Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Time to bring back BACKSASS!

There's a fellow from New Jersey who has come South to teach Southern children their history.

He seems to have a special interest in the so-called "civil war," because he has a blog about it titled Civil War Memory, with the tagline, Reflections of a Civil War Historian & High School History Teacher.

I don't remember what first brought his blog to my attention a few months ago, but since then, I've visited there perhaps four or five times and commented in four or five threads. Based solely on those few visits, I have made some observations and drawn some tentative conclusions, to wit, that Mr. Levin, the blogger, is extremely biased against the Confederacy -- and against anyone today who does not hold views about the war and the Confederacy that he approves of.

He has a handful of sycophants posting in his comment threads that he is nice to, but dissenters are met with thinly veiled hostility and demands for "proof" of their comments (some of which are simply opinion) -- demands that Mr. Levin usually doesn't require of himself or his satellites.

Recently, I participated in a thread about a commemoration of Jefferson Davis's inaugural in Montgomery sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, relating to the sesquicentennial of the war. I was met with the usual (erroneous) charges from the blogger -- that I was "adding nothing of substance" to the discussion -- and demanding that I provide proof of my opinions...

Just to give you an idea how slippery his demands are (follow along here, you'll see), I commented on his observation that "...the Sons of Confederate Veterans can muster little more than a few hundred people from its ranks to commemorate the inauguration of Jefferson Davis." You can read his entire post here:


Notice who he is talking about now. The Sons of Confederate Veterans -- people from the organizations ranks. Got that? File it away, we'll get back to it.

I expressed the opinion that,

"...what appears to be disinterest or distancing from events like this one, and from celebrations, commemorations and even positive or neutral acknowledgments of the Confederacy, are largely the result of an insidious encroachment on free thought and free expression in the United States that took hold in the latter decades of the previous century. It’s called political correctness. (Also note that the economy and the appalling unemployment rate are factors in keeping people from traveling to such events.)

Political correctness can cost a person their job, their livelihood. It can cause high school students public humilation, even when they’ve done nothing wrong, and intended — and caused — no harm to anyone. But it is most at home on the campuses of U.S. colleges and universities. I dunno, maybe there’s something about the academic mentality that cozies up to a mental/political/social/cultural Procrustean bed.

It’s kinda McCarthyism in reverse — but it’s amazing that some of the same people who’d get pretzelized over those victimized by McCarthyism are blasé, or even approving, of those McCarthied by political correctness…

His response:
You apparently don’t know the first thing about the First Amendment. I fail to see what any of this has to do with this post. Either say something relevant or go somewhere to post this nonsense. I am getting tired of your little rants. All you seem to do is criticize, but not once have you added anything substantive to the discussion. This is your final warning.
Oooooh, the big bad blogger had given me a "final warning!" (Gasp!)

A visitor chided him for the double standard he exhibited toward me and another commentor and he replied, "My response to Connie is based on a number of interactions on this site. On a number of occasions I had to delete comments that were personally insulting."

Well, this is not true, and I couldn't resist pointing out that since the posts were gone, "there’s no way to know now whether they were personally insulting or not. However, I contest the charge. I don’t deny they may have been insulting — I’d say justifiably so — but not personally insulting. You just don’t like being disagreed with."

I also defended my knowledge of the First Amendment, followed by:

To summarize — you mentioned that there isn’t much participation in SCV events, they’re falling short in their efforts of Confederate commemoration, and failing to make their case in the court of public opinion. I simply explained a huge part of the reason for that — the stranglehold political correctness has taken on this country in the past several decades.

Do you truly not see that I was offering an explanation for what you observed? How do you conclude that supplying an explanation for your observations is somehow irrelevant? You may not agree with the explanation, but that doesn’t make the explanation irrelevant.

Yes, I am adding something substantive to the discussion. That you may not like it doesn’t mean it isn’t substantive. And, I note, criticism when deserved certainly is substantive.

Now. Go ahead and wield that delete button.

Pay close attention, folks, because what I'm about to show you next is an example of how this fellow works. As is perfectly clear from my post (and indeed, from what he originally posted that I was responding to) he narrows the subject down to give it an entirely new meaning that it didn't have in his original post, or my subsequent response.

My comment was that the SCV and its supporters were few in number because of the possibility that political correctness could cause problems. Anyone who knows any thing about PC knows how that works. For example, getting mendaciously written up in the Southern Poverty Law Center's so-called "Intelligence Report" as a violent, inbred, scum-sucking racist can get you expelled from school, fired from your job, etc. That's just an example, though, and as another example, I included a link to The FIRE.org, (http://thefire.org/) an organization that defends against encroachments of free expression on college campuses.

So, Mr. Levin replies:

So, what evidence do you have that some some vague notion of PC is responsible for their lack of involvement in yesterday’s commemoration? Keep in mind that even if their absence was due to their concerns about the political consequences that does not imply PC. Politicians are always concerned about public perception. We don’t need the SCV to remind us of this. It’s also possible that some public officials white/black disagreed with the scope of the event. By the same token we could also argue that the overwhelming support by public officials in 1961 was also POLITICALLY CORRECT since they understood that their attendance would likely translate into votes.

Which means we are back to the starting point and that is why your argument lacks substance.

Well, duh. Who said anything about PUBLIC OFFICIALS (to borrow his use of screaming caps)? I didn't narrow my comments to them. Neither did he, in his original post. In fact, his point was all about the lack of a turn out on the part of SCV MEMBERS.

When I again attempted to point out the chilling effects of political correctness (which he evidently confines to the concept of politicians doing things to get votes), he again attempted to confine the lack of participation to public officials, or "civic leaders":

So, you don’t know that the lack of participation was the result of a disagreement with the day’s proceedings. Do you believe that the decision of African American civic leaders can also be explained by political correctness. I guess based on this reasoning that everything can be explained this way. What a revelation.
What I'm passingly curious about is whether he realizes he's attempting to manipulate the thread to misconstrue my point. This man is an academic. He ought to recognize what he's doing. On the other hand, it's possible he truly doesn't see what he's doing. In any case, when you are trying to communicate with someone who is determined to not only misunderstand and misconstrue, but to erroneously restrict the subject matter in order to score points, there's not much point in continuing the discussion.

So enough of the blogger. However, earlier in the comments thread, someone else posted something to me which lead the thread off into an area that, in the words of Bugs Bunny, "could pwoove to be fun!"

Someone named Robert Moore asked me,

"As an aside, I’m curious, Ms. Chastain, If there were an organization dedicated to the perpetuation of the memory of Southern Unionists, would you have a link to it under your “ProSouthern Links” section of your webpage? What about the simple “leave-aloners”… if there was an organization for them? What about Southerners who opted for the blue uniform?
I admit to being a bit surprised that someone who hangs out on such a "scholarly" blog (smirk) would check out the romance-author website of little ol' moi... But I replied:
There probably wouldn’t be any links to Southern Unionists on my page, but it would depend on what their website said. My people are from the mountains of north Georgia, which is said to have given a lot of support to the Union.

As for Southerners who opted for the blue uniform, you may include my GG-grandfather in that group. He was a Confederate soldier who was evidently captured, took the oath of allegiance to the Union and joined the Union Army. Family legend says he was sent “out west” to “fight Indians.” He is buried on a hillside in Gilmer County, Georgia; his headstone is carved with “A. J. Hensley, Lieutenent, 12 Tennessee Cavalry.” He was proud of his Union service and would wear his uniform to court day in Ellijay for years after the war. As a teenager, I joked about being more embarrassed by him than by the unwed mothers in my ancestry, but in fact, his descendants were proud of him.


Mr. Moore, I am proud of America’s men in uniform, even if I don’t agree with every imperial mission their government sends them on around the world. It is quite possible to honor soldiers without honoring every aspect of their mission.

And that's how it stood for over 24 hours, until I was notified by e-mail that there were new comments on the thread, one from "The Raven" and one from "Christine, " which included direct copy-pastes from my writer's website & blog, and I knew I'd have to comment on my CW Memory experiences here on One-Eighty. (The Raven? As in "Nevermore"? Christine? Red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury? I begin to feel like I'm in some kind of cockamamie horror flick, ha!)

Incidently, before I wrote this post, I checked several pages at Mr. Levin's blog for a copyright notice. I didn't see one, so I went ahead and copied-pasted here some of the comments from Mr. Levin, Mr. Moore and myself. If there is a copyright notice and I missed it, and if Mr. Levin wishes me to remove the copy-pastes here, I will be glad to do so and replace them with paraphrasing. All he has to do is send me the link to the page with the copyright notice on it.

However, everyone take note that MY webstite DOES have a notice on every page that reads, "Original Material © Copyright 2010 by Connie Chastain" and my blog shows, "Original Material Copyright 2008 - 2011 by Connie Chastain." Apparently, Ms. Raven (I assume her to be a woman based on her remarks) and Christine don't have a lot of respect for the concept of copyrights....

More to come, so stay tuned!

Backsass on the way!


  1. Great post! Kevin and Robert have a "My way or the Hi Way" line of thought.
    Disagree and post and get banned. That's the lincoln method.'
    Keep up your work please,
    As for respecting a copyright they have no concept of respect, Honor, or any of the traits we hold in our hearts.

    Dave Tatum

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Not to mention that their comments can be quite juvenile and exhibit a certain level of thin-skin...

    Thanks for visiting and commenting, David. Come back soon.


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