Sunday, April 30, 2006

Confederate "Heritage" Month - April 30 (bonus): Steve Gilliard harshes on the neo-Confederates

I hates the Yankee nation and everything they do
I hates the Declaration of Independence too
I hates the glorious Union, 'tis drippin' with our blood
I hates the striped banner, I fit it all I could

                       - "Oh I'm a Good Old Rebel" by Confederate Major Innes Randolph

Don't associate Hoyt Axton with that song because he sings it; the version I have is on a 1991 Songs of the Civil War album that has songs from both sides.  Some songs, like "Tenting Tonight" (which is not on that album, unfortunately) were popular on both sides.  I'm not sure if it's true, as Shelby Foote claims, that Randolph wrote it originally as a parody.  But it's credible, though like Rush Limbaughs most bigoted comments, extreme statements are often passed off as "humor".  It dates from the Reconstruction days.  The liner notes, apparently written by Arthur Levy, say of the song:
The vitiolic, no-regrets stance of the proud Southerner who sings this song is probably a barometer of some feelings still present in that part of the country today.    He hates the Yankees, their Declaration of Independence, their bloody flag, and wishes there were three million of them dead instead of just 300,000.
Our present-day neo-Confederate types, at least, probably wouldn't think of the song as a parody.
Steve Gilliard, who has a keen eye for the politics of race in America, has devoted a couple of posts to manifestations of the neo-Confederate plague recently.  In Too Many Hits to the Head 04/28/06, he defends Southern honor (the real kind, not the blowhard fool kind) against fake Republican down-home-iness:
Yes, the smart Southern[er]s are Dems for a reason: no one gave them s***. Edwards, Clinton, all these guys came from middle class backgrounds and worked their way through college and law school.
I think that people are sick of stupid. Stupid has consequences. Down home is fine, but you ever hear Tim McGraw or Garth Brooks interviewed? Do they sound like idiots? No? Because they're not. Toby Keith ain't too bright, but there's always an exception. Ever listen to a NASCAR driver talk, he may have an accent, but he's no idiot. Those guys reek of competence.
Southern cultural tastes? Ok, to a degree, but Bush isn't a fake Southerner. He's a fake Texan. ... The pig farm, the fear of horses, cowboy boots, the crudeness in speech.
Real Southerners mock that crudeness, a southern gentleman is supposed to be cultured and erudite, not crude. Bush's drunken antics would have drawn great scorn in the South. Trailer trash is an insult there for a reason. Bush's nicknaming and claims like he's the "decider" aren't Southern. ...
Bush? He's always trying to show he doesn't have a yellow streak even when it's evident to everyone. He's internalized the worst machismo of Texas with the prissy snobbiness of Conneticut. A mean, crude, drunk who belies his education. If he was a Southerner, he wouldn't be so cavalier about that.
That's why I'm so completely scornful of that fool Charlie Daniels in my Chuckie Watch posts.  He postures like he's Mr. Average American.  But the crap he spews out in his political rants is real trailer-trash bigot nonsense.  Anyone who thinks that's what defines "Southern" is a jackass.
Don't get me wrong.  There are more than enough Southerners that think just like the character (real or concocted) that Daniels portrays in his twice-weekly Chuckie posts.
Gilliard links to a post by the brilliant Digby, Portrait of The Racist As A Young Man Hullabaloo blog 04/27/06, about Virginia Republican Senator George Allen.  Digby describes the distinguished Senator:
I know little about Allen except that he sounds even dumber than George W. Bush every time I see him speak on television. Yesterday he was blathering on about something and I was struck by how his rosy cheeks and strange purplish hair made him look a little like Reagan. So he has Reagan's looks and Bush's brains. Oh Jesus.

What I didn't know was that he was a racist, sadistic prick. I now understand why he is such a Republican favorite. I had heard that he kept a confederate flag around and that he had a cute little "noose" hanging from a ficus tree. I didn't know that he had been a neoconfederate since he went to Palos Verdes High, right here in LA. (He didn't live in the south until he was a sophomore in college.)

Digby understand that the neo-Confederate schtick is mainly about race:
If winning the presidency in the country really rests on relative good ole boy-ness, then it's hard to see how anyone can beat Allen. Aside from his total immersion in southern culture, the article is full of examples of his youthful (and not so youthful) racism and I can only assume that this will help him when he goes up against John McCain in the south. The racist voters of the GOP will catch all his winks and nods with no problem.
In a 04/29/06 post, Gilliard writes about The love of the Confederacy:
There are two Confederacys, one of history and one of imagination.
The one we deal with today is of imagination.
The one of rebel flags and the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the cult of the dead rebels.
It has little to do with reality. ...
The reason you get people like Jim Webb playing cute and George Allen praising the Confederacy has to do with how the Confederacy was ressurected in the postwar period.It was about race and integration, not history (my emphasis)
He also talks in that post about some of the historical realities of the real Confederacy that actually existed in history, which do not fit well with Lost Cause ideology.  And he concludes:
In short,the myth of the Confederacy allowed people to explain away how the North crushed them using far fewer of it's resources than it had. The raging incompetence of the Southern high command and the pettiness of Jefferson Davis was glossed over for years. Because the myth of a noble South was valuable for many reasons.

Even today, the numbers of Southerners who fought for the Union is still downplayed.

[The] myth of nobility plays into how the Confederacy is seen today

But slavery was not noble.  And neither is what today's neo-Confederates stand for.

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