Thursday, January 19, 2012

Slightly off-topic....

Are men better musicians than women?

When it comes to vocals, I think they may run even. But when it comes to playing instruments, I think men win hands down -- at least, when the genre is smooth jazz. Granted, having a good arrangement, and good accompaniment, goes a long way toward having a knockout sound. But when you cut through all that, and just listen to the one instrument you're comparing -- well, the guys win, hands down.

First, guitarists. We have Joyce Cooling playing "Mildred's Attraction" (she starts playing about 23 seconds in). Now, I happen to like this tune. It's a good tune, and Cooling renders it well. I like other stuff Cooling has done -- "At the Modern" comes to mind. She obviously knows how to play guitar. But compared to Larry Carlton playing almost anything (here we're featuring "Fingerprints" and he starts about 45 second in) ... Cooling is making music; Carlton is living it. He makes a guitar come alive and sing! You would almost think his guitar is itself feeling the emotion with which he's playing it.

Joyce Cooling, "Mildred's Attraction"
Larry Carlton, "Fingerprints"

It's the same thing with these sax players. Candy Dulfer's "LA City Lights" is a good song -- I like it. But while she is making music, Nelson Rangell, in **"Turning Night Into Day," is making his saxophone sing, making it feel, making it a part of himself.

Candy Dulfer, "LA City Lights"
Nelson Rangell, "Turning Night Into Day"

Women play music -- men feel it, and I often wonder if that's because in our culture, men are taught to not show their emotions. Feeling them is fine -- you just can't show them; it's not manly. Letting their instruments come alive, infusing them with their own unshown emotion, letting guitar or sax become an outlet for the expression of emotion might explain the difference.

These are just small samples,but I find this happening over and over. Compare Mindi Abair's True Blue to Gary Barnacle's Northern Lights (the Jazz Masters). Compare Jessy J's Tequila Moon (who's probably the best female sax player) to Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot, David Sanborn, Dave Koz, or Najee... Compare Cooling to Chuck Loeb, Steve Laury, Pat Metheny, Brian Tarquin...

Even keyboardist Patrice Rushen, whose "Almost Home" is a favorite of mine, is on a par with -- not better than -- David Benoit, Bob James, Ramsey Lewis and Joe McBride.

I once made this case for the superiority of male smooth jazz instrumentalists in a discussion group that ran high to liberals and feminists, and was accused of "hating my gender." Not true. I just like good smooth jazz ... and the men who make it!


Wanna sound off on this? Click here.

**Really, really obscure factoid: Although you won't find it anywhere in the novel, Rangell's "Turning Night Into Day" is the "Our song" for Justin Adair and Briana Farrior in "Storm Surge".

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

By faith....

Brook Simpson has expressed surprise that I persist in my Southern heritage efforts even though they have little effectiveness. He uses the term "unimportant," which I did not use. More of his lack of reading comprehension skills, or deliberate distortion? You decide.

I think it's very important to fight the efforts of those who war against Southern heritage. What I said was that the Southern Heritage Preservation Group does not have the power or influence of, say, the SCV, which has tens of thousands of members, a treasury, and a legal arm for use of the courts. The SHPG is a Facebook group. It has officers, but no legal status, no dues collected from members, no treasury... and it takes money to fight the powers and principalities arrayed against us, make no mistake about it. Individual members of the group may be very effective in fighting those who war against Southern heritage; they may be members of other organizations that are also effective. But the SHPG itself is for the dissemination of information and sharing of opinions.

I've also stated that that my own personal efforts -- this blog and my proSouthern novels -- also have little to no power or influence. I'm just one person. I also don't have a lot of money. My outside activism is restricted, as I cannot walk or stand except for very brief periods. I do what I can online, and with my writing. Thus far, my writing has had little effect.

So why do I perist? Because I have faith. I may never accomplish great things for Dixie -- but who knows but what something I write will inspire someone who can, and will, accomplish great things for the South?

Years ago, when I was more involved in Southern nationalism, I frequently wrote about it in my e-zine, 180 Degrees True South -- the forerunner of this blog. In 2002, I wrote an article about the importance of having faith in the cause, when independence for the South seemed relegated to some cloudy and indistinct future. I repeat it now, because faith is equally important in the battle to preserve our heritage.

I dunno --it may be a case where only people of faith can understand the importance of faith. In any case, here's the article.


Seeing from a distance, by faith...

by Connie Chastain Ward

When I was growing up, I learned in Sunday School that a parable was "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning." As an adult, I have noticed that the reverse can also be true. A great many spiritual principles can, and frequently do, have purely earthly applications.

Take, for instance, Chapter 11 of the Book of Hebrews in the New Testament. It's about faith; specifically, it is about the faith of people who never lived to see the fulfillment of the promises they had been given. Of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah, verses 13 and 14 say:

"These all died in faith, without having received what was promised them, but they saw it from a distance and welcomed it, confessing that they were foreigners and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it plain that they are looking for a homeland..."
We know this is talking about a spiritual homeland, because the same passage goes on to say, "But now they are longing for a better, that is, a heavenly country; accordingly, God is not ashamed of being called their God. In fact, He has prepared a city for them."

This spiritual principle has an important earthly application for those of us in the Southern independence movement. Our quest for an independent homeland is just beginning. Nobody knows how long it will take; perhaps those of us working in the movement today will not live long enough to see the fulfillment of that quest. That is why we must have faith -- the kind of faith that lets us see our free homeland from a distance, and welcome it -- because we must believe it will happen or we will not put forth the effort required to bring it about. And without effort and work and dedication, an independent South is not a distant vision but a self-delusion.

Alas, it sometimes seems that in our movement, faith is in short supply. In a way, this is not surprising. Faith isn't something you come by easily, even in the spiritual realm, with divine assistance. It's bound to be hard when you're dealing with temporal and material issues, as well.

Yet it is imperative that we develop faith of both kinds, and that we help each other keep that faith strong and vibrant.

Back during the summer, news came that the Edgefield Journal was ceasing publication. A farewell editorial by Virgil Huston posted on the Aw, Shucks Southern Links page explained a little behind the cessation. The main cause for the demise seems to be that it didn't make any money.

It is most unfortunate. Dixie needs all the proSouthern publications it can muster.

But what was even more unfortunate to me was the further complaints Huston expressed, and the tone behind them. Perhaps some of the complaints had merit, I don't know. They deal specifically with South Carolina politics and may only be Huston's opinion. However, I believe some deserve further examination and discussion.

The Southern movement, Huston said, came into existence with Bill Clinton, and began a decline before he even left office. Huston said he didn't know where the movement will go from here but it needs changes in leadership if it is to survive.

Is this an accurate assessment? Perhaps to a point. I think Bill Clinton had a lot to do with the movement's birth. But is the movement really declining, now that he's no longer in office, or is it that those who joined merely in response to the Clinton regime are now leaving? If that were a significant number, it might be a death blow to the movement. However, I don't believe it is.

Besides, if negative motivation is what's necessary to keep our movement going, the regime of the Texas scalawag (or is he a carpetbagger?) who occupies the imperial palace on the Potomac is providing gracious plenty of it.

I believe, however, that an ever-growing number of Southerners coming to our movement aren't merely anti-Clintonians or anti-Bushites, but Southerners who long for their own free and independent homeland; not just reactionaries to the negative, but those who long for a Southern homeland they see afar, by faith...

As for changes in leadership, perhaps Huston is right about some quarters of the movement. In others, the leadership is just fine -- it is the followership that needs tweaking. But overall, considering the age of the movement (still in its infancy) and the circumstances (an abundance of powerful and ruthless opponents and critics), it is showing great liveliness and doing remarkably well. So I can't help but be optimistic about its future.

The events in South Carolina Huston alluded to, though, have revealed some areas where our movement could use a little work.

Hopefully we will never become a savvy but bloodless political machine, like those that hold sway in the Empire -- but the fact remains that we do need to learn about political realities. We must realize that things like the defeat of proflag candidates in South Carolina, a mere 2 1/2 years after the flag came down, are not some kind of death knell for the movement.

It took 20 years for Kay Patterson to get the flag off the dome. If our people work for 20 years and it's not back up, then I'll say we've failed. Maybe. But in only two years? No, that's not failure; that's just an excuse for giving up, for those who are so inclined.

There's a lot more we still have to learn -- how to pace ourselves; how to reframe the debate on our terms; how to take the wind out of the other guy's sails; how to protect our hot buttons and remain cool under fire; how to rise above temporary setbacks and build on our victories; how to reach the Southern sheeple.... And that's just for starters.

So let us learn what we must, and learn it well. But most of all, let us remember the example of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah who longed for a homeland and saw it from a distance. Let us have faith in God and belief in a free and independent Dixie. Make it a faith so strong that even if we do not achieve our goal in our lifetime, we will be able to see our Southern homeland in the distance, and welcome it.

And then let us work like the devil to make it happen.


Click here to leave a comment.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A continuation of more of the same....

Update. Comments by Brooks Simpson following his latest attempted smear of yours truly:
... someone directed me to her Facebook page. It’s a continuation of more of the same of her rants against various folks.

Ms. Chastain declares: “Once again, Simpson is seeing, or purporting to see, similarities between people and the ideas they hold, for the purpose of guilt-by-association tar-smearing, while ignoring the differences, which are what’s truly important.”

I love how she attributes motives to me. In fact, I was giving her the opportunity to distance herself from Mr. Wallace. Her major effort along this line was to note that Mr. Wallace roots for Auburn while she roots for Alabama.

(I’d love to know whether Mr. Wallace ever expressed himself about Cam Newton.)

She does not go into detail on where she disagrees with Mr. Wallace about southern heritage. I wonder why she chose not to do that.

I found her case about the powerlessness of the SHPG to get anything done powerful. I also found her admission that her own work is insignificant to be revealing, especially since she persists in it.

A continuation of more of the same? Isn't that a little redundant, like saying tooth dentist or foot podiatrist? Isn't a continuation more of the same? And isn't more of the same a continuation? Keep in mind that this man is a professor at a major state university ... who puts down my writing, editing and self-publishing of books he's never read....

He sez, "I love how she attributes motives to me. In fact, I was giving her the opportunity to distance herself from Mr. Wallace."

Aw, isn't he a thoughtful man, to give me such an opportunity? The only problem is, that statement is complete and total bullcrap, and anyone who believes it needs their head examined. It's not only a blatant lie -- it's a hilarious one! Had me literally laughing out loud. This man hates my guts, and he loves to attempt smears of people with guilt-by-association, especially Southern heritage advocates. The very existence of that blog post is a attempt to smear me with a cooked up association with Hunter Wallace and Occidental Dissent.

But the lying doesn't stop there. What's amazing is Simpson's claim that my "major effort" to distance myself from Wallace is my tongue-in-cheek description of us as opposition college football fans (me, Alabama; Wallace, Auburn).

Simpson further compounds the lie by saying, "She does not go into detail on where she disagrees with Mr. Wallace about southern heritage."

I don't know the degree to which I disagree with Mr. Wallace about Southern heritage because I don't know all his views on it. I barely skimmed a couple of posts at this blog -- and that was enough for me to know I didn't agree with a lot of what he said, and didn't need to read further.

What Simpson ignores, though, in order to make his mendacious implications, are these comments from me, re: Mr. Wallace:

1. Having visited that site once or twice recently, I found that there's a lot I disagree with Mr. Wallace about. This most recent visit there confirmed that disagreement.

2. I suspect most of the disagreement is based on differences that result, ultimately, from my being a Christian and his being an atheist.

3. I don't agree with or approve of Mr. Wallace's views on race.

Do you suppose Simpson didn't see those statements in my blog post? (Kinda like he didn't see my PROUD CONFEDERATE DESCENDANT badge while claiming we Southern heritage advocates were afraid to use the word, Confederate?) Or do you suppose he saw them, and he's ignoring them in order to, um, continue more of the same of his attempted smears?

In other words, did Brooks Simpson lie ... again?

As we used to say back in my high school days, is grass green? Is the Pope Catholic?


Want to leave a comment? Click here!

Photos: Free Stock and the Public Domain

Guilt by Imaginary Association

A recent entry at Brooks Simpson's Crossroads blog:
Occidental Dissent Answers Connie Chastain

This makes for very interesting reading.

By the way, Mr. Wallace displays a Confederate Battle Flag on his blog. It is my understanding that the people such as those who populate the gift that keeps on giving is determined to protest the appropriation of that flag by white supremacist groups. So where’s the protest? Does the lack of protest support Ms. Chastain’s argument about the ineffectiveness of the group? Or does it document its lack of sincerity, especially in light of the willingness of members of the group to attack other people with whom they disagree?

Pass the popcorn, please.

Once again, Simpson is seeing, or purporting to see, similarities between people and the ideas they hold, for the purpose of guilt-by-association tar-smearing, while ignoring the differences, which are what's truly important. It's possible even Brooks and I agree on some things, but what's important, what distinguishes us, is what we disagree about.

(For example, Wallace is an Auburn fan, per his Facebook profile; and I'm an Alabama fan from way back -- back before Wallace was even born ... back when Keith Jackson used to call the games at Legion Field in Birmingham. I made my hero in Southern Man a halfback for Alabama Crimson Tide playing for Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. Oh, one other thing ... Twenty-one to Zereaux. Just sayin'.)

I didn't know about the blog post about me at Occidental Dissent until I saw a post about it at Crossroads. I would attempt to post a response at Crossroads, but Simpson would just send it to the cornfield, so I'll answer here.

After reading the latest attempted smear of me at Crossroads, I went over to OD and read the entry Simpson referenced. Having visited that site once or twice recently, I found that there's a lot I disagree with Mr. Wallace about. This most recent visit there confirmed that disagreement. I suspect most of the disgreement is based on differences that result, ultimately, from my being a Christian and his being an atheist.

While I don't agree with or approve of Mr. Wallace's views on race, I have to acknowledge a couple of things about his one blog post about me.

First, it really isn't about me. Text Tally tells me the post at OD comprises 2295 words. Seventy (70) of them, distributed in three short paragraphs, reference me, but only one of them is actually about me. It reads: "Connie Chastain is a nice Southern lady of some notoriety in what can best be described as the “Southern Heritage Preservation movement.”" The second paragraph includes a copy-paste of a question I asked in a blog post here at 180 DTS, and the third is Wallace's mis-naming my question the Chastain Challenge. And that's it. The remaining 2225 words comprise his viewpoints about the cause and solution to the problem -- not me or mine.

Second, however much I may disagree with Mr. Wallace, I have to acknowledge that he doesn't seem to be motivated by the same hatred and desire to smear that motivates Brooks Simpson when he post about me.

Beyond what I skimmed on these few recent visits, I haven't read Occidental Dissent, so I don't know whether Mr. Wallace shows the same contempt for truth that Simpson does in his efforts to smear people. For example, Simpson says: "It is my understanding that the people such as those who populate the gift that keeps on giving is determined to protest the appropriation of that flag by white supremacist groups. So where’s the protest?" ( Subject-verb disagreement can be so ... jarring ... when it comes from a narcissistic academic.)

Actually, if you read the Southern Heritage Preservation Group, you will find disapproval of use of Confederate symbols by white supremacist groups, not a determination to protest as Simpson mischaracterizes it -- again with the motivation, I'm convinced, of hatred and a desire to smear. However, the group's prohibiting membership to people suspected of association with, or support for, racist groups, due to comments and symbols on their Facebook profiles is, indeed, a form of protest. Since I'm no longer in the group, I have no access to the private messages of the officers when they discuss and decide on denying or revoking membership, but I can't imagine that policy has changed much since I left the group.

And what of these activities by the group Simpson doesn't know about? He's like a little kid -- if he doesn't know it, it hasn't happened or doesn't exist. See, Simpson is a totalitarian dictator at Crossroads, as I am at 180 DTS blog. We are the sole authority at our blogs. But the SHPG is run by a group of administrators who share duties and must confer and reach consensus about decisions. And they're not all online 24-hours a day. As it was before I left the group, no one person can zap people and posts to the SHPG Cornfield, as Simpson so loves to do at his little fiefdom.

As for Southern heritage types in general, and SHPG folks in particular, attacking people -- the "attacks" are almost always defense. At most, they're counter-attacks. Surely a person with Simpson's intelligence and education can see that -- unless ego and agenda have created blinders nobody could see through....


Want to leave a comment? Click here!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Transparent motives....

Is there any doubt that hatred of our heritage underlies, and motivates, this blog post, and so many others like it on "Civil War Memory" and the blogs of Kevin Levin's fellow travelers? And does the hatred of our heritage encompass hatred of those who honor it? 
In that post, Levin writes:    
Many of you are no doubt familiar with Michael Bradley’s poem, “I Am Their Flag” as well as H.K. Edgerton’s powerful interpretation that he will be happy to deliver if the price is right. 
This isn't the first time he has mentioned H.K.'s compensation for his Southern heritage appearances.  Do you suppose Kevin has never been compensated for work he does?  Will he receive royalties for his Crater book?  Was he paid for his work back when he was employed as a teacher in Virginia? 

Wonder how many times he's complained about the compensation paid to Confederate flag critics such as  Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, James McPherson, etc.....

Yep. Transparent as glass.

Click here to leave a comment!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


It appears that my blog post about the Facebook Southern Heritage Preservation Group earlier today has troubled some members of the group who view my description of it as disrespect. I intended no disrespect and I don't think any part of my description was untrue.  But let's test it to be sure.

(1) It's not like the group has any sway in the greater scheme of things.  -- If anyone wants to show me the sway/pull/influence this group has had I'll be happy to look. But I don't see how it has influenced the outcome of many events and issues discussed there, from the Lexington flag case to the Reidsville monument, to the Shreveport flag removal, to the Texas SCV  license plate issue. Perhaps indirectly, by posting information about the issue, which spurred some offline group or individual to protest or fight locally.  However, I do note that heritage flags are still banned from city poles in Lexington, the Reidsville monument will be relegated to obscurity, the Shreveport flag is gone. The Texas license plate issue is going to court not because of the SHPG but the SCV.

(2) True or False:

(A)  The SHPG not a 501C3 nonprofit group with tens of thousands of members like the Civil War Trust. -- True.

(B)   It's not the SCV, which has thousands of members, highly visible heritage defense efforts, and a legal department not afraid to use the courts when necessary. -- True.

(C)  It's not even the Civil Warriors blog and forum. It's just a Facebook group, just one of 620 MILLION Facebook groups. -- True.  (I acknowledge that the 620 million figure may be inaccurate, as it dates from almost a year ago. But that doesn't change the fact that the SHPG is a Facebook group.)

(D) In other words, it's an internet-based social media anyone can join -- anonymously.  -- True.

(E) Most of the group's 1,300+ members are lurkers who never post.  -- True.

(F) Some people use it to post or read about heritage issues around the country, but clearly, most activity on the group's page comprises the airing and sharing of personal opinions.  -- True, but if anyone wishes to take exeption to this, I welcome their corrective comments.

(G) In other words, it's a discussion group/chat room -- i.e., Mark Zuckerberg's updated version of Usenet. -- True.

(H) It has little to no power or influence.  Another statement I believe is true but that others may disagree with.  I would be delighted to see evidence that proves me wrong.  But the fact is, even the group's founder has admitted on several occasions that what we're doing isn't working.  That was evidently the reason behind his creation of the Action Group.  Granted, I don't see everything that gets posted there, but I have not seen posts announcing the successes of the Action Group. (The successes need to be posted.  Posted? They need to be trumpeted!  Why keep them secret?)

If you Google Southern Heritage Preservation Group, you don't see links to the group's heritage success stories reported in the media. What you see most is links to posts at the Hall, Levin, Simpson, Meyer blogs denigrating the group.

None of what I describe and acknowledge here is intended as disrespect of the group, or the efforts of its members. In fact, I was a member of that group until a few hours ago, glad to be a part of it, and hopeful that the efforts of the SHPG, and all other heritage preservation and defense efforts, would eventually see a rising tide of success.  I have the highest respect for those who are in the trenches -- the Virginia flaggers, the SCV, etc.  But I know what an uphill battle we are facing. I know that my own personal efforts -- this blog and my proSouthern novels --  also have little to no power or influence. Saying so doesn't mean I disrespect my own efforts, and it doesn't mean I'm going to stop doing them. You'll never get anywhere if you don't try.

I admit to being clueless about one thing, though, and any clarification from others would be welcome.  How does acknowledging that the SHPG is primarily a discussion group largely unknown outside the online Southern heritage community (and a handful of critics) equate to "tarnishing our Southern History and Heritage with disrespect"?  

And none of this changes the fact that Brooks Simpson's interest in the SHPG is mystifying; nor does it change my opinion that people like him need to create/fabricate somebody to feel morally superior to because liberalism's moral relativity has a way of leaving people feeling uncertain about their own integrity....

COMMENTS ENCOURAGED!  Click the link below and let 'er rip!

Moral relativism at work

  Well it proves one thing ...   It proves that you wealthy college boys don't have education enough to admit when you're wrong.
 ~ Sam Quint, Jaws

The more I observe Brooks Simpson, the more I wonder how someone of his pettiness and questionable integrity managed to obtain a position of such importance as a professor of history at a major state university.

Last month, there was the silliness of tacking a deadline onto Kevin Levin's "Chandler Challenge." Remember that?  Mere days after the challenge appeared on "Civil War Memory" Simpson was chiding Southern heritage advocates for not replying to the challenge -- and declaring "victory" for Levin. I pointed out to him that Levin had issued no deadline, and likely the busy-ness of the holidays kept some people from taking the time to locate and buy the magazine. Some may have tried to buy it and found it wasn't available in their bookstores yet.  A couple of people had mentioned that at Levin's own site.

So Simpson, apparently not realizing how petty and childish it made him look, tacked on an artificial deadline after the fact -- to a challenge that he didn't even originate.

Then, there was his chiding me for not reading Brian Steele Wills' biography of Nathan Bedford Forrest -- only minutes after his recommending it.

He demands instant results, instant compliance for the purpose of slinging accusations, employing the tar-brush, and/or publishing insinuation and innuendo if he doesn't get them.

Frequently, his demand-tantrums are combined with other smear tactics, such as guilt by association.  Guilt of what?  Why, racism, of course.  It's one of the very few bad things left in an American transformed by liberalism's moral relativism.

Exactly why he has developed such an obsession with the Southern Heritage Preservation Group on Facebook is mystifying.  Presumably, it does something for his ego to criticize the group's designation as Southern rather than Confederate, or to point out the imaginary "racism" of its members.  But why?  What's it to him?  It's not like the group has any sway in the greater scheme of things.

The SHPG not a 501C3 nonprofit group with tens of thousands of members like the Civil War Trust.  It's not the SCV, which has thousands of members, highly visible heritage defense efforts, and a legal department not afraid to use the courts when necessary. It's not even the Civil Warriors blog and forum. It's just a Facebook group, just one of 620 MILLION Facebook groups.

In other words, it's an internet-based social media anyone can join -- anonymously.  Most of the group's 1,300+ members are lurkers who never post.  Some people use it to post or read about heritage issues around the country, but clearly, most activity on the group's  page comprises the airing and sharing of personal opinions. In other words, it's a discussion group/chat room -- i.e., Mark Zuckerberg's updated version of Usenet. It has little to no power or influence.

Thus, Simpson's interest in the group is mystifying. I can only chalk it up to the liberal obsession with rooting out divergent beliefs and eradicating them. Nobody, and I mean nobody, must be allowed to hold, let alone express, an opinion different from the status quo -- which, of course, is determined by Simpson and his fellow travelers.

His obsession with declaring guilt-by-association is more revealing of him than he realizes, perhaps.  Most intelligent people realize that how people differ is at least as important as how they are similar.  You'd think the champions of diversity would be the first to acknowledge this, because without differences, there'd BE no such thing as diversity.

But not in Simpson's mentality.  If a racist is wearing a green plaid shirt, then everyone who wears a green plaid shirt is a racist. Thus, all who support, say, political independence for the South, are mental clones in all other areas -- so The League of the South = the Southern Nationalist Network = Occidental Dissent. Pay no attention to how these groups differ (two of them don't even appear to be groups, just websites); to Simpson, that doesn't matter, regardless of how true it is. When your purpose is to smear people with racism, can't let a little incidental like TRUTH get in the way.

Shortly after a Hunter Wallace, who runs the website titled Occidental Dissent, joined the SHPG, Simpson threw a typical tantrum at Crossroads, chiding members for tolerating racists in violation of the group's stated policy. Of course, Simpson has no access to private discussions of the group's officers, so he didn't know that said officers were already privately discussing Wallace's membership when Simpson posted his tantrum on Crossroads.

He's like a little kid, demanding instant gratification, and thinking everything that happens, happens because of him. And if he doesn't know about it, it doesn't exist...

Keep in mind that this petty childishness and moral relativism are exhibited by a professor of history at a major state university.  It's scary to think of  young minds in learning-mode coming under his influence.

Find this topic interesting? Follow the link below to leave a comment!

Image of  Robert Shaw as  as Quint  in the movie Jaws translinked from ScrapeTV under Fair Use of U.S. Copyright law.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

And For Your Reading Pleasure....

Tentative new cover design for Neo-Confederate.  That's Randy Stevenson all grown up, whom we first met at age seven, in Southern ManNeo-Confederate chronicles Randy's campaign for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from (fictional) Florida District Four (Jacksonville, Duval County and environs).  Read about the public announcement of his candidacy in the first-draft excerpt below.  I'm writing Neo-Confederate and its two prequels, Little Sister and Sweet Southern Boys, simultaneously to make sure there are no continuity issues.


The Terrace Shopping Center had been built in the early 1960s to house busy retail shops, five of them in an L-shaped structure wrapped around a concrete parking lot.  Almost fifty years later, the complex of flat-roofed, glass fronted units, renamed Terrace Plaza, served as offices for low-traffic tenants.

That would be a boon for the newest tenant, who would need more parking spaces than the other four combined.

Ramona Dorst, a freelance political dirt-digger, noticed things like that and her powers of observation were on high alert when she turned into the parking lot at Terrace Plaza. There were more vehicles parked here today than there had been in months, possibly years.

She purposely parked as far distant from the building as possible. The press pass on her dashboard, like the badge hanging from a lanyard around her neck, was as phony as a three dollar bill. Fortunately, nobody ever noticed that because she always parked far away from the action she was to observe, and her personal badge had been legitimate once.

A wide concrete sidewalk ran in front of the plate glass storefronts, separated from the curb by a strip of struggling grass. The metal canopy above it was a fortuitous element for the twenty five or thirty people gathered on the walkway, as the sky was overcast and intermittent drizzle had occurred throughout the day. Sporting jackets and sweaters against the 40-degree chill, they stood in front of the middle office on the long ell, between a transcription service and a mortgage broker. Along with purses and umbrellas, they carried candidate yard signs and American flags.

At the edge of the sidewalk, facing the parking lot, stood a boxy wooden podium draped with political bunting. Red and white mums in pots wrapped with blue foil sat at the base of the podium. Above, fastened to the edge of the sidewalk canopy, a ten-foot banner proclaimed the candidate's name and the the office he pursued.

The choice of a location for campaign headquarters could tell things about a candidate -- how much money he or she had and how well he gauged public perception. Randy Stevenson was a political newcomer and thus a totally unknown entity. What this very short, preliminary observation of his campaign headquarters told Ramona was that the had more style than money, perhaps even a touch of chichi. But in the end, style didn't win elections.

Stevenson had blanketed the 4th district with notices of his announcement. Every media outlet -- online, cable, broadcast and print -- as well as government officials at all levels and the Republican party machine had received them. Ramona learned this little tidbit of information from an acquaintance who worked at Republican party headquarters.

Apparently, the notices had generated little interest in the event. Representatives of the fourth estate were gathering under a canvas shelter set up in the parking lot, but they amounted to no more than a six, maybe eight, people.

The Fox affiliate, WAWS-TV, had sent a minimal crew. A couple of dudes from a low-power Christian radio station were on hand and several local print publications were represented by reporters with digital cameras and sound recorders. Surprisingly, Jacksonville's newspaper of record, the Post Herald, had sent a reporter, an ambitious female newbie Ramona had met briefly several weeks before.

There had been no rain since Ramona arrived, but she looped the strap of an umbrella around her wrist, hitched her purse over her shoulder, and took her video camera, already wrapped in its rain protector, in hand. She stepped between vehicles slick with mist to join the meager press corps setting up beneath the canvas shelter. She didn't have to set up. Her expensive digital camera with a highly sensitive directional microphone, required only that she look through the viewfinder and press the record button.

A young woman with a candidate pin on her lapel stood in a corner of the shelter and distributed pocket folders to media reps as they arrived.  Press kits, no doubt. Ramona slid the one she was given into her oversized purse for later perusal. Right now, while she waited with an eye on the office door flanked with U.S. and Florida flags, she wanted to get some footage of the people gathered on the sidewalk. She raised the camera to her eye and pressed record.

There were several preschool children, bored and twitchy but reasonably well behaved. Perhaps half a dozen or so of the adults were of retirement age, the rest in their thirties and forties. They seemed evenly divided between men and women.

Ramona couldn't help but notice that it was a very white gathering. She spotted a couple of women who could possibly be Hispanic, and a lone black man in suit and tie who apparently knew these people personally and was comfortable with them, but that was it for diversity and inclusion among Stevenson supporters.

At three on the dot, the door opened.   A couple of thirty-something men stepped out and she got excellent footage of their arrival on the scene. One of them, dark haired and uncommonly good-looking, was stylishly dressed in a brown tweed suit and a tan raincoat that reached the middle of his calves. The other, whose loosely curled blond hair seemed somewhat frizzled by the humidity, sported more casual attire -- bone-colored chinos and a russet corduroy blazer.  Candidate buttons adorned their lapels.

Their identity was unknown to Ramona and she had little time to study them further because they were followed immediately by a man and woman who had to be Mr and Mrs. Candidate, judging by the cheers and clapping from the crowd.

Randy Stevenson was both courtly and foxy in a charcoal gray suit, maroon tie and white shirt. His black hair was a bit long, a bit touseled -- perhaps that's where the foxy element came from. That and his broad shoulders and taut, slender physique. Ramona resisted the urge to use the hackneyed description, charismatic, after seeing him only a few seconds. Nevertheless, he projected an indefinable magnetism that couldn't be denied.

Beside him, clad in a classic suit of midnight blue, his wife, while not beautiful, nevertheless projected a similar aura of visual appeal. Ramona looked forward to studying the footage she was shooting to deconstruct the Stevensons' powerful attractiveness.

Instead of stepping to the podium, Stevenson gradually made his way down the crowd, pausing to talk or shake hands, accept hugs and peck female cheeks. At one point, he shared a manly embrace with a handsome gentleman, dark haired but graying at the temples, and traded kisses with a woman standing beside him. Their behavior said parents and son, as their appearance did.

He bent slightly to heft into his arms a little girl with long black hair, her forehead covered with a thick fringe of bangs. She laughed as he spoke to her while walking to the podium, where he set her on her feet, and The Wife took her hand. They stood slightly behind the candidate to his right and when Mrs. Stevenson turned to the side, Ramona realized that she was pregnant and just beginning to show.

The two men who had come out with the candidate stood to his left, speaking to each other in tones too low to carry to anyone else. Somehow, they managed to convey both smugness and excitement, but there was a hint of attitude about their expressions and demeanor when they looked over the press corps, such as it was. Protection, Ramona guessed. Even political nobodies insisted on security these days. She wondered if they had firearms stashed beneath their coats. Probably.

At the podium, Stevenson cut his eyes to them and they returned his look. Not a word was spoken, but communication nevertheless took place, no doubt about it. Significant communication. More than security, then. More than hirelings or acquaintances or campaign volunteers. These two would bear looking into.

In the viewfinder, the candidate's eyes swept the press representatives before him but if he was disappointed by the paltry attendance, he didn't show it. Resting his hands on edges of the podium, he said, "Thank you for coming out. My name is Randy Stevenson, and I'm here to announce my candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives, Florida District Four."

Applause rose up from the gathering behind him.

"I have never held or run for office. I'm running now because our federal government is out of control...."

His spoke with a classic Southern accent -- the type Hollywood actors sought to emulate, usually with little success. That marked him as an outsider in Jacksonville, where speech patterns were highly influenced by Navy personnel and retirees from elsewhere, and northern transplants. His was the dialect of the coastal plain.

A low-end sound system comprising a microphone on a stand atop the lectern, a hidden amplifier and small speakers tucked among the mums, was sufficient to carry his voice to the press tent. The volume of his mid-range timbre suggested he was soft-spoken most of the time, but Ramona suspected he'd have no problem projecting without the amplification. He was not a novice at public speaking.

Even as she appreciated the way Stevenson spoke, behind her camera, Ramona rolled her eyes at what he was saying. Standard Republican stuff -- government too big, out of control, jeopardizing the people's liberty, too much taxing, too much spending, mortgaging our children's future...

Nope, there were no surprises in what he said, but Ramona was struck by one thing. The sincerity -- the conviction -- with which he said them. Maybe he was green enough to be a true believer. If so, he'd find out soon enough about the reality of politics.

Copyright © 2012 by Connie Chastain. All rights reserved. Excerpt is unedited and may differ from published version.
More Excerpts

Southern Man   --   At the Scoreboard Tavern    ~    Playmates to Friends
Sweet Southern Boys   --  Incident At a Riverside Party
 Little Sister  --  Ainsley Comes Home
 Neo-Confederate  --  Randy's Decision

COMMENTS INVITED! Let  us know what you think of this excerpt, or any
other comments you may have about 180 DTS.  Click the comment link below.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

For Your Listenin' Pleasure....

Folks, it's been fun pointing out the perfesser's foibles and talking a little history about General Forrest, but now it's time for a pause.  I'm going on break for a few days to work on some writing pursuits and author services projects (and possibly a companion website for this blog).

Meanwhile, here's another musical interlude for your enjoyment -- this one from the Golden Era of Rock and Roll...

On the Rebound -- Floyd Cramer, 1961
(Country rock, mid-century style.)

My Little Red Book -- Manfred Mann, 1965
(Had to have one group from across the pond.)

Kicks -- Paul Revere and the Raiders, 1966
(How I loved watching these boys pony!)

So Very Hard to Go -- Tower of Power, 1973
(Soul that hits you in the heart.)

Monday, January 2, 2012

His Lips Are Movin' Again....

Brooks Simpson has copy-pasted comments between myself and Dr. Hill from my blog to Crossroads and concluded that we are "squabbling" about whether we're friends or acquaintances.

I'm not makin' this up. Do you suppose he knows better and just can't help himself? Or can he really not tell when he's lying?

When Michael Cushman of the Southern Nationalist Network dropped by Crossroads to enlighten the professor about the guests on SNN podcasts in the past, Simpson pops out with this lie:

"... it is Ms. Chastain who suggests that by mentioning your support of the flagging of the VMFA that I am associating that protest with racism. You might want to take that up with her."

Ah, no. That's not true and Simpson knows it is not true because I told him exactly how he was attempting to tar people with the phony-racism brush; told him in a comment which he sent to the Crossroads Cornfield. What a surprise, huh?

Since he is determined not only to run from owning up to his attempted smears, but from his cover-up of them, I have no choice but to address the issue here.

Remember, after I commented about his attempted smear of the flaggers with the phony racism brush, he posted, "Now, how did I tar the SNN with the 'racist brush'? By mentioning that the flaggers were endorsed by SNN? By quoting Ms. Chastain’s good friend Dr. Hill? By mentioning that Ms. Chastain’s own blog heads the link list at SNN? By pointing to a flagger podcast with SNN? How is any of that racist? "

Here's how you attempted to smear the flaggers, perfesser. You wrote:

The ''flaggers," ...have support … from the Southern Nationalist Network. ... The ones who claim that southerners "are a people. Our ancestors came from Europe but we long ago ceased to be Europeans." In short, no blacks allowed.

"In short, no blacks allowed."

YOU said that, perfesser, not the SNN. You -- Y. O. U -- said it. Nowhere does the SNN say "no blacks allowed" simply because Southern culture was created by white Europeans. That's your spin, for the sole purpose of creating a phony racism brush and then attempting to smear good, decent people with it.

You continued,

Interesting that for all this talk about black Confederates supporting the CSA that these southern nationalists explicitly exclude African Americans from their definition of "southerner." Wonder what went wrong?

What went wrong, Professor, is your ability to tell truth from falsehood. Southern nationalists don't explicitly exclude blacks from their definition of Southerners. Oh, you may run into the occasional nutcase who does, but that doesn't mean all of them do. Nutcases are everywhere -- including state university faculty, staff, and administration -- so there's bound to be one or two who wander into Southern nationalism.

However, if you do a little surfing at the Dixienet, website of the best-known Southern nationalist organization, you'll find the following:

Frequently Asked Questions About The LS

Q: What is the LS position regarding blacks in the South?

A: The LS disavows a spirit of malice and extends an offer of good will and cooperation to Southern blacks in areas where we can work together as Christians to make life better for all people in the South.


From League of the South Statement on "Racism."

We believe that all Southerners - black and white - want and need the same things: a safe country for their families, liberty, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We believe that the last thing the South's enemies want is to see black and white Southerners sitting down together to determine their common destiny and work for authentic harmony, a just social and economic order, and an independent South.

Folks, that doesn't sound like excluding blacks from the definition of Southerner to me. If it sounds that way to Simpson, he's got bigger problems than a little part-time proSouthern blogger can do anything about.

Simpson reminds me of a fellow -- let's call him Benton -- I had the misfortune of meeting online a number of years ago. This was back when the League had an article on Dixienet titled, "Southern Cultural Defense -- A League of the South Approach".

The statement said the League championed "...the traditional core Southern culture that has defined the national character of Dixie for generations. That dominant culture was historically handed down to us by the Anglo-Celtic peoples of the British Isles who settled the South and formed its original political community."

Somehow, Benton had construed this to mean that the League was "...presenting a monolithic view of the South's settlers as Anglo-Celtic," and thus wanting to keep Southern culture "monolithically Anglo-Celtic (i.e., white)". Sound familiar? Sounds suspiciously like the "No blacks allowed" spin, doesn't it? The problem is, that was not what the League was saying. That was the view of a Fudd-like, self-styled anti-racist hunting "wacists." ("Be vehwy, vehwy quiet.")

I tried to explain to him what Anglo-Celtic cultural dominance meant... it meant things like not having to pay an extra bribe to a county official to get a permit to add a room to your house, as is the case in many countries in Central and South America. It meant not getting your hand cut off if you were caught stealing (let the punishment fit the crime). It meant -- but you get the idea.

Benton didn't get the idea. My explanation fell on deaf ears. Of course. He didn't have an Anthony Freemont-style cornfield where he sent information he didn't want to know but he exhibited the same attitude as Brooks Simpson -- his mind was made up, and facts to the contrary were fodder for the memory hole.

I even posted the difference between the operative words -- dominant: Exercising the most influence or control; monolithic: characterized by massiveness and rigidity and total uniformity -- and added this note: "As an aside, I would like to point out something before you fall down and have a seizure over the subject of Anglo-Celtic cultural dominance.... Exercising the MOST influence or control does not mean exercising TOTAL influence or control."

For good measure, I quoted the entire paragraph that was giving Benton trouble, with some clarifying remarks from me:

"The League of the South champions without apology the traditional core (NOT "monolithic" --cw) Southern culture that has defined the national character of Dixie for generations. That dominant (NOT "monolithic") culture was historically handed down to us by the Anglo-Celtic peoples of the British Isles who settled the South and formed its original political community. Over the centuries, our culture has been enriched in subtle ways by the influences of other non-dominant, cultural groups, particularly by black Southerners and the French-speaking Cajuns of Louisiana, but at its essence, the South has always remained a predominantly (NOT "monolithically") Anglo-Celtic civilisation."
From: "Southern Cultural Defense -- A League of the South Approach"

"Just in case you missed it," I told Benton, "the League says that the South's traditional (not monolithic) culture, handed down by Anglo-Celtic people who settled the south, has been enriched by the influences of non-dominant Southern groups, particularly (though not only ) blacks and Cajuns."

Did no good, of course. Wasted cyber-breath....

Benton exhibited the same kind of self-imposed blindness, this same deliberate distortion, you see over and over in Professor Simpson's blog posts and comments, on his own blog and elsewhere. What does truth matter, when it can't be used to demonize people? Lies are lots, lots better for that....

Sunday, January 1, 2012

What Does Involvement ... Involve ... Exactly?

People at the Southern Heritage Preservation Group on Facebook -- and other internet places -- know that I've recently been looking for primary historical source documentation (aka PHSD) for Nathan Bedford Forrest's activities as a member and leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

That's activities... You know, like what he did.

In the twelve years I've been online, I've run into countless claims on news-report comment threads, in listserves, chat rooms, discussion groups and so forth, that "Forrest was a terrorist! He founded the freaking Klan! He was the first Grand Wizard! He terrorized and murdered innocent freedmen!" and so on and so forth.

There are also claims that he was a slave trader (no question that he was) and that he and the Confederate troops under his command "massacred" surrendering black Union soldiers at Ft. Pillow (not true).

On December 4, I posted at the SHPG:

True or not? There is as much primary historical source evidence that Silas Chandler was a Confederate soldier as there is that Nathan Bedford Forrest organized, founded, operated, ran, directed, rode with, or was involved with the KKK, except to issue orders to disband it.

I was not attempting to make a case that Silas Chandler was a Confederate soldier. I don't know whether he was or not. What's more, I don't care whether he was or not. I was simply making a comparison that the primary historical source documentation of Forrest's KKK activities was as paltry as primary historical source documentation for Silas Chandler's soldierhood.

Perfesser Simpson, who monitors the SHPG like the KGB monitored Soviet dissidents, saw my comment and admonished his readers to help me out and provide the info I was asking about.

This is Simpson's first offering of primary historical source documentation: "Was Forrest involved with the KKK? Sure was."

Keep in mind that this man is a Professor of History, CSRD Associate Director, SHPRS, at Arizona State University. In addition to "Sure was," he provided me a link to this website (presumably he thinks this is PHSD, as well, or else he knows it's not but offered the link, anyway, for whatever reason....)

"Confederate Truths" claims to be affiliated with the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi (headed up by Susan Glisson, who I mentioned in Stupidizing Southerners, here) -- but I suspect this site is some concoction of Ed 'The Crawfish" Sebesta, since it's touting the book about "neo-Confederates" he "co-edited" with James W. Loewen.

I looked around the site a little, discovered that the "Reconstruction and Fusion" links are filled with Lorem Ipsum. Hmmmm... Keep in mind that the man who provided the link to "Confederate Truths" is a Professor of Histo-- but I've already said that, haven't I? I pointed out the Lorem Ipsum and asked him if he'd accept that site as a proper source from one of his students... I don't know if he answered cuz I haven't visited that comment thread in a while, but I doubt it.

So anyway, then he tells me to read Brian Steel Wills's biography about Forrest. This, of course, is not PHSD, as Wills is my contemporary. He may reference some PHSD, though, so I'll take a look at the book some day. (Santa Claus brought me an e-reader for Christmas, and I checked to see if Wills's book is available as an e-book. It is not, alas....)

So on the same comment thread, Andy Hall posted a paragraph from and a link to information about Forrest's being sworn in as a member of the KKK. I followed the link and it turned out to be an issue of The Confederate Veteran. The article was written by a Mrs. S.E.F. Rose of West Point, Mississippi and published in January 1916 -- some 50 years after Forrest's alleged KKK "involvement" began.

Andy noted, "Real Confederates certainly thought Forrest was a klansman..."

Apparently, Andy thinks that means we're supposed to think so, too.

Besides, my question wasn't whether Forrest was a klansman -- my question was, what did he do as a klansman? Was he a night-rider in a robe and a pointy hat -- a terrorist and murderer, as all those comment threads I've been reading for eleven years claim?

Perfesser Simpson then pulled his trump card, "...You still have to explain how Forrest could issue orders to an organization he did not supervise. Why do you find it so difficult to answer that question?"

(When he's not being as snide and bitchy as an old lady, he exhibits all the patience and understanding of a three-year-old).

Next time I visited the thread, I replied, "From what I can tell thus far, he was a figurehead, elected in absentia, had little or no interest in the organization, took little part in it, known to have issued two orders that (1) weakened and (2) ended it. That’s my tentative answer based on what’s been posted here, and some other things I’ve read."

Last time I visited that comment thread, nobody had offered to refute my my observation.

Evidently, I didn't show enough respect for Andy's waving and dangling "real Confederates" around on the comment thread because shortly afterward, he made a long post at his Dead Confederate blog, apparently designed to provide ironclad proof that Forrest was "involved" with the KKK.

So did Andy's lengthy blog post answer my question? Does it tell us what Forrest's KKK "involvement" involved? Basically, did it tell us what he did, what his activities were?

I'll take a look at Andy's information in the next installment of The Involvement Chronicles, which I plan to get around to, oh, whenever....

(Photo of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest from the Library of Congress)