Yankee floggers Brooks Simpson and Kevin Levin, along with scalawag flogger Andy Hall, all chimed in about the I-95 flag project over the weekend -- recycling much of each other's content. That isn't really significant because they do that a lot. And shared content makes for easier responses, because when you answer one, you answer them all.
But they sometimes do add some original commentary. For example, the manner in which the Flaggers will meet their doom. Babbling Brooks predicts that the Flaggeres will "melt" under the spotlight they've turned on themselves, and Andy says they have withdrawn into indistinguishable Confederate heritage grouphood -- either of which amounts to extinction to these floggers.
Levin isn't predicting the end of the Flaggers by melting or group-cloning. He's just predicting that there will be no Confederate flag on I-95 near Richmond.
Let's look at some of their arguments and see if they have merit.
The no-context argument: "...for all of the Flaggers’ talk about heritage, their choice of symbol and location leaves much to be desired, precisely because the flag is presented without context."
Without context? It's a Confederate flag flying near the capital of the Confederacy! How much more flippin' context do you need? Well, here's some more for ya -- it's push back against the onslaught to remove all artifacts of the Confederacy from the Southern landscape and all traces of it from American memory.
People who are whinging and moaning and bellyaching about the flag going up should have thought about the possibility that such actions as this would happen when they were happily scrubbing the South of all things Confederate.
Is that context enough for ya? And it doesn't even mention the context of honoring the soldiers of Virginia (and the South) who fought and died beneath that, and other, Confederate flags.
Sorry, gentlemen (and I use that term loosely), this project,and the flag at its center have context out the ying yang.
The "critics and opposition" argument: This one is mainly from Babbling Brooks and references the 10,000-signature petition, news coverage, editorial commentary, yadda, yadda, yadda. I note here that I've seen none of the Flaggers whining about free speech. I'm waiting to find out who the organizers are gonna give the petition to. The Flaggers? Pfffft.
Simpson cites "cracks in the ranks of heritage advocates (I guess he's missed the gulleys, canyons and trenches that delineate different factions of the heritage community) and includes the comment of a "committed Confederate heritage advocate." (See note at the end of this article, edited from my post about this at the Backsass Facebook Group.) What I find predictably laughable is Simpson's suggestion of a mole in the VaFlaggers organization. Ve in Souzern Heritage haf ways of dealing vith moles...if we ever attract any. Right now, there are none -- at least, not in the Virginia Flaggers group, which makes Babbling Brooks' claim risible
The "being watched" argument: Simpson says nobody ever paid any attention to the flaggers. before, (except, of course, for himself and Andy and Kevin and Corey and Tu Quoque, all of whom have been tight-focused on the group since its inception). They were "dismissed as little more than a fringe group..." he sez. (This is an example of his projecting his viewpoint upon everyone else). He takes opportunity of showing how un-watched the Flaggers have been in order to bring up a dead horse he loves to beat -- the Rob Walker non-issue -- not realizing, I guess, that it wasn't the Big Thing he made it out to be at the time, and by now, everyone but him has moved on.
He predicts that the days of non-attention are over and Tripp Lewis is being monitored for a "trip up." And wouldn't you know it, he mentions little ol' moi! "...why anyone would welcome aboard the baggage-laded Chastain is a question we need not answer." Yeah, he need not -- dare not -- answer it because he knows what'll happen on Backsass if he does...
The "melting" argument: "We might well wonder whether the Flaggers, given their behavior, might melt under the new spotlight they have placed upon themselves."
I dunno, folks. They don't look like they're melting to me.... They look cool, calm and a collected, which is probably what led to Simpson's wishful-thinking "melting" hallucination.
Most of Levin's hit piece is pretty much unremarkable. I simply note the gratuitous put downs designed to let the VaFlaggers know how unimportant they are, which explains why he is so obsessed with them (smirk), and which might be a bit bothersome -- if anybody cared about his opinions, which we don't.
There are one or two points, however, to put under the blade of the ol' Chops-A-Lot.
He says Confederate heritage folks are, at times, "painfully vague" about defining our heritage. I would just point out that just because he can't understand it, that doesn't mean it's vague, painfully or otherwise. And if others find how we define our heritage "offensive,' that's unfortunate, but we are under no obligation to bend over backward to accommodate their offendedness, just as they are under no obliation to honor our heritage as we do -- and we don't ask them to.
I would suggest, however, that Levin doesn't know that the Flaggers have "...done nothing (beyond talking with passerbyes) to work to improve interpretation of the grounds or take seriously the need to educate the general public. Instead, they chose to protest the opening of the .... new branch of the Museum of the Confederacy..." He also doesn't seem to grasp the notion that the two are not mutually exclusive. Can historians or "historians" not do two things at once?
I would also suggest, re: his hit on Susan for not demonstrating "real knowledge" of Civil War history -- her knowledge seems real enough. and as for history "platitudes found on the Internet," may I introduce my readers to Civil War Memory, Crossroads, and Dead Confederates? They're all on the Intenet and they're chock full of history platitudes.
Perhaps this hasn't occurred to Levin, but people are free to interpret the Confederate flag any way they choose, whether there is a flag on I-95 or not. And if anything in his hit piece belongs in the Chops-A-Lot, it's this, "...for the vast majority of people it will represent little more than a nameless reactionary movement with a flag fetish."
Don't you love how these floggers imply a claim of omniscience in knowing what huge number of people think and feel? People they don't know, have never met, never will know, never will speak with. Wouldn't it be interesting to hear him explain how he nows this? ("I just know.")
All of which means his prediction that there "will be no Confederate flag on I-95 near Richmond.," falls somewhere between hot air and hallucination.
Last we have Andy, who has kept himself out of the fray for a good while, but it must've been killing him, because he nearly busted a gut writing his blog post, Welcome to Crackertown (formerly Richmond, Virginia)!
Andy's argument: Unless Southern heritage activities challenge institutional or powerful interests or authority, or any rule or regulation or city ordinance ...unless they require winning widespread public support ... unless there are great legal, administrative or public opinion obstacles to be overcome ... it's not really Southern heritage activity.
These artificial definitions are somewhat akin to Andy's oft-repeated claim that unless heritage defenders think and believe about everything exactly like "real" Confederates did, they're phony heritage defenders.
Here's some more implied omniscience "A giant, automobile-dealership-style Confederate Battle Flag out on the freeway does nothing to “educate” the public about the honor of the Confederate veteran, or any of the other things the Flaggers frequently claim their activities do, one-on-one with the public. The I-95 flag will not change the way visitors to Richmond view that emblem, or encourage people who are now indifferent or hostile to the Flaggers’ view of history to become more sympathetic to it. It will simply reinforce what people already believe about that symbol."
He has no idea what visitors to the city will think of the flag. He has no knowledge that people indifferent to the Flaggers' view of history will become hostile to it because if the I-95 flag. Most of 'em probably have no idea what the Flaggers' view of history is. Andy sure doesn't, for all his confidence in his omniscience.
As for "Welcome to Crackertown" -- right on, bro!
My encounter with the Southern heritage advocate Babbling Brooks suddenly finds to be the soul of veracity...
Somebody named John Zakrzewski at the Southern Heritage Preservation Group wrote this about the Virginia Flaggers I-95 project: :
"I hope they can get their project completed, however after reading countless stories on this I am not sure if this is for a publicity stunt or just a compete lack of vision. I have read for two weeks the posts on this, I have seen some of the interviews, and all the buzz sturred up. If this is on private land, put it up! Stop with the media onslaught, and the odd responses. Seems that there is more here than we are being told."
Although that group is attacked mercilessly by Brooks Simpson and his cohorts, Mr. Zakrzewski advised me that my battles with Simpson on behalf of Southern heritage had no place on the SHPG ... so I quit. I rather regret that now, because I have something to say about his post copied above and I'd like for him to hear it.
Yes, they will get their project completed. Countless stories? From whom? It makes a difference -- a huge difference -- who's writing them. Leasing land and committing to the pole installation, fencing, lighting, etc., takes time. You can't just wave a magic wand and >poof< it's done.
Lack of vision? The Confederate flag is under attack from one corner of Dixie to another but these folks are going to put one up beside a busy freeway in the capital of the Confederacy and you call that a lack of vision?
The "stur" you have noticed is from people who are opposed ot it and opposed to Southern/ Confederate heritage in general, which is what your group is SUPPOSED to be preserving.
Put it up? If you are as on top of this as you claim to be, you will know that Grayson Jennings has already explained to the media that the ground is wet due to recent and continuing rains, and it has to be dry for the truck that will set the set the flag. If you are genuinely concerned about the nonexistent delays (they did say, did they not, that the gaol for completion was some time in September, why don't you go blow on the ground and dry it out?
How, pray tell, are the Flaggers supposed to stop the media onslaught? Odd responses? WHAT odd responses? Every response I've seen from the Flaggers is direct and to the point. I'm not sure what you'd consider odd about that. There's more here than you're being told? I don't doubt it. No organization tells everything. You've been told what you need to know, now shut the heck up.
Images: Connie Chastain, Facebook and the Public Domain