The article, Kevin's comments, and some of the comments of his readers, make the absurd (and intellectually dishonest) connection between the Redneck Games and the SCV. Rather than have a knee-jerk reaction, I contacted the reporter who wrote the story and asked her if SCV Commander McMichael (who is a high school history and civics teacher and who also holds a Master's degree), was present at these games or if the SCV sponsored these games or had any connection of which she was aware. This was her reply:
"Mr. Williams, I have no information about the Redneck Games."
Interesting. Her article prominently features a photo of the event, but she has "no information about the Redneck Games." Anyone see a problem with that? I think most readers of that article would assume, as I did at first, that there was some connection between the SCV and the event. However, after reading the piece carefully and noting the date of the event pictured, I had my doubts. Kevin evidently opened wide and swallowed what the slanted piece was force-feeding readers as he wrote the following:
It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that the SCV’s emphasis on their multicultural heritage makes them the hippies of Confederate remembrance. Sadder yet is the reduction of Confederate history and symbolism to the kinds of games pictured above: bobbing for pigs feet, hub cap hurling and the Redneck mud pit belly flop contest. Yeah, I’m sure that’s exactly how their Confederate ancestors hoped to be remembered. (Emphasis mine.)Excuse me? How do we make the leap from the SCV to the Redneck Games?!?! From everything I've read, there's no connection. None. Unless, of course, the article fits nicely into your agenda and presuppositions.
According to one source, the "Redneck Games" were . . .
Originally dubbed the Bubba-Olympics in 1995, the event is an outrageous, politically incorrect spoof of the real 1996 Olympics held in Atlanta. Country radio station WQZY started the games as a promotional stunt, garnering so much publicity that newspapers and television stations all over the country started covering them. Of the 10,000 folks who attend today, very few are true rednecks. Most are just faux rednecks that return to their mainstream lives come Monday morning. (Emphasis mine.)And, according to another source:
The games were started by General Manager for WQZY-FM "Y96"; Mac Davis in response to a comment made by the media; that when the 1996 Olympic Games went to Atlanta, it would be held by a group of rednecks. Taking offense to this, Mac Davis and some locals set up the annual Redneck Games to reinforce the stereotype the media held.(Pssst . . . the Redneck Games are a satire, a joke, a lampoon!)
And I'm sorry to have to disappoint Mr. Levin, but there's no SCV connection. Kevin and some of his readers have either been punked or knowingly promoted a falsehood. Will we see a correction? An apology? Anyone willing to do a little research on the games would discover they are mostly a tongue-in-cheek spoof of Southern culture, kind of a Hee-Haw like, self-disparaging festival of silliness. There's even a Canadian version of the Redneck Games. (I suppose the SCV has invaded our neighbors to the North and are, at this very moment, planning to subvert the Canadian government and make Canada part of Dixie. I think they flew in on black helicopters.) Fellow CW blogger Robert Moore also chimed in and made the same unsubstantiated connection:
It’s also clear that McMichael and those who “herd” (yes, I’m using a metaphor that someone else frequently uses) under his brand of “Confederate remembrance” pick and choose from the greater heritage that is the Civil War South and repackage it as the total truth for ingestion by those who think the South and Southern heritage is about silly Confederate flag overcoats, hub hurling, and “the Redneck mud pit belly flop.” Confederate veterans would be just tickled pink to know that they are remembered so respectfully (if the sarcasm isn’t apparent in my comment, please interject it here, now). Just more evidence that the SCV has lost its way and continues to spiral downward. (Emphasis mine.)
"Evidence"? There is no SCV connection to "silly Confederate flag overcoats", etc. as the reporter admits and as the facts prove. You may, however, purchase a leather jacket version at the Museum of the Confederacy if that's what turns you on. So why the rush to make the connection between the Redneck Games and the SCV? Are some folks just lying in wait to pounce on the SCV? Do certain prejudices toward the organization predispose certain individuals to make unfounded assumptions and connections--albeit grossly misinformed ones--in order to malign and impugn all SCV members and which serves their broader agenda?
Then there is the straw man argument. I've addressed this particular notion before; that being the accusation that the SCV claims to speak for all Southerners. Of course, the only ones saying that are the Kevin Levins of the world. I don't know any SCV member that says that or believes it. Not one. I certainly don't. Kevin asks this question:
"How many people do you think Charles McMichael speaks for? My guess is that the number doesn’t even appear on the radar screen."First of all, what's the point of the question? Mr. McMichael isn't claiming here to speak for anyone. In his official capacity, however, Mr. McMichael speaks for the Sons of Confederate Veterans which has approximiately 35,000 members. Furthermore, there are many, many thousands more Southerners who support the goals of the SCV, at least to some degree. Whether or not that qualifies for appearance on anyone's "radar screen" is subjective and a distraction to the subject.
Of course, we have to endure the prerequisite, snobbish comment of "Luckily, the reporter included an interview with a reputable historian." Right.
Like the good ole' boy pictured here at an actual Redneck Game event, I believe Kevin took a flying leap before looking and made a huge flop. Some folks just take some things way too seriously. Y'all need to lighten up a little bit. And y'all will have to excuse me now, as my supper of pig's feet and fried 'possum is awaiting my attention.
**Update: Kevin's posted an update after my response. In it he states:
At no point in my post did I make an explicit connection between the two, though I did offer a few passing comments on the image that the newspaper chose to include.That sounds like something a lawyer would say. Just read his post, the follow up comments by him and others and decide for yourself. Whether explicit or implicit, the intent in making the connection is abundantly clear. And I, too, appreciate all the attention.
**Update #2: After calling this response "weird", Kevin has removed the "boxed and highlighted" comments containing that characterization, along with the link to this post, from his original post on the subject.