Monday, September 19, 2011

Satire and Video

It's September -- School Days --  and our favorite Civil War bloggers, the Four Horsemen of the Apoplectic, have evidently gotten too busy to write blog entries, because they've fallen back on posting videos.  Brooks is an academic, and Corey claims to be a school teacher, but I'm not sure what's going on with the other two. Levin doesn't teach anymore, since he relocated to Beantown, and I've never known Andy's occupation, so I don't know if he's in academia.

Aside from possibly a busy new school year, I don't know what has prompted Perfesser Simpson's string of outdated videos (the McPherson interview video displaying as I write this, is from 2009) , one-line blog entries and a rehash of Levin's Sebesta essay.  Nevertheless, he manages to find time to post snide comments about me on other bloggers' comment threads.

Levin recently posted a video titled "How the South Was Lost" -- an amateur production ridiculing Confederate soldiers (the video has them killing each other and their lieutenant or whatever, making like a coward and running away).  Sed Levin, "This has got to be my favorite Civil War video.  I’ve posted it before, but many of you who are relatively new to the blog have probably not seen it.  It’s a classic.  Enjoy."

I posted a link to it on Southern Heritage Preservation Group's Facebook page, along with photos of battlefields strewn with the bodies of Confederate soldiers, to show what Levin and the video are ridiculing.  In reply, he made another blog post, showing a screenshot of my SHPG entry along with a comment by a Lucas Bernard.

Levin's short blog post said, "The other day my friends at Facebook’s SHPG page got all worked up about a stupid video that I posted on Thursday.  Apparently, the members of this group have completely lost their ability to laugh in their zeal to stamp out the enemy that they see all around them.  Funny that they never speak out when I post videos about Abraham Lincoln that others have found problematic.  Oh well.  Lucas looks like he is right out of high school and I suspect he has little in common with the political and cultural baggage that the majority of these members carry around with them.  I anticipate that he won’t last long in this group.  Either Lucas will leave on his own or he will be forced out.  Good luck, dude." 

 So, in a mere two days, the video has gone from his "favorite" video and "classic" to... "stupid."  Looks kinda schizoid to me -- unless he really likes stupid videos (which shouldn't surprise any of us). Anyhoo, at the time, there were 55 comments, but he chose to display only this one by the aforementioned Lucas:

"It's just satire, my goodness.  So he as anti-Southern opinions, many of you have anti-Northern opinions. Why can't we enjoy satire for satire's sake, why take it so serious when it doesn't even take itself seriously? I thought it was hilarious, but hey, I'm a Mark Twain type of Southern guy, and I love a good piece of satire.  If you can make fun of yourself then you never learn to really laugh. Both sides did terrible things during the war, it's war, and war is terrible. No one comes out of it without transgression. To quote a great man, 'It is well that war is so terrible, lest we should grow too fond of it.'"

Where to start....  Does Levin no longer recognize lies when he tells them, I wonder?  Or does he know it, and do it anyway, specifically: Apparently, the members of this group have completely lost their ability to laugh in their zeal to stamp out the enemy that they see all around them.

Why, no. We have lots of fun over there.  Consider these comments made after Levin displayed his zeal to stamp out H.K. Edgerton's efforts on behalf of Southern heritage.

A little background. H.K. spoke to the Lexington City Council before their vote to prohibit Confederate flags flying from city flagstaffs and Levin posted this shrill screed he titled, "Entertainment for White People."

It included video of H.K. that had nothing to do with the Lexington issue and included this permissible racist observation about H.K. (leftist racism is acceptable, don'tcha know):  He comes from a long line of mythical black symbols that include “Mammy”, Aunt Jemimah, Uncle Ben, and countless other black minstrels during the twentieth century that perpetuated the myth of the loyal slave.  

In the SHPG comment thread about Levin's racist and disrespectful blog post, I noted, "You learn something new every day. I always just assumed that H.K. came from where all of us come from ... mamas and daddies. Wonder if Kevin has some scientific explanation, or at least a theory, about how a person can come from a line of symbols."

To which David Tatum replied, "So on HKs' birth certificate it should say, Father- Uncle Ben,  Mother-Aunt Jemimah!"

Ba-dum ching!

Can't laugh?  That absolutely Broke. Me. Up!  Southerners have a marvelous sense of humor, and of course we laugh ... when something is truly humorous.  Levin's problem is that he can't tell humor from ridicule and amusement from insult. At least, he pretends not to. Apparently.

The interesting thing about Bernard is that he'd never posted on SHPG before this thread, and very likely came to SHPG from Levin's site.  It's a safe bet the other new commenter on that thread also was directed to the SHPG by Levin's blog post.  They came over to set us hicks, rubes and scum-sucking racist Confederate flag flyers straight -- that the war was a laughing matter and the death of Confederate soldiers is a fit subject for parody, satire and ridicule. I don't think they were prepared for the vigorous defense with which we tore their arguments to shreds.

Anyhow, somebody at SHPG took the thread down -- not sure who or why. I wanted it to stay up, as I wasn't finished answering some of the comments.  However, it does provide me with the material to illustrate some rich irony....

Back over on Civil War Memory, Perfesser Simpson posted: Actually, what I found amusing is that a thread which complained about censorship ultimately disappeared when the owners of the group found that a few folks were hitting too close to home. ... BTW, I find perfectly understandable Ann DeWitt’s decision not to post under her own name given the quality of her scholarship. After all, Connie Ward/Chastain/Reb/whatever has problems sticking to one name as well. 

First, I started that thread and was involved in it throughout its existence, and I saw no complaints about censorship.  Second, the attacks on Ann DeWitt from this "academic" crowd, who apparently actually believe they know everyone's motives, thoughts, feelings (but claim nobody can know what black Confederates thought and felt) grow more and more breathtaking.  Finally, Brooks' comments about censorship at the SHPG is richly ironic, considering that he, like Levin, censors/blocks every comment I try to post at his blog and -- are you ready? -- he posted that to a thread at Levin's blog, from which my comment below had been blocked:
I know you won't let this comment through. It's too truthful and revealing. Nevertheless...
You and your commenters enjoy laughing about dead soldiers -- as long as they're Confederates? As for this blog entry, Mr. Levin, your motive is sooo clearly revealed -- in what you leave out. You put a link to YOUR blog entry with the video, and a screenshot of young Bernard's response -- but not mine. Not my point that this "favorite" video of yours ridicules Confederate soldiers who were killed defending their country. You like laughing about dead Southern soldiers?
 Mr. O'Hara, I don't go looking for video ridiculing dead yanks -- or dead American soldiers. Try to find anything even barely equivalent on my blog. Sorry if that disillusions you about me and my motives. Oh, and Mr. Lyons is a "they"? I thought he was a "he."
Michael, please go through the Southern Heritage Preservation Group -- or my blog -- and try to find where we parody and satirize union deaths, and laugh at them. We are justifiably critical of the union army's brutality and their lack of moral authority for invading and warring upon the South, but we don't make "cute" videos laughing at their deaths. 
Mr. Simpson, we defend Confederate heritage because, as I've explained, and as you who monitor us ought to know, it is the part of Southern heritage that is under concerted and sustained attack -- which you, Levin, Meyer and others support and join in.

So I've been taken to task for my inability to laugh at satire. Maybe I should rethink my position...

Therefore, I'm considering seeking a bit of capital to finance the production of my own satirical video about union soldiers.  But not about them dying, oh, no.  About what living union soldiers did.  I'll call it "How the North Won the War" with a subtitle, "Bummin' with Sherman, Annihilating with Sheridan, Preying with Butler, Molesting with Turchin."

We'll have video vignettes of bluecoats brutally raping Southern women, black and white. Hilarious, huh?  Another quick scene of yanks burning a town, leaving the residents with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Hilarious!  How about another town-destroying scene filmed from the Southern POV of shells striking homes and buildings wherein civilians are cut in half by exploding shells and their bodies riddled with shrapnel?  Hilarous!

How about a series of flash scenes showing Sherman's bummers shooting family pets for fun?  Hilarous!  And another depicting yank soldiers burning homes -- after stealing the jewelry and silverware, taking what food they could carry and destroying the rest, leaving a family to starve!  Hilarious!

I could go on and on, but you get the point.

Now, who sez we got no sensahuma?

(Photos: Wikimedia Commons)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Lexington Mentality

Okay, folks. Don't get yourselves in a tizzy over the illustrations below. They are SYMBOLIC graphic representations of the mentality shown by the Lexington City Council in its vote to prohibit Confederate flags from flying on city-owned flagpoles.

It's obviously repressive -- but how? It is contemptuous of its own past, so that gives us a clue. There comes to mind two examples from the previous century of repressive regimes hostile to the past -- the USSR under Joseph Stalin and Afghanistan under the Taliban. (Text continues below graphic.)
Stalin was infamous for his purges not only of those who opposed him politically, but of their very memory constructed in the past, carefully cutting their images out of photos in books and slicing away written references to them.

Likely we all remember the Taliban blowing up Buddhist statues almost 2,000 years old, to the dismay of most of the world.

The city council didn't vote to blow anything up yet, so at this point, Lexington looks more like Stalinton than Lexingstan.

Bloggers hostile to Southern heritage are having a field day, attempting to evilize (or, at least in this case, stupidize) Southerners who honor that heritage because they might have been misinformed about what the city's vote was intended to do. The shrill derision aimed at opponents of the ordinance inspired me to post the following at Civil War Memory.
This decision was reactionary -- it was instigated after, and because, the SCV flew flags from city owned staffs for their Lee-Jackson commemoration. It wasn't instigated after some Girl Scout flags were displayed, or GBLT Rainbow flags were displayed. The ordinance was designed specifically to prohibit Confederate flags from flying on those staffs -- everybody else's organizational flag-flying was collateral damage -- sacrificed for the sake of sticking it to the SCV and Confederate heritage. It was the city's (and some university faculty's) middle finger in the face of the SCV.
And this is my response to a gentlemen who explained things in terms a little less offensive than what is normally aimed at me over there:
Mr. S---, I have never claimed that it was unconstitutional. In fact, I have explained this to people on Facebook groups where I post -- that the ordinance is not a First Amendment, free-expression issue. It doesn't apply to personal displays of the flag. Yet.

For some of us, however, there is a problem with it, whether you see it or not. I clearly understand that the city did this purposely to prohibit Confederate flags displays on city property. (From the photos I've seen, these are small flagpoles mounted at an angle on larger poles, apparently lampposts.) It is the city -- officials elected to represent all the people of the town -- sitting in judgment of those who honor its history, at the behest of a few instigators, the primary one being an immigrant to this country motivated by a deliberate or inadvertent misunderstanding of Lexington's history and heritage.

This is an example of the ongoing official eradication of the South's Confederate heritage accomplished in tiny increments. There are people who say that's not happening but here's an instance of it going on before our very eyes. And if the city can do this, it can ban people carrying flags on city-owned sidewalks or displaying flags on vehicles that travel city-owned streets ("Oh, no, we're not encroaching on your First Amendment rights. You can still display your flags -- just not on our poles, or on our sidewalks or on our streets....")
So, do y'all like the graphic? I'd love to see photos of these things duct taped to "city property" (flag poles? lamp posts?) all over Lexington. I'd love to see them all over Dixie's corner of cyberspace, too. You can see a larger version by clicking the image; and you can download a .pdf version by clicking the link below. (Note: Download at your own risk. The image/pdf files and my personal webspace supplied by my ISP were virus- and malware-free at the time of uploading, but who knows what happens after that....)