30 March 2009

I Think Y'all Been Punked

The teachable moments are coming at me so fast and furious that I cannot keep up. Kevin Levin's post on a recent LA Times piece is a case in point. First of all, a few comments on the piece itself. The internet article, and I assume the print piece (Or is this rag no longer in print like so many others that push an agenda rather than print the news?), prominently features a photograph of a man wearing a huge, ugly overcoat with a Confederate flag design. The photo comes from an event which occurred three years ago in Dublin, GA. The event is called "Redneck Games." The piece also includes a few quotes by Sons of Confederate Veterans' commander, Charles McMichael.

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.



41 comments:

The Abraham Lincoln Observer said...

A small point, but it might clear up some confusion here. The reporter almost certainly had nothing to do with choosing the photograph that ran with her story. The photo would have been selected by a copy editor or layout editor, and this one no doubt was chosen because it included a vivid image of the Confederate flag. Somebody at the Los Angeles Times no doubt deserves censure for conflating the Redneck Games with the theme of this story, but it wasn't Dahleen Glanton.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hello Abe. You make a very good point. I had actually considered pointing this out as well. I'm glad you did. Thanks. Even with that being made clear as far as the reporter goes, I believe there was more to choosing that image and event than the fact it included an image of the Battle flag. Call me a cynic.

Moreover, that does not excuse Levin and the others for making the absurd connection between the SCV and the Redneck Games. It's absolutely ridiculous.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Abe: You note:

"Somebody at the Los Angeles Times no doubt deserves censure for conflating the Redneck Games with the theme of this story"

I agree. But Levin's comments, along with those of some of his readers, advance the misleading information in the LA Times piece.

cenantua said...

Ok Richard, sure, in retrospect I see that I took the bait of the reporter in this situation. The reporter wove some things together that had no connection... to make a point, and because it was done in the manner in which it was, it was pathetically bad journalism... no, let me clarify... it wasn't even journalism at all.

As for myself, my problem was reading it on the fly and quick enough on a Monday morning that it read in the same manner in which it did to you when you first saw it. The difference is that you did some research to clarify and uncovered what appears to be the agenda of a reporter. Bottom line... I got punked. I fault myself and the newspaper article on this, not Kevin.

That said, however, I will make a clarification of my statement. My reference to the SCV spiraling downward (in connection to what was written in the article, which is clear now that there is no connection) was a reference made to the larger entity, not broad reaching across individuals or even some camps within the membership. Those who know me, including those within the SCV with whom I am friends, know exactly what I mean when I say this. As I have said before, I have some great friends in the SCV and have good relations with different camps. Many members and camps do not think in harmony with the larger organization and the actions that it takes and endorses. No need for anyone to try and convince me otherwise as I am intimately aware of this fact. As for the larger organization, while the connection made to this newspaper story was my error, yes, I still hold firm in my belief that the SCV is not doing justice to the Confederate soldier or the South as a whole, not to mention "Southern heritage." I still think that Kevin's comment that the SCV is doing more harm than good to the South and "Southern heritage" has a great deal of truth in it. The endorsement of the huge Chinese-manufactured flag in Florida is just one example of respect for heritage gone astray and even gone silly. Other things, like McMichael saying that the "Southern perspective of the war" should be told (when in fact it suggests that a "Confederate perspective of the war" should be told), is a complete misrepresentation of a large number of facts about Civil War era Southerners.

So, I'll eat a little crow (albeit with a glass of sweet tea) when it comes to my error of jumping to conclusions made after reading the newspaper (aka "rag") article, but my concerns, nay, utter frustration, about the SCV's (larger organization implied) "not-so-adhering to respectful and honorable attempts" at doing justice to the Confederate soldier stand. I think I have the right to voice this considering my personal connection to Confederate and Southern ancestry.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Robert:

Though I don't agree with everything you say here, thank you for admitting your mistake. My respect for you has just gone up quite a bit. Let me respond to a few of your remarks:

"I got punked. I fault myself and the newspaper article on this, not Kevin."

While Kevin is not solely to blame for your "getting punked", he most certainly was an enabler and it was a very sloppy and irresponsible post. To say his response did little to redeem any credibility he had on the issue would be an understatement.

"Many members and camps do not think in harmony with the larger organization and the actions that it takes and endorses."

You find that surprising? There are relatively few organizations that could make that claim with a straight face.

"The endorsement of the huge Chinese-manufactured flag in Florida is just one example of respect for heritage gone astray and even gone silly."

Chinese-manufactured is a distraction. What isn't manufactured in China today? Those who are being accused of going overboard with flag displays are simply reacting to the daily barrage of attacks on an emblem their ancestors fought under. It's human nature. If the attacks would cease, you'd see less reactions like the Florida flag.

By the way, I met an SUV acquaintance of yours at the Liberty Seminar this weekend, Mark Day. His table was right next to mine and he was raising funds for a monument to Union POW's in Lynchburg. A very nice fellow. I hope his effort is successful.

cenantua said...

Aw now Richard, you don't want to get me into this thing about SCV camps and members not thinking in harmony. It's a lot deeper than that in some situations and you should know this. Let's just leave it at ... "that's all I've got to say about that."

As for the Chinese-manufacture thing... no distraction. Any truly self-respecting Confederate heritage pursuer who puts so much emphasis on the meaning of the flag ... well, the purchase of a Chinese-manufactured flag should just be a non-issue.

Mark's project is a huge one and by comparison, the amount of money that I need for my little Va. Dept. of Historic Resources marker is but a drop in the bucket for the monument that he is pursuing. I hope he is successful, but I feel it's going to take quite a while considering the final figure and the economy.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

We'll agree to disagree, especially since the Chi-coms are financing our military. What a weird world.

Huge, yes. $200k huge. Do you know who's the prospective sculptor on the project?

cenantua said...

Yes, I'm aware of the sculptor, but I'm not sure if that's been released for public consumption or not. I want to say it is generally known, but I can't say for sure right now.

By the way, did he also tell you that our department will be "invading" Richmond in April for our annual department encampment? :-) Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Jubilo said...

Dear Old Dominion,
"The Carpetbagger" really touched a nerve this time didn't he ?
Most white Southrons of my acquaintance look upon the SCV as a "redneck" organization. I feel this is unfortunate but the SCV actsmore like Forrest than Lee. General Lee would have never ,never, condoned a 100 foot flag regards of country of manufacture. Virginians should desire to a higher degree of deportment, don't you agree?
cordially,
David Corbett

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Good morning David.

"The Carpetbagger" really touched a nerve this time didn't he ?"

Yes, anyone who spreads misinformation tends to touch nerves, wouldn't you agree?

"General Lee would have never, never, condoned a 100 foot flag regards of country of manufacture."

No, he probably would have left the country by now.

"Virginians should desire to a higher degree of deportment, don't you agree?"

Yes, you're right. Kevin should not be posting such misleading information.

Best,
RW

cenantua said...

I took Mr. Corbett's comment... "Virginians should desire to a higher degree of deportment"... as a reference to the SCV acting more like Forrest than Lee. Was this not your intention Mr. Corbett?

Robert Moore

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Yes, Robert, I knew that. But the focus of my post is Kevin's misleading post, as well as the LA Times piece. I'm not going to allow comments to distract from the topic.

I'm the Captain of this ship.

;O)

John L. Sims said...

Another great post, where you fly in and catch a CW Blogger with his foot in his mouth. Keep up the good work!
Deo Vindice

Brooks D. Simpson said...

Richard: Let's set aside the use of the illustration (which, I think you'll agree, offers a rather trivializing use of the CBF) in connection with the article, or the "Redneck games" with the SCV. Is there anything in the body of the article with which you take exception?

Anonymous said...

I guess this is what we can expect from self-styled "activist historians" (Levin)...

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

John:

Thank you. As one who is also very familiar with the taste of shoe leather, I find it hard to resist pointing it out in others. I do, however, try to only put one foot in my mouth at a time.

RW

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Brooks:

The main topic of this post is Kevin's connecting the games to the SCV (whether explicitly or implicitly is irrelevant) and the comments that followed suit.

I don't want to get off on a tangent, however if you'll be more specific I might respond - if you'll answer a question for me.

Robert Moore has admitted here that he "got punked." Kevin obviously read Robert's original post on his blog and had to realize Robert assumed there was a connection between the SCV and the Redneck Games. Do you think Kevin got punked or did he intentionally post misleading comments? I'm just posing the question. I don't know. What do you think?

Brooks D. Simpson said...

Richard--

I think that's a good question. I think including the illustration tends to trivialize the story about which Kevin chose to comment. That said, I think the story is your typical poor journalism piece. Take controversial statement from A, look for contrasting remarks by B, and have C offer dispassionate scholarly observations without sensing that C has a perspective as well. I did one of these sorts of interviews for the Christian Science Monitor several years ago, and in the phone interview I told the reporter just how the reporter would assemble the piece.

"Getting punk'd" is, as I understand it, a deliberate setup. Do I think Kevin was deliberately misleading? No, and that wouldn't fit the definition of "getting punk'd," either. But it's not the post I would have written, as I think the Redneck Games (which in this instance are used as a way for non-Southerners, usually white, to mock the South) and Mr. McMichael of the SCV are clearly on two different missions. I can see how someone reading the post can see a link, but I attribute this not to deliberate or malicious forethought, but frankly lack of care by Kevin in expressing his point clearly. That's why I would have not expressed the sentiments he expresses in the last two paragraphs as he does.

That said, Kevin and you tend to fall into a predictable pattern over each other's posts. I find there's more heat than light in those exchanges, and it's become a bit too personal for my preferences.

It may be just as well to say here that I'm married to a direct descendant of a Confederate soldier, and I've spent a decade of my life in the South (with an undergraduate degree from UVa). So I have some idea of what the South is, and what it is not, and I find the notion of "the South" problematic. There are many Souths, and many types of southerners. Anyone who claims to speak for the entire region or for all Southerners is "punking" their audience.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Some intriguing comments Brooks. I believe you may have opened the door for some reasonable dialogue and understanding. I want to respond to several of your comments here, but do not have the time right now. I'll do so later tonight.

RW

Anonymous said...

Brooks said:

"I can see how someone reading the post can see a link, but I attribute this not to deliberate or malicious forethought, but frankly lack of care by Kevin in expressing his point clearly. That's why I would have not expressed the sentiments he expresses in the last two paragraphs as he does."

You hit the nail on the head. It was a horribly written post and I take full responsibility for it. What I should have done was placed my comments about the Redneck Games in a separate paragraph so as not to confuse the reader from my interest in the McMichael's comments. The choice of the image from the article, of course, didn't help. Than again, all of this could have been avoided by posing a simple question in response to my post. Thanks again for the comment, Brooks.

Kevin at Civil War Memory

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Brooks:

Regarding interviews with the press, I agree with you. Save for local papers or unless I'm familiar with the reporter/writer, I always turn them down as I recently did with a request from the BBC for an interview on "faith in rural America."(?!) I simply don't trust them. As with the LA Times piece, and as you note, the result is usually either poor journalism and/or the reporter pushing an agenda.

"Do I think Kevin was deliberately misleading? No"

Then I wonder why he allowed Robert Moore to comment as if there was a connection between the SCV and the Redneck Games without challenging or correcting him? Kevin's pretty quick to challenge points he disagrees with and where he sees mistakes. Not so with Robert making the connection to the SCV. I wonder why?

Regarding Kevin's question about "posing a simple question" - that's exactly what I did, but since I already saw Kevin's comments, as well as Robert's making that connection, I decided to go to the source - the reporter.

"I think the Redneck Games (which in this instance are used as a way for non-Southerners, usually white, to mock the South)"

Not necessarily. Have you ever been to a County fair in the South? Some still feature tobacco spittin' and watermelon seed spittin' competitions. No mocking, just some unusual (to outsiders) fun that grew out of the rural/agrarian lifestyle. Certainly the Redneck Games take that to the extreme, but I would not be so quick to say that all participants are "mocking." Some are very likely "proud rednecks."

"Kevin and you tend to fall into a predictable pattern over each other's posts."

That's a reasonable observation, though I would hasten to add that your comments are fairly predictable as well.

"I find there's more heat than light in those exchanges, and it's become a bit too personal for my preferences."

Perhaps sometimes, but not this one. Besides, Kevin criticized me and my work personally on his blog long before I even knew who he was. I ignored him for a long time.

"I find the notion of "the South" problematic."

I do not find that notion problematic but that could be because my roots here are generations deep.

"There are many Souths, and many types of southerners. Anyone who claims to speak for the entire region or for all Southerners is "punking" their audience."

I could not agree more. I personally don't know anyone who claims to speak for all Southerners. Do you have examples or specific quotes? That's not a loaded question. I'm serious. I've heard the charge often, but have never seen anything to back it up.

Back to your original question. The body of the article is inseparable from the photo and the reference to Redneck Games. That was no accident. It was deliberate and common (in more ways than one).

Regarding the story line, its the same tired, worn story line meant to stir controversy, nothing more. You also pointed that out. Rather shallow and, as you note, very poor "journalism."

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I truly appreciate it.

Brooks D. Simpson said...

"That's a reasonable observation, though I would hasten to add that your comments are fairly predictable as well."

Since both parties involved have found some value in what I'm saying, I guess that's what's predictable.

But perhaps you meant it in some other way, which would suggest that you can't pass up a chance get in a little shot. How does that serve as a response to my effort, which you admitted "may have opened the door for some reasonable dialogue and understanding"? Some would say you just slammed it shut.

I don't think Kevin was practicing deliberate deception. I think he was sloppy. He admits that. Robert admitted he was taken in, too. This isn't some sort of anti-South conspiracy. That Kevin and you disagree is well-known to readers of both blogs, and Lord help anyone who tries to take a middle position or thinks less than the worst of at least one of you. I saw the discussion as increasingly ridiculous, with both parties pushing each other to extreme positions and personal slights.

I see the Redneck Games as a tactic for some white Southerners to mock sectional stereotypes. I see the use of the photograph by the newspaper as an antiSouth slam by someone in LA who was unaware of the joke. I find that Kevin questions the uses to which the CBF has been put, including bikinis, stupid coats, etc., as questioning how critical the very people who embrace the use of the CBF are of the uses to which it's been put (I find the use of the US flag in such crass ways abhorent).

Somehow you make Kevin the enemy in that enterprise, but I think he's asking why you don't protect the use of a symbol I gather you cherish. Where's the SCV there? Heritage violation, anyone?

It really doesn't matter to me how long you've lived in the South, frankly. People have struggled with defining the South for some time, including many white southerners with roots at least as deep as yours. For you to imply that you have to be a member of a group to understand it strikes me as curiously PC.

Having criticized Kevin elsewhere, I must say that he is exactly right when he chides people for confusing southern heritage with Confederate heritage or forgets the diversity of southerners in talking about "true southerners" or to use the term "southerner" in ways that clearly indicate that one's talking about white southerners.

I'm surprised you've never noticed that.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

"But perhaps you meant it in some other way, which would suggest that you can't pass up a chance get in a little shot."

No more of a shot than what your observation was Brooks, just my honest observation.

"may have opened the door for some reasonable dialogue and understanding"? Some would say you just slammed it shut."

I hope not, but we can't have that dialogue unless we each feel we can speak and express ourselves freely. You shouldn't take my comment personally anymore than I took yours.

"I find that Kevin questions the uses to which the CBF has been put, including bikinis, stupid coats, etc., as questioning how critical the very people who embrace the use of the CBF are of the uses to which it's been put (I find the use of the US flag in such crass ways abhorent)."

I agree with you and Kevin on that, though I think some of those who do so see that type of use as "patriotic" or "honoring" the flags. I would disagree with them.

"It really doesn't matter to me how long you've lived in the South, frankly. People have struggled with defining the South for some time, including many white southerners with roots at least as deep as yours. For you to imply that you have to be a member of a group to understand it strikes me as curiously PC."

You are the one who first brought up the Southern heritage connection (through marriage) - I was just suggesting that my heritage certainly impacts my views. Nothing really curious or PC about that in my view.

"I must say that he is exactly right when he chides people for confusing southern heritage with Confederate heritage or forgets the diversity of southerners in talking about "true southerners" or to use the term "southerner" in ways that clearly indicate that one's talking about white southerners."

I think you and Kevin are both making assumptions on this point. When I speak of Southern heritage, I am *sometimes* referring to how that is viewed through the eyes of those descended from Confederate soldiers. Other times I'm speaking in the much broader context of culture, place, history, values, etc. That is very diverse indeed. *Confederate* heritage is, of course, only one part of Southern heritage. Of course the SCV focuses on that one part, what else would you expect? That is their mission, their charge. I'm a little confused by your assertion and criticism on that point.

Southern heritage is indeed diverse in its breadth and depth. From the deep South to the upper South, the coastal South to Appalachia, from jazz to bluegrass, from Southern Gospel to Rock, from George Washington to Booker T. Washington, Native-Americans, Blacks, Whites, etc, etc, all these and much more make up the beautiful mosaic that is "the South" and no one person or group speaks for "the South" as a whole. We are all connected by our shared history - the good, bad, and the ugly.

Again, I think Kevin's criticisms are often a rush based on false assumptions.

I hope we can continue the conversation.

Best,
RW

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Brooks: I meant to address this comment:

"For you to imply that you have to be a member of a group to understand it strikes me as curiously PC."

Where in the world do I imply that? I've never said or implied anything of the sort.

Border Ruffian said...

Brooks Simpson
"I find that Kevin questions the uses to which the CBF has been put, including bikinis, stupid coats, etc., as questioning how critical the very people who embrace the use of the CBF are of the uses to which it's been put (I find the use of the US flag in such crass ways abhorent).

Somehow you make Kevin the enemy in that enterprise, but I think he's asking why you don't protect the use of a symbol I gather you cherish..."

=============

[sarcasm] Sure he is. He's a regular Confederate Heritage Hero with intense concern about the use of the CBF.[/sarcasm]

The truth is the Kevin Levin blog is a Confederate-bashing site and has been since its inception.

James F. Epperson said...

"The truth is the Kevin Levin blog is a Confederate-bashing site and has been since its inception."

FWIW, I've been reading Kevin's blog for several months, and I would not characterize it in this way. Is he critical of some aspects of the Confederacy and modern Confederate heritage? Yes, he is, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Something I find odd and difficult to understand, and I think Brooks was trying to touch on this: My great-grandfather was in the 2nd Virginia Cavalry. That's a simple and verifiable fact. If someone wants to criticize Lee, or Stuart, or whoever his (my ggf's) brigade commander was, it doesn't bother me in the slightest; folks are entitled to their opinion, be it thoughtful or thoughtless. But there seems to be an element in the SCV (mainly) that thinks a great crime (Heritage violation) has been committed if someone criticizes the Confederacy or one of its heroes in the wrong way. This attitude, ISTM, gets in the way of historical study. How can we seriously study a period if holding certain opinions or views is a "Heritage violation"?

Brooks D. Simpson said...

Richard--

I said: "For you to imply that you have to be a member of a group to understand it strikes me as curiously PC."

Whereupon you replied: "Where in the world do I imply that? I've never said or implied anything of the sort."

I point to this exchange:

BDS: I find the notion of "the South" problematic.

RW: I do not find that notion problematic but that could be because my roots here are generations deep.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

You're incorrectly assuming my statement is exclusive. It is not. There are many, many others from outside the South who do not find the notion of "the South" problematic. I have a number of friends who hail from Northern states who have no problem with the notion. Some of these would be names with which you'd be familiar.

That's not to say that being from "the South" doesn't help one understand. Simple logic would support that notion, would it not?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Brooks:

See Kevin's recent response to "Jim" on this subject. Jim seems to have been attempting to find some middle ground and compromise. Kevin's response is quite instructive.

cenantua said...

Actually I should have said oversimplications WITH generalizations.

Robert

brboyd said...

Isnt it Kevin's site that will not post anything that he doesnt agree with?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

BR:

That's not totally accurate, though he has banned several with whom he's disagreed in the past and he did delete some of my comments the last time I posted there.

But, it is his blog - he may do as he wishes.

Kevin said...

Richard,

I do not ban people who disagree with me. Even a cursory glance through the comments would confirm that. I do ban people who insult me or who steer the conversation significantly beyond the scope of the blog subject.

You keep harping on my deleting two of your recent comments. What you continue to overlook is that I also deleted two of my own in response to yours. They had nothing to do with the subject of the post and I even emailed you to let you know what I had done. There was nothing in those two comments that related to anything substantial to the subject of the post and you know that. You could at least be intellectually honest about that.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Kevin:

I don't consider a couple of mentions harping. I've not made a big deal of that here, no posts or such. I've received several emails from those who have disagreed with you and they told me they were banned.

Regarding insults and getting off subject, I usually just reject such comments, as I have of those who have made very personal, insulting comments toward you.

Your comments here may be seen as presenting your side and setting the record straight.

RW

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Robert:

Its important to remember that the large Confederate flag in Florida only went up in 2008 in response to
the Hillsborough County Commission's failure to mark Confederate Memorial Day, April 26, with a proclamation in 2007. It was the first time in memory that the commission did not mark the day or proclaim April as Southern Heritage Month.

Had the County simply continued with longstanding tradition, the huge CBF would never have been raised. As is so often the case, the PC crowd is creating most of the controversy over these symbols, monuments, and public displays. The SCV was simply exercising their 1st amendment rights after the local government declined to honor Confederate Veterans.

cenantua said...

I still think the "reaction" was a poor decision. It's simply a lack of class and as Mr. Corbett points out, isn't reflective of the spirit of Lee and, (my words)... isn't reflective of the character of some of the very people that the group is supposed to honor. Likewise, the national organizations support of the flagging shows that the lack of quality remembrance isn't localized, but runs up the chain. 1st amendment or not, it's just bad form. The "reaction to the PC crowd" excuse is no excuse at all.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

The decision causing the reaction was a poor decision, influenced by PC concerns. What' more noticeable, the original proclamation or the huge flag on the interstate?

How would you oppose and battle the refusal to continue the tradition? Or should the local SCV have just gone away in silence?

By placing the large flag, it is simply showing that the SCV isn't going to back down. It's a very American tradition. Would I have chosen that route personally? Probably not, but I certainly understand the sentiment and anger and the reaction. Its very much like what happened at Point Lookout.

cenantua said...

The huge flag on the interstate is just that. To the person who views it, it's not an education, it's a statement without explanation and, as interpreted has many explanations that are far from the intent of the reaction. Therefore, a person seeing the flag is left to interpret it as a stand-alone instrument. Some may know the story behind it, but that is probably not the case with the majority of those who see it (to include a number of out-of-state tourists). Even if it is explained, there is still no excuse for it. If respect is really what the SCV wants, it needs to adopt another path of public education and this isn't it.

The Point Lookout thing, in my mind, is different.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

I believe there is also a park there, or one planned, which will have some additional information and provide some context.

Again, there would be no flag had it not been for the very short-sighted decision by the county. Poorly reasoned decisions like this often result in unintended consequences. Such is the case here.

Again, I may have chosen a different way to react, but I think the flag and park are well within the SCV's charge and mission.

cenantua said...

Park or not, the first mistake was putting the flag up like an "in-your-face" statement, and the second mistake was using a symbol that is strongly tied to an era in which the same was abused.

Part of the distancing of which I speak has to do with dignified structured remembrance. Once all the dust has settled, I'm going to start looking for the one piece that laid it out that the Sons were to use the third national... period. This was specified by the veterans who even passed, within one of the UCV conventions, that the Sons were not to use the Battleflag... and I think that was in any form other than the third national. Don't mistake what I say, however, as I would not condone the same gaudy display of the third national either.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Gaudy is subjective, though I've already said I would likely have chosen a different way to respond.

Not to belabor the point, but the County is as much to blame as anyone and should not be let off the hook.

The Proclamation could have been done tastefully, accurately, and would not have been, to use your words "in your face." These proclamations are made all the time. They brought this on themselves.