News and Notes, March 25, 2012

  1. Apparently last month another Confederate statue fell victim to vandalism.  At least it’s not simply an offense to good taste.
  2. These reports about the Museum of the Confederacy and the flag controversy are becoming boring.  Someday they’ll be selling pictures of Susan Hathaway and Waite Rawls shaking hands in Wilmer McLean’s parlor … and Susan will get to keep her flag.
  3. Connie Chastain wishes to remind us of how her mind works: ” … all the heroes in my novels are Southern white men, and all the heroines are Southern white women. But then, a couple of the villains are Southern white men. However, MOST of the villains are yankee wimmin.”  Apparently segregation (or outright exclusion) reigns supreme in her fictional world, too.  No news of when Hunter Wallace will appear in one of her “books,” since she asserts that he’s a fictional construct, too.  Probably a pen name.
  4. Lost in the flag flurry with the MOC is another story about what the MOC will display.
  5. Here’s a report from Charlottesville which places the newest statue flap in context.

Deconstructing Confederate “Heritage”

Over at Civil War Memory they’ve been talking about me and this blog … or at least one of the recent themes of this blog (I’ve excerpted the main discussion … click on the names for the full comment):

[Phil Ross]:  Brooks Simpson has been playing a masterful game of chess on his blog by baiting the SHPG and the flaggers, and in the process has subtly impelled them to make distinctions amongst themselves. In doing so he has successfully drawn out the arch-conservative neo-confederates who, while their racial views are despicable to most 21st century Americans (which they don’t consider themselves), they are absolutely crystal-clear and accurate in their history. There isn’t a hair-breadth of difference between your understanding of the causes of the war and theirs. Simpson has done an incredible service in prompting neo-Confederates to define themselves along a political spectrum that has often appeared monochromatic to the mainstream.

This leaves the Confederate Heritage folks in a bit of a conceptual conundrum, though, which explains a lot of the cognitive dissonance they leave in the wake of their blog posts and replies. They are attempting to define their heritage in a paradigm that they, themselves, consider to be an invalid politically-correct 21st century liberal context. Mr. Lucas’ replies above are chock full of liberal buzzwords–”intolerant,” “bigotry,” “racism,” “diversity,” etc.–implying an acceptance of the interpretive paradigm that followed the civil rights era. The problem is, it simply can’t be done. There is no logical way to do this, knowing what we know about the rock-solid, unassailable facts of southern history.

This leaves neo-Confederates like Mr. Lucas in the rather ironic position of being stuck between mainstream history and hard-line conservative reactionary neo-Confederate views, neither of which consider their point of view valid. Existentially, they inhabit an interpretive no-man’s-land.

[Kevin Levin]: “I am as big a fan of Brooks’s blog as the next person, but the views of these folks have been made crystal clear on their own websites. He hasn’t impelled them to do anything that they haven’t already done themselves.”

[Phil Ross]: I could have been more clear here. His modus operandi is to call attention to those websites and blogs on his own blog. Their reactive responses–on their own blogs as well as Simpson’s–make the exact points he was seeking to make. It’s been truly fascinating watching this play out over the last several weeks. And it was especially amusing watching Connie Chastain get outed as a closet liberal. :)

To which I have this to say:

Okay, okay … I think they got the point the first time.  No need to rub it in.

UPDATE: Hunter Wallace agrees with Phil Ross.  Kinda.