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December 18, 2010

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Jack Worthing

Eastwood did it in THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES. The screenwriter wrote speeches for George Wallace.

Opposing this when it's not even made yet seems ridiculous. Good writers set things in the past for good reasons, and it's cynical to distrust that without evidence. To represent something is not the same as dignifying it, and it CERTAINLY isn't the same as apologising for it. You remind me of the German reaction in advance of the film DOWNFALL, in which Hitler is portrayed - God forbid - as a human being. Their hysteria was unfounded. Some of us like to keep our monsters distant and bloodless, but this strikes me as very dangerous indeed.

If I wrote about the horrific scenes on the ground during the bombing of Dresden would you call me a Nazi apologist?

Jack Worthing

To that end, I'm not sure that the myth of the 'noble South' is as widespread as you think it is. I've been around for awhile and I've rarely encountered it outside of, well, the South. And then not often.

99

I live in NYC, far outside of the South and confront it regularly. When I was a kid, I desperately wanted a toy car called the General Lee, emblazoned with the Confederate flag. The Confederate flag flies over several state houses and is incorporated in at least one state flag. Cold Mountain, which tells a very similar story, was a bestselling novel and an award-winning film. The myth of the "noble South" and its cause are far from a regional thing. I would say, and many would agree, that is indeed woven into the fabric of this country.

I'm not exactly condemning this piece of work, because you're right; I haven't seen it, it's not complete. But I do lament that we're going back to this particular place and time and discussing this particular story again. The old saw is that history is written by the victors, but someone recently pointed out that this history keeps being written by the loser. And I think that's fair game to discuss why that is here and what it means.

And no, I wouldn't call you a Nazi apologist. But lots of people would. Ask Kurt Vonnegut.

isaac

I just happened to remember this blog post from awhile back:

http://fourfour.typepad.com/fourfour/2006/07/a_confederacy_o.html

Thanks to all sorts of pop culture (Gone with the Wind, The Dukes of Hazzard, Firefly etc.) and the proven-bogus "states rights" theory of the Civil War taught frequently in public schools all over America, this myth that 99's talking about is alive and well all over at least the eastern part of this country.

Thank goodness for books like these:
http://www.amazon.com/Confederate-Neo-Confederate-Reader-Great-Truth/dp/1604732199

Ta-Nehisi and 99's point is one I'm generally supportive of... why is this the story of that period that we keep returning to? And I think it's perfectly okay to say "this isn't a story I'm interested in watching again." No one is under any obligation to watch something.

For example: I've read enough reviews of "The King's Speech" to know i have no interest in seeing it, regardless of how well acted it is. Yet another pro-Royalist Oscar-Bait dramedy from England? I'll pass, thanks. I tapped out on that genre with "The Queen,' (although really, from a political standpoint anyway "The Madness of King George" is really the worst of the lot.)

It's not that I think it's wrong that that story is made, I'm just not interested in watching it anymore, I've seen it too many times. 99's not particularly interested in watching a story about a confederate soldier wronged by a yankee soldier, which (again thanks to GWTW) is the predominant Reconstruction-era story we get told over and over again.

Josh

I'm from Kentucky and my extended family always, always, always romanticized the confederacy. They proudly call themselves "rebels" without even a hint of irony. Believe me, this attitude is alive and well.

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