The Rosa Parks of our time
June 27, 2015 7:49 AM   Subscribe

This morning a woman named Bree Newsome climbed the flagpole at the South Carolina State Capitol and took down the Confederate flag.

From an Associated Press article:

Sherri Iacobelli, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety, said that Bree Newsome, 30, and James Ian Tyson, 30, also of Charlotte, have been charged with defacing monuments on state Capitol grounds. That's a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison term of up to three years or both.

The flag, which is protected by state law, was raised about 45 minutes later. Flag supporters planned a rally at the monument later on Saturday.

About the time of her arrest, Newsome released an email statement to the media.

"We removed the flag today because we can't wait any longer. We can't continue like this another day," it said. "It's time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality."
posted by orange swan (273 comments total) 137 users marked this as a favorite
 
In a better world, they would have just left it down. In a better world, Gov. Haley herself would have climbed up there and taken it down.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:51 AM on June 27, 2015 [66 favorites]


I love the spirit of this act, and this woman, the man who stood by her.
posted by Oyéah at 7:59 AM on June 27, 2015 [52 favorites]




I hope somebody takes it down again and again, until they have to decide between maintaining an armed guard or just letting the thing stay down.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:00 AM on June 27, 2015 [98 favorites]


I was having a shitty morning and this was kind of nice and inspiring to see.

I do not understand why S. Carolina is being so goddamned intransigent about this.

Should have RTFA all the way, apparently, they're taking it under advisement.
posted by Thistledown at 8:01 AM on June 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Good job, Bree.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:01 AM on June 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


Good for Bree--just fucking leave it down. But I thought Haley had already announced that it was coming down?
posted by fatbird at 8:04 AM on June 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wish it had been possible for Newsome to take a lighter with her to the top of that flagpole and set that flag on fire. It would have been basically impossible to do that without her risking getting burned (or risking others getting burned from falling ashes), and her safety was more important than a gesture, but it would have been glorious to see that evil rag set alight and cast into the wind.
posted by orange swan at 8:04 AM on June 27, 2015 [24 favorites]


Has SC voted against taking it down? Because if not, she just drastically reduced the chance of that happening.
posted by mmiddle at 8:05 AM on June 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


I hope somebody takes it down again and again, until they have to decide between maintaining an armed guard or just letting the thing stay down
I'd give it about 3 days before a protester "slips" and gets impaled on those railings.

Or just gets shot.
posted by fullerine at 8:05 AM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I do not understand why S. Carolina is being so goddamned intransigent about this.

Perhaps because the citizens who would be the most incensed and angry about removing the flag, also happen to be the most heavily armed citizens?
posted by Thorzdad at 8:06 AM on June 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Perhaps because the citizens who would be the most incensed and angry about removing the flag, also happen to be the most heavily armed citizens?
posted by Thorzdad at 11:06 AM on June 27 [+] [!]


Perhaps you're right. And a younger, more impassioned me would probably want to engage them in some kind of discourse to understand them and persuade them and stuff.

But I'm tired. I'm older. And I'm sick of this stupid bullshit. And I say, with all sincerity, fuck em'.
posted by Thistledown at 8:08 AM on June 27, 2015 [62 favorites]


But I thought Haley had already announced that it was coming down?

It sounds like it would take an act of the legislature; the governor can't unilaterally decide.
posted by Slothrup at 8:12 AM on June 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


The flag went back up because the flag being there is the Law, and the Law has neither empathy nor a sense of humor. This is generally regarded as a feature rather than a bug but it is very annoying when a Law is so clearly on the wrong side of history.
posted by Bringer Tom at 8:16 AM on June 27, 2015 [44 favorites]


But I thought Haley had already announced that it was coming down?

Governor Haley called for it to be taken down this past Monday.

From the AP article I linked to:

"South Carolina lawmakers took the initial steps last Tuesday toward removing the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds by agreeing to allow discussion of the matter during the legislative session."
posted by orange swan at 8:16 AM on June 27, 2015




Maybe South Carolina could raise a flag with the letters KKK. It would be more honest.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:18 AM on June 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


Appropriate.
posted by Fizz at 8:27 AM on June 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


What an incredibly brave person.

I got teary watching that, even as I was imagining the doubling down of all those who keep saying the flag is only about "heritage, not hate" and that their rights are being trampled.
posted by maggiemaggie at 8:27 AM on June 27, 2015 [16 favorites]


> Flag supporters planned a rally at the monument later on Saturday.

This tweet refers to it straight-up as a white supremacist rally. I know this is something hairs can be split on, but I'm curious now what specific group organized the rally, and what affiliations they acknowledge.
posted by ardgedee at 8:30 AM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I hope somebody takes it down again and again, until they have to decide between maintaining an armed guard or just letting the thing stay down.

Have you been asleep the last 400 years of American history? Hell, even the last 40. They will maintain an armed guard. They will tell them to shoot if they have to. Because if there's one thing that can be reliably counted on in conservative America it's doing unbelievably costly, shitty and spiteful things out of racism with a thin veneer of "principle".
posted by Talez at 8:31 AM on June 27, 2015 [49 favorites]


If anybody's wondering where today's version of the brick and bottle throwers at the Stonewall Inn 46 years ago that was the type of loud voice that led to the decision we celebrated yesterday, she was up there on that pole being a the hero we get, even if it isn't the hero we all deserve.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:31 AM on June 27, 2015 [43 favorites]


Has SC voted against taking it down? Because if not, she just drastically reduced the chance of that happening.

Does anyone seriously think the legislature was going to vote to take it down?
posted by dirigibleman at 8:34 AM on June 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


A new day.
posted by dougzilla at 8:37 AM on June 27, 2015


Thursday was Obamacare decision, Friday was marriage for everyone, and Saturday a black woman scaled a flag pole to take down a confederate flag.

Oh Sunday, don't let me down.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:37 AM on June 27, 2015 [302 favorites]


That's a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $5,000

In a sane part of the world you'd expect the state to be conscious of appearances and not ask for a penalty, but in a way I'm hoping they levy the fine, if only to see the fundraising site appear out of nowhere and exceed its goals by a large multiple in a matter of seconds.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:42 AM on June 27, 2015 [33 favorites]


'The Rosa Parks of our time' is maybe a bit much. Especially since the flag isn't actually flying over the Capitol... It's flying over a Confederate war memorial.

Maybe a good compromise would be to take it down, and fly one of the actual Confederate battle flags. Stars and bars, or one of the white ones.
posted by nihlton at 8:43 AM on June 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


I hope somebody takes it down again and again, until they have to decide between maintaining an armed guard or just letting the thing stay down.

I do not think this decision would be as much of a chinstroker for S.C. as you seems to suggest.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:45 AM on June 27, 2015 [9 favorites]




Has SC voted against taking it down? Because if not, she just drastically reduced the chance of that happening.

Your concern is duly noted and dismissed.

Maybe a good compromise would be to take it down, and fly one of the actual Confederate battle flags. Stars and bars, or one of the white ones.

Or, you know, maybe don't have a memorial to treason and slavery.
posted by kmz at 8:48 AM on June 27, 2015 [138 favorites]


I wish she had just said "See? Was that so hard?"
posted by fungible at 8:49 AM on June 27, 2015 [14 favorites]


Maybe a good compromise would be to take it down, and fly one of the actual Confederate battle flags. Stars and bars, or one of the white ones.
A better solution would be either to have no Confederate memorials or have ones that made it really clear that those people died for a cause that was unworthy of their valor and sacrifice, and I don't think that flying any Confederate flag would accomplish that.

Anyway, good for her. That video made my morning.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:49 AM on June 27, 2015 [44 favorites]


There's got to be a legal defense fund for her. I want to kick in. This is civil disobedience I can get behind.
posted by immlass at 8:50 AM on June 27, 2015 [22 favorites]


Good for her. Next time I hope someone cuts down the pole so they can't just put it back up.
posted by Blackanvil at 8:50 AM on June 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


'The Rosa Parks of our time' is maybe a bit much. Especially since the flag isn't actually flying over the Capitol... It's flying over a Confederate war memorial.

I don't see 1. why the comparison is "a bit much" or 2. why it matters that it was flying over a Confederate war memorial.

There's a tendency to lionize select few Civil Rights activists, to put them so high on a pedestal that they begin to seem like saints rather than real people. But Rosa parks was a real person, she was an activist, who took a stand and broke a law to draw attention to something that wasn't right. Just like Bree Newsome did.
posted by lunasol at 8:51 AM on June 27, 2015 [94 favorites]


I knew it was happening from my Facebook feed, but I had no idea that it would get as much coverage as it did. GOOD. They're working on setting up a defense fund; please let me know if you're interested, and I'll link you to it when it's up.
posted by Ashen at 8:52 AM on June 27, 2015 [19 favorites]


Unless I can link to it here, in which case I totally will!
posted by Ashen at 8:55 AM on June 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Good for her. Next time I hope someone cuts down the pole so they can't just put it back up.
I like your thinking.
posted by Webbster at 8:55 AM on June 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


'The Rosa Parks of our time' is maybe a bit much.

Have you been watching the news? African-Americans are being murdered in the street for the crime of being, and this woman climbed a fucking flagpole to commit an act of civil disobedience -- that is, a literal and actual criminal act. She's a fucking hero, and your "Well, technically..." bullshit ain't selling.
posted by Etrigan at 8:55 AM on June 27, 2015 [211 favorites]


> I do not understand why S. Carolina is being so goddamned intransigent about this.

Probably because the less their society resembles the society they wish they lived in (the Confederacy, basically), the more they cling to the symbol?
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:56 AM on June 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


The cops didn't look all that eager to have to arrest her. They weren't shouting at her non-stop or threatening her, they were just periodically saying, "Ma'am, you have to come down," and that was a low-key, pro-forma arrest. Those were cops who would prefer not to have to do that part of their job and who think the protestor is right.

When I lived in the South 15 years ago, most life-long Southerners I met found the Confederate flag thing embarrassing ("Of course my ancestors fought for the Confederacy but I'm not going to advertise that on my CAR"), but treated it as kind-of the price you pay to put up with irritating politicians and a small frothing constituency. It wasn't worth the hassle of fighting the crazy people to take it down.

I think with the general electorate alert to the issue, and Nikki Haley in favor of taking it down, and GOP presidential candidates (mostly) saying take it down, there's enough cover for legislators to vote to take it down and be protected from the frothing minority by a general electorate who, right now, think it's actually an important issue.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:57 AM on June 27, 2015 [18 favorites]


[One comment deleted. Respectfully, this thread is about the flag and Newsome, and if you want to read a thread about something else, maybe pass this one by. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:58 AM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


The comparisons to Gandhi are a little much, all she did was sit on a bus.

Maybe we could compromise and let them have the middle of the bus, on the driver's side.
posted by agentofselection at 9:00 AM on June 27, 2015 [27 favorites]


Pretty sure plenty of people will chip in to pay her fine.

She probably won't ever have to pay for another beer either.
posted by Repack Rider at 9:01 AM on June 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


The Rosa Parks of our time

This is a powerful protest, but I'm not sure that Rosa Parks is the right point of comparison. I'm not sure what is - but there's a difference between removing a symbol of hate erected by the government and deliberately breaking a racist law. (Anyhoo, pedantry over. Go her.)
posted by Going To Maine at 9:01 AM on June 27, 2015


Maybe next time I should read the thread before commenting.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:02 AM on June 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


The cops didn't look all that eager to have to arrest her. They weren't shouting at her non-stop or threatening her, they were just periodically saying, "Ma'am, you have to come down," and that was a low-key, pro-forma arrest. Those were cops who would prefer not to have to do that part of their job and who think the protestor is right.

Yes, the police treated Newsome with respect and care, i.e., spoke to her with respect, used no rough-handling whatsoever, and they helped her climb over the fence. As I watched the video I was kind of waiting for one of them to give her a discreet high five.
posted by orange swan at 9:03 AM on June 27, 2015 [36 favorites]


but there's a difference between removing a symbol of hate erected by the government and deliberately breaking a racist law.

Would you care to make your case that the South Carolina statute that put a Confederate battle flag at the state Capitol, and mandated a 2/3 vote to remove it, is anything other than a racist law?
posted by tonycpsu at 9:04 AM on June 27, 2015 [59 favorites]


Especially since the flag isn't actually flying over the Capitol... It's flying over a Confederate war memorial.

Putting it where it is is a "compromise" the state leglislature made with the NAACP in 2000.
It is meant to be over the Capitol dome, and that's where it was originally placed -- get this -- in 1961. Ostensibly in commemoration of the start of the Civil War. One must ask why the State wanted so badly to commemorate the start of those hostilities as opposed to their ending, and the answer isn't long in coming. Time magazine:
Still many historians say the appearance of the flag likely had a more nefarious purpose: to symbolize Southern defiance in the face of a burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. The move was, TIME later noted, “a states’-rights rebuff to desegregation.”

“The Confederate flag symbolizes more than the civil war and the slavery era,” wrote James Forman Jr. a professor at Yale Law School, in a law journal article about the flag’s history at state capitols. “The flag has been adopted knowingly and consciously by government officials seeking to assert their commitment to black subordination.”
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:05 AM on June 27, 2015 [66 favorites]


Maybe a good compromise would be to take it down, and fly one of the actual Confederate battle flags. Stars and bars, or one of the white ones.

Or maybe they could modernize things a little bit and just go ahead and fly a swastika.
posted by item at 9:06 AM on June 27, 2015 [19 favorites]


I was like "hurf durf, the headline is overselling this" and then I watched the video and you know how the hell often do you see courage and conviction like that. This woman is awesome. I got Lee Greenwood playing in my head non-ironically right now.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:08 AM on June 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


.....Especially since the flag isn't actually flying over the Capitol... It's flying over a Confederate war memorial.

It's fucking flying on the front lawn of the goddam State House.
Don't quibble.

And I believe that the contempt here, mine at least, is for that flag in all of its hideous iterations.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:13 AM on June 27, 2015 [58 favorites]


'The Rosa Parks of our time' is maybe a bit much. Especially since the flag isn't actually flying over the Capitol... It's flying over a Confederate war memorial.--nihlton

Did you watch the video? The camera panned from the flag pole, and there was the State House, right next to it.
posted by eye of newt at 9:14 AM on June 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was like "hurf durf, the headline is overselling this" and then I watched the video and you know how the hell often do you see courage and conviction like that. This woman is awesome.

Yeah, the calm "I know, sir, I'm prepared" when the police presumably warned her she was going to be arrested was pretty badass.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 9:19 AM on June 27, 2015 [22 favorites]




I hope that photographer got some good shots; while watching the video I felt there was a kind of inverse Iwo Jima vibe happening in some of the visuals.

Arguably the war isn't over until the enemy flag is lowered: in which case, she just ended the Civil War in South Carolina. They should mount a plaque to her.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:25 AM on June 27, 2015 [20 favorites]


You know, I wouldn't mind it too much if something were to happen to the statue of Jefferson Davis at UT Austin.


Well, what do you know.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:25 AM on June 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


Hero.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:27 AM on June 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Man, the video made me cry! I was not expecting that. But it was moving to see her praying during the arrest, and to see her sincerity and courage - you could see she was a little nervous but she stayed calm. I'm moved by her sincerity and courage and by the sincerity and courage of all the people who are pushing against the overwhelming onslaught of racism in this country.
posted by aka burlap at 9:28 AM on June 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


I can't help but wonder what future Americans will think of us while they are pulling down our current flag, outraged at the atrocities that were performed under it.
posted by davelog at 9:29 AM on June 27, 2015 [15 favorites]


Yes, the police treated Newsome with respect and care, i.e., spoke to her with respect, used no rough-handling whatsoever, and they helped her climb over the fence. As I watched the video I was kind of waiting for one of them to give her a discreet high five.

Even they know it would have crossed some line had they pulled a teenage girl in a bikini stunt.
posted by infini at 9:30 AM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's got to be a legal defense fund for her. I want to kick in. This is civil disobedience I can get behind.

seconding this. if there's a link please post it because I'll happily donate.
posted by photoslob at 9:32 AM on June 27, 2015 [2 favorites]




I hope that photographer got some good shots; while watching the video I felt there was a kind of inverse Iwo Jima vibe happening in some of the visuals.
This is the one that's flying around Twitter. Apologies if that's not an official version: it at least credits the photographer, Adam Anderson.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:34 AM on June 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


[this is good]
posted by drezdn at 9:34 AM on June 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


The next time someone tries to tell you the Confederate flag isn't meant to commemorate slavery and white supremacy, just point them to this.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:34 AM on June 27, 2015 [27 favorites]


Watching the video made me cry. Her voice wasn't even shaking.
posted by rtha at 9:35 AM on June 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


Michael Moore tweeted that he'd pay her bail and any legal costs.

"Friends of @BreeNewsome - I will pay her bail money or any legal fees she has. Please let her know this. #Charleston #TakeDownTheFlag"

https://twitter.com/MMFlint/status/614814840893255680
posted by chris24 at 9:36 AM on June 27, 2015 [44 favorites]


I'd love to know more about how she planned and practiced for this beforehand. Inching up a flagpole using two prusik knots isn't part of your normal climbing repertoire.
posted by Flashman at 9:36 AM on June 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


I'm not sick but I'm not well.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:37 AM on June 27, 2015 [15 favorites]


First, I applaud her and I thnk she is brave and doing a wonderful thing.

But... what am I missing? Why did she have to climb up? Surely there's a way to take it down from the ground?
posted by desjardins at 9:39 AM on June 27, 2015


So wonderfully strange to be living in a progressive country these last few days. Go Bree!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:40 AM on June 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


I think that it might be easier to stop her before she got the flag down if she'd done it on the ground. The cops weren't in a position to climb up after her, so they couldn't do anything to her until she climbed down.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:41 AM on June 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


The flag was padlocked in place.
posted by orange swan at 9:43 AM on June 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Surely there's a way to take it down from the ground?"

No, the bottom of the flagpole mechanism is locked SPECIFICALLY TO PREVENT people from taking it down in protest!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:44 AM on June 27, 2015 [15 favorites]


Surely there's a way to take it down from the ground?

Nope, I was wondering the same thing last week but photos showed that (to deter such efforts) it was directly attached to the pole at the top, without the normal rope and pulley for raising and lowering.
posted by Flashman at 9:44 AM on June 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


I wonder if this photo is iconic enough to win a Pulitzer?
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:45 AM on June 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


But... what am I missing? Why did she have to climb up? Surely there's a way to take it down from the ground?


The flag is permanently affixed to the flagpole- it cannot be lowered, and stays up day and night, rain or shine. This is why it was not taken down or even put at half-staff for the nine people murdered at Emanuel AME.

I guess you don't need to worry too much about the flag code for a traitor flag.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:46 AM on June 27, 2015 [35 favorites]




If she burned it, do they have a backup? How many backups do they have? Burn that damn flag.
posted by Fnarf at 9:47 AM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Even if you could have taken it down from the bottom, doing that wouldn't have created such iconic images. The point isn't so much taking the flag down, since it'll just go right back up, the point is to be seen taking it down.
posted by octothorpe at 9:51 AM on June 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


Meanwhile in FL
posted by photoslob at 9:55 AM on June 27, 2015


When I saw the pictures the first thing that came to my mind was a bit in Mulan. On her first day in the army, disguised as a man, the commander shoots an arrow into the top of a pole and pulls out two weights, one representing discipline and one representing strength, both of which you needed to bring with you as you climbed to get the arrow. After most of a training montage, Mulan is kicked out of the army for not being good enough and, as she's leaving, she sees the arrow and the weights. She tries a bunch of different times to get to the top of the pole but the weights keep dragging her down until she realizes she needs to tie them together so she can use them to brace herself as she's climbing up. She slips often, and it's not an easy climb, but she gets safely to the top with discipline and strength. Silly as it may seem, Mulan is one of my heroes.

Ms. Newsome was given a lot of weights and told she had to carry them around with her. Instead of letting them drag her down, she used her weights to lift her up and got to the top of that flagpole with discipline and strength as well as an enormous amount of bravery. Her courage in doing this is unbelievable. Instead of believing people who told her she wasn't good enough, no matter how often the weight dragged her down, she kept climbing, and she got there safely. I feel a lot less silly saying that Ms. Newsome is also one of my heroes.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:56 AM on June 27, 2015 [54 favorites]


That was so goddamn inspiring and wonderful and all the good things that there are in the world.
posted by odinsdream at 9:57 AM on June 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


Thanks for explaining the climbing-up thing. I don't know if there is a protocol with the confederate traitor flag like there is with the American flag, but I love the way the cop just bunched it up and shoved it in a bag.
posted by desjardins at 9:59 AM on June 27, 2015 [13 favorites]




.....Especially since the flag isn't actually flying over the Capitol... It's flying over a Confederate war memorial.

It's fucking flying on the front lawn of the goddam State House.
Don't quibble.


And for me, the most important factor is the following sentence:
The flag has been raised again by state workers.

There are state laws concerning the flying of the confederate flag and state workers are in charge of care of the flag. And I feel very firmly that there shouldn't be state sponsorship of hate speech. If you want to fly that flag from your home, go right ahead (I will take that into account personally, but that is your choice). Want to erect and maintain a huge statue of ..... Nathan Bedford Forrest on your private property, but very, very visible from the interstate, oh, I will totally judge you, but go right ahead. However, the state shouldn't clear away the brush to maintain your visibility.
posted by dawg-proud at 10:09 AM on June 27, 2015 [18 favorites]


I wonder if this photo is iconic enough to win a Pulitzer?

This is gonna sound terrible but I found myself wishing the picture was better. Trying to fit too much into the frame, and is that an Instagram filter?
posted by Flashman at 10:14 AM on June 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


The last three days have filled me to the brim with hope, determination, and pure ELATION that activism can overcome the very longest of odds. As Obama said at Selma, "It was not a clash of armies, but a clash of wills; a contest to determine the true meaning of America." Bree Newsome is an American hero. She almost certainly prepared herself for the possibility that there would be an armed guard authorized or willing to fire at her for doing this, and she did it anyways. It is an honor and a privilege to share a country with people brave and fiery enough to do something so BIG.

There was a magnificent preacher named Vernon Johns who led the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church before MLK Jr. did. One of his most famous sermons is called "Transfigured Moments" and I've returned to it many times since August 9, 2014. For me it captures the awe I feel at living in this country at this moment (which is of course only the thin silver lining to the cloud that is our longstanding structural and cultural racism):
How many people in high and lofty mo­ments, when they have taken the time and pains to climb above the dingy, foggy levels of incorporated thinking and living, have struck out for themselves and others new and better courses! “I thought on my ways, and I turned my feet.…” “I will turn aside and see.…” “When he came to himself he said…” “And he taketh them up into an exceed­ing high mountain.” These passages belong to the experience of epoch makers. On the heights is the location for moral discovery. It is a slower process and requires stouter gear to do the mountain roads than to run along the shining speedways of the val­ley. But woe to the world when there are no visitors on the heights!

. . .

It is good to be in the presence of persons who can kindle us for fine, heroic living. The population on the Mount of Transfiguration was very small, but it was tremendously significant. Jesus, Moses and Elijah! In the presence of personality like this, men can kindle their torches and go forth in life as bearers of light and heat. Humanity needs the contagion of lofty spirits. Humanity needs contact with persons who are aglow with the good life. All too frequently our righteousness is sufficiently meager to go to waste: it is not vital enough to communicate itself. Mr. Roosevelt’s criticism of his Progressive party was that it meant well, but meant it feebly. That is often the trouble with our righteousness. It lacks intensity. It does not make itself felt. We are trying to grind great mills with a quart of water; we would set great masses of cold and slimy material aglow with a wet match. We have our hands full of halfway meas­ures. We scrap a part of our navies. We enthrone Justice in places where there is no serious objection to it. We practice brotherhood within carefully re­stricted areas. We forgive other people’s enemies. We carry a Bible but not a cross. Instead of the Sec­ond Mile, we go a few yards of the first and then wonder that Christian goals are not realized. “O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” When we lift ourselves, at last, from the ruin and entanglements of our diluted and piece­meal righteousness, it will be under the leadership of persons for whom righteousness was a consuming and holy fire, instead of a mere luke-warm and foggy something. It is such leadership, such righteous dynamics as this that we find in the presence of Jesus and Moses and Elijah. “We beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. And of his fulness we have all received.” You can kindle at a flame like that! It is the full receptacle that overflows, spreading its content to neighboring borders. It is a flame vital enough not to be extinguished by a slight jostle at which men can kindle. “I have come to set a fire in the earth.
Seeing the people rallying at the Court yesterday, hearing Obama sing "Amazing Grace," watching Bree Newsome scale that pole, all I can think is: We are not going to stop. We are going to win!!! No matter how long it takes we are going to bring OUR country to finally meet the ideals on which it was founded.

My heart is so full this morning. Now give me the link for that bail fund.
posted by sallybrown at 10:16 AM on June 27, 2015 [31 favorites]


You know if they can't legally remove the flag why don't they put two more even larger flags on the pole at the same height on either side so nobody ever sees it? I bet the law doesn't legislate against other flags being on the pole. Maybe something like oh say American flags.
posted by srboisvert at 10:16 AM on June 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Legal defense fund page is up!

I am gleefully hitting F5 on that page and watching the number climb!
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:18 AM on June 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Surely there's a way to take it down from the ground?

Maybe a few pounds of Thermite, or a team of folks working quick with some angle grinders?
posted by rustcrumb at 10:19 AM on June 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Where's that guy with his crazy homemade green death ray laser? On a windless day it should be possible to set fire to the flag from several blocks away.

Not a serious suggestion. Nobody should be playing with powerful lasers under uncontrolled conditions.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:20 AM on June 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Not really going to address the Parks/Bree comparison because people seem to be pretty emotionally invested in it, which is understandable. Bree's actions and the photo op that came about from it are fantastic, full stop.

I do think some of the snap lashing out at those who questioned the comparison is a bit too much, the anger is not deserved for those on our side.

I will mildly suggest people read about Parks if you have not already. Her famous protest was not a protest of chance or 'just being tired', she was a very smart very knowledgeable and very well trained. It was a very powerful, well crafted, courageous and intentional act as part of a conscious orchestrated larger movement. In no way or fashion does that diminish her actions, in my mind if rather enhances them as a conscious action is more meaningful then an action of the moment.
I am sure many/most already know this, just mentioning it in passing as her name is invoked.

\o/ Bree \o/
posted by edgeways at 10:23 AM on June 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


Her famous protest was not a protest of chance or 'just being tired', she was a very smart very knowledgeable and very well trained. It was a very powerful, well crafted, courageous and intentional act as part of a conscious orchestrated larger movement.

This describes both Parks and Newsome.
posted by sallybrown at 10:26 AM on June 27, 2015 [45 favorites]


I like this picture. Not sure where it originated or if it's a video capture.
posted by zennie at 10:28 AM on June 27, 2015


I'd love to know more about how she planned and practiced for this beforehand. Inching up a flagpole using two prusik knots isn't part of your normal climbing repertoire..

When I was first learned how to do climb outdoor trad, aid climbing with two prusiks was taught as a standard method for self-rescue from a poorly planned rappel. I can totally believe that Bree either knows how to rock climb or has climbing friends who would totally know that technique, and would practice it in any rock gym using any of the existing top ropes.

Plus, the added benefit that aid climbing a fixed flagpole had got to be A LOT easier than a free swinging top rope.

GO HER.
posted by bl1nk at 10:32 AM on June 27, 2015 [14 favorites]


Total. Hero.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:35 AM on June 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


The fact that's she's a very accomplished person and activist only makes this better. Much like Parks, in fact; this may be played as a random passionate act but it's clearly carefully planned for maximum impact.
posted by emjaybee at 10:37 AM on June 27, 2015 [15 favorites]


I gave $10. I hope she doesn't need bail and can just use that money to pay off student loans or go on an awesome vacation. She deserves it.

I wish I could give more, but it was amazing to see it almost fully funded when it's been up for not even a full day yet.
posted by sio42 at 10:38 AM on June 27, 2015


For those wanting a better quality version of the iconic photo - this version that ArbitraryandCapricious linked upthread is the best I've seen so far.
posted by sallybrown at 10:39 AM on June 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


Her famous protest was not a protest of chance or 'just being tired', she was a very smart very knowledgeable and very well trained.

You should read the "5 things to know about Bree Newsome" link kmz posted above.

Ms. Newsome totally knew what she was doing. Comparing her to Rosa Parks is entirely apt.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:40 AM on June 27, 2015 [14 favorites]


'The Rosa Parks of our time' is maybe a bit much.

I'm comfortable with the "Tiananmen Tank Guy" of our time. She really did risk her life up there. As a black person defying orders from the police, it's like asking to get shot.
posted by cazoo at 10:42 AM on June 27, 2015 [38 favorites]


I hope this isn't a derail but I am so glad the cops treated her with respect so that the discussion can focus on her and not another retread of police brutality.

SC cops must feel the eye of the country upon them and it's about time.

I cannot tell you how relieved I am that she is not in the hospital or dead, as I'm sure we are all.

What a time we are living we in. After such a long time where it seemed things were very very dark, the last few days have just been restoring my faith in our country and our fellow citizens.
posted by sio42 at 10:49 AM on June 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


I can totally believe that Bree either knows how to rock climb or has climbing friends who would totally know that technique, and would practice it in any rock gym using any of the existing top ropes.

"I read on Twitter" is a horrible cite but her attorney claims she only learned to climb 2 days ago.
posted by desjardins at 10:50 AM on June 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


I want to give to her legal defense, but that Indiegogo site from CREDO clearly indicates that all the money won't go to her. If you donate, you're funding other projects as well.

Now, I'm not saying I'm opposed to those other projects, but I would like to donate directly (and solely) to her legal defense.

Are there any campaigns for that, or is this the only one?
posted by yellowcandy at 10:57 AM on June 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


There should be a faster way to learn, so that anyone who wants to take down that damn flag can learn how in, like, a half hour. I'd love to see just a line of people with climbing gear standing outside the courthouse, waiting their turn.
posted by maxsparber at 10:57 AM on June 27, 2015 [12 favorites]


Maybe a good compromise would be to take it down, and fly one of the actual Confederate battle flags. Stars and bars, or one of the white ones.

That IS the Confederate battle flag - more precisely, the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. The stars and bars and "the white one" were the actual flags of the Confederacy. The white stands for exactly what you'd think, as its designer wrote:

As a people we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause. —William T. Thompson

I don't see the need to "compromise" with white supremacists.
posted by caryatid at 11:04 AM on June 27, 2015 [50 favorites]


I love how prepared and common sense she is. She's just like, "well, I don't want to half-ass this, better get some climbing equipment and a helmet, no need to take unnecessary risks."

(And is Hard Hat Guy some random city worker, or is he helping her? Looks like he's getting handcuffed at 2:08 in the video?)
posted by jcreigh at 11:06 AM on June 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


(and if I read TFA I see that the man was helping and was also arrested.)
posted by jcreigh at 11:08 AM on June 27, 2015


I mean, it would actually be better if she had the resources to bulldoze the entire monument, but that's a tough one to pull off. I'm ok with her just yanking the flag down.
posted by emjaybee at 11:11 AM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


How long does it take to learn how to cut down half of a flag pole?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:11 AM on June 27, 2015


TheWhiteSkull: You know, I wouldn't mind it too much if something were to happen to the statue of Jefferson Davis at UT Austin.

This is just one of the many other monuments to the Confederacy:
The Charleston, S.C., shootings have sparked lots of discussion about the Confederate battle flag, but it's not the only symbol of the Confederacy.

Hundreds of Confederate memorials, plazas and markers dot the South — and beyond — and are attracting attention from fresh eyes.
Beyond The Battle Flag: Controversy Over Confederate Symbols Unfurls

I'm looking forward to some statues getting toppled.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:12 AM on June 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


That was magnificent and courageous. Sometimes the time for talking about something has been exhausted, and action is what remains. Thank goodness for Bree and human beings like her, who have the strength and character to take reasonable, non-violent, but significant action. Taking that flag down was definitely symbolic, but symbols matter, and she clearly knows this.

I grew up in the south, surrounded by that damn hate flag, and have been disgusted by it and by the whole 'it's about heritage not hate' nonsense, just about my whole life (and as a white guy, also sometimes had to hear the odious, behind-closed-doors "just us" talk that racist white people have, too). Thank goodness it is all finally being called out and challenged and simply no longer abided.

(I was delighted to learn that Bree is a tremendous pianist and creative artist by training, and mentioned that to my wife, who responded with 'of course she is. Do you think a lawyer or a businessman would climb that pole?')
posted by LooseFilter at 11:13 AM on June 27, 2015 [39 favorites]


The 2000 law regarding the confederate flag allows it to be removed for "maintenance and repair." Niki Haley could take down that flag tomorrow for extended "maintenance and repair" if she wanted but won't because she is a coward who doesn't want to offend her racist and bigoted political base.
posted by JackFlash at 11:18 AM on June 27, 2015 [28 favorites]


You know, I wouldn't mind it too much if something were to happen to the statue of Jefferson Davis at UT Austin.


Well, what do you know.


Oh, wonderful--thank you for posting this, I am at UT and have signal boosted the Change.org petition to get that godawful statue removed to all the UT grad students I know. It's a great reminder to look at our own communities and go "how can we push back against the celebration of what should have been a stain on our country's history?" I hope that the flag's takedown spurs pushes to take down all kinds of Confederate memorials across the USA.
posted by sciatrix at 11:22 AM on June 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


The United States is in desperate need of some maintenance and repair, and taking down that flag would be a good way to start.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:22 AM on June 27, 2015 [17 favorites]


'of course she is. Do you think a lawyer or a businessman would climb that pole?'

Man, that would be the business person America needs. Maybe Mrs. Newsome should get into politics…
posted by Going To Maine at 11:24 AM on June 27, 2015


They reached their goal on the indie gogo campaign in 3 hours.
posted by sio42 at 11:32 AM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


It appears that the money will be used for bail and legal fees for a number of Black Lives Matter groups.

I'm ok with that.
posted by sio42 at 11:35 AM on June 27, 2015 [19 favorites]


So they had to fucking handcuff her? Really?
Jeez.
posted by ojemine at 11:53 AM on June 27, 2015


Did the fellow who assisted her get arrested also? It appears he was helping her with the equipment. The video doesn't show the prep, so it's hard to tell how involved he was. If he was part of the operation, he certainly deserves a thumbs-up (and maybe bail) too!
posted by TDavis at 11:58 AM on June 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, she was being arrested.

They didn't rough her up, taze her, take her for a nickel ride, or otherwise assault her.

They did the exact letter of their job.
posted by sio42 at 11:58 AM on June 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


The indie gogo fund also listed him as getting proceeds for his bail and legal fees.
posted by sio42 at 11:59 AM on June 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Someone should be removing or burning or otherwise destroying the flag every single time they put it back up until the bastards realize that shit doesn't fly anymore.
posted by downtohisturtles at 12:06 PM on June 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


This is just one of the many other monuments to the Confederacy

Note to those who may have skimmed past filthy light thief's link - this goes to an activist effort to crowdsource a map of "public locations marking the Confederate legacy" - memorials, buildings named after Condederate war heroes, roads, etc - they're seeking volunteers to add other locations in their communities.
posted by deludingmyself at 12:13 PM on June 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


"I read on Twitter" is a horrible cite but her attorney claims she only learned to climb 2 days ago.

I can believe that. Learning to ascend a Prussik takes ten minutes, tops. It's getting down without accidentally overlapping your knots and trapping yourself that's difficult.

Descending is really time consuming and work intensive, underscoring that there was no getaway plan here. That's courage right there.
posted by fifthrider at 12:13 PM on June 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


Next time we need to take up a battery operated angle grinder and lop the top off ... so that the empty pole stands as a testament.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 12:14 PM on June 27, 2015


(And is Hard Hat Guy some random city worker, or is he helping her?

Looks like that's James Tyson (also seen with her in the "five things" article). It's the sort of disguise you wear when you want someone to ignore you for just long enough, and it worked.

The cops didn't look all that eager to have to arrest her. They weren't shouting at her non-stop or threatening her, they were just periodically saying, "Ma'am, you have to come down," and that was a low-key, pro-forma arrest. Those were cops who would prefer not to have to do that part of their job and who think the protestor is right.

According to something I read somewhere, the last activist to try pulling down the flag was pursued up the pole by a trooper who was holding him by the belt or some such in a desperate attempt to prevent even a symbolic, temporary victory. (I couldn't find a news story or photo.) So this is progress.

As for the legislature, the cards don't look good for the pro-flag side. They should probably just get it over with quickly.
posted by dhartung at 12:17 PM on June 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Did the fellow who assisted her get arrested also?

Yes, he did. Near the beginning you can see him hold up his hands to show that he was unarmed as the police first approached. Towards the end you can see him standing with his arms cuffed behind his back.
posted by JackFlash at 12:18 PM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Next time we need to take up a battery operated angle grinder and lop the top off ... so that the empty pole stands as a testament.

Would that be necessary? I'm pretty there would be easier ways to screw up the mechanism.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:19 PM on June 27, 2015




Go, Bree! What a week it's been - I haven't felt this proud and hopeful for my country since, I dunno, the moon landing in 1969? The moral arc bent so hard I swear I heard it creaking!
posted by Quietgal at 12:21 PM on June 27, 2015 [14 favorites]


Museum Of The New South: Ask an Activist: Bree Newsome, 06/03/2015
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:32 PM on June 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


...I am at UT and have signal boosted the Change.org petition to get that godawful statue removed to all the UT grad students I know. It's a great reminder to look at our own communities and go "how can we push back against the celebration of what should have been a stain on our country's history?"

I am a UT alum and students were angry about those statues back when I was a student too. Students have been trying to get the administration to take down the statue since they were erected. The student government has been working extremely hard all year to get the statue removed. Hopefully they get enough support to succeed this time.

"Bump all the chumps"
posted by LizBoBiz at 12:32 PM on June 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


downtohisturtles: Someone should be removing or burning or otherwise destroying the flag every single time they put it back up until the bastards realize that shit doesn't fly anymore.

Even if no one realizes "that shit doesn't fly anymore," they're going to run out of replacement flags:
SAM SANDERS: Ebay, Amazon, Sears - businesses across the country are removing items with images of the Confederate flag from their shelves, their sites and their ads in the aftermath of the massacre at a black church in Charleston.
...
Dixie Flag Manufacturing Company is a small independent flag seller in a San Antonio, Texas. Unlike a lot of big businesses, Dixie said yesterday that they'd keep selling the Confederate flag.
...
After my first interview with Pete Van de Putte at Dixie Flag yesterday, he called me back. He'd changed his mind. We talked, I guess - what? - half an hour ago.

VAN DE PUTTE: Yeah, we did.

SANDERS: What changed in that time?

VAN DE PUTTE: Oh, as far as the major flag manufacturers that we buy flags from, they've all made the decision that they will no longer sell it.
It seems that no one wants this shit to fly.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:33 PM on June 27, 2015 [39 favorites]


Well, apparently UT is convening a "task force" to look into removing the statue/what should be done with the Jefferson Davis statue as of this morning. If you have a connection to UT Austin or Texas, you can send them your comments directly here. Didn't know if you'd seen that, LizBoBiz, but figured I would link it in case anyone else would like to send UT their thoughts!
posted by sciatrix at 12:36 PM on June 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


My husband went to school with her! He went to school with a goddamn hero. What a week!
posted by Pardon Our Dust at 12:36 PM on June 27, 2015 [12 favorites]


Even if no one realizes "that shit doesn't fly anymore," they're going to run out of replacement flags:

If that comes to pass they'll just strike some under the table deal with a south Asian flag manufacturer and get their flag fix the way Oklahoma got its three-drug cocktail.
posted by fifthrider at 12:39 PM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


ooh, I hadn't thought of that, filthy light thief. Still, there's a lot of flags already out there, if they wanted to fight to the bitter end, you can't rely on "no more flags" to do it for you. Plus of course, assholes with guns. This is really a one-time thing, I think, a symbolic act that is a prod to those in power "take care of this NOW."

The suspenseful bit is what they do in response. Go full-out froth? I would have assumed so as late as prior to the Charleston shooting, but apparently the Republican desire to piss off the hippies is being overshadowed by other pressures. I'm guessing those are from corporations who want to locate in the South and attract people and not have to deal with "Isn't that a racist shithole?" deterring them. And of course the upcoming election.
posted by emjaybee at 12:40 PM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I ♥ Bree Newsome. You are my new hero.

Good luck with the "ahem" legal system and the media scrum that is even now preparing for you to live in public for the next few weeks. And thank you for the perfect end to a perfectly astonishing week in America where we actually did do the right things!

Thanks also to SCOTUS for the other two things.
posted by Lynsey at 12:43 PM on June 27, 2015


Maybe a few pounds of Thermite, or a team of folks working quick with some angle grinders?


Some det cord ought to do the trick, although personally, I'm in favor of shooting flaming arrows at the flag until it catches.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:49 PM on June 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


What an awesome thing to do, so amazing. This woman is a badass! I used to live in Charlotte and rolled my eyes when I heard that the flag can't be moved physically or legally without a special vote. Of course it can't. She just called out that bullshit.

I do not understand why S. Carolina is being so goddamned intransigent about this.

I'm from the deep south originally but left, this shit makes me embarrassed. Let me attempt to explain:

They are stubborn as fuck.

Haley's statement on why it should come down was classic "Southern politeness". For those of you not familiar, what she said was: ya'll stay the fuck out of it and we might even do it

This kind of intransigence is a virtue in the south. They know it looks racist and it's not the REAL confederate flag and all that, but they're not going to let that stop them from an opportunity to smugly do their little peacock dance about how special they are. It's what makes them southerners.

South Carolina needs to put all their monuments to their supposed great gandpappy war heros in museums and pick a different hill to die on. I suggest Duke's Mayonnaise be their new regional pride symbol. Bless your little heart, South Carolina.


[In the South, that means 'you're a fucking idiot']
posted by bradbane at 12:49 PM on June 27, 2015 [32 favorites]


Good for her!

And I hope she's made voting to retain that abomination as high-profile for the Republican legislature as can be, because I'd like to see the whole Southern Strategy come back to bite the national Republican Party in the ass so hard it can't take a shit until sometime in 2017.
posted by jamjam at 12:49 PM on June 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


So...I was grocery shopping at my local big-box today. As I was rolling my cart through the aisles, I happened to overhear the end of a conversation between a couple of women.

Woman 1: Well, I'm a rebel.
Woman 2: What did you say?
Woman1: I'm a rebel!
Woman 2: Careful. They'll arrest you for sayin' that now.

Hoosiers...grrrrrr...
posted by Thorzdad at 12:59 PM on June 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


As for the legislature, the cards don't look good for the pro-flag side. They should probably just get it over with quickly.

My experience is that shrieking posturing racists never get a clue and go quietly into the dustbin of history. It's not just that, literally, haters are gonna hate, but they gotta know that you know they hate. I mean, without that knowledge, it's hardly worth the shrieking.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:08 PM on June 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, apparently UT is convening a "task force" to look into removing the statue/what should be done with the Jefferson Davis statue as of this morning.

As I am a UT alumnus, I think I'll suggest sawing the head off and welding a plaque that says "Fuck You, Racist Fuckers" to its chest. That should work.

I hated that statue, and the MLK statue did not "balance it" at all.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:11 PM on June 27, 2015 [21 favorites]


Maybe a few pounds of Thermite, or a team of folks working quick with some angle grinders?

I was thinking linear shaped charges myself. Because supersonic jets of flaming hot justice are awesome.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:18 PM on June 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Proposed Federal law: the capitol grounds of each of the states lately rising in rebellion are required to contain a statue of Abraham Lincoln and a statue of William Tecumseh Sherman, said statues to be cast with metal reclaimed from melting of gov't surplus Jefferson Davis statues when possible.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 1:23 PM on June 27, 2015 [26 favorites]


All that crap on the intarwebs, and there doesn't seem to be a single picture of good ol' William Tecumseh Sherman peeing on the confederate flag Calvin-style. Now I don't believe in nuthin' any more.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:29 PM on June 27, 2015 [17 favorites]


Just out of curiosity, was there any actual connection between UT and Davis, or was the statue an explicit "Fuck you, civil rights proponents and/or Yankees" like the flag was in South Carolina?
posted by Etrigan at 1:30 PM on June 27, 2015


Do you think a lawyer or a businessman would climb that pole?

Would approve a businessman "trickling down" upon that flag.
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


She's a classically trained pianist? Nina Simone would be so proud. If you want to quibble about Bree being a modern Rosa Parks, fine. She's today's Nina.

(Does the law mandate how soon the flag has to be returned to the top of the damn pole? Couldn't they take it down for maintenance and keep it down until they can vote, then return it for a last ceremony of some sort to placate their need for racist showmanship?)
posted by rewil at 1:31 PM on June 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Proposed Federal law:

Make the statue depict the Emanuel AME shooting victims; it would be much more fitting.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:31 PM on June 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


Well, apparently UT is convening a "task force" to look into removing the statue/what should be done with the Jefferson Davis statue as of this morning. If you have a connection to UT Austin or Texas, you can send them your comments directly here. Didn't know if you'd seen that, LizBoBiz, but figured I would link it in case anyone else would like to send UT their thoughts!

I know UT's done the task force thing at least once before with the end result being the statues staying up and the issue being slated for further consideration. Maybe this time they'll actually do the right thing. (Back in 2010 they did take the name of Klan member off one of the dorm buildings.)
posted by audi alteram partem at 1:37 PM on June 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I thought it was classy, the way she brought it down, when it would have been easier and probably safer to have just flung it aside. Also, her assistant even kept it from touching the ground. Beauitful moment.
posted by bonobothegreat at 1:56 PM on June 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


Good for her.
posted by chance at 2:17 PM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


*wipes tears of thanks and appreciation

What courage! That was so beautifully done! Brava Bree Newsome!
posted by nickyskye at 2:19 PM on June 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


If anyone ever asks you what a true American patriot looks like, show them this video.
posted by double block and bleed at 2:22 PM on June 27, 2015 [14 favorites]


I like everything about this, apart from the fact that it went right back up. She used a nice camera to document the event, she used what appeared to be good climbing gear to minimize the risk of hurting herself, including a helmet (well done!). And when she was coming down she knew she was going to be arrested and made it clear and loud before they could reach her that she was expecting to be arrested and would not resist (that, the camera, and the crowd almost assuredly helping in her not being aggressive treated as a resistor).

This person is a hero for her bravery, but she should also be commended for her forethought and planning.

Maybe a few pounds of Thermite, or a team of folks working quick with some angle grinders?

We were watching something, Jon Oliver I believe, and it was pointed out that these flags could not be flown at half mast because there were installed permanently in place. My first though (as it always is when someone refers to something like that) was "In a world with angle-grinders, nothing is permanent." I stand by that principle.
posted by quin at 2:23 PM on June 27, 2015 [15 favorites]


The story I've heard about the Davis statue at UT is that it was originally conceived as part of an incomplete set of statues about reconciliation between the south and the north during WWI. (Alluded to in this news article.) As it is, it's just standing on its own with no context and needs to go, along with a bunch of other statues of Confederate leaders from the same unfinished set. They're all scattered through the campus so any intended effect was lost.
posted by immlass at 2:26 PM on June 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Bree Newsome speaks about being an artist & activist and the importance of black science fiction/horror, April 2014
I keep reading her name as Bree Awesome
posted by Lanark at 2:26 PM on June 27, 2015 [14 favorites]


As an alumni of UT Austin, I've done my bit, but there is also a petition up at change.org for anyone else to have their say.
posted by zueod at 2:29 PM on June 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is a pretty remarkable thing to do. Might I hope the momentum is finally come where that flag is once and for all considered to be the embarrassment in the South that rational Americans always found it to be?


Even if you could have taken it down from the bottom, doing that wouldn't have created such iconic images. The point isn't so much taking the flag down, since it'll just go right back up, the point is to be seen taking it down.


Now that would have been a pretty amusing flair for drama. Like breaking into an unlocked building by way of the air ducts.
posted by 2N2222 at 2:33 PM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hey, props for wearing a helmet. Safety first! She had no intention of becoming a senseless martyr.
posted by JackFlash at 2:39 PM on June 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


The story I've heard about the Davis statue at UT is that it was originally conceived as part of an incomplete set of statues about reconciliation between the south and the north during WWI. (Alluded to in this news article.) As it is, it's just standing on its own with no context and needs to go, along with a bunch of other statues of Confederate leaders from the same unfinished set.

"Let's put my legacy of slavery and treason behind us. You go first."

Incomplete, my Yankee ass.
posted by Etrigan at 2:40 PM on June 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Hey, props for wearing a helmet.

I think this may be the first ever totally OSHA compliant act of civil disobedience.
posted by Bringer Tom at 2:43 PM on June 27, 2015 [99 favorites]


I think we need to have an official Social Justice Warrior day to celebrate this kind of person..
posted by srboisvert at 2:44 PM on June 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


I hope somebody takes it down again and again, until they have to decide between maintaining an armed guard or just letting the thing stay down.

You must be a northerner. Guarding a confederate flag with arms is like a typical southerner's wet dream.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:44 PM on June 27, 2015 [18 favorites]


I know who I want to see on the ten twenty dollar bill.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 3:01 PM on June 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm seeing a few "they made a black guy put it back up" tweets.

I kind of like that she left them in a situation where that was actually the least-bad choice. Alternatives: send a white guy out there to do it while being heavily photographed, leaving it down with the rally coming up in a few hours.

I still wish that iconic photograph could have been of her at the top tossing aside the symbol in flames, but this will do fine. She probably would have gotten more serious charges if she had done that.
posted by ctmf at 3:04 PM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


[A few comments deleted, starting with one that had misidentified Newsome; fine to go ahead and repost without that.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:08 PM on June 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Comments are disabled for this video."

-Google Executives and Shareholders
posted by LiteOpera at 3:18 PM on June 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Democracy Now is now confirming that Newsome & Tyson have been released.
posted by deludingmyself at 3:45 PM on June 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


More details from Columbia, SC media - they've each been charged with a misdemeanor and were released after posting their ($3000) bonds.
posted by deludingmyself at 3:48 PM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Last Week Tonight pointed out, last week, that the flag is actually difficult to take down. It wasn't flown at half-mast after the shootings because it's actually made not to be easily lowered. And to lower it would require a two-thirds vote of the state legislature.

You could say that Bree Newsome did them a favor, by taking initiative to remove a flag that had purposely been made difficult to remove by either physical or legal action, but no, they put it right back up again, and in so doing proved that, in spite of any rhetoric the state government has been spouting, they perfectly well want that flag to stay up and will go out of their way to keep it there.
posted by JHarris at 3:57 PM on June 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


I don't think the solution is for the state legislature to ignore the law, it is to change the law.
posted by Justinian at 4:28 PM on June 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


“The Amazing Grace of Bree Newsome,” Goldie Taylor, Blue Nation Review, 27 June 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 4:47 PM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


YES!!
I did a search earlier... Google appears to be quietly on the job!
posted by markkraft at 5:14 PM on June 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


I did a search earlier... Google appears to be quietly on the job!

Great! Except now Google thinks I want to buy a confederate flag.
posted by pianissimo at 5:18 PM on June 27, 2015 [17 favorites]


Google appear to have blocked Rebel flag and Southern flag from their shopping results... but "Dixie flag" still gets a handful of responses, and, arguably worse, a handful of Google Adsense responses, with businesses paying Google to place their ads, whenever people search for that term.
posted by markkraft at 5:22 PM on June 27, 2015


You know when you click on those Dixie Flag Google ads, it costs those businesses money.

I clicked ... out of curiosity to see their wares of course, not to try to up their ad spend, that would be wrong.
posted by imabanana at 5:43 PM on June 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


You must be a northerner. Guarding a confederate flag with arms is like a typical southerner's wet dream.

Oh no. I'm such a southerner that I don't recognise the authority of Washington at all. We don't celebrate the Fourth of July down here, we don't believe in it, and I'm so conservative that I actually have a small copy of Britain's Union Jack on my flag!

Seriously, I recognise that if the Confederate flag stays there will be plenty of people happy to guard it. I think it's better that way. One of the worst things about institutionalised prejudice is the pretence that it's the natural order of things. If they're forced to guard the traitor flag it will be a tacit admission that people find it offensive; and it will force them to acknowledge that they are subordinating African-American interests to their own.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:10 PM on June 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


That was really well planned, down to having a white guy as her partner. I'm sure that was quite deliberate -- they must have known that two black people, even in utility gear, would have garnered suspicion, but that a white guy in a worker's vest would be utterly invisible to the cops, and she would be made unnoticeable as well.
posted by tavella at 6:18 PM on June 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


Part of me hopes somebody tries again tomorrow. And Monday. And Tuesday. And every day until July 4.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:54 PM on June 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


You know, if someone actually destroys the freaking thing, they may not be able to source a new one. At least, not a brand new one. And taking a donated, used one could (be made to) involve thorny purchasing/acquisitions paperwork that might conceivably flummox a person of conscience for quite some time.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 7:02 PM on June 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Hello, is that the Grand Knight? Bit of a funny request..."
posted by Artw at 7:03 PM on June 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


In my head I'm really hoping every time it goes back up a little drone with a chef's torch attached appears from somewhere and lights the damn thing on fire. "Dammit - that's like 14th flag today - we've run out". Even better if it was Obama via remote from the situation room... he has the technology.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:08 PM on June 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


As long as the SC state legislature votes to take down the flag, I am TOTALLY willing to deal with the procedural hassle of still having the flag up and arresting activists and so on while they work on voting to take it down. I have a great deal of patience for the democratic process and bureaucratic hassles, even when it seems dumb, as long as it's heading towards a good outcome.

If they vote to keep it up, though, then Imma be pretty pissed and start to be mad at all the state employees who kept putting it back up and stuff.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:32 PM on June 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's great to see someone running thier ideals down a flag pole.
posted by clavdivs at 8:00 PM on June 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


You know, if someone actually destroys the freaking thing, they may not be able to source a new one.

You can buy anything from China. I just searched a Chinese wholesale site for "Confederate Flag" and got 123 product results. There'll be no shortage of "Stars & Bars" flags, belt buckles, phone cases, jewelry or electric guitars (!).
posted by MikeMc at 8:10 PM on June 27, 2015


I'm not really sure where to put this, but as we're talking about the Confederate Flag here.

Not a Tea Party a Confederate Party is really quite interesting
posted by edgeways at 8:17 PM on June 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


Flag is back up? Just a suggestion: Supersoaker filled with charcoal lighter fluid followed by a flaming arrow.
posted by spock at 8:17 PM on June 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I propose that all roads currently named for Confederate leaders and generals be renamed for the victims of the Emanuel Church shooting and martyrs of the Civil Rights movement. They can start with with renaming Jefferson Davis Highway as Clementa Pickney Highway.
posted by haiku warrior at 8:27 PM on June 27, 2015 [32 favorites]


As a liberal Christian, I am absolutely loving the highly visible lefty Christian voices in the news this week. Bree Newsome. President Obama and the other speakers at Rev. Pinckney's funeral. All the clergy officiating same-sex marriages. Religious liberals are usually ignored in the media, but this week they can't ignore us. There is more Christianity than the Republifundamentalists.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:43 PM on June 27, 2015 [42 favorites]


spock: "Flag is back up? Just a suggestion: Supersoaker filled with charcoal lighter fluid followed by a flaming arrow."

As much as wholeheartedly I agree with your sentiment, inciting arson probably isn't the best idea.
posted by double block and bleed at 8:45 PM on June 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, arson is no joke.
posted by Catblack at 8:50 PM on June 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Paint, maybe. But really, shooting things -especially things that look like weapons- is a very dangerous plan.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:57 PM on June 27, 2015


Newsome is also a filmmaker, and her dark, magic realist short film Wake won the Outstanding Independent Short Film award in the 2012 Black Reel Awards and the Best Short Film at the BET Urban World Film Festival. It can be seen on Youtube.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:01 PM on June 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


Joe in Australia: "We don't celebrate the Fourth of July down here, we don't believe in it"

You don't have to celebrate it, but I assure you its real. It comes every year after the the third and before the fifth.
posted by Reverend John at 9:42 PM on June 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


While inciting arson is bad, certainly, I believe that inciting rebellion against the lawful, Constitutional government of the United States of America by flying the flag of the rebellious CSA to be worse.

And I always remember that flying the Confederate Flag clearly insults the memory of those soldiers who made the the ultimate sacrifice to a defend our nation from all enemies, foreign AND domestic. Simply put, those who fly the Flag of the CSA are displaying their hate of the USA. And I denounce them for the traitors they are.
posted by mikelieman at 11:23 PM on June 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


Wow. Nice work. While everybody's standing around getting likes and shares about bringing it down, she just up and did it.
posted by notyou at 11:59 PM on June 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


"Flag is back up? Just a suggestion: Supersoaker filled with charcoal lighter fluid followed by a flaming arrow."
I like the idea of tying it to a couple of helium balloons.
posted by Lanark at 1:14 AM on June 28, 2015


"Part of me hopes somebody tries again tomorrow."

Next time, desecrate their flag. They put that puppy back up in just 45 minutes, in time for a rally supporting the flag, attended by... you guessed it... members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Really, they should Julia Butterfly Hill that flagpole. Rig a hammock to the top of the pole, and occupy that mother until they give in, flying in food with drones, if needed.
posted by markkraft at 3:09 AM on June 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


... or call in Captain America. Either choice works.
posted by markkraft at 3:10 AM on June 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


“I think it wiser moreover not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavoured to obliterate the marks of civil strife and to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered,” - Robert E. Lee
posted by honestcoyote at 5:31 AM on June 28, 2015 [10 favorites]


I think this may be the first ever totally OSHA compliant act of civil disobedience.

I love this women and what she did. But that was not OSHA compliant. That was a Black Diamond Momentum which is a sit style harness and vertical access requires a full body harness with a sternal and dorsal anchor points. But a sit style is like $50 while it's $300-$400 for a full body/work positioning harness.
Still she did it in a very safe manner, so thumbs up from this rigger.
posted by MrBobaFett at 5:41 AM on June 28, 2015 [31 favorites]


Fortunately, I didn't say it was a good suggestion. :)
posted by spock at 6:08 AM on June 28, 2015


Interview with the photographer, plus a few new pictures from him. I had wondered if she brought along a photographer, but it turns out he just happened to be there. He doesn't come across as super smart or politically-aware, but I suppose we can't all be.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:12 AM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, it's all been said here, but I just wanted to add my voice to the choir. Way to go Bree! And I agree, we should have folks taking it down every time it's put back up.
posted by evilDoug at 8:24 AM on June 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


You know what affects people of color even more than the confederate flag? Health care. Especially mental health care. We still don't have it. Let's see everyone get loud on that, and put your money where your mouth is.
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:54 AM on June 28, 2015


It's ok, we can do two or three things at once.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:02 AM on June 28, 2015 [26 favorites]


That's true, it is entirely possible for progress to be being made consciously on more than one subject at once, and for all or none of them to be in the news while it's happening.
posted by hippybear at 9:06 AM on June 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, so no more progressive goodness, the streak is over and you blew up a perfectly good white rocket? Fuck you Sunday.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:42 PM on June 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh, so no more progressive goodness, the streak is over and you blew up a perfectly good white rocket? Fuck you Sunday.

Hush hush hush let me hope for a few more hours that tomorrow the Court will impose a nationwide moratorium on capital punishment.

Sigh.
posted by sallybrown at 2:29 PM on June 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't think we can expect the lethal injection decision until the fall. But there is a redistricting case that may be we'll get tomorrow.
posted by crush-onastick at 4:03 PM on June 28, 2015


Both decisions will be released tomorrow unless they are relisted.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:14 PM on June 28, 2015


I threw this in the Emanuel AME thread, but it could also go here: NASCAR chair Brian France wants 'insensitive symbol' eliminated at races.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:58 PM on June 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


That's pretty huge, especially since he, Junior, and others are being very clear that this is not capitulation to some liberal whatever but that the flag is a symbol they actively abhor. (And for those who don't know, Brian France is not just the chair, the France family owns NASCAR.)
posted by Room 641-A at 9:13 PM on June 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


Junior wrote about his feelings against the Confederate flag in his autobiography in 2001 and his sister (Dale Senior's daughter) has told the story of her dad removing the flag from a bumper sticker on his car because it offended his African American housekeeper.

Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jr. both opposed Confederate flag

NO, CONSERVATIVES, DALE EARNHARDT WOULD NOT OPPOSE A CONFEDERATE FLAG BAN
posted by colt45 at 10:49 PM on June 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


Meanwhile, in Boston...
posted by Melismata at 5:41 AM on June 29, 2015


From this Cincinnati Enquirer story: Dad: Daughter removed flag in civil rights tradition

The president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center said his daughter is following the footsteps of past civil rights leaders.

As debate about the Confederate flag continues across the country, Bree Newsome, 30, took the flag into her own hands and removed it from South Carolina statehouse grounds Saturday morning.

"Raised as a person of conscience, Bree chose to express her passion in the tradition of Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. and countless others who took a stand for freedom," Clarence Newsome said.

posted by jjj606 at 11:22 AM on June 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Jelani Cobb: Last Battles, The New Yorker
In some future footnote or parenthetical aside, it may be observed that although General Robert E. Lee surrendered in 1865, the Confederacy’s final retreat did not occur until a century and a half later. The rearguard movement of Republicans in the aftermath of the slaughter in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church marked the relinquishing of the Confederacy’s best-fortified positions: the cultural ones. We have for decades willfully coexisted with a translucent lie about the bloodiest conflict in American history and the moral questions at its center. Amid the calls last week to lower the Confederate battle flag at the state capitol, the defenders of the flag averred that it represents “heritage, not hate.” The great sleight of hand is the notion that these things were mutually exclusive.
Akim Reinhardt: Burning My Confederate Flag, 3 Quarks Daily
Emily Westcott: American Politics As The Clash Of Symbols, 3 Quarks Daily
Joseph Marguiles: Abandoned Symbols: Confederate Flags and Criminal Justice, Justia Verdict
Jonathan S. Blake: Around the world, do symbols like the Confederate flag stand for heritage or hate?, Washington Post: Monkey Cage
Why do the defenders of these controversial symbols around the globe rely on arguments based on history, heritage, and tradition? What is the purpose of this rhetoric? The defenders are trying to win a political argument by removing the issue from the realm of politics. The point of cloaking the symbol in the language of history and tradition is to deflect criticism by putting the flag, monument, holiday, or ritual above political debate. The idea is that heritage transcends politics and is therefore exempt from democratic practices, such as critique, debate, and compromise. Since the symbol is about heritage, not politics and certainly not hatred, it has to be given a pass.

Of course, this maneuver is a form of political power. It uses what political scientists Peter Bachrach and Morton S. Baratz called the “second face of power,” the power to keep an issue off of the political agenda, thereby restricting decision-making on that issue.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:57 AM on June 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


why don't they put two more even larger flags on the pole at the same height on either side so nobody ever sees it? I bet the law doesn't legislate against other flags being on the pole. Maybe something like oh say American flags.

The law doesn't say anything about other flags on the pole, but the Flag Code has really specific strictures about how the American flag can be displayed. I'm pretty sure that flying the American flag at the same height as the Confederate battle flag breaks about five of those rules, in addition to being Just Plain Wrong.

(For those who don't want to read the Flag Code, the US flag must always be flown first, biggest, highest, and best, in addition to some other stuff)
posted by corb at 12:16 PM on June 29, 2015 [2 favorites]




Meanwhile in Dalton, Georgia, a parade of trucks flying confederate flags had a problem (Liveleak video with no apparent injuries, though ample profanity to go with the schadenfreude). "God don't like ugly." News article.
posted by exogenous at 10:07 AM on June 30, 2015 [4 favorites]




Without addressing whether or not some of those 'myths' are accurate, that's a really fascinating article, particularly where it talks about the prevalence of Confederate monuments and memorials as compared to Union ones. I'd be really interested to know why - the North had the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) to be the counterpart to the Daughters of the Confederacy, so it should have had the ability to raise monuments.

My suspicion is that the GAR and DCV both had strong support in their respective regions, but while the GAR erected some memorials, it tended to focus on advocacy - creating Memorial Day and pushing for pensions and black voting rights. So ultimately better off, but with less longlasting documentation - though I'm not really sure.

Though looking into it more to figure out the question, I also wonder if a lot of people on both sides were trying to shovel sand over the Civil War as fast as humanly possible. GAR membership was for 'veterans of the late unpleasantness' which is literally the most ridiculous euphemism I have ever heard for a war. If that's 'unpleasant', I want to know what their hell looks like.
posted by corb at 10:31 AM on July 1, 2015


Given what I'm hearing around here, there's going to be a lot of bitter recriminations surrounding Stone Mountain and the decision to ignore the threat of a boycott. The same people who are in a tizzy about Stone Mountain are also very angry about the cancellation of The Dukes of Hazzard re-runs. Which says to me that, in the words of Charlie Pierce, “It is at moments like this when we are well advised to take seriously the caution of Mr. Winston Wolf.”
posted by ob1quixote at 3:23 PM on July 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


The lost-causisms of something like Outlaw Josey Wales or FIrefly are sure looking a lot less quaint and harmless these days, I'll say that,
posted by Artw at 3:50 PM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd be really interested to know why [the prevalence of Confederate monuments and memorials as compared to Union ones] - the North had the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) to be the counterpart to the Daughters of the Confederacy, so it should have had the ability to raise monuments.

The North would rather forget the time it was forced to take up arms against its countrymen; the South refuses to forget the time it forced them to.
posted by Etrigan at 3:53 PM on July 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


“Pride in Confederate Treason: America Goes Stupid by the Numbers,” Charles P. Pierce, Esquire Politics Blog, 02 July 2015
Well, that certainly was a short-lived sea change. American Exceptionalism is a terrific growth medium for stupid.
The poll shows that 57% of Americans see the flag more as a symbol of Southern pride than as a symbol of racism, about the same as in 2000 when 59% said they viewed it as a symbol of pride. Opinions of the flag are sharply divided by race, and among whites, views are split by education.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:32 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


The North would rather forget the time it was forced to take up arms against its countrymen; the South refuses to forget the time it forced them to.

Historically, do losers tend to hold onto their grudges longer during civil wars? I would assume yes, but I really don't know.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:16 PM on July 2, 2015


(Also, it's not like the radical republicans didn't want to grind the antebellum south into a fine powder. It might be more accurate to say that, since North & South know the North won, it's been okay letting Southerners pretend.)
posted by Going To Maine at 5:19 PM on July 2, 2015


(But ucch, even that sounds terrible, because constructing the North and South as being engaged in an ongoing war is no benefit to us as a country. Bleh.)
posted by Going To Maine at 5:20 PM on July 2, 2015


Another vote for Team Flaming Arrows
posted by Jacqueline at 9:48 PM on July 2, 2015




"Another vote for Team Flaming Arrows"

I was thinking this + this.
posted by Tenuki at 10:44 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Racists around the world know what it stands for:
Anti-Jewish protest in London fizzles
Around 25 right-wing extremists, some carrying a Confederate flag, were tightly penned in by police as they started their strictly regulated, one-hour demonstration at lunchtime. They were considerably outnumbered by an array of anti-Nazi protesters mingling with left-wing Jewish groups displaying placards attacking the extremist right-wingers, totaling about 100.
[my emphasis]
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:11 PM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


The lost-causisms of something like Outlaw Josey Wales or FIrefly are sure looking a lot less quaint and harmless these days, I'll say that.

What? No. It makes it doubly tragic, cause it means decent folk who get rounded up into choosing sides in polarizing moments like badass Josey Wales was can be duped into linking their personal tragedies with someone else's politics.

Same as you and me.

If you read that as quaint, you missed the point.
posted by notyou at 1:37 AM on July 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yesterday I noticed a dump truck pull up at the construction site next door with a confederate flag plaque on its dash. What does that even mean in Finland?
posted by infini at 2:05 AM on July 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


What does that even mean in Finland?

I would guess it's some Finnish dope who grew up watching dubbed Dukes of Hazzard reruns and he just knows the flag is some sort of American "rebel" symbol from the old days. Or it may be a Finnish racist who knows exactly what that symbol means.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:38 AM on July 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


What? No. It makes it doubly tragic, cause it means decent folk who get rounded up into choosing sides in polarizing moments like badass Josey Wales was can be duped into linking their personal tragedies with someone else's politics..

The Outlaw Josey Wales was written by Asa Earl Carter, who was a leader in the KKK and a well known segregationist. I'm pretty sure the tragedy in Josey Wales was meant to be that the bad guys had one the civil war, and there was only a few good guys left fighting the good fight, not that he tied himself to a political cause.

It's way more explicate in the book than the movie.
posted by Gygesringtone at 7:47 AM on July 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


Oh, uhh, thanks for the additional background, Gygesringtone. That more or less completely undermines my point, and so I'll just do now what I should have done earlier and hush up.
posted by notyou at 7:35 PM on July 5, 2015


Sometimes, when a movie glosses over things that were a bigger part of the book, it's not just because they're unimportant to the story, but because the moviemakers explicitly disapprove of them and want to downplay them. Movie adaptations should usually be treated as their own works, not necessarily beholden to the ideas of the original author. This isn't necessarily the case, but it often is.
posted by JHarris at 7:50 PM on July 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


When Carter wrote Josie Wales, he was masquerading as an Indian and refused to admit he was the racist. His work during this period is ambiguous, and the film version of Josie Wales in particular rejects the idea of revenge, or an ongoing war between North and South, and builds a story of various outcasts (including women and a Native American) working together to build community.

Carter was a perplexing man. It's impossible to know aha was in his mind at the end, but his later books support a variety of interpretations, including that he genuinely regretted his hateful younger self.
posted by maxsparber at 7:57 PM on July 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


South Carolina Senate votes to remove the flag!!!
posted by agregoli at 2:12 PM on July 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


Senior indigenous affairs bureaucrat wears confederate flag to Beef Breeders dinner

Bonus: the dinner's theme was "The 4th of July".
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:08 AM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Tom Petty regrets using the Confederate flag on his 1985 Southern Accents tour.
posted by ogooglebar at 9:58 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Matt Fuller: All Appropriations on Hold Until Confederate Flap Fixed
Don’t expect any more appropriations bills to make it through the House chamber any time soon. Not until Republicans and Democrats work out issues on the Confederate flag.

That was the message to members on Tuesday from Speaker John A. Boehner, according to Rep. John Fleming.

Boehner reportedly told Republicans during their weekly closed-door meeting there was a hold on all spending bills until they could figure something out on the Confederate flag.

Republicans are looking to avoid another floor situation like the one that occurred on July 9, when Democrats forced votes on the Confederate flag. The Democrats’ action came after an exclusive CQ Roll Call report the night before on Republican efforts to roll back restrictions on the display and sale of the Confederate symbols in federal cemeteries.

“We know that every approps bill that we put forward they’re going to go back to trying to make some, you know — exploit for political reasons what happened in South Carolina,” Fleming told reporters Tuesday. “And so the speaker wants to work something out with Democrats so they’ll stop doing that so we can move forward.”
Remember, this is the party that controls most of the levers of power across the country, including the ability to shut down the federal government because they can't be openly racist. What's even more grotesque and obscene is that 150 years ago this same party was fighting and dying to prevent the flag, its supporters, and everything it stood for from defining the nation.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:14 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Confederate-Flag-Waving Dopes Gather Across From Obama's Hotel in Oklahoma
Bonus: A man whose name is an anagram of DUMB CAN WONDER asked “Look at these people, they all followed the black guy out here. Do you think that any of them are racists?”
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:27 PM on July 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Add carvings of Outkast to giant Confederate monument, says petition
Fans call for Atlanta’s hip-hop heroes to be added to the largest bas-relief in the world, which depicts Confederate leaders
That's a short piece on the Guardian. Here's the petition, and here's a depiction of what it could look like, in an article that notes Big Boi supported the notion, at least via Twitter (with a “thumbs up” emoji, no less).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:30 AM on July 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


File under O NO HE DIDN'T:
Florida Courthouse Mural Depicting Heroic Ku Klux Klan Members Draws Controversy
[...] its artist, Gene Barber, declared the anger totally unwarranted, stating that he “did not follow the current and unfortunate fad of revising history for the sake of making it fit the wishes of any special interest segment of society.” Here's Barber's explanation of the KKK scene:
Lawlessness among ex-slaves and troublesome whites was the rule of the day. No relief was given by the carpetbag and scalawag government or by the Union troops. The result was the emergence of secret societies claiming to bring law and order to the county. One of these groups was the Ku Klux Klan, an organization that sometimes took vigilante justice to extremes but was sometimes the only control the county knew over those outside the law. [...]
[...] The petition to remove the KKK scene had 190 signatures as of Thursday at noon. A competing petition to keep the scene had 777 signatures.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:25 AM on July 19, 2015


One of these groups was the Ku Klux Klan, an organization that sometimes took vigilante justice to extremes but was sometimes the only control the county knew over those outside the law.

Well, he's right about that. The Klan did have control over those outside the law. They knew where they lived, where they worked, who they hung out with, when they'd paid their membership dues, what size their robes were...
posted by Etrigan at 6:59 AM on July 19, 2015 [2 favorites]




I am super suspicious of that image. On its face, affiliating yourself with a Nazi flag would be the wrong way to go if you wanted people to associate your flag with good old American values; it's also an association that people opposed to the flag have been making for a while. The guy with the swastika is the only person in focus, so I'm wondering if he was pulled in from some other image. (Alternately, I'd also believe that he's a protestor trying to discredit the folks with the stars-and-bars by standing with them.)
posted by Going To Maine at 9:52 PM on July 19, 2015


Where's the picture from? Outside the USA the Confederate flag seems to have been adopted by the same people who use swastikas.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:58 PM on July 19, 2015


Looks like standard focus to me, and the flag is visible in other shots from the same rally. It's the KKK, they are just fine with the Nazis.
posted by tavella at 9:59 PM on July 19, 2015


Apparently so. According to Wikipedia that's a 1938-1945 Kriegsmarine (Navy) flag. What a weirdly specific sort of choice.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:29 PM on July 19, 2015


God forbid nazis just pick hateful flags at random.
posted by Artw at 10:32 PM on July 19, 2015


Yes, but the existence of the flag implies that someone makes them and sells them. "Hi, I'd like to buy a Nazi flag ... no, I was thinking something nautical ... yeah, a Kriegsmarine one would be fine. Have you got the post-'38 variant? I think the balanced rings make the swastika stand out better."
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:48 PM on July 19, 2015


Interesting side of the KKK rally: Israeli flag, something something die Juden tattoo.

It's all one big ball of meanness.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:23 AM on July 20, 2015


> It's the KKK, they are just fine with the Nazis.

They used to not be, which makes it kind of weird and worrisome. They have racism, ritual, and fantasies of war in common, but not much otherwise -- the KKK in particular harboring no fondness or nostalgia for the Third Reich in the decades following World War 2, and all that Hitler-worship in particular seeming anti-American. I guess attitudes have changed, a couple generations along. Or else there's a not particularly small number of guys who'll cast their lot with all the hate groups because they couldn't decide on one.
posted by ardgedee at 4:15 AM on July 20, 2015


Looks like standard focus to me, and the flag is visible in other shots from the same rally. It's the KKK, they are just fine with the Nazis.

Yep, my hunch was wrong. Definitely not faked. I'm astounded that the KKK is okay with shooting their cause in the foot like this; perhaps it just goes to show how out of touch I am.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:48 AM on July 20, 2015


I am completely unsurprised that a bunch of hillbilly nazis also like regular-theme nazis.
posted by Artw at 8:54 AM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm astounded that the KKK is okay with shooting their cause in the foot like this

One of the few charming traits of the Klan, for exceedingly small values of charming, is their unending faith that the basic reason why pretty much every white person isn't in the Klan is that they don't know about it. So from their point of view, this is good PR -- now a bunch more white people know that there's a Klan in South Carolina ready to defend their aryan interests from all the $PLURAL_SLUR out there.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:23 AM on July 20, 2015


Yep, my hunch was wrong. Definitely not faked. I'm astounded that the KKK is okay with shooting their cause in the foot like this; perhaps it just goes to show how out of touch I am.

At this point in time the White Power movement is so tiny (and a large portion of them are informants for various branches of law enforcement) they really can't be too selective. Nazis, criminals, whatever. As long as they show up at a meeting or two maybe but some shirts and stickers and say the right things they're in.
posted by MikeMc at 11:31 AM on July 20, 2015


GtM, I don't want to be too mean, but you might take it as an object lesson: before starting to derail a conversation with IT'S FAKE I CAN SEE THE PIXELS, you can do a little research. It didn't take long -- I did a google image search on the photo to find the source, determined it was the KKK flag rally in SC. Since the source of the photo wasn't a well known news site, I then crosschecked by searching other stories on the rally and confirming that they had photos of the flag.
posted by tavella at 12:38 PM on July 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Don't forget how David Duke, long the public face of the KKK, got started.
posted by Bringer Tom at 4:16 PM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


GtM, I don't want to be too mean, but you might take it as an object lesson: before starting to derail a conversation with IT'S FAKE I CAN SEE THE PIXELS, you can do a little research.

I mean, I threw it into TinEye...
posted by Going To Maine at 4:21 PM on July 20, 2015


You know, if there were anything to this "Southern tradition" stuff, anything to the "it's not about hatred" crowd, anything at all, those people would be the ones confronting the people with swastikas and other hateful symbols. There's no way that you can pretend that those are Southern symbols, or symbols of anything other than hatred. But ... there's nobody. The only people protesting the swastikas were also protesting the Confederate flag.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:35 PM on July 20, 2015 [2 favorites]




That's pretty funny, actually.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:23 PM on July 21, 2015


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