Friday, August 31, 2012

Dubious Disclaimers....

"... the existence of slavery by itself did not cause the Civil War. Not even a disagreement over slavery was the only reason for the war. I don’t know any reputable historian who believes this." ~Brooks D. Simpson, Crossroads
Ah, but what historiographers and historians, reputable and otherwise, believe, and what they write and say and publish and blog about aren't necessarily the same thing.

The whole approach of "memory" and "era" type Civil War bloggers is to focus on slavery and basically ignore everything else -- in fact, to zoom in on it so tightly, nothing else shows in the viewfinder of their virtual camera.

Call them on it, and they'll say, "Well, yeah, such-and-such was a factor, too. I don't know any reputable historians who believe otherwise." And then they immediately turn up the zoom factor on slavery again.

I guess they think we don't know they're doing this, especially when they issue lame disclaimers like Brooks D. Simpson's example above....

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Intelligence vs. Integrity ... Again

"Finally, I’ll point out that our favorite fiction writer says that to highlight the errors made by advocates of Confederate heritage is to ridicule their intelligence, and that must mean that I ridicule people who struggle with various forms of impairment.  I don’t think she’s thought that comparison through in terms of its implications for advocates of Confederate heritage, but it would be useless to point out that it’s a cruel and stupid comment demonstrating just how pathetic she is (especially since she rants about ethics all the time, as if she has any). After all, it doesn’t really matter what I say or believe, because our favorite fiction writer claims she knows better, and don’t waste your time telling her otherwise.  Just remember how utterly incapable she is of defending her fellow Confederate heritage advocates.  ~ Brooks D. Simpson, Crossroads Blog

Who is your favorite fiction writer?  You write lots of fiction on your blog, so are you your own favorite fiction writer?  Or maybe it would be more accurate to call you a fabrication writer...

In any case, if that phrase refers to me, you've proven once again that you can't post about me without lying.  I've never said, " highlight the errors made by advocates of Confederate heritage is to ridicule their intelligence, and that must mean that Brooks D. Simpson ridicules people who struggle with various forms of impairment..."

What I've said, to paraphrase, is that highlighting historical error and calling somebody an idiot, in so many words, are two different things. You're a freakin' college professor -- you have the ability to distinguish between them; that you do not do so is not a function of intelligence, though, but a function of ethics -- or lack thereof.  Knowingly conflating them to attribute meaning to my comments that they do not have is unethical.

Read what I actually said, here:

It is supremely possible to highlight historical error without even mentioning anyone who is making the error. But you aren't motivated by highlighting the errors made by advocates of Confederate heritage for any sort of corrective or educational purposes but for stroking your own overblown and apparently insatiably needy academic ego, which is pleased the most, apparently, by putting other folks down.

Besides, who's to say it's errors?  YOU?  LOL!!!!  What a scream!  You are a proven liar, Simpson.  There are post on my blog that document some of your lies.  (You've told way too many for me to document them all.)  Some of the "errors" are just disagreements.  Since neither you nor Confederate heritage folks were alive back then to witness history being made, you both have to rely on what somebody back then (or later) wrote down.  And even people living during the events didn't personally experience all the events, so their writings are subjective and it's really just a matter of who you decide to believe...
"I don’t think she’s thought that comparison through in terms of its implications for advocates of Confederate heritage..."
Oh, yes, I've thought it out.  There ARE no implications for advocates of Confederate heritage in my comparison.  I'm not the one saying they lack intelligence, YOU are.

While the debate continues about whether heredity or environment -- nature vs. nurture -- controls the level of human intelligence, the fact remains that with ordinary ways of living, people can't do much to choose their level of intelligence, the way they can choose to gain or lose weight, or acquire knowledge.

Knowledge is not intelligence.  Wisdom is not intelligence.  Intelligence is a prerequisite for them both. So, yes, you have mischaracterized people's views of history, their level of acquisition of knowledge about history, the paths by which they acquired it, their interpretation of it, as a lack of intelligence --  a mental impairment. 

IF -- and this is a huge if -- IF you truly believe it is a lack of intelligence,  you are ridiculing a mental impairment.  If you KNOW it's not an mental impairment, but you're mischaracterizing it that way just to be insulting and feed your academic ego -- you are demonstrating a breathtaking level of ethical impairment. And ethical impairments are purposefully chosen.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

An Expert At Brandishing the Double Standard

From Crossroads:
From a comment following a post titled "Is Connie Chastain a Rainbow Confederate?"  July 23, 2012

(Quoting Connie Chastain): Link to where I have depicted the Confederacy  as a diverse society, culturally and racially tolerant. Link to ANY statements of mine that argue that the Confederacy was really about “fighting hate” or “fighting racism” and had nothing to do with slavery or white supremacy.

(Simpson's reply): Now here’s Connie’s problem: she’s staked out some narrow ground for herself by daring someone to post that she’s said these things. Note, however, that she does not say whether she believes in them … just that she’s not expressed them in print.


From Crossroads:
Post titled "The desperation of Some People" August 25, 2010

(Quoting Tim Kent): I had a discussion with an Arizona State University history professor who was completely sold on slavery being the only reason of the war.

(Simpson's reply): Sigh.  I have never said any such thing, as readers of this blog or my other writing know.  Note that Mr. Kent produces no proof in support of his allegation.
Now here’s Brooks D. Simpson's problem: he's staked out some narrow ground for himself by saying he has never said any such thing. Note, however, that he does not say whether he believes it … just that he has not expressed it in print.

He wants someone to provide proof in support of an allegation against him -- but didn't provide proof in his allegation of the same thing against me. 

Snicker-snack, goes the double standard...

This post about Tim Kent is a marvelous illustration of how Simpson's devious mind works. He demonstrates his willingness to use faulty logic to lie about people... Like this:

(Quoting Tim Kent): Mr. “S” insisted that the American Civil War had nothing to do with anything except the northern states being more moral and upright than the evil slave holding states.

(Simpson's reply): ... Mr. Kent.  And note your own intellectual confusion about what I’ve said.  First you said it was all about slavery; then you say it was all about Yankee superiority.

My perception is that Brooks D. Simpson is not a stupid person.  He appears, from his writings, to be of average intelligence.  He's no smarter than many of the people whose intelligence he likes to disparage because, presumably, it gives him some kind of rush -- but he's not particularly dumb, either.

So, no, I don't really doubt his intelligence. It is his integrity that's highly questionable.

But you gotta wonder about his last statement above.  How intelligent is it to play dumb in order to portray someone else as confused?  I understand he's a professer of history, not math, but you don't have to be either one to put two and two together. The superior yankee meme is part and parcel of the it-was-all-about-slavery stance.  The very reason they were "righteous" was because they fought the evil South ... over slavery.  If they'd fought only over, say, land/territory, they wouldn't be considered particularly righteous.  It is the fraudulent claim that they fought solely to free slaves that gives them their phony righteousness in the eyes of so many dupes.

For Simpson to illustrate that he can't put two and two together and come up with four, simply because doing so would validate that Mr. Kent was not being self-contradictory, is somewhat surprising.  I wonder if it just didn't occur to him how it would come across -- as his being unable to make known and logical, even obvious, connections -- or if he did know how it would look, but found it worthwhile in order to falsely disparage Mr. Kent. I also wonder if he thinks his readers are too stupid to notice his lapse in cognition.  Perhaps some of them are.  Perhaps some of them, like Simpson, don't really care, as long as the people they disagree with are portrayed in an unflattering manner.

From Crossroads:
From a comment following a post titled "Occidental  Dissent Answers Connie Chastain"  Jan 17, 2012

(Quoting Connie Chastain):  “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.”

(Simpson's reply): "I love how she attributes motives to me."
And I scorn how he attributes motives to Mr. Kent.  Apparently, he thinks it's perfectly fine to attribute motive, whether it's true or not, as long as its him doing it.  Not fine for anyone else, even when they are honest and accurate in their attribution.

Know what? I disagree.  I think he has more than amply demonstrated his motives and people who point out what those motives likely are not attributing motives to him -- they're simply identifying what he  has already demonstrated.

I don't know Mr. Kent, never heard of  him until today .... but the more I see of Brooks D. Simpson and his highly questionable ethics, the more disturbing it is to think of the college students whose education he has access to and authority over.... 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Gatekeepers' Lament

 In short, the same cyberworld that gave us Kevin Levin also gave us Connie Chastain... The same environment that gave rise to Civil War Memory also made Backsass! possible.... Academics used to “controlling the message” as well as being the chief messengers in classroom-like forums express discomfort with the result ....  
Brooks D. Simpson

It used to be that there were three powerful TV networks headquartered in New York City, that controlled everything that every-freaking-body in the United States saw on national television -- news, entertainment and advertising.

It used to be that a few powerful record labels controlled what music got airtime on radio, and thus controlled what music people did and did not get to hear (and which musicians were allowed to record music and get known). 

It used to be that a few powerful newspaper chains and syndicates controlled the national news in the press, and that the Big Six publishing houses in New York City controlled what books were widely available for people to read (and which authors would get published and promoted).

And it used to be that the educational establishment -- teachers, professors, administrators and school boards -- controlled what students learned and where/how they learned it.

Then the digital revolution came along.

How we watch television, movies, video has been changed.  The press, the music industry, book publishing.... it's all been irrevocably changed.

Nowadays, just about anybody can publish e-books, or even print books and sell them online, since digital print-on-demand technology means large print runs costing thousands of dollars up front are no longer necessary.  I know this because I've self-published both print and e-books, and helped others do the same. 

And this particular finger of the digital revolution has the traditional book publishing industry in turmoil....  As Forbes told us recently, Publishing Is Broken, We're Drowning In Indie Books - And That's A Good Thing

Right now, the old school laments the mountains of badly written indie books being churned out, but as most industry watchers agree, this is what happens on the forefront of revolution.  Change will come, improvement will come as readers themselves detemine which authors and books have staying power.  Forbes predicts that mainstream publishers will use indie publishing as a "minor league" for finding and developing new talent.

~ Education Revolutionized, Too ~

Eventually the world adapts to revolution and its change -- but when it first appears, the gatekeepers of the past will grumble, you may be assured.  This is illustrated marvelously by certain educators who specialize in Civil War history. 

To read the writings of some of them, they think they own the information of history, and only they have a right to dole it out, as they see fit, to those who will accept it as they think it should be accepted.  You have to learn it the way they did -- in some sterile classroom from some sterile teacher, who tells you only what you need to know, in the manner they deem you need to know it.  This is known as "knowing how to interpret" the historical record.

I mean, God forbid that you learned a piece of history from stories handed down through your family or from letters of kinfolk who've come to you through the generations.  Never mind if your own independent research verifies the family stories (as mine has done).  You're too stupid to know what you're reading.  Unless some teacher in some classroom somewhere told you what to do and how to do it -- you're doing it wrong.

Frankly, I don't doubt that some people do get it wrong; but like other segments of the digital revolution, self-education, in history or whatever, will get more sophisticated and reliable as people learn.

I don't think that's much comfort to the gatekeepers who increasingly find themselves growing irrelevant.  It shows in their shucking the role of "gatekeeper" and taking on the job of Civil War Thought Police, complete with (figurative, i.e., verbal) billy clubs for battering amateur historians who have the temerity to go around the gatekeepers-turned-thought cops and do their own historical research. 

This is particularly well illustrated by the behavior of the Civil War Riot Cops/SWAT Team made up of Andy Hall, Kevin Levin, Brooks D. Simpson and sometime-hangers on Corey Meyer and Rob Baker. 

Recently, Levin posted on his "memory" blog an entry titled "She's Back" about Black Confederate researcher Ann DeWitt.  Since none of these esteemed gentlemen even believe in Black Confederates, Ms. DeWitt is doomed to their derision and verbal billy-club beatings from the start.  At Levin's blog, Hall posted this in a comment:
I’ve said repeatedly that I believed Ms. DeWitt to be sincere and well-intentioned in her efforts, but I’m less certain of that now. She can’t or won’t answer criticism directly — recall when she complained to YouTube about your video critiquing her website, claiming it was a “copyright infringement” — and I don’t recall a single case where she’s publicly acknowledged and corrected even egregious errors — she just deletes the original post to cover her tracks. This is not the mark of someone who is serious about her research, or who is willing to have the quality of her work examined in the bright sunlight. Ms. DeWitt’s problem isn’t that scholars don’t take her seriously; it’s that she herself shows little evidence of taking her own work seriously.
Well, golly geepers, why should she answer "criticism" -- civilly or otherwise -- when it comes wrapped in the kind of ridicule, the bloody verbal battering and derision Andy and his henchmen friends wrap their "criticism" in?  If her responses are "not the mark of someone serious about her research..." the verbal billy-club beatings Andy had his buddies give her are not the mark of somebody interested in sincere correction of another person's errors. 

Take a look at the frenzied and orgiastic derision with which Andy Hall and his myrmidons attack Ann's mistake -- MISTAKE -- not deliberate deception of the type Brooks D. Simpson is guilty of.

Such gentlemen!  Andy and his fellow travelers shovel out this criticism clad in vulgar mocking and mean-spirited ridicule but expect Ann to be sincere in her admission of mistakes? 

Keep in mind that this display of hypocrisy is not the only example from Andy.  He has repeatedly bellyached about the Southern Heritage Preservation Group not policing its sloppy research and meeting erroneously presented material with silence.  But where was Andy Hall when Brooks D. Simpson posted on his blog sloppy and dishonest research about my family history, done for no purpose whatever except to embarrass me -- and wrapped it in numerous lies about "wanting to provide a more complete historical context" than I had given about my family history -- a blatant lie because, in fact, he purposely left out pertinent facts found in the research material because they didn't establish what he wished? 

Where were ya on that one, Andy, you poseur?

Brooks D. Simpson is STILL piling on about the "black cooks" regiment thing that was dealt with long ago.  What is it about such derision that so titillates these "scholars" -- that tickles their innards, or whatever it tickles -- that they have to keep doing it over and over and over?

Look below at the number of times the obsessive Brooks D. Simpson has mentioned Ann and/or the black cooks regiment, in either a blog post or comment thread,  looooooong after it was dealt with. And this is just the ones I recorded before I got sick of looking.  There's no telling how many other times he's beaten her over the head with his verbal billy club....


~ What Motivates These Verbal Abusers? ~

I have some speculations about what motivates these folks to so freely and frequently spew such verbal abuse (something Ann has never, ever done to them, so far as I know) but I'll keep it to myself for a while.  But if you want to offer your opinion, just click "add a comment" below....

Photo by Ggia via Wikimedia Commons..  Licensed under Creative Commons License 2

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Silver Pines Day Camp Incident

...from Sweet Southern Boys...

As twilight deepened, Shelby grew increasingly anxious.  With his friends at his side, he meandered toward the SAR operations shelters with the intention of unobtrusively eavesdropping on communications.

"I think it's stupid that me and Daddy can't help with the search," he muttered.  "We know how to get along in the woods, and she's our kid."

"They have their reasons," John Mark murmured. He'd been uncharacteristically quiet since he'd arrived and Shelby caught glimpses of his own anxiety mirrored in John Mark's brown eyes.

"And she'd be upset if they brought her out and you weren't here," Randy said.

Shelby pulled in a breath, held it a moment, and blew it out.  "You're right.  I didn't think of that. It would--"

He stopped walking at the same instant he abruptly went silent.  His companions halted a step or two later and looked back to see that his face was like thunder. They followed his line of vision to a clump of volunteers waiting to sign in at the next table over. They barely made out, just beyond the volunteers, the familiar and dreaded form of Wesley Bratcher standing under one of the rustic pavilions. Zach Hornsby was with him.

Shelby took long, swift strides across the grass and his friends had to hurry to keep up with him. He got to Bratcher and abruptly stepped in front of him.

"What're you doing here?"

"Hello to you, too, Kincaid. I see your suth'n hospitality is down to its usual standards."

"What are you doing here?"

"Zach's dad heads up a search team that was called up for this search. We came along in case we could be of some help."

"Well, you can't. You're not needed. There's more than enough volunteers so you can turn around and go home."

Wesley laughed. "Are you in charge of this operation?"

"I don't want you here," Shelby said.

"Too bad. I'm here. I was here before you were."

"You don't learn, do you? I told you a long time ago I don't want you around my sister. If I find out you've been anywhere near her, I will hunt you down and beat the crap out of you. Now, you just go home."

"You rednecks do love violence, don't you?"

"What are you doing still standing here?"

"Kincaid, Mr. Hornsby is my ride home, and he is committed for twenty-four hours, or until they find the brat, whichever comes fir--"

Shelby's fist smacked into Wesley's jaw so hard it snapped his head back and sent him reeling backwards three or four steps. The haymaker was so powerful it sent a jolt like electricity through Shelby's hand and up his arm, across his shoulder, into his own neck and jaw.

Shelby stepped forward, preparing to swing with his other fist when he felt himself being restrained. John Mark and Randy had his arms and they were holding on tight. He couldn't move.

"What do you think you're doing?" he squeaked, outraged, trying to jerk his arms free. "Let me go!"

"No," Randy said.

"I said let me go," Shelby said through his teeth.


Shelby turned to John Mark and, in a more reasonable tone, said, "Wock, turn me loose."

"You heard Randy-man. Calm down, Shelby."

"I can't believe y'all are doing this," he said, jerking harder to try to free himself.

John Mark said, "Bratch, why don't you and Zach go someplace where you're out of sight."

Wesley was rubbing his jaw and forehead and didn't answer; seemed not to hear.

Zach said, "Wes, you all right?"

"Yeah," Wesley said faintly. "Seeing stars, ears ringing...."

"Let's go," Zach said, taking him by the arm and steering him toward the seats farther away from the staging area.

Shelby calmed enough to watch him go, then looked reproachfully at first one of his friends and then the other. They continued to hold onto his arms even after he began to relax.

Breathing hard, he turned his indignant face toward Randy. "Why?"

"Because," Randy said calmly.

* * *

Four days after Ainsley's dramatic rescue, the phone rang at the Kincaid house. Gina was cooking supper and Kurt sat in his recliner, looking over papers he'd brought home from the office, so Shelby answered the phone.

He was no worse for the wear after this fainting spell at the hospital, but like his parents, he was caught up with worry for Ainsley and he found comfort in the calls from friends and family checking on her recovery and offering well wishes.


A woman's voice he didn't recognize asked, "May I speak with Mr. Kincaid, please?"

"Just a minute.  Daddy, it's for you."

Kurt picked up the telephone extension beside his recliner, "Kurt Kincaid," he said, inadvertently lapsing into workplace communications lingo.  His eyes didn't leave the reports he'd brought home from the office and he paid only nominal attention to the call.

"Mr. Kincaid, my name is Cheryl Duncan. My daughter, Lindsey, was at day camp with your daughter this year, and she was on the canoe trip when Ainsley got lost. I was just calling to see how she's doing."

The question dented Kurt's concentration enough for him to lower the papers and raise his head. "Well, I appreciate your concern, Mrs. Duncan. Ainsley's doing very well physically. She had some scrapes and scratches and bumps.  Her worst injury was a twisted ankle, which is healing normally."

"I'm glad to hear that. Lindsey was concerned. Mr. Kincaid, while I have you on the phone, may I ask you a question?"

"Sure, go ahead."

"What has Ainsley told you about that canoe trip?"

Kurt didn't answer for a moment and Cheryl picked up on the silence. "If you don't want to answer, that's fine. It's none of my business, of course. I was just curious, considering some things Lindsey has told me."

By now, the reports from work were relegated to the background of Kurt's consciousness and he laid them aside. "I would be interested in what your daughter told you because, frankly, Ainsley hasn't told us anything about it. She won't talk about it at all."

"Hmmm," Cheryl said. "There were seven campers on that trip. Because of things they've told their families about it, most of the parents have gotten in contact with each other and compared notes, and we've pieced together a pretty good picture of what happened. None of us are professional analysts or anything, but it looks to us like the counselor who took our girls on that trip did so specifically for the purpose of emotionally and psychologically traumatizing them."

Kurt frowned. "That's a pretty serious charge."

"Yes it is. And if it's true, that counselor succeeded most effectively with your daughter."

"I'd like to hear the reason for your suspicions.”

"And I'll be glad to tell you what we've come up with. I would rather do it in person, and have my daughter present. She's fourteen. She was the oldest one on the trip, and she can give you a first hand account. Lindsey and I can come to your home whenever you say, or you and your family can visit ours."

"Then please, come to our house tomorrow evening. We usually get home from midweek Bible study about eight fifteen.  Is eight thirty all right?"

"That's fine."

"We're at 1382 Cloverdale Road. That's north of Forsythe Street.

"I'm pretty familiar with that neighborhood. Shouldn't have any trouble finding it."

"All right. Mrs. Duncan, thank you for calling. I look forward to meeting with you and Lindsey."

"You're welcome, Mr. Kincaid. We'll see you tomorrow night."

 * * *

"...and there were seven of us," Lindsey Duncan said. "Counselor Nora said she'd picked us special."

She and her mother sat on the black Naugahyde couch in the Kincaid's family room, refreshed with sips of Gina's sweet tea.  Shelby shared the sofa with the visitors, Kurt was in his recliner and, as hostess, Gina took a side chair nearest the kitchen.

"Excuse me for interrupting," Shelby said softly. "Right after camp started, Ainsley told me Nora Weir was from up north somewhere and none of the campers liked her very much."

Lindsey nodded. "That's right, a lot of us didn't like her. She was all the time putting down the South and saying Southerners are hicks and stuff.  Besides that, she's just ... creepy."

"Wonder if her last name is Bratcher," Shelby muttered under his breath.


"Never mind, I was being facetious."

"Shelby," Kurt said. "Let's stick with relevant questions right now."

Shelby nodded.

Lindsay continued her account. "Well, Ainsley didn't want to go -- none of us wanted to go, but we  thought, well, we'll just go and get it over with, and get back right after the picnic.  There's a grassy place by the creek not too far from camp where we usually ate dinner on canoe trips but Counselor Nora made us go past it. She made us keep paddling and we went a long way and we were starting to get a little scared."

"Did she say why she took you so far?" Kurt asked.

"She just said it was a special trip and we were going to a special place."

"What were you getting scared of?"

Lindsey shook her head. "Some of us just felt like something bad was gonna happen. We went until we got to a bridge that was too low to paddle under. We hadn't ever been that far before and we didn't know where we were."

"A bridge? An old one, or did it look like it was still in use? Like there was a road?" Kurt asked.

"I don't know, just a bridge made out of concrete. I don't think Counselor Nora knew it was there. I think she meant us to go even further, but we couldn't, so she told us to get out there. It wasn't a good place for a picnic. There weren't any grassy spots, it was mostly bushes and a few big trees. It was so hot and dusty it was hard to breathe."

Lindsey sighed deeply, as if reliving the heat and suffocation. As her narrative progressed, she would shift her attention from Kurt to Gina to Shelby and back again. Now she looked at Gina.

"Some girls sat on a fallen log, but I remembered what we learned in school about where snakes hide, so I wouldn't sit there. Ainsley wouldn't either. The whole place looked snaky to me so we sat on the canoe seats. It was sort of uncomfortable because the seats were a little bit lower than the edge of the canoe, but it was the only place to sit.  Anyway, Counselor Nora told us to get out."

She turned her gaze back to Kurt. "We weren't even in the canoe, Mr. Kincaid, we were just sitting at the end of the seats with our feet outside the boat, but she told us to get out. I said there was no other place to sit, and she started fussing at us but we weren't about to sit on the ground."

Lindsey told them about the stale cornbread and tepid buttermilk in the white take-out boxes Nora gave them instead of sandwiches and colas.

"Counselor Nora said it was slave food, and she told us about slavery and the civil war. She said slavery in the South was the worst thing that could happen to a human being. She told us a writer -- I don't remember her name but she was some famous writer from New York -- she said white people are the cancer of the world, and Counselor Nora said white Southerners were the worst cancers of all because they enslaved black people."

Kurt's brows drew together and he ran his fingers across his lips. "Unbelievable."

"That's when I realized she had just brought white girls on the picnic," Lindsey said.

Then Counselor Nora had told them about brutal lynchings in South Georgia history after slavery ended, concentrating particularly on a week-long lynching spree in and around Verona in the  1920s.  The camp counselor had gone into horrifying and graphic detail that Lindsey could not duplicate in the retelling.

"It was awful. It was just awful," Lindsey said in a trembling voice and shaking her head furiously, as if to shake the images out of it. Her mother put her arm around Lindsey's shoulder and gave her a quick squeeze.

Lindsey composed herself, cleared her throat and continued. "She told us that every girl on the canoe trip had ancestors in Verona and the same hatred and evil was in every one of us, too.  She said it had been in our people for generations.  She said our race-hate had changed our DNA so we weren't really human anymore."

A few seconds of stunned silence filled the family room.

"I read up on that lynching rampage," Cheryl told the Kincaids. "It was an unspeakably horrible thing. You really wouldn't be human if it didn't tear at your insides. But Mr. Kincaid, to try to saddle our girls with responsibility for savage crimes that happened generations before they were born... I cannot fathom why someone would do that."

Cheryl Duncan cleared her throat and indecision flitted across her face, but only a moment. "I don't know whether I should say this, but a few of us have wondered whether Nora was attempting to take them to the place where one of the worst incidents occurred -- near a swampy area between Tellico Creek and the Oostachula River, according to one book I read. She may not have known there was a bridge that would block them.  In any case, it's pure speculation on our part."

Gina listened with a hand pressed to her cheek. "My gosh, if that's what she was attempting, you have to wonder what she planned to do there...."

With a nod to Gina, Cheryl looked at her daughter and said, "Go on."

Lindsey's troubled eyes went  to Kurt. "Then she went back to talking about slavery and the whippings slaves got.  She took a whip out of the backpack and told  us to pretend a pine tree by the clearing was a slave whipping post.  She wanted us to take turns whipping the tree like there was a slave tied to it, and she chose Ainsley to go first.  But Ainsley wouldn't.  She started crying and yelled No! and ran off into the woods. We thought she was running back to camp, but we found out later she had got lost.  Anyway,  when Ainsley ran off, Counselor Nora said that was the end of the picnic and told us get back into the boats."

Cheryl said, "For a child to spend twelve hours lost in the woods just after her young mind has been filled with such brutal imagery, and to be told she's responsible for it -- well, Mr. Kincaid, it's no wonder your daughter is reacting the way she is. All the girls are still haunted by it, and they weren't lost in the woods."

* * *
From The Verona Beacon
No litigation against camp counselor, for now
by Beacon staff

The parents of seven day-campers have decided against filing suit at this time for what they say was a purposeful attempt by a camp counselor to emotionally traumatize their daughters.

Cheryl Duncan of Verona, spokesperson for the parents, said the termination of the camp counselor's association with Silver Pines Day Camp is a step in the right direction.

"We learned that the counselor, Nora Weir, was a volunteer, not an employee," Duncan said, "so she can't be fired.  We are looking at other actions to take that will keep this person from harming other children in the future, although we haven't permanently ruled out litigation."

A native of Binghamton, N.Y., Weir relocated to Verona seven years ago to help with the start-up of the Anti-Racist Initiative, a non-profit organization with a three-person board of directors. Weir is the only full-time employee in a small office that primarily makes information available to schools, businesses, churches and community groups for improving and enhancing race relations.

Another parent, Debra Pryor, said, "If the goal is better race relations, traumatizing young girls is not the way to achieve it."

Camp Administrator Frances Clevenger said this was the first year that Weir had volunteered at Silver Pines.  The incident occurred in late August, during the camp's last session of the summer.

"Nora's report to the camp's board of directors said she took the seven campers on a canoe trip and picnic, and told them stories from Verona's history," Clevenger told The Beacon.  "She said the stories can be found in numerous history books about south Georgia."

Duncan disagreed with that description of the incident. "This was not history lessons or scary stories told around a campfire," she said.  "She traumatized our daughters with accounts of violent racial incidents from Verona's past and attempted to instill personal guilt in them for events that happened generations ago."

Nine-year-old camper Ainsley Kincaid, upset by the stories, ran away from the picnic and was lost in the woods for twelve hours. She was found by a search-and-rescue operation conducted by the Yancey County Sheriff's Office. It was unknown at the time what caused her flight into the woods.

"It only came out later," Duncan said, "when parents of the campers got together and shared accounts their daughters had told them about the incident."
Neither Weir nor any Anti-Racist Initiative board members could be reached for comment.
Copyright © 2012 by Connie Chastain. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Meet the progressives of Yancey County, Georgia

...from Sweet Southern Boys...

In the fluorescent brightness of the Howe Street Cafe, Maureen stirred her coffee and purposely averted her eyes from the pair seated across from her. For a fleeting moment, she feared she would burst out laughing if she looked at them again. Thank goodness, sheer force of will dissipated the impulse and she glanced up.

Her booth companions looked even more bizarre than they had at the One Community meeting earlier, when they had invited her for coffee to become better acquainted.

In her mid-fifties, Clara Lawson was barrel-shaped and red-faced but her most striking feature was her short, impossibly black hair, so black it thoroughly absorbed the light and gave off not a hint of reflection or highlight, not even the light from the neon sign glowing through the plate glass window that bathed their booth in an aura of pink.

Clara was progressivism's propagandist in Yancey County. She wrote columns for various free tabloids in south Georgia both promoting progressive viewpoints and pooh-poohing as hysteria the arguments of critics. Owner and publisher of The Verona Progressive, she owned the building, once a convenience store, that housed the newspaper offices and donated space for One Community.

Next to her sat Nora Weir. Her tall, thin frame worked with her pale eyes and ash blond hair to project a delicate, almost colorless appearance, distinctly at odds with her implacable personality. Earlier, during the meeting, by way of introduction, she had told Maureen, "For the past three years, I've been the head of a severely needed anti-racist initiative in Yancey County."

Now, stirring her coffee heavily laden with cream and sugar, Nora expanded.

"When I first arrived in Verona, I was astounded. It was like this place never knew there was a civil rights movement twenty, thirty years ago, never heard of Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior, or Brown versus the Board of Education, never heard of Selma or Freedom Summer or all the other civil rights efforts--or the massive and bloody resistance from Southern whites.”

Clara nodded. "Ditto feminism, despite a very savvy and active group at the university that's been working hard on women's issues almost twenty years. Bianca can tell you more at our next meeting. She's gone to a women's issues conference in Saint Louis this week."

"I'll be glad when I can meet her," Maureen said. "I'll admit, I was a bit disappointed tonight by the attendance. I don't know why, but I was expecting more than six or seven people, even in such a small town."

Clara looked pensive a moment. "You might as well be told about this now. We're ... sort of ... rebuilding. One Community was founded two and a half years ago by Ruth Adamsky from the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She is sponsored by several people in Minneapolis, who sent her South to organize progressive groups. She's a genius at initial organization, but not at all interested in administration. Eight months after One Community was launched, it was going great -- member organizations were networking, helping each other, keeping each other informed, and welcoming a couple of newly founded groups. Happy with that success, Ruth relocated to start the same process in Dothan, Alabama."

Nora appeared to tune out most of what Clara said -- she'd probably heard it all before -- and her eyes glanced at the other patrons of the cafe. The faint look of disdain on her pale countenance intrigued Maureen, and she had to force her attention back to Clara's narrative.

"Roughly a year after One Community started, Jessica Grant, the director of the Women's Assistance Group at the time, helped a woman in a local business with a sexual harassment complaint. Jessica aggressively pursued this guy, and it got out of hand. What was supposed to be a confidential, in-house investigation and resolution was broadcast all over town. The man's reputation was ruined, at least temporarily, and his family harassed, including his elementary school children."

Faint lines appeared between her brows and she shook her head in regret.

"Turned out that he had ironclad proof not only of his innocence, but that the woman accusing him had hit on him. Tried to seduce him in his office after work. Rumor had it that she was somewhat emotionally unstable, a factor Jessica ignored.”

Clara paused for a sip of coffee, interrupting an absorbing narrative, and Maureen resisted the urge to snap, Well? What happened?

“She was eager to spotlight a sexual harassment case because it really was a big problem in corporate Verona. Still is. But some people thought Jessica went too far. The WAG lost some members over that, and it even set One Community back quite a bit. We're starting to recover now, though. Bianca's done a great job rebuilding WAG."

Nora examined the wadded paper napkin she'd been toying with and glanced to her companions. "If he didn't do it to that girl, he did it to some other one. Probably more than one."

Somewhat taken aback by Nora's demeanor -- there was something a little creepy about her -- Maureen suppressed the thought that Nora would never have to worry about being sexually harassed.

"Jessica said he was a typical privileged Southern white man," Nora continued, her pale eyes fastened on Maureen. "We're not like these Southerners, you know. Clara here's from Baltimore, I'm from Binghamton, New York and you're from -- Chicago, you said?"

"Yes. My family's been there generations."

Nora nodded. "These hicks and rednecks," she said, echoing Maureen's son, "they're not like regular people. They've been racists and haters so long, I think it altered their DNA. I honestly do. They can't recognize their own evil and don't even know what they are." Nora paused and lifted a corner of her mouth in a lopsided grin. "Excuse me, I need to go to the women's room."

She threaded her way through the tables in the dining room to the back of the building.

"Our Nora," Clara gave an embarrassed laugh. "She's a bit odd in her thinking, but she's as dedicated to eradicating racism as anybody you'd care to meet.”

She pulled a small notepad and pen from her purse, jotted a note, and handed it to Maureen. “This is Maxine Teasley's number. She'll be back in town day after tomorrow. She can help you get a volunteer position on the city events committee. That's where you've got to start if you want to tackle the Christmas Festival.”

“All right. Thanks.” Maureen folded the slip of paper, dropped it in her purse and felt the slight stirring of challenge warm her veins, anticipating the satisfaction of bringing cultural enlightenment to this benighted religious backwater.

Copyright © 2012 by Connie Chastain. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pots and Kettles, Motes and Beams

From a post at Crossroads blog:
She’s All A-Twitter … And Twitter-pated!

Apparently having a blog and a FB page dedicated to her favorite obsession … those anti-southern bloggers who are out to destroy Dixie … isn’t enough for Connie Chastain, who now has expanded her endeavors to Twitter.

By the way, that’s My Backsass … not something less flattering. It’s a southern thing.

We all live rent free in the mind that created this cybercommunications empire.
~Brooks Simpson

Brooks Simpson' blog

Brooks Simpson's Facebook pages.

Brooks Simpson's Twitter Feed


Apparently having a blog and a FB page dedicated to his favorite obsession … maligning and lying about Southern heritage supporters … isn’t enough for Brooks Simpson, who extends his endeavors to Twitter.

By the way, that’s cwcrossroads… which is extremely NOT flattering. It’s a damnyankee thing.

We all live rent free in the mind that created this bigoted, anti-Southern cybercommunications empire.

~Connie Ward
Hypocrisy, thy name is Brooks D. Simpson.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Next BIG THING... evidently me Tweeting.

Apparently Brooks Simpson (aka "BS" to his pet white supe) finds it blog-news worthy that I've opened a Twitter account for Backsass called "mybacksass" (named My Backssass because Blogger said "backsass" was already in use.)

I'm not sure why Backsass (and now its associated Twitter feed) would be of interest to his readers -- although I note one of them was impressed enough to consult Google about my site, and report what she found to Simpson. Here's her comment:

Ironic … when you Google “mybacksass”, you don’t get her blog. You get porno pages saying … well, I’m not gonna say what they say. But it’s racial.
Actually, when I Google "mybacksass" here's what comes up (click the image for a larger version):

I dunno. Maybe she has her Google ... trained differently.... than I do. Even when I searched just "backsass" without the "my," no racist porno links showed up.

I do note that on the second page of the Google index, there are a couple of entries that look like they could lead to erotic sites, but I can't say for sure since I didn't click the links.

In any case, I note that Simpson's attempts at satire fall totally flat. He followed me over to Kevin Levin's blog and left some sour-grapes comments that sounded quite bitter. I wonder if he's jealuth of the SCV Commander in Chief's association with Hollywood....

Friday, August 10, 2012

For Brooks D. Simpson ...

... who has shown such interest in Sweet Southern Boys

Brooks Simpson has mentioned outright, or alluded to, my novel, Sweet Southern Boys, several times in his blog, in an unflattering manner. He did this while the novel was still being written and edited, so he passed judgment on a book he never read. Typical prejudice from anti-Southern critics.

In any case, because he's shown such interest in something he apparently looks down on without knowing anything about it, I've decided to make this post so he can get to know my characters better. Some of this background information doesn't appear in the novel, so this is behind-the-scenes stuff.....

Shelby Michael Kincaid

Born August 3, 1976, Verona, Georgia
At seventeen, he stands 5'10" and weighs 176 pounds

Son of Kurt and Gina (Shelby) Kincaid
Sister Ainsley five years younger

Takes karate lessons beginning at age seven; collects arrowheads; gets a Commodore 64 computer at age nine, teaches himself BASIC programming which sets him on the path to becoming an IT professional as an adult.

Shelby is frank and impulsive. He's an ambivert, equally comfortable alone or with crowds. He has an explosive temper, but a very long, very slow fuse, so his temper does not explode often. When he does something regrettable, he has a tendency to overdo the guilt and remorse, to let it go on a little longer than it needs to, but he eventually moves on. He's is highly emotionally invested in his little sister, Ainsley, and very protective of her.

Shelby is very popular with girls at Verona High School. He's a wide receiver on his high school football team. His nickname is "Shelby Cobra." He goes to work at Morgan's Supermarket at age 14 and works there part time, off and on, until the spring of his senior year.

Shelby Kincaid -- a sweet Southern boy.


Troy Randall "Randy" Stevenson, Jr.

Born February 9, 1976, Atlanta, Georgia
At seventeen, he stands 6'1' and weighs 185 pounds.

Son of Troy and Patty (Ayres) Stevenson
Sister Melissa, a year and five months older
Family moved from Atlanta to Verona in 1976 when Randy was just a few months old. He has no recollection of any other home.

Randy is two cliches -- tall, dark and handsome; the strong, silent type. He's athletic, like his father, Troy. Likes golfing with his father, and dabbling in astronomy. His team sports are football, baseball and basketball.

He is somewhat reserved -- a private person (although open and sharing with his two best friends). He's not really an introvert, but he is given to introspection.

Because of his father's problem with alcohol, which precipitated a crisis for the Stevenson family when Randy was very young, he is more sensitive than the average guy to pain and/or distress in another person, and more sympathetic.

Girls interpret his reserve and sensitivity as his being "troubled" -- a tortured soul who needs their tender loving care. They're always asking Shelby and John Mark why Randy is wounded, and what they can do to attract him -- so they can help him, of course. This amuses Randy's two best friends to no end because Randy is not troubled, he just doesn't find it necessary to blurt everything he's thinking and feeling.

It amuses Randy, too, because he's actually very well adjusted; like his father, he's happy with who and what he is. However, he doesn't find it necessary to always correct this wrong impression about himself because, well, it is a powerful chick-magnet....

Randy Stevenson -- a sweet Southern boy.


John Mark Jordan

Born July 21, 1976, Charlotte, North Carolina
At seventeen, he stands 5'9" and weighs 165 pounds

Son of Dale and Carol (Payne) Jordan
Brother Tommy three years older
In 1978 when John Mark is two, the family moves to Verona, Georgia where Dale becomes the pastor of Forsythe Street Baptist Church

John Mark learns to skateboard at age six and becomes Georgia State Champion at twelve. He collects coins and stamps, and likes to read boys' adventure stories. In high school, he is a place kicker and punter for the Verona Patriots.

John Mark is optimistic and expansive. He's an extrovert and gets along well with others. He is an extremely good-looking kid who grows into a stunningly handsome man... but he's a talker. He just jabbers. Shelby's nickname for him is "Wock" -- short for "Jabberwock," an allusion to his loquaciousness.

A great disappointment in his life is that he and his older brother, Tommy, are not close; but his relationship with his best friends helps to make up for it.

Although a preacher's son, and a believer, John Mark has his own view of religion and deity. He believes more strongly in a somewhat impersonal providence than he believes God directly and personally intervenes in human life.

John Mark Jordan -- a sweet Southern boy.

These boys were playmates as preschoolers, and grew to become life-long best friends. They are extremely loyal to each other. Through their friendship, their families become close friends. When they are younger, their mothers make them into "pretty boys". Their fathers are okay with that, as long as they don't make them into sissy boys. When they are older, their mothers paradoxically indulge their frequent (but not constant) scruffiness (long hair, frayed collars, knee-holes in jeans).

They have very strong male role models in their fathers, who are their primary disciplinarians. (Kurt Kincaid is an outdoorsman who grew up in Verona, hunting and fishing in the woods and swamps of south Georgia; Troy Stevenson was an All-American running back for Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama in the early 1970s and is a successful (competitive but not ruthless) corporate executive; Dale Jordan is a community and religious leader who has the responsibility of pastoring a church of about 300 members and instructing young men in leadership of church and community.)

These boys are not prudes, but they sincerely believe their religion. They are good boys and they try to do the right thing.


Shelby, Randy, and John Mark have been best friends since grade school. Growing up in a small town in south Georgia, they've petted and spoiled Shelby's little sister, Ainsley, hunted and fished, played football, studied, worked and worshiped -- together. The sons of close-knit families, they have been raised to be responsible, to revere God, and to love.

But as seniors in high school, they are accused of unspeakable crimes. Branded criminals in headlines from coast to coast, persecuted by the justice system, abandoned by their community, their lives shattered and their futures jeopardized, they have no one to turn but their families, their faith and each other.

Sweet Southern Boys -- a coming of age story, a tale of misandry run amok.

E-book available from and Smashwords. Trade paperback edition coming soon.

Copyright © 2012 by Connie Chastain. All rights reserved.

Images © Copyright by Kevin Russ and, Attator and, Luminis and, and Connie Ward. Stock photos used in accordance with iStockphoto and Dreamstime standard license.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Intelligence...or Ethics?

Proving once again that he can hardly post about ANYthing without attacking me, Brooks Simpson posts this in the comment thread following this entry at Crossroads:
Connie Chastain gets angry when she says I question people’s intelligence (including hers, of course). I guess she sees this discussion as an example of the intelligence of the Confederate Heritage ™ movement.

So do I.

Please save Confederate heritage from those who proclaim that their job is to protect it. “In order to save that heritage, we had to destroy it.”
My opinion is that a lot of misinformation travels through the Southern Heritage community because of the misinformation that abounds on the Internet. Anyone who thinks this happened on this scale beFORE the Internet, please step forward with some proof. I say this because the same sort of misinformation percolates throughout the web regarding nearly any subject you wish to name, not just Southern heritage or the civil war.

There are also the factors that most Southern heritage advocates (1) are working people and don't have the leisure time to spend hours at the library, and (2) don't have the money to pay others to do the research and (3) don't live close enough to sources such as university libraries to travel there and, you know, spend hours researching.

It really doesn't have all that much to do with level of intelligence. But if it did, that would make Brooks Simpson an even more despicable person for denigrating people for a trait they have no control over. I wonder if he also makes fun of kids born with a club foot, harelip, spina bifida or other factors they have no control over ...

If, however, the misinformation is distributed by people who can but simply don't want to go to the trouble of authenticating it, or who know it is bogus but circulate it anyway, the problem is not intelligence. They have the same problem Simpson does -- questionable ethics -- which he continuously demonstrates on his blog ... a prime example being his "research" into my family history for the purpose of embarrassing me (chronicled here: )

I freely acknowledge that no one in Southern heritage is morally perfect. However, like the yankees that came down and killed Southerners and laid their land waste, Simpson doesn't have the moral authority to criticize Southern heritage advocates today. Sorry, he just doesn't.

Pots and kettles. Motes and beams....

Addendum: Simpson's comment says he "questions" people's intelligence. Sometimes. More often, he denigrates it, mocks it, makes fun of it, and thus exhibits animosity for the person whose intelligence he ridicules. I guess that's his version of tolerance.

Friday, August 3, 2012

How a Professor of History Does ... History?

Bear with me, folks. This is going to be a long one.

On April 15, on his Crossroads blog, Brooks Simpson, professor of history at Arizona State University, posted this:

Support for Southern Separatism

He quoted the blog titled The Catholic Knight which included this passage:

"I do confess to having a strong biological connection to Southern culture through my mother, both in Southern English, Irish and Scottish descent, as well as a strong Cherokee ancestry which is deeply connected to Southern history."
Simpson snidely remarked,
"Someone ought to fill him in on who advocated the removal of the Cherokee Nation."
Implying (1) he didn't know and (2) having both Southern and Cherokee ancestry/heritage requires a person to choose one and reject the other.

I addressed this the following day, April 16, in the comments following Simpson's post:
Are you saying *you know* he doesn’t know who advocated removal? How do you know? He probably does know, and it probably doesn’t change things for him any more than it does for me. I have ancestors on several of the feds’ Cherokee census rolls — The 1817 Emigration Roll; the 1835 Henderson Roll; the 1851 Siler Roll; the 1852 Chapman Roll; the 1883 Hester Roll; and the 1909 Guion Miller Roll, and perhaps others. My grandmother is listed on the last two named here. She received payment from the feds in compensation for some offense or other it committed against her and her Cherokee ancestors. Twenty dollars in gold. She bought a sewing machine with it. Her relatives and descendants all self-identify as Southerners. It’s a Southern thang. New Yawkers can’t understand.
The verbal cowplops from Simpson and his "diversity"-worshiping and "tolerant" comment-drones were as filthy and smelly as they usually are:
Simpson: Thanks for admitting that you fashion a version of southern heritage to fit your own political agenda. Your ignorance of Indian removal, something instigated in the case of the Cherokee first by white Georgians seeking to make money from a gold strike, is stunning but not surprising. So in this case you confess you know nothing about your own heritage. Let’s keep that in mind the next time you tell people about the need to defend southern heritage … because you can’t remember your own.
(I admitted no such thing. I confessed no such thing. I simply documented my Cherokee ancestors and noted that they and their descendants identified as Southerners. But then, I can't find a better illustrator than Simpson that ... .liars gotta lie.)
John Foskett: Well, Connie is as confused about the Cherokee Removal as she is about Confederate history. As you point out, the Cherokees were ultimately forced to leave as a result of the Georgia Gold Rush, which saw white Georgians grabbing Cherokee ancestral lands. So what’s the “Southern Heritage” here – that of the Cherokees who ended up in present-day Oklahoma or that of the folks who drove them out and who stayed home in Georgia? Ironically, the most vociferous opposition to the removal came from the North. Must be a case of “Northern Heritage”.
Plop, plop, stink, stink.

Astute readers will note that my post didn't even address the Cherokee removal (** see my comment at the end of this post) except to note that it didn't change my self-identifying as a Southerner. The salient point, which Simpson and Foskett grandly, and dishonestly ignored, was "Her [my grandmother's] relatives and descendants all self-identify as Southerners."

On April 17, one day later, Simpson posted this on his blog:
Connie Chastain’s Family Heritage: A House Divided
by Brooks D. Simpson

Although Connie Chastain has changed the status of her Facebook group to closed, she continues to provide ample opportunity for readers of this blog to comment on her views … because she’s a frequent visitor and commenter here (it’s as if she’s never gone away). Recently she brought attention to her Cherokee ancestry, much as she’s in the past highlighted her family ties to Elijah Webb Chastain, a member of Congress from 1851 to 1855.

There is, of course, more to the story.

Elijah W. Chastain’s father, Benjamin Chastain, was born in North Carolina, moved to South Carolina, and then moved again to Georgia, where he served in the Georgia state legislature intermittently between 1826 and 1834. He also served as an Indian agent in the Toccoa Falls area. Fort Chastain was named after him: it was established to assist in the removal of the Cherokee from Georgia along the Trail of Tears. As one source put it, Benjamin Chastain “worked to help round up the Indians for the Trail of Tears.”

Connie Chastain delights in telling us of her Cherokee heritage. But she’s declined to reveal the role of some of the members of her family tree in deporting other members of her family tree … or perhaps she never knew about it. Now she does. Who do you think you are, Connie?

This is what we call history, not heritage.

By the way, some family members suggest that another Elijah in the Chastain family had a Cherokee mistress.
This, of course, elicited more smelly verbal cowplops from his myrmidons -- and, surprisingly, a few criticisms of Simpson. A sampling:
John Foskett: Not surprisingly, facts get in the way of a good family tradition. Or “heritage”. Connie started off okay in the “Southern and Romantic Fiction” category. It’s when she branched into “heritage” that things began to unravel. Once you depart the realm of fiction you need to get a good grasp on facts. That hasn’t happened here, all too obviously.
Brooks D. Simpson: She can celebrate whatever her little heart desires. But surely you would not want us to overlook the truth of the matter, right? That’s the difference between heritage and history.
Mike Moore, a Southern Facebook friend of mine posted:
So Comrade Simpson…can you elaborate on just where she has spoken or written an untruth about this issue?
Simpson replied:
I’m simply providing a more complete historical context.
Oh, really? LOL. Continue reading, folks, and let's just see how "more complete" Simpson's "historical context" is. But first, back to the comment thread. One of the commenters suggested:
"Perhaps posting about another’s ancestry is taking a personal confrontation just a bit too far? Especially if it is intended as a form of insult or belittlement?"
Simpson replied:
Neil–if posting a more complete story about the actual heritage of someone who has posted much about heritage is a form of insult or belittlement, then I find that assessment curious. Would you rather be misled by fantasy masquerading as “heritage”?
(There it is again -- Simpson's claim of posting a "more complete story" -- don't forget that, gentle readers. As for "fantasy masquerading as heritage" -- whose fantasy? Mine or the federal government's, whose Indian agents put my ancestors' names on the Cherokee census rolls?)
Connie’s brought her heritage into the discussion. She’s also brought into the discussion heritage versus ancestry, and it was she who mentioned her Cherokee ties. She opened the door. Presenting a fuller historical context helps illustrates the practical complexity of certain claims. History’s messy that way.
(There's another phrase to remember, folks -- Presenting a fuller historical context... As for history being messy -- maybe it depends on who is presenting history, and how they present it and -- as we shall see -- why they present it.)
But there are some people who would prefer to evade that issue by making every disagreement or discussion into a clash of personalities.
(Who's the one who started the clash with the snarky and highly personal insult: "Someone ought to fill him in on who advocated the removal of the Cherokee Nation"?)

Later, Simpson posts,
"And that’s the difference between heritage and history. Some people are all about heritage, which, as Connie freely admits, she shapes to serve her own personal agenda.
(I've admitted no such thing, freely or otherwise. Again, Simpson demonstrates that liars gotta lie.)
I prefer to explore history, and one of the results of that exploration is to show the complex relationship between heritage and history … including the dark stuff in the closet, which includes the Trail of Tears.
(This is an absolute SCREAM, folks, considering what I post later in this thread. Explore history to show complex relationships? Or show some and ignore some and twist some in order to attempt to embarrass somebody you don't like?)
As Connie opened the door in referring to her Cherokee connections, I found it remarkable to observe the history involved. If one would rather embrace the whitewashed fantasy known as made-to-order heritage, then to each his or her own.
(And if one would rather embrace partial and/or twisted history in order to embarrass somebody they don't like, then to each his own.)

Somebody named Sid posted:
"Brooks…me thinks you have a lot of spare time on your hands."
Simpson replied:
Not at all. It was a very simple piece of research. I am just efficient....
(Simple especially when you only post part of it .... )

So let's recap what Simpson says he found....

"As one source put it, Benjamin Chastain 'worked to help round up the Indians for the Trail of Tears.'"

The source, presumably, is the website Chastain Central, which notes, "Chastain Central was advised by Georgia historian Ethelene Dyer Jones that Fort Chastain was in what is now Fannin County, but was then Union County. She continues, "The fort was near the convergence of Star Creek with the Toccoa River in what became Fannin County. The site of Ft. Chastain was covered by the waters of Blue Ridge Lake. Benjamin Chastain, who was sent as an Indian agent, opened the first post office in 1837 in what later became Fannin County, called the Tuckahoe Post Office. The fort was named for him and he worked to help round up the Indians for the Trail of Tears. I did a good bit of research on this person, father of Elijah Webb Chastain."

Interestingly, I can find no source documentation for Jones' claims that Benjamin Chastain helped "to round up the Indians for the Trail of Tears," even among her own writings online. Even more interestingly, Simpson doesn't mention this! What a surprise, huh!

Excerpts from Jones's book, Through Mountain Mists, are online.

Here is an excerpt about Benjamin Chastain

And here is an excerpt about Ft. Chastain and the Indian Removal

Jones tells us Benjamin Chastain "was appointed" an agent to the Cherokee. She doesn't say by whom, but presumably he "was appointed" by the federal government during the Jackson administration.

She also says that the building and operation of a fort at the Toccoa River and Star Creek was a task "assigned" to Benjamin Chastain." Again, no identity of the "assigner" given, but presumably it was an agency of the federal government.

In "Fort Chastain and Indian Removal," Jones gives a description of the conditions in which the Cherokee were held in the removal forts prior to their departure on the Trail of Tears, but she does not substantiate that these were the conditions at Ft. Chastain. Presumably, we are just supposed to think that this description fits the Cherokee "held" at Fort Chastain.

However, other information about the fort, and the removal itself, cast doubt that Jones's description applied to Fort Chastain. (Simpson, of course, gleefully posted Jones's description without noting the doubts, so strong was his determination to embarrass me.)

First, Fort Chastain wasn't a "fort" at all. There were no buildings, no stockade, in which to confine the captives. Jones says the operation of this fort "was assigned" to Benjamin Chastain, but records indicate others (rather incompetent others) actually operated the, um, facility. From Georgia Trail of Tears
Chastain’s Station
County: Fannin
City: Blue Ridge
National Register of Historic Places: No
Local Designation: None.
State Designation: None.
Site Significance:

One of 15 removal posts in Georgia, Chastain's was one of five that were never stockaded. Its proximity to the North Carolina mountains where the most numerous conservative Cherokees lived made the post particularly important to the Georgia governor. The post was assigned to the Eastern Military District commanded by Gen. Abraham Eustis. Lt. Col. Camp commanded three infantry companies who were sent to a post "near Chastain's." One of the three was Capt. John Fowler’s DeKalb County militia company.

While Capt. Peake and his Tennessee company waited at the post for the Georgia companies, Gen. Charles Floyd received reports of their disorderly behavior, drunkenness, and tardiness. Floyd alerted Eustis and Camp resigned his command. The three companies remained at the post until relieved some time after the removal from Georgia was completed. They reported back to Gen. Floyd.

In 1930 a dam was completed across the Toccoa River forming Lake Blue Ridge and inundating the sites of Benjamin Chastain’s and the camp nearby.

Significant Dates: May 11, 1838 - July 5, 1838
Significant Persons:
Benjamin Chastain, store owner
Lt. Col. Benjamin J. Camp
A. P. Bush, Quartermaster, 2nd Regiment, GA Foot
Capt. John W. Fowler
Store owner? Store owner? But-but-but what about "rounding up" the Cherokees?

Here's some more very interesting information about "Fort" Chastain from Cherokee Removal: Forts Along the Georgia Trail of Tears by Sarah Hill ( A joint partnership between The National Park Service and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources/Historic Preservation Division)
The encampment at Chastain’s raises so many questions that the absence of records about the post has proven particularly frustrating. It seems the post’s establishment was not initially planned. No mention was made of northeast Georgia until late May when other companies were already underway with their collection of prisoners. The assignment of three companies to Chastain’s indicates the expectation of a high number of prisoners, yet the late assignment and failure of command suggest a lack of attention about their capture. The delayed arrival of Gen. Eustis to his command at Ft. Butler exacerbated the problems since no one was sufficiently near to monitor the post’s establishment. Most puzzling of all was the behavior of and toward the commander, Lt. Col. Benjamin Camp, whose leadership and discipline failed from the very beginning. Yet he was allowed to pass from Ft. Buffington to Ft. Floyd and on to Union County, with complaints following him along the route. Although he resigned his commission, it is surprising that he did not face a court martial. The discovery of additional papers, particularly those of Gen. Eustis, will be a welcome addition to this body of literature about the removal of Indians from Chastain’s.
Hill's account of this "station" or "encampment" (not fort) is found beginning on Page 46 of this document:

Interesting things to note. There was no stockade at this "fort" -- apparently no buildings at all. There was a "lack of attention"to the capture of prisoners (Cherokees) and a "failure of command" in that endeavor. And note -- Benjamin Chastain is not mentioned even once in this short narrative HISTORY.

It's possible that the "fort" (or encampment) may not have even been on Benjamin Chastain's land, as Hill notes, "In anticipation of the 1838 removal, Ft. Hetzel was established in Ellijay and a military encampment was proposed for Union County 'near Chastain's.'"

"Near" is not "on."

Chastain Central further notes: "... Chastain's is listed on page 22 as one of five posts that were not fortified. In fact, page 47 states that there is no record of any construction at Chastain's Encampment, and that the circumstances of the camp make significant construction unlikely. The late arrival of the militia there makes barracks unlikely, and there was no need for stables since the militia was infantry. Storage facilities would be necessary, but the report speculates that they may have used Benjamin Chastain's buildings for that."

According to the Georgia Trail of Tears website Chastain station operated from May 11, 1838 to July 5, 1838 and Benjamin Chastain's name is not listed among those of the officials who operated the encampment.


I mention all this not to exonerate my kinsman -- I don't know what his involvement was in all that, and I don't really care. But I do note that primary source documentation seems to indicate little to no involvement by him.

No, the reason I mention all this is to demonstrate the sloppy scholarship, the leaving-out parts of history that don't fit with the "historian's" agenda of personal attack -- and the indication of questionable ethics that underlie it all, stemming from personal animosity. I mention it to show something about Simpson's claims.

These claims --
" would not want us to overlook the truth of the matter, right? That’s the difference between heritage and history ... I’m simply providing a more complete historical context ... if posting a more complete story about the actual heritage of someone who has posted much about heritage is a form of insult or belittlement, then I find that assessment curious. Would you rather be misled by fantasy masquerading as “heritage”? ... Presenting a fuller historical context helps illustrates the practical complexity of certain claims. History’s messy that way ... I prefer to explore history, and one of the results of that exploration is to show the complex relationship between heritage and history"
-- are not only complete and total bullcrap -- they're smelly, slimy flat-out lies.

Is this how they do history at Arizona State University? Putting forth statements that have no source documentation? Ignoring documentation that doesn't estblish what you want established?

Simpson's lying-by-omission about someone's personal history, motivated by some kind of personal internet vendetta, establishes that his ethics are questionable -- just as the lies sprinkled liberally throughout his personal blog establish the same thing. And if ethics are questionable in one place, they're questionable, period. Which means ... how many lies has he told about the civil war and Southern heritage -- by omission or otherwise?


**Foskett and Simpson deliberately ignoring the point of my comment -- that my grandmother's descendants self-identified as Southerners -- in order to claim I knew nothing about the Cherokee removal, is particularly skanky evidence of a lack of ethics. In fact, I researched the Trail of Tears for a keepsake notebook I wrote for a family reunion of my father and his brothers back in 2000 or so.... As for the $20 in gold my grandmother received from the feds -- I don't know if that was compensation for her grandparents being sent west on 'the March" as my father called it (the Trail of Tears) or some other reason. The government compensated Indians for several reasons.

I also discovered information about Ft. Chastain at that time, so I've known for 12 years or so that there is no evidence that Benjamin Chastain "rounded up" Cherokees -- and that there is evidence that other people did so, and that the "fort" was named "Chastain" probably because it was adjacent to Benjamin's property.... But I guess if your aim is to smear somebody, if you are folks like Foskett and Simpson, truth is a triviality you can dispense with....

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The "anti-racist" smear mentality

~~On the "whiteness" of my novels~~

Simpson writes:
Connie Chastain constructs a strawman. We don’t see advocates of Confederate heritage celebrate African Americans’ struggle for freedom and equality. Certainly Connie doesn’t, as her all-white cast of heroes and heroines in her own “books” demonstrates.
And later he writes:
Observing the color of the cast of characters in Connie’s writing (which she admitted, because I haven’t read what she’s written … I’ve just read what she writes about what she has written) is just that: an observation.
An "observation." LOL! See the subtle progression from truth to lies in Simpson's statements above? From "...all-white cast of heroes and heroines" to "...the color of the cast of characters in Connie’s writing..." From only heroes and heroines in my books being white to all the characters in all my writing being white... which is simply not true.

I suppose I should cut him some slack, since he hasn't read my novels -- but in that case, he is making an assumption (a false one) about something he knows nothing about. But, hey, when the object is to smear somebody he doesn't like, who cares about his actual knowledge of the subject, right?

Yes, there are non-whites in my novels. Pathetic Simpson. If he can't find "racism" in people he doesn' t like, he'll make it up.

(Pop Quiz: Name five scum-sucking racist novelists and their novels that feature white heroes and heroines. See my answers below.)

~~More on the false dichotomy~~

In the same comment thread, I wrote,
"I’m not sure who you’re getting me mixed up with but I don’t put forth any efforts to promote a multicultural South and Confederate heritage. Multiculturalism is an insidious fabrication of the left that accompanied the rise of authoritarian political correctness in the last half of the 20th century. It didn’t exist when the Confederacy existed.
So much for my being a Rainbow Confederate. This was written months before the League Facebook mega-thread where I was accused of it....

In any case, look at how Simpson creates a belief in what he considers to be the exact opposite of multiculturalism (i.e. "whites-only") and then falsely attributes that to me: "I’m glad to see that Connie Chastain admits that she promotes a whites-only view of southern and Confederate culture. None of that multiculturalism or tolerance for her."

Of course, I made no such admission -- but Simpson's creation of the false dichotomy (your choices are multiculturalism or whites only) and attributing the "whites only" extreme to me is typical of his lying.

Some of the following comments in that thread are equally instructive of the odious attitude and willingness to lie on the part of self-styled "anti-racists."

Note -- you can only "get along with people who are different than you" if you're a "multiculturalist."

Moreover, my "exclusion of non-white people from southern heritage as well as Confederate heritage" is not a matter of record -- quite the opposite, considering my acknowledgement of the contributions of blacks, slave and free, to the Confederacy -- and, that of the Cherokees and other Indian tribes -- on my blog and elsewhere. (And no, that's not an example of a "rainbow" multicultural position, either, as we shall see.)

In any case, this comment thread contains some great illustrations of the false dichotomy, a leftist methodology I've posted about before on this blog -- that is, there are only two positions: an idea and its total, exact opposite. If you don't totally embrace the idea, then you totally embrace its opposite. Masters of the False Dichotomy

That blog post was about the attempt to pigeonhole Southern heritage advocates as defining Confederates as (a) multicultural, tolerant and anti-racist or as (z) racist slavers who possessed no other human traits.

So, the false dichotomy is you're either a multiculturalist or you're an all-white culturist. Well, first of all, cultures are neither races nor colors, so "multicultural" is like "racism" and "Rainbow Confederate." In how it is often used, at least, it has no objective meaning or definition -- it's fluid and elastic enough to cover whatever the user means -- culture, race, color, whatever.

At its most basic (and benign) understanding and use in the United States, it means that minority cultures are equal to the dominant European-drived culture, and their contributions to the overall culture of the country is as good as, maybe even better than, that of white European descendants.

But what this actually translates into, in education, government policy, and the popular culture is the portrayal of the dominant European culture (usually identified as "white") as mostly if not uniformly bad, and the other cultures (usually identified as "non-white") as good, positive and sooo much better than white culture. One of the oft-repeated claims of mulitculturalists is that whites (white culture) is responsible for most, if not all, the ills suffered throughout the history of man.

This is why I reject it as an insidious fabrication of the left that accompanied the rise of authoritarian political correctness in the last half of the 20th century. Just as feminism isn't really about advancing women but about tearing men down, multiculturalism isn't about promoting minority cultures but about tearing down the dominant European derived culture.

That is how the dichotomized commenters at Simpson's blog see it -- and then attribute their false dichotomy to me.

Here's the truth, for those who are interested (and I suspect Marc Ferguson, Forester, etc. are not):

I believe that the culture that evolved over the centuries in Europe was a superior one -- not perfect, not without flaws, but then the oft-touted minority cultures are not without their flaws either. In order to believe, along with Susan Sontag, that the white race is the cancer of human history, you can allow yourself to look only at its flaws. I am convinced that is what multiculturalists do. They refuse to acknowledge the positives and great accomplishments of the white, European culture and its offshoots in other parts of the world. I have my suspicions about why multiculturalists refuse to do this, but it is up to them to state their reasons honestly; and so far, they don't seem to be talking.

(As an aside, European culture and its offshoots around the world are declining from superior cultures to inferior ones, primarily because of the relentless attacks the last half-century by multiculturalism and political correctness.)

Regarding the culture of the South, I agree with a statement that used to appear on, the League of the South's website. Titled Southern Cultural Defense, the paper ended with this:
"The League of the South champions without apology 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. 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 essense, the South has always remained a predominantly Anglo-Celtic civilisation."
This view not only acknowledged the existence and influence of non-dominant cultural groups on the South -- it acknowledged that they enriched the South. Thus, this statement emphasized the positives of the dominant culture and the non-dominant ones -- which gives a huge clue about the conservative nature of the League -- at least, as it used to be. Leftist thought dwells on the bad, the negatives, the evils of a culture. Try to find their comments on the positives of other cultures they pretend to champion -- you'll far more likely find statements tearing down the dominant white culture.

~~The venom of anti-racism~~

Going back to Simpson's statement, "We don’t see advocates of Confederate heritage celebrate African Americans’ struggle for freedom and equality."

The comment thread I'm writing about here followed a video on Simpson's blog critical of Southern heritage. Commenter John Foskett wrote,
"The SH pushers ...[are] talklng about something that is supposedly “regional” and inevitably ends up being tied to the ACW/Confederacy.. Personally I think the whole thing is a shell game. What’s “Southern”? There seems to be no “eastern” heritage, “northern” heritage, “western” heritage – only “southern”. And the same problems lurk for “southern” culture. I won’t even touch the obvious racial issues which go to “whose” heritage/culture. As I said, shell game."
Somebody named Mike D. added:
"If it’s regional it must, perforce, include those elements of the regional culture that take into account the inextricable contributions of African-descended peoples to that culture. But you and I both know those elements are not intended for inclusion in these clowns’ definition of “southern heritage.” They mean white people. Period."
I attempted to explain it to him:
"Mike D, the contributions of African-descended people to the United States and to the South are not under attack, are not targeted for erasure. They are, in fact, celebrated and trumpeted.The contributions of whites to Southern regional culture is defined by critics solely as “racism” and is deemed fit for dropping down the memory hole for that reason. Southern heritage advocates deem that its “racist” component is no worse than the “racist” component of U.S. culture, and is not sufficient reason for the smearing of Southern heritage for the purpose of targeting and eventually erasing it from the national memory."
That elicited Simpson's irrelevant "strawman" comment already noted above.

Foskett comes back with,
"More beans hidden under shells, Connie. What “contributions of African-descended people … to the South” are “celebrated and trumpeted” by your “Souhern/Confederate heritage” spin, Connie? Their “service” as slaves?"
When I said that the contributions of African-descended people to the United States and to the South are not under attack, are not targeted for erasure, that they are, in fact, celebrated and trumpeted, I meant in academia, the government, the media and the popular culture. And it is true. Anybody want to contest that? My next reply to Foskett was,
"Why repeat what’s already being done by others? Our concern is with that part which is under attack. What is there about that that’s too difficult for you to grasp?"
Went right over his head... Or, at least, he pretended it did. But really, why should Southern heritage advocates abandon their defense of the South's culture and heritage, which are under attack, in order to spend their time and effort on something (recognition of African-American contributions) already being accomplished more than sufficiently by academia, the government, the media and the popular culture?

The insults thrown at me that followed this deliberate obtuseness on the part of Mr. Foskett are wonderful illustrations in the smear-mentality of leftists and anti-racists. If you missed this mid-April comment thread of manure from the good "anti-racists" who frequent Simpson's comment sections, here's a link. Just hold your nose before you go, and don't eat right before....

Comment thread....


Pop Quiz -- my answers: Jane Austen--Pride and Prejudice. Charlotte Bronte--Jane Eyre. William Shakespeare--Romeo and Juliet. Daphne DuMaurier--Rebecca. Margaret Mitchell--Gone With the Wind. (Yes, I know Romeo and Juliet was a play, not a novel; nevertheless, it was a romance with a white hero and heroine.)