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The South Will Not Rise Again
October 23, 2009 2:37 PM   Subscribe

AP article about the chant "The South will Rise Again." In the past few years University of Mississippi officials have done away with both the waving of the Confederate Battle Flag at football games and Colonel Reb, the school mascot who resembles a white plantation owner. However, the school band, nicknamed "The Pride of the South," still plays "From Dixie with Love" at each game and the students still shout "The South will Rise Again" at the end of the song. The AP has a nice article on recent efforts by both the student government and the new school Chancellor, Dan Jones, to end this "tradition."
posted by bguest (301 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 


the north will rise again
posted by koeselitz at 2:42 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why would they want to chant a phrase that logically implies "The South has Fallen"?
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:46 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


If by "The South" they meant "race hatred", they've already been proven right.

(They didn't mean that, did they?)
posted by Joe Beese at 2:46 PM on October 23, 2009


Because any trace of Southern, pre-war, non-minority culture is racist and needs to be washed whiter than a Missouri picket fence.
posted by clarknova at 2:47 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


By the way, it's sort of silly that a school actually has trouble removing the part of a chant that awkwardly and unintentionally points to a pro-slavery historical motif. The answer is frankly obvious: talk about it in class. Mandate a class on the civil war, and require teachers to point out that the civil war was principally about slavery. It's only cowardice that prevents a damned university from actually teaching its students.
posted by koeselitz at 2:48 PM on October 23, 2009 [18 favorites]


Howsabout you stop chanting about it and just do it, already? You've been promising to rise again for the last century and a half, and frankly, I'm starting to think you don't mean it.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:48 PM on October 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


'Round about the time Spike Lee's Malcolm X film was released, i remember seeing a frat boy at the University of Georgia with a t-shirt that read: "your X" (on front of shirt), "mine" (on back, with confederate flag image).
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 2:49 PM on October 23, 2009


Oh, I see the Onion has beaten me to it.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:49 PM on October 23, 2009


+-> eck, dumb ass
posted by Mblue at 2:51 PM on October 23, 2009


I saw this in a Borders in the SF Bay Area the other day. This shit ain't limited to Mississippi.

(Why the scare quotes around "tradition?" I'd say the practice IS a tradition, if a bad one.)
posted by brundlefly at 2:51 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


I would be foolish to make some damned yankee smart ass remarks but I have to note this:

Just about every state that is The South gets more money back from the federal govt than it sends in; most of the yankee states get less back than they send in.

In sum: we support their habits. Yet they blabber on about states rights and down with the federal and large govt.
posted by Postroad at 2:52 PM on October 23, 2009 [31 favorites]


clarknova: "Because any trace of Southern, pre-war, non-minority culture is racist and needs to be washed whiter than a Missouri picket fence."

Wars - like elections - have consequences. The Northern War of Aggression was victorious. If the worst indignity the vanquished have to endure is being politely asked not to offend the large numbers of Americans for whom the legacy of slavery is a more painful thing than it apparently is for them, they can go fiddle "Dixie" on the world's smallest violin.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:55 PM on October 23, 2009 [20 favorites]


Have the Southern States succeeded yet?
posted by Artw at 2:56 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


C'mon really? Can't the South have anything? Must it all be vilified and and politically correct? Are the future Middle and Upper Class Mississipians at Ole Miss really likely to further racial apartheid or antebellum slavery? (I mean any more than the current GOP does?) Slavery was horrible we get it. We know it was wrong. We are bored, tired and angry at having our ancestors failings imputed to us all the goddamn time particularly if it is by self-righteous, morally indignant outsiders.

Is Southern Pride only acceptable when it comes to literary mutterings about Faulkner and O'Connor? I mean we lost a culture, suffered military occupation, our economy was ruined for decades and we had nearly 400,000 casualties (250,000+ dead). Can't a defeated people be a little fucking contrarian every once in a while?
posted by MasonDixon at 2:57 PM on October 23, 2009 [22 favorites]


Slavery was horrible we get it. We know it was wrong.

Ok but do you really I think is what people are getting at with all this "The South Will Rise Again" chanting and what have you.
posted by billysumday at 3:01 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


My Houston high school's mascot was "Johnny Reb". More of a confederate soldier than a plantation owner, and "the Rebels" was a fairly generic name, but it was clearly all meant to invoke Civil War imagery. Also my high school was private, very expensive, and had about 2% black students. (30% Jewish though, go figure). Even at the age of 13 I understood there was something sort of improper and uncomfortable about the Southern imagery, but it also wasn't overtly racist in any specific way that we students were participating in. In any event they finally changed it about 10 years back, now it's the "Mavericks" and has had all Confederate imagery stripped from it.

I love my Southern heritage, but I think maybe it's time to let the Civil War go.
posted by Nelson at 3:01 PM on October 23, 2009


Is Southern Pride only acceptable when it comes to literary mutterings about Faulkner and O'Connor?

We'll also allow you blues music and sweet tea.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:02 PM on October 23, 2009 [15 favorites]


Because any trace of Southern, pre-war, non-minority culture is racist and needs to be washed whiter than a Missouri picket fence.

Perhaps you could remind us which ones 1) aren't racist and 2) are still celebrated today, that are being objected to. I don't see a lot of people protesting roots music or Foxfire-type Appalachiana. The Lost Cause and glorifying plantation life, on the other hand, are fair game.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:04 PM on October 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


This thread is already classic. Ole Miss Students Chant 'South Will Rise Again'; Southerners Complain of Yankee Aggression.
posted by billysumday at 3:08 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


The article itself offers this:

Roun McNeal, a former ASB president who is now in law school at Ole Miss, said his own decision to refrain from the chant was easily made.

"I said the chant one day and there was a black family sitting in front of me and they turned around and gave me this look like I hurt them," McNeal said.

To me, that says that diminishing the whole Confederate flag and "The South will rise again!" sloganeering is a lot less about pride of place than...welll...something a lot uglier.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:08 PM on October 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


Is Southern Pride only acceptable when it comes to literary mutterings...

Like German Pride, I suppose it depends on the context. I hear "Sweet Home Alabama" played all over the country. I'm proud of Jimmy Carter (Clinton's a bit of a mixed blessing), and a lot of Southern traditions. But the phrase "Southern Pride" has also often been used for none-too-subtle code. Context is everything in this case.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 3:10 PM on October 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


infinitywaltz: "We'll also allow you blues music and sweet tea."

For barbecue alone, we'd be willing to shake hands and forget it.

But you're not being good neighbors when you make trouble like this. Besides, didn't there used to be a belief among you about the importance of not getting the coloreds riled up?
posted by Joe Beese at 3:10 PM on October 23, 2009


You ever notice how very nearly every expression of Southern Pride explicitly references either the Confederacy or the antebellum South?
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:12 PM on October 23, 2009 [13 favorites]


How about a new slogan that they have no intention on following through on. Like, The South Will Go To The Gym This Year, I'm Serious. Or The South Will Quit Smoking, Just As Soon As The Holidays Are Over. The South Will Take Up Running. The South Will Eat More Fiber. The South Will Switch To Decaf. The South Will Visit Paris While I'm Still Young. The South Will Totally Have A Threesome This Year.
posted by stavrogin at 3:15 PM on October 23, 2009 [93 favorites]


Pope Guilty: "You ever notice how very nearly every expression of Southern Pride explicitly references either the Confederacy or the antebellum South?"

That's a good point, let's fill out that list and build up some Southern Pride Equity:
* Lighthouses
* Horseraces
* The "Citrus Belt" (Florida) (Other states?)
* Twain (Mark, not Shania (related? maybe work this angle))
* Steamboats
* Bourbon

Hm.
posted by boo_radley at 3:17 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can't the South have anything?

The South has the Republican Party.
posted by wendell at 3:18 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh, there are a couple big car plants in the south, right? Plus a few tech centers, or am I mistaken?
posted by boo_radley at 3:18 PM on October 23, 2009


You know what is awesome that is probably not going on that list? Gone with the Wind.
posted by Artw at 3:19 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


@Brundlefly - you saw a nutty book about the civil war in SF, and that's the same as as institutionalized racism in Mississippi how exactly?

@MasonDixon - Is Southern Pride only acceptable when it comes to literary mutterings about Faulkner and O'Connor? No, but there's a lot more for the South to be proud of than your pathetic image of a defeated people. Dragging out the Stars 'n Bars, plantation owners and War Chants (TM) is like rubbing salt in a seeping wound that everyone else is just as tired of as you claim you are.

I went to High school in Mississippi and graduated from Florida State and I love a whole hell of a lot about the South, but whining about how abusive it is for 'yankees' to pick on you while you do shit like this is so dumb it makes me tired.
posted by Pecinpah at 3:19 PM on October 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


Take a look at that list again. The game's harder than it looks.
posted by boo_radley at 3:20 PM on October 23, 2009


Bourbon

... is a critical contribution to civilization rivaling written language, the steam engine and rock and roll.
posted by spaltavian at 3:21 PM on October 23, 2009 [39 favorites]


C'mon really? Can't the South have anything? Must it all be vilified and and politically correct?

As long as the South references the Civil War, people are going to respond to that with their views on that piece of history.

It's like going to a dinner party and declaring one's admiration for the Green Party, and then being annoyed when other people respond with criticism of Ralph Nader.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:24 PM on October 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


C'mon guys! It's just not the same without the racism and treason.
posted by fleacircus at 3:25 PM on October 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


... or what Peckinpah said.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:25 PM on October 23, 2009


Bourbon

... is a critical contribution to civilization rivaling written language, the steam engine and rock and roll.


FAVORITED ONE MILLION BILLION TIMES
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:25 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


oneirodynia: "It's like going to a dinner party and declaring one's admiration for the Green Party, and then being annoyed when other people respond with criticism of Ralph Nader."

People criticize Ralph Nader?
posted by Joe Beese at 3:26 PM on October 23, 2009


Picinpah, no, it's not the same as institutionalized racism in Mississippi. It shows that a romanticized view of a fictional version of the South is not limited to the South itself.
posted by brundlefly at 3:27 PM on October 23, 2009


Pecinpah. Sorry.
posted by brundlefly at 3:28 PM on October 23, 2009


@brundlefly - Ah, I see. Thx.
posted by Pecinpah at 3:28 PM on October 23, 2009


OK, that's twice we've mentioned the "defeated people" of The South. (I love me some scare quotes).

I would argue that there are a bunch of people who live(d) in The South that were not too unhappy about the defeat, and certainly don't consider themselves a defeated people as a result of the defeat of the confederacy.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 3:28 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


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posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 3:29 PM on October 23, 2009


I saw this in a Borders in the SF Bay Area the other day.

Written by Crocker... yeah nothing else to add.

Is Southern Pride only acceptable when it comes to literary mutterings about Faulkner and O'Connor? I mean we lost a culture, suffered military occupation, our economy was ruined for decades and we had nearly 400,000 casualties (250,000+ dead). Can't a defeated people be a little fucking contrarian every once in a while?

Every once in awhile? I guess the rejoinder is, can't you let it go? There are plenty of things "The South" can be justifiably proud of, if only certain segments would stop acting like a bunch of mindless assholes. Retiring the badges and slogans of the Civil War would go a long way towards improving national attitudes towards southern states. But, I guess being contrarian regarding a war they initiated and provoked is more important. Complaining about military occupation, economic ruin and casualties is sort of like crying into your beer that it's unfair after you tried to rob someone and they beat the living shit out of you.

I've lived in the south, it's where my family was from, I know what it is like, most people are kind and wonderful and they have no reason or inclination to be all contrarian by embracing symbols of slavery... but I guess taking a hard stand against slavery is "PC" eh?
posted by edgeways at 3:31 PM on October 23, 2009 [15 favorites]


The South Will Totally Have A Threesome This Year.

Don't be dragging Mexico into this. They have their own problems.
posted by mannequito at 3:34 PM on October 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


The south still has better food. Try walking into a grocery store in Ithaca, NY, and asking for biscuit gravy. No, seriously, try it. I did, just for the hell of it.

But the Confederacy? Yeah, shame.

The Civil War, like the Revolution, was a war between wealthy whites over money and power. The Revolution was "Hey, let's not pay these assholes taxes anymore." The Civil War was, "Hey, slavery made us rich. You can't tell us what to do!" "Actually, we can." I wish this country would fucking unite already. If not as a whole, then at least the bottom 90% against the wealthiest 10%.
posted by Eideteker at 3:36 PM on October 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


mannequito: "
Don't be dragging Mexico into this. They have their own problems.
"

What? No, no, man. Cuba.
posted by boo_radley at 3:38 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


My Houston high school's mascot was "Johnny Reb".

Nelson and I went to the same high school. I didn't know until well after the mascot was changed to the Mavericks that the school had already changed its mascot once, not long after it was founded in the late 1940s. The original mascot, the Crusader, was considered too controversial, so they changed it to Johnny Reb, who was considered less controversial at that time. It put the situation in perspective for me.

I must be older than Nelson because I remember seeing the football team running through the battle flag at the big game. I know that after I graduated, the school toned down some of the imagery and began circling the idea of changing the mascot, a process that I recall as being drawn out sort of like a tooth extraction because it took years to get consensus to make the change. The values of community consensus and love for tradition aren't inherently bad, but they have made getting rid of Confederate symbols, even when used as racist dog whistles, harder.

The Mississippi discussion looks like the same discussion we had in Houston about this starting a generation ago. What did it for my school was that the battle flag and the Confederate symbolism was more of a problem in our increasingly multiracial/multicultural city than it was worth in alumni support. I'm not surprised that it's taking longer for that benefit/deficit calculation to move into the negative in Mississippi than it did in a big city on the fringes of what was once the Confederacy, but I'm glad it's finally getting there, even if they're only at the beginning of the process.
posted by immlass at 3:39 PM on October 23, 2009


I hate the legacy of slavery but I am also not too thrilled about what Sherman did to my home town. The two are not mutually exclusive.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:41 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm all for free speech, but the students who want to chant that the south will rise again have to realize us Yankees are free to call them out for being wrong and stupid.

It's freedom of speech, not freedom from hurt feelings. And if you do rebel, form the Confederacy 2.0, and outlaw saying hurtful things about the south, we'll be outside your jurisdiction.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:43 PM on October 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


Try walking into a grocery store in Ithaca, NY, and asking for biscuit gravy.

What southerner buys biscuit gravy at a store, whatever the state they are in?
posted by nomisxid at 3:43 PM on October 23, 2009 [19 favorites]


(I'd never shout "The south will rise again" simply and only because it would *rightly* offend African Americans. But that doesn't mean I don't love where I live and it doesn't mean I don't look slightly askance at the North. )
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:43 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is Southern Pride only acceptable when it comes to literary mutterings about Faulkner and O'Connor? I mean we lost a culture, suffered military occupation, our economy was ruined for decades and we had nearly 400,000 casualties (250,000+ dead). Can't a defeated people be a little fucking contrarian every once in a while?
Of course you can. No one's stopping you. Obviously. That doesn't mean that we're in the wrong when we think that maybe you should stop yourselves.
posted by Flunkie at 3:45 PM on October 23, 2009


Seems they are working on it. They have been finishing the song with 'The South Will Rise Again' only since 2004. From the first linked article: "The fact is, the phrase 'The South Will Rise Again' is not part of our tradition...", so, yeah, probably no scare quotes.
p.s I love The South.
p.p.s It's trouble when you define yourself in opposition to a large group and attempt to paint them all with the same brush. Avoid irony.

Change the song to a blues song. Everyone wins.
posted by vapidave at 3:48 PM on October 23, 2009


I am also not too thrilled about what Sherman did to my home town.

Sherman was a patsy compared to how the Allies burned much of Germany to cinders in a real war. Also, you know, Hiroshima. The Japanese and Germans have both moved on so maybe suck it up and move on Southerners.

Some people and their retarded grudges. Fuck.
posted by GuyZero at 3:49 PM on October 23, 2009 [44 favorites]


I don't approve of the Ole Miss tradition, but let's be honest -- racism is prevalent in all parts of the United States.
posted by runningwithscissors at 3:49 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


"I'd never shout "The south will rise again" simply and only because it would *rightly* offend African Americans."

Right on!

"But that doesn't mean I don't love where I live"

Agreed! Preach it, sister!

"...and it doesn't mean I don't look slightly askance at the North."

Aaaaand you lost me.

Can we use some stimulus money to relocate folks around the country for a few weeks/months so they can see how "the other half" lives? We could start the movement, right here. Think of it as a combo between a MeFi Meetup and a MeFi Swap.
posted by Eideteker at 3:50 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Because any trace of Southern, pre-war, non-minority culture is racist and needs to be washed whiter than a Missouri picket fence.

Here is some helpful and free advice: dissolving the stereotypical stigma of the South being a hotbed of ignorance is not furthered by pretending to be mind-numbingly ignorant.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:51 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


"What southerner buys biscuit gravy at a store, whatever the state they are in?"

I confess, my mom was not from the south, so I never learned southern cooking. Please don't hate me, unless hating me means "killing me slowly by feeding me a lifetime of southern cooking, soul food, and twangy pronunciations."
posted by Eideteker at 3:52 PM on October 23, 2009


"The South Will Rise Again" was a rallying cry that made sense in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Regardless of how you feel about their cause(s) (and let's be clear -- slavery wasn't the only one), the South did participate in and lose a war (and a lot of its citizens). And things in the South sucked for quite a while after that. So for a culture that boasts as one of its predominant attributes a puffed-up, chest-thumping sense of pride, it made sense that when they were down-er and out-er than they had been before the war, they'd hold on to "The South Will Rise Again." (Much like a struggling Baltimore went with "Believe.")

The bigger, fresher problem is that given Mississippi's more recent history -- the murders of Chaney et al; the murder of Medgar Evars; Governor Ross Barnett physically standing in the way of James Meredith's attendance of Ole Miss -- the chant has a completely different read. The charitable interpretation of the 19th-century sentiment could be "We wanted to break away, but you wouldn't let us, and now we're poor and politically under your thumb and the paint on this old veranda is peeling, but we'll bounce back and it'll be all white suits and jasmine-fragranced air again." But the modern way to interpret it, given recent history, is more like "Well, you people kicked and screamed loud enough and gave us a bad reputation all over the country, so we gave you the gift of lip service and we pretend that it's all behind us... but just you wait."

I think that is (obviously) missed by the people defending the chant. They try to justify it by tying it to history. The problem is, they're not connecting it to the right history. If they did, I think it would be more clear to them why those words make so many people uncomfortable.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:54 PM on October 23, 2009 [25 favorites]


"I don't approve of the Ole Miss tradition, but let's be honest -- racismprejudice is prevalent in all parts of the United States."

Spoken like a true northerner/southerner/yankee/hick/librul/paleocon/convenient generalization for people what ain't like what I is.
posted by Eideteker at 3:55 PM on October 23, 2009


>

But does the South really want to get too close to the Republican party if they're planning on rising again? After all, the first Republican president opposed their secession, started a war that killed a ton of Confederates, and signed the Emancipation Proclamation, a document that screwed up their economy after they were forced into reuniting with the North. Worse still, the modern GOP doesn't even try to apologize or distance themselves from him.

Their site also includes a bunch of other Anti-South extremists. It's a wonder they didn't add Ulysses "The Butcher" S. Grant.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:56 PM on October 23, 2009


Well, as a lifelong Southerner and someone who has less than kind things to say about the vast majority of the Old Miss grads he has interacted with, I think this song says it all.
posted by vibrotronica at 3:57 PM on October 23, 2009


Halloween Jack: I don't see a lot of people protesting roots music or Foxfire-type Appalachiana. The Lost Cause and glorifying plantation life, on the other hand, are fair game.

Most of Appalachia was either unofficially, or officially neutral during the civil war. Southeastern mountain culture doesn't have the taint of slavery because practically no one could afford slaves. That's why it's not vilified. Roots music has its roots in slave culture, so it too, is kosher.

It's only the pre-war cultural trappings of southern whites that are "dirty". Northern white culture has its own wicked past. New York got its start as a Dutch slaving colony. Before the constitutional convention all British colonies were slave-holding, but the pre-war culture of New England is practically sanctified.

I also don't see anyone demanding that continental congress reenactments held in Constitution hall be stripped of federal funding, despite that the decision to keep the south a slave region was made there.

The genocide of Native Americans was mostly carried out under the union flag, but no one's demanding that be pulled down from state capitols.
posted by clarknova at 3:58 PM on October 23, 2009 [8 favorites]


The South Will Rise Again: a movie about rednecks fighting zombies with karate.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 3:58 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well... those guys WON.
posted by Artw at 3:59 PM on October 23, 2009


From one of the links: Although 'Dixie' is a definite tradition in Ole Miss athletics, the controversial phrase at the end is a relatively new thing. Beard said the phrase originated in 2004 by a group of students with no apparent reason behind it.
posted by box at 4:03 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've always wanted to make a bumper sticker that consists of a Confederate flag with the words "WE LOST. GET OVER IT." printed across it.

And who cares what Ole Miss fans chant? Their football team SUCKS. Roll Tide Roll! Wooooooooooo!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:03 PM on October 23, 2009


Can we use some stimulus money to relocate folks around the country for a few weeks/months so they can see how "the other half" lives? We could start the movement, right here. Think of it as a combo between a MeFi Meetup and a MeFi Swap.

You forget where I live....I live in what is undoubtedly the most culturally, and internationally diverse population in the state of North Carolina. I can go to Walmart and hear just about every national accent there is, and Spanish/Korean/Japanese/Vietnamese/German besides, with the occasional Russian or Israeli or Arabic or Iraqian/Iranian besides. A lot of "Yankees" have started retiring down here because the weather is better, etc.

These people have actually been known to put sugar and cream on their grits. Heresy!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:09 PM on October 23, 2009


Re: The South Will Rise Again trailer: It's a cute concept, but I kind of cringed at the meth lab bit. Even though meth labs are spreading across poorer areas of the South, I think it's not okay to treat them as part of the Southerner archetype. It's an insult to all the Southerners who make a legitimate living and who don't do drugs. I'm saying this as a Yankee who feels like most of the jokes above the South are okay.

I'm not saying you were wrong to post the trailer, I was just wondering if other MeFites felt the same way.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:10 PM on October 23, 2009


Sherman was a patsy compared to how the Allies burned much of Germany to cinders in a real war.

A few caveats. Whatever else the Civil War was, it was definitely a "real war." It's said that Antietam and other battles prefigured, in the bloodiness and brutality of the combat, the trench warfare of WW1. Also: anecdotally, it has been my experience that there is still some fair amount of simmering resentment among some older Germans and Japanese, thought it's more hidden/less obvious and rears its head infrequently. Finally, the irony of what you're saying ("suck it up") is that it could also be directed to many Americans in general regarding Vietnam (also Iraq and Afghanistan): America as a whole is not very good at admitting military defeat. Further, while I share some sympathy with your main point, I also fear the way you said it was unnecessarily mean-spirited.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 4:11 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I also fear the way you said it was unnecessarily mean-spirited.

I have little patience or tolerance or sympathy for someone who bemoans what happened in 1864 (or whenever). If someone is honestly upset about something that happened 145 years ago... I don't know what to say. It's dumb. It's stone-age tribal thinking.
posted by GuyZero at 4:17 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Even though meth labs are spreading across poorer areas of the South, I think it's not okay to treat them as part of the Southerner archetype. It's an insult to all the Southerners who make a legitimate living and who don't do drugs.

Meth labs aren't a Southern stereotype, they're a rural stereotype; one of the jokes I've heard about Twilight is that the most unrealistic part is how it's set in rural Washington and yet there is not a single meth addict.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:19 PM on October 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


I do like the idea of sending random Americans to spend a week or so in a different part of the country than what they're used to. Ideally, they'd get to stay at a congressperson's house for a week and have the congressperson pitch the great things about the area. Meanwhile, the cons will be self evident, as they are there in person. It'd be a joint effort between CSPAN and ABC.

Perhaps for the season finale, they send people overseas with US Ambassadors, with a special surprise appearance from Hillary Clinton.

Granted, I also like the idea of a reality show where Libertarians, Republicans, and Ayn Rand fans are left on a city street with no money or home and are forced to lift themselves up by their bootstraps. To win, the contestants must refuse any government handouts. Cameras follow them for a week, and at the end the host yells at the losers and calls them lazy welfare queens. The winners get knowledge, the best gift of all. And maybe $10,000 or so, just to get people to sign up.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:20 PM on October 23, 2009 [18 favorites]



Oh, there are a couple big car plants in the south, right? Plus a few tech centers, or am I mistaken?

Bass lakes. Don't forget bass lakes.
posted by notreally at 4:20 PM on October 23, 2009


Meth labs aren't a Southern stereotype, they're a rural stereotype;

Yeah. I did some documentary work for a non-profit that concentrated on leadership training in rural Minnesota. A good chunk of that project centered around the meth problem.
posted by brundlefly at 4:21 PM on October 23, 2009


I also don't see anyone demanding that continental congress reenactments held in Constitution hall be stripped of federal funding, despite that the decision to keep the south a slave region was made there.

It's true, the Southerners were like, "We don't even want these slaves." And the Northerners were all like, "Hogwash! You'll take them or we'll bust apart this country and start killin' your shit, and prolly we'll both get torn up by foreign powers. Take the slaves or we both die!" And the South was all like, "Hmph, fine. But when shit goes down later remember we're both just exactly as equally responsible."
posted by fleacircus at 4:22 PM on October 23, 2009 [17 favorites]


In 1992, I attended an Ole Miss football game with a friend and sat in the student section. I was required to wear a COAT AND TIE to a football game. Weird already. Then, we had to chant over and over again:

Hotty Toddy, Gosh almighty
Who the hell are we?
Hey!
Flim Flam, Bim Bam
Ole Miss, By Damn!


Over and over and over again. 17 years later and I can still type that from memory.

Besides the chant, what I remember most about that game is that it was two weeks before the presidential election and EVERYONE I talked to from Ole Miss was 100% convinced that George HW Bush would trounce Clinton in a landslide. They could not be reasoned with.

And now I'll be chanting Hotty Toddy all night. Fuck.
posted by ColdChef at 4:22 PM on October 23, 2009


America as a whole is not very good at admitting military defeat.

Which almost made sense, kind of, a little, when there was a single person alive who was there for the War, or even for Reconstruction. It's over, it's gone, it's history. Nobody alive was there for it, and I'd be surprised if there were more than a dozen people alive whose parents were born before the 1860's. At some point Southerners need to grow the fuck up and stop crying about something that didn't happen to them, something which happened to people who died before they- and in nearly every case their parents and grandparents- were born.

It's one thing to be bitter about losing. It's another thing entirely to be bitter about people who died before your grandparents were born losing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:23 PM on October 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


The arguments about "heritage" and southern culture always conveniently forget to include one little tidbit. White southern culture is not the only component of "southern" culture. In the antebellum period there were 4 million black folk there also. In fact black culture and Africanisms have left an indelible imprint on southern culture from the food, the music, the language, basically everything. So I see your heritage and raise you mine.
posted by anansi at 4:24 PM on October 23, 2009 [11 favorites]


"You forget where I live"

Not about where you live. That's your home turf. When's the last time you lived up north?
posted by Eideteker at 4:25 PM on October 23, 2009


If someone is honestly upset about something that happened 145 years ago..

By that same logic blacks should not be offended by the Confederate Flag b/c slavery happened so long ago.

Let's go back to the remark by St. Alia that spurred the "suck it up" remarks:

I hate the legacy of slavery but I am also not too thrilled about what Sherman did to my home town. The two are not mutually exclusive.

I don't think is that different than a German saying "I hate the Nazis and everything they stood for, but I am also saddened by the bombing of Dresden." In other words, I don't think either sentence is prima facie something reprehensible. Note, after all, that St. Alia did not say she "begrudged" the North; merely that Sherman's March was not something too be overjoyed about. I think it is possible to see all war as damaging to both sides. For instance, to feel for Confederate widows as much as Yankee widows, or whatnot, is not a sign that someone necessarily misinterprets what was at stake in the larger meanings of the war. One can be glad the North was ultimately victorious and still be struck by the bloodshed on all sides.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 4:28 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Which almost made sense, kind of, a little, when there was a single person alive who was there for the War, or even for Reconstruction. It's over, it's gone, it's history. Nobody alive was there for it, and I'd be surprised if there were more than a dozen people alive whose parents were born before the 1860's.

Hmmmm. I understand where you're coming from, but I'd be careful about making that argument. I could see someone saying the same thing about slavery. The "just get over it" position just doesn't make sense when that event has repercussions that stretch to this day. A few generations is NOT a long time at all.
posted by brundlefly at 4:28 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I confess, my mom was not from the south, so I never learned southern cooking. Please don't hate me, unless hating me means "killing me slowly by feeding me a lifetime of southern cooking, soul food, and twangy pronunciations."

My mother makes the best biscuits on earth, and the best gravy. Sweet, milky biscuits light as dawn clouds and artery-hardening gravy. She can't cook a thing else, but her biscuits would make a strong man cry.

This thread makes me want to go home and demand biscuits!

There are lots and lots of super things about the southern US. Weird fetishes about a culture probably only fifty families shared are not among them.

Also you all left pecan pie off your lists of great things.
posted by winna at 4:28 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


By that same logic blacks should not be offended by the Confederate Flag b/c slavery happened so long ago.

Hmmmm. I understand where you're coming from, but I'd be careful about making that argument. I could see someone saying the same thing about slavery.

The Civil War ended in 1865. Reconstruction ended in 1877. What year would you two argue that racism ended in? What year did whites stop using the memory of slavery as a weapon against black people? How many generations since that happened?

What a nauseating equivalency.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:30 PM on October 23, 2009 [15 favorites]


"What southerner buys biscuit gravy at a store, whatever the state they are in?"

"No self-respectin' Southerner uses instant grits."
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 4:35 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


What a nauseating equivalency.

I'm not making the equivalency: I'm arguing it's the same logic, which it is. You can't say "suck it up Southerners" and not see that by the same logic racists might argue "suck it up Blacks" or "suck it up Geronimo." Whenever one deals with history (consider Israel/Palestine or Northern Ireland) the appeal to "just forgetting" is not real a very good appeal: b/c there is always someone with a long memory on any side of these things. Of course the equivalency of Southern White resentment and the oppression of Blacks is nauseating, but it's also a tactic everyone appeals to.

The argument should not be "get over it Southerners," the argument should be "I don't really think you're angry about what you think you're angry about."
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 4:38 PM on October 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


I wrote up a nice response to you, Pope Guilty, but HP LaserJet P10006 said it much better so I'll let that stand.
posted by brundlefly at 4:41 PM on October 23, 2009


I think most black people are upset about the racism they face today and are really not that upset about slavery except in sort of an abstract way. It's not like there are Yankees going around burning down houses in the South for kicks these days, unlike, say, people (not necessarily Southerners) who still kill black people for being black.

it's not like anyone denies what Sherman did. This isn't like Chinese-Canadians getting the Canadian Government to apologies for the head tax. In that case the government just outright pretended it never happened (oh, it was a tax, there were lots of taxes, let's not get worked up...). And it's not like Southerners are some sort of oppressed ethnic minority like Native Americans. They weren't exactly forced onto reservations or into gas chambers.

Sure, do I think war is bad and do I feel bad for people who die violent, unnecessary premature deaths? You bet. But there's finding war in general repugnant and there's carrying a grudge against another group that's 145 years old. Let's not make false analogies here.
posted by GuyZero at 4:45 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I would recommend that everyone in this thread read Hal Crowther's essay "Cross Purposes," from the collection Cathedrals of Kudzu. He makes a number of excellent points in it, but foremost among them is this one: if "true Southerners" cared so much about the dignity and history embodied by the Stars and Bars, they wouldn't have let the flag be appropriated by white supremacists.

/Southern born and bred, but bred well enough to know that yelling "The South Will Rise Again" makes you look not only like a racist, but a goddamn idiot
posted by Rangeboy at 4:45 PM on October 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


Israel/Palestine

Not exactly 145 years since the last major battle there.

Northern Ireland

Fuck yes those people need to get over it and they finally managed it. Orangemen parading around celebrating a military victory from 1690? They need to move on on. A useless cultural institution that only serves to fan the flames of hatred.
posted by GuyZero at 4:48 PM on October 23, 2009


carrying a grudge

I'm against this too; the question is if anything in St. Alia's original comment indicated she was or is carrying a grudge; I certainly did not read her comment that way.

This is why context is so important here: b/c otherwise at the other extreme anyone who says anything at all, no matter how uncontroversial, about Sherman in any context is misinterpreted as some clueless racist throwback. I read St. Alia's original comment as a "walk and chew gum at the same time" kind of comment, and not as a "fuck you Yankees we'll rise again" kind of comment.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 4:53 PM on October 23, 2009


if "true Southerners" cared so much about the dignity and history embodied by the Stars and Bars, they wouldn't have let the flag be appropriated by white supremacists

The Stars and Bars aren't just the goddamn flag of the Confederacy- a nation founded, by the way, for the express purpose of protecting and propagating the practice of institutional slavery- but a particular battle flag created to serve as the flag of people who were murdering other people in order to protect institutionalized slavery. It was never appropriated by white supremacists. It was created by white supremacists- by the Confederates- as an emblem of slavery and violent death to those seeking to end it, and those who fly it and claim it simply as "heritage" are deliberately ignoring an awful history that goes to its very inception.


I'm not making the equivalency: I'm arguing it's the same logic, which it is.

And the logic actually fucking works in one case, and is unfiltered bullshit in the other. Just because it's nonsense in one structure doesn't make it nonsense in another- the actual facts of the matter change whether the reasoning is valid.

Fuck me, fuck this. Moral relativism is a goddamn cancer that destroys human reasoning and empowers the nastiest aspects of human belief and behavior.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:53 PM on October 23, 2009 [22 favorites]


+1 million for Rangeboy. I've edited and re-edited my comments too many times for it to be worth my time to do so again.
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 4:55 PM on October 23, 2009




Pope Guilty: I'm not defending the logic, I'm just arguing that there may be better ways of deflating appeals to the racist codewords of "white Southern resentment" than just saying "the Civil war was a long time ago." If the point is to get people to think, as opposed to just make them dig in further, then there may be better arguments than just saying "get over it." That was my only point.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 4:58 PM on October 23, 2009


Oh goody this crap again.
posted by nola at 4:59 PM on October 23, 2009


Finally, if anyone here needs something (mostly) Southern that they can be justifiably proud of, I suggest they look one thread up.
posted by Rangeboy at 5:00 PM on October 23, 2009


Also, FWIW I don't know whether St Alia et al actually carries a grudge or not and my comments are not really directed at her so much as at the idea of carrying such a grudge. If no one actually does carry this grudge I suppose I've got a straw man on my hands and it's happy days all around.
posted by GuyZero at 5:06 PM on October 23, 2009


I say let people have their flags of treason and hatred. They either get it, which means they're wicked, or they don't, which means they're simple. Either way, it's handy to know that about them.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:10 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Pope Guilty: I just think "it was a long time ago" is a bad argument to make, no matter what the context. Things don't stop being wrong with the passage of time. If you think someone's feelings about a historical event are inappropriate or wrong (eg: "the South was fucked over by the North and the South will rise again"), address them on those terms. I wouldn't consider that moral relativism. I'd consider that being intellectually consistent.
posted by brundlefly at 5:10 PM on October 23, 2009


my comments are not really directed at her

I get that, but they were prompted by her, which is why I found them a bit over the top: even if I agree that any white Southerner carrying a "grudge" about the Civil War is necessarily carrying all sorts of racist baggage, I don't see anything in her original comment to elicit such a response.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 5:13 PM on October 23, 2009


When's the last time you lived up north?

Never, God willing. I figure if THEY are moving HERE they know what they're doing. ;-)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:13 PM on October 23, 2009


Earlier this month, the Ole Miss student government passed a resolution suggesting the chant be replaced by the phrase, "To hell with LSU."

Come on. That's pretty funny.

I went to Ole Miss. I won't defend this stuff. I went there with hesitation, but in retrospect I am glad that I did. I learned a lot about my "heritage", the cowardice of many Mississippians over history, the bravery of others. I won't ramble on, but I believe it made me a better person, and the friendships I forged with like-minded individuals I still treasure today.

I do have a funny story. I had a roommate who was instrumental in the student body government in banning sticks from the games. As I understood it, it was impossible to gain support for actually banning flags, so the reasoning behind banning sticks was because a stick is dangerous, and can poke people in the eye if one is waving it around. That that is what it took is ridiculous and embarassing, but this is some deeply ingrained tradition. It is difficult to explain. And the stick thing passed, and despite a series of threats my roommate (from Alabama) went on to have an illustrious career in the ASB during some of the most progressive years in the University's history.

And they were progressive, under Chancellor Khayat, who retired last year, I believe. There is a thriving southern studies program that truly examines these things, and other remarkable aspects of southern culture, instead of rolling around in the filth. There is a civil rights memorial honoring James Meredith, the University's first black student who entered the Lyceum amid gunfire. Colonel Reb is no more, last I checked. Officially, anyway. I try to get to a game a year, and I rarely if ever see a confederate flag in the stadium. Is it still full of jackasses? Absolutely. I never heard this "South will rise again" chant, but if they are doing that now it is disappointing bullshit and an step backward.

I won't ever view the south, or my home state, or my alma mater, through rose colored glasses. But I will recognize and try to understand the faults of my ancestors, as well as those of my family, as well as my own. And I will embrace progress, belated and subtle as it often is. I only ask that the rest of the country recognize that the loudest and most obnoxious do not represent us en masse, any more than the same nationwide represent the entirety of the USA. Please be patient with us, because many of us are trying.

But I digress. The second part of this story, however, is my favorite, when my roommate met Trent Lott at a school function, and Mr. Lott was encouraging him to take an active role in student government, to avoid the temptation to pad a resume and truly become involved in the direction of his University. Write resolutions and student legislation! My roommate told Mr. Lott that in fact he had taken part is such activities, including co-authoring the piece that banned sticks from football games. Trent Lott frowned at him, turned away, and refused to acknowledge him for the rest of the event. Granted, my roommate, as any great storyteller with a drawl, tended to embellish. But this story makes me so happy, and I love telling it.

Hotty Toddy.
posted by gordie at 5:14 PM on October 23, 2009 [39 favorites]


By the way, I don't know if anybody caught it, but Nick Griffin of the British Nationalist Party was asked about his appearance with the KKK's David Duke the other night on his infamous Question Time appearance, and he responded by saying that the KKK is a "nonviolent organization." This drew huge boos and hisses, thankfully. But amazingly white supremacy seems to be international now.
posted by koeselitz at 5:35 PM on October 23, 2009


Oh yeah, heritage. The particular geographical location of your parents when they decided to have sex, along with all the cultural trappings they chose to surround themselves with as you were growing up. That mythical more innocent time that never existed to begin with, except in the willful ignorance of your folks, who found the march of time just a little too much to deal with. This is why nostalgia can be such a bad thing to indulge in.

My mother came from Arkansas, my dad from Mississippi. That represents neither a source of pride nor of shame for me, but simply an accident of birth. Mine, theirs - all the way back up the line. The people the next county over were different and kind of scary, you know. Southerners were clannish. That was their weak spot. Even within families, they were divided. In my experience, this continues up to the present day.

Want the south to rise again? Add some fucking yeast.

If people are so deeply concerned about their heritage they should learn all they can about it and put it into some kind of context, make sense out of it.

I hate flags and symbols of all kinds. People have a way of getting real stupid about that shit.
posted by metagnathous at 5:40 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I meant to add a link to this book in my comment above.
posted by metagnathous at 5:46 PM on October 23, 2009


Pope Guilty: "It's one thing to be bitter about losing. It's another thing entirely to be bitter about people who died before your grandparents were born losing."

I'm sure that Russian anti-semitism played a significant role in my great-grandparents' decision to emigrate. And I think the odds are significant that at least one of them had an extended family member suffer an act of violence from it. Still I would feel intellectually silly resenting Russians today.

This is the world where it happened. If you could time-travel there, wouldn't it seem virtually an alien world?
posted by Joe Beese at 5:48 PM on October 23, 2009


If people are so deeply concerned about their heritage they should learn all they can about it and put it into some kind of context, make sense out of it.

The late Shelby Foote, famed Civil War historian, was born in Greenville, Mississippi.

Other great Mississippi born writers, some of whom at times injected our unique and baffling blend of guilt and pride into the canon: Eudora Welty, Larry Brown, Willie Morris, Tennessee Williams, Barry Hannah, Richard Wright, Rick Bass, Lewis Nordan, John Grisham (kidding), Ellen Gilchrist, Walker Percy, Charles Reagan Wilson, Donna Tartt, William Faulkner, Jim Henson.

The running joke among my family is if you're a Mississippian who knows how to read you probably wrote a book.
posted by gordie at 5:59 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: I hate the legacy of slavery but I am also not too thrilled about what Sherman did to my home town. The two are not mutually exclusive.

The hate for William Tecumseh Sherman, who was frankly a hero, has never made sense to me; you can only really dislike Sherman if you (a) don't know much about history or (b) value material objects over human life.

My ancestor, General James Johnson of the Confederation, became a close friend of Sherman's after the war, and made no secret that he thought Sherman was a hero for ending the war early the way he did. He was fond of pointing out that Sherman's genius was that he understood intuitively that there was a way to end the war without destroying human life: by slowly, carefully and methodically burning everything.

I can see feeling upset about all those buildings being burnt, yes; the fact is that the choice Sherman had was between burning buildings and killing people. Sherman chose to save lives by sacrificing buildings. Do you really believe buildings are worth more than people?
posted by koeselitz at 6:02 PM on October 23, 2009 [27 favorites]


Finally, if anyone here needs something (mostly) Southern that they can be justifiably proud of, I suggest they look one thread up.


Also: Stax Records, Sun Records, Dixieland Jazz, Gospel, Delta Blues, Piedmont Blues, Bluegrass, Southern Soul, Shape Note, Country Music, R&B, Big Star, R.E.M., Outkast, James Brown, Al Green, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Nina Simone, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong, Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt, The Stanley Brothers, Elizabeth Cotton, The Carter Family, Elephant 6, Merge Records, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and that's just the shard of the sliver of the tip of the iceberg. The next time you start self-loathing, fellow southerners, I challenge you to imagine what the last century of popular music would have sounded like without the southern influence.

Also, is it wrong that whenever I hear "the south will rise again" I imagine a Civil War reenactor in a Viagra commercial?
posted by thivaia at 6:04 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


gordie: Other great Mississippi born writers: ... John Grisham (kidding)...

Kidding about what - that he was Mississippi born, that he was great, or that he was a writer?
posted by koeselitz at 6:04 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


The late Shelby Foote, famed Civil War historian, was born in Greenville, Mississippi.

Along with a long line of other writers, artists and musicians who have done wonderful things over the years and decades. I'd be the last one to suggest that any of this stuff should be ignored.
posted by metagnathous at 6:10 PM on October 23, 2009


We'll also allow you blues music and sweet tea.

For barbecue alone, we'd be willing to shake hands and forget it.


Y'all forgot to mention shitty beer.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:14 PM on October 23, 2009


Walker Percy was from Alabama, not Mississippi.

And Sun Ra was from Birmingham, not Venus.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:38 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


ZenMasterThis: "Y'all forgot to mention shitty beer."

I actually began to prepare a Billy Beer FPP this week before abandoning the idea.

It's not even open to argument... the South has made enormously large contributions to American culture. In fact, the largest - as I value things.

Which is why, when you elevate a force for evil like the Confederacy above all that in your affections, it really makes a statement.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:41 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Along with a long line of other writers, artists and musicians who have done wonderful things over the years and decades.

Fair enough. I was just trying to make the point that we don't all stick our fingers in our ears and pretend that the last 200 years didn't happen. There are many who, in their art or in their work, try to put their heritage in context. And that is why I think it is, sometimes, fairly important to dwell on where we are from. Though I try not to think about where my parents have sex.

I understand your point, though. I wish I could explain it. As much as I have a gut revulsion toward the attitudes expressed in the post, I will admit that when I'm standing in the grove and the band starts playing dixie I get chills up my spine. I don't understand it, either.

Good god, it's friday night and I'm going to go drink some brown liquor and self-loathe for a while.
posted by gordie at 6:43 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


War Days in Fayetteville:


In less time than I can write this, Sherman's army was in possession of our once peaceful, quiet homes. Every yard and every house was teeming with the bummers, who went into our homes - no place was sacred; they even went into our trunks and bureau drawers, stealing everything they could find; our entire premises were ransacked and plundered, so there was nothing left for us to eat, but perhaps a little meal and peas. Chickens, and in fact all poultry was shot down and taken off with all else. We all knew our silver, jewelry and all valuables would fall into their hands, so many women hid them in such places as they thought would never be found, but alas for their miscalculation! One of my friends had a hen setting, and she took her watch and other valued jewels and hid them in the nest, under the hen - they did not remain long concealed, for they soon found them and enjoyed the joke.

They went into homes that were beautiful, rolled elegant pianos into the yard with valuable furniture, china, cut glass, and everything that was dear to the heart, even old family portraits, and chopped them up with axes - rolled barrels of flour and molasses into the parlors, and poured out their contents on beautiful velvet carpets, in many cases set fire to lovely homes and burned them to the ground, and even took some of our old citizens and hanged them until life was nearly extinct, to force them to tell where their money was hidden; when alas! they had


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none to hide. They burned our factories, end we had a number of them, also many large warehouses, filled with homespun, and dwellings, banks, stores and other buildings, so that the nights were made hideous with dense smoke and firelight in every direction. The crowning point to this terrible nightmare of destruction was the burning and battering down of our beautiful and grandly magnificent Arsenal, which was our pride, and the showplace of our town.


And further on:
Outside the town, where no guards were placed, the soldiers "ran amuck" through everything. At my uncle's place, four mires from here, they tore up, smashed and stole everything they could lay their hands on; they cut up the parlor carpet into saddle cloths, broke the mirror over the mantel, broke up the clock and the sewing machine, carried off the books from the library, even the family Bible was not sacred; one of them opened it and spread it over a mule's back and rode off on it for a saddle. Finally they finished by tearing up clothing, pamphlets, feather-beds, &c., and pouring peanut oil over the derbis. All the bed-clothes were carried off, except one quilt on which the baby was lying. One miscreant worse than the rest seized that; my uncle's


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wife held on to it, but, he being the stronger of the two, jerked it away from her and ran away with it. Of course everything eatable was laid hands on the first thing. A faithful servant was dispatched to town to the house of a friend for something to eat; he brought some meal and a bottle of molasses. The bummers took the molasses from him as soon as he arrived; my aunt made some bread from the meal and as she was cooking it before the fire a scamp sitting by kept spitting over and around it, "Please don't spit into my bread," said my aunt. With that he spat directly into it--the bread intended to feed our hungry little children. The evening they left this place a field officer road by - Burgoss I think-- followed by some men with horses loaded with bacon. My uncle approached him, saying, "Sir, you have taken all my provisions and my family must suffer without anything; will you not leave some of that meat?" Without deigning to reply he turned to one of the men following, "Throw him down a piece." The soldier obeyed with the air of throwing a bone to a dog and they rode off.

I wish to confine myself to my own experience and that of my family, or I might multiply instances like these of the conduct of Sherman's men near Fayetteville, such as hanging men to make them produce their valuables, pouring molasses in pianos, converting bureau-drawers into feed boxes, tying up silk dresses for flour bags, and so on; verily the Yankees are an inventive nation.


Yeah, not exactly mass murder, but taking the food from civilian noncombatant woman and children, not particularly humanitarian either.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:44 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Walker Percy is from Alabama? Really? godDAMMIT WHERE IS THAT BOURBON.
posted by gordie at 6:46 PM on October 23, 2009


Is this where flapjax at midnight comes in again and says that implying white southerners sometimes seem to have a problem coming to grips with their bloody past is bigoted and such? 'Cause last time was only like 5 days ago and I could use the argument.

The genocide of Native Americans was mostly carried out under the union flag, but no one's demanding that be pulled down from state capitols.

We didn't get our asses kicked by the Native Americans. The south, on the other hand, got served.
posted by Justinian at 6:47 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, not exactly mass murder, but taking the food from civilian noncombatant woman and children, not particularly humanitarian either.

How dare he not be polite and genteel with people whose entire culture and society was evil to the core to an extent seen only a few times in written history.

I'm sure the civilians outside Dachau had a pretty rough time of it as well. Which is wrong. But it's pretty clear who the bad guys are and it isn't the ones liberating the camps slaves.
posted by Justinian at 6:55 PM on October 23, 2009 [11 favorites]


All I'm saying is, war is hell, it's no fun having all your stuff ruined, your children crying because there's nothing to eat, and your husband's off somewhere being shot at.

Sherman certainly shortened the war, but he did it by tearing up the lives of civilian noncombatants, including children. I think that even in modern times, that's something you wouldn't approve of, if you thought about it.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:04 PM on October 23, 2009


(Not saying here that the South didn't deserve it-I'd consider it God's judgement over the issue of slavery. )
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:06 PM on October 23, 2009


Oh, and btw for the interested: Documenting the American South "includes fourteen thematic collections of primary sources for the study of southern history, literature, and culture. "

Looks like a lot of good reading for any history buffs out there.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:09 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sherman certainly shortened the war, but he did it by tearing up the lives of civilian noncombatants, including children. I think that even in modern times, that's something you wouldn't approve of, if you thought about it.

Where the fuck were your sympathies in 2003 when we were bombing the shit out of Iraq? What do you think cluster bombs do?
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:11 PM on October 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


The New South: Old Times There Are Not Forgotten.
posted by mlis at 7:14 PM on October 23, 2009


Pope Guilty, my point exactly.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:15 PM on October 23, 2009


I am also not too thrilled about what Sherman did to my home town.

If I wished, I could join the Sons of the Confederacy (and I have considered doing so, just for kicks), so I'll put my "southern" credentials next to anyone's. From that position, let me offer some advice: Don't start none and there won't be none.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:22 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Don't start none and there won't be none.
It's worth noting that Sherman himself gave the South this same advice, in the lead-up to the war:
You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it… Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth—right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If your people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail.
posted by Flunkie at 7:26 PM on October 23, 2009 [23 favorites]


I could join the Daughters of the Confederacy myself, but I never ever would.

I just don't like what happened at Sherman's March, is all.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:27 PM on October 23, 2009


The hate for William Tecumseh Sherman, who was frankly a hero

Really?

.."[w]e are not going to let a few thieving, ragged Indians check and stop the progress of [the railroads]. "[w]e must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women and children."

The guy should be on the $20 bill.
posted by Sailormom at 7:31 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I moved to the South from New York twelve years ago. I had no idea that people in the South actually referred to people from the North as "Yankees." It led to the following conversation.

"Oh, so you're a Yankee?" It was said rather condescendingly.

"If that's what you call it, I guess I am. Do you know what people up North call people from the South?"'

"What?"

"We call them 'People from the South' because nobody up there cares if someone is from the South."

As an aside, I still can't get people to understand that grits were invented because people were too poor at the time to have actual food. So they had to essentially make something out of nothing. My mother learned to make spaghetti sauce from her mother who cooked during the Depression. My mother takes a jar of spaghetti sauce and mixes it equally with water. She doesn't understand that my grandmother added water during the Depression not because it was good, but because it was necessary. It is no longer necessary to eat grits.
posted by flarbuse at 7:37 PM on October 23, 2009 [11 favorites]


I just don't like what happened at Sherman's March, is all.

Hey, join the club. That's why war is hell. It's all fun and games until somebody puts an eye out levels a civilization.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:39 PM on October 23, 2009


The answer is frankly obvious: talk about it in class. Mandate a class on the civil war, and require teachers to point out that the civil war was principally about slavery.

Ahaha, you think southern schools don't teach students about the civil war? The second part of your sentence was a nice addition, you can mandate that all you like. My memory of my alabamian public school education about the civil war consists of a discussion rating the strengths and weaknesses of both sides, (the south had smarter generals and agriculture, the north had more industrialization). Part of this may be poor recollection, but the gist of it was that the south was an antiquated but fundamentally good society, (in that irrational aw-shucks old-timey good way), which was run roughshod by the merciless wheel of progress.

I like schools, and I think they are an invaluable thing to nourish in society. But the idea that they are always a bastion of progressive ideology that will "fix" the next generation is dangerously magical thinking to me. I hate to sound like this, but what a classroom is in the end is one (or a few) persons who have a plan and often experience speaking with authority to a group of people who are in a more or less powerless position. Sometimes (thankfully it happened for me in some classes later on) they're taught to question and consider and reason. But this is not always the result.

Teachers and principals and school boards and PTAs are from the community. The same community that goes to that football game and sees that mascot and cheers on the Rebs.
posted by SomeOneElse at 7:43 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


It is no longer necessary to eat grits.

Wait a minute! You can burn the fucking Confederate flag, but don't go hating on grits.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:43 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


It is no longer necessary to eat grits

Heavily buttered, cooked to the right consistency, with a judicious application of salt.....heavenly. And also really really good mixed up with an overmedium egg.

I'm guessing you've never had em cooked right.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:43 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


flarbuse, I think that crappy spaghetti sauce has left you spiritually malnourished. What on earth is your ojbection to making something out of nothing?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to fry up some chicken wings in this morning's bacon grease and then mix up a bunch of old thrift-store records. I've got to wake up early tomorrow to drop off my recycling, stop at an estate sale and then go make a mosaic.
posted by box at 7:48 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


It is no longer necessary to eat grits.

All right then flarbuse, pistols at dawn it is.
posted by Kloryne at 7:49 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


It is no longer necessary to eat grits.


???
posted by nola at 7:50 PM on October 23, 2009


It is no longer necessary to eat grits.

Cheese grits are fucking delicious. Shrimp and grits is fucking delicious. The asiago grits with fresh morels and chanterelles at Highland's Bar & Grill are fucking delicious. Come to my home, eat my grits, and I will change your mind. You, sir, are a victim of Bad Grits.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:52 PM on October 23, 2009


(I, too, moved to the South some years ago. Although in my part of the North, people called Southerners rednecks and crackers and hicks and, well, you get the drift. Not everybody, but then not everybody says 'Yankee,' either. And I don't like grits that much myself, unless they're the kind where there's more cheese than grits. But get you some greens, now, that's some eatin'.)
posted by box at 7:53 PM on October 23, 2009


(Also, I can't help but notice how many people are defending 'The South Shall Rise Again!' versus how many are defending grits.)
posted by box at 7:55 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


It is no longer necessary to eat grits

Jesus hula-hooping Christ. I'm from the North, and even I think that's goofy.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:55 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Let's agree to blame it on God, though. That works really well.
posted by odinsdream at 7:59 PM on October 23, 2009


<>flarbuse> I still can't get people to understand that grits were invented because people were too poor at the time to have actual food.

Yeah, most regional dishes have their origins in rural poverty. But po'folk food is really good once you develop a taste for it.

<3 grits.
posted by clarknova at 8:04 PM on October 23, 2009




It is no longer necessary to eat grits.

I hope you don't enjoy polenta, which is basically Italian grits.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:08 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]



That's a good point, let's fill out that list and build up some Southern Pride Equity:
* Lighthouses
* Horseraces
* The "Citrus Belt" (Florida) (Other states?)
* Twain (Mark, not Shania (related? maybe work this angle))
* Steamboats
* Bourbon

Hm.

Oh, there are a couple big car plants in the south, right? Plus a few tech centers, or am I mistaken?

Take a look at that list again. The game's harder than it looks.


Are you fucking serious?
posted by kmz at 8:10 PM on October 23, 2009


It is no longer necessary to eat grits.

It's also not necessary to eat chocolate, pizza, or sushi. But I still do anyway. Because they're gooooooooooooooooooood.
posted by kmz at 8:20 PM on October 23, 2009


Actually, I have to disagree, kmz. It IS necessary to eat sushi.
posted by brundlefly at 8:25 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


As a "person of the South" I am frequently referred to as "hillbilly" and "redneck" by "people of the North", in a very condescending manner. It goes both ways. Yes, it is way past time to put the Civil War behind us. And I don't like grits, fly the Confederate flag, and believe it or not, I am not a Republican. I have indoor plumbing and wear shoes (most of the time). We all need to ease up on the stereotypes and try to find a way to live together in peace. Seriously.
posted by wv kay in ga at 8:30 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


It is no longer necessary to eat grits.

I once knew a guy who sincerely believed in the paranormal. And when I asked him why, when noting how many people have died in the history of people dying, we don't see ghosts all the over the damn place, he thought for a moment, and then he responded that ghosts can walk through walls, therefore they also fall through floors. Through floors and the ground and all the way to the center of the earth. Most ghosts, he posited, are probably inhabiting the molten core of the planet. Not hell, per se, just that that's the way it is, what with gravity and the geological composition of the earth and ghosts. Of all the crazy refutations of my point he could've offered (they are invisible? they can avoid our mortal eyes with uncanny ease? they live on the bottom of the ocean?), he chose this one.

He chose Lava ghosts.

So this other guy sitting next to us at this bar, whom we didn't know at all and who had been silently drinking his sad drink by himself since we had arrived, pale and unnerved and seeming to be wrestling with an inner demon all evening, this guy perks up and looks at us, and he points out that ghosts are unlikely to obey newtonian physics. Then this stranger went back to his drink and didn't say another word the rest of the night. I saw in the bar mirror a face that reflected how much I was trying to reconcile all the things that had just come out of people's mouths.

That was the last time I recall making that face, until just now.
posted by gordie at 8:33 PM on October 23, 2009 [42 favorites]


Wow, this thread is moving fast. I just wanted to stand up for John Grisham. He may not be a great writer, but he is a good progressive guy who is active in awesome causes like the Innocence Project and is also a huge supporter of Democratic candidates in Virginia (where he currently makes his home). On a personal level, I read a decent number of his books when I was 13 or 14, and it was The Chamber that turned me firmly against the death penalty, a belief I still stand strongly by today. I think he completely belongs on any list of things that are awesome about the South.
posted by naoko at 8:34 PM on October 23, 2009


As a "person of the South" I am frequently referred to as "hillbilly" and "redneck" by "people of the North", in a very condescending manner. It goes both ways. Yes, it is way past time to put the Civil War behind us. And I don't like grits, fly the Confederate flag, and believe it or not, I am not a Republican. I have indoor plumbing and wear shoes (most of the time). We all need to ease up on the stereotypes and try to find a way to live together in peace. Seriously.

As a Texan, when I lived in Chicago people were often surprised that I was a dyed in the wool liberal. And that I didn't own a cowboy hat. (Though I do own one now. Playing up to some stereotypes can be fun.)
posted by kmz at 8:41 PM on October 23, 2009


Oh, but about what Southern schools teach about the Civil War: my southern schools elementary and middle schools basically taught that the War was about money. Which you would think would be hard to talk about without being pretty upfront about the role of slavery in the southern economy, and yet somehow that seemed to get largely elided.

Tangentially related anecdote: my Yankee stepmother often tells the story of how she first realized just how deep the North-South divide still is when my little sister nonchalantly informed her that "the Civil War is the only war we ever lost."

I have mixed feelings about my Southern heritage, but I am deeply suspicious of anyone who doesn't like grits.
posted by naoko at 8:43 PM on October 23, 2009


St. Alia of the Bunnies: Yeah, not exactly mass murder, but taking the food from civilian noncombatant woman and children, not particularly humanitarian either.

Yes, it was humanitarian. Sherman saw ahead to the realities of 20th-century warfare; he was the only general before 1914 who understood what shape war would take in the future. But foreseeing the future of war wasn't really his great achievement; his achievement was making continued conflict incomprehensible to Southern soldiers. Yes, it was a hard time, but I don't think starvation in the direct aftermath was exactly rampant. The good china! The family silver! Heaven forbid!

Those quotations are damned telling; it takes someone who's absolutely and completely insulated from the real horrors that were going on just a few miles away - the vast throngs of men marching to their deaths, the piles of bodies being stacked up, the amputations without sedatives and the disease and the gangrene and the infections – in short, it takes someone who's completely insulated from the true horrors of the civil war to wring their hands over molasses being poured into a piano.

If it weren't for Sherman, a few thousand, a few hundred thousand, hell, a few million more Southern and Northern men would certainly have lost their lives. It took Sherman's march to remind them why the hell they were fighting in the first place. It wasn't pretty, but it had to happen.

As a Westerner (not a Northerner) who sympathizes somewhat with Southerners who look back to those times and sees that something was lost there: the biggest loss was lives, the young men of a generation; not family portraits, not precious heirlooms, not fine furniture. It was lives that were lost. And while it's easy to associate Sherman with the long economic hardship which came after the war, and in fact I believe most Southerners who hate Sherman probably hate him for that reason, I point to the true butcher of the civil war, the man who was as brilliant in saving the union as he was corrupt in his administration of it: Hiram Ulysses "S" Grant, whose administration oversaw the wholesale ransacking of every bit of the South's economic and political heritage. Sherman cut a swath through Georgia, it's true, but he was gone within a few months; Grant spent eight long years making certain that every bit of forgiveness and repatriation, every bit of brotherly fellow-feeling that Lincoln had wanted to lay upon the South was extinguished and dead.
posted by koeselitz at 8:43 PM on October 23, 2009 [17 favorites]


Pope Guilty, my point exactly.
You think cluster bombs pour molasses in pianos? Or that they hand out bacon with disdain? I think this whole scapegoating of "The South" (as if "The North" wasn't built on slavery too, and the British Empire come to that) is distasteful, but you're being rather disingenuous here.
posted by GeckoDundee at 8:48 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hate the legacy of slavery but I am also not too thrilled about what Sherman did to my home town.

pop 1860 - 9,554

pop 1870 - 21,789

Outside the town, where no guards were placed, the soldiers "ran amuck" through everything. At my uncle's place, four mires from here, they tore up, smashed and stole everything they could lay their hands on; they cut up the parlor carpet into saddle cloths, broke the mirror over the mantel, broke up the clock and the sewing machine, carried off the books from the library, even the family Bible was not sacred; one of them opened it and spread it over a mule's back and rode off on it for a saddle. Finally they finished by tearing up clothing, pamphlets, feather-beds, &c., and pouring peanut oil over the derbis. All the bed-clothes were carried off, except one quilt on which the baby was lying.

how were the local black people living at that time? did they have parlor carpets, mirrors, clocks, sewing machines, books, libraries, family bibles?

"For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.

"Therefore the LORD shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still."

isaiah 9:16-7

what goes around comes around
posted by pyramid termite at 8:51 PM on October 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


If it weren't for Sherman, a few thousand, a few hundred thousand, hell, a few million more Southern and Northern men would certainly have lost their lives. It took Sherman's march to remind them why the hell they were fighting in the first place. It wasn't pretty, but it had to happen.

If it weren't for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, millions of Japanese and Allied (mostly American) men would have perished.

Somehow, I doubt that MetaFilter will rush to defend the Manhattan Project.
posted by oaf at 8:55 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


BitterOldPunk: Walker Percy was from Alabama, not Mississippi.

gordie: Walker Percy is from Alabama? Really? godDAMMIT WHERE IS THAT BOURBON.

You're both right. Walker Percy was born in Birmingham, but the Percys were an old Mississippi family; Walker was related to the great LeRoy Percy, a United States Senator and a man anybody could be proud of. LeRoy Percy is famous for humiliating the KKK and running them out of Washington County (Mississippi) on a rail in 1922 with a speech that featured the thunderous plea:
Friends, let this Klan go somewhere else where it will not do the harm that it will in this community. Let them sow dissension in some community less united than is ours.
The Percy family had a strong legacy in Mississippi, so it's fair to say that they were a Mississippi family, indeed.

Frankly, however, Walker Percy will always be a Louisiana writer to me.
posted by koeselitz at 8:55 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


wv kay in ga: As a "person of the South" I am frequently referred to as "hillbilly" and "redneck" by "people of the North", in a very condescending manner. It goes both ways. Yes, it is way past time to put the Civil War behind us. And I don't like grits, fly the Confederate flag, and believe it or not, I am not a Republican. I have indoor plumbing and wear shoes (most of the time). We all need to ease up on the stereotypes and try to find a way to live together in peace. Seriously.

Hear, hear!

When I was at school in Boston, a friend of mine was attending the Divinity program at Harvard. He said that his favorite teacher there was a fellow from South Carolina who spoke with a low voice and a long Southern drawl. This being Boston, such was often seen as being somehow 'uneducated' or 'low.' My friend never stopped loving the reaction this man got when people realized that he knew ancient Greek, Hebrew, Farsi, and Arabic, which he could speak fluently. That goggley-eye look was hilarious every time.
posted by koeselitz at 9:00 PM on October 23, 2009


I hear Walker Percy had lunch in Arkansas once.
posted by box at 9:06 PM on October 23, 2009


Ellen Gilchrist is a shitty writer.
posted by birdie birdington at 9:07 PM on October 23, 2009


Thanks for that clarification, koeselitz. I learned something. (And I think of Percy as a Louisiana writer, too, truth be told.)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:09 PM on October 23, 2009


Frankly, however, Walker Percy will always be a Louisiana writer to me.

Same here, but I'm biased.
posted by brundlefly at 9:42 PM on October 23, 2009


Grits are delicious, and an amazing source of iron (which is especially good to know if you've got an infant). Best when mixed with an over-easy egg and a dollop of butter, as per St. Alia of the Bunnies, but when I have a cold or fever, nothing beats a big bowl of grits with a generous dollop of wildflower honey in 'em.

GRITS, MOTHERFUCKERS. DO YOU EAT THEM?
posted by sciurus at 9:47 PM on October 23, 2009


Don't be dragging Mexico into this. They have their own problems.

The South actually tried this during the Civil War. It was like in Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid when Steve Martin's getting beat up by goons and says, "What's he paying you boys? I'll double it and we'll beat the shit out of him."

and let's be clear -- slavery wasn't the only one

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

By that same logic blacks should not be offended by the Confederate Flag b/c slavery happened so long ago.

Wrong. The "Confederate Flag" is a 20th century invention that was adopted in the 1940s as an emblem of resistance to civil rights. More here. We're talking 1960s, not 1860s.

All I'm saying is, war is hell, it's no fun having all your stuff ruined, your children crying because there's nothing to eat, and your husband's off somewhere being shot at.

Maybe don't start the war in the first place. (And I know North Carolina was the last state to secede and the first state to be readmitted to the Union. Still, roll your dice, move your mice.)

Not saying here that the South didn't deserve it-I'd consider it God's judgement over the issue of slavery.
Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether." [cite]
posted by kirkaracha at 10:00 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Postroad: Just about every state that is The South gets more money back from the federal govt than it sends in; most of the yankee states get less back than they send in.

I've seen similar comments on MeFi before, from other voices.

Do you guys realize that this is called 'progressive taxation'? Middle-class people are taxed, rich people are taxed more, poor people are subsidized. The North is richer than the South. Thus, the North pays and the South receives. I thought left/liberals liked progressive taxation and social welfare payments. This is what it looks like. Why the complaints?
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:06 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why the complaints?

Because the South bitches about government and taxes while they're happy to benefit from both. Hypocrisy's annoying enough, more so when I (as a California taxpayer) am picking up their tab.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:16 PM on October 23, 2009 [8 favorites]


There's a lot of talk here about "Southern Pride". If I choose to display my "southern pride" by, say, hanging a flag, would anyone like to suggest a flag design that would be ideal for showing that? Something with a bit of history and relevance behind it, please - I don't want to simply write "THE SOUTH" on a sheet. Also, it would be nice if it was instantly recognizable by most Americans as being indicative of the South - no obscurity please. And, if it could pay tribute to the independent Southern spirit that actually dared to secede from the Union, that'd be great too.

I can see why there'd be a lot of pride in that flag. But for a lot of people, it also means slavery. What can we suggest in its place?
posted by scrowdid at 10:21 PM on October 23, 2009


The US flag. It has fifty stars; one for each state. This includes the south.
posted by Eideteker at 10:35 PM on October 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'll defend the Manhattan Project.
posted by ambient2 at 10:38 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


scrowdid, I promise you don't want to bring up southern pride and sheets in the same paragraph.

In all seriousness, you could use the flag of the state you're from at the time when it was admitted, or at the time that it seceded.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:39 PM on October 23, 2009


There is a lot of reductionist "the South = racist because of its ties to slavery" going on in this thread. The main problem with this is that most of the white racists you find in the South these days are not descended from the southern gentry who owned slaves. In fact, there are very, very few such families still around. Among poor whites in the modern South, a great deal of the family-passed-down racism originated post-civil war during the Reconstruction and after. During this time wealthy Southerners and a great number of Northern Industrialists started opening textile mills and other factories across the South, and employing large numbers of poor whites (a similar move to what modern companies have done by exporting manufacturing jobs to Mexico). Like in the Northeast, these factories had shitty working conditions and employees were forced to work long hours (16+hours) a day. So, like their Northeastern counterparts, the Southerners unionized.

That's when things got messy. Because as soon as the poor whites unionized, the wealthy Southerners and Northern Industrialists started advertising paid work among the black population of former slaves. These were people who had never been paid at all, and so jumped at the chance to have a real job. Problem was, to the unionized poor whites, these people were crossing the picket line. Scabs. Undermining their cause. To this day in the South, you'll find that the poor white population is extremely skeptical about unionization, mainly because when they tried it, they got screwed.

If you look into the history of Jim Crow, poor whites were also disenfranchised by many of the early voting restrictions, though after Jim Crow had become the norm, poor whites could think they were one better than their impoverished black neighbors by getting to go to the same soda fountains, theaters, etc. as the white people in power.

My point is that racism in the South (like elsewhere) is much more complicated than oh-they-owned-slaves (also because that same oh-they-owned-slaves was true for all the original colonies). Most of the people saying "The South will Rise Again" never had power to begin with. They're trying to align themselves with the moneyed, powerful families of the Antebellum South. It's an identity power grab which will be difficult to ever squash completely because it is motivated less by a hatred* of those at the bottom of the social strata and is motivated more by a total envy of those at the top.

*I am not saying that hateful racism doesn't exist in the South or that horrible, unforgivable violence hasn't been done in the name of maintaining these tenuous differences between people. What I am saying is that extreme views are fueled by extreme social insecurity, especially in a culture that is still very honor based.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 10:45 PM on October 23, 2009 [13 favorites]


The only way I could ever stomach grits was by drenching them in tabasco sauce. Must have emptied half the bottle.

Granted, I was at a Waffle House (never again, the horror, the horror), but my assumption was that grits are like oatmeal or white rice- kind of hard to do wrong. If I am mistake, and the travesty I encountered at said so called eating establishment were not true grits, then I will be willing to cut them a little slack.

And as for southern food, why has no one mentioned the truly amazing food that is Gumbo and Jumbalaya (spelled wrong I suspect, but the spell checker has no idea). They do come from the southern part of the country, right?

Finally, because we seem to be calming down a little and being more reasonable and because my comments on grits may not have been inflammatory enough, I devised an idea for a bumper sticker during high school in order to piss off a Texan that I knew. It was never made, but it was to have a burning confederate battle flag with the words "Sherman had the right idea" next to it. I think that may be the appropriate response to "the south will rise again," but then again, I'm tired and easily amused.
posted by Hactar at 10:51 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


And as for southern food, why has no one mentioned the truly amazing food that is Gumbo and Jumbalaya (spelled wrong I suspect, but the spell checker has no idea). They do come from the southern part of the country, right?

Louisiana in particular, and it's "Jambalaya."

FWIW, I could take or leave grits. Don't mind them, but never saw the big deal. :)
posted by brundlefly at 11:10 PM on October 23, 2009


I grew up in Northern Virginia, although having gone to a private school for 13 years in DC I consider myself more Washingtonian than Virginian. But there is something weird about Northern Virginia (or NoVA as locals call it). Because NoVA houses the elites and workers in the federal government (at least the white ones, African-Americans tend to live more in Maryland) the area has the feeling of being progressive and forward thinking but if you go thirty minutes south of Fairfax County it becomes the SOUTH. I once took a trip to VA Beach. It was around 2004 so I was wearing a shirt that said RE-DEFEAT BUSH. I remember we stopped off in a liquor store to grab some supplies... and man... the looks I got there were somewhere between hate and KNIVES KNIVES KNIVES IN YOUR JEW SKULL HATE. Either way, I technically grew up in the South but never felt any part of it.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 11:55 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, if people don't eat their grits, how are they going to get enough corn in their diet?

HFCS-LACED HAMBURGER
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:42 AM on October 24, 2009


The US flag. It has fifty stars; one for each state. This includes the south.

Nope, doesn't specifically pay tribute to the independent spirit of the South.

In all seriousness, you could use the flag of the state you're from at the time when it was admitted, or at the time that it seceded.

Good suggestion, but it fails the obscurity condition.
posted by scrowdid at 12:48 AM on October 24, 2009


I propose we partition the US flag's star section to the point that no state gets angry at being bunched with another state. No longer will the Texan be mad that Texas is grouped with the South, or will the Utahan be angry that he has to share a flag with NY elites. Granted, we'd eventually just be a bunch of stars in individual boxes, but we're proud of our individualism like that.

Better yet, we make the Flag 2.0 have velcro stars that we can take off and add on in the patterns/arrangements we prefer. Granted, most classroom flags would become the shape of a penis, but that's just freedom of speech.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:50 AM on October 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'm surprised nobody mentioned this as yet, but here's a very relevant article on Ole Miss that somebody linked to here in the Blue a while back: Ghosts of Mississippi.

I agree with many of the posts here. The reasons against Dixieland or chants like "South will rise again" isn't political-correctness or not letting the South celebrate its heritage, but that it causes very real hurt even today.
posted by the cydonian at 3:35 AM on October 24, 2009


Here's a flag
posted by Carbolic at 3:39 AM on October 24, 2009


Nope, doesn't specifically pay tribute to the independent spirit of the South.

So you do want a secessionist flag, then? Or are you suggesting that somehow independence is a value particular to the South? Because the only actual example of Southern "independence" that I can think of was about a hundred and fifty years ago.

Also, I am eating a bowl of grits with salt and butter right now and am annoyed that this represents the end of the tin.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:26 AM on October 24, 2009


When it comes to football the South has already risen. The SEC is the powerhouse conference these days and the northern Big 10 is struggling to compete.
posted by caddis at 5:42 AM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Somehow, I doubt that MetaFilter will rush to defend the Manhattan Project.

Oh, you'd be wrong. It's quite the debate, every time.

I sometimes feel that Sherman didn't go quite far enough, because obviously the South didn't learn its lesson the first time.
posted by empath at 5:57 AM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


how about a flag with grits on it? or elvis? or elvis eating grits?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:00 AM on October 24, 2009


I don't think I've ever even seen a grit.
posted by ODiV at 6:01 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


how about a flag showing a giant elvis eating a burning atlanta, then?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:09 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


You could use one of the flags actually used by the Confederacy, rather than the one that has been used often by white supremacists but never by the CSA itself.
posted by naoko at 6:22 AM on October 24, 2009


I sometimes feel that Sherman didn't go quite far enough, because obviously the South didn't learn its lesson the first time.

Spoken like a true redneck.
posted by nola at 6:23 AM on October 24, 2009


* Twain (Mark, not Shania (related? maybe work this angle))

Nope, Mark Twain was from Hannibal, Missouri, which is 100 miles north of St. Louis. Not the south.

-
posted by General Tonic at 7:02 AM on October 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


Charles Barkley on running for Governor: “I can't screw up Alabama…We're number 48 in everything, and Arkansas and Mississippi aren't going anywhere.”
posted by solmyjuice at 7:22 AM on October 24, 2009


I don't think I've ever even seen a grit.

Here you go, ODiV.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:28 AM on October 24, 2009


It's true that Southern antebellum culture was made possible by and would not have existed without slavery. Much of what is celebrated about that culture had nothing directly to do with slavery, but without slavery to supply the economic base and labor pool it could not have existed.

So if we're going to declare it faux pas to ever say anything nice about such things, we must also shun all the other cultures which however great could not have existed without slavery and, why the hell not add, brutal conquest.

We can start with the classical Greeks and Romans. Anybody want to start looking for alternatives to tainted ideas like democracy and trigonometry?
posted by localroger at 7:56 AM on October 24, 2009


Missouri was a divided state. Much of the area to the north of St. Louis was known as Little Dixie and had some of the highest populations of slaves in the state. Twain, himself, considered himself a Southerner and spent a short time in Confederate service. Missouri was and to a more limited extent today very much connected to the South.
posted by Atreides at 8:07 AM on October 24, 2009


[comment removed - respectful discussion - the grit-loving mod.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:58 AM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Anybody ever do this with grits? You cook them up, then you pile them all into a loaf pan and let them settle (whatever doesn't fit into the loaf pan, you eat right then with butter). After they've settled, you dump them out so they're still sort of loaf-shaped, and you cut them into slices, fry them up in a pan and eat them with butter and maple syrup. This is how my grandfather eats them; he's from Kansas.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:17 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Stars and Bars was the first national flag of the Confederacy, not the battle flag or modern-day "Confederate flag."

Missouri was a border state, and supplied around 110,000 troops for the Union Army and about 40,000 troops for the Confederate Army. There were over 1,200 military engagements in Missouri; only Virginia and Tennessee had more. Missouri may have seceded (there was an ordinance of secession but there's some controversy over its legitimacy) and was represented in the Confederate Congress even though the rival Confederate government of Missouri didn't control any territory and operated in exile from Texas.

If I choose to display my 'southern pride' by, say, hanging a flag, would anyone like to suggest a flag design that would be ideal for showing that?

The Bonnie Blue Flag that Carbolc linked to would be good, especially if you happen to be a US Navy rear admiral (lower half). It was originally the flag of the Republic of West Florida and was used by Mississippi when it seceded.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:42 AM on October 24, 2009


to hear Dixie in all its glory scroll to 2:15.

glory glory hallelujah :)
posted by vronsky at 9:57 AM on October 24, 2009


I find it really interesting that both critics and advocates of "The South" seem to make the same basic mistake, acting as if "The South" is a cultural and ethnic monolith. It never was, but "The South" will never rise again as an expression of white privilege because there are millions of people living in The South who are not white, have been doing a fair job of eroding that privilege over the last 50 years, and are still working at it today. The force for change in the AP article isn't coming from outside, it's coming from students and alumni. Certainly the south includes of the most profound racism in the United States, but it's also the home to some of the more vocal civil rights struggles as well.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:04 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


By that same logic blacks should not be offended by the Confederate Flag b/c slavery happened so long ago.

Wrong. The "Confederate Flag" is a 20th century invention that was adopted in the 1940s as an emblem of resistance to civil rights. More here. We're talking 1960s, not 1860s.


I was aware of this, and it does not matter to my larger point: in fact, I would say it's exactly this kind of argument (the flag is not what people think it) that is a good argument. It contrasts with what I think is a bad argument: the argument that people "should just get over it." The former might actually change minds; the latter will just piss people off more. If the goal is to change behavior and get people to re-think things, and not just feel morally superior, then there's good appeals to their judgement and bad appeals to their judgement.

To recap:

a) good argument against C.Flag (the one you use, etc)
b) bad argument against C.Flag ("suck it up rednecks")

posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 10:09 AM on October 24, 2009


Problem was, to the unionized poor whites, these people were crossing the picket line.

Oh jesus christ. Instead of hating on the poor blacks, they could've invited them to join the union.

poor whites could think they were one better than their impoverished black neighbors by getting to go to the same soda fountains, theaters, etc. as the white people in power.

Do you realize that with desegregation, the poor whites are still getting to use the same drinking fountains as the white people in power?
posted by hydrophonic at 10:47 AM on October 24, 2009


I don't think I've ever even seen a grit.

Here you go.
posted by brundlefly at 11:06 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like the history of the south that blames southern racism on northern business owners who bust unions and black who are scabs. Thank goodness we've nailed down who is really at fault.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:23 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, you'd be wrong. It's quite the debate, every time.

I should have said that MetaFilter won't defend the Manhattan Project as adamantly as they will Sherman's March to the Sea. It's awfully hypocritical to deride one as a probable war crime but claim the other was necessary.
posted by oaf at 12:21 PM on October 24, 2009


The US flag. It has fifty stars; one for each state. This includes the south.
Nope, doesn't specifically pay tribute to the independent spirit of the South.


Why do Americans hate America?

No, seriously, there's this hardcore "me before my country" attitude that seems to have developed in the USA. The North hates the South, the East Coast hates the West Coast, the Coasts hate the mid-West, the cities hate the country. Both political parties are corporatist whores, more alike than they are dissimilar, but Democrats hate Republicans hate Democrats.

What happened to "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"? What happened to America First? How can you expect to remain a country if you can't pull together?
posted by five fresh fish at 12:28 PM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Loving yourself more than your country is the most sincere patriotism there is. Post-Reagan America is all about individualism, so you can never love America until you learn to love yourself even more. America would just feel embarrassed if you loved it more than your rational self interest, and the Founding Fathers would have called you a "foppish popinjay."

Think about it; I haven't.

Also, as a East Coaster, I love the West Coast because the grass is always greener on the other side. I live in New Jersey, pretty much NY's farm (we grow everything) and in driving distance of a good number of metropolitan areas, and I'm always thinking "Those jerks in Washington are eating cherries, smoking medicinal pot, and going to Burgerville RIGHT NOW."
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:03 PM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I love my Southern heritage, but I think maybe it's time to let the Civil War go.
posted by Nelson


Amen to that. There isn't a better example of the South shooting itself in the foot. It only takes a small few to 'prove' the preconceptions of those that are ready to paint the south with a broad brush and give credence to stereotypes. The very same members that show up in every thread to give their bigoted views of the south must start salivating when they see these type stories, and yet it's those in the South that cling to this outdated crap that allows it to happen.

Someone visiting the South for the first time might see 1000 trucks with 1 sporting a rebel flag decal. That's the truck they remember.

"We call them 'People from the South' because nobody up there cares if someone is from the South."
posted by flarbuse


I hope you've read enough comments to realize you're flat out wrong (though not as wrong as you are about grits... mmm grits). If you had a southern accent and then spent time in the North you'd have a different opinion. It reminds me of the chuckle I get every time someone from Boston asks me about racism in the South.

Are you fucking serious?
posted by kmz


I noticed that also. I'm guessing it was a lame attempt at humor by boo_radley or he's simply ignorant as hell. Music, food, literature, all would lose much without the South. Music, in fact, would almost be unrecognizable without Southern influence.

Because the South bitches about government and taxes while they're happy to benefit from both. Hypocrisy's annoying enough, more so when I (as a California taxpayer) am picking up their tab.
posted by kirkarachal


I wish this paragraph could just automatically be included at the beginning of every thread on the South. It appears along with the requisite favorites no matter the topic (much like 'the coffee is burnt!' appears in every starbucks thread).

Look, I'm sitting outside my trailer in my lawn chair next to my old hound dog, I've got my moonshine and marlboro smokes and I can't wait to take a dip in my above ground pool as soon as I can get around to blowing it up. My health insurance is the emergency room and I've never worked a day in my life and yet I've got wifi. I know it's tough to accept that I owe all this to you paying your taxes. I admit, If I were in your shoes I'd probably be pissed off too.

But try to look at this with a different perspective. The music you enjoy, be it bluegrass, or zydeco, or country, or blues, or jazz, or rock, or folk, or metal, or boy band, or cajun, or gospel, or hillbilly, or jug band, good or bad, probably owes at least part of it's heritage to the South. So think of your taxes as an entertainment fee. Not to mention you get to keep the South as your whipping boy for California's money problems.

That's gotta be worth something.
posted by justgary at 1:31 PM on October 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


five fresh fish: Why do Americans hate America?
"...and so in a few thousand years, I who regard you will also have sprung from the loins of African kings. Now I want you to tell me just one thing more. Why do you hate the South?"
'I don't hate it,' Quentin [the Southerner] said, quickly, at once, immediately; 'I don't hate it,' he said. I don't hate it he thought, panting in the cold air, the iron New England dark; I don't. I don't!
I don't hate it! I don't hate it!
—William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!, last page

posted by koeselitz at 1:37 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


oaf: I should have said that MetaFilter won't defend the Manhattan Project as adamantly as they will Sherman's March to the Sea. It's awfully hypocritical to deride one as a probable war crime but claim the other was necessary.

It's sort of ridiculous to compare the deaths of hundreds of thousands within a few seconds to the burning of houses, however many houses may have been burnt and however many goods may have been stolen. Sherman's march killed many fewer than most battles in the Civil War. As I said above, it was a lot cleaner when you see it in that context.

Furthermore, a lot more Japanese people died on Okinawa than as a result of the use of nuclear weapons. That's not to say that dropping the bombs was hunky-dory, but yes, I will defend their use as strongly as I defend Sherman's march.
posted by koeselitz at 1:41 PM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


If ya gets the shits, eat yer grits.
posted by metagnathous at 1:41 PM on October 24, 2009


Astro Zombie wrote: I like the history of the south that blames southern racism on northern business owners who bust unions and black who are scabs. Thank goodness we've nailed down who is really at fault.

Yes, explaining other people's thoughts (however misguided) is the same as blame.

When you're a poor person, you tend to want to be more like the people with more money than you and be less like the people even worse off than you. It's the exact same defect in logic that brings us poor people voting for Republicans because someday they might be rich.

When those economic differences are strongly correlated with race, racism is the usual result.

Also, if I were from the North, I'd be quite mindful of my own glass house when it comes to the treatment of blacks as they migrated northward after the end of the Civil War.
posted by wierdo at 1:49 PM on October 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Finally, this is obligatory:
... so let's go way back
To the ancient times
When there were no 50 states
And on a hill
There stands Sherman
Sherman and his mates...

And they're marching through Georgia,
- Marching through Georgia!
They're marching through Georgia
- G-G-G-G-Georgia!
They're marching through Georgia
- We're marching through Georgia!
Marchin' through Georgia
- G-G-G-G-Georgia!
and there stands...


REM!
— Pavement, The Unseen Power Of The Pickett Fence

posted by koeselitz at 1:50 PM on October 24, 2009


Yeah, um, sorry, but "think of your taxes as an entertainment fee" seems a bit silly, in several ways.

First, of course, it's been a long time since the blues was invented.

Second, there are lots of entertainers from all over, and pretending that the South is somehow magical with respect to this smacks of absurd pretension.

Third, our taxes aren't going to support BB King.

Fourth, and most importantly, even ignoring all of that:

Most of the time when people point out that, generally speaking, red states take in more in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes, it's not because the person pointing this out is pissed off that he or she is paying for someone else's schools and roads and fire departments and welfare checks.

It's because he or she is pissed off that the people whose schools and roads and fire departments and welfare checks he or she is paying for are constantly screaming that they are paying too much for other people's schools and roads and fire departments and welfare checks.

Yeah, a musical genre was born in your broad geographic region a century ago; yeah, crawfish are tasty; yeah, I'd probably like grits - I do like polenta. That's all great. But what does it have to do with the actual reasoning behind the issue you're addressing? "Think of your taxes as an entertainment fee"? How patronising.
posted by Flunkie at 2:02 PM on October 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


yeah, crawfish are tasty

I still don't understand why they don't just let them grow up into lobster.
posted by ODiV at 2:05 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


koeselitz, I have written elsewhere of my opinion about the atom bomb. I would say that the bombing of Hiroshima was not a war crime because lots of people were killed, nor because lots of those people were noncombantants, nor even because lots of those people were women and children. The bombing of Hiroshima was a war crime because it was a science fair experiment, and the means to avoid it were at hand. I won't argue about it here; if you can get through Richard Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb without coming to the conclusion that the dropping of the bomb was unnecessary, then I invite you to win your own Pulitzer and National Book Award by rebutting him.

As for Sherman, he was definitely far ahead of his time, having pretty much invented what we now think of as the war crime sixty years or so before it became technologically feasible to commit them so easily. Again, it is not the number of people Sherman killed (and killed many he did), nor the fact that many were civilians nor that many of those were women and children. The problem in Sherman's case is that he endorsed pointless cruelty as a means to winning. His theory was the same theory that stands behind strategic bombardment, including atomic bombardment, and even terrorism as a weapon of war -- that to take away your enemy's base and demoralize them will win you the war.

The only problem with that is that it doesn't always work. It's not that the calculus behind it is evil; it's that the calculus behind it is, in many or even most situations, wrong. It didn't work for anybody, including us, in either Vietnam or Afghanistan. It works in some situations against certain types of opponents, and it works mainly because most of us are not willing to rip out our hearts in order to win.

Sherman clearly was, which made him a man far ahead of his time. The problem is that his time is an awful time that in turn must pass if we are to survive as a species.
posted by localroger at 2:32 PM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'll defend both the Manhattan Project equally with Sherman's March. Bottom line, in a war of unprecedented devastation it saved lives. The goal was to take the heart of the opposing war machine; for Sherman it was the Confederacy, for Truman it was staying Stalin's hand in Europe and holding him to Yalta.
posted by karmiolz at 2:47 PM on October 24, 2009


What happened to "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"?

the little people woke up and realized that the big people had been in it for themselves, not their country, and didn't see why they shouldn't follow suit
posted by pyramid termite at 3:06 PM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


localroger: ... if you can get through Richard Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb without coming to the conclusion that the dropping of the bomb was unnecessary, then I invite you to win your own Pulitzer and National Book Award by rebutting him.

The Making Of The Atomic Bomb doesn't argue any such thing.
posted by koeselitz at 3:09 PM on October 24, 2009


localroger: The problem in Sherman's case is that he endorsed pointless cruelty as a means to winning. His theory was the same theory that stands behind strategic bombardment, including atomic bombardment, and even terrorism as a weapon of war -- that to take away your enemy's base and demoralize them will win you the war.

Yes, but you're talking as though Sherman was endorsing the wholesale slaughter of women and children; he did no such thing. "Pointless cruelty" in his case involved burning buildings. Fine, that can be cruel; sometimes people love buildings. But unless you're a staunch pacifist (and I begin to believe you are) then it's hard to condemn what was probably the least cruel action the civil war actually saw.
posted by koeselitz at 3:12 PM on October 24, 2009


Flunkie: It's because he or she is pissed off that the people whose schools and roads and fire departments and welfare checks he or she is paying for are constantly screaming that they are paying too much for other people's schools and roads and fire departments and welfare checks.

The problem is that the people yelling this are significantly less likely to be shafted by the inevitable budget cuts than your own allies in the same states. Limbaugh Republicans 'round here generally have a buffer protecting them from the harms of poverty that funding attempts to alleviate. It is pretty much class warfare based electoral majorities.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:14 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's sort of ridiculous to compare the deaths of hundreds of thousands within a few seconds to the burning of houses, however many houses may have been burnt and however many goods may have been stolen. Sherman's march killed many fewer than most battles in the Civil War. As I said above, it was a lot cleaner when you see it in that context.

Why? Both were done to break the will of the enemy. If Sherman had had more firepower, you don't think he would have used it?

a lot more Japanese people died on Okinawa than as a result of the use of nuclear weapons

110,000 Japanese people died at Okinawa. More than that died because of the Hiroshima bomb alone.

I'll defend both the Manhattan Project equally with Sherman's March. Bottom line, in a war of unprecedented devastation it saved lives.

Yes, but in a morally questionable manner.

Anyway, the people defending both or attacking both aren't the ones I take issue with. It's the ones who think that laying excessive waste to the enemy's cities and towns is acceptable when the enemy is someone you don't like. But those people seem to be staying quiet.
posted by oaf at 3:29 PM on October 24, 2009


What happened to "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"? What happened to America First? How can you expect to remain a country if you can't pull together?

*ahem*

L'honorable député de Laurier—Sainte-Marie.
posted by oaf at 3:36 PM on October 24, 2009


koeselitz : The Making Of The Atomic Bomb doesn't argue any such thing.

I suspect you have not read chapter 17 in a very long time.
posted by localroger at 4:56 PM on October 24, 2009


koeselitz mk II: Yes, but you're talking as though Sherman was endorsing the wholesale slaughter of women and children; he did no such thing. "Pointless cruelty" in his case involved burning buildings. Fine, that can be cruel; sometimes people love buildings. But unless you're a staunch pacifist (and I begin to believe you are) then it's hard to condemn what was probably the least cruel action the civil war actually saw.

What Sherman encouraged was a wave of theft, arson, rape, and murder in furtherance of his war ends. (And please don't try to tell me his troops didn't murder anybody; the wave of people getting strung up and shot because they wouldn't give the looters their valuables is well documented.) He actually took war back two thousand years to the era when everything was fair game and if you were silly enough to put your village too close to the shore, it was your fault that you would get looted by some band of manly guys such as Odysseus' merry crew (whom let us recall are regarded as heroes of western literature).

Sherman's brilliance was to reject civilization and the rule of law. Anyone who thinks that is heroic is an asshole.
posted by localroger at 5:04 PM on October 24, 2009


Man, we west-coasters need to get in on this geography-generalization game:

Californian: Why are those people screaming at each other?
Washingtonian: I don't know, I think it's about the confederate flag.
Oregonian: Confederate flag? Ew, are they rednecks?
Californian: I don't know, maybe. I can't really tell what's going on.
Washingtonian: Well who the hell are those other people?
Oregonian: Oh those are just a bunch of people from the East Coast.I think they're doing that East Coast thing where they forget that there's any part of America that exists outside like New York and Chicago.
Washingtonian: Ha! Right!
Californian: Hella!
Oregonian: So California, you actually wen't with that prop 8 bullshit?
Californian: Yeah, we're not actually as liberal as people...
Southerner: Shut yer traps, left coast fruitcakes!
Northerner: Bunch of godamn new-age flakey bastards!
Oregonian: Let's get out of here!
*west coast runs away*
posted by supercrayon at 5:18 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's hard to make a passionate defense of the South. I've lived all over the world and I am better acquainted with the faults of the region than many here who are fired up. I have countless faults and anyone seeking to make an personal attack would find plenty of amunition.

But I am going to risk the humiliation I know I will feel when people cut apart my attempt to flesh out the Southern perspective. As a Southern person you get used to the reaction that follows any attempt to explain--not justify or defend but merely explain--the South. Most Southerners either learn to shut up or to grow entrenched. I hope people receive my comment in the generous spirit in which it is offered.

The white Southern person experiences himself to be the only person society is allowed to hate. You might contend that the white Southern person has earned this hatred or resentment or villification through generations of poor behavior. This is likely true. But endless feedback loops can be created, and one now exists in the South. The white Southerner is hated and so he retreats into poor behavior for which he is hated. And so on.

Just recently I read comments on this site that used Southern dialect specifically to illustrate ignorance and backwardness. This is common in television and movies. The South is a dangerous "other" where you stand to loose your teeth or be raped. And saying this is completely acceptible in our society. I do not believe this sort of commentary would be permissible against any other group or population.

The South is the only region of the country where the federal government controls districting. This is humiliating. The fear that racism would lead to gerrymandering is not unjustified. But political corruption is not a Southern animal. But Southern whites are the only people presumed to be racist and politically corrupt ipso facto.

Southern white people feel like everyone in the country wants them to drop off the face of the earth. Southern white people feel like their only validity is as the villians in the story of Black America or as the impetus for te creation of black culture.

I don't want to sound like I'm crafting a poor pitiful Southern whites statement. Not only because someone will reply with a hateful comment about how much they truly hate the South but also because the South needs to improve in many ways

But even an introductory pysch course will tell you that bad behavior can't be shamed away...it only grows more entrenched. For better or worse the South does have a distinct regional identity. No other part of this country has ever been destroyed by war. Irrespective of who did what to whom, Southern whites act out largely from a legacy of humiliation. Slavery is an awful and shameful legacy, but the South is not the only geographic region of the world to play host to horrendous sins.

I can't imagine that much improvement will occur as long as Southern whites are gleefully regarded as troglodites unworthy of full participation in modern society
posted by jefficator at 5:53 PM on October 24, 2009 [13 favorites]


P.S. I am so proud that I wrote all of that in my iPhone. I'm girding my loins for those hateful replies.
posted by jefficator at 5:55 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, but you're talking as though Sherman was endorsing the wholesale slaughter of women and children; he did no such thing.

[w]e must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women and children."
posted by Sailormom at 5:56 PM on October 24, 2009


jefficator: Well said. Thank you.
posted by Carbolic at 6:46 PM on October 24, 2009


jefficator--one problem w/your analysis is the political careers of figures like Bill Clinton and Al Gore, both of whom hail from the South. If the "Souther White Male" were really as loathed/feared as you imagine, then it seems unlikely Clinton and Gore could have become so popular in places like New York, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Furthermore, the continued immigration of people from the Northeast to the Southeast, the continued national popularity of country music, and the continued growth in popularity of such things as NASCAR, all indicate that the situation may be more complex than your analysis lets on. After all, people still make fun of New Jersey.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 7:47 PM on October 24, 2009


A very well thoughtout outline jefficator.

I've gone back and forth with people here on Metafilter every time the south comes up because I feel like the perspective many people (from other parts of the US) have of the south comes from an honest reaction to the strange brew down here. As someone who has read James Cone and found myself nodding in agreement with his point of view I think we can learn alot about each other and how we all look at the world by listening to why people feel the way they do, and why.

It's not a one way street, and treating it that way will not get us anywhere good. Understanding the perspective of a black man or woman or child in the south before the civil rights movment right up to today speaks to our humanity and we have to listen and answer for it.

We have to learn about the pain of others, not to simply to compare suffering but to understand it. To take suffering seriously, as if it was done to us or our children or our mother or father. This means understanding the pain of humiliation.

There are many people in the south (and any where else for that matter) who do not understand the pain and humiliation that the black citizens of the south lived through and live with today.

But they are not alone in not understanding why people look at thier world the way they do.
posted by nola at 7:53 PM on October 24, 2009


Whatever. The South will never rise again 'cause they're too busy organizing fish frys and BBQs and the annual church bake sale and those often turn into a clusterfuck of political ambitions and somebody stealing somebody's recipe for something.

Even if they do get organized, it's not like their lard filled bodies will be able to do much of anything 'cept bake some cobbler.

Mmmmmm, cobbler.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:11 PM on October 24, 2009


Brandon, you like fried stuff just as much as the rest of us southerners, don't lie :D
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:26 PM on October 24, 2009


He actually took war back two thousand years to the era when everything was fair game

Oh, come on. As though the rest of the Civil War was a goddamned tea party. If you think Sherman was the only general who wasn't the earthly embodiment of Frank Hardy, you have some reading to do.
posted by Commander Rachek at 8:38 PM on October 24, 2009


Whatever. The South will never rise again 'cause they're too busy organizing fish frys and BBQs


Once more unto the luby's, dear friends, once more;
Or close up the Waffle House with our overweight dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of BBQ blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
order a Scattered, Smothered, Covered, Chunked, Topped & Diced ;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the Hardees at Smyrna
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a ten gallon jug of sweet tea
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild turkey.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
and get ya a pinch of this here dip.
On, on, you noblest redneck.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even stood in an tree stand
And looked at porn till a deer come:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.

The south will rise again at around 7 if'in we didn't stay up to late the night before!

posted by nola at 8:40 PM on October 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


The problem is that the people yelling this are significantly less likely to be shafted by the inevitable budget cuts than your own allies in the same states. Limbaugh Republicans 'round here generally have a buffer protecting them from the harms of poverty that funding attempts to alleviate. It is pretty much class warfare based electoral majorities.
I think I might be misunderstanding you, but if not:

If the states of the Confederacy seceded again tomorrow, there would suddenly be approximately two Democrats for each Republican in both houses of Congress. And both the Democratic caucuses and the Republican caucuses would be, on average, more progressive than they currently are. You can't possibly be telling me that it's only rich Southerners who are foisting this shit upon our nation.

But anyway, I'll try to be clear: I have no problem subsidizing schools and such for Southerners. In fact, I would be happy to see that subsidization increase. And I certainly don't expect to hear "thank you", but Jesus, it would be nice to at least not have to see the people we're subsidizing constantly elect people who bitch and moan about how their states are paying oh so much, when in fact they're subsidized.

But then along comes the guy I responded to. He completely misses the point, thinking that people who feel this way need to be given some reason to subsidize the South. WTF. We don't need a reason to do it - we're happy to do it. And worse, the reason he gives why we should be happy to subsidize the South (again, missing the point that we don't need to be given a reason) is atrociously condescending.

To be additionally clear, I'm well aware that I'm speaking in generalities, that there are lots of progressive Southerners, that there are lots of right wing extremists from other parts of the nation, et cetera. But the facts are that most of the Confederate states receive significant subsidization from the rest of us, and generally speaking elect people who are significantly more likely to complain about taxes. The fact that jazz exists has no bearing on this.
posted by Flunkie at 9:05 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie: I like the history of the south that blames southern racism on northern business owners who bust unions and black who are scabs. Thank goodness we've nailed down who is really at fault.

Holy crap. That is a very snarky and misleading reading of my comment. I was trying to say that there is a lot of racism in the South and there are complicated reasons behind that (not excusing racism as acceptable or remotely handing out blame on the people who are on the receiving end of discrimination). My comment was meant to provide some historical context besides the usual "Civil War + Plantations" as contributing factors to current racism in a very specific group of people: poor whites in the South. In no way is it a justification for their views or a statement anywhere close to what you've twisted it into. It also doesn't mean that ALL black people knowingly crossed picket lines. It means that specific groups of black people who did cross picket lines were often imported there on the promise of a paying job (much like impoverished people are enticed out of Mexico to work on orange farms in Florida...then when they arrive, they find out everything is not so simple, but they still need the money, far from home...so they work).

Besides, you seem to imply this is some kind of revisionist history. It is not.

Even W.E.B Du Bois says so: "Race hate and fear and scab tactics were deliberately encouraged so as to make any complaint or effort at betterment liable to burst into riot, lynching, or race war."

posted by whimsicalnymph at 9:29 PM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


The white Southern person experiences himself to be the only person society is allowed to hate.

Is there prejudice and bigotry against white southerners outside the south? Yup, as many have noted in this thread.

But only someone who had never heard the word "Masshole" would assert that he's the only person "society" is "allowed" to hate. Southern society tends to be less than fully tolerant of people with New York or Massachussetts accents, or even just Catholics. People scattered around the US commonly hold prejudices against San Francisco and LA.

The South is a dangerous "other" where you're in danger of losing your teeth or being raped.

New York is a dangerous "other" where you're in danger of being mugged and raped and nobody cares about anybody.

LA is a dangerous "other" where you're in danger of being mugged and raped and everyone's a vapid idiot.

Minnesota is... okay, Minnesota isn't a dangerous other, but it's an amusing "Your naive boy scout" other and have you heard how they talk?

If an experience of being the "only person society is allowed to hate" has any real foundations, I think it might be in the contrast between the privileged position white protestants find themselves in when they're at home versus their experience of how others see them. It's not that there's an especially strong prejudice against white southerners, it's that even a little bit of prejudice stands in such stark contrast to their experiences in the south.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:35 PM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


The South will never rise again 'cause they're too busy organizing fish frys

I don't think I ever saw anything called a "fish fry" until I moved up to deepest darkest Yankeeland.

While southerners will certainly fry a fish, having a "fish fry" is a Yankee-Catholic thing.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:40 PM on October 24, 2009


YMMV ROU_Xenophobe but a "fish fry" is also very much a part of the area I live in and for miles around even, and or at least.

That and a "Smoked Boston Butt" sale for the Knights of Columbus.


I know, I know.
posted by nola at 10:03 PM on October 24, 2009


Huh. Well, I stand by my "*I* never noticed one until we were in B'lo" statement, but I can be a bit of an unobservant clod.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:10 PM on October 24, 2009


Maybe it's the exception that proves the rule.
posted by nola at 10:19 PM on October 24, 2009


What I mean is maybe they fry a bunch of fish around here, but not so much around where ever you're from.
posted by nola at 10:23 PM on October 24, 2009


Flunkie: If the states of the Confederacy...

Well, you can stop right there. That's about as valid a political speculation as wondering what would happen if Santa Claus decloaked his secret workshop on the lip of the gateway to the hollow Earth and listed on NASDAQ. It's a supposition entertained by batshit wingnuts on both sides spoiling for a validation of prejudices that just don't reflect reality.

You can't possibly be telling me that it's only rich Southerners who are foisting this shit upon our nation.

Of course not. There is a fairly obvious gap between "have a buffer protecting them from the harms of poverty" and "rich." Which is why I quite carefully wrote the former and not the latter.

I have no problem subsidizing schools and such for Southerners. In fact, I would be happy to see that subsidization increase.

That's good. I think too often these kinds of proposals are made in all seriousness as if the rest of the country would be better off if we just chucked the 14th Amendment and turned federal social programs into a form of partisan pork.

And I certainly don't expect to hear "thank you", but Jesus, it would be nice to at least not have to see the people we're subsidizing constantly elect people who bitch and moan about how their states are paying oh so much, when in fact they're subsidized.

Well, that's the big difference of opinion here. Because when I look at breakdowns of those programs, it certainly seems to me that the people you are subsidizing around here generally tend to vote democratic. (They also tend to be urban, and significantly less white). Bitching about net inflows and outflows of tax dollars at the state level strikes me as terribly short-sighted.

He completely misses the point, thinking that people who feel this way need to be given some reason to subsidize the South.

Well, this is another point of disagreement. I don't think that the government should be in the business of subsidizing any state or region. But I also think you are deeply full of shit when you equate federal government payments to qualifying persons and institutions to be equivalent to "subsidizing the South."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:26 PM on October 24, 2009


If the states of the Confederacy...
Well, you can stop right there. That's about as valid a political speculation as wondering what would happen if Santa Claus decloaked his secret workshop on the lip of the gateway to the hollow Earth and listed on NASDAQ. It's a supposition entertained by batshit wingnuts on both sides spoiling for a validation of prejudices that just don't reflect reality.
What? I'm not saying that the states of the Confederacy are at all likely to secede. I'm saying that they're the primary source of Republicans and conservatives in Congress.
Well, this is another point of disagreement. I don't think that the government should be in the business of subsidizing any state or region. But I also think you are deeply full of shit when you equate federal government payments to qualifying persons and institutions to be equivalent to "subsidizing the South."
Oh, please. I'm not saying that we should subsidize the South because it's the South. I'm saying that taxation should be progressive, and given that the South is poor, the fact is that it works out that it takes in more money than it gives out, and I'm perfectly content with that. I'm not "deeply full of shit"; you're deeply full of parsing my words in the worst possible way.
posted by Flunkie at 10:34 PM on October 24, 2009


Small town and rural Delta juke joints and honky tonks share many traits, including Sunday afternoon fish fries. (Please don't tell that to a racist redneck unless you like to fight.)

BTW, Flunkie, you keep using terms like "states of the Confederacy" and "Confederate States". It's the 21st Century, there are no such states. Using the term "the South" and those other two terms as though they were interchangeable is, well, mind boggling.
posted by GeckoDundee at 10:41 PM on October 24, 2009


Oh, good lord. OK, I'm oh so sorry that I boggled your mind by "keep using" the two terms that you listed, which I used exactly once each in one post, plus one of them one more time while directly responding to someone's quote of it. Christ. Good night.
posted by Flunkie at 10:45 PM on October 24, 2009


Using the term "the South" and those other two terms as though they were interchangeable is, well, mind boggling.

No, in point of fact "the eleven states that seceded" is a very common definition of the south.

It also has the distinct benefit of having an exact definition. If you use "the south" you might be referring to an eleven-state south or a thirteen-state south adding MD and KY or a fifteen-state south adding (IIRC) MO and OK, or, hell, you might be referring to southern Illinois or Appalachian Ohio. If you refer to "the confederate states," there can be no confusion about which eleven states you mean.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:00 AM on October 25, 2009


Man, we west-coasters need to get in on this geography-generalization game:

Already done. Also, here.
posted by dw at 12:00 AM on October 25, 2009


If you refer to "the confederate states," there can be no confusion about which eleven states you mean.

That's sort of my point. Whether or not Maryland, for example, is "in the South" in terms of culture shouldn't depend on whether or not they voted to secede. (Not that I'm saying that that historical decision won't have cultural repercussions of course). Talking of "the eleven states that seceded" is indeed precise, but it ossifies precisely the division that seems to be the source of much of the animosity here. Oh, and if I've contributed to that, which judging by Flunkie's reaction I probably have, I didn't mean to.
posted by GeckoDundee at 1:45 AM on October 25, 2009


This made it onto SNL's weekend update.

As a person born in and who lives in Arkansas, I just wanted to get this out of the way. After all various views of the southern US I see on the web, this just seems like one more thing to give grief. Seth Myers' punchline was something like, "In Arkansas, it doesn't matter if you're already pregnant, you can still get pregnant again." With the outline of the state where I live over his shoulder. Now, I usually like Seth's jokes, but this week and with this thread, I guess I'm a little sensitive.

I can't even understand why this woman is on the news. The Duggars, with their own TV show and all, I'm not going to even begin to defend. I've known large families personally (15 and 16 children, respectively), and the kids didn't all have names that started with dad's initial or a TV show, and they all, and I mean all 31 of them, turned out to be good, hard-working, nice, patient, smart people. They would have never thought that it was a big deal. Granted, they were from established Catholic families and had large farms and gardens.

So yeah, this woman, who was already pregnant, apparently tossed out another egg, and she and her husband have sex. Why does it matter where she lives? Why is the title "Arkansas Pregnant Woman Is Pregnant Again"?

I guess to imply that she's so stupid or fertile or something. I dunno. I hope her babies turn out healthy and that their family is happy. I hope it isn't like this woman is another octomom in the making.

I think confederate flags are dumb. I think racism is both dumb and cruel. I think what my dad taught me, which is at least 90% of the people I ever meet are going to be assholes in some regard is likely true. He taught me that because one of my grandmothers liked to use the N word and I repeated it when I was 4 years old, not knowing any better. He said, with that number of assholes in the world, don't limit the number of non-assholes you might find in your life based on melanin content in their skin.

Yeah, a lot of people are ignorant. A lot of people are racist or sexist or [whatever]ist. I'm talking about people from all over the planet. Wars get fought over intolerance. It boggles my mind that people can't grasp the basic concepts of being kind to each other, minding their own business, and general manners. The "do unto others" idea is not limited to just one religion. But then, a lot of them ignore it when convenient.

I don't like it, either, and I try to do my best to change it. I'm lucky that I get to talk to people from all over the world. I don't care what shade of skin they have, we're all human. I don't care what religion they follow, we're all getting along. I care if they're an asshole or not. When I'm at work, assholes still get helped, but they don't get my absolute best efforts because, well, their assholes. That's my own shortcoming. I should do my best for everyone. Maybe that would help somehow.
posted by lilywing13 at 3:30 AM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Minnesota is... okay, Minnesota isn't a dangerous other, but it's an amusing "Your naive boy scout" other and have you heard how they talk?

I am going to find you and tie some scary fucking knots in your shoelaces, bro.
posted by COBRA! at 6:45 AM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying that the states of the Confederacy are at all likely to secede. I'm saying that they're the primary source of Republicans and conservatives in Congress.

Oh, you mean all those representatives like Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), or the 19 Republicans from California, or the Republicans representing the entire states of Alaska, Delaware, Montana, and Wyoming?

Or maybe all those prominent senators like Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dick Lugar (R-IN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), John McCain (R-AZ), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Joe Lieberman (R-CT)?
posted by oaf at 12:24 PM on October 25, 2009


Yeah, oaf, I was saying that there are exactly zero people from outside the South who are not politically to the left of Noam Chomsky. You found me out! Kudos!
posted by Flunkie at 12:46 PM on October 25, 2009


Hatch and Grassley are about as moderate as a lot of upstate New York.
posted by oaf at 2:46 PM on October 25, 2009


(Which is to say, not very.)
posted by oaf at 2:46 PM on October 25, 2009


Well, there are only eleven former Confederate states, and those eleven states have seven Democratic senators (sorry--I'm too lazy to count representatives).

Now, granted, these senators might be a little bit to the right of Dennis Kucinich or Bernie Sanders (hell, they're probably to the right of Olympia Snowe). And so, when you say that the South is the primary source of Republicans and conservatives in Congress, well, I hope you can see how someone might respectfully disagree.
posted by box at 3:04 PM on October 25, 2009


Right, and as I said, I was claiming that the South was the only place on earth with conservatives. Similarly, earlier, I was claiming that the states that comprised the Confederacy were still the Confederacy (which I claimed repeatedly), that they were absolutely synonymous with "the South", and that they are going to secede again tomorrow. Also, I was claiming that the only possible valid reason for those states taking in more in federal expenditures than they pay in federal taxes is that it they are the South. There is no other reason, other than that they are the South. I clearly believe in distributing wealth based on geographical region. I am not sure why I picked "the South" as one of the geographical regions that I believe in giving a net surplus to, but apparently I did, and I back that choice full-throatedly. Moreover, I am fundamentally and utterly opposed to the fact that the South gets a net surplus. I eat babies, help little old ladies halfway and only halfway across the street, and routinely steal food from homeless shelters, which I then dump in the garbage (I'm full from eating babies). I believe that Olympia Snowe is from Mississippi, John McCain from South Carolina, and that Molly Ivins was a paleoconservative. I am of the opinion that black men stole rock and roll from Elvis. Being that Orrin Hatch is from Utah, it is obvious to me that he is a Marxist. I believe that upstate New York is actually part of Georgia. I do not believe that the planet Saturn exists, and I support the reanimated corpse of Strom Thurmond for the presidency in 2012, on the American Socialist Party ticket.
posted by Flunkie at 3:15 PM on October 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ah, and box reminds me that I was also saying that there are zero Democrats within the South. Which, again, is exactly equivalent in all senses to the Confederate States of America. I hate puppies.
posted by Flunkie at 3:19 PM on October 25, 2009


Flunkie, I may have misinterpreted your statement that "I'm not saying that the states of the Confederacy are at all likely to secede. I'm saying that they're the primary source of Republicans and conservatives in Congress," and, if so, I apologize.
posted by box at 3:47 PM on October 25, 2009


it certainly seems to me that the people you are subsidizing around here generally tend to vote democratic. (They also tend to be urban, and significantly less white)

I can't make any claims about other services that may be considered "subsidizing," but welfare recipients at least tend to be white and suburban/rural.
posted by naoko at 4:35 PM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like the south: Good food, good music, good people, issues to work out. That's my kind of place.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:58 PM on October 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


Holy crap. That is a very snarky and misleading reading of my comment.

So let me be clear on what you're actually saying. Who is to blame for racism in the south?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:09 PM on October 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


All time favorite bumper sticker - The North Will Win Again.
posted by Babblesort at 8:10 AM on October 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


I still don't like the South. Yet I live here.

*shrugs*
posted by grubi at 8:42 AM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Who is to blame?

This!...seems to be an integral part of why divides like this persist and fester.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 9:17 AM on October 26, 2009


Wow. And here I thought Western Canadians had a hate-on for the Quebeçois.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:30 AM on October 26, 2009


This!...seems to be an integral part of why divides like this persist and fester.

I disagree, and sorry if I rankle when the history of southern racial violence -- which does not have the neat antebellum/postbellum split that the comment suggested -- is racast as being an inevitable reaction to northeners busting unions and black people taking jobs, without a tacit and explicit understanding that this is not a reasonable response, but a racist response. I sincerely doubt the poster was making the case that this response was reasonable, but if you dig through any online hate sites for any amount of time, that's precisely the argument you will discover: That racial violence was the logical and reasonable response to carpetbagging and black misbehavior.

Carpetbagging and race-conflicts in a struggling post-war economy weren't the cause of southern racial violence. They were a social shift that racists seized upon to excuse their racism, and they made use of racist tropes that had been popular in the south for eons, and were the same tropes that were used to legitimize slavery. So it's essential to be very cautious when discussing the history of racism in the south -- or anywhere -- to be clear that certain social conditions might give racism an opportunity to fan up into violence, but those social conditions are not the cause of racism. Racism always justifies itself by claiming it has to exist to respond to an injustice, but hate is its own thing and its own responsibility, and racists are always at fault for their racism.

This is not a north/south split, either, despite the way this post casts it. The north has a long history of its own racism, although the tropes that are used to justify it are sometimes a little different. This is a racist/not racist split, and, frankly, I would like that split to persist.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:31 AM on October 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


racists are always at fault for their racism...This is a racist/not racist split

Well that leaves a lot of room for those of us trying to understand what looks like a pretty complicated social phenomena. Might you entertain that this issue isn't quite so manichean? If not, who's the arbiter of who's a racist and when? Who first created this racism you speak of?

this is not a reasonable response

I'll be honest, I'm not very well versed in online hate sites. I found whimsicalnymph's post to be informative, nuanced, and reasonable. Maybe I'm just being naive. However, my observation is that drawing lines in the sand on these issues rarely ends well.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 11:26 AM on October 26, 2009


I am also not too thrilled about what Sherman did to my home town.

Y'know, my hometown sucks. It used to be a lot less sucky. But a prison needed to be built and the town needed some serious upgrades to the water treatment plant... and now it's full of heroin addicts who just got done with their 2 year stint for some wacko misdemeanor and no one is building anything new because PRISON TOWN! So, yeah, I'm butthurt about that, but I'm not going to blame Howard Dean who was governor at the time, because the town could have rallied around what it does have going for it, but instead just got all whiny that "Wah wah wah we got $5million to build a prison and now we've fixed our water system but no one loves us anymore."

So, I'm just sayin', you guys have had some time. And also: unless you're 200 years old, I'm guessing that you have not directly experienced the before/after picture, so maybe being personally butthurt isn't the mature take on this.

Also not a mature take on anything: Confederate flags in Rhode Island. Seriously. Guys... do you realize how far south you AREN'T? Are you going to rise again against Massachusetts? (I am not kidding I have totally seen this.)

And looking askance at the North? Really? All of us? Even though none of us were alive during The Recent Unpleasantness, not even you?

I've never been further South than northern North Carolina in this lifetime but my love of sweet tea, fried chicken, and sitting on the porch makes me believe that in a previous life, I was a southern old man. I've got nothing but love for y'all.

the question is if anything in St. Alia's original comment indicated she was or is carrying a grudge; I certainly did not read her comment that way.

Huh. I got the "I'm peeved at what this General did 150 years ago and as such, I have an innate distrust for anyone who resides north of the Mason-Dixon line" as being pretty much grudge-holding.

Although in my part of the North, people called Southerners rednecks and crackers and hicks and, well, you get the drift. [...]As a "person of the South" I am frequently referred to as "hillbilly" and "redneck" by "people of the North", in a very condescending manner.

In my part of the North, we call the poor/working poor rednecks, crackers, and hicks. We're geographically equal opportunity about it. If you have a Southern accent, you may notice this more out of confirmation bias, but if you're from a poor part of New England... well, let's just say that if you're from inland Maine, it's going to be equally shocking that you know how to read. It's confirmation bias that if you're Southern in the North, you assume that the bad treatment you get is unique. You don't realize that EVERYBODY gets it because snark is in the water up here. Try talking to a Vermonter if you're from Connecticut and get told that you have no idea what winter is like because you're a "Flatlander." If you're in Rhode Island and you have MA license plates and you cut someone off, you KNOW that they're shouting "MASSHOLE!" at you.

If your license plates are, say, from Louisiana, there is no assumption made on your character since we have no idea if anyone from Louisiana can drive or not because that's like, further south-west than NYC and we can't be bothered to go there.

.I think they're doing that East Coast thing where they forget that there's any part of America that exists outside like New York and Chicago.

BLASPHEMY. CHICAGO IS TOTALLY NOT ON A COAST.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:27 AM on October 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also: Boston =/ The North. Boston = Boston.

Good Lord but I hate that city with the fire of a thousand suns. If you're looked down upon for being "low" by a Bostonian, it's because you're not directly descended from some Mayflower sailing twit. And I've LIVED in Boston! And I'm directly descended from some Mayflower sailing twit! That city has its head so far up its butt, it's practically coming back out its esophagus.

(I tried to like Boston, oh, I tried. But clearly, it has failed. I am, however, a proud member of Red Sox Nation.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:50 AM on October 26, 2009


BLASPHEMY. CHICAGO IS TOTALLY NOT ON A COAST.

Au contraire, Chicago is on the Third Coast.
posted by caddis at 11:59 AM on October 26, 2009


Not sure what's with Flunkie's confusion, but there was a claim that the South is the primary source of Republicans and conservatives, which I think has been shown to be rather dubious. The South certainly isn't the source of the most vexing ones at the moment.

Anyway, I overlooked a big one, though he wasn't in Congress: Ronald Reagan. Got elected governor of California and president. Believed in tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts, massive weapons buildups, and covertly toppling foreign governments, but argued against Medicare. Culturally, not at all a Southerner, but Reagan-worship is quite strong on that side of the aisle.
posted by oaf at 12:09 PM on October 26, 2009


Au contraire, Chicago is on the Third Coast.

I stand corrected. Ahem.

BASPHEMY. CHICAGO IS TOTALLY NOT ON THE EAST COAST.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:08 PM on October 26, 2009


Yes, that's exactly the joke, grapefruitmoon.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:11 PM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


The north has a long history of its own racism, although the tropes that are used to justify it are sometimes a little different.

And when is the last time you saw a thread on MeFi where people rushed to denounce those terrible racists in the north? The obsession with southern racism gets old, and I often feel like it's a convenient way for non-southerners to feel good about themselves while ignoring their own region's failings.

I've lived in NYC for 17 years. When I moved here for college, people whose parents spent tens of thousands of dollars to send them to white private schools assumed I was the racist because of my accent. This city elected that vile race-baiter Rudy Giuliani more than once and might yet make him our governor.

I bet some of the loudest denouncers of the south in this thread live in some of this country's most segregated cities (hint: none of them are in the south).

and as I said, I was claiming that the South was the only place on earth with conservatives.

No, but you did say "the primary source of conservatives," (emphasis added). Some people pointed out that it isn't, in fact, the primary source of conservatives.
posted by Mavri at 1:21 PM on October 26, 2009


And when is the last time you saw a thread on MeFi where people rushed to denounce those terrible racists in the north? The obsession with southern racism gets old, and I often feel like it's a convenient way for non-southerners to feel good about themselves while ignoring their own region's failings.

Well, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that nobody in the north seems adamant to hoist a flag representing their willingness to commit treason to support a racist institution. If the south wants the terrible specter of racism to stop haunting them, they might want to stop engaging in what amounts to seances calling these specters back from the dead.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:06 PM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


And I say this as a former resident of the south who loved it and misses it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:07 PM on October 26, 2009


So we can all look the other way when it comes to northern racism because a few people in the south make some noise? All right.

(Also, the terrible specter of racism keeps haunting southerners whether we hoist that flag or not, but keep on painting with that broad brush.)
posted by Mavri at 2:09 PM on October 26, 2009


The flag was the subject of this post; it's not like somebody bustled in here and derailed a thread about, say, Chinese democracy. And, trust me, I denounce racism wherever I see it. The reason it doesn't turn into a discussion about northern racism is because the north never created specificially northern sybols of racism, and don't continually trot them out.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:12 PM on October 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


The flag was the subject of this post; it's not like somebody bustled in here and derailed a thread about, say, Chinese democracy. And, trust me, I denounce racism wherever I see it. The reason it doesn't turn into a discussion about northern racism is because the north never created specificially northern sybols of racism, and don't continually trot them out.

Well to be more correct, the subject of the post is that students, alumni, and administrators at Ole Miss are challenging that flag and the associated symbols. All of this "hurf durf, southern racism" is missing the fact that we probably wouldn't have an AP article on racist college traditions if southerners were not denouncing them.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:27 PM on October 26, 2009


There would be a post about other people denouncing racist symbols, if other parts of the country were trotting them out in the first place kirkJob.
posted by karmiolz at 2:46 PM on October 26, 2009


How about racist speech, or is it just symbols that count here? If someone were to make an FPP about Rudy Giuliani's racist dog-whistling in the NYC mayor's race, we'd get MeFites piling on the ongoing legacy of racism in the North and making sweeping denunciations of the people of that entire region? Unlikely.

Piling on the south is a sport here sometimes.
posted by Mavri at 3:00 PM on October 26, 2009


Well, there are only eleven former Confederate states, and those eleven states have seven Democratic senators

Each state has two senators, so if there are seven Democrats the other 15 are Republicans. There are 40 Republican senators, so less than half of them are from the former Confederate states. Wikipedia has maps of senators' party membership by state and representatives' party membership by district.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:14 PM on October 26, 2009


karmiolz: Yes, because we don't have the Washington Redskins or the Cleveland Indians.

But my point wasn't about North vs. South. It's about recognizing that Martin Luther King is as much a part of the modern South as Robert E. Lee. It's about giving due credit to the students, alumni, and administrators who have already changed some racist traditions and are working to change others.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:31 PM on October 26, 2009


Abraham Lincoln's assassination was a major setback to reconciliation between North and South. He supported a lenient approach to reconstruction; his ten percent plan would let states be readmitted to the Union if 10 percent of the voters (based on the 1860 election) took an oath of allegiance to the US and pledged to abide by emancipation. The Radical Republicans had a harsher, more punitive attitude and passed the Wade-Davis Bill, which would have required a majority in each state to take the "ironclad oath" that they had never fought against the Union or supported the Confederacy. Lincoln pocket-vetoed the bill.

Lincoln outlined his approach in his second inaugural address on March 4, 1865:
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.
He was assassinated just over a month later. The Radical Republicans impeached Lincoln's successor Andrew Johnson, falling one vote short of removing him from office, and established military districts in the South.

I know North Carolina was the last state to secede and the first state to be readmitted to the Union.
My bad. North Carolina was the last state to secede, but it was the fourth state readmitted, after Tennessee, Arkansas, and Florida. I regret the error.

posted by kirkaracha at 3:55 PM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Good grief.

I'm going to try one more time, and then I'm giving up. This will be my last post in this thread.

The eleven states that did the "rising" referred to in the famous phrase which this thread is about, which I will hereafter refer to as "TESTDTRRTITFPWTTIA" so as not to cause any more mind-bogglement based upon the erroneous assumption that I may be saying that "the South" and "the Confederate States of America" are completely and perfectly synonymous terms, provide the United States Senate with 22% of its Senators.

But, disproportionately, 37.5% of its Republican Senators. And only 11.7% of its Democratic Senators.

The Senatorial representation of TESTDTRRTITFPWTTIA is 68% Republican. The Senatorial representation of the rest of the nation is 32% Republican. That is, TESTDTRRTITFPWTTIA's Republican Senator rate is over twice as much as the rest of the nation.

The situation in the House of Representatives is similarly disproportionate. TESTDTRRTITFPWTTIA provide 30.3% of the Representatives to the House, but 40.7% of the Republican Representatives, and only 23.0% of the Democratic Representatives.

The House contingent of TESTDTRRTITFPWTTIA is 55.0% Republican and 45.0% Democratic. In the rest of the country, it is 65.2% Democratic and 34.8% Republican. That is, TESTDTRRTITFPWTTIA's Republican Representative rate is almost 1.6 times that of the rest of the nation.

Republican Senators from TESTDTRRTITFPWTTIA vote with the recommendations of the American Civil Liberties Union 13.1% of the time. Republican Senators from elsewhere in the nation vote with the ACLU 17.4% of the time. That is, a Republican Senator from TESTDTRRTITFPWTTIA is only three-quarters as likely to vote with the ACLU as is a Republican Senator from elsewhere.

Democratic Senators from TESTDTRRTITFPWTTIA vote with the ACLU 67.6% of the time. Democratic Senators from elsewhere, 81.8% of the time. That is, a Democratic Senator from TESTDTRRTITFPWTTIA is almost twice as likely to vote against the ACLU as is a Democratic Senator from elsewhere.

I'm not going to run the ACLU numbers for Representatives; there are too many. Feel free to do so yourself if you believe that they will show a different story.

Is that not good enough to say that TESTDTRRTITFPWTTIA is the primary source of Republicans and conservatives in Congress?

If not, OK, fine, we disagree on that word. But what would be good enough to use that word? A group of states supplying 22% of Senators, but 37.5% of Republican Senators, is not good enough - how about if it were 40%? Forty-five? Or does it have to be a majority to be "primary"? Fifty percent? Or how about if it were still 37.5% of Republican Senators, but only 18% of Senators instead of 22%? Is it OK for me to say "primary" there? Or would it have to be a majority of Republican Senators there, too?

In any case, is it OK if I say it is "a" primary source, rather than "the"? Or "major"? Or "leading"? What's OK for me to say here? Please come up with some decent phraseology for me to use, if you will. I'm sure that if you come up with a way that we can both agree upon, it will not affect my overall point in the slightest.

You (oaf) say that you're not sure what's with my confusion. Well, I'll tell you:

I came into this thread to disagree that "think of your taxes as an entertainment fee" is a reasonable statement, and to point out that it completely misses the crux of the argument that it is supposedly refuting.

Somehow that devolved into people inferring and implying that I was claiming that the South was quite literally going to rise again in rebellion.

And that I believe that "the South" and "the Confederate States of America" are synonymous terms.

And that I believe in redistribution of wealth based upon geography and nothing but geography.

And, from you in particular, that I don't know that there are Republicans or conservatives from elsewhere.

Or that I would be shocked, and put in my place, by the astounding revelation that there are seven whole (not-very-liberal) Democratic Senators from TESTDTRRTITFPWTTIA.

Please keep in mind two things here:

First, none of these (frankly) bizarre miscomprehensions have anything at all to do with my overall point, which was about the reasoning behind people pointing out that red states, generally speaking, take in more in federal expenditures than they give out in federal taxes.

Second, I even explicitly said that I was aware that I was speaking in generalities, that I was aware that there are plenty of liberals from the South, that I was aware that there are plenty of conservatives from elsewhere, and so on.

So, you asked about the source of my confusion. The source of my confusion is that I don't understand why several people on this thread are, seemingly, intentionally misreading my statements in the worst possible light. Nitpicking small words and turns of phrases that have only tangential relation at best to the overall discussion. I don't understand it. I don't understand why you are, seemingly, being willfully obtuse.

The source of my confusion is that I do not understand why you are, seemingly, being willfully obtuse.

As I said earlier, this will be my last post in this thread. I am sure that I have unintentionally provided, in this post, much more ammunition for you to use. Have at me. Goodbye.
posted by Flunkie at 3:57 PM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Flunkie: And that I believe in redistribution of wealth based upon geography and nothing but geography.

The argument that persons and institutions in states should be denied federal funding based on their electoral results has been quite seriously advanced here on metafilter. I'm satisfied that you don't agree with this, but I find the whole argument of states subsidizing other states to be silly.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:00 PM on October 26, 2009


Each state has two senators, so if there are seven Democrats the other 15 are Republicans. There are 40 Republican senators, so less than half of them are from the former Confederate states.

It also means that of a Senate that's 40% Republican, the former Confederate representation is 68% Republican. Former Confederate states are disproportionately high in archconservativism.
posted by kafziel at 4:09 PM on October 26, 2009


Astro Zombie and karmiolz: The FPP and two of the links makes it clear that the administration of Ole Miss is, in fact, no longer trotting out the Confederate flag. So in this case, you are arguing against a side that has already lost.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:31 PM on October 26, 2009


Very glad that the administration no longer supports this. Very disappointed that students in 2004 decided to trot out another symbol.
posted by karmiolz at 5:31 PM on October 26, 2009


I find the whole argument of states subsidizing other states to be silly.

If you don't subsidize the state, you must at least subsidize getting the people the hell out of that state and into one where they have a chance of making a good go of it. You can't call yourself a first world nation if you're treating your own countrymen with more neglect than you treat the third world.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:49 PM on October 26, 2009


five fresh fish: If you don't subsidize the state, you must at least subsidize getting the people the hell out of that state and into one where they have a chance of making a good go of it. You can't call yourself a first world nation if you're treating your own countrymen with more neglect than you treat the third world.

The geography of poverty liberally crosses state lines, as do the geographies of wealth, privilege, and opportunity. The health care system is only marginally less broken in NY than in Mississippi.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:34 PM on October 26, 2009


I wasn't even thinking healthcare, but sure, that too. And ability to access jobs — if the area can not support job creation, then you're pretty much gonna have to help people get the hell outta Dodge and into a place where they can find work. Otherwise they're gonna friggin' starve, which isn't the kind of thing a person does to a fellow countryman.

"Fuck you, got mine" is not a tenable foundation on which to build a country, let alone a society.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:37 PM on October 26, 2009


Well again, the economic geography of modern job creation doesn't follow political boundaries that were set in the 18th and 19th centuries well before urbanization and the development of a national transportation system.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:44 AM on October 27, 2009


Is that not good enough to say that TESTDTRRTITFPWTTIA is the primary source of Republicans and conservatives in Congress?

Of the 14 senators sent to Congress by the 7 Rocky Mountain states, 8 are Republicans. And as recently as two Congresses ago it was a 10-4 GOP majority.

In the House it's roughly 50-50. A number of the 29 pickups in 2006 were from these seven states. But then, the Dems had long taken their focus off the South and moved to the mountain West under Howard Dean -- they saw the West's growth and Latino population as an untapped market.

Why say all this? Well, you say this referring to the South:
First, none of these (frankly) bizarre miscomprehensions have anything at all to do with my overall point, which was about the reasoning behind people pointing out that red states, generally speaking, take in more in federal expenditures than they give out in federal taxes.

But here's the thing -- in the lower 48, the widest expenditure gap isn't in the South, it's in the mountain West. In fact, one of the states with the widest gap is Nevada, which sends two Democratic House members out of three and one Democratic Senator to Washington.

One more thing:
The House contingent of TESTDTRRTITFPWTTIA is 55.0% Republican and 45.0% Democratic.

Remember that Tom DeLay had the Texas districts gerrymandered to give the GOP 6 more seats. Thus the reason why north Texas is so red.
posted by dw at 8:11 AM on October 27, 2009


KJS: Are you presenting that as an excuse for not subsidizing the have-not states, and for not subsidizing the cost of getting people from have-not states into have states?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:09 AM on October 27, 2009


five fresh fish: Are you presenting that as an excuse for not subsidizing the have-not states, and for not subsidizing the cost of getting people from have-not states into have states?

One last time.

You don't subsidize states, you create a robust universal social safety net for households living in poverty, regardless of whether those households are located in Mississippi or in California. You engage in economic development where it is needed, whether it be in Mississippi or in California.

Which highlights one of the big problems with thinking about this in terms of states. The state of California has more people living in poverty than the state of Mississippi. Where do poor Californians living in the economic powerhouse of the United States move to?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:46 AM on October 27, 2009


Are funds not administered by the states? What you describe would require a federal level of control and disbursement. And given that even Canada doesn't go to that length for something as important and universal as our healthcare system (funds are given to provinces to administer), I can't imagine the states would be amenable to that plan.

Although come to think of it, our employment insurance program is a federal program, though with plenty of provincial input and handling; and our welfare program may be federal as well. Those may be a better comparison than healthcare.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:08 AM on October 27, 2009


five fresh fish: What you describe would require a federal level of control and disbursement.

Certainly, there are some governors who can't and shouldn't be trusted with stewardship of federal anti-poverty funding.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:27 AM on October 27, 2009


Hey Astro Zombie, I'm sorry I didn't respond to you more quickly. I've been on hiatus from Metafilter the past few days.

Okay--I completely agree with you that racists are to blame for racism; that is, individuals who are racist and perpetrators of hate speech, symbols, and actions, are to blame for their own actions.

Believing this does not negate the fact that people, however, do not always act as autonomous individuals. In an ideal world they would, yes. But sometimes they follow a crowd. And crowds don't always have the best reasoning skills. My previous comments were an attempt to talk about the complications of how large groups of people are influenced by history. I think where we fundamentally disagree is that I do not think a why is an excuse, ie. justification for bad and toxic behavior (and my historical why was never meant to excuse).

At the end of the day I don't care why someone is being racist, even if I understand the historical underpinnings to their sense of having been wronged. It doesn't make it right. Recognizing the history of a set of beliefs is not a validation of those beliefs, but the beginning of an inquiry into how those beliefs might be modified. If we do not recognize that poor whites' racism is often fueled by the sense of having been economically wronged, then we cannot redress a worthy cause--creating better living conditions for everyone, and in the process, diminishing the economic resentment that bleeds into hate speech and action.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 10:18 PM on October 29, 2009


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