New Revelations About Old Friends

It’s been a fairly quiet year so far in the world of Confederate heritage, especially when it comes to our favorite organization, the Virginia Flaggers. They’ve done nothing of consequence this year that deserves notice. Recently, however, that changed a bit in two instances.

Y’all recall Raymond Agnor, the fellow who allowed the Flaggers to put up a flag on his land northeast of Lexington, Virginia, only to say that he did not want blacks on his property?

(Thus posing something of a problem for Virginia Flagger Karen Cooper, who’s been rather quiet herself lately … )

Well, lookie here: Raymond’s discovered social media. Restoring the Honor offers several fine examples of his work on Twitter. Now everyone can see his racism put on public display.

Of course, the Virginia Flaggers would never dishonor the Confederate flag by associating it with such a vile creature, right? Heritage, not hate, remember? Restore the honor and all that?

Of course they would.

Flagger Role

Just as important, however, is the declaration of Virginia Flagger spokesperson Connie Chastain that the Confederate flag means whatever someone wants it to mean. “It’s not a hate flag,” she complained. “Hate is an attitude that resides in the mind of the person viewing or considering the flag, just as honor does.” So, in short, one can see the Confederate flag as a symbol of hate, racism, prejudice, and intolerance just as much as one can see it as a symbol of home and honor. What you see depends on where you stand.

I can agree with that.

Chastain struggled to regain her balance once she realized that she had put her foot in her mouth. “The feeling of honor I referred to resides in the person, as it is a human emotion” she explained in an effort at clarification. “But the aspect of being an honorable object which is attached to the flag is not a human emotion; it was an attribute imbued to the flag for all time by the men who carried in into battle when they fought to defend families, homes and communities from a barbaric army of invasion.” Good try. But, by Chastain’s own reasoning, the flag was also imbued with the attributes of racism, hatred, intolerance, and prejudice by the people who carried it to protest equality and civil rights … and that may be for all time as well.

The Confederate flag is not inherently anything. People decide what it means to them. Connie Chastain does not get to decide what it should mean to you, or what it means, period. Even she knows better. As she recently put it, “Many people see the Confederate flag as a symbol of slavery? Many people don’t see it as a symbol of slavery. Why should only one viewpoint dominate or be considered legitimate?”

In short, there are multiple legitimate viewpoints. Thanks for realizing that, Connie.

With friends like Raymond Agnor and Connie Chastain, Confederate heritage is in trouble.


47 thoughts on “New Revelations About Old Friends

  1. Connie Chastain February 17, 2016 / 1:02 am

    Quote, “But, by Chastain’s own reasoning, the flag was also imbued with the attributes of racism, hatred, intolerance, and prejudice by the people who carried it to protest equality and civil rights … and that may be for all time as well.”

    Wrong. That is not my reasoning, but I’m not surprised you’d put forth that error. The attributes the flag was originally given by those first created and used it remain with it and can’t be replaced.The misuse of it by the people you identify here do not imbue it with anything, as its original attributes were still with it then, as they are now.

    How people view the flag is confined to them, their personal though processes, beliefs, perspective, perception,etc. — their views cannot be projected onto the flag. But some people’s views are compatible with the flag’s original attributes, and some aren’t

    • Brooks D. Simpson February 17, 2016 / 7:04 am

      Sorry, Connie. You can’t have it both ways. You don’t get to tell us what the Confederate flag should mean for everyone. It symbolizes different things to different people. Women who wear bikini versions of the flag aren’t honoring the service of Confederate soldiers.


      No matter you screech so much about people seeking to impose their views on others. You’re projecting your own desires and motives on others … again. Now back to your blog. Take care.

      • bob carey February 17, 2016 / 2:49 pm

        For what it’s worth, I believe the original attributes of the CBF are treason, enslavement and finally surrender. I wonder if my Unionist view would be allowed in Ms. Chastain’s world.

          • Brooks D. Simpson February 19, 2016 / 11:42 am

            And it’s your perception that the Confederate flag must be interpreted as you say it must be interpreted. Capisce?

            But we are glad to note that you are still around. How’s your novel going?

          • Connie Chastain February 19, 2016 / 12:45 pm

            I haven’t said that the Confederate flag must be interpreted as I say it must be interpreted. That’s your deliberate misstatement.

          • Donald Pruden, Jr. a/k/a The Enemy Combatant February 19, 2016 / 3:48 pm

            Quite the contrary, Ms. Chastain.

            You wrote “inherent” to characterize the meaning of the Flag, and then cited what that “inherency” was supposed to be.

            You write this: “The attributes the flag was originally given by those first created and used it remain with it and can’t be replaced. The misuse of it by the people you identify here do not imbue it with anything, as its original attributes were still with it then, as they are now.”

            Followed, again by you, with this: “But some people’s views are compatible with the flag’s original attributes, and some aren’t.”

            Clearly, you seek to police any understanding of the Flag that does not serve your strategic purpose, while claiming to do no such thing.

            Pity is disinclined due to the repellent nature of the politics that have historically accompanied the public (and private) display of the Flag.

      • Connie Chastain February 19, 2016 / 4:08 am

        Just trying to explain — though I shouldn’t have to explain it to somebody as educmucated as you are — that there is a difference between inherent meaning and perceived meaning. The Confederate battle flag was given its inherent meaning when it was created and used by soldiers for the purpose it was created for, and that It retains its inherent meaning no matter how many perceived meanings there are out there. That isn’t projecting anything on anybody.

        I know that women who wear flag bikinis, or punks who use the flag to symbolize the drug culture with a superimposed marijuana leaf, aren’t honoring Confederate soldiers; but because I understand individual perception and freedom of expression, I don’t force my view on them and TELL them they can’t do that. However, I see nothing wrong with educating them about the flag’s inherent meaning, hoping that will change their perception. Surely someone with your perspicacity can tell the difference….

        • Brooks D. Simpson February 19, 2016 / 9:59 am

          Rewording your flawed logic does not remove the flaw in what you believe as logic. Creating new concepts in an effort to conceal the weakness of your argument does not strengthen your argument.

          By your logic, the Nazi swastika is a symbol of national and racial superiority, and those of us who see it as a symbol of racism, intolerance, and evil are wrong. You may indeed feel that way about that symbol, and you can share your appreciation of it on your blog, not here.

          • Connie Chastain February 19, 2016 / 12:43 pm

            My logic is not flawed. Your misstatement of it is flawed — purposely.

            The swastika didn’t originate with the Nazis, but but both its inherent meaning (from the Hindu) and its largely perceived meaning (based on Nazism) are immaterial to me.

          • Brooks D. Simpson February 19, 2016 / 3:37 pm

            You keep telling yourself these things. After all, we understand that you have a problem with simple logic. So no wonder you don’t understand what you say.

            Of course, that’s not a good thing for you, a writer, to admit, but then you haven’t been doing much writing lately, have you?

            I gather then that you believe that we should start displaying swastikas again. When will you be putting one in your window to show us how it’s done?

  2. Sandi Saunders February 17, 2016 / 6:35 am

    Yes, you are always known by the company you keep.

    • Brooks D. Simpson February 17, 2016 / 7:30 am

      According to Connie Chastain’s logic, we should view the flag of Nazi Germany according to the values with which it was imbued by its creators and followers. Well, that’s when Connie isn’t arguing that symbols mean different things to different people. This is what passes for logic in her mind.

      • Connie Chastain February 19, 2016 / 4:11 am

        You can view the Nazi flag however you wish. It’s irrelevant to me.

        • Brooks D. Simpson February 19, 2016 / 10:03 am

          Clearly you believe we should appreciate it as its creators thought it should be appreciated. Otherwise your argument would be … illogical. Next you will tell us that we should fly it to honor the military service of the SS during World War II.

          • Charlie February 19, 2016 / 10:42 am

            Apparently, she has no clue that you are making her look like a complete half-wit.

          • Brooks D. Simpson February 19, 2016 / 11:37 am

            Perhaps that’s a consequence of her ability to process information and think logically.

            She is a fine representative of the current Confederate heritage movement.

          • Connie Chastain February 19, 2016 / 12:33 pm

            The swastika originated with the Hindu, not the Third Reich….

          • Brooks D. Simpson February 19, 2016 / 3:25 pm

            There you go again, making excuses for the Nazis. The Hindus did not devise this:

            By your own logic, we should respect the “inherent values” of that flag as determined by its creators. It is a military flag, after all.

            I disagree.

          • Connie Chastain February 19, 2016 / 12:49 pm

            Charlie, Simpson’s snail-slick glibness may appear to be making me look like a half-wit, but only to people who are eager to share in his hatred of Confederate heritage supporters.

          • Brooks D. Simpson February 19, 2016 / 3:28 pm

            I think you need no help in revealing to others the nature of your intellect and logic. It’s not the first time you’ve gotten upset at me for citing your words.

            Trust me, I understand why you’re angry when someone quotes you. Even you comprehend how you look.

            That’s what makes you such a fitting representative of Confederate heritage.

        • Donald Pruden, Jr. a/k/a The Enemy Combatant February 19, 2016 / 10:55 am

          How the Confederate Battle flag is viewed and used by NAZIs may be irrelevant to you, but it is of some relevance to them. After all, they have seen fit to adopt it. Indeed, because public displays of the NAZI flag is illegal in Germany, to take that example, skinheads, neo-fascists/neo-NAZIs, anti-immigrant groups, and other elements of the German far right there have seen fit to display the Confederate Battle Flag in their marches and public rallies and meetings. It may not do for us here to ask you if understand why that would be the case (although some of us here think we already know why) but it may do for you to ask yourself why.

          By why go to all the way to Germany when Americans are perfectly willing to display both flags here:

          This is a short news piece titled “Meet Tennessee’s neo-Nazi white supremacists” by Britain’s Channel Four News.

          I understand if the Prof. Simpson decides to delete it. I will state that there is no obscene language in the piece and that the program is created and exhibited online by a legitimate news organization and not some rightist site or outlet.

          • Brooks D. Simpson February 19, 2016 / 11:36 am

            Apparently Chastain believes that we should view Nazi symbols as the Nazis viewed them. That’s her logic and she’s sticking to it.

            It’s also a good way for her to duck the growing evidence that the Virginia Flaggers are just a little too cozy with white supremacists. Then again, they employ her as their webmaster.

  3. robert February 17, 2016 / 9:17 am

    Maybe logic means different things to different people

    • Shoshana Bee February 17, 2016 / 10:52 am

      I find that when people start inventing their own “personal” logic, it is usually best defined as irrational.

      • Connie Chastain February 19, 2016 / 4:13 am

        Interesting … you find personal illogic all over the anti\heritage crowd.

        • Brooks D. Simpson February 19, 2016 / 11:51 am

          In all honesty, that’s a common observation about the Confederate heritage crowd. Connie Chastain’s an outstanding example.

          • Shoshana Bee February 19, 2016 / 12:21 pm

            Mr. Simpson,I appreciate the fact that you have developed a means to communicate when faced with such irrationality (the Confederate Heritage folk) The “defense” of such repugnant symbols such as the CBF, defies common decency when there is such an illustrated legacy of hate behind it. I leave it in your capable hands to deal with the likes of those idiots (my response would not be “family friendly”)

    • Connie Chastain February 19, 2016 / 4:12 am

      So you think the concept of inherent vs perceived meanings is illogical?

      • Brooks D. Simpson February 19, 2016 / 11:50 am

        Be prepared as Connie Chastain enters the world of Confederate heritage metaphysics.

        Of course, by the same rationale the United Sates flag during the Civil War was the flag of freedom and liberty.

        The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah!
        Down with the traitors, up with the stars;
        While we rally round the flag, boys, we rally once again,
        Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

        And thus the Confederates are traitors, fighting against freedom … because, by Chastain logic, it’s the “inherent meaning” of the flag and the song celebrating it.

        And now you know why Confederate heritage is in trouble: Connie Chastain.

        • Connie Chastain February 19, 2016 / 12:35 pm

          The US flag did not originate with the civil war so its inherent meaning did not originate then

          • Brooks D. Simpson February 19, 2016 / 3:40 pm

            I believe the one with 33/34 stars did. That’s the one they are singing about.

            Try to keep up. Now you are holding forth on what is or is not “inherent meaning,” reminding us that you want to tell us all how to think and what to think. That’s not working out very well for you, is it?

            Back to your blog. Feeding time is over for the troll.

      • Donald Pruden, Jr. a/k/a The Enemy Combatant February 19, 2016 / 3:02 pm

        Is it not necessary that an “inherent” meaning be accessible to perception, therefore suggesting that an “inherent” meaning is (must also be) a species of “perceived” meaning? And is not what is “perceived” always already organized by language — meaning, that it IS language?

        Thus, an “inherent” meaning, following Derrida’s analysis of Plato, is actually a kind of idealist “archi-writing” that supposedly precedes its textual manifestation (the Flag itself, say), vouchsafing the semantic stability of the text. But given that “perceived” meaning relies upon/is language, and serves as our only access to the alleged “inherent” meaning, any reading of the “archi-writing” of the text (again, in the present case, the Confederate Battle Flag) must be facilitated by the deployment of “perceived” meanings, whose own instability is already explicitly conceded in your statement above.

        Well, the marker of language is its inherent semantic UNstability. Thus, a stable and impregnable “inherent” meaning is actually “pregnable” (readable) by the non-stable device of written language.

        Plato tried to suggest that spoken language had inherent truth because (being only spoken) it would not be open to promiscuous and profligate interpretation and that written language was a corrupt replication of the spoken word, and written language’s corruptibility was due to its availability to interpretation which, in his view, was corruption itself, since interpretation moved us away (or “deferred” us) from truth. Thus open to interpretation, it is also open to multiple readings, which in turn demonstrate the inherent instability of written language. It is quite striking that you attempt to pull this Platonic stunt in your distinction between “inherent” (good because Confederate soldiers) and “perceived” (bad because of lived, inconvenient) meanings.

        Your reading which asserts “inherent” meanings versus “perceived” meanings already has built into it a necessarily “deconstructive” element. You try to totalize meaning by fencing off how it is experienced as if to assert that the former is truth and that the other is a corruption — without realizing that the corruption is the condition for the very possibility of the “truth” you would have us accept. Indeed, you indulge the hierarch-alization that Derrida reviews as a fundamental feature of writing: you put “inherent” meaning above “perceived” meaning by suggesting that the creators of the Battle Flag had somehow “given” (your word) its “inherent” meaning to that Flag. (Where did THEY get it? From God? Plato?) This binarism or opposition is the very deconstructive turn that destabilizes meaning as it attempts to freeze it in place: “inherent” is the stabilizing Ideal, the vouchsafing metaphysic while “perceived” is the corrupted and corrupting project of lowly (because manifold) interpretation.

        And yet you seem unwilling to answer the very questions that your assertion invites: just how is this giving of meaning to a flag undertaken by its historical (and NOT Platonically ideal) creators? What is their a-priori source of such meaning such that they can inlay this “inherent” meaning into the Flag? How can meaning be “inherent” if it needs historical people to give such meaning to an object? And once it is there, quietly “inhering” in the Flag, how are the rest of us to perceive it except by bringing our historical semiotics to bear on it? Again: is not an “inherent” meaning also, by necessity, accessible to “perceiving” it? Isn’t that WHY it’s “there” in the first place? What accounts for some semiotic accesses/deployments, but not others – or, why is it that racists, say, seem to be the ones who most often found articulating their “perceived” meanings of the Flag and, most notably, in a fashion readily available to the rest of us to also “perceive”?

        I apologize to all of the readers of this blog for inflicting my third-rate Derrida on you and on a Friday afternoon, no less. couldn’t help myself – Ms. Chastain went and opposed “inherent” and “perceived” and I smelled a binarist hierarchy occluding an unexamined metaphysics and —

        Wait, were was I?

        Oh, yeah. Enjoy the weekend!

  4. Leo February 17, 2016 / 12:13 pm

    I have always found Connie’s mental gymnastics very amusing.

      • Brooks D. Simpson February 19, 2016 / 11:53 am

        Wasn’t that the real purpose behind your (now-moribund) blog? It gave us amusement while seeking to cover your jealousy and envy (as well as providing a wonderful example of the connections between bigotry, intolerance, and Confederate heritage)?

        So it seems.

        • Connie Chastain February 19, 2016 / 12:37 pm

          I’m certainly not jealous/envious of heritage haters.

          • Brooks D. Simpson February 19, 2016 / 3:38 pm

            That just proves you’re dishonest as well. No surprise here.

  5. Tybalt February 19, 2016 / 4:26 pm

    The litany of human rights abuses and crimes against humanity that have been perpetrated under the aegis of the U.S. flag is stunning. These grisly and diabolical crimes include slave-trafficking, slavery, genocide, mass-murder, kidnapping, torture, rape, pillage, plunder, theft, assassination and arson. Naturally, the theatrics by those who complain that the CSA battle flag is a symbol of “hate” amount to nothing more than an empty, hypocritical, and ridiculous farce.

    • Brooks D. Simpson February 19, 2016 / 5:01 pm

      Of course, many of these crimes and transgressions you claim to deplore were committed by or approved by the white southerners you treasure so much. You seem to forget that. You seem to forget that white southerners were essential to the formation and existence of the very nation you hate so much.

      You’ve outlived your entertainment value when you engage in such stupid sophistries. Bye.

  6. Celia Laset February 19, 2016 / 6:11 pm

    I think it is a very fair point to raise. If the flag of the CSA is judged by its misdeeds, then the flag of the USA should also be judged by its misdeeds. What could possibly be more fair than that?

    • Brooks D. Simpson February 19, 2016 / 10:56 pm

      Please list the virtues of the Confederacy.

      Generally speaking, flags don’t commit deeds or misdeeds. People do. An acknowledgment of American shortcomings transcends the Civil War, and includes a rather large period of time when southerners were Americans. Most people know that. Maybe you think southerners aren’t Americans.

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