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August 14, 2013 3:12 AM   Subscribe

A Day in the Life of the Ku Klux Klan, Uncensored
posted by flapjax at midnite (66 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
They're just good old boys (in dresses), never meaning no harm.
They've been in trouble with the (Politically Correct) law since the day they was born.
posted by Mezentian at 3:33 AM on August 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Karen spoke about his level of access to one of the least-understood organizations.

I dunno, I think the Klan is pretty well understood, all things considered. Sadly, this article doesn't really explain the artist's vision or the group at all (Blood in the Face from 1991 might help with the later; it seems like a documentary version of Karen's project here).
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:38 AM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I dunno, I think the Klan is pretty well understood

I hear you. I think "not-often-seen" would've been much more appropriate than "least-understood".

Sadly, this article doesn't really explain the artist's vision or the group at all

It appears that Anthony Karen's professed neutrality is so total as to make any actual *article*, that is, any article with any substance whatsoever, an impossibility. But I think it's pretty much all about the photos, which I (and I'm sure many others) find chilling as hell, and remarkable in their banality. It really is a pretty rare (I believe) glimpse into this world.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:48 AM on August 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


"Why is it the greatest champions of the white race always turn out to be the worst examples of it?"

- Jesse Custer, Preacher
posted by Shepherd at 3:59 AM on August 14, 2013 [36 favorites]


Gaining access to secretive pockets of society is based upon trust, something Karen doesn’t take lightly and that he sees as a foundation of photojournalism. “It’s a moment that’s constantly validated, the wordless acceptance into someone’s personal space with a camera,” Karen wrote via email.

Now wait a minute. I know a little bit about gaining access to secretive pockets of society. A long time ago I used to buy bulk agricultural products from good old boys up in the North Georgia mountains for distribution in the city. I'd happily drink a beer with 'em, talk about the weather, walk round the farm. Klansmen all of them. On the surface perfectly normal, warm, friendly people. They didn't advertise their views or tell you that they were klansmen or pose for pictures in their regalia. They were pretty damed secretive and it was only after years of doing successful business together that one of them confided in me that he was a klansman.

I'm a bit dubious that someone shows up with a camera and suddenly they're dressing the kids up in hoods? That doesn't seem right.
posted by three blind mice at 4:03 AM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can't think of a better metaphor for where the Ku Klux Klan sits in the cultural spectrum than a picture of one of its Imperial Wizards, a cranky, poorly educated old man, attempting to shoot at an insect on the wall of his dump of a house as his relatives take cover.

There is a school of thought that these modern klansmen deserve our pity in spite of their abhorrence. For whatever reason, life has not dealt them good cards and they would not be the first people in the world to misunderstand and be misled about who or what was responsible for that.

The Klan numbers between 5,000 and 8,000 members, according to the SPLC, split across several different warring factions. This is compared to the 3-5 million members in 1925.

They aren't a force to be reckoned with. They aren't really the Klan of old. They're barely more than a social club for disaffected, unlucky bigots.

The real damage is being done much higher up with the food chain with the barely disguised racism of the modern Republican movement.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:08 AM on August 14, 2013 [80 favorites]


Serious question: were these photos taken or chosen to make their subjects look poor, stupid, and ill-educated? Because that's certainly the impression they give.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:10 AM on August 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Serious question: were these photos taken or chosen to make their subjects look poor, stupid, and ill-educated?

Serious answer: I don't think the photographer had to do *anything* to make these people "look" poor, stupid, and ill-educated.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:13 AM on August 14, 2013 [23 favorites]


three blind mice: I'm a bit dubious that someone shows up with a camera and suddenly they're dressing the kids up in hoods? That doesn't seem right.

"To gain access into the Klan, Karen initially reached out to members through contact information on websites via phone calls and emails. His began photographing a Klan event in 2005, and after earning the trust of the members, he was allowed to photograph without restriction."

This gave me the impression that, far from just showing up, he worked for years to establish the sort of trust that would allow this level of candid access. Even ignorant people—maybe especially ignorant people, given the circumstances of their lives—can generally tell when they're being made fun of, set up to look foolish, etc., and I think that's what makes these photos so striking: they're clearly comfortable being themselves in the presence of this photographer, which gives us the opportunity to see them, to some extent, as they see themselves.
posted by Mothra Pisces at 4:16 AM on August 14, 2013 [18 favorites]


See also VICE's Klan Series
posted by lalochezia at 4:17 AM on August 14, 2013


A lot of cheap material used in those wizard outfits
posted by asok at 4:20 AM on August 14, 2013


As a black male, the Klan doesn't worry me at all. I can't remember a time I ever gave them serious thought.

But the Republican Party? Those fuckers have repeatedly scared me in one form or another for over 30 years, more so than Al Qaeda.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:35 AM on August 14, 2013 [101 favorites]


This is a really great post - the photos are absolutely phenomenal and definitely chilling. I know people joke about Klansmen in white hoods, but I had no idea they actually still did it. It seems very steeped in strange symbolism, but also the banality indeed is what really makes these photos. The granddaughter, for example, is adorable - just a cute kid photo, until you notice the KKK shamrock.

I'm particularly struck by the klansman holding his robe in a dry-cleaning bag before starting off for a "Christmas party held for members in a local church". Are there really areas of the country where the Klan can openly meet? And wasn't the whole point of the regalia that they had to hide who they were?

Also, what in the world is a "traditional Ku Klux Klan wedding ceremony"?
posted by corb at 4:47 AM on August 14, 2013


"As the civil rights movement gained momentum in the 1960s, Ku Klux Klan activity boomed. That fact itself may not be surprising, but in the introduction to his new book, Klansville, U.S.A., David Cunningham also reveals that, "While deadly KKK violence in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia ha[d] garnered the lion's share of Klan publicity, the United Klan's stronghold was, in fact, North Carolina." North Carolina, Cunningham writes, had more Klan members than the rest of the South combined."

Link goes to a 40-minute interview Cunningham did on "Fresh Air" a few months ago. It's really worth your time -- not just for the portrayal of recruitment methods, but also for some sociological and surprisingly humane descriptions of Klan members and for the opportunity to hear some records from his collection of Klan rally music. Know your enemies.
posted by ardgedee at 4:49 AM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


> Are there really areas of the country where the Klan can openly meet? And wasn't the whole point of the regalia that they had to hide who they were?

Being cloaked top-to-bottom both calls attention to yourself and anonymizes you. For the same reasons a truckful of policemen in riot gear put black tape over their badges: Their presence is meant to be obvious, and the lack of individuality makes it easier to act without retribution.
posted by ardgedee at 5:10 AM on August 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, what in the world is a "traditional Ku Klux Klan wedding ceremony"?

"Plantation" Wedding?
posted by mikelieman at 5:19 AM on August 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


corb: "Also, what in the world is a "traditional Ku Klux Klan wedding ceremony"?"

"Hate is patient, hate is not kind. It does envy, it does boast, it is proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is self-seeking, it is easily angered, it keeps a long record of wrongs. 6 Hate does delight in evil and rejoices with untruths. 7 It always protects its, never trusts, never hopes, always perseveres."

Or something like that.
posted by notsnot at 5:22 AM on August 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


the strangest part of these sorts of photo series is how very much it resembles my upbringing (without the klan robes...mostly). in a couple of those shots, if you took all the people out of them and asked me to identify the locations, i'd tell you it was granny june's or whatever - places where some of my best (and worst) memories were made.

and the weirdness is only compounded by reading reactions to those surroundings. i wish that when people talked about the problem of the klan, some didn't immediately mock the poverty part - that brush is maybe wider than you think and paints some of the people here as poor, stupid, growing up in a dump, etc.
posted by nadawi at 5:27 AM on August 14, 2013 [19 favorites]


Wow. An imperial wizard wasting good ammo on a big-ass roach, could not be my leader in wartime. The outfits are just not cool enough to get me interested. Wizard robes are out, they need battle suits. All I see is beer and pop, how long could their campaign of terror last? They must be damn good! They guy with the candle on table looks at peace with his hate. I like his kitchen. The thing that I see everyday, and it hurts, are people who will forever be prisoners of their experiences. All those adults were that little girl.
posted by Flex1970 at 5:45 AM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


corb: Also, what in the world is a "traditional Ku Klux Klan wedding ceremony"?

There's never a dry eye in the house after the ceremonial Tossing of the Jew.
posted by dr_dank at 5:55 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nadawi, I'm not trying to mock them. I honestly can't see how the first picture (a half-naked aiming a gun inside a house, near a little girl, to kill an insect) could have been composed without an undeclared agenda. That makes me view the other photos in a similar light and wonder if the photographer was really trying "to observe without judgment [...] to observe moment to moment and simply take in what I see and experience without presumption or pretext"
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:05 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


corb: The granddaughter, for example, is adorable - just a cute kid photo, until you notice the KKK shamrock.

Not to mention that hangman's noose at the side of the doorway ....
posted by MILNEWSca at 6:06 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


joe - what i'm saying is that without the klan stuff, some of those pictures look like snapshots from my upbringing - so the assumption that they were chosen to make these people look worse sort of says that this isn't the actual lived experience - which, from the vantage point of my lived experience seems not right.

my cousins had a bullseye set up in the room that was shared between 5 kids, aged 2-14, and they'd shoot at it with their bb/airsoft/pellet guns. my little girl cousin was hit in the arm with the ricochet (and then proudly showed off her wound for days). i'd put money on the fact that either they or their dad shot a few bugs with them too. it's just not really that far fetched...
posted by nadawi at 6:15 AM on August 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


"As the civil rights movement gained momentum in the 1960s, Ku Klux Klan activity boomed. ...North Carolina, Cunningham writes, had more Klan members than the rest of the South combined."

That goes a long way in explaining their current government's near-total awfulness and blatant racism.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:17 AM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


As a Southerner, I always want to turn up in threads like this and say, "I just want y'all to know, when I was coming up and through to this day, everybody understood folks like this were trash, and there was no having to do with the KKK."

And this is true. But it does not speak quite as well of us -- "us," the good people in town -- as I used to think. The KKK was banned from my hometown back in the '20s not because the white folks were especially good people, but because the local planter family happened to feel a paternalistic obligation to do so (plus, it was bad for business). Maybe one of the things us white folks could do to help out the cause of anti-racism is to be less eager to tell our kids that some folks are just trash.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:17 AM on August 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


"Maybe one of the things us white folks could do to help out the cause of anti-racism is to be less eager to tell our kids that some folks are just trash."

Dude, some people are.

You'd do a lot better to tell your kids to judge people by how they act, not how they look. Trash ACTS like trash, and if you raise your kids right, they'll see the trash for what it is... and they won't be paying attention to visible melanin.
posted by JB71 at 6:24 AM on August 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


*Not judging the Klan. #slatepitch
posted by octobersurprise at 6:27 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


> I honestly can't see how the first picture (a half-naked aiming a gun inside a house, near a little girl, to kill an insect) could have been composed without an undeclared agenda.

A lot of people in the U.S. would read that as idiomatic to American gun culture rather than as something typifying racists, or as something apropos specifically to the KKK. To me it seems more of a statement of the relationships between poverty, cultural isolation, and recklessness (did he actually try to plink that roach or was he just playing for the camera?), and a scene that could be posed elsewhere, albeit with different trappings.
posted by ardgedee at 6:36 AM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


An imperial wizard wasting good ammo on a big-ass roach...

Pellet gun; not such good ammo.


I was puzzled by the photo showing an American flag used as a tablecloth - why not the Stars & Bars? Then I realized that would be disrespectful.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:42 AM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I definitely felt like the subjects of the roach picture were in on the joke. The daughter's pose reminds me of a schtick I have with my own dad about how he's nuts -- like when my dad does something annoying, I'll turn to my stepmom and say in a stage whisper, "No jury in the world would convict you."
posted by selfmedicating at 6:42 AM on August 14, 2013


Random, but we had a copy of Song of the South growing up. It had Chinese subtitles. We got it from a klan member. (Husband of someone my mom taught with gave it to us.) My mom always carefully explained to us the problems with the movie, but I didn't learn its provenance until I was in high school.
posted by phunniemee at 6:43 AM on August 14, 2013


"Why is it the greatest champions of the white race always turn out to be the worst examples of it?"

Because the white race needs no champions, and any who think it does are sad, deluded individuals.


Random, but we had a copy of Song of the South growing up. It had Chinese subtitles.

I wonder what the prior owner thought of those subs.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:16 AM on August 14, 2013


Gay Black Jewish Klansmen
posted by pxe2000 at 7:37 AM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


The current incarnation of the Klan are essentially neo-Nazis. The FAQ of the Dixie Rangers (the 'Louisiana realm' in the article) was linked in a Reddit comment. It's mind-boggling, straight up antisemitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion bullshit.
Is the Ku Klux Klan a Hate Group?

Absolutely not! This is a myth propagated by the Zionists. The Zionist Jews control approximately 96% of the media in this country; this includes television, radio, newspapers, magazines, books, and movies. Keep that in mind the next time you watch the talking heads on Fox News (owned by Jew Rupert Murdoch), or read the New Orleans Times-Picayune (owned by the Jewish run Newhouse Newspapers out of New York). These people have an agenda, and it has nothing to do with uplifting or celebrating our White Christian heritage.

They would have you believe that we are a hate group; do not believe their lies. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Do your own research, ask questions, turn off the TV. Find out who the real threat is. Who poses more of a threat, a law-abiding, Christian, fraternal organization dedicated to the preservation of the white race or alien invaders that have infiltrated every level of society with their destructive plans for a New World Order where they sit at the throne?

...

The mainstream media works tirelessly to denigrate and weaken the White Race by their ceaseless attacks on Christianity and Christian symbols, family values, any image or symbol representing the heritage of the Confederate States of America, the virtues of sexual abstinence for our youth, the U. S. Constitution (most notably the 2nd Amendment), freedom of association, States Rights, and the founding principles upon which our once great country was created.

While the Zionist-controlled media attacks all things that give us strength, they promote destructive, cancerous perversions such as homosexuality, promiscuity, drug abuse, White guilt, race mixing, illegal immigration, idolatry, blind allegiance to a strong central government that robs us blind, the welfare / warfare state, the bondage of a Zionist-controlled central bank (The Federal Reserve), and dependence on the government instead of self-reliance, and community cohesiveness.

How is it that the Jews, who comprise less than 2% of the U.S. population, I repeat, less than 2% of the U.S. population have so much control and dominance over the flow of information in this country. It doesn't stop there. The numbers tell the story.

11% of U.S. Representatives are Jewish, and 15% of U.S. Senators are Jewish. Also, and not surprisingly, Jews command a disproportionate number of positions within the Obama administration. However, a look at George W. Bush's administration reveals the same sad reality; we have been invaded by an alien force that is ruthless, cunning and powerful. They exert tremendous control over the media, finance, and politics. To say that their influence is disproportionate to their population is an understatement. They do not care about our White heritage, all they care about is total control over this country and our lives. As members of the Dixie Rangers, we stand in the gap.

Hate Crimes (thought police), curtailment of gun rights (10 out 11 Jews in the Senate voted for the Brady Bill, while 26 out of 31 Jews in the House voted for it), forced integration (NAACP was founded by Jews), removal of Christian symbols and practices from society (ACLU founded by Jews), governmental control over the internet (Bill S.3480, or the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act (PCNAA) introduced by Jewish Rep. Joseph Lieberman, I-CT) T he list goes on and on. All of these efforts have been spearheaded by Zionist Jews hell-bent on destroying our way of life while they control every single aspect of it.

While the Jewish hate groups would have you believe that we are anti-Semitic; this is misleading. Anyone who disagrees with the Jews is quickly branded an "anti-Semite." However, this is a misnomer. To begin with, Jews are not the only Semites. Arabs are Semites as well, having descended from the same common ancestors as the Jews. Arabs do not run our media, our banks, and our government. It is the Zionists who want complete dominance of the Middle East and are using our military apparatus, tax dollars and young lives to achieve their goals. It is the Zionists who pushed for war with Iraq. It is the Zionists who want war with Iran. Zionist Jews have a stranglehold on the United States and they are leading us down the primrose path to hell. It is time to stand up to the foreign invaders. The Zionists call it "anti-Semitism," we call it's SELF-DEFENSE. Wake up White America!!!

Stop believing the Zionist media lies!!! Stand up for your country. The White people are not evil for being concerned about the future of their race and Nation. We are men and women who are not ashamed to be WHITE, CHRISTIAN, STRAIGHT and PROUD!!!
Brandon Blatcher: "As a black male, the Klan doesn't worry me at all. I can't remember a time I ever gave them serious thought.

But the Republican Party? Those fuckers have repeatedly scared me in one form or another for over 30 years, more so than Al Qaeda.
"

The stated goals and values of the extreme right wing of the Republican Party, the Tea Partiers, in many ways bear a remarkable resemblance to the "second" Klan circa the 1920's prior to the Depression. Thematically, they're also not all that far removed from the current Klan incarnation, whose obsession with a perceived encroachment of government, non-Whites, the media and religious conspiracies is conflated with racism and other hatreds.

In some ways, the Klan is a precursor of the Tea Party.
posted by zarq at 7:52 AM on August 14, 2013 [17 favorites]


You guys ever hear Henry Rollins' spoken word about what he would do to take down the Klan if he were president? That's pretty much all I can think off anymore when I hear about Klan.

On Preview: I think pxe2000 is two steps ahead of me.

posted by entropicamericana at 7:54 AM on August 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's kind of amazing that anyone would dismiss Murdoch for being not Right enough. I guess hate really does skew people's critical thinking....
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:11 AM on August 14, 2013


Man, those are some poor, powerless people.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:29 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is the Ku Klux Klan a Hate Group?

Absolutely not! This is a myth propagated by the Zionists. The Zionist Jews control approximately 96% of the media in this country;


"Is the Klan a hate group? Absolutely not! It's just like those Jews and Niggers to spread such lies! Man, we hate those scum! Wait...what was I saying again?"
posted by yoink at 8:55 AM on August 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Gay Black Jewish Klansmen

Clayton Bigsby
posted by fuse theorem at 9:01 AM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm particularly struck by the klansman holding his robe in a dry-cleaning bag before starting off for a "Christmas party held for members in a local church". Are there really areas of the country where the Klan can openly meet?

While the article only specifies "midwestern", the license plate on the motorcycle is a Missouri plate. My money would be on somewhere in southeast MO, but (sadly) it could be a lot of places in this state.
posted by jferg at 9:02 AM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Zionist Jews control approximately 96% of the media in this country; this includes television, radio, newspapers, magazines, books, and movies. Keep that in mind the next time you watch the talking heads on Fox News (owned by Jew Rupert Murdoch)

I'm confused.
posted by ambivalentic at 9:38 AM on August 14, 2013


Don't forget that the Klan was huge and very dangerous in Indiana and other non-Southern states. They would focus on Catholics or Jews if there weren't enough African-Americans around. The main thing is the proto-fascist notion of the ethnic other violating the purity of the nation, not who gets to fill that role.
posted by thelonius at 9:41 AM on August 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Don't forget that the Klan was huge and very dangerous in Indiana and other non-Southern states.

Long Island in particular was a haven.
posted by Etrigan at 10:16 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Joe in Australia: Nadawi, I'm not trying to mock them. I honestly can't see how the first picture (a half-naked aiming a gun inside a house, near a little girl, to kill an insect) could have been composed without an undeclared agenda. That makes me view the other photos in a similar light and wonder if the photographer was really trying "to observe without judgment [...] to observe moment to moment and simply take in what I see and experience without presumption or pretext"
The only way I can see to avoid "composing without an undeclared agenda" would be to trigger the camera with an interval timer.

Photojournalists record interesting moments. That was an interesting moment. It doesn't take someone with an agenda to see, "This is an unusual moment, that may convey something about this societal group and its members."

Point two: If the subject is shit, taking pictures of said shit doesn't make it an attack.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:31 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I honestly can't see how the first picture (a half-naked aiming a gun inside a house, near a little girl, to kill an insect) could have been composed without an undeclared agenda

There is a video from probably 8 years ago that exists (link http://www.myspace.com/video/vid/2011037417, but it doesn't work anymore because myspace is dumb, maybe one of you guys can figure it out and post it here) of some (southern) guys shooting a rat in their house with a crossbow. It actually happened. (In high school I dated one of the dudes in the video. It was a dude who used a bow and arrow to save me from a rabid raccoon cornering me in his driveway. Shot that sucker right through the head.)

This stuff happens. That photo was actually the least surprising to me of all the photos.
posted by phunniemee at 10:38 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yup. My drunk dad once thought he was going to shoot a rat in the house with a rifle. I managed to convince him to let me have a go at killing it before him, which I did by luring the rat into an empty cat-food bag and stomping it to death on the chopping block (axe was too dangerous) while passive-aggressively using my dad's boots.

And he's most definitely not part of the KKK, or even NRA or whatever... He was just drunk, rural, annoyed at pests. Also, the gun in the picture is apparently a pellet gun which is practically a (dangerous) toy to many people.
posted by tychotesla at 10:59 AM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


This stuff happens. That photo was actually the least surprising to me of all the photos.

Agreed. As a Missourian, I pretty much wrote that one off in my head as "rednecks gonna redneck".
posted by jferg at 10:59 AM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's kind of amazing that anyone would dismiss Murdoch for being not Right enough. I guess hate really does skew people's critical thinking....

Have you ever read the redstate website? Same feeling you get. Reading it, it's hard to tell if they hate such "tea party favorites" as Rubio (after he worked on the immigration issue) more than Obama. They fulminate in utter hatred against batshit-insane right wing loons as not being right wing enough! They're gearing up to drive from office that pinko commie Mitch McConnell, and replace him with someone to the right of Attila the Hun.

Even so, their dear leader, Erick Erickson, has to constantly fend off hordes of posters who want to go further to the right still - the wingnuts to the wingnuts.

See, in this scenario, the guy who sees Mitch McConnell as a horrible RINO sellout, is now considered a moderate and reasonable man - Erick Erickson is regularly featured on various news programs, and not only on Fox. He's actually a political force to be reckoned with.

Before you dismiss all this as insane KKK territory of no relevance, these people - the redstate audience - are politically active, and politically successful. They're actually mounting a primary challenge to McConnell.

I started reading these websites because I figured I don't want to be some isolated liberal who is completely out of touch with reality and other points of view. What frightens me is that I am not succeeding in my mission, because the point is not to simply read other points of view, but to understand them, and I'm failing at that - and not for lack of trying. I certainly don't try to approach it from a position of superiority, just dispassionately absorbing the arguments. But I can't follow the arguments as they don't appear to make any sense, I get the feeling that they speak in some kind of code, and I don't know the key - and of course I can't ask questions, because you get instantly banned over there. It makes me sad, because I feel like the fault is mine for not trying hard enough, but I just don't know how to.
posted by VikingSword at 11:03 AM on August 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


the weirdness is only compounded by reading reactions to those surroundings.

Seconding this, you find houses like this 15 minutes outside of any smaller town and I have family that live in places that look pretty much like that. As a kid I used to love to visit because there was so much to do outside that I would never be able to do in the suburbs, like riding on dirty old ATVs and dirt bikes and shooting bb guns with my older cousins.

I honestly can't see how the first picture (a half-naked aiming a gun inside a house, near a little girl, to kill an insect) could have been composed without an undeclared agenda.

I'm not sure what you mean--in any scenario where the presence of the photographer is known, the "neutrality" is compromised somewhat. I don't know if that's on the photographer or the subject though--are you suggesting she told the guy to shoot a cockroach with the pellet gun? Is nit not just as likely the guy is showing off?

my cousins had a bullseye set up in the room that was shared between 5 kids, aged 2-14, and they'd shoot at it with their bb/airsoft/pellet guns

I had a friend with 2 older brothers who would shoot pellet guns at toys in the basement, and the pellet would bounce all over the place off the concrete walls. And this was in a rich suburb full of wealthy and educated people. It's really not all that uncommon for kids to get up to stupid stuff like this.
posted by Hoopo at 11:13 AM on August 14, 2013


Before you dismiss all this as insane KKK territory of no relevance, these people - the redstate audience - are politically active, and politically successful. They're actually mounting a primary challenge to McConnell.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: there's no need for a KKK when a major political party like the GOP will do everything but the cross-burning for you. They took off the capes and hoods and put on suits, then ran for office. And they've been winning.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:19 AM on August 14, 2013 [12 favorites]


Color me surprised that the beer of choice in the first photo seems to be Newcastle Brown Ale.

I once knew a clan member; he claimed to have reformed when he became a Fundamental Baptist Whatever. I mean, he'd even tell you that the (lone) black guy in his church was his favorite member, and that he had a very nice family! His kids were well-behaved, and his wife was pretty and—get this—she even smelled nice. In fact, they were so close that every time he'd talk about him, which was pretty often, he'd include all of that information.

I get a particular sense of shitty satisfaction knowing that for him, Hell was a very real place. As an atheist, my one holdout for religious-anything is a hope is that he's right about the Hell part, and that his fear of ending up there was spot-on. RIH, Dad.
posted by heyho at 11:48 AM on August 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


Also, what in the world is a "traditional Ku Klux Klan wedding ceremony"?

Ask Paula Deen...
posted by stenseng at 1:13 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fair enough. We don't have a big gun culture in Australia; I don't even think I know anyone in this country with a gun and I haven't seen a rifle or shotgun here since I was a kid. I sometimes see pistols carried by police, which I consider to be proof of the decadence of the age.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:38 PM on August 14, 2013


I can't think of a better metaphor for where the Ku Klux Klan sits in the cultural spectrum than a picture of one of its Imperial Wizards, a cranky, poorly educated old man, attempting to shoot at an insect on the wall of his dump of a house as his relatives take cover.

Those are Newcastle Brown Ale bottles lying around there.

That seems.... incongruent.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:55 PM on August 14, 2013


I don't know anyone here in the city with a gun. I think most people I know who keep livestock own a gun.

Gun culture(s) here can have evil and downright weird aspects for sure. But I would say there is a huge practical difference between the various cultures. The presence of firearms in itself may say nothing more than that the owner needs to put down a horse or kill a coyote once in a while. The presence of a BB gun may say no more about the owner than that they like toy guns and that they have weird ideas about what a toy is. It's one of those things.
posted by tychotesla at 1:59 PM on August 14, 2013


Joe in Australia: "Fair enough. We don't have a big gun culture in Australia; "

It's huge here. Absolutely huge. It's like a fetish. From the outside looking in, it's hard to see how deeply embedded in American culture gun rights are. We have gun shows. A massive gun rights lobby that some days seems to want everyone and their toddler to own an assault rifle. You can buy guns at stores like Walmart, a somewhat low-end department store. Made more complicated by how porous our state borders are. You can literally visit every state in the country in a car and not ever be subject to inspection or have your car searched.

Some states have concealed carry laws. Some don't. Some (like my home state, New York,) make it harder than others to get a gun license.

During his first election campaign, President Obama gave a speech in Pennsylvania where he said the following:
"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Note the text I bolded. There was a massive uproar. Could conceivably have killed his election campaign if he hadn't been running against McCain and Palin, and if the economy didn't take a nosedive.
posted by zarq at 2:38 PM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


"it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

That quote was echoing in my head the whole time I was looking at the Karen photos.
posted by torticat at 8:50 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would like to see better gun laws and more gun control, and I don't agree with Heller. That said, I would be deeply disturbed to have to present papers and submit to a police inspection (as vs. agricultural inspection) to have to cross a state border. The Fourth Amendment is relaxed (too relaxed, I'd suggest) at international borders, not borders between the states.
As it should be.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:02 PM on August 14, 2013


Those are Newcastle Brown Ale bottles lying around there.

That seems.... incongruent
.

No more than Dora the Explorer peeking out from behind his trouser leg!
posted by gentian at 9:05 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


“Little Charlie” of the Louisiana-based Dixie Rangers of the Ku Klux Klan displays her custom-made wedding veil as her fiancé looks on.

If she gave him that black eye, the honeymoon is already over.
posted by homunculus at 12:51 AM on August 15, 2013


We don't have a big gun culture in Australia; I don't even think I know anyone in this country with a gun and I haven't seen a rifle or shotgun here since I was a kid. I sometimes see pistols carried by police, which I consider to be proof of the decadence of the age.

I thought the pistols were a throwback to the bushranger days, or possibly the wild 1920s of Squizzy Taylor and his boys (much like the openings armoured bank cars still have, presumably so that the security guards can point a tommy gun out when engaged in a firefight with armed robbers).
posted by acb at 3:21 AM on August 15, 2013


Can the Klan openly meet?

Um, yes. And more. I grew up in southern Kentucky and the Klan recruited at my Hugh school (at a table right next to the Army recruiter) and the Grand Wizard is the Grand Marshall of the Christmas parade about every other year. They've gone to court to fight for the right as a social organization to lead a civic event. And won.

So, yes.
posted by mrfuga0 at 3:33 AM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


the Grand Wizard is the Grand Marshall of the Christmas parade about every other year.

Do they ever do anything with The Nutcracker? Because the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies, put on by Klansmen in full regalia, would be a hell of a spectacle.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:31 AM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


it's not kkk doing the sugar plum fairy, but i can offer a kkk rally being drowned out by a bunch of clowns.
posted by nadawi at 9:17 AM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


A different bunch of clowns, at any rate.
posted by Etrigan at 9:33 AM on August 15, 2013


That fifth photo strikes me as a little odd: Dude's wearing a (gigantic) crucifix. Aren't those a Catholic thing?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:43 PM on August 20, 2013


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