Monday, April 11, 2011

Hypocrisy Lives!

Yesterday, I wrote about Kevin Levin, the blogger at Civil War Memory, posting YouTube excerpts of the 1960s TV series, The Rebel, and waving it around as an example of embracing reconciliation and forgiveness for those "...who continue to harbor hatred for Grant and the rest of the 'yankee horde...'"

I was struck by this academic blogger appealing to Hollywood drama as not just a history lesson, but as a lesson for "putting aside hatred" (smirk), particularly when academics frequently show great derision for people who cite movies, TV shows and novels as examples to learn from about anything -- history, ethics, relationships, culture, you-name-it. Except, of course, when they or their friends are the ones doing it.

In fact, this had happened not too long ago on this same blog. Mr. Levin had posted an entry the titled "The Next Generation" with an embedded YouTube video, a promotional video for a Southern Heritage DVD, featuring the producer's grammar-school age son.

You watch the video and read the derisive comments from Mr. Levin and his satellites here:

Remembering that blog entry and one comment in particular, I couldn't stop myself from replying to the Johnny Yuma blog. The comment thread is produced below, with some added observations by your truly. (Incidently, I again searched the Civil War Memory blog for a copyright notice and didn't find one. If there is one somewhere over there and Mr. Levin wishes me to remove these verbatim comments, he has but to notify me, and they will removed -- and probably replaced with a paraphrased entry.)

Connie Chastain April 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Can’t wait to see if Andy’s gonna bring up the fact that Johnny Yuma was a “fictional character that only existed on a Hollywood backlot, where characters never dealt wtih really serious military invasion, conquest and dictatorship, and where African Americans were almost invisible.”

Nah, hell will prob’ly freeze over first.

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Kevin Levin April 9, 2011 at 12:45 pm


Why are you singling out Andy? Do you have any idea of how obnoxious and angry you sound?

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Connie Chastain April 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Because, he’s the one who wrote, “…the kid looks just like friggin’ Opie. There’s one well-known Southron heritage site that, when the author wants to refer to traditional, rural Southern virtues, also mentions Mayberry — a fictional town that only existed on a Hollywood backlot, whose law enforcement officers never dealt with really serious violent crime, and where African Americans were almost invisible.”

You think I sound obnoxious and angry, but apparently you didn’t notice how smug and arrogant HE sounded….

Gooses and ganders, pots and kettles, motes and beams, and all that….

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Kevin Levin April 9, 2011 at 1:00 pm

I can’t think of one comment that you’ve left here in which you contributed something substantive to the discussion. All you do is monitor what other people on this forum have to say and then attack. I dub you “Angry Old Lady of Civil War Memory”.


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Connie Chastain April 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I just have a really low tolerance for hypocrisy when it comes to my people, my region, their history and heritage; particularly when it’s exhibited by people who are no better than those they denigrate.

And if I may ask, what substantive something did Andy’s smug, arrogant comment contribute to the discussion?

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Kevin Levin April 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Andy has been a regular commenter on this site for a few years now and I highly respect his knowledge of the period and his willingness to share it on this site as well as his own. You on the other hand have absolutely nothing substantive to offer beyond criticism of others. There is no evidence that you’ve read much of anything on the Civil War and related topics and yet you claim to speak for “my people, my region, their history and heritage.” Now that is a complete joke.

You speak for no one but yourself. Now please go away and stop wasting my time.

I replied to this, letting him know I'd go away after a final comment or two. He didn't approve it for viewing, though. That appears to be a typical response to commenters or comments he doesn't like.

In any case, some observations about his message here. You'll notice that he didn't answer my question. That also appears to be a typical response to commenters or comments the doesn't like. Thus, I can only conclude that smug, arrogant comments that lack a substantive something are okay as long as they're made by regulars who've been commenting for years.

You'll also notice that nowhere in my comment did I "claim to speak for" my people, my region, their history and heritage. I simply explained I have a low tolerance for hypocrisy where they're concerned, so here, Mr. Levin told a baldfaced lie. A. Baldfaced. Lie. I was speaking for myself, as my use of *I* demonstrates. Can any of my readers suggest how I could have made it any clearer for him?

In any case, the next reply to me was from Andy, the "friggin' Opie and Mayberry" guy, and I don't mean Sheriff Andy Taylor...

Andy H--- April 9, 2011 at 1:33 pm

It’s my people, my region, my history and heritage, too. If my writing or comments offend you, go elsewhere. I don’t post to your blog, and for the life of me don’t understand why you’re so upset. If you want to focus a lot of thought and energy and emotion on how I supposedly “denigrate” things you hold dear, OK, but understand that’s a choice you’re making for yourself.

There are a number of things wrong with Andy's comment. First, Andy, Levin, Corey Meyers and probably others go to proSouthern and Confederate heritage sites, groups, comments, etc., looking for things to get offended and upset about. Why's it okay for them and not for me?

Besides, can anyone here find the "upset" in my comments? I wasn't upset. Derisive of the hypocrisy, yes. Upset, no. When somebody Mr. Levin doesn't like posts in his comment threads, he gets more upset than anyone.

Finally, although claiming "my people, my region, my history and heritage, too," Andy never admits to having a low tolerance for hypocrisy about them. I wonder why. Do you suppose he does and just didn't say it? Or doesn't he care?

Does he or doesn't he?

Later on, someone else posted to me, perhaps not knowing that any reply I made would be unapproved for viewing (or maybe guessing it, if he has any experience with Mr. Levin, but not caring).

Neil H--- April 9, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Connie, It simply makes no sense whatsoever to zoom right by the message, learn nothing from it, and go on the attack.

I understand emotion, attachment, indignation, etc., but there was a sincere message being presented here, that of reconciliation and the “binding up of the nation’s wounds.” This episode that was presented here had that message and the idea the past is the past and it is time to move on to the future.

Your comments added nothing to that nor do they help with the study of history. I truely do not understand that if all you gather from this site is unhappiness, why come here and comment?

Thanks, Kevin, for another take on our memory of the Civil War and how some chose to remember it. Really enjoyed the trip down memory lane.



Sorry I couldn't reply on Civil War Memory, Mr. Neil H, but I'll be glad to answer here.

First, I know exactly what Mr. Levin's "message" was, and what lies behind it. My "attack" was about the hypocrisy of Andy's denigrating the use of fiction/drama to illustrate something when a Southern heritage site does it, but remaining mute when Mr. Levin does it.

Granted, I don't know what time the Johnny Yuma stuff was posted, and maybe there hadn't been time for Andy to see it and comment.

But does anybody really think he'd criticize it? To paraphrase some terms from my teens -- Is grass orange? Is the Pope Hindu?

The following day, this exchange appeared in the comment thread.

Billy Bearden April 10, 2011 at 4:36 am

I must say I am not familiar with anyone who is anti Grant like they are anti Sherman or anti Lincoln but perhaps, and this is just from my POV, but perhaps, had the surrender been the final event, the last chord of a sad song, then perhaps things like ‘continued hatred harbored toward the yankee horde’ might have been much less or almost non existant. However, I feel sure it was the second invasion after the victory – the rubbing our noses in defeat and stomping on the man who was down thru reconstruction that insured the feelings we are familiar with 150 years later.

Then of course noone can name a single southerner who went north to dictate how yankees must live, but we see daily the northerners who move south and force their yankee ways on southerners – so actually they keep this animosity stirred up against themselves

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Kevin Levin April 10, 2011 at 4:54 am

Your comments betrays numerous assumptions about who is a legitimate southerner. What about the thousands of black southerners (Exodusters) who moved to the midwest, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of black southerners who migrated to the North during the “Great Migration.” They forced white northerners to confront their own racist attitudes.

Thanks for illustrating for all of us what happens when the past is viewed through the narrowest of lenses.

Breathtaking in its arrogance, iddinit? First, the black Southerners who migrated north were only a fraction of the total number. In fact, if you look at this map showing the location of slaves in 1861 ( and this one showing the location of blacks in the USA in the year 2000, ( they look substantially the same.

Besides, the term Southerner has historically been used to describe the white people of the South. I'm suspect Mr. Levin knows this -- and it probably sticks in his craw and gives him another excuse to wield his "Racist!" brush. But it is blacks in the South who usually choose to not identify themselves by a region. Historically, they were called (by themselves and others) Negroes, then colored people, then blacks, then African-Americans. Someone with Mr. Levin's, um, academic credentials should know this, and should have understood exactly what Billy meant. Instead, Mr. Levin used it as an opportunity to falsely "color" Mr. Bearden's comment with the tinge of racism. I think an objective assessment of this exchange clearly shows who has race on his mind.

Mr. Bearden's comment uses the word "force" implying intent on the part of northerners who come South to impose their yankee ways on Southerners, and dictate how Southerners must live. Mr. Levin himself is a great example -- coming South to dictate to us hicks, rubes, rednecks and scum-sucking racist Southerners (and our school kids) how we must feel, and what we must believe, about the Civil War (sic).

However, blacks who migrated out of the South did not migrate to the north to force white northerners to confront their racist attitudes. Nope. They went to find work. If they had migrated north to force yankees to deal with their racism, the project was a colossal failure. In fact, Mr. Bearden mentioned this in his next post. And look at the slippery, squirmy non-answer he gets.

Billy Bearden April 10, 2011

Current census results clearly show the racial beliefs of the North – most segregated area in the country.

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Kevin Levin April 11, 2011 at 12:59 am

You seem to be fighting a personal war on this site. No one is making the claim that racism was/is a characteristic of the South to the exclusion of the rest of the country. I guess this allows you to sleep better at night.

Hilarous! Mr. Levin sometimes chides people for going off topic and not discussing the subject of his blog entries, but he happens to be a master at avoiding discussion of what he finds unpleasant or unanswerable. You don't have to be an academic to realize that nothing about Mr. Bearden's post indicate any sort of personal war on that site, although it does indicate that Mr. Levin feels that he's under attack. I guess that's what happens when people say or ask things one finds unpleasant and would wish to avoid.

He ends with the cake topper -- an ad hominem attack on Mr. Bearden that has whatever nothing to do with the subject under discussion. Really, why would any of this keep Mr. Bearden awake at night?

So in this one single, fairly short comment thread, Mr. Levin has told A. Baldfaced. Lie. and made an ad hominem attack on a visitor to his site. What a wonderful example he's setting for his students, huh? (Smirk.)

As of the time of my posting this entry to 180DTS, there is one more comment in the thread, summed up with, "Hey, it wasn't me!" plus an off-the-wall implication of hate where none exists plus a finger-in-the-face lesson about "hate" -- a bit gentler than Levin's finger-shaking, but just as breathtakingly arrogant in its assumptions.

Neil H--- April 10, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Mr. Bearden,

In all my trips through the South, which have been many over the years, I know of no time where I made the effort to rub in the noses of the people I met there about the ultimate outcome of the Civil War. The people I met were kind, polite, egar to help us with directions and answer our questions on just about anything we had to ask.

I suggest it takes a willful effort, an almost daily concentration to hate. It has been my experience one really has to work at such to keep up the effort that the emotion hate demands. The South, in my own view, has so much going for it, not the least of which are the people who call it home, who were born and raised there. An automatic smile comes to my own lips when I think about returning there on future trips, so pleasant were my times there.

I would rather concentrate on that memory, than the long ago past events of Appomattox and Reconstruction. There’s no profit in holding onto hate as there is no return on it.

Judging by the half dozen or so posts and comment threads I've read at Levin's blog, it is badly misnamed. "Civil War Interpretation --My Way's the Only Way" would be a bit more accurate. But then, so would "The SCV-Bashing Blog" or "History Seen Through Epic Arrogance and Advanced Tantrum Throwing Blog."


  1. Excellent Connie! Your ability to point out their hypocrisy in such detail is magnificent! God bless you!

  2. I really enjoyed reading this and find Mr. Levin (probably a Jew, not that there's anything wrong with that)a boring pretentious blow-hard. I applaud Mr. Bearden and didn't find anything offensive in his comments. Keep fighting the good fight against discrimination and ignorance about southern people and the south. People want to ignore the Civil War. They have NO IDEA. They did the same thing to the American Indians, too.


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