15 November 2014

Are These Folks "Manure" Too?

I promised this follow up a month ago. Sorry for the delay. I had responded earlier to a post at Civil War Memory in which comments were posted calling a woman "manure" for promoting a line of women's clothing which characterized Southern style, in part as . . .
Georgia peaches, sweet tea, and the enticement of a smooth twang…we all love a bit of southern charm. These regional mainstays, along with an innate sense of social poise, evoke an unparalleled warmth and authenticity in style and tradition.
Yes, for this the young woman was called "manure" by one of Levin's followers. And Levin said he agreed with calling this woman, whom neither the commenter nor Levin has ever met, "manure".  Is this part of that whole "war on women" thing I keep hearing about? 

From the post and comments at CWM, I think its safe to say we don't all love a bit of Southern charm. But a lot of folks do, particularly in the South; as well as our Yankee friends who like to migrate here. But some of the critics and other members of the permanent wedgy class simply don't approve of the way many Southerners think, as this comment over the subject indicates:
too many people don't think "slavery" when they hear "plantation".
What defines "too many"? More than zero? A baker's dozen? As anyone familiar with academia knows, groupthink is all the rage these days. We must all think like we're told to think. Maybe some indoctrination and re-education camps are in order so we'll all get our minds right.

I suppose Americans should also automatically think "slavery" when they see the U.S. Capitol, since it was built by slaves, and think "slavery" every time they see the U.S. flag since it flew over slave ships, and think "slavery" at every sporting event when the Star Spangled Banner is sung, since Francis Scott Key owned slaves. We could go on.

It's all a big morality play. You're supposed to think and feel evil when you hear "plantation" and if you don't, you're "manure." You should be ashamed for embracing and enjoying Southern culture. That's their perspective.  Sometimes it seems like these folks are projecting what occupies their thought processes all of the time. Should I think slavery when I see a pair of Nike's too?

Of course, Levin is one who thinks that using the term "War Between the States" is somehow improper. As that link and post prove, it's still a popular term and used by many (particularly in the South) in lieu of the term "Civil War."

The bottom line is that this is simply part of the attempt to marginalize anyone who relishes the rich, wonderful, diverse culture of the South and who fails to think, write or speak outside of academia's box of groupthink. Some of its envy. And a lot of its snobbery, arrogance, elitism and insecurity. 
an increasingly successful campaign by the media and an academic elite to strip . . . Southerners . . . of their heritage, and therefore, their identity. They are being taught to forget their forebears or to remember them with shame. ~ Eugene Genovese
But if these self-righteous folks - who refer to a stranger marketing Southern themed clothing as "manure" - want to shame the rest of us into turning our backs on our Southern culture and heritage, they've got their work cut out for them. Ms. Lively (aka "Manure" to the intellectually and morally superior class) isn't the only person or company marketing Southern themed clothing. Consider:

Southern Proper: "Style, Tradition and Authenticity are the Southern pillars that inspired the creation of Southern Proper . . . " 

Southern Belle: "We hope you will join this Online Community by letting your voice be heard. To us, this is more than just selling t-shirts, it's about bringing TRUE Southern Belles together. Big thanks to each and every one of you for helping turn one little idea into a Southern Cultural Phenomenon. We look forward to hearing from y'all." Simply Southern Collection: (No "about us" or mission statement, but the name says it all.)

Southern Fashion House: "The house that Southern values built."

Coast Apparel: "quickly becoming THE clothing line around southern college campuses with guys that have many common likes – hunting, fishing, bars, football, basketball, road trips, fraternity parties, and a date on the town."

Bourbon and Boots: "Bourbon & Boots was formed by a bunch of Southerners … and one yankee. (We forgive him.) Our team scours the country for classic Americana items — seeking high-quality, stylish things that inspire us. You won’t find any mass-produced, “big box” products here because we look for high-quality, “small batch” creations from small business owners and artisans."

Southern Shirt:  The Southern Shirt Company

Garden & Gun: ". . . a metaphor for the South—its land, the people, their lifestyle, and their heritage. . . . Garden & Gun, LLC is a lifestyle brand anchored by its award-winning national magazine, Garden & Gun that covers the best of the South, including the sporting culture, the food, the music, the art, the literature, the people and their ideas.  With a national audience of more than one million passionate and engaged readers, the magazine has won numerous awards for its journalism, design, and overall excellence.  The publication was launched in the Spring of 2007. The company and editorial team are headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, with advertising sales offices across the United States."

And my personal favorite . . .

Southern Fried Cotton: "We're a homegrown apparel company inspired by Southern style. The creators of SoFriCo were born and raised in the South and have a shared passion for all things Southern. Our goal is to capture the Southern spirit in our apparel, from the rustic countryside to the vibrant coastline. Take a look through our catalog and find a piece of the South to take with you!"

And although it doesn't have anything to do with clothing, we can't possibly forget . . . 

Rebel Yell Bourbon: "The 'Rebel Yell' is one of the most endearing legends in our country’s history. It is a war cry used by Confederate soldiers to instill fear while engaged in battle. Also used as a chant of victory or a moral booster, General 'Stonewall' Jackson was once quoted as saying “that’s the most beautiful sound in the world”

"Today Rebel Yell Bourbon represents the same victorious passion, commitment and honor to its heritage that our forefathers exhibited with their rebel yells. So next time you’re drinking Rebel Yell Bourbon, belt out a rebel yell in celebration. Who knows, it may inspire you to blaze your own trail."

I think some folks really do need to broaden their horizons and experience some cultural diversity. In other words, become an independent thinker and "blaze your own trail." And, while you're at it, why not make a fashion statement to boot?

Cheers y'all.


Chaps said...

Wasn't there a U.S. Senate resolution in the 1880s referring to The War Between the States?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Anon - I deleted your comment. The link to the piece featuring potty-mouth language and comparisons to Hitler just doesn't meet our high standards here. However, if Hitler comparisons give you some temporary wedgy relief, may I recommend:


Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Chaps - Good to hear from you. Don't know, but would not surprise me. As you know, it's still a very common term and used quite extensively, despite what the bubble-dwellers believe.

ropelight said...

Clearly, since the States did not fight among themselves, or between themselves, WBTS misidentifies the nature of the conflict.

WBTS is an inaccurate term which persists, largely in the South, only because it allows for polite reference to Mr Lincoln's War without referring to it as a Civil War, which it was not.

Many scholars have made this point, the favored prevalence of CW resides in its ability to obfuscate the ugliest facts of the origin and prosecution of the regional conflict and to allow the Federal government to masquerade as a savior of the Union and later as a champion of freedom (and to escape responsibility for its war crimes.

Newly elected President Lincoln directed Federal armies to invade seceding Southern States in order to forcefully prevent them from successfully maintaining a new Confederation of States the members of which had previously been part of the United States, most of them original founding members.

Other terms for the war include, The War of Northern Aggression, The War For Southern Independence, and the War Against Southern Independence. All of which are more accurate than either CW or WBTS and are ignored by Northern academics and in the curriculum of public schools for that very reason.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Douglas Southall Freeman opined that the most historically accurate name would be, as one you noted, "The War For Southern Independence."

I use Civil War, WBTS, and Freeman's suggestion all. Lee used "Civil War" so I'm ok with that too. Strictly speaking, Freeman is correct.

ropelight said...

RGW, thank you for providing this forum and thank you for allowing me to comment here. Ordinarily, I wouldn't belabor the point but the intellectual act of naming is important (one of Adam's first tasks) and has far reaching consequences. It's vital to get it right, inaccuracy in naming is the mother of uncountable errors hidden in the shadows like invisible stumbling blocks on the path to understanding.

I hold Douglas Freeman in high regard and mean no disrespect to him or his scholarship, he's more than earned a high and honored place in the field of Southern History and I'm just some miscellaneous guy commenting on your blog, but Freeman's preferred term doesn't accurately describe the origins of the conflict.

It fails to place the onus for the war on the Federal government. In fact, it can wrongly be taken as an acknowledgment the Confederacy elected to initiate hostilities in the process of seceding from the Union. If it was a War For something then it follows that those seeking that something (Independence in this case) were willing to start a war to achieve their goal.

But that's not what happened, although, it's true the seceding States did seek independence from the Union, and it's true the Confederate States did fight to remain free, it's also true the Federal government raised an invasion army, blockaded Southern ports, intrigued with foreign governments, and fought a long and bitter war against Southern independence.

My point is the Federal government made war against the Confederate States to prevent them from withdrawing from the Union. Had the Federal government acquiesced there would have been no reason to fight for independence. Consequently, I maintain the war is best described as a War Against Southern Independence.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks RL - points well-taken.