Rebel, rebel, how could they know?

Lifelong southerner and Civil War buff Bill Kristol expanded on his principled defense of the flying Confederate Flag this morning:

In a nutshell, Kristol is for flying the Confederate Flag because liberals are against it. (To be completely fair, he’s not saying he thinks that states should continue to fly the Confederate Flag, merely that Amazon and Walmart are wrong not to sell it, and I do think that the issue of individuals flying the Confederate Flag is different than states doing it.)

In other words, he’s for it because he’s an asshole. And the same is true of many who fly the Confederate Flag: they fly it because they’re assholes. (I don’t want to say “most” or “all” because I don’t know enough here but I’d hazard a guess it’s “most” these days.)

Too often in our official discourse, the explanation “because people are assholes” is sorely missing from the conversation. Humans are fueled creatively by their massive hatred of other humans.

If there was a flag that symbolized my hatred of Ron Fournier and David Brooks, I would fly it. But, even then, I wouldn’t want it flown above my state capital and I’d understand if Amazon and Walmart didn’t want to sell it.

Is it really that hard to understand that state capitals shouldn’t fly symbols of hatred towards African-Americans, or that retailers may not want to be in the business of selling such symbols?






152 replies
  1. 1
    Turgidson says:

    If there was a flag that symbolized my hatred of Ron Fournier and David Brooks, I would fly it.

    Damn skippy. Me too.

    edit: I wonder if driftglass could apply his photoshopping talents to such a project.

  2. 2
    LanceThruster says:

    I’m partial to this one.

  3. 3
    lamh36 says:

    Again I’ll say, did anyibe ask Kristol if he has the same sympathy about the flag of those who persecuted his people?

    I refuse to watch the video…I prefer not to look in the eyes of evil or hear the voice of the devil and his minions

  4. 4
    DougJ says:

    @LanceThruster:

    What does it symbolize?

  5. 5
    DougJ says:

    @lamh36:

    If there was a Nazi party in this country that succeeded in blocking Obama’s plans, Kristol would almost certainly support it.

  6. 6
    RSR says:

    for it because liberals are against it

    yup. Think Atrios hits that point fairly often too. Whatever pisses us off is the Raison D’Etre Du Jour.

  7. 7
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @DougJ: Our home.

  8. 8
    Mike in NC says:

    Everyone who flies it or slaps it on their pickup truck’s rear window is advertising the fact that they are assholes. QED.

  9. 9
    beltane says:

    Bill Kristol isn’t even a sincere asshole, he’s an asshole for hire. He reminds me of his comrade in wankery Jennifer Rubin, the type of staunch defender of Israel who was quick to employ some nasty antisemitic stereotypes in her defense of Sarah Palin. Honestly, these people wouldn’t be worth flying any sort of hate flag for or against.

  10. 10
    Chris says:

    It’s the right wing version of the Che Guevara shirt. It’s a sign that reads “FUCK THE MAN” while advertising your general political tribe; the people who display it often don’t grasp exactly what they’re displaying; and they know it offends people, but don’t really care to wonder whether that offense is justified, since shock value is the whole point in the first place.

  11. 11
    c u n d gulag says:

    No surprise, here!

    This ever more ancient bigoted war, hate, and fear monger, is on the wrong side of history and the arc bending towards justice!

    “Wrong Way” Corrigan only was wrong once when he flew in the wrong direction.
    “Bloody Bill” has a perfect record – he’s wrong each and every time.
    And yet, he still gets invited on TV makes a fortune!

    I could understand him being invited, if when everyone’s listened to him, and finished laughing, they’d say, “Ok, now we know what NOT to do!”

  12. 12
    Brachiator says:

    @DougJ:

    If there was a Nazi party in this country that succeeded in blocking Obama’s plans, Kristol would almost certainly support it.

    There is, and Kristol does.

  13. 13
    beltane says:

    @lamh36: Kristol, along with other scum like Pam Geller, seems to enjoy cavorting with Nazi-inspired European far-right movements. It’s almost as though they are under the impression that if they suck enough Nazi c–k they will become honorary Aryans.

  14. 14
    rdldot says:

    @Chris: I think this is exactly right. Most of the people who show that flag just think of it as a ‘rebel’ flag. And they are showing their rebellion (against what – who knows) by using it. Lots of people don’t think any deeper than that.

  15. 15
    LanceThruster says:

    @DougJ:

    It’s a new “Flag of Earth” design. I like it even more than my old favorite.

    [ETA – the comment was not connected to the Bill/Ron flag hunt query]

  16. 16
    dubo says:

    Sure, he hates liberals, and sure, he’s an asshole, but I sure as hell am not going to reject my hypothesis that the son of Charles Murray’s biggest patron likes the flag because he’s a fucking racist

  17. 17
    different-church-lady says:

    Yeah, that’s a thought I’ve been trying to figure out how to articulate for the past few days. We keep trying to put a too-coherent narrative on it, when it’s really far more basic and primal: it’s “The Flag of Fuck You.”

  18. 18
    Turgidson says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    I think Bloody Bill WRONG Kristol would make a great host for a new Colbert Report type show. Imagine a show that is all satire, all ridiculousness, all empty-headed right wing bravado, except that the host himself would actually think it was a serious straight news show. It could be a masterpiece, I tells ya.

  19. 19
    jc says:

    “Too often our official discourse, the explanation “because people are assholes” is sorely missing…”

    Bingo! That’s what I think about the kid who shot those people in church last week — he’s not mentally ill, he’s an idiot and a racist asshole. It’s the 21st century America, long past time to consign the Bill Kristols to the trash-heap of history.

  20. 20
    jl says:

    DougJ seemed to be trying to figure out what is going on in Kristol’s head at the beginning of the post. That way madness lies, and maybe DougJ needs an intervention if he does that again.

    Kristol and his ilk are in complete meltdown mode. I think their thoughts at this point are a chaotic churning abyss. I think that is a good sign. Not sure how lasting a memory this tragedy and its aftermath will have on the public conscience. But it is some small gratification to see reality bite back at these people.

  21. 21
    different-church-lady says:

    @jc:

    he’s not mentally ill, he’s an idiot and a racist asshole.

    Why can’t he be both?

  22. 22
    NotMax says:

    or that retailers may not want to be in the business of selling such symbols

    Likely only a matter of days (perhaps hours) before the derange-o-nauts try equating retailers choosing not to sell Confederate merchandise on philosophical grounds to bakers refusing to sell goods to same-sex couples on religious grounds, thus Walmart, et al must be compelled to sell the stuff.

  23. 23
    NotMax says:

    @different-church-lady

    Precisely.

    He may (or may not) be mentally ill, but he is not clinically insane.

  24. 24
    FridayNext says:

    @jl:

    But sadly it’s not going to be just this tragedy is it? The week before this shooting there was an article in the NYT on a recent study of law enforcement that claimed they were more afraid of, and preparing for, rightwing domestic terrorism than leftwing or foreign terrorism. They basically updated and reran the story today.

    If the past is prologue, we are going to see more of this kind of thing if this recent, and long overdue, backlash against confederacy symbols continues.

  25. 25
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @jc:

    long past time to consign the Bill Kristols to the trash-heap of history.

    Isn’t Kristol a walking advertisement for white privilege? His well-connected father setting up internships for him? Kristol rising to the top like a soap bubble, without a shred of intelligence or common sense?

    Where would he be without his family connections?

    What would he have achieved if he’d been born in modest circumstances (like Michelle Obama for example)?

  26. 26
    Kent says:

    I think mockery is the proper response.

    I once told my high school students here in Texas that it is the “Loser flag.” And that it conveniently serves that purpose because when you see one on a truck or on a porch you immediately know something about that person. And then I did the hand-signal L on the forehead that was popular with kids a few years ago to much laughter by the black kids in my class.

    Today I would just say “it’s the flag of traitors, racists, and losers. Which one are you?”

  27. 27
    ET says:

    Kristol really is an deluded idiot in all senses of the words. First, I really do wonder if he is so vested in the anti-Democratic personal that it has warped his understanding of things. Second, that he doesn’t understand that many of the people that like to display this and use it as a dog whistle to signal to people who they are, don’t like Jews either. Why is he so passionate about symbol that can and has been used against Jews. And it has nothing to do with free speech because as much as they blather about it they only blather about in particular instances not across the board.

    The only reason I hesitate to call him racist is because so much of the talking had stuff on cable TV/radio is a game that it is hard to say what is true. Of course they one has to get on his case about the moral bankruptcy of using other people pain to prop themselves up.

    I just wish people would stop giving him all of that undeserved deference. Obviously Fox will still keep him on but all the other shows he is one – the bookers need to loose his contact information.

  28. 28
    Brachiator says:

    @beltane:

    Kristol, along with other scum like Pam Geller, seems to enjoy cavorting with Nazi-inspired European far-right movements. It’s almost as though they are under the impression that if they suck enough Nazi c–k they will become honorary Aryans.

    Hey, now! Careful there. I’m not sure about Geller, but I’ve heard that Kristol watches “The Night Porter” and “Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS” every night, and gets very, very excited.

    @dubo

    Sure, he hates liberals, and sure, he’s an asshole, but I sure as hell am not going to reject my hypothesis that the son of Charles Murray’s biggest patron likes the flag because he’s a fucking racist

    There is clearly something wrong with him. I had to watch the clip. Towards the end, he says something about people who want to express respect for those who fought for the Confederacy. I guess he’s trying to present himself as the brave supporter of politically popular ideas.

    The guest should have asked Kristol how vehemently he would defend a memorial to Nazi soldiers, or Palestinians who fought against Israel.

  29. 29
    LanceThruster says:

    @LanceThruster:

    I think of it not so much as a flag of hatred towards Kristol/Fournier but rather a rejection of their outmoded tribalism and imperialism.

  30. 30
    Barbara says:

    It may indeed be the flag of Fuck You! but it’s rarely displayed by anyone who has African-American friends. It’s association with racial sentiment is understood even if it is not actively or loudly shared. I have one exception for understanding the display of the stars and bars, and that is for my father in law, who was so old that he actually knew civil war veterans when he was growing up. He also had racist tendencies, but he was kind and fair to individuals. He would be over 100 if he were still alive.

  31. 31
    different-church-lady says:

    @NotMax: Maybe it’s just me, but I consider anyone who systematically murders nine people to be insane by definition.

  32. 32
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    Rebel Rebel

    Every time I hear that song, I am reminded of my friends in the 1970s who rehearsed their cover band endlessly in their basement. A handful of Rolling Stones songs and some Bowie to flesh it out. Rebel Rebel was their big one.

    They finally scored a great gig; playing outside in front of a movie theater for the grand opening of some film (I can’t remember which) that starred George C. Scott.

    I showed up for the opening to cheer them on. A limo pulled up, the door opened, and the great man (George C.) climbed out. He strode past them without a pause, while they played their hearts out. I remember his nose curling. Within a few moments he was inside. They kept playing “Rebel rebel, hot tramp I love you so” and then they packed up their gear and I helped drive them home.

    Later I read an interview with George C. Scott. He HATED rock music with a passion. Made a point of mentioning it in every interview.

  33. 33
    MattF says:

    I was surprised to see Kristol get into this argument. He’s always been shameless… but this seems like a new low. But considering that he’s the guy responsible for Sarah Palin’s rise into the upper levels of American politics, maybe not.

  34. 34
    NotMax says:

    OT (because just now realized the date) –

    For any who have not already seen the first episode online (or chose not to watch it on computer), Mr. Robot premieres tonight on the USA network.

    Enticing review.

  35. 35
    Mike J says:

    @ET:

    The only reason I hesitate to call him racist is because so much of the talking had stuff on cable TV/radio is a game that it is hard to say what is true.

    If somebody wants to publicly pretend to be a racist why should I go out of my way to think it’s just an act?

  36. 36
    Origuy says:

    There’s a kerfuffle in Cork, Ireland about the flag. Cork County is known as the “Rebel County” for historical reasons and since it is in the south, the Cork County Gaelic Football club fans have taken to waving the Confederate Battle Flag. They fly other red flags, such as the Japanese Imperial Flag (the one with the sunburst.)

  37. 37
    jl says:

    @Barbara: The problem is a toxic combination of people who feel they have a heritage in the white antebellum South, and want to have some symbol for that part of the heritage they feel that they can be proud of, and the use of those very symbols by people who want to continue the most evil aspects of that heritage.

    I have no idea how many have good intentions and are clueless about the history of the battle flag and how it is used be straight out racists and enemies of our federal government, and how many wink and nod.

    And an additional complication is the attempt by one political party (guess!) to use that toxic combination for partisan political advantage. It is a real mess.

  38. 38
    NotMax says:

    @Brachiator

    (low furtive whisper)

    Some people say he’s a ziegeschtupper.

    ;)

  39. 39
    Barbara says:

    @Mike J: Someone willing to be portrayed as a racist — to take racist positions in public as a game — is someone who is racist because he really doesn’t care about the consequences of his positions, whatever influence he has over policy or people, and doesn’t mind being thought of as a racist. Would he pretend to be an adulterer in public? No, because he probably cares too much about his wife and the fact that people think of him as a faithful husband.

  40. 40
    Cacti says:

    Sorry, but confederate flag flyers get no benefit of the doubt from me.

    The Klan has been waving it for 2 centuries. Its association with the white supremacist movement is impossible not to know.

    It’s not the right wing “eff you” flag. It’s the right wing “eff you black people” flag, and is most of the reason for the allure in displaying it.

  41. 41
    jl says:

    @FridayNext:

    ” But sadly it’s not going to be just this tragedy is it? ”

    I agree. I suppose I figure that much of that violence would come anyway. This tragedy may add a couple more, and hard to tell how much this episode contributes. There has already been an attempt to gin up another Bundy Ranch rebellion (though the property owners involved in dispute with feds were not sympathetic to their problem being ‘Bundy-ized’ so easy to quash it). Anti-government extremists and racists are already taking pot shots at all sorts of people, of all colors. So, that ship has sailed already, only question is how long and how much it takes to get it back into port and dismantled.

  42. 42
    Mike J says:

    @Cacti:

    It’s not the right wing “eff you” flag. It’s the right wing “eff you black people” flag, and is most of the reason for the allure in displaying it.

    To be fair, they do hate “n—– lovers” almost as much as they hate black people themselves.

  43. 43
    Brachiator says:

    @NotMax:

    For any who have not already seen the first episode online (or chose not to watch it on computer), Mr. Robot premieres tonight on the USA network.

    Watched it yesterday. Well done, although I’d almost prefer it as a mini-series, rather than a long, open-ended series.

    The pilot episode and a short featurette is available for free on Google Play.

  44. 44

    NPR had a bit of a weird story this morning interviewing people who sell Confederate flags. One of them is a guy who sells historical flags of all kinds, including (yes) Nazi and Imperial Japanese flags. It seems kind of silly to tell a guy who sells flags for a living not to sell one specific flag.

    People who sell Confederate flag merchandise, though, or who only sell Confederate flags? Those people can go fuck themselves.

  45. 45
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    The “it’s southern heritage!” excuse annoys the crap out of me for a variety of reasons, but among them is the way it whitewashes the south. A whole lot of black folks live in the south. The Confederate battle flag represents something about their heritage too, but you don’t hear them swooning over it.

  46. 46
    EriktheRed says:

    (To be completely fair, he’s not saying he thinks that states should continue to fly the Confederate Flag, merely that Amazon and Walmart are wrong to sell it

    Uh, is that right?

  47. 47
    Barbara says:

    @jl: No one in my husband’s generation displays the confederate flag. They have letters and diaries of ancestors who fought in the Civil War and a lot of other stuff, like swords and guns, so they are not denying the heritage, but they do not in fact bear allegiance to the CSA or its army.

    But I have seen this Fuck You! mentality on full display in places where people couldn’t possibly be celebrating their Southern heritage, like Central Pennsylvania — not far from Gettysburg or Antietam. I think this became more common during the 70s when bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd became really popular, so Southern stuff generally and including the confederate flag became more popular. That’s the most benign explanation I can think of.

  48. 48
    Roy G. says:

    What’s really funny is this is one of the few situations where the wingnuts are structurally precluded from invoking Godwin’s Law.

  49. 49
  50. 50
    geg6 says:

    (I don’t want to say “most” or “all” because I don’t know enough here but I’d hazard a guess it’s “most” these days.)

    In my experience, I am confident that every single person I’ve ever known who displays this flag is an asshole. No exceptions.

    In fact, during the recent primary election, I worked the polls for a friend. One of the many Dem candidates for county sheriff had family working the same polling place and they were proudly wearing hats with the battle flag on it. I was originally going to vote for the guy, but that was enough for me to write in the name of the guy running as a Republican. First time I’ve voted for a Republican since Senator John Heinz died. And I’ll vote for him in November, too, since the asshole won the primary. In my defense, I’ve met the Republican candidate and also have a good friend who was a state trooper who worked with him for 30 years. He can’t say enough good things about him, which is a pretty good endorsement as my retired state trooper friend is one of the really good ones (and is also a person of color, so he has a bit of a different take on things than your average PA state trooper).

  51. 51
    Feathers says:

    I saw a great cartoon years ago which went roughly like this – there is a man with a bank of official people facing him. One of them says, “We’re doctors from the leading medical schools, we’ve psychoanalyzed you, found your Jungian archetypes, given you Rorschach tests, (etc.), and we’ve come to the conclusion, you’re just an asshole.”

    Perfect, really.

    As Scalzi says, “the failure state of clever is asshole.” It works for punditry as well as humor. If you don’t bother to find out what is actually going on and the details of the situation, you are going to get to a place where you try to clever your way out of it, but end up… being an asshole.

    My theory on why the Confederate flag is losing all support. Corporate America is wising up to how the Republican brand is ruining the American brand. Walmart is expanding around the world. They cannot defend selling the Confederate flag in the US elsewhere in the world. I would love to see the internal focus group research they have been doing on these sorts of issues.

  52. 52
    Tenzil Kem says:

    It turns out Bill Kristol can make me root for John Heileman. That’s like the time I realized Mark Halperin could make me feel bad for Ted Cruz.

  53. 53
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    I remember watching Kristol on one of the morning talk shows some years back. I wasn’t really familiar with him back then.

    The discussion turned to Iran. The question was “what do we do about Iran?” There was some talk back and forth with the panel. Then someone turned to Kristol and asked “Should we bomb Iran?”

    What happened next made me feel weird about him. His reaction to the question was “Oooh, that’d be great.” He literally cooed his answer, like a child being asked if he wanted to go to the ice cream parlor. His face took on a blissful expression and he hunched up his shoulders ever so slightly. Like he’d had a little orgasm.

    It was an extremely brief moment. I wish I had a clip of it. I remember thinking “WTF? Who is this guy?”

    He was talking about bombing a country. Dropping bombs on a country. Terrified civilians, terrified women and children.

    At that point I understood that it was an intellectual exercise for him. There was no consideration of the reality of what he was saying.

    A few years later we were watching Rick Steves Europe. Rick was in Iran, talking to college students in the street. They were so nice and smart and beautiful; young ladies and men. Then I remembered Kristol, and felt fresh horror at how he’d behaved.

  54. 54
    Brachiator says:

    @NotMax:

    Some people say he’s a ziegeschtupper.

    And during that moment of crisis, Kristol thrusts out his hand and shouts, “Ziege Heil! Ziege Heil!” That’s a good Kristol Night for him.

    This may just zip up all the worst possible puns. But I hope my absolute disdain for Kristol comes through clearly.

  55. 55
    NotMax says:

    @Iowa Old Lady

    Yes, and yes again.

    If one dissects that “heritage” the rot at its core becomes overwhelming.

  56. 56
    Eric U. says:

    when I moved to the south 50 years ago, only the underclass embraced the flag. In fact, in my experience, it was only flown by rural poor whites. I just saw a virulent post on FB about this that was “liked” by one of my Iowa cousins. It truly is a manifestation of Cleek’s law at this point.

    @NotMax: I want to know what is meant by “heritage” — some details. My racist history books never really had anything positive to say about Southern culture. They would have had to make it up anyway, but there was nothing there

  57. 57
    Cacti says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    The “it’s southern heritage!” excuse annoys the crap out of me for a variety of reasons, but among them is the way it whitewashes the south. A whole lot of black folks live in the south. The Confederate battle flag represents something about their heritage too, but you don’t hear them swooning over it.

    That’s the biggest rubbish explanation of all of them. The southeastern United States has over 450 years of history as a cultural region, and includes Native, Spanish, English, French, Scots, Irish, and African influences. That they choose to identify most viscerally with the battle flag of a breakaway slave republic that lasted only 4-years, says a lot about where their hearts are.

  58. 58
    beltane says:

    @Barbara: It’s even displayed by a certain type of person here in Vermont, which was always a very anti-slavery, pro-Union state. Yes, the people displaying it are invariably racist assholes, but the flag seems to have morphed beyond it’s original symbolism to being the red flag for rednecks, racist, homophobic,and all-around proudly ignorant.

  59. 59
    jl says:

    @Barbara: Families spread over state lines, and they move across state lines over generations, but their family loyalties stay the same. I had kin, near and distant, fight on both sides. As as damn Left Coaster born and bred, I could not help note that people take their family histories much more seriously back there than they do out west. I have a hard time not seeming to be disrespectful sometimes. My general attitude is ‘Uhh… that was a long time ago. You need to let it go… really you do…’

    (Edit: I sometimes refer to visiting the Eastern branch as ‘going back to the old country’).

    I think it is usually difficult to tell from distance which is which. Except, for some who are exploiting the ‘Southern Heritage’ thing in order to keep racism alive, dammit, it is pretty easy to tell.

  60. 60
    NotMax says:

    @Brachiator

    This may just zip up all the worst possible puns.

    In other words, the Final Dissolution.

  61. 61

    Rebel almost sound cute, like a naughty child. The flag is anything but. It is a symbol of hate meant to intimidate and all the excuses in the world don’t change that fact.

  62. 62
    trollhattan says:

    @Germy Shoemangler:
    Maybe “Patton”?

    Now that DougJ has me thinking of Billy Kristol as a hot tramp I have to laugh at him even more than before. What a tool.

  63. 63
    Jeffro says:

    @Feathers:Corporate America is wising up to how the Republican brand is ruining the American brand.

    That is a great, great way to sum it all up (seriously) – Hillary, are you listening?

  64. 64
    trollhattan says:

    @Germy Shoemangler:
    In Kristol’s world, while instant orphan creation is a nice side-benefit he’s certainly of the belief that American Bombs are always on target and can never be wrong. It’s how neocons are hard-wired. “We’ll be greeted as liberators.” “This war will pay for itself.” “Sign up soon so you don’t miss the action, the war will be that short.”

  65. 65
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @trollhattan: It might have been “The Hospital”

  66. 66
    NotMax says:

    Trivia:

    The last known U.S. locale to hold a vote to rejoin the Union* did so in 1946. By a vote of 90 – 23.

    *Not in the South, and an entirely symbolic exercise.

  67. 67
    Archon says:

    After all the pain and suffering the Confederacy caused for such an ignominious cause it’s jarring how lightly they get off for their crimes.

    At the minimum I would have tried all former U.S Congressman and Senators that joined the Confederacy along with all Confederate officers that took an oath to the United States before the war (all West Point graduates for sure).

  68. 68
    Brachiator says:

    By the way, there is an area of Brazil where the Confederate flag does represent Southern heritage.

    The debate over flying the Confederate flag has reignited in the US, but the American South isn’t the only place in the world you’ll see the emblem – it’s also proudly displayed in the rural Brazilian town of Santa Barbara D’Oeste.

    Once a year, the descendants of about 10,000 Confederates that fled the United States to Brazil after the US Civil War have a sort of family reunion.

    “They all take part in stereotypically southern things like square dances, eating fried chicken and biscuits, and listening to George Strait,” says Asher Levine, a Sao Paulo-based correspondent for Reuters.

    “And a lot of Confederate flags everywhere, all over the place.”

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33245800

    Note, however, that the ancestors of these people went to Brazil after the American Civil War in part because they desperately wanted to live in a country that still had slavery.

  69. 69
    geg6 says:

    @jl:

    Well, I really don’t want to forget my ancestors who fought on the right side during the Civil War. I prefer to remember them, the horrors they endured and honor that they fought the good fight. I just can’t figure out how anyone who isn’t a stone cold racist could be proud of having their people fight on the other side or who would want to proudly display evidence of what inhuman jerks their ancestors were. This is why I don’t believe anyone who displays or defends that flag (or the Confederacy in any way) who tells me that, no, they are not bigots. Only bigots would do what they do.

  70. 70
    Cervantes says:

    @Chris:

    It’s the right wing version of the Che Guevara shirt. It’s a sign that reads “FUCK THE MAN” while advertising your general political tribe; the people who display it often don’t grasp exactly what they’re displaying; and they know it offends people, but don’t really care to wonder whether that offense is justified, since shock value is the whole point in the first place.

    I see what you mean — but to complete the analogy, what hateful thing did Che do that compares to the actions and legacy of the Confederacy and its supporters?

  71. 71
    Gindy51 says:

    Kristol is the guy who found Palin. That alone should relegate him to the back water districts of Mars.

  72. 72
    Cacti says:

    On a personal level, I could belong to the Sons of Confederate Veterans if I was so inclined. I have two gr-gr-gr grandfathers who wore the grey and who died in service to the CSA, and have a personal connection that would make most of the flag groupies green with envy.

    One fell from wounds he took at Vicksburg, the other died in the Union POW camp at Point Lookout, Maryland.

    And you know what? I have not and never will honor their service or the cause they fought for. Their cause was unjust and the defeat of their side was well deserved. The grandfather who died after Vicksburg was a Texas slave-owner, and if anything, I consider his fate his karmic reward for making his living from the forced labor of other human beings.

  73. 73
    pluege says:

    individuals are free to drown themselves in nazis symbology too (or same thing as confederacy symbology). Whole different kettle of fish if ANY government entity does it.

    Shouldn’t be too difficult for even wingnuts to absorb the difference (but then there’s that willful ignorance and faux outrage thingy.)

  74. 74
    jl says:

    @Eric U.: For a primer on heritage, mine, yours, theirs and Southern, Juvenal’s Satire 8, True Nobility is a good start. Shorter: The heritage myth is bunk, they holy heritage symbols are fakes and mean nothing, they weren’t all that noble, go back far enough and you find scoundrels.

    I think for some people antebellum Southern Heritage is like Roman Heritage, or Classical Greek Heritage, or descendants of Medieval Royalty Heritage. They were monsters, but some want to salvage something mythic and noble from the cesspool in order to feel good about themselves, in order to have a social identity. I don’t see the need, but a lot of people in this world disagree with me.

    Edit: Juvenal’s description of a Roman triumph parade is ghoulish and LOL hilarious pitch black humor.

  75. 75
    mike with a mic says:

    I knew people that had confederate gear in the Navy. To a man, or woman in some cases, it was not “about race”. It was about coming from flyover where the rich and elite hate you and think of you as trash. The same rich people from the same rich liberal cities that helped crash the global economy, outsource all their jobs, and then spit on them and laugh at them.

    The flag was about regaining some pride and throwing it back in their faces. And I do agree that a lot of views about taking it from them is putting them back in their white trash place. It’s why I support getting rid of the flag. Because fuck flyover, fuck Christians, fuck rednecks, and fuck them. They are trash, and it annoys me when they think they aren’t.

  76. 76
    Turgidson says:

    @Germy Shoemangler:

    I think that’s exactly why I’m more sickened by Bloody Bill than I am by most of the neocons.

    They’re all warmongering assholes with shockingly little concern for the lives of anyone outside their families and inner circles, but when Bloody Bill starts talking about bombing Middle Eastern countries that have not attacked us and never will, he can’t even hide his glee. People like Cabbagehammer at least remember to act as if they are aware of the seriousness of attacking a well-armed country. Kristol is fucking happy about it. It’s like he’s playing a fucking game of Risk. It’s horrifying. He used to get the same fucking shit-eating grin on his face when he would go on the Daily Show and Jon Stewart would try to get him to say something human about Iraq. Never happened.

  77. 77
    MattF says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: So, I guess Kristol is the scary guy in your English class who insists that Heart of Darkness had a happy ending.

  78. 78
    jl says:

    I certainly would not dive into Yankee Heritage in preference to Southern Heritage. Too likely I would find out the Yankees made money off the Southern slave trade.

    I really don’t understand the Heritage kick some families and groups have. Whether Southern or of other regions.

    Edit: one ancestor, I forget which side showed up twice: sign up for three month enlistment and at first payday. Then disappeared. I hope there was not unrecorded accident and he got to enjoy the government payday. Or maybe he did something and got run off. A minor mystery of my Civil War heritage.

  79. 79
    Felonius Monk says:

    I used to have some admiration for Jim Webb, but after his bullshit eruption today, I’m assigning him to the closet of has-been assholes.

  80. 80
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @beltane:

    It’s even displayed by a certain type of person here in Vermont, which was always a very anti-slavery, pro-Union state. Yes, the people displaying it are invariably racist assholes, but the flag seems to have morphed beyond it’s original symbolism to being the red flag for rednecks, racist, homophobic,and all-around proudly ignorant.

    Since the civil rights movement it’s been both a badge of racism and more generally the Don’t Tell Me What’s Good For Me flag. It stands for “Don’t make me live next to Those People, don’t make me send my kid to school, don’t tell me to cover my well, don’t tell me I can’t hunt at night, don’t tell me you won’t serve me if I don’t put shoes on,” and so forth. Ignorant, retrograde, and proud of it, and the flag means that if you mess with them you’ll have a fight on your hands.

  81. 81
    Cacti says:

    Jim Webb decides he needed to put in a kind word for the noble confederate soldiers.

    What a goober.

  82. 82
    jl says:

    @MattF:

    ” So, I guess Kristol is the scary guy in your English class who insists that Heart of Darkness had a happy ending. ”

    Happy? Kristol’s hero died at the end.

    Maybe, that it was, and IS STILL TODAY, a documentary warning, rather than a satire on European colonists and traders.

  83. 83

    Love how everyone is finally OK with taking down the Confederate flag but God forbid we should look under that rock and tackle the hard issues.

    I’m not saying they shouldn’t get rid of these hateful symbols, just saying this is the easy thing. Racism is the root but guns are the tool.

  84. 84
    Belafon says:

    @Jeffro:

    Hillary, are you listening?

    What would she be listening to? She made a speech about the shooting within a couple of days, not only denouncing the flag, but pointing out that it’s more than the flag or overt racism.

  85. 85
    beltane says:

    @jl: The heritage crap seems to be prevalent among people without much of a heritage. My family has been living in the same small town in southern Italy for at least several hundred years, probably a lot longer. They are completely bereft of any nostalgia for the Nazi occupation, the French occupation, the Spanish occupation, Saracen incursions, or anything else that happened before yesterday. The whole attachment to flags and other symbols seems to be a modern thing.

  86. 86
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Felonius Monk: Webb has been the self-appointed champion of rednecks for decades. You could see this coming. Comes with the “populist” territory: downplay culture-war stuff, totems, iconography, symbolism, find common cause over economic fairness. Disappointing but wholly in character.

  87. 87
    Plantsmantx says:

    This video doesn’t show the part where Jonathan Capehart responds to him while the two of them are on split-screen. The moment Capehart says “African-American”, a smirking sneer spreads over Kristol’s face.

    http://on.msnbc.com/1NhWAjw

  88. 88
    Ryan says:

    Morning Joe, I’m shocked.

  89. 89
    beltane says:

    @FlipYrWhig: My son just informed me that the right-wing, Christian grandfather of his girlfriend supports the removal of the Confederate flag because “those people were traitors to our country.” Old Vermonters have long memories.

  90. 90
    piratedan says:

    @FlipYrWhig Well if he was thinking about running for President, I can safely say that he can stop thinking about it. Equivocating confederacy apologists need not apply.

  91. 91
    Belafon says:

    @Southern Beale: Getting rid of the confederate flag is easy in the same way that going to the moon is easy compared to going to Mars.

  92. 92
    beltane says:

    @Plantsmantx: Even compared with the cesspool of right wing punditry, Bill Kristol stands out for his odiousness. He is like the King of All Trolls.

  93. 93
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @beltane: My favorite tiny political story from recent years was the one about how Howard Dean left his original church… in a dispute over a bike path. 20th-c. New England Christianity ain’t much like other kinds.

  94. 94
    Barbara says:

    @jl: jl, I guarantee you that hardly anyone in Central Pennsylvania migrated from Tennessee or Alabama. The migration has been almost wholly in the opposite direction. What they do have in common is being a part of Greater Appalachia, which, according to an article I read, has the highest incidence of Internet searches using racial slurs. They don’t mind being seen as racist and most of their neighbors don’t really hold it against them.

  95. 95
    jl says:

    @beltane: And if I celebrated my California farm heritage, I would be celebrating ancestors getting cheap land stolen from Native Californians by the state, before the damn ink was dry on the treaty. Some trick we played on them back in the 1850s.

    Getting all hung up on Heritage always ends that way, if you look back far enough.

  96. 96
    Cacti says:

    @Felonius Monk:

    I used to have some admiration for Jim Webb, but after his bullshit eruption today, I’m assigning him to the closet of has-been assholes.

    Jim has always been a big old softie for the slave owners’ rebellion of 1861.

    That he chose this moment in time to whistle Dixie has guaranteed that his Presidential ambitions for 2016 are DOA.

  97. 97
    shortstop says:

    Too often in our official discourse, the explanation “because people are assholes” is sorely missing from the conversation.

    Absolutely. And funnily enough, I said to my husband just this morning, “Why is Bill Kristol going to the mat over the Confederate flag?” My husband responded with your eloquent simplicity, “Because he’s an asshole.”

  98. 98
    jl says:

    @Barbara: My eastern branch is spread out from So PA through MD and VA. VA people, mostly Southern Heritage types moved northerly and southerly. Looks like I have a different feel for it than you do.

  99. 99
    Kathleen says:

    @different-church-lady: Plus a breath mint.

  100. 100
    Brachiator says:

    @Southern Beale: Actually, most of this thread has been about denouncing Kristol. The strange thing is, that he doesn’t really much care about the Confederate flag, and even the idea that he just likes getting under the skin of liberals doesn’t go far enough.

    I suppose he is even worse than the character of Littlefinger in “Game of Thrones.” You can’t even say that he safely wraps himself in white privilege or is cynical. And it certainly would not be enough to suggest that he is racist.

    I don’t even know to what circle of Dante’s hell I might consign him. Kristol doesn’t care what damage racism still causes, no more than he cares about whether bombing Iran would unleash unimaginable pain and terror.

    We could get rid of racism, and guns tomorrow, and you would still have this demonic agent of chaos whispering in the ears of the powerful, happy to suggest some abomination or atrocity.

  101. 101
    Bill says:

    I’ve often blamed this on those bloody “Inalienable Rights” in the Declaration of Independence. Especially that “Pursuit of Happiness” one. It’s not that I’m opposed to happiness, it’s that some people can only pursue happiness by making everyone else miserable!

  102. 102
    mai naem mobile says:

    Bill Kristol.badly needs to.be kids and then glitter bombed. He just has the perfect kind of smirking arrogant face for it.

  103. 103
    Tom F says:

    @jl:
    What is that antebellum heritage?
    A certain courtliness to public behavior. chivalry towards women. People succeeding on their own, but within a caring and supportive community. A pace of life more in keeping with natural rhythms and cycles.

    All the things that the North, with its coarseness and grasping manner, its embrace of unnatural, dirty, soul destroying industry and the tyrants who controlled and profited from it, and its increasingly polyglot mixture of European refuse, set out to smother in the South.

    The flag has long been a symbol that the people there still hold to that heritage, still know that they were right, though defeated by overpowering evil. It’s a ‘fuck you’ not so much to Blacks, but to the White Northerners who humiliated them.

    This is why it’s probably useless to argue the point with them. Talking about racism and slavery simply signifies that one is clueless.

  104. 104
    mai naem mobile says:

    Well,Booby Jindals about to announce his POTUS run. Hes the 13th candidate. The.Boston bombing and the TPA is overwhelming his announcement. Just sounds like bad luck right off the bat.

  105. 105
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @Tom F:

    its increasingly polyglot mixture of European refuse….

    That would be my grandparents who arrived on these shores in 1912. And me.

  106. 106
    beltane says:

    @mai naem mobile: The less attention he receives, the better it is for him. He is ridiculous.

  107. 107
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    Given that a non-trivial segment of the population that flies the Confederate flag refer to Hitler fondly as “Uncle Adolph” I never thought I’d live to see the day a Jew would defend that particular symbol. But Kristol is just that stupid, uninformed, and that big an asshole.

  108. 108
    jl says:

    @Tom F: I agree. And hospitality and close knit local community, don’t forget those.

    I thnk some I’ve met don’t have the ‘FU Yankee’ attidude. But many do.

    But the flag symbol has been hijacked, or actually introduced for public display on public grounds by segregationists and racists, pure and simple in the 1950s and 1960s.

    And then there are the Rebel Rednecks.

    So, an intermixture of different social groups.

    But, I sympathize with what Southern Beale said above. If the racsim stays, if the partisan Southern Strategy stays, more symbols for the same thing will spring up soon after any today are pulled down. Sooner or later you have to deal with what is behind the symbols. But that will make this rebel flag crisis look easy.

  109. 109
    jl says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?:

    He is quite confident he and his buddies can control it and use it as a handy tool. No danger to him or anyone he knows.

  110. 110
    joel hanes says:

    @Barbara:

    bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd

    The surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd can eat a bag of salted dicks. They hastened to defend Alabama’s history of racial oppression, and celebrated Confederate defiance. Fuck them.

    The Allman Brothers band is just as southern, but never found it necessary or desirable to identify with the oppressors of the black men who originally wrote much of their material.

  111. 111
    beltane says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: It’s not exactly as though the ancestors of southern whites were the creme de la creme of British society. “Cavalier” propaganda aside, these people were often among the most wretched of Europe. Unlike the later waves of immigrants, many could not even pay their own fare to the New World and had to resort to renting themselves out as indentured servants. Perhaps the particularly viscous nature of their racism stems from shame over their own servile origins.

  112. 112
    Kerry Reid says:

    Jim Webb thinks we should be kissing Johnny Reb boo-boos.

    Fuck off, Webb, and take your misty-eyed bullshit romanticism about the Albion’s Seed Salt of the Earth Real Americans with you.

  113. 113
    Tree With Water says:

    “If there was a flag that symbolized my hatred of Ron Fournier and David Brooks, I would fly it. But, even then, I wouldn’t want it flown above my state capital and I’d understand if Amazon and Walmart didn’t want to sell it”.

    That’s essentially why I had a 4 foot radius rebar peace sign made, and placed it atop an 18 foot tree stump in my yard. It’s also coated green, so while it stands aside an artery road into my neighborhood it’s easy to miss unless you happen to look straight at it. That people have paused to think anew about the confederate flag and all it symbolizes is a good thing. Think of it as less a post-Appomattox skirmish than as a battle. As Lincoln wrote to Sherman after the march/picnic to the sea [paraphrase], “people who have heretofore lived in darkness have been made to see a great light”.

  114. 114
    Gimlet says:

    Via the WP

    Fox News. “America’s Newsroom” host Martha MacCallum asked guest Kevin Jackson how he has saddled liberals with Dylann Roof.

    He’s a Millennial, i.e. very non-racial according to all data. He didn’t grow up in a white-supremacist family. So he’s a product of culture, a culture Liberals own. From the moment he hit school, in his generation, boys are bad. White boys are worse.

    While he played with all kids of all colors and got along, when the time for playing ended, and it was time to get his “higher education,” he hit the wall of Affirmative Action.

    Then, when it’s time to get a job, he gets more Affirmative Action.

    Saida Grundy made it all too clear that the institution that Liberalism built, “Lower Ed” has no place for white males (or white people) so much so that wackademics prefer to be Indians (case in point Elizabeth Fraudzilla Warren), or blacks (case in point Rachel “HBCU Hates Me” Dolezal).

    At some point, Roof had to medicate to deal with his Liberal-created psychosis, and policies of the Left won’t let him be called “insane” and put away from the public. So he FED his psychosis with a healthy dose of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Gardner, and others, until he snapped.

  115. 115
    VOR says:

    The State of Minnesota used to have a confederate battle flag on display. It used to be displayed in the basement of the state capitol building but is now in the Minnesota Historical Society where it is infrequently displayed. It was captured by the 1st Minnesota at Gettysburg. Various groups have asked for it to be returned to Virginia and Minnesota has consistently said no. Current Governor Dayton (D) said: “It was taken in a battle at the cost of the blood of all these Minnesotans,” “And I think it would be a sacrilege to return it to them. It was something that was earned through the incredible courage and valor of men who gave their lives and risked their lived to obtain it. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s a closed subject.”

  116. 116
    Cacti says:

    @joel hanes:

    bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd

    The surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd can eat a bag of salted dicks. They hastened to defend Alabama’s history of racial oppression, and celebrated Confederate defiance. Fuck them.

    The Allman Brothers band is just as southern, but never found it necessary or desirable to identify with the oppressors of the black men who originally wrote much of their material.

    The Allman Brothers band were the original southern rockers, and Lynyrd Skynyrd couldn’t hold a matchstick to them as musicians, or as human beings.

    The orignial ABB lineup featured Jaimoe Johanson, a black man from Mississippi, as one of their two drummers, in an era where integrated bands were virtually non-existent.

    Lynyrd Skynyrd on the other hand became best known for writing a catchy paean to Alabama segregation and George Wallace.

  117. 117
    moderateindy says:

    To be fair, I have no doubt that there are plenty of people out there in the south that think of the battle flag as merely a symbol of southern pride. They probably know little to nothing about it being primarily used as a symbol of white supremacy. Hell, they probably don’t have a clue as to what the actual confederate flag looks like. They simply just don’t get it.
    Huge swaths of this country have, at best, a cursory knowledge of history, so they fail to understand what the battle flag represents, the fact that its popularity is fairly recent ( it surged as a backlash against the civil rights movement) and why it is so offensive. It is so ubiquitous in the south that I could understand many people viewing it as an innoccuous symbol that means southern pride. Liken it to Washington Redskins fans that have lived with that name so long that they don’t internalize how racist and hateful that name is.

  118. 118
    Kerry Reid says:

    @Kerry Reid: And once again, I should read all the other comments before posting. But yeah — Jim Webb is an arsehole.

  119. 119
    Kerry Reid says:

    @Cacti: My great-great-grandfather was an Irish immigrant who allegedly fought on the Union side from Illinois. But since the rumor is he had a horse named Beauregard and he DEFINITELY named his son “Jefferson Davis Norris,” I’ve always been skeptical. We’ve never tracked down his records – think they burned in an archives fire in the 1970s or something if they ever existed. But there was a lotta Copperhead activity in his part of the state during the war, and I’m sure as an Irish immigrant he figured he didn’t have a real dog in the fight. Or maybe he was just a sardonic asshole who fought for the Union but gave his son that name because — fuck if I know.

    Anyway, I don’t feel the need to valorize him or demonize him in either case. I’d prefer to think he fought for the Union, but his choices aren’t MY choices and don’t reflect upon me.

  120. 120
    MCA1 says:

    @Cacti: I’m not sure that’s entirely true. At least in my experience, a lot of the bearers of the stars and bars think it’s there either to just be an expression of pride about the South in the face of what they feel is overwhelming dismissiveness from elsewhere, or it pisses off liberals, especially of the northern sort, or both. The only people whose reaction to their flying it that they think about is white northerners. They never even consider how blacks might see it.

    It’s just more mythmaking on the part of the South: they block out the whole anti-segregation part of George Wallace flying the thing over the Alabama capitol in response to the civil rights movement, and are left with just the undertone of “Fuck you, Yankee” that went hand-in-hand with it. And besides, they were raised on Beau and Luke Duke, who seemed nice enough. They drove around in a car emblazoned with the confederate battle flag called the fucking General Lee and you northerners liked them, so it must be OK. To them, it’s all nothing more than mainstreamed expressions of put upon Southern annoyance at carpetbaggers and liberal do-gooders telling them how to act.

    ETA – or what Tom F. said in the last sentence of his penultimate paragraph.

  121. 121
    Tom F says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: And mine and me.

    And also them, of course, but it’s somehow different . . .

  122. 122
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @moderateindy:

    I have no doubt that there are plenty of people out there in the south that think of the battle flag as merely a symbol of southern pride

    That’s probably true, but even if it means “don’t mess with us, you’ll be sorry” just ask “so, what kinds of things would be examples of ‘messing with you?'” The answers are going to be all about rural (vs. urban [i.e., POC, Jews, ‘Mexicans,’ queers, etc.]), white (vs. POC, Jews, ‘Mexicans”), etc.

  123. 123
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @MCA1: Agreed — I said something similar above too.

  124. 124
    joel hanes says:

    @MCA1:

    what they feel is overwhelming dismissiveness from elsewhere

    Gosh, I wonder why people feel dismissive contempt for someone who flys the Confederate Battle Flag ?

    It’s a mystery for the ages, if you’re a fucking idiot.

  125. 125
    Kerry Reid says:

    Pasting in a comment from an FB friend, because if Webb and his ilk really want to talk “complexity,” this is the part they’re missing:

    Another thing that’s so vile and ridiculous about the Confederate flag as a symbol for “southern heritage” is the way it stamps out the history of southern anti-war sentiment. Not only do African Americans not have a flag to represent their struggle, but neither do the many many anti-Confederate whites who were executed or tortured for desertion, or the pro-Union militias, or the enclaves of European immigrants (mostly German) fleeing political unrest at home but refusing to fight for white supremacy. Or the pro-Union Hispanics in Texas who took over Zapata and Bandera counties during the war. Anti-Confederates were often the poorest whites and immigrants in the South.

    The Confederate flag is not so much a “(white) southern heritage flag” as a flag of rich oligarchs using white supremacy as a vehicle to protect their enormous wealth, Which is not to say they weren’t really racists, because they were. It’s just to say that not only didn’t they stand for (obviously) black slaves and freemen (and women), but neither did they stand for a great number of their fellow Southern whites.

    All of which is just to say that those who get to publicly display their “pride” are determined, yes, very importantly, on racial grounds, but not insignificantly on class grounds too. And so many of those flying the CSA flag have a lot more in common with those who opposed secession in the 1860s than those who promulgated it.

  126. 126
    Tom F says:

    Oddly enough, a project I’m working on now includes a memoir from a Spanish Californian in the 1800s. Delightful, empathic, descriptive, and includes this about the Native Americans still left alive in the area at that time:

    “Obedience from the Indians was enforced by flogging and they seemed to take quite kindly to it. When an Indian looked sad and they asked him what was the matter with him, he would answer that he was sad because he missed his flogging and upon getting one he would say, “Now I am warm and satisfied.” ”

    No difference from this to the view of Southerners to slaves and, later, former slaves. This is the heritage that Southerners don’t much discuss; they know that they won’t get agreement from ignorant people with selfish agendas. See the earlier thread that included a well-reasoned Southern essay explaining how the original constitution was based on a fundamental misunderstanding: that all people were equal. The fact of white superiority meant that a new constitution – the Confederate one – had to be created to right this mistake.

  127. 127
    john fremont says:

    @Cacti: Duane and Gregg Allman also played on R&B records by Wilson Pickett. Aretha Franklin, Johnny Jenkins and many other black performers before they formed the ABB.

  128. 128
    trollhattan says:

    @Cacti:
    Not to forget Duane’s extensive session work at Muscle Shoals, backing a veritable who’s who of soul singers. His career launched based on his work on Wilson Pickett’s version of “Hey Jude.”

  129. 129
    NotMax says:

    @Tree With Water

    That was originally a symbol promoting nuclear disarmament.

    The design derives from mimicking the position of the arms signaling an N and a D.

  130. 130
    NotMax says:

    Truncated sentence in #129

    The design derives from mimicking the position of the arms signaling an N and a D in semaphore.

  131. 131
    Barbara says:

    @joel hanes: I never saw a confederate flag on display in my suburban western Pennsylvania neighborhood when I was a kid until the mid-70s, and I attributed this sympathy for the South to the emergence of Southern rock bands, with Lynyrd Skynyrd being the most defiantly Southern I can think of — e.g., Sweet Home Alabama. Rightly or wrongly, I also associate the trend with the emergence of white opposition to affirmative action programs, but I am pretty sure that all of these things are interconnected.

    Apparently, Duane Allman hated his group being called a “Southern” rock band because it made it sound like they were a bunch of hicks or hillbillies, when they loved all kinds of music and actually worked as studio musicians for a blues label in Memphis.

    Most people are not stupid. They don’t want to be called racists. They know full well that the flag serves as a dog whistle that is a thumb in the eye of African Americans and turns off people like me as well — but they can deny that it signifies their own racism by paying the most superficial kind of lip service to history and heritage that they barely bother to know. They aren’t reenacting battles on weekends or arguing the finer points of military strategy or even the exploits of their actual ancestors.

    What Dylann Roof did was strip off the veneer of deniability that everyone already knew was almost completely bogus, save perhaps for people who are reenacting battles. I can see why they might still want a confederate flag.

  132. 132
    Richard Grant says:

    It is great to read a post that includes its executive summary in its text.

    “In a nutshell, Kristol.”

    Perfect.

  133. 133
    Kent says:

    @moderateindy:

    To be fair, I have no doubt that there are plenty of people out there in the south that think of the battle flag as merely a symbol of southern pride. They probably know little to nothing about it being primarily used as a symbol of white supremacy. Hell, they probably don’t have a clue as to what the actual confederate flag looks like. They simply just don’t get it.

    Oh no. They get it. In this part of rural Central Texas no one mistakes the meaning. It is tribal, I grant you that. But no one is confused about what tribe it represents.

  134. 134
    Tripod says:

    Sarah Palin

    LULZ

  135. 135
    different-church-lady says:

    @Cacti:

    Lynyrd Skynyrd on the other hand became best known for writing a catchy paean to Alabama segregation and George Wallace.

    Widely misinterpreted:

    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.”

    [snip]

    Journalist Al Swenson argues that the song is more complex than it is sometimes given credit for, suggesting that it only looks like an endorsement of Wallace.[5] “Wallace and I have very little in common,” Van Zant himself said, “I don’t like what he says about colored people.”[5]

    Taking that at his word, it makes that verse schizophrenic as hell, especially in a song that’s supposedly about pride in the state.

  136. 136
    Kent says:

    @Cacti: I’m not sure that’s entirely true. At least in my experience, a lot of the bearers of the stars and bars think it’s there either to just be an expression of pride about the South in the face of what they feel is overwhelming dismissiveness from elsewhere, or it pisses off liberals, especially of the northern sort, or both. The only people whose reaction to their flying it that they think about is white northerners. They never even consider how blacks might see it.

    Yeah…I don’t think so. Have you actually lived in the south? Race is right under the surface and part of everything, absolutely everything that goes on down here.

  137. 137
    Barbara says:

    @Kent: More properly, the average person flying a confederate flag does not actually consider how blacks might see it because they don’t care about the opinions of blacks on anything.

  138. 138
    NotMax says:

    @different-church-lady

    And what type of person causally tossed about the term “colored people” in 1975?

    Hint: rhymes with basest.

  139. 139
    Kent says:

    @Barbara: Kind of like how the 1960s Mad Men didn’t give a rip about what women thought about their sexism? It is still sexism and in this case still racism, even if it is thoughtless.

    But I would still argue that there is a lot more racism under the surface than you all might acknowledge. This is just one of the only things they can still get away with…sort of. The overt stuff is mostly unacceptable unless you are a cop. But you can still get away with flying a confederate flag and saying you’re just a good ole boy honoring your heritage.

  140. 140
    joel hanes says:

    @different-church-lady:

    lyrics about the governor of Alabama were misunderstood.

    Possibly.

    But I wasn’t talking about the Gov’nor

    It’s the defiant rejoinder to Neil Young’s songs “Alabam'” and “Southern Man” that gives me the pip, and I don’t think I’m misinterpreting either Skynyrd’s lyrics or Young’s.

    Again: Van Zant and company can eat a bag of salted dicks. Fuck them.

  141. 141
    dirge says:

    state capitals shouldn’t fly symbols of hatred towards African-Americans

    Of course they shouldn’t, but the argument that state capitals shouldn’t fly symbols of treason against the United States of America is actually a bit stronger.

  142. 142
    Jeffro says:

    @Belafon: I meant that it’s an excellent line that helps split Big Business interests away from the GOP. I’m well aware of her straightforward condemnation of the Confederate flag…here’s her chance to crack the GOP base even further in two.

  143. 143
    dogwood says:

    I think the mistake we all make is looking at the Civil War as a “war”.that actually settled very much. It ended slavery and that’s about all. I’ve always looked at the Civil War as simply one of the bloodiest battles in the ongoing war that Southerners and those with southern sensibilities have been waging since the inception of the republic. With the end of reconstruction the North called a truce and turned their back on the south for close to a century, allowing them to set up an alternative form of slave culture. Conservatism is always in battle mode when it comes to progress. Any bit of progress that has come to the South was forced upon them by the federal government. They’ve never done anything decent on their own. They eventually lose every battle, but they leave the field bloodied and refuse to surrender.

  144. 144
    Cervantes says:

    @NotMax:

    And what type of person causally tossed about the term “colored people” in 1975?

    The NAACP?

    Or was that not casual usage?

  145. 145
    dogwood says:

    @Jeffro:
    I understood your point and it was a good one. Democrats are terrible at effective populist rhetoric. Conservatives understand that there’s two parts to the equation – fear and flattery. They tell the rich the dems are going to raise your taxes because they want to punish success even though they are the “job creators.” They tell the evangelicals that bibles will be outlawed because they are the good people with “values.” They tell the gun nuts that Obama is coming after them because they are “patriots.” I taught school for 35 years, and while plenty of dems called me underpaid, they never called me successful. Conservatives have an emotional as well as a ideological tie to the republicans and that results in phenomenal loyalty. The only place you see anything similar so on the dem. side is with its relationship to the African American community.

  146. 146
    EthylEster says:

    DougJ wrote:

    …merely that Amazon and Walmart are wrong to sell it

    Isn’t there a “not” missing in this sentence?
    Isn’t Kristol saying that it is wrong to stop selling the flag?

  147. 147
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @beltane:

    …the flag seems to have morphed beyond it’s original symbolism to being the red flag for rednecks, racist, homophobic,and all-around proudly ignorant.

    Welcome to South Pennsylvania!!

  148. 148
    EthylEster says:

    @NotMax:

    And what type of person causally tossed about the term “colored people” in 1975?

    Were you even alive then?
    Because if you were, you wouldn’t be asking such a stupid question.

  149. 149
    NotMax says:

    @EhtylEster

    Yes, very much so. Had graduated from college and everything by then.

    “Black” was the term primarily expected to be employed by non-racists if a description was necessary at all.

    The stupidity is entirely yours.

  150. 150
    Betty Cracker says:

    @dogwood: What a great point.

  151. 151
    Hey says:

    So his embrace of the Confederate Flag isn’t some emotional decision on his part. He’s still doing it because he’s an asshole, but it’s absolutely a calculated, Northeastern neo-conservative assholery.

    KB is a Straussian. As in, literally, Leo Strauss was one of his professors.

    His philosophy teaches that the best possible life the average not-elite person can lead is one where they are jacked up on nationalism and war. Its the job of elites like him to use empty symbols and rhetoric and mythology to manipulate the masses into this exalted state.

  152. 152
    Sondra says:

    I think there will always be niche markets that some enterprising souls will decide to fill.

    I found out recently that there are at least 2 companies which provide scooters to elderly people taking cruises. They deliver them right to your staterooms and pick them up afterwards. The cost is fairly reasonable too.

    So it really doesn’t matter what Walmart and Amazon decide to do. It’s a nice gesture on their part though.

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