23 October 2014

City Of Danville Respects The Law & Rejects Political Correctness

“[U]nder Virginia law, the city does not have the legal authority to remove the Confederate flag flying on the grounds of the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History,” City Manager Joe King said in a midday news release Wednesday.
So the Confederate flag stays put - at least for now. What's interesting is that this is yet another example of how current stewards of history (faithfully preserved by others) disregard the legacy and responsibility that's been handed to them and bow to political correctness.

We've recently seen this same type of disregard for tradition and stewardship with the Museum of the Confederacy, as well as Lee Chapel. It's encouraging to see that respect for historical tradition and stewardship is not completely dead in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Were it not for the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the current Lee Chapel would have been razed in the 1920's. Were it not for the sons and daughters of Confederate Veterans, the collection at the MOC would be much smaller and poorer than it is today. Were it not for the United Daughters of  the Confederacy, there would be no Sutherlin Mansion to house the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History. So the support, gifts and money of these patriotic Americans are all fine but the symbol their ancestors fought under has to go? Speaks volumes, doesn't it? The word ingratitude comes to my mind.

As the Confederate flag was in a historical context both at the MOC, as well as Lee Chapel, so it is at the Danville Museum. Leave it alone.

21 October 2014

Metal Detecting Post #115 - Relics In The River

This video includes some still shots from recent river artifact recoveries. It also includes some video of a live recovery of an *unexploded Hotchkiss artillery shell. I have 5 full days of relic hunting scheduled between now and the end of November, so I should be posting some more relic hunting videos soon.



*Due to the design of this shell and the fact it was submerged in water for 150 years, there was no risk of it exploding accidentally. Nonetheless, these shells should ALWAYS be handled with care and caution and disarmed by someone who knows what they're doing. Such was the case with this shell.

16 October 2014

The Real Life Impact Of Political Correctness

From the Washington Post:
Libertarians were outraged by New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s “Big Gulp” ban (which a state court ultimately struck down). They slammed it as a “Nanny State” measure.
But it was current Centers for Disease Control head Tom Frieden who was actually behind the ban.
This is the same man who won't recommend banning flights from ebola outbreak countries and who allowed a sick, ebola exposed nurse to get on a plane with 130 unknowing Americans. 

This is the real life impact of the absolute idiocy of political correctness. PC is itself an infection, even though academics, politicians, bureaucrats and media types deny it's very existence. PC infects and destroys common sense

And it also, at its most extreme, puts the lives of everyone (including children) at risk:
DALLAS — Officials at school districts in Texas and Ohio shut five schools on Thursday after they learned that two students traveled on the Cleveland-to-Dallas flight with Amber Joy Vinson, a nurse infected with Ebola, and that an employee may have later flown on the same plane.  (Source)
So keep poo-pooing that PC is a serious problem and claiming that it's "intellectually bankrupt" to believe PC is a real threat to our way of life. The rest of us have to deal with reality while others fantasize about their intellectual superiority as they sip a latte in the faculty lounge.

15 October 2014

We're All Barbarians

. . . or were at one time anyway.

I had to laugh and shake my head in amazement when I read a comment a month or so ago written by a popular Civil War blogger in which the blogger claimed that the phrase "politically correct" was "intellectually bankrupt."

That an educated person could write that with a straight face is jaw-dropping amazing, though given the climate in academia, I suppose it really shouldn't be. Generally speaking, those who poo-poo the notion of PC typically fall into one of the following categories:
  • The News Media
  • Politicians & Bureaucrats
  • Academics
Notice that all three have a lot invested in political correctness and the accompanying agenda. Take, for example, the fact some localities are now renaming, repudiating or ignoring *Columbus Day. Why? Because Columbus was an evil Christian European male who is wickedness incarnate for the destruction he brought upon the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Right. No PC to see here, move along. 

PC is about either soothing one's "guilty" conscience, or transferring that guilt to some other ostensibly guilty party. In the first case, it relieves one of their own personal guilt while in the latter, in transferring that guilt, gives power (at least in the transferor's mind), to the party embracing PC. The "transgressor" (violator of politically correct standards) "owes" someone or some party something due to their "guilt." This is what drives so much of current historiography in the United States - as respected (and honest) historians like Eugene Genovese and David McCullough have pointed out.

With all this in mind, Pat Buchanan wrote what I thought was an interesting piece recently which concludes we're all, pretty much, "the heirs of marauders, pirates, conquerors, colonizers, colonialists, and imperialists. And such knowledge is why so many have guilty consciences and seek to salve them by repudiating Columbus."

Read that piece here.

*By the way, I'm married to a descendant of indigenous peoples. She's cool with Columbus Day.

14 October 2014

Deflecting From Civil War Memory

Update #3:
"Guilty as charged. It turns out that I “completely agreed” with a comment that included the word ‘manure’." ~ Kevin Levin
Actually, Levin "completely agreed" with a comment that called a young woman he's never met "manure."  All because she introduced a line of women's clothing that embraces a Southern style and theme. Personally, I think he owes the woman an apology, or at least a retraction of that insult. Certainly, Levin can dislike and criticize the clothing line. But projecting his associations with "Southern style" on someone else is silly and, as noted previously, reveals some serious insecurity.

Update #2: 
Williams really needs to get a life. Although there is a Part 2 scheduled from Williams, I will do you all a favor and move on. ~ Kevin Levin
Again, Levin goes to the trouble of posting his displeasure over a young woman's Southern style clothing line (!?) and agreeing with calling that young woman "manure" (!?) and I'm the one who " really needs to get a life." R-i-i-i-i-ght.

Yes, were I Levin, I'd move on too. Wise to quit before you get further behind.

And you gotta love this:
I usually do ignore Williams, but once in a while I like to reward him with a response. After all, he puts a lot of time into posts about me. ~ Kevin Levin
Just search his blog for posts with my name mentioned and see where he's spent "a lot of time." I stopped counting at 44 posts. Do it quickly though, he might delete them. But not to worry, I saved them all.

Thanks for all the rewards Kevin.

And notice all the projecting, the red herrings and the straw men in the comments section. Truly some insecure folks.

Update: "I simply linked to the story." ~ Kevin Levin 


He did more than that. He offered his opinion on the story:


Levin did not write the italicized comments, but he owns them since he agrees "completely." Of course, that's his right. And its my right to offer my opinion on his opinion.  Again, he can totally trash someone he doesn't know and can only make assumptions based on his preferred narrative, but doesn't particularly care for it when the tables are turned.  

Part 2 on this coming tomorrow.

End of update.

Kevin Levin attempts to deflect my criticism over comments (to which he "completely" agreed) which called a young woman "manure" simply because she introduced a "a Fall fashion spread inspired by life on an antebellum plantation." Levin can bluster all he wants about my post, but he has a track record of this kind of thing. He's clueless when it comes to aspects of Southern heritage, culture and style which fall outside of his preferred, narrow narrative.

Levin then attempts some psychoanalyzing:
Much of Williams’s blogging comes from a place of deep insecurity.
Let's see, he's ok with referring to a young woman (he's never met) as "manure" simply because she's marketing a line of clothing reflecting a Southern style; but I'm the one who's insecure. Uh-huh.

This is typical of Levin and those like him: put those who embrace their own perspective and celebration of Southern culture under a microscope, pick and poke and make fun of them - even insult and refer to a perfect stranger (apparently inferring all kinds of motives) as "manure" because of a clothing style (??!!), but when called on it, he becomes defensive.

He can dish it out, but he can't take it. So he reverts to an ad-hominem attack and says his critic is "insecure." 


How lame and intellectually shallow.

13 October 2014

Embracing Southern Heritage & Style Gets You Labeled "Manure"

Update - my response to the attempted deflection.

Welcome to the world of objective historians. Notice all the assumptions and one-dimensional perspectives. Wow. The anger and abundance of knotted undies is rather palpable, ain't it?

This blogger tells us:
Just don’t ask where their allowance for clothing came from or the raw material itself.
And I suppose you shouldn't ask who was buying much of that raw material either. But don't confuse them with the facts. Some folks just don't seem to understand that there's a lot more to the South than 1861-1865, cotton, slavery and hillbillies.

"The south has produced the world's best literature. It dominates world culture. Southern culture is the most powerful and expressive in the world." ~ Timothy Tyson

"The American South is a geographical entity, a historical fact, a place in the imagination, and the homeland of an array of Americans who consider themselves southerners. The region is often shrouded in romance and myth, but its realities are as intriguing, as intricate, as its legends." ~ The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture

"The South is cultivated in collards and covered in kudzu . . . Many of us are descended from Scottish settlers and African slaves--and we usually find that we have more in common with each other than with Northern urbanites." ~ Clint Johnson

"The Southern Mind loathes abstractions . . . particularly harmful abstractions which go against the family, the organic community, ancestral customs, and religious faith." ~ Alphonse Vinh

Perhaps the anger is envy. It's demonstrably evident that Southern culture dominates much of American life. There is ample evidence of this fact. Google presents us with some of that evidence. I just did some "comparative" searches. Search terms were in quote marks for specificity. Not totally scientific, but rather revealing nonetheless. Here are the hit results:


Southern Culture: 994,000

Northern culture: 79,100

Southern Cooking: 1,460,000

Northern Cooking: 7,510 (That's rather pathetic, ain't it?)

Southern Hospitality: 977,000

Northern Hospitality: 54,700

Southern Style: 726,000 (aka "manure")

Northern Style: 351,000

Southern Accent: 416,000

Northern Accent: 146,000

Robert E. Lee: 680,000

Ulysses S. Grant: 393,000

And, as I pointed out before . . . 

There is a Southern Living Magazine. There is no Northern Living Magazine.

We have Southern Gospel music. We do not have Northern Gospel music.

There is Southern Appalachia, but nothing known as Northern Appalachia.

We have Southern Fried chicken, no Northern Fried chicken.

There are Southern manners, no Northern manners.

We have the Center for the Study of Southern Culture (Ole Miss), but no corresponding Center for Northern Culture.

We have the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (UNC Press), but no Encyclopedia of Northern Culture.

We have the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation, but no Northern Cultural Heritage Foundation.

We have a large university Documenting the American South, but none that I know of which documents the American North.

We have Southern belles, but no Northern belles. (And what man wouldn't rather listen to a woman from Alabama with a soft Southern drawl talk to you over the phone vs. the nasal twang of a young lady from New Joisey?)

To conclude, having lived in the South for 56 years, I have very little patience for Northeast elites who suggest such insulting nonsense about Southerners.

Director Of The National Civil War Chaplains Museum On Relic Roundup Tonight

Shown below is just one of the many artifacts (this one donated by a relic hunter)  in the National Civil War Chaplains Museum in Lynchburg, Virginia. Tonight, at 9:00 PM,  Dr. Kenny Rowlette, director of the museum, will be a guest on the live, call-in internet radio program,  Relic Roundup. Kenny will talk about this unique museum dedicated to the role of chaplains, priests, rabbis and religious organizations who ministered to the common soldier in the Civil War.

Join the conversation this Monday night on American Digger Magazine's Relic Roundup. Call in and talk to the show's hosts and guest live, join the chatroom, or just sit back and listen. 


Monday, October 13, 9 pm EST at www.relicroundup.blogspot.com/. The player is in the upper right hand corner, click on the green arrow to listen in.



11 October 2014

Kind Words From A Fellow Writer . . .

Historian Richard Nicholas, who has written two books in the Virginia Regimental Series and a great book detailing Sheridan's James River campaign, recently sent me this kind email about my most recent book, The Battle of Waynesboro:
Mr. Williams:

I received a copy of your book last week and thank you very much. . . . looks like you have done a very good job and a lot of research. It will be a real contribution to our history and a long neglected battle.

I have already read the inspiring words in your introduction, and I look forward to reading the rest of the book that has been written by a true Southerner and Virginian. I fear that that there are not many of us left anymore.

Some day I would like to meet you have you show me around the "tree streets" and the site of the battle. I am especially interested in seeing the place where Pennington's flank attack took place in the vicinity of Ridgeview Park. Being an old geologist, I am always interested in looking at the topography and "lay of the land."

Richard's book about Sheridan's James River campaign was extremely helpful as I researched the Battle of Waynesboro. Of everything I read on the BoW, I found his account to be the most detailed and accurate. 

Simply being referred to as "a true Southerner and Virginian" is all the praise I need to reward the effort it took to write the book.

Thanks Richard!

Driving Progressive Historians Crazy - One Book At A Time

The third in a series. All my grandchildren love them, as does my history major, homeschooling, state certified to teach daughter.

Telling the truth about American Exceptionalism . . .

10 October 2014

Another Episode In The Confederate Flag Soap Opera

The latest one's in Danville, Virginia. 
Most speakers Thursday opposed removing the third national Confederate flag from the front lawn of the Sutherlin Mansion, which houses the Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History.
And there's this:
Three residents spoke out in support of the flag’s removal. One speaker said it is “a sign of people trying to dominate other people.”
Yeah, well most flags came about from one "people trying to dominate other people." Ummm . . . yeah, that's rather consistent throughout history.  I suppose the American Indians, Japanese, etc. could make the same claim about Old Glory, no?


Story here.


Also, if I recall correctly, didn't city officials in Danville decline Professor James Robertson's offer several years ago to donate his vast Civil War collection for a museum because of its "controversial nature"?

The Latest Brilliance From The Education "Experts"

The handout, provided by Gender Spectrum, a website which "provides education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for children of all ages" does not explain what to do if all of the children like juice or skateboards. But it does suggest teachers “create classroom names and then ask all of the ‘purple penguins’ to meet at the rug.”
I would not let my child within 50 feet of these idiots. And remember, the same institutions that trained them also taught them history. Yeah, that works.

09 October 2014

Pop History In An Ironic Sort Of Way

 
What do these two stories have in common?

Meet the Press wanted Jon Stewart:
It makes sense that NBC would make a run at Stewart. The comedian-cum-media-critic possesses something that broadcast executives covet: a loyal, young audience. And it's not the first time NBC tried recruiting him. 
James McPherson's "Best Of" list:
I wonder, too, what will replace the “old boys club?” Will it be an “old girls club” or whatever constituency feels underrepresented on a highly subjective list? Is the desired outcome simply a transfer of power; a zero-sum game where one side has to lose for the other side to win? Or is it a neutral field where whatever is considered the cream will rise to the top. If that is the case, what will determine what rises and what falls? Is it quality? How do you judge that? Is it sales? . . .
The answer(s) reveal what is really important, on different levels, to academic historians and mainstream media as well. I find the connections predictable and revealing.

05 October 2014

First Battle of Waynesboro Book Signing

Yesterday, the Waynesboro Heritage Foundation Museum hosted a book release party and signing for my most recent book, The Battle of Waynesboro. What a great day! I got to see lots of old friends and made quite a few new ones as well. We also sold a good number of books to benefit the museum. In addition, I finally got to meet Dr. (M.D.) Anita Henderson face to face. Anita was kind enough to write an addendum to my book in which she discusses her research about Maria Lewis - a black woman who posed as a man and allegedly participated in the BoW, fighting for the 8th New York Cavalry. Since the book went to print, she's found additional corroborating evidence about Lewis - evidence which she soon hopes to publish.

I had invited Anita to the event and she also signed quite a few books with me. Anita is a researcher and living historian, portraying everything from a house slave to a Confederate bugler. She will be in character as Maria Lewis at the BoW sesquicentennial reenactment next March. Besides our common interest in the War Between the States and the BoW, we also discovered that we are both ardent fans of what I refer to as the most politically incorrect show on television today - Hell on Wheels. (I'll be posting something about that later.)
Thanks to my dear wife for baking this cake.
She realized (too late) that she put the Billy Yanks
on the gray side of the cake and the Johnny Rebs
on the blue. Not to worry though as it did not
impact the great flavor of the cake, nor the
outcome of the battle.

It was a wonderful day. Many thanks to the Waynesboro Heritage Foundation, Anita Henderson, my wife and to all those who came out.

03 October 2014

More On The Burning At 150

Cheering Firebug Phil
After the war, the thirteen-day burning of the richest agricultural counties in Virginia was only mentioned in passing, if at all, in the regimental histories of the units who had an active part in it. After detailing the Battle of Fishers Hill in their accounts, historians went almost directly to the cavalry battle at Toms Brook, which took place on October 9, perhaps to forget the time in between those two fights and what they had been required to do. Even in more modern times the devastation of such a large part of the Shenandoah Valley has been overshadowed by other campaigns, but recently scholars have taken note. Stephen Starr wrote in his Union Cavalry in the Civil War: “The deliberate planned devastation of the Shenandoah Valley has deservedly ranked as one of the grimmest episodes of a sufficiently grim war. Unlike the haphazard destruction caused by (Gen. William T.) Sherman’s bummers in Georgia, it was committed systematically, and by order.” The residents of the Valley remembered. If nothing else stuck in their minds, the time the burners came did, and individual stories of the sufferings of the people were passed from generation to generation. ~ John Heatwole (Emphasis mine.)