born and raised during the first decade after the passage of the Civil and Voting Rights Acts. One side of the family mourns the loss of Jim Crow. Half your grandparents and their neighbors, and the parents of your friends freely throw around the n-word and trash-talk black people on welfare, or whatever. A good portion of your peers buy into the racism of their parents, and, as a child, there is only so much you can do to counter their ignorance, what with the old Southern Christian “respect your elders” thing.

    And then you end up with a younger brother who is among the most stereotyped of rednecks, perversely and militantly ignorant and anti-PC in all its forms, a boor who goes out of his way to be as offensive as he can be, just because he has the freedom to do so.

    Okay, my grandparents and dad were raised in a culture of Jim Crow; my brother and certain cousins and my former classmates, on the other hand, are young enough to fucking know better. To say that I am disgusted in “my people” is an understatement.

  34. 34
    demimondian says:

    @Gus: It’s really quite obvious why : the people who died in the Civil rights era were either black or misguided.

  35. 35
    Dennis G. says:

    @Yutsano:

    As a relatively new voice at BJ I have found BoB a curious local institution.

    He reminds me of the Ray Harryhausen’s Harpies in the Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. In the film the Harpies torment Phineas for his mis-use of the gift of prophecy. When Sinbad and the crew arrive they capture the Harpies and Phineas keeps them around as snarling pets. He teases the Harpies by tossing a grape or a crust of bread in their direction.

    BoB reminds me of those caged snarling Harpies. Responding with a comment is like tossing him a grape. Just don’t get to close to his cage. He might bite and we can not vouch that all of his shots are up to date.

    Cheers

  36. 36
    Tom says:

    Southern racism was really more about maintaining a rigid caste-based social system than actual racial antipathy. Everybody knew where they fit in, and since blacks were at the bottom, no matter how bad off a white man was, he knew there was somebody lower on the ladder than him. Thus the greatest crime anyone could commit in society was being “uppity” – behaving in manner above one’s station in life. This hierarchy and its preservation was the core of Southern society.

    That was the real motivation behind slavery, as far as I can determine. When they lost that gambit, they built Jim Crow laws. Desegregation forced them to get even more subtle. The whole purpose of RepublicanConfederate Party economic policies is to freeze upward mobility and continue the same social structure. “Small government” just means “stop helping black people advance their social and economic position.”

    The hatred against immigrants is a gambit to maintain a new semi-slave class to make up for their loss of the caste that blacks used to occupy. You’ll note that the Tea Party types universally support ineffective, wasteful means of controlling illegal immigration, as they have no desire actually to stem the flow. They wish to keep the status quo with illegal immigrants forever, so that they’ll have a new group to hate on at the bottom of the stack.

  37. 37
    gbear says:

    I’m reading through these comments and thinking about the old guy who lived next door to me. We were talking one day and he told me that it was only a matter of time before the ‘race war’ was going to happen, although I can’t remember what he said was going to set it off. He was ready for the race war. He and his wife spent a day watching a brewery warehouse next door to our house being slowly looted by a bunch of homeless white drunks and they wouldn’t call the cops because they might get a ‘colored’ cop.

    This is in St Paul, MN. It’s not like this stuff stops at the Mason Dixon line.

  38. 38
    th says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    brick oven bill, can we meet up? Or is you scared?

  39. 39
    srv says:

    We have located BoB’s truck.

    h/t reddit

  40. 40
    gbear says:

    @srv: Is that a confederate flag on a state licence plate?? Virginia makes plates like that?

    The asshole is parked in the handicap spot too.

  41. 41
    rootless_e says:

    Once was at a friends house in semi-rural Arkansas. Old feller they knew comes by. Election time was coming up, this must have been in the early 1980s. I ask, “Who you going to vote for?” His answer “Gus Hall and that beautiful colored lady.” (Angela Davis for you kids.)

    I almost fell over. Not the last time I assumed and failed.

  42. 42
    srv says:

    @gbear: 14CV88

    Them’s some codewords.

  43. 43
    jl says:

    I am not sure what Ayers is getting at when he said “we’ve got to reenact once more the conspiracy of the left driving the white South further to the right.”

    Ayers seems angry that these national network talking heads took ‘personal affront’ at Gov. McDonnell’s proclamation.

    I believe that Roland Martin is African-American, and I would see why he would react as if it were a personal affront. Just as I can see a non-racist white southerner proud of his Civil War heritage taking it as a personal affront if I, a very Union Californian, said that any CHM should be one long condemnation of the South for treason.

    If some of those commenters taking ‘personal affront’ Ayers saw were white, then my reaction would be that they were clueless hypcrites. There are long histories and contemporary attitudes of racism all over the country. The most openly racially bigoted people in my family come from the Mountan states, not the South.

    And I lived in LA in the late 80s and early 90s, and through the Rodney King riots. I saw the old LAPD in action with all races, and I saw the attitude of many whites there towards blacks and Latinos. It was toxic.

    Ta-Nehisi Coates had it right with the following observations (which seem to agree with commenter Tom above):

    Honoring CHM: One Drop Cont.
    Ta-Hehisi Coates, Apr 16 2010
    http://www.theatlantic.com/nat.....ont/39036/
    Racism creates races where there are none.

    A Beige Future
    Ta-Hehisi Coates, Oct 30 2009
    http://www.theatlantic.com/cul.....ure/29356/
    Thus the point of slavery, and Jim Crow, was not to express a naked hatred of someone who looked different than you–it was to create a permanent class of free labor. In the early days of this country, you find racism, but you also find black slaves and white indentured servants running away together. You find them joining Daniel Shays Nathaniel Bacon in rebellion (and presumably buying into his racism against Native Americans.)

    You find them fucking and marrying, as humans are wont to do. And when Virginia decides to outlaw interracial unions, you find them organizing against the law. These people looked very different from each other, and while there was considerable racism, they did not, en masse, look at each other the way their kids would look at each other a century or two later. Color prejudice was the means of systemic racism in America, but it wasn’t the end.
    END QUOTE

    I have seen enough racism in my western and northern family branches, and friends to be suspicious of making racism the core problem among the teabaggers, or the alarmingly large proportion of people who are way out in the crazy white-wing, as it were, in the South.

    I think fear, ignorance, self-righteousness, deluded pride, lack of self-confidence, and perhaps more than anything as I typed in a previous thread, an authoritarian mindset underlies some of the racist dogwhistles we are hearing.

    The real scum in this are the cynical political manipulators who are pusing the fantasy history version of a CHM. They could have pushed a Southern History Month that would have alot of CHM in it, and be balanced and helpful. But they have their eyes on November 2010, not the good of the South or anyone in it white or black.

    An unfortunately large proportion of deluded whites are listening sympathetically all over the country. Some are frank racists, but I think many use racism as a means and it is not the underlying motive.

    Thanks to Dennis G. for linking to Ta-Nehisis Coates posts on CHM, they were very enlightening.

  44. 44
    MikeJ says:

    @gbear: Not just Confederate flag, you can get a Robt E Lee plate:
    http://www.dmv.state.va.us/exe.....category=S

  45. 45
    Bill says:

    @gbear: That’s a Sons of Confederate Veteran’s plate. SC, NC, and GA have them also.

    I highly recommend “Confederates in the Attic” as well for an insightful look into the “Southern” mentality

  46. 46

    The Gov VA had two obvious choices, Civil War History Month or Confederate Horseshit Month…

  47. 47
    LosGatosCA says:

    Jsobrien’s comments were indeed better than the actual editorial.

    It’s pretty simple. The Neo-Confederates simply have to admit that slavery was immoral, secession was illegal and unpatriotic, and Jim Crow was even more abomidable and that’s it. Because that’s the truth, and the truth shall set you free.

    Or just keep whining that non-Confederates keep insisting that the neo-Confederates must surrender. Yes, they must.

  48. 48
    2th&nayle says:

    @gbear: Well, the person driving that vehicle is obviously handicapped, but perhaps not in the traditional sense.

  49. 49
    jl says:

    @Tom: What I believe is sad about the white teabaggers all over the country, and the Southern ‘states-righters’ and ‘white-wingers’ is that they do not seem to realize that the stratified society envisioned by their manipulators is not longer wholly race based.

    As the wealth gets concetrated, and the looting by the rich saps the economy, all sorts of surprising people will end up on the wrong end of the hierarchy. There are not enough African-Americans, or any non-white racial group to sacrifice to keep the money flowing.

    Poor, working and middle class whites will be shoved down as needed when the time comes.

    I would think that watching the GOPers enlist and then jettison the unions, as needed, would be a clue. But it looks not.

  50. 50
    Joey Maloney says:

    @Brick Oven Bill: I’m sorry, did you just translate arbeit macht frei into Teabonics?

  51. 51
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Slavery is more ethical than welfare, as there is dignity in work.

    If anyone reads this and still doubts that BOB is a spoof, I’ve got a brick oven bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

  52. 52
    Kiril says:

    Y’all need to stop hatin’ and recognize that B.O.B. just hit one out of the park. The only way that comment could have been more perfect is if Michael Steele had said it.

  53. 53
    handy says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    It was a shameful comment. Adolf Spoof should have been a little more clever.

  54. 54

    @Yutsano:

    I confess it was a lot cuter when he was chasing FH #1.

    There’s plenty of sexy BoB to go around.

  55. 55
    rootless_e says:

    I actually learned something useful from BTD once when he recommended reading Lincoln’s Cooper Union Speech

    The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them, is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb them.

    These natural, and apparently adequate means all failing, what will convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly – done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated – we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Senator Douglas’ new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our Free State constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to believe that all their troubles proceed from us.

  56. 56
    Dennis G. says:

    @jl:

    I think that given what he has done that Ayers has earned the benefit of the doubt. This stands out for me:

    The paper’s editorial policies returned to their more progressive roots in the 1960s when Harry Ayers’s son, H. Brandt Ayers, became the paper’s editor. In 1965, the Star denounced the Ku Klux Klan and ran a front-page editorial advocating rationality and communication in race relations. In 1972, H. Brandt Ayers followed his father Harry’s example and endorsed Senator George McGovern for president despite the community’s strong support for President Richard M. Nixon.

    Over the course of the following 30 years, the Star’s editorial page steered a moderate to liberal course while the paper’s news coverage won state and national awards.

    I think his point is that the Republican Confederate Party likes to say and do things to distract folks from keeping their eyes of the prize. In this way they are a bit like BoB.

    There is a real history to honor and we should. Their call for a slavery free CHM is giving us the opportunity to explore the real history and that is a good thing.

    Cheers

  57. 57
    Ecks says:

    Reading all this and thinking:

    If a lot of the BS we’re getting from the south is about insecurity and feelings of victimization and wanting to have a noble identity to cling to (and as a psychologist I can tell you, most of us roll this way a lot more than we let on), maybe it’s worth a dual-pronged strategy. Maybe what we need is something that simultaneously celebrates the south – its music, its politeness, its hospitality, its books, its excellence in sports and war, and roll that together into a narrative that, y’know, nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes, and the Souths big mistake has been slavery and racism. And being a grown up means facing up to our mistakes manfully (trying to put this into a suitably macho frame for southern culture), looking the person we wronged in the eye and saying “I apologize,” and not hiding from it… but at the same time, not letting it take away from all the other great things you bring to the world.

    I’m just thinking that if we’re going to ask them to do the hard and painful work of dredging up their skeletons rather than white washing them (which is way easier to do), then maybe we need to give them some psychological room to maneuver, by not making it a full frontal assault on “you are worthless and terrible people.” Acknowledge the good. Appreciate it. Applaud it. Give them some room to stand with pride. Make it a confession of sins, not a beating for them.

    Update: Oh yes, and the cooking. Hard not to appreciate the cooking… Mmmm, n’orlans :)

  58. 58
    Yutsano says:

    @Tattoosydney: GREEN BALLOONS!! GREEN BALLOONS!!

    Okay, time to go do what I’ve been doing pretty much all day. Night y’all.

  59. 59
    Mike G says:

    Maybe what we need is something that simultaneously celebrates the south…and roll that together into a narrative that, y’know, nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes, and the South’s big mistake has been slavery and racism.

    It sounds admirable, but let me predict how this would go: They’ll chest-thumpingly congratulate themselves for the praise, then tell you to fuck off for daring to suggest that they have been anything other than perfect since the dawn of time.

    I work with people with exactly this childish, absolutist, authoritarian-follower tribal mindset, and observed the same mental illness in Bush for 8 years.

  60. 60
    Ecks says:

    @Mike G: Hm. You’re probably right. It’s probably pathological enough at this point that they’d need to hit bottom to start realizing they had a problem.

    Still, it would be interesting to see if there wouldn’t be a way to start ginning up this narrative… worthy but flawed… If you were looking at something that you’d take a generation to instill, this’d probably have to be it, to cut off continual revisionist flare ups.

    It’s like the active violent hatred in N. Ireland seems to have mostly died down once a) everybody was finally beyond sick of it, but mostly b) when the economy took off, and everyone got middle class jobs where all or a sudden their retirement nest eggs started to seem a bit more important than the ethno-religious identity of their neighbors. Still waiting for that in the South.

  61. 61
    Mark says:

    @jl

    I have seen enough racism in my western and northern family branches, and friends to be suspicious of making racism the core problem among the teabaggers, or the alarmingly large proportion of people who are way out in the crazy white-wing, as it were, in the South.

    I grew up in Canada, which doesn’t lack for racism, and the first place I lived was in Berkeley. Many of my grad school classmates were white people from the south. I can’t deny your experience with your relatives, but the things my southern classmates said were…inexcusable. A few choice ones:

    – from a Virginian guy who lived less than an hour from DC: “You northerners are just as racist as people from the south. You just don’t have to live around black people, so you don’t know it.”

    – from a woman from Arkansas I had just met: “I just don’t like black people. They don’t like me either. We have an understanding.”

    I had never really heard anyone openly use the n-word until I got to Berkeley (ironic, huh?) And I haven’t heard anyone use it openly since I left there. Perhaps that speaks to the Virginian’s point, but I don’t think so.

    I know a lot of great people from the south, who aren’t racist in the least. But when I run into the crazy ones…It’s a whole different ballgame.

  62. 62
    Comrade Kevin says:

    The only person I have ever had openly use the “n-word” around me was in the UK, coming from an Irish relative.

  63. 63
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Gus:

    Also, on the Confederate thing, why do so many Southerners insist that the civil rights struggles of 40-50 years ago are ancient history, but we should honor and commemorate their Confederate heritage?

    Theory is, if you let the manure age long enough, it becomes inoffensive compost. Dumping fresh pigshit on the flowerbeds is a social faux pas, and nobody is more sensitive to ‘what will the neighbors think’ than your gently-reared Suthroners. Too many people are alive who witnessed the Birmingham bombings and MLK’s assassination for those events to be tinted with misty-water-colored-mem’ries, but the Republikan Resistance Movement is betting that most Americans learned what little they know of the Civil War from Gone with the Wind and the Dukes of Hazzard.

  64. 64
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    That Anniston editorial is a cop out. It’s just the same old shit about how pointing out racism in the South will just hurt the feelings of racists and make them even more racist.

    They’ve had 150 years to get past their racism, it’s beyond time that they grew up.

    I would suggest that a rusty pitchfork, posteriorly inserted with a quick twist, would act as a suitable reminder to these racist dipshits that racism is bad. Then they would be fully entitled to claim that their feelings had been hurt.

  65. 65
    Nate Dawg says:

    Those of you who don’t venture out of here often enough take BoB for granted.

    He’s quite the brilliant troll. Heads above the trolls on TPM, Politico, etc.

    This little ditty about slavery and welfare and the dignity of work is a piece of pure troll artistic genius. Short, to the point, touches all the right nerves, and straddles the line between sincere and self-aware so tight you’re not quite sure what to make of it. Genius I tell you!

  66. 66
    fucen tarmal says:

    i think the southern perspective goes beyond race. racism, the evolution from chattel, through jim crow, to desegregation, into proxy forms of de facto battles, is a large unified element, but even if we ever got to the post-racial promised land, there would still be a southern need for distinction.

    that is, the core battle, at least right now is, the southerners who embrace the confederacy celebrations want there to be a uniquely southern identity. they never bought into the melting pot, and they never will. they want, and are willing to tolerate being demonized, will rally around being demonized as racists, in order to remain distinct. perhaps its one of the growing pains of being a young country in relative terms that we struggle with this so much, but the south wants to be different, unique. no matter what terms you offer, they will not accept them if it compromises the uniqueness of a southern identity. it goes way beyond being seen as part of something noble.

    this is why brickovenbob beats his wing, he is perfectly willing to be vilified, to revel in it in fact, because the non-members of his group, think his group is all about race. so tweaking them, saying the most racist thing possible, is his way of laughing at people who don’t understand.

    i’m not saying he doesn’t believe it, the racism is entwined in what makes them feel distinct, but its the desire to be distinct that makes them unwaivering.

    to that point i offer this, if slavery was only about work, and not about property, why was it that immigrants were hired to do jobs deemed too dangerous for slaves? the slaves had value to their owners, the immigrants didn’t.

  67. 67
    2th&nayle says:

    @Viva BrisVegas: Well, my, my, my! I can certainly see you’ve fully analyzed the southern racial dilemma and come to a solution. The ole rusty pitchfork in the cracker’s ass routine, huh? I’d recommend that you give that a little more consideration. I seriously doubt that your suggested remedy will render the desired result. I live in the south and I can assure you the one thing that these misguided souls will readily respond to is any semblance of being forced to do anything. By pitchfork or otherwise. Nice try though.

  68. 68
    2th&nayle says:

    @Nate Dawg: I hardily agree! I think BoB has elevated trollogy to an art form. His ability to leave one in a mindboggle, or to completely derail a thread within a few words, is very under appreciated. Keep up the good work BoB. Now piss off!

  69. 69
    gocart mozart says:

    Neil Young “Southern Man”

    Southern man
    better keep your head
    Don’t forget
    what your good book said
    Southern change
    gonna come at last
    Now your crosses
    are burning fast

    Southern man
    I saw cotton
    and I saw black
    Tall white mansions
    and little shacks.

    Southern man
    when will you
    pay them back?
    I heard screamin’
    and bullwhips cracking
    How long? How long?

    Southern man
    better keep your head
    Don’t forget
    what your good book said
    Southern change
    gonna come at last
    Now your crosses
    are burning fast

    Southern man
    Lily Belle,
    your hair is golden brown
    I’ve seen your black man
    comin’ round
    Swear by God
    I’m gonna cut him down!
    I heard screamin’
    and bullwhips cracking
    How long? How long?

  70. 70
    stuckinred says:

    In Birmingham they love the governor
    Now we all did what we could do
    Now Watergate does not bother me
    Does your conscience bother you?
    Tell the truth

  71. 71
    geg6 says:

    stuckinred:

    Have I mentioned how offensive I have always found Lynyrd Skynyrd? Their “fuck off” to Neil Young in “Sweet Home Alabama” told me everything I ever needed to know about what shitty band and shitty people they are. It was almost enough to turn me off any Southern rock forever. Thankfully, the cure for that is a liberal dose of the Allman Brothers.

  72. 72
    A Mom Anon says:

    Probably close to ten years ago I came across this little book called Hidden in Plain View: A Secret History of Quilts and the Underground Railroad by Jacquline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard, Ph.D. I had no idea there was a whole secret language and symbols pointing the way North to freedom using everyday objects. It’s an interesting little book,I recommend it.

    It’s not just slavery that this country needs to come to terms with. There’s the genocide and genocidal policies(Kill the Indian,Save the Man for example)of American Indians that is glossed over too. The reservation system has a horrendously shameful past and present as well. If kids are lucky their school texts mention this in a few paragraphs or at most a part of a chapter.

    In some ways the US is like a family with an alcoholic parent and an enabling family. We put on a pretty face and make lots of excuses and claim to be “the best” /put on a happy face while the addiction gets worse and worse. When you have a whole region stubbornly clinging to the past and politicians and public”leaders” willing to exploit fear and racism to maintain those heightened emotions I don’t know how you can deal with the problems. Every time this discussion begins in earnest the haters do their best to derail and distract that discussion and nothing really changes.

  73. 73
    drkrick says:

    Greg6 @ 72 – Are you aware that Young himself was OK with it and claimed to be proud of being mentioned in the song? The thing may not be quite as straightforward as you think.

  74. 74

    Every time this discussion begins in earnest the haters do their best to derail and distract that discussion and nothing really changes.

    it works in dysfunctional families, and it works in dysfunctional groups, too!

    Some people find the status quo working for them. They get something out of it that they don’t want to give up.

    So they cling to the very thing that is making others miserable; sometimes because that power is their only one.

  75. 75
    bemused says:

    Morning Joe Blowhard is being all pissy about Frank Rich “inflaming the left”. I didn’t catch what Rich said or wrote that has got Joe fuming…Rich’s latest column on CHM or something else?

  76. 76

    @Donald G:
    I sympathize. I do.

    By the time I separated from my family, I had lost all that respect thing and we were not talking, but at least I had my self respect. And I got the heck out of there.

    But it is hard. You still love your kin. You still remember the kindness shown to you over the years. You still want their approval.

    It seems from your comment that you had a choice and chose the more difficult path, the one that no one can walk for you – you have to do it yourself.

    But I, for one, am proud of you.

  77. 77
    brantl says:

    @Brick Oven Bill: Dear Bill: not only do you suck, you suck a big bag of dicks. There are one hell of a lot more white people on welfare, than there are blacks. When you’re willing to volunteer for slavery (after all, the intellectually diminished should be willing to be slaves, if anybody should), then let’s talk. Otherwise STFU.

  78. 78
    stuckinred says:

    @geg6: Freebird was even worse!

  79. 79
    brantl says:

    @Yutsano: They didn’t value the slaves enough that they would pay attention to their suicides. I would bet you money that it made for a few white reformers when a slave that they had grown attached to killed themselves, though, wouldn’t you?

  80. 80
    Honus says:

    @Yutsano: It may have happened more than it is recorded. In one of Faulkner’s novels, (I think The Bear) in the plantation accounts one of the McCaslin brothers records the death slave as “drowned herself” The other brother marks it out with the notation “whoever heard of a nigger drowning itself” There’s also that throwaway in Huckleberry Finn when Tom explains to his Aunt Nancy that the boiler exploded on the riverboat and that’s why he was delayed getting to her farm. Aunt Nancy asks “anybody hurt?” Tom answers “No’m. KiIled a nigger.”
    These are accounts penned by native southerners decribing the denial of humanity to slaves by otherwise decent and sympathetic characters. To most people of the time (not just overtly evil ones), a slave could no more commit suicide than your lawn tractor.

  81. 81
    bemused says:

    @Honus:
    That’s a jaw dropping example of denial. When evil things are done, people create elaborate alternate realities.

  82. 82
    Svensker says:

    @Yutsano:

    Okay, time to go do what I’ve been doing pretty much all day. Night y’all.

    The mind boggles.

  83. 83
    geg6 says:

    drkrick @74:

    Don’t care if Young is fine with it. It offended ME. Because Young’s song is true and they can’t accept it. Fuck Lynyrd Skynyrd. They suck.

  84. 84
    Joey Maloney says:

    @frosty: Now that I’m reading the whole thread on my desktop rather than my mobile, I see you well beat me to the punch with the BoB’s southern-fried nazism. I bow to you.

    PS, I discovered by accident how to make the magical disappearing Reply links show up if you’re using Mobile Safari (and possibly other touchscreen browsers): touch the post’s timestamp link and the Reply link will appear and be clickable.

  85. 85
    aimai says:

    The Racism in this (or any other) country isn’t a zero sum game–that is the more there is in the South, the less there is in the North. And, conversely, its not the case that if there is some, or even a lot, of racism in the North that the kind we are seeing expressed right now, in the South, is somehow excused. Racism and classism and ignorance of the past and its influence on the presence is more like a fungus, or a fog, that spreads in the absence of light and attention.

    White ethnic racism has existed in the North since before the Civil War, very much tied up with fears of a slave labor force dragging down free labor, then fears of a free black labor force dragging down free white labor. There’s plenty of tribalism to go around. But the current toxic brew which tacitly links the entire welfare state and taxation itself to support of an undeserving “other” class of minorities is even worse than outright racism for its own sake. Its this–Lee Atwater’s leap to immortality when he realized that you couldn’t keep saying N**r N**r N**r but you could start talking about welfare queens–that is dragging our country to insanity right now.

    And its everywhere–in the midwest, the southwest, the north and the south. And we have to fight it everywhere. But that being said its founding myth is the myth of an America that built itself without slave labor and without chinese labor and without genocide. The myth of the pure, innocent, hard working white farmer who “just wanted to work hard” at that free section of land which the goverment threw the indians off of, and kept the blacks and the chinese from working. So long as that myth is kept alive plenty of people are going to fall under its spell.

    Confederate History Month and its response in the bloggosphere is, to my mind, a godsend. Not because it gives the North a chance to lecture the South on virtue but because it gives all of us a chance to choose up sides, once again. The past isn’t dead, it isn’t even past–to paraphrase a southern writer. The legacy of slavery, jim crow, the false re-union of the South and the North and the papering over of differences over the bodies and livlihood of the freedmen, the continued use and abuse of immigrant laborers and the romance of the free and independent white male and his pure family all have to be dealt with in the present. So lets get it on. Its not about whose ancestors were naughty and whose were nice. Its about what we are doing right now to make this country a better place, or what we are doing to drag it back to slavery and ignorance.

    aimai

  86. 86
    Ash Can says:

    @geg6: Now, now. I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with Lynyrd Skynyrd that a few years of music and voice lessons and a decent songwriter couldn’t fix.

  87. 87
    Joey Maloney says:

    @geg6: And why doesn’t Watergate bother them? Either they don’t care about the worst assault on the Constitution since, well, since…hmm, what could have happened in the past that was an even more egregious violation of our founding document? I seem to recall there was something, I just can’t quite put my finger on it…

    Right, where was I? Oh yeah, either they don’t care about violating the Constitution or they’re too fucking stupid to understand the implications. Neither one speaks very highly of that Southern auctorial voice.

  88. 88
    stuckinred says:

    @aimai: Now ypu can get all kinds of lectures about “false equivalences” but, as a Georgia resident for 25 years and a native Chicagoan, you hit the nail right on the head. MLK “I think the people from Mississippi ought to come to Chicago to learn how to hate.”

  89. 89
    aimai says:

    In Re Honus’s point up above don’t forget the Trial of Margaret Garner a slave woman who killed her own daughter, and tried to kill herself, to prevent recapture. She wasn’t tried for murder, and she wasn’t punished for murder, but tried to determine her status as slave or free–and returned to her master’s control.

    In a few minutes…[Kite’s] house was surrounded by pursuers- – the masters of the fugitives, with officers and a posse of men. The door and windows were barred, and those inside refused to give admittance. The fugitives were determined to fight, and to die, rather than to be taken back to slavery. Margaret, the mother of the four children, declared that she would kill herself and her children before she would return to bondage. The slave men were armed and fought bravely. The window was first battered down with a stick of wood, and one of the deputy marshals attempted to enter, but a pistol shot from within made a flesh wound on his arm and caused him to abandon the attempt. The pursuers then battered down the door with some timber and rushed in. The husband of Margaret fired several shots, and wounded one of the officers, but was soon overpowered and dragged out of the house. At this moment, Margaret Garner, seeing that their hopes of freedom were in vain, seized a butcher knife that lay on the table, and with one stroke cut the throat of her little daughter, whom she probably loved the best. She then attempted to take the life of the other children and to kill herself, but she was overpowered and hampered before she could complete her desperate work. The whole party was then arrested and lodged in jail.__
    The trial lasted two weeks, drawing crowds to the courtroom every day….The counsel for the defense brought witnesses to prove that the fugitives had been permitted to visit the city at various times previously. It was claimed that Margaret Garner had been brought here by her owners a number of years before, to act as nurse girl, and according to the law which liberated slaves who were brought into free States by the consent of their masters, she had been free from that time, and her children, all of whom had been born since then- – following the condition of the mother- – were likewise free.__
    The Commissioner decided that a voluntary return to slavery, after a visit to a free State, re- attached the conditions of slavery, and that the fugitives were legally slaves at the time of their escape….__
    But in spite of touching appeals, of eloquent pleadings, the Commissioner remanded the fugitives back to slavery. He said that it was not a question of feeling to be decided by the chance current of his sympathies; the law of Kentucky and the United States made it a question of property.

    Source: Levi Coffin, Reminiscences (Cincinnati, 1876).

  90. 90
    Bob Knisely says:

    @dr. luba: We as a nation would be better off if Lincoln had hanged or shot all Confederate general officers and all members of the Confederate legislature as traitors. Sending them all Confederate officers home with their horses etc. made the war look like it had been a game of Monopoly. Even apart from the issue of slavery, the slaughter in the Civil War was horrific (cf Ambrose Bierce) and NO ONE was held, or thought to be, ‘responsible.’ A tragic coda to a tragic chapter in our history.

  91. 91
    zoe kentucky in pittsburgh says:

    The day after Obama was elected I was on cloud nine– until I talked to my sister. She works as a counselor in a high school in rural Alabama (about 20 minutes outside of Tuscaloosa) and while she was personally elated that Obama was elected she had a miserable day. She said she couldn’t count the number of times she heard students openly complaining that they were angry and upset that a “nig*ger” was elected president. One of the few black students in the school got a swastika anonymously drawn on his locker. When she went to talk to the principal about it he said to let it go, not to try and address it, that it would only make things worse. She said she had wanted to put an Obama sticker on her car during the campaign but worried about it being vandalised or getting harassed.

    So, yeah, there is a lot of work to do in the south. Openly proud racism is certainly alive and well.

  92. 92
    jrosen says:

    I’d like to hear Ecks thoughts about this: A component of Southern racism is bad conscience. Part of you knows that “property in human beings” is wrong on a very deep level, but a larger part feels the benefits, economic (for the owners) and someone to look down on (for the others, the poor, but non-enslaved whites). So to resolve the dissonance, you deny that the slave is human at all. If the slave is just an advanced animal, something more than a plough-ox or a mule but certainly less than a human being, there is no problem in owning him. (It just occurs to me that with this rationale, sex with a slave-woman, which was not unknown, becomes something like bestiality — how do you square that with the OT?)

  93. 93
    James Brown says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Arbeit macht frei, Billy?

  94. 94
    flukebucket says:

    And in the process of dehumanizing the exploited, the enslavers lose their own soul.

    Made me think of this

    then he started in to dealin’ with slaves and somethin’ inside of him died

    Late to the party with nothing to add but I dread the end of Confederate History Month.

    We are definitely gonna have to do this every year.

  95. 95
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @2th&nayle:

    I can certainly see you’ve fully analyzed the southern racial dilemma and come to a solution.

    I can see how you might think that a rusty pitchfork is a serious solution to every political problem.

    Lighten up, it’s a BJ meme.

    I can assure you the one thing that these misguided souls will readily respond to is any semblance of being forced to do anything. By pitchfork or otherwise. Nice try though.

    Thanks, but the point was that mollifying Southern racists such as Barbour and McDonnell, as was suggested by the Anniston editorial, hasn’t been particularly productive, has it?

  96. 96
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @Bob Knisely:

    We as a nation would be better off if Lincoln had hanged or shot all Confederate general officers and all members of the Confederate legislature as traitors.

    Except that Lincoln was dead by that time, murdered by a former Richmond Gray on April 14th.

    Hey, isn’t that something which should be celebrated in Confederate History Month too?

  97. 97
    someguy says:

    Maybe what we need is something that simultaneously celebrates the south – its music, its politeness, its hospitality, its books, its excellence in sports and war, and roll that together into a narrative that, y’know, nobody is perfect.

    Fine.

    We’ll continue our opprobrium of racism and the caste society, but celebrate the South’s gifts to the nation which are… um… incest and fried food? People of WalMart and Trent Lott? Meth addicts and the Republican Party?

    I’m sure we’ll think of something.

  98. 98
    r€nato says:

    @drkrick: well, sure Young was proud of it. I, too, would love to be public enemy #1 of a bunch of inbred Confederate-loving hicks.

  99. 99
    frankdawg says:

    I posted this before but it keeps coming up so I want to repeat it again. I believe it came from Dick Gregory but maybe not:
    In the South they don’t care how close you get as long as you don’t get too big. Up North they don’t care how big you get as long as you don’t get too close.

    I grew up in St. Paul MN, not far from that brewery mentioned above & will attest to the fact that there was plenty of racism there. It was the big=ok, close=not ok. When I lived in Florida I saw that there was a very different sort of racism & it did seem to match the close/big thing too. The entire nation has to grow but this fetish of the lost cause really should end.

  100. 100
    Sarcastro says:

    Do they have a right to ask why their flag, their song, their honored dead cannot be welcomed by their president, national political and media leaders?

    Yes. Just as much right as the descendants of Nazis have to ask why the swastika, “Deutschland Uber Alles” and their honored dead cannot be welcomed by the leadership of Europe. And we have the right to answer the same way; because your flag and your song are symbolic of evil and tyranny… as for your honored dead, that’s an issue we can discuss, but let’s not gloss over just what their “honor” served.

  101. 101
    phoebes-in-santa fe says:

    @Mike in NC: Just in case you missed the Onion article of a few years ago, Mike in NC. The South will rise again, sometime…

    http://www.theonion.com/articl.....-year,377/

  102. 102
    John Cole says:

    Brick oven bill- you’re an asshole and you’re banned.

  103. 103
    phoebes-in-santa fe says:

    @Donald G: Donald G, I don’t know whether you saw this article on CNN in 2008 by Peggy Wallace – George’s daughter – but I think it will blow you away and give you some hope about your southern rels.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITI.....index.html

  104. 104
    Mark says:

    @geg – 72:

    You totally missed the point of Sweet Home Alabama.

    “In 1975, Van Zant said: “The lyrics about the governor of Alabama were misunderstood. The general public didn’t notice the words ‘Boo! Boo! Boo!’ after that particular line, and the media picked up only on the reference to the people loving the governor.” “The line ‘We all did what we could do’ is sort of ambiguous,” Kooper notes “‘We tried to get Wallace out of there’ is how I always thought of it.”…In 1976, Van Zant and the band supported Jimmy Carter for his presidential candidacy, including fundraising and an appearance at the Gator Bowl benefit concert.”

    The only real intent of the song, as far as I know, was to jab at Neil Young, and to make sell-out music for the radio (like late 70s J. Geils Band). Lynyrd Skynyrd were not the only people who were pissed off at Neil Young – people saw CSNY’s “Ohio” as a bunch of sell-outs (don’t trust 26-year-olds?) making money off the deaths of students.

    And don’t forget that Neil Young was a Reagan supporter, and he’s never really offered a satisfactory explanation for why that was. In other words, he watched a guy exploit white anger at blacks, and came away with a good impression of him.

    Things are not as simple as they seem.

  105. 105
    cminus says:

    geg6@84:

    Ah, but if Lynyrd Skynyrd hadn’t recorded “Sweet Home Alabama”, Warren Zevon would never have recorded “Play It All Night Long”:

    “Daddy’s doing Sister Sally
    Grandma’s dying of cancer now
    The cattle all have brucellosis
    We’ll get through somehow
    Sweet home Alabama
    Play that dead band’s song
    Turn those speakers up full blast
    Play it all night long”

  106. 106
    wvng says:

    @dr. luba:
    I posted your comment on FaceBook and my cousin, who is stuck in Berlin at the moment, replied thusly:

    Interesting post – especially read while here in Berlin – where there are memorials everywhere to keep the deny-ers at bay. Once you start noticing the little brass square plaques in front of houses, naming the family/business that was seized from that location, you realize they’re everywhere. In the middle of the Bebelplatz, a huge square surrounded by 19th C buildings, there’s a glass window in the ground – on looking in you see a library room with empty shelves. It’s the site where Nazis burned books. Meanwhile south of the Mason Dixon it’s the War of Northern Aggression….

  107. 107
    JasperL says:

    It is fair to say the South has a racist past that we’ve yet to put behind us. Just one example, I was trying to explain to a poor, white working woman that she should be as selfish as the rich and vote for the candidate whose policies were best for her – in this woman’s case, Obama. She said, “I’m sorry, I just don’t think I can vote for a ni**er.” And the sad part was how casually it was said, without the least concern that it would really offend me.

    What isn’t fair, and I read and hear it too often from the liberal/progressives, is to assume that the region is a monolithic society of ignorant, white racists. McCain won my county by 60-40, but that leaves 40% of a large population who voted for Obama and were proud to do it. And I’d guess the large majority of McCain voters didn’t vote on race since Gore (a native of Tennessee) lost this county too, by a large margin.

    Who do you think wins the hearts and minds in this situation? Sarah Palin addresses a crowd in rural Georgia and spends a half hour telling them how great they are. On TV that night, a progressive commentator says, “Sure, the ignorant racists love Sarah Palin, that’s her base. Hah, hah, hah” Or “You’re great, we love you down here in Georgia” versus “Rural southerners are too stupid to vote for their own economic interests”

  108. 108
    Ecks says:

    @jrosen: Sorry, very late answser, but I suspect you’re right… there’s a lot of dissonance going on to justify things, although at this point a lot of it has been codified into culture… which tends to give it a life its own.

    And so now when the dissonance kicks in, one doesn’t have to go through all the motivated work of reasoning that stuff out, one can simply call on a familiar and comforting script, largely provided pre-made for you… After all, when you grow up with an idea form being a little kid, it tends to have that ring of emotional warmth to it… it just seems natural, gives it a “perceptual fluidity” (psych jargon alert) that is a meta-signal that makes it seem like it must be right.

  109. 109
    Mr. Wonderful says:

    Where is the post from Brick Oven Bill that so many are excoriating? I can’t see it.

  110. 110
    Deb T says:

    @dr. luba:
    Thanks for your thoughtful post. It really gave me something to think about.

  111. 111
    Kay Shawn says:

    OT, but what’s with the name of that group “Lady Antebellum” ? Are we talking more nostalgia for the fun old days in the South? I can’t find out why they have this name. Anybody know?

  112. 112
    Chuck says:

    @Mr. Wonderful:

    JC deleted it when he banned BOB.

  113. 113
    FLRealist says:

    @brantl:

    Unfortunately, I doubt it. Read about how many biological fathers and other family members sold off their children and their siblings.

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