Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Confederate Flaggery

People so want the Civil War not to be about slavery. They so want that old plantation way of life to be some kind of jolly role playing, instead of the brutal ownership of human beings of color by human beings of no color. It says something that people are still asking stupid questions like “Didn’t the slaves actually have it pretty good back then?” Uh…no.

This story from VOX tells about the stupid questions the tour guides get at Mount Vernon.

As FoxNews sees it, removing the flag of the traitors who fought a bloody war against the United States to preserve slavery… is a kind of fascism.

There’s such pervasive certainty about this across the South people get confused.

From Salon: This Confederate-flag-wearing woman of color thinks slavery was a choice. Like on a menu. Uh huh.

It’s what they are taught.

This article from Salon describes some of the ways school districts try to pretty up the old South and slavery.

And it doesn’t only happen in the South. Here's an instance from a grade school in suburban Boston.

100 years ago you could be considered progressive and still be a deep dyed racist. Woodrow Wilson, a progressive by most standards, purged black workers from the federal government. Hell, 75 years ago The New Deal was created by FDR––but only with the help of similar racists from the South. Which is why the New Deal didn’t help people of color.

Republicans might not know this: 40 years ago President Nixon had the idea of inviting all the white supremacists and racists and segregationists to come and join his party. Which is why now the Party of Lincoln is the one most associated with the Confederate Flag. Nixon’s Southern Strategy is (to borrow an old line from Edmund Wilson) “...the worst thing that has happened to Lincoln since Booth shot him.” (Wilson was referring to Carl Sandburg’s Lincoln biography.)

The New Yorker's John Cassidy on the racist strain in the Republican Party today.

This is how our best satirists have commented on the Confederate flag issue.

From the Daily Show this past week.

Bloomberg has an article about Stephen Colbert's war on the Confederate flag.

The best piece of patriotic performance art was this woman’s heroic climb. From Mother Jones.

By the way, the first casualty in the Civil War was a Union officer who was shot dead while trying to remove a Confederate flag from the roof of a hotel in Alexandria, Virginia. I remember this story from my grade school book of the Civil War. I remember the story well. It was illustrated with the same painting Smithsonian includes in their story here. Hard to believe we still see people proudly flying the flag of a treasonous army the U.S. defeated 150 years ago this year.

On a more self-aggrandizing note, media critic Jim Romenesko ran my short piece about the group that kidnapped the New York Times url (or a very convincing counterfeit of it) to prank people. It is getting harder to tell news from satire these days, especially when the stories are about Republicans. But it doesn’t help us when the joke makes people cynical.

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