I guess someone had to go there … that is, here.
We are coming to the end of another summer. Children are returning to school, and Labor Day will mark the traditional end of summer break, even if in some cases school has been in session for weeks.
One of the traditional Hollywood staples for many years was the summer camp movie. The story was always the same: there was a camp where people met, bonded, and found out the meaning of life despite themselves, sometimes by scoring a tremendous victory over a rival camp populated by privileged kids. You know exactly what I mean …
… or this …
… or some others …
… except those horror movies.
By now we’ve all heard about how TV Land pulled The Dukes of Hazzard from its television lineup. I imagine that’s the most attention the series got in years, and, if we are to believe some of the wailing and crying, it’s as TV Land had scheduled a Cosby Show marathon for a week. Now comes an analysis of one episode that touched on Civil War history.
For those of you who want to judge for yourself, here’s the episode. BTW, this means devoted fans of the show can still watch it, just not on TV Land.
Then again, there’s nothing like The E! True Hollywood Story on the show:
Go to 36:30 to see a debate about the Confederate flag …
As if that wasn’t enough, someone’s working hard to make us laugh about the Civil War. Head on over and enjoy.
Most people familiar with American popular culture as rendered through television know something about “The Dukes of Hazzard.” That show has been in the news in recent weeks, when a television network specializing in reruns decided not to air it any more.
That sparked some controversy. Leading the charge was someone near and dear to readers of this blog, Ben Jones, who played “Cooter” the mechanic in the show. Ben’s had a colorful career since then, including serving in the United Sates House of Representatives. He’s currently the chief of heritage operations for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, coming aboard just as the SCV had to confront the removal of replica Confederate flags from Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University.
Everything I know about Ben from personal contact suggests that he’s a fine fellow who knows his baseball, but when it comes to these issues, we disagree a great deal, and his appearance here on this blog several years ago did not go well for him (although he deserves credit for making the effort). I also know that he continues to be proud of his work on “The Dukes of Hazzard,” including lending the name of his character to a string of stores known as “Cooter’s Place.” These stores are owned by Ben and his wife, so he ought to know what they sell.
Thus it occurred to me to find out what sort of Confederate flags are sold by the store owned by the man who is the chief of heritage operations for the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
I don’t recall that even Stand Waite or John Ross approved of this flag.
This one confuses me. Aren’t you supposed to shoot deer? Are you supposed to shoot the flag? Or is this a wildlife preservation message? I can’t tell.
Nor can I identify the unit that deer flag honors. Same here:
I’m supposed to hook the flag and reel it in?
Well, perhaps this is a tribute to Confederate logistics and what might have been. 10-4, good buddy.
So much for regulation headgear.
Really? Maybe this commemorates Burnside’s Mud March, but I wonder.
Whatever floats your boat … but I don’t think smiley faces were placed on real Confederate battle flags. Rather, it sends the message that someone’s day is a brighter one if he offends others. Send one to Connie Chastain now.
There are more, but you get the idea. Or maybe you don’t. Want a Confederate flag bikini, for example? Click here. Swim trunks? Click here. Want to sleep under the flag? Click here. Want to go formal? Click here. Want to be the Confederate answer to David Cassidy? Click here.
And to you want to try your wet, sweaty body with the Confederate flag? Click here.
I was unhappy not to find this for sale.
And that, folks, is how to honor Confederate heritage and the service and sacrifice of the Confederate soldier and sailor. Tell ’em Cooter said so.
Note: Not all the images offered here are the images presented on the website in question … because some of them really weren’t very good. I wanted you to enjoy what was there with the best images of the merchandise possible. Upgrade your site, Ben.
Everybody likes The Onion. At least, that’s the impression I get from social media. Both my Facebook and Twitter feeds are populated by links to this incisive news source, which is to The New York Times what Comedy Central is to network news (although some might say the same for MSNBC and Fox News, but I digress). Want to look witty and informed without being either? The Onion is there for you.
It’s always worth a few smiles to see what passes for “historical fiction” in the fantasy land of Confederate heritage. Take this recent introduction to yet another proposed book (although we’ve already seen the inevitable dust jackets):
There’s been some chatter about black Confederates lately, although in retrospect new efforts by certain scholars to revisit the issue have proved less than persuasive even those scholars’ rather flawed handling of evidence. Indeed, in some quarters their efforts were subject to ridicule.
The same can be said of what some people thought of black Confederates at the time. Take the image above, from Harper’s Weekly. It raises the question of what would happen if black Confederate infantry regiments took the field. Could they be relied upon to hold their positions or to launch attacks? After all, it’s one thing for a single black man to wield a weapon under duress; but what would happen if several hundred of them, grouped together, were armed so that they could protect themselves? Who would be more at risk: the Yankees or their fellow white Rebs?
London’s Punch reminded readers that both sides were compelled to recruiting blacks in part because of the faltering spirit of whites. With volunteering down, both sides resorted to conscription; when that proved unsatisfactory, where else were they to go?
Indeed, Punch looked at the issue in 1863, before either Patrick Cleburne or the Confederate Congress considered enlisting blacks. The cartoon flipped the concept of “brother versus brother,” so often used to refer to whites, to suggest that blacks really had no interest in fighting each other. Punch speculated that black soldiers on both sides might not prove reliable combat soldiers, although the record of blacks who donned Union blue proved that wrong.
And then, of course, there is more recent commentary.
Happy birthday, Peter Carmichael.
Want to learn about ironclads and Stonewall Jackson? Sure you do.
And now you have.
As many students of the American Civil War know, arithmetic played an interesting role in the conflict. It certainly played a major role in George B. McClellan’s estimates of enemy strength, for example, although the fact is that most Civil War generals (including, for example, Ulysses S. Grant at Shiloh) habitually overestimated enemy numbers (and Grant’s favorite subject at West Point was mathematics).
Although it lasted only four years, the Confederacy endeavored to turn out its own schoolbooks and primers devoid of Yankee influence. Here’s one such example:
Historians such as James Marten and Anne Sarah Rubin have studied these expressions of Confederate identity, which were quick and easy to produce.
Today we have evidence that some of these lessons did not stick among those who claim to honor Confederate heritage:
BTW, there’s trouble in paradise. Brandon Dorsey of the SCV wants this weekend to be about education, not parades. Perhaps he realizes the Flaggers can’t count.
Dorsey, though, thinks there is an opportunity to better educate the public on the SCV’s viewpoint through lectures.
Today’s symposium, rather than Saturday’s parade, is the centerpiece of the Lee-Jackson Day celebration, he said. He said the SCV is focused on education and is not involved with any of the plans by the Virginia Flaggers.
Though there is a crossover of membership, Dorsey said the SCV doesn’t support some of the flaggers’ tactics.
As one commenter put it, “Glad to hear the SCV has distanced itself from the flaggers.”
And for those of you who think I didn’t give enough attention to Sherman’s March to the Sea …